I read with great interest this article in the September 15, 2020 issue of the Oakmont News. I read it with a broader perspective of what is a community and how we ALL can come to a consensus. Let me start with a definition of what a community is:

“A common definition of community emerged as a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by social ties, share common perspectives, and engage in joint action in geographical locations or settings. The participants differed in the emphasis they placed on particular elements of the definition. Community was defined similarly but experienced differently by people with diverse backgrounds.”

Before I get to the particulars of the destiny of the CAC area, as was mentioned in this article, I would like to say a few words about my biography and experiences in regards to a community.

I was born on a kibbutz in Israel. My parents were the founders of that kibbutz in the Jordan valley. Today that kibbutz is over 100 years old with about 10 different generations. How do 10 different generations live in one community with so much diversity of needs and visions?  It was never easy. I remember all the passionate arguments about changing norms, rebuilding institutions and accepting changes. Some kibbutzim had professional facilitators to bring people together. The only way to bring people together in my mind is sensitivity to every generation, compassion and compromise. Also strong leadership that is inclusive of all people’s needs.

From reading the article about the central area a few things jumped out at me:  First is the lack of community consensus. I understand we elect a board and committees to govern us. But still there are other factors to be considered:  our spirits, our values, our feelings of being accounted and being heard.

The Education and Transparency committee, of which I am a member, just sent a resolution to the BOD for a comprehensive survey to determine our wants, visions and needs in regards to the future of Oakmont.  That survey will also include our wishes and visions in regards to CAC improvements versus rebuilding it.  This article in the Oakmont News does not even mention this resolution and its importance.

I have a lot of respect for the work this BOD is doing and how the different committees work.  But to my mind this guiding light principle of how to bring people together and how to foster feelings of inclusiveness is missing.

My recommendation is to form a committee with people who are from the healing profession to work on this very important issue. The committee should advocate for all generations and the diversity of Oakmont.

Another tool to express our diversity, richness of visions and ideas about Oakmont life and community is to use The Oakmont News as a vehicle for all people to express themselves. I  have lived in many communities and the community newspaper was always used to introduce people in the community, to shine a light on who they are and express their ideas even when it is in opposition to the Board’s views.

From my own experience living here a full year this is a wonderful community that can rises to any challenges if it feels that it is heard and accounted for.

Share this page:


  1. Bruce Bon on September 21, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks, Malka, for sharing your perspective on community. Following your suggestions might help Oakmont to move beyond the contentiousness which has plagued us almost since I moved here in 2013!

  2. Yvonne Frauenfelder on September 21, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Bravo, Malka, for inspiring words and your manifest caring about our community.

  3. Rick Feibusch on September 21, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    I applaud you Malka for your words of wisdom and care for ALL Oakmont residents. Apparently, the present Board leaders seem to be more into building the “Oakmont Corporation” to be led by a board that is more concerned with building a “business” and “building a brand” that will appeal to future residents, rather than building an inclusive senior residential community among the people who presently live here. So everyone prepare for cost increases in the future, but hey, as I’ve been told a dozen times, “you can afford it, and anyhow, split between 4800+ residents, it won’t be all that unreasonable.” What I am concerned with is the new “culture” that is being cultivated here to replace what once was. The Board is basically saying that the underlying philosophy envisioned by Mr. Berger is “outdated” and must be replaced with a corporate culture of “winners and losers” and winning is defined by lavish facilities and escalating property values. We now are in “business” and that means the losses as well as the profits. We all will pay, but that’s OK, your house will be worth a bundle. I just do not know if that will be an equitable trade for the comfortable, somewhat reasonable, retirement community we moved to a mere five years ago. Kinda sad…

  4. Brenda Steele on September 22, 2020 at 5:41 am

    Thank you, Malka, for your caring, insightful and logical perspective. Yes, we are a community. It’s about time that decisions be made based on what this community as a whole needs and not what a handful wants.

  5. Barbara Nelson on September 22, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Bravo !! to ALL of you who contribute both articles and comments here in The Oakmont Observer.
    I, personally, find the content of The Oakmont Observer to be THE most honest, sometimes the ONLY
    honest publication that offers views on our Oakmont community, buildings, golf courses, and humans.
    But how many Oakmonters know about the Oakmont Observer and it’s thinkers? How are the thinkers
    going to get the word out? Do we have to have a coup, or is door to door education and a town hall on
    your agenda? This is still America: Oakmont, as a community, has a right to live as a community of ALL
    residents, not just a few. Please get your wisdom out there to the Oakmont people – a lot of them are
    scared. They NEED to know someone here in Oakmont cares about them.

  6. Thora Graves on September 22, 2020 at 11:10 am

    Thank you Malka for your well written words. Your experience is amazing and can be worth so much to Oakmont.

  7. Peggy Dombeck on September 22, 2020 at 12:37 pm

    thank you Malka. I am grateful for what you wrote. I am very concerned that many people are not aware of the Oakmont Observer. I have spoken to many neighbors and friends who do not know about it. It is essential to have articles from the Oakmont Observer published in the Oakmont News or to have the word get out some other way. I especially like Malka’s idea of having different people’s perspectives published in the Oakmont News. It is about time for a change.

Leave a Comment