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I sense arrogance on the part of state officials launching the Oregon Health Exchange. What irks me is their arrogance toward failure.

The "Father Knows Best" attitude demonstrated by most federal, state and local politicians deprives them of the ability to recognize when they are wrong. "Government is the solution, not the problem" is their motto. Therefore, solutions foisted upon the electorate by elected officials are always right.

And to make sure the solutions are correct, they are willing to spend any amount of taxpayer money to cover up mistakes. Only absolute failure brings admissions that they are not at fault. Their arrogance cannot allow fault to be laid at their feet. No, it is always someone else's doing. In this case, Oracle is the villain.

The true villain is the misplaced trust by those governed in elected officials. This is the result of too much reliance on government. Where is the oversight that restrains unabashed incompetence and arrogance? Government always protects itself from its own mistakes. It's high time for citizens to demand accountability and to question government solutions. Concerned citizens can and will make a difference at the polls. — Gale F. Trapp, Medford

In accord with Marti Hawes' Dec. 24 letter and the column written by moderate Republican columnist Dana Milbank Dec. 8 regarding the American Legislative Exchange Council, ALEC is a national organization that seeks to ignore the needs of the working class and minorities in favor of its corporate agenda.

Milbank stated: "ALEC is a powerful, secretive organization funded by the Koch brothers and other corporate interests that is famous for drafting conservative legislation that Republican state legislatures adopt down to the last semicolon." Put another way, Mark Pocan, D-Wisc., stated: "it's like a dating service that matches up state legislators and special interests looking to ram through their radical corporatist agenda."

Lest we're not mindful, this organization could take over the State of Oregon should we choose to elect a Republican governor. Worthy of note is that all of our conservative state representatives are members of ALEC. Google pfaw.org ("ALEC has been responsible for anti-voter, anti-consumer, anti worker ... legislation") and Source Watch as sources of information. The goal of this organization is to subvert democracy. Wisconsin has fallen, Ohio and North Carolina are on their way and Michigan is next. If you think this is far-fetched, fact check and think again! — M. Newby, Medford

As I read the proposal for Highway 99 becoming one lane for the sake of bicyclists, I can't help but I ask myself, why did we build a bike path? Why must we as vehicles share the road, and actually devote a whole lane to bicyclists if we literally have a path we built from one side of the valley to the other side of the valley?

As the rest of the country acknowledges its development and growth by adding more lanes for vehicles, we in this valley take away lanes for vehicles and make them for bicycles. This doesn't make us hip or trendy, it makes us drive longer in a small valley that most of us moved to because commuting and driving in general is so easy.

Ashland's road diet is extremely ineffective for vehicles, and I barely ever see a bicyclist (maybe once a week, and I drive 3-4 times in to Ashland from Talent and Medford). I am truly appalled by this proposal and the level of ineffectiveness we know it's going to bring us. So again I ask, why did we build a bike path? — Margaret Mason, Talent