Opinion

From the outset, let me be crystal clear. I believe that OVA purchase of OGC would be a serious mistake that would ignore the welfare of those who might eventually lose their homes as a result. For this and other reasons elaborated below

I urge you to vote NO on the proposed 31% dues increase.

Whether or not OVA should buy OGC is the hottest topic in Oakmont since pickleball, as well it should be since at least ten times as much money is at stake, as well as the future identity of Oakmont. Will we continue to be a middle-class retirement community with middle-class amenities and dues, which surrounds a golf course, or will we become an upper-middle-class retirement community with better amenities and high dues to support them, including an embedded golf course subsidized by all?

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There have been many opinions and concerns expressed in social media, newsprint, and word of mouth (both for and against) regarding the possible purchase of the Oakmont Golf Club (OGC) property by the Oakmont Village Association (OVA). As in any controversial subject, there have been some conflicts between various groups and personalities but those should mostly be ignored as “politics at work”.

I do however, disagree with some of the posturing and maneuvering expressed in OVA communications as well as some of the more vocal online comments on both sides of the issue. Everyone has a right to express their views, and they should do so with facts pertinent to the subject. The need to disparage others views is not necessary.

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OVA President Steve Spanier made a provocative statement at the June 18 board meeting with regards to the issues surrounding the potential offer to buy the OGC:  “Don’t believe anything unless it comes from us. We will give you the truth.”

One of the main problems is that very little of substance regarding the potential OGC purchase has come from this board, hidden behind the veil of non-disclosure agreements and executive sessions. All that was announced at the June 18 meeting were details of planned workshops and the 30 day voting period.  Not a hint as to the proposed financing plan (dues increase and/or special assessment combined with a loan?) was offered.  The board has been exploring and discussing this issue for months, if not the past year, and yet the OVA membership will evidently be offered a quick and hasty sales job prior to a rushed vote.

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On Wednesday, June 12, a President’s Message entitled Social Media Survey was posted on the Oakmont Village website, and an on-line Nextdoor OVA/BOD Discussion Group Survey went live.

To be blunt, this survey, combined with devoting an entire OVA workshop to the topic (scheduled for July 2), is the most embarrassing, amateurish and petty project that I have seen come out of any Board since moving to Oakmont. I can only guess that our Board president came up with this, driven by his insecurities about receiving criticism, and ordered the OVA staff to implement the survey without approval from the rest of the Board. Below are the reasons for my low opinion of this effort.

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On May 6, several people representing the Oakmont Alliance delivered petitions with over 230 signatures to the OVA office, for delivery to the OVA Board of Directors. The petition required that a vote of the membership be conducted, “in the event the OVA Board of Directors intends to make an offer for the purchase of OGC.” The text further highlighted that “the acquisition of the Oakmont Golf Club (OGC) by OVA would materially increase OVA property assets, ongoing operational expenses, facility asset replacement expenses, responsibilities and liabilities … and such an acquisition would significantly alter the substance and character of the existing OVA.” The Oakmont Observer article describing the petition and its intended effect may be found HERE.

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In September of 2017 current OVA Board President Steve Spanier gave a talk at a Sunday Symposium on the topic of transpartisanship, a relatively new system of thought distinct from bipartisanship or nonpartisanship that attempts to move beyond bilateral opposing viewpoints on issues.  I covered this symposium for the Oakmont News and later interviewed Spanier to gain further understanding of the system of negotiation that he was espousing.

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