<b>Conservative origins</b>

EDITOR: In 1989, the staunchly conservative Heritage Foundation published "Assuring Affordable Health Care for All Americans" by Stuart M. Butler. In 2006, Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, hardly a liberal, signed into law legislation based on that model, which was dubbed "Romneycare." That highly successful program supplied the essential principles for what is now widely known as "Obamacare."

Those are the conservative origins referred to in E.J. Dionne Jr.'s column ("America's resurgent progressives," Thursday), which Bill Rohr so strongly decried and denied ("Dionne's spin," Letters, Saturday). As with so many other opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act -#8212; its real name -#8212; Rohr needs to make sure he gets his facts straight before publicly expressing opinions that are factually inaccurate.

As for likening Obamacare to a doomed ship, only time will tell. But so far it's been highly successful in states including California in which governors and legislatures have fostered, rather than attempted to obstruct, its implementation.

Personally, I think it will prove highly successful and may well be the first step on the way to truly universal health care -#8212; Medicare for all -#8212; which is what we should have held out for in the first place.


Santa Rosa

<b>Chinese capitalism</b>

EDITOR: The letter in Friday's paper headlined "Chinese pollution" displayed a lack of understanding about how modern China operates, with the insinuation that liberals will be "shocked" to find out how much pollution China creates and that they would naturally defend the "communist economy . . . controlled by the state."

That thinking is about four decades too late. In fact, China currently practices what may be the purest form of unregulated capitalism, learned from the West, but without the environmental safeguards of an Environmental Protection Agency. Greed is universal, and in China's mad rush to capitalize its economy, it has shown very little interest in the welfare of the planet. All of us will suffer.

The suggestion that liberals worship communism's failed political and economic systems is offensive and just plain wrong. The Chinese may consider their system Marxist, but reality reveals it to be a hybrid of conflicting ideologies, and China is only now reaping the horrors of unfettered capitalism.



<b>A wake-up call</b>

EDITOR: I have just watched "The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers," a documentary made in 2009. It is worth seeing now, especially in light of Edward Snowden's revelations about the National Security Agency's activities regarding our personal lives and the role of government. I'm not implying that Snowden is a hero, but in breaking the law he has enlightened all of us. The Ellsberg film is a wake-up call for all Americans.


Santa Rosa

<b>Sonoma Valley water</b>

EDITOR: The Arroyo Seco watershed takes up approximately the eastern third of the lower Sonoma Valley. Groundwater and seasonal surface flow are the only sources of water, and there are potentially serious supply issues: groundwater depletion (overdraft), dry wells, arsenic and saltwater intrusion, all made worse by drought and increasing demand.

The Arroyo Seco area has no water agency or collective controls. Residential, agricultural and industrial users can pump as much water as they want. In some areas, supply is not matching demand.

What can landowners and citizens do? A forum already exists: the Sonoma Valley Groundwater Management Program. This group has regular meetings and welcomes public input. You can find schedules and agendas at


A critical issue is getting diverse stakeholders to buy into common conservation efforts. The real trick will be to finesse individual views within an overall concept. The bottom line: It's unproductive for a small watershed with limited supply in a drought-prone state to have no collective approach. It behooves Arroyo Seco stakeholders to work together.

How to bring these diverse interests into the same planning field? One solution: bring the Arroyo Seco watershed (or all of Sonoma Valley) into one water district. Make a conservation boundary where the first priority is establishing a healthy, sustainable watershed.