To the Editor:

My wife and I have been homeowners and part-time residents of Tollgate for about seven years, and we've seen the battles re: change of any kind in The Nugget, and the arguments never cease to amaze us. The idea that refurbishment of an existing trail so that it could be used by kids to safely get to school is a threat to privacy for this group of private property owners is puzzling. How would it affect their privacy on an existing trail of which only 222 feet is on Tollgate land?

A letter to the editor in the same edition of the paper suggested that people might use that improved access to burglarize homes in Tollgate. I really had to laugh at that one - wouldn't it be easier just to drive in rather than trying to carry that 65-inch flat screen down the gravel path on foot?

The trail surface pretty much sucks unless you are on foot - loose gravel is not an inducement for getting kids to ride to school. Sure I could probably ride my mountain bike on it in any conditions, and I did last weekend just to see what it was like as I had never been on that trail. But that was in wet conditions and it was fairly compacted with the melted snow and ice. I imagine it's pretty loose and ugly in the summer months.

I'm personally very much in favor of improving that trail. If STA is successful in getting the job done, I'll be riding my road bike that way as well (I promise to wave, say hi, and be respectful of your privacy). As someone who rides to Sisters and up McKenzie Pass frequently, the thought of an alternative to Highway 20 is beyond attractive. And with a safer and better-maintained surface for my Tollgate neighbors' kids for getting to the schools, I'm hard pressed to think that there is a good argument against the refurbishment that even comes close to countervailing the benefits of restoring the original function of that pathway.

Let's improve safe access for Tollgate children as well as those of us who didn't grow out of our childhood love of bikes. Help everyone in our community to get some much-needed exercise- support this proposal for your kids, your neighbors' kids, and us adults, too!

Randall McCall

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To the Editor:

In reference to Craig Rullman's January 30 sausage-fest "A weenie for the win," Bunkhouse Chronicle, The Nugget, page 31:

The Democratic and Independence candidates (so far) remind me of the Republican line-up last time around. Which was all sausages after the first weeding out. At least the left has some women running.

Wasting column inches discussing candidates such as John McAfee is silly. America would never vote for a super-rich, narcissist businessman... Oh,wait.

Using "guilt by association" against Kamala Harris and Willie Brown seems weak. I lived north of the Bay for a while and everybody knew Willie Brown to be an old-school machine politician/womanizer, yet he kept getting re-elected. Willie, along with a lot of other people, fell for Jim Jones' charisma to their regret. I never heard about Kamala Harris having an affair with Willie, but if she did, she must have been quite young.

Kamala has been a very effective DA and is generally well-thought-of in the state. She is truly an advocate for the people.

As is Elizabeth Warren. She's been in the face of corporate America all her career. Comparing her to Lenin and Trotsky is like comparing Martin Luther King to the Black Panthers.

On a side note, it astounds me that the party that was so viciously anti-communist during the Cold War now seems to embrace the worst holdover from the Soviet era. Maybe it's just if you're doing business Mr. ex-KBG operative Putin. Go figure.

While I'm on a side track, Kavanaugh certainly got more "due process" than Obama's supreme court pick, didn't he ?

Personally, I think Elizabeth Warren would be more effective to stay as a senator. If she was President, I think she would get about the same respect by the Republicans as the first woman in the White House as did the first black President.

Back to the sausage race, the metaphor may be apt as long as you don't forget that the plain old weenie is made of the same stuff as the sausage... but more boring. Then, of course, there's the saying about making laws and sausages.

I think the next election is going to be every bit as interesting/scary/entertaining as the last one. I just pray we don't end up with the same weenie sitting on his buns in the oval office as we have now.

Bruce Campbell

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To the Editor:

After reading this week's Bunkhouse Chronicle, I feel compelled to respond.

This latest column is a not-even-thinly veiled attempt to portray some of the potential 2020 presidential candidates as laughingstocks not to be taken seriously, beginning with the depiction of them running around a sports field in giant sausage costumes. He first maligns Beto O'Rourke as being an example of "how low the bar is actually set" for presidential candidates. I find this a bit hypocritical, considering we have a serial bankruptcy-filing, reality TV show star as our current president.

Next is John McAfee, who is possibly running as a Libertarian and seems to be included in the group to further delegitimize the others as serious candidates. While I fail to see how his accusation of Mr. McAfee not paying taxes sets him apart from our current POTUS, who has yet to show evidence of doing so himself, I will leave him for someone else to defend.

He then moves on to dragging down Kamala Harris, apparently feeling the best way to do so is by bringing up an alleged past affair with another politician. Again, I am curious as to why he submits this as a character flaw for her, while it's seemingly OK that our current POTUS is fairly certain to have paid to sleep with a porn star while his wife, our FLOTUS, was pregnant. I feel Mr. Rullman may be suffering from cognitive dissonance.

Finally, he sets out to take down Bernie Sanders as being - I don't know exactly - too old and trustworthy? Elizabeth Warren is similarly written off for being proud of having Native American ancestry, though to my knowledge she didn't ever claim a specific percentage or to have tribal membership.

If these are the big shortcomings the potential candidates possess, aside from the obvious one-most are on the left side of the political spectrum, I'd say several of them offer us a much better choice for the future than what we've had the past two years. Of course, I don't expect Mr. Rullman to agree with me.

Hayley Dawkins

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To the Editor:

In his mudslinging review of the 2020 presidential candidates, Craig Rullman failed to mention the biggest sausage of them all. Donald Trump is the weenie most likely to do a faceplant in the outfield - much to the delight and relief of American patriots everywhere.

Wylie Nichols

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To the Editor:

Deschutes County Board of Commissioners meeting of January 30 was taking citizen input on an ordinance they would soon be considering which would allow Deschutes County to opt out of current or new Federal and/or State regulations on gun control. I was impressed by the citizen input and share a little of it here; their words were powerful.

You can see it all by watching the webcam at www.deschutescountyor.iqm2.com/citizens/calendar and click on January 30 meeting "video."

Mr. Jarrad Robison is the author of the ordinance and is the lead in Bend of a group called Oregon II% which was described by another citizen at the meeting as a far-right extremist Oregon militia group that does not agree with majority rule (aka Democracy). He is also a member of Oath Keepers.

He tried to get a very similar initiative on the ballot for the past mid-term election but could not secure enough signatures. He is now going to the commissioners directly. When he spoke at the meeting, he denied the group he leads was far-right or extremist. Robertson was the only citizen there in support of the ordinance.

This was an impressive display of citizenry because there were more than 20 individuals requesting time to present who were very much against this ordinance. There were amongst us: a lawyer, teachers, a professor, a former farmer, nurses, a psychiatrist, and other community business men and women, government services representatives and retired people who were mostly from Bend, a couple from Redmond and myself from Sisters. Some organizations represented were Central Oregon Women's March, League of Women Voters and a children's and parents support group.

I found the most poignant statement came from a man who asked, "Why is the ordinance even being considered?" It is the duty of the commissions not to question but to execute the laws. He noted there is a process to change laws and if that is what they want, then they follow that process like any other citizen. But the idea that the commissioners are even considering opting out of following the law was, to him, appalling.

People in attendance had many perspectives with important details, were respectful and very prepared.

The last speaker, a woman who had first-hand experience with gun violence, was for me the most heart-wrenching.

If at all interested in this topic, I encourage you to watch the webcam.

Susan Cobb

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To the Editor:

Regarding the "George" book: I am confident I speak for the majority of kids who, frankly, really don't think this is such a big deal.

My own sons read the book and had no reaction other than to ask why anyone would find this book offensive. There is no agenda other than understanding and love.

Suzy Hayes

s s s

To the Editor:

Two letters to the editor in last week's Nugget lend credence to the idea that "us vs. them" thinking is alive and well in our Sisters community. In the first letter, Ms. Richardson appears to condemn the whole LGBT community, and even the concept of allowing children to be educated about their individual differences. She attributes their sexuality to their being "confused," and states that a majority of folks in our community share her opinion. I strongly suspect that she is off the mark on that assertion by a proverbial mile!

In the next letter in question, Michael Cooper asserts that "many" Tollgate residents oppose improving the Tollgate-to-Sisters High School Trail, because it would expedite "illegal use of Tollgate's private facilities, and provide a quick getaway for burglars." Really? Those nasty old Sisters residents would use our "private" trail to burglarize our homes? I just cannot see a crime wave sweeping down on us in that manner.

Some of us actually walk and ride in the OTHER DIRECTION....INTO Sisters! Additionally, we walk on the streets of Sisters - and we ride on the streets of Sisters, and we don't generally burglarize the homes in Sisters!

The Tollgate Trail runs adjacent to my home and I truly enjoy interacting with visitors and neighbors who pass by. They enrich my life. I am also profoundly grateful for my family's connections with many in the LGBT community. They have added to our lives in only positive ways. So, I must suggest to Michael and Lorene that they start thinking the best of our neighbors and others, and they too might be happily surprised. Somehow, a smile might just come to your face a bit more easily!

Take a cue from the most positive, inclusive, and accepting group that I have encountered in my 76 years: The exceptional young people at Sisters High School (where, by the way, I have never seen a discipline problem in 16 years!). Please try, just try, to follow their example, and look at others in a more positive light.

Steve Mathews, Ed.D