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Here we go again…Oakmont’s Discord Publicized in the Press Democrat

Why is it OVA Boards can’t learn from past mistakes?

Can we avoid such discord?

YES!

How?

First, the Board needs to stop cherry-picking attorney opinions to suit their typically club-affiliated agenda and acknowledge the need for a membership vote on such matters. They should welcome and embrace prominent HOA attorney Steve Weil’s read on this, which he provided during a 2017 OVA Board meeting:

“There is nothing in Davis-Stirling, nor is there anything in the OVA governing documents that prohibits the Board from submitting it to (a vote) of the members. Under Section 3.3 (bylaws) the Board can convene – the President or the Board of Directors – can convene a special membership meeting for any purpose. And then under Section 4.1, the members have the right to vote on any referendum or proposal submitted to the members.”

I call on the OVA Board President to honor his commitment to the membership that he will conduct OVA business with transparency and input from the community. So far, the OGC subsidy request has not been conducted as he promised.

The Board needs to do its due diligence and demand accurate information (aka transparency) from the OGC as well as an independent audit of their financials. Also, ALL Board members should have access to OGC’s financial information, not just those selected by the OGC. Actually, the OVA Board should simply reject any subsidy, in which case they don’t need to see OGC financials at all. If certain Board members wish to believe and/or accommodate OGC’s plea for financial support, then identify an OGC asset of value to OVA to trade for some lesser sum, so member dues are not diverted from maintenance of OVA’s own assets.

Why weren’t ALL OVA Directors available at the June 5 Meeting to voice their concerns and ask pertinent questions? We heard each member of the OGC panel say the two courses were not in trouble of folding and will not be sold. We were even told the OGC did not need our money for operations. But then we heard Director Kendrick say the financials were “murky.” What does this mean?

Troubling statements I heard on June 5:

Barbara Robinson, president of the OGC said “areas of collaboration will not be discussed with residents, only the Board of Directors.”

When asked about a vote of the membership regarding a $5 subsidy, OGC member Gary Smith said “we don’t think it’s an option within the OVA bylaws but we would defer to the OVA on that one.” (This is incorrect as expressed by Steve Weil in the quote above)

OVA Board Vice President Kendrick said “And votes around issues like this do run afoul of the controlling California law, Davis-Stirling. It has rather strict requirements about what boards can shuffle off to others. But that is one of the things – again, we are looking at it. It doesn’t look like that is something that is really a viable alternative.” (This too, is incorrect as stated by attorney Steve Weil in the quote above)

Have a majority of Directors already made up their minds? The election candidates and now Directors have not revealed their positions on this critical matter. Will this Board make the same mistake previous Boards have and make their decision based on significant pressure from, or their affiliation with, a politically active but not OVA-authorized club, one that may well have campaigned for them? Are we being asked to subsidize poor management?

My response to a request for a subsidy is a resounding NO, not for the 2019 budget.

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8 Comments

  1. Ly on June 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Thank you. Well said. Today we dedicate 6 new, and beautifully done, Pickleball courts at a cost of about 10% of what previous BODs planned to spend. For those who believe all decisions should be left to our board because they know more than we do, this is a lesson that should not be forgotten.

    • Herb Bieser on July 3, 2018 at 9:47 am

      The Board is elected to govern BUT, no government can effectively govern WITHOUT input and views of Oakmont people.

      Previous OVA Boards rejected and ignored input.

      The present OVA Board: the signs are better. Are they ?

  2. Gerry Gwynn on June 11, 2018 at 8:06 am

    Lynda,

    Excellent presentation of facts and analyses. Thank you.

    Particularly appreciate your focus on attorney Steve Weil’s expert opinion regarding our community’s rights and fair expectations about voting. A much needed counter to all the blatant misrepresentations by the OGC and certain members of our own OVA BD.

  3. Ray Haverson on June 11, 2018 at 8:37 am

    I feel the time has come that our board knows that they can not do as they please anymore they need to listen to the membership.
    They will not be able to do as Andi Altman did behind the CAC and not be held liable for the actions.
    We now are unable to use that area and it is very ugly It is time to repair the damage that has been done over one year ago had it not been torn up we would be still able to use it and our new board has not even started to take action to repair the damage done by Andi’s actions.
    Now the new board wants to give our dues money to the OGC when we need all we have to repair the east rec, Berger center and the area behind the CAC. So you know it is illegal to give OUR money to a for profit business we already give money to the OGC for toilet paper why is beyond my understanding.
    As for the money being given to the OGC a bank will not give you a loan without all your financial records why should we not know why we are even thinking of giving a for profit business our dues money. If they go ahead with it the OVA best prepare for a law suite that will cost us even more money. It is time to Stop The Madness and listen to the majority not the minority.

  4. Ellen Dolores on June 11, 2018 at 8:37 am

    Dear Lynn, Thank you for you comments. I agree it is clear the OVA Board has demonstrated its unstated position to give dues to the OGC from our residents. Many residents did not attend what
    was proported to be an OVA meeting 6/5 because it was clear it was actually an OGC support meeting including the admonishment by the Board to not ask questions about OGC financing. Although many like myself do not want to invest in the OGC, “invest” is an inaccurate use of the word, since we have not seen their books,and no stock ownership would be transferred. What the OGC wants is a gift, as stated at the 6/5 meeting, for 5 years, at which point the whole debacle could start all over again.

    As residents, with all the hidden agendas, opinions, obfuscating, and misrepresentation, there is still clearly only one simple issue- the OVA cannot vote or require any Oakmont resident, without their individual consent, (which the Board is obviously avoiding) even if they have a general membership, majority or 2/3’s vote. to give any money to a privately held business, that is not part of the OVA, or on OVA property. No one needs a lawyer to tell us, you can’t make us pay if it is not an OVA improvement, upgrade, or repair to attempt to fix a business many of us do not own or want to own.

    Ellen Dolores

  5. Julie Cade on June 11, 2018 at 9:38 am

    Cherry-picking seems evident in The Five members of this current BOD who were groomed, selected, and supported by the OGC. And now these same five seem intent on cherry-picking legal advice while ignoring other qualified, independent legal advice from a firm who has not been receiving pay for years by the OVA and OGC.

    In addition, OVA BOD President Spanier, campaigning on transparency, had a clear conflict of interest going into his role on the BOD, in that he is a proprietary member of the OGC, yet he failed to disclose this and recuse himself until a few days ago, after he had seen the OGC’s financials and agreed to, and signed, their non-disclosure. Words and behavior are at odds in this entire dealing and may well risk legal action against the BOD.

    The BOD can expect to get continued resistance on this, and we as residents can expect this story of mismanagement and backroom dealing to be all over the local news sources.

  6. Robert Hixson on June 11, 2018 at 10:01 am

    After reading the above compelling comments by Oakmont residents, I feel a strong
    and angry resistance building against the OGC getting any “gift” money from Oakmont dues paying members. I suggest the OVA board members find a fast, and face saving exit from this stupid boondoggle…Forthwith !!!
    Robert Hixson….

  7. James Foreman on June 12, 2018 at 7:23 pm

    Thanks Lynda for posting your perspective,

    Now as an outsider to Oakmont, down the road in Sonoma, I read the Chris Smith article in the PD and have also kept up with much of the News of Oakmont since I left in March. My perception is that this BOD is having trouble managing all that they have taken on, and are not fulfilling their goals around communication nor in their creation of a new and open process.

    One of the main suggestions I made to Kevin, Steve and other BOD and OVA Staff members is that they hire a PR Consultant to assist with their communication and messaging. If this has been done then it is not evident in how things are being communicated or managed.

    It could be that Chris Smith and others expect Oakmont to be dysfunctional, and this is just a blip in the process, but the reputation throughout Sonoma County, and those I meet in Sonoma, say otherwise. Most folks shake their heads about the things they continue to hear or read about Oakmont. I am not sure reputation really matters much to those in Oakmont, but from reading comments here it seems that outside perceptions have some truth inside Oakmont.

    The real issue in my mind is not the finances of the OGC, but the reality that interest in Golf is waning and will be for years to come. This issue could include a real conversation about land uses/land management, community needs, waterfowl/wetlands and what all of this means to the future of Oakmont… or this could be put off for another time, which I think will be the case.

    IMHO

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