Opinion

Since coming to Oakmont five years ago, I have observed two macro tendencies that could bear improvement.  First, on issues of substantial importance to the future of Oakmont (Berger remodel/rebuild, pickleball court location, OVA relationship to OGC), there is considerable dissension within our community, lack of trust that the OVA Board of Directors will make the right decision, and resulting animosity, both toward members of the Board and toward other members of the community.  Secondly, the fact that approximately half the Board members are elected each year results in new policies and new directions almost every year, an unstable situation that contributes to the community dissension and lack of trust.

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While it now appears that an OVA dues increase to send money directly to the Oakmont Golf Club (OGC) has been taken off the table, there are still several options under discussion for an OVA cash infusion to the OGC.

We have been informed that yet another OGC/OVA Joint Committee has been formed, comprised of three OVA Finance Committee members and two members of the OGC board.  One of its tasks is to “develop a five-year overall projection” and “a real business plan” for OGC. It is unclear as to why the OVA Board feels it is its duty to formulate a business plan for a private for-profit entity such as OGC. The board’s primary purpose, oft-stated, is to provide recreational facilities for our members.  Their primary focus should be on maintaining those facilities owned by OVA, many of which are in need of repairs and upgrades that have been deferred for years.

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Thanks to Rick Feibusch for this vision of a Taj Mahal Berger

All of us have a vision of what we expect and want Oakmont to be. For many of us, our vision of our community is similar to what Oakmont currently is, perhaps with a fresh coat of paint here, new carpet there, and improvements for safety and handicap accessibility. This is what we bought into when we bought a home in Oakmont, and it is certainly the minimum that we should expect. (Golf is a much trickier subject, since the golf courses have never belonged to OVA but they are undeniably part of the image of Oakmont.)

Others have much grander visions, thinking that, in order for Oakmont to be the “premier active adult retirement community” that is a stated goal in the OVA Board Mission Statement, we must spend substantial money for larger, modernized, trendier facilities.

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Last week we were informed via an OVA email that “in July, a subcommittee conducted 26 interviews with people considered to be community leaders and compared that with 93 new residents who filled out a questionnaire for the OVA.”  This “survey” was performed by the newly-formed Long Range Planning Committee at the request of the Board of Directors.

One has to ask how much weight this thoroughly unscientific sample of opinions will be given by the OVA board in their efforts to determine how best to serve the needs of  current and future members of the Oakmont Village Association. In point of fact, a truly competent survey of Oakmont residents was performed just a few years ago and can still be a useful road map.  

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In 1963 H.N. Berger bought 1,527 acres of land near Annadel from rancher Joe Coney. What had been a hop yard was to become a retirement village, a concept that had caught on across America.

Berger, a developer from Sacramento, knew what he wanted to offer the public. There were single family homes, duplexes, triplexes and fourplexes. One golf course was added to the first 600 homes, with a second one built over subsequent years.

Oakmont celebrated its half century existence in 2013, and since then the solidly middle class aura of its demographics has undergone changes, subtle to begin with, but more and more pronounced as homes are beginning to sell in the million dollar range.

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Greg Gewalt listed three actions (Click HERE) the OVA Board should have taken “in the Interest of due diligence” to avoid divisiveness in the community in its response to the OGC’s request for funds, among them:

“3 … The request for non-disclosure of all pertinent information by the OGC would have been rejected to advance the promise of transparency.”

With the benefit of hindsight, I agree that the Board ought to have taken that position. In not doing so, OVA allowed itself to become a passive, reactive captured passenger in OGC’s ill-conceived and poorly executed public relations vehicle.

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