As a visitor to the fine city of Bakersfield every two years, my wife and I look forward to our time spent there. Before our first visit about 20 years ago, I expected dust, oil, dirt, dried-up vegetation and cowboys roaming the streets.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a nice, clean city with lots to do, both near and within a few hours' drive. Bakersfield has good restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, etc. The main purpose of our visit is to see my sister, but once there, we are never bored. I read The Californian almost every day and was surprised that there is a controversy over allowing chickens in yards. My opinion is that seeing chickens in yards by casual visitors would reinforce the opinion I had of Bakersfield 20 years ago.

I'm sure there are some people who will respond by saying "stay away if you don't like it, we don't want you here." But guess what? We're still coming and will enjoy everything Bakersfield has to offer.

Apple Valley, Minn.