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.