Friday, September 20, 2019

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Oakmont News, Opinion & More

Yvonne Frauenfelder

  • Hello John –

    The house in question did not burn down. It was rebuild with city permits and the Oakmont Architectural office.

  • Hello Diana –

    The re-construction of this house on Stonebridge Rd., as opposed to a simple remodeling, portends possible further changes to Oakmont and its demographic profile.

  • A raft of problems facing Oakmont’s 37 sub-associations could threaten the long-term well-being of the community as a whole, according to a report delivered at the July 16 Oakmont Village Association board m […]

    • Hello Diana –

      The re-construction of this house on Stonebridge Rd., as opposed to a simple remodeling, portends possible further changes to Oakmont and its demographic profile.

    • Hello John –

      The house in question did not burn down. It was rebuild with city permits and the Oakmont Architectural office.

  • “This is seen in all the issues that have arisen over the past 5 years, and can be unpacked by looking directly at the fears people in Oakmont are driven by; home values, conflict with neighbors, losing a r […]

    • I disagree this is a generational division. I purchased my home in 2012 at the age of 55 and was a no voter. Many others young friends I know at Oakmont, many still working, also voted no. As a matter of fact I estimate many of the missing voters or the yes voters may have been folks in their 90s who estimated they will not be around long enough to see dues above $200 a month and have little to lose. They did not want uncertainty and wanted to maintain the current look of Oakmont. Their retirement years are not threatened by this run away train of money mismanagement and lack of assessing financial risks. For the younger generation looking forward to rising healthcare costs, the loss of social security, property tax increases post 2017 fires, rising home insurance costs post fire, inflation….. adding large HOA dues to our future and threatening the value of our significant retirement asset, was difficult to stomach. I was never concerned about the $17 increase to purchase the land but the millions more to maintain it over my lifetime.

    • It seems that many of the people who wanted to buy the OGC and raise dues on everyone to achieve that result are calling this a victory and for everyone else to move on. This was said about Pickleball and many other issues that have come up. In the case of Pickleball the solution was facilitated by those who did not give up and move on.

      I am curious though, do the majority of Oakmonters really want this to be their legacy for Oakmont? A legacy whereby they save failing golf courses in the midst of societal and world upheaval and climate disasters? Where we have an exploding homeless issue for people who are retiring, and benefits are not keeping up with the cost of living?

      The millions of dollars set to be spent, and countless energy put into the protection of recreation for a few hundred people in the community is irresponsible. I know the argument that this is “just the beginning” and “now we have control and the options for the future are fully open”.

      If this is the best Oakmont can do, then sadly it will continue to uphold it’s reputation as an exclusive place to live that is devoid of diversity, and known as a closed off, bickering community culture where only a few people out of thousands have any interest in being a board member.

      I am sorry to be negative and paint the picture this way, since I truly am a positive person and have spent my entire adult life working to make life better for myself, my employees and those I serve. This kind of process and decision making troubles me as I enter my older years (52 now). I can only say that I have learned a great deal from observing this, building this website to support Oakmont, and by living there and trying to be of service.

      I will continue to support Oakmont because I believe whole heartedly in freedom of speech and dialogue that honors each individual. I hope to come and teach what I have learned about sharing online, and I am right down the road in Sonoma, probably for the rest of my life, and I care deeply about this area and the people who live here. Best of luck on the next phase of this process!

  • YES votes 1,973 to 707 NO votes. The culmination of the August 8th election shows that almost two-thirds of Oakmont’s residents wish to retain golf as an amenity in their village. 

    The monthlong battle for an […]

    • The board must do more due diligence on AGP. I visited their Delaware Back Creek course and was very disappointed with the results. The award winning restaurant only had three tables full on a Saturday at lunch time, a review of home prices bordering the golf course showed home prices were declining since AGP took over and the owner reported he lost over $200,000 in public golf revenue as they closed the course for 40 days in 2018 for various events. The owner has recently purchased another nearby bankrupt course and was pulling all the business from Back Creek to the newly opened course.

    • Though I am no longer a resident of Oakmont, observing this from the outside looking in, I have to say it was both predictable and unfortunately not thorough or transparent enough. The Champaign is flowing way too fast and before the OVA signs on the line I hope that all those invested in Oakmont ensure the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.

      My take from someone without a stake:

      1. The marketers, brokers and communicators on the so called YES side did an excellent job selling their incomplete, secretive plan to the residents who wanted to buy the golf course or wanted some other benefit they believed would be “good” for them.
      2. Leading up to the vote, over the past year +, there was a long setup and seed planting process being established that was clearly biased towards buying the OGC. This included the Oakmont News OGC ads/articles, President’s messages directing people towards only one side/perspective, and the direct influence of the messaging within the Kenwood Press/Press Democrat/Sonoma Index-Tribune.
      3. The public shaming and attacks on this website and those residents voicing concerns, as well as the blocked public access to the Oakmont News online, added to the strategy of controlling the messaging.
      3. Finally there are aspects I have not seen or heard mentioned much, but I am sure was noted by those people/leaders who can see into the dynamics. It is what I would call “privilege with the strong need for control and security”. Many in Oakmont would naturally be blind to this, but it is a KEY reason for this vote and has been effecting Oakmont for a long time (or maybe embedded from the beginning). This is seen in all the issues that have arisen over the past 5 years, and can be unpacked by looking directly at the fears people in Oakmont are driven by; home values, conflict with neighbors, losing a recreational activity, fire etc. This fear complex blocks most people from looking at alternative ideas when considering to buy or not by the OGC.

      The above are my observations and I happen to have enough insight and direct experience into each area of influence to share some perspectives. I have no real desire to be right, and have no stake in the outcome.

      I just know and believe this… nobody really knows how all of this will fully turn out, but the process was greatly flawed, driven by a biased and controlling OVA BOD, and this may not fully heal in a community that has years of internal bitterness already. This issue will continue to disrupt Oakmont, force more members to work hard towards OGC success, and challenge how things are managed and financed for decades to come.

      What I love most about the golf course, and land it is on, are the birds, trees and views. May the birds keep coming so we can enjoy them, count them and listen to them for years and years to come.

  • The Summer of Discontent and the Troubles at Oakmont articles all spoke to the times when residents were bitterly divided over projects that lay before the association board, a body of seven members, charged with […]

  • Eloquently and thoroughly persuasive Don McPherson is addressing the OVA Board of Directors in the matter of the Oakmont Golf Club.

    It is to be hoped that the Directors follow his proposals and submit the potential purchase of the assets of the OGC to a community-wide referendum.

  • Yesterday OVA President Steve Spanier made the announcement that he had resigned his Golf membership in order to be able to help guide the association through this 11th hour and most critical phase in its […]

    • I realize Yvonne is one of the many homeowners borderimg the golf courses and wishes to preserve her river of green grass by spreading the costs to all Oakmont residents. Those wanting to keep the golf courses are asking all OVA residents to subsidize their personal benefits instead of coming forward with open deep wallets of their own. This is evident by the lack of participation in the recent OGC Valley Resident Program which I myself purchased to help OGC.

      I am a golfer and would love to see the courses remain however only if profitable as a private enterprise. I do not want the role of OVA to change and take on the enormous risks and costs associated with the OGC golf courses. I believe our home values will continue to hold value regardless of what happens to the 230 acres because of our location and the beauty of the valley, mountains and vineyards nearby and close proximity to Santa Rosa amenities and wider Bay Area as well as demand by retiring baby boomers.

      Playing golf is a rich person’s sport and players must step up to pay the rising costs of labor, water, environmental restrictions etc. I estimate membership fees in the $15,000 to $30,000 initiation costs with $1000 monthly fees would be realistic and similar to many surviving courses. I do not want the OVA residents from all income streams to be burdened with the millions of dollars in debt and future maintenance costs required should OVA become embroiled in the OGC and become involved in their survival. We can not allow special interests to ruin our home values by encumbering us with this high risk project and potential significant debt. Home buyers will go elsewhere if our monthly OVA recreation fees become higher than is found elsewhere or in other neighborhoods.

      • Thank you, Lisa. The OVA BOD needs to understand that our home values are much more likely to be negatively impacted by the certain increase in our dues should the OVA take on any responsibility for the golf courses.

    • Glad you clarified that Gerry.

  • Why do we have only one non-incumbent candidate for the OVA Board of Directors?

    1. Running against incumbents is more difficult;
    2. The OGC issue and the Berger are on next year’s agenda;
    3. A decision one way or the other of these fraught projects is certain to provoke personal attacks.

    Obviously few people are willing to devote the t…[Read more]

  • The OVA BOD most recently created a special committee to be of assistance with the development of methods and resources to ensure the survival of the Golf Club operation.

    It begs credulity to assume that these efforts are charades and that the BOD is not in possession of all the relevant financial data.

    I am further more than aware that…[Read more]

  • Oxford Dictionaries > definition < sleaze

    Definition of sleaze – immoral, sordid, and corrupt behaviour or activities.

    As for paragraph 3 of your penultimate comment:

    Yes, I do believe that the Oakmont Golf Club has serious financial difficulties. It is not in the interest of the organization to misrepresent their state of affairs.

  • Gerry –

    Your comments come as no surprise. You have made yourself perfectly clear on innumerable occasions as regards the OGC issue.

    You believe the Golf Club people to be corrupt and immoral. The OVA BOD a Banana Republic dictatorship.

    These extreme portrayals of fellow residents might be satisfactory to you, but are offensive to most…[Read more]

  • While the principles of direct democracy are worthy and noble, we, the Oakmont membership, are almost viscerally opposed to spending large amounts of money. Perhaps the traits of an older and more conservative generation.

    Before the BOD lies the urgent and all important issue dealing with the financial difficulties of the Oakmont Golf Club.…[Read more]

  • Hello Lisa –

    You may have misinterpreted my comments.

    As I have previously written, Oakmont cannot profitably maintain two golf courses. One of them has to be repurposed.

    As an East Course adjacent homeowner, I would prefer to look over green links. Alas, reality tells us that this might no longer be possible.

    I am interested how you…[Read more]

  • I was not in favor of new pickleball courts behind the Berger Center for the simple reason that our tennis courts were underutilized.

    I am not in favor a new Berger Center for the simple reason that the […]

    • I hit a bucket Wed., played the West course Thurs., was at the course Fri. – all three days the golf club was very busy (Thurs. was a 4 1/2 hour round – ugh). Based on my observation it didn’t look like, ‘time is of the essence,” instead the OGC looked like a public golf course that was doing quite well – especially for weekday play. I’m sure the good weather helped.

    • Yvonne, I agree that many residents would like the East Course to become an OVA owned park for riding bikes, jogging, and walking their dogs. This is particularly true for residents who live close to the golf course and can access it without driving. Purchase of the East Course should be included in OVAs long range plan. Also, I hope that purchase of the Quail Inn for office and additional meeting space will be considered in the future. These purchases might be particularly attractive financially for OVA if the OGC goes into bankruptcy.

      However, for now, residents who live adjacent to the golf courses, as well as those who enjoy playing golf in Oakmont, have the opportunity to help support the OGC for only $20 a month per household. The Valley Resident Program is open to all who value the Oakmont Golf courses for whatever their reason. It’s not restricted to Oakmont residents. Call Michele Sand 707-537-3671

      Another possibility would be for a group of residents who live adjacent the golf course to agree with the OGC to buy the entire East course in return for paying off the OGCs loan which I believe is between 2 and 3 million. That doesn’t seem like much when one considers that some Oakmont homes are selling for over a million. It is a time honored practice for people to buy open space adjoining their property to be sure that it is not developed in ways that nearby owners don’t find suitable.

      I believe the top priorities for OVA should be to proceed with the Berger remodel and to restore the CAC swimming pool and deck. Over a period of years three committees participated in planning the Berger remodel. Plans by the BAC were posted in the Berger Center for months allowing for resident input. The plans are ready to go to the architect and to Santa Rosa planning. I can scarcely believe that OVAs current BOD has been sidetracked into spending inordinate amount of time planning how to rescue the OGC when OVAs major auditorium needs, not only improvements for functionality, but also for safety. I still remember a BAC member speaking at a meeting and explaining that the Berger doesn’t have interior sprinklers. Huge numbers of residents attend dinners, exercise classes and many other events in our main multi purpose auditorium. . Their safety should be our BOD’s first concern.

      The CAC swimming pool and deck are also a disaster. The pool deck is deteriorating and sharp plastic shards sometimes protrude from the dividers. The bottom of the pool was frequently slippery this past summer. A slippery bottom can be a sign of delamination or just poor pool maintenance. Paint in rusting and tiles and molding round the pool edge are broken. The putting green adjacent to the pool deck used to be well manicured and green. Now it is a heap of dirt clods, weeds, and construction tape warning residents not to walk across. How about putting in a sidewalk so residents can walk directly from the back of the CAC to the OVA office? Perhaps a few benches for residents to enjoy the view of Annadel and breathe the fresh air? My suspicion is that this area is not being restored because certain powerful Oakmont insiders want to reserve it for a parking lot for the much discussed Berger II Taj Mahal.

    • Yvonne. If professional golf course managers could not make the golf course profitable, I doubt OVA could turn it around into a good investment. Many do not understand the cost of the golf courses, if sold in bankruptcy, is only a drop in the bucket of actual costs. Any conversion to new use would require environmental permits and substantial costs well beyond the appraised value of the course. Water costs are skyrocketing. Labor costs are going up and difficult even to find labor willing to work in Oakmont. I strongly disagree with your recommendation. Can you also clarify if your home borders the course or if you have OGC membership which would influence your recommendation?

    • I was just informed that the “Valley Resident Program” is elusively for Oakmont residents. What? I thought the idea was that many golfers from outside of Oakmont might want to support the golf course It’s a public course, not OVA owned. The title Valley Resident Program seems to imply that the program extends outside of Oakmont as it should.

    • Hello Lisa –

      You may have misinterpreted my comments.

      As I have previously written, Oakmont cannot profitably maintain two golf courses. One of them has to be repurposed.

      As an East Course adjacent homeowner, I would prefer to look over green links. Alas, reality tells us that this might no longer be possible.

      I am interested how you would resolve the Golf Club’s financial difficulties?

    • Gerry –

      Your comments come as no surprise. You have made yourself perfectly clear on innumerable occasions as regards the OGC issue.

      You believe the Golf Club people to be corrupt and immoral. The OVA BOD a Banana Republic dictatorship.

      These extreme portrayals of fellow residents might be satisfactory to you, but are offensive to most readers.

      Insults and defamations are not designed to help persuade a
      majority of Oakmonters of your point of view.

    • Oxford Dictionaries > definition < sleaze

      Definition of sleaze – immoral, sordid, and corrupt behaviour or activities.

      As for paragraph 3 of your penultimate comment:

      Yes, I do believe that the Oakmont Golf Club has serious financial difficulties. It is not in the interest of the organization to misrepresent their state of affairs.

    • The OVA BOD most recently created a special committee to be of assistance with the development of methods and resources to ensure the survival of the Golf Club operation.

      It begs credulity to assume that these efforts are charades and that the BOD is not in possession of all the relevant financial data.

      I am further more than aware that you decry the absence of public availability of the proprietary numbers and figures indicating the economic status of the OGC. While I may sympathize with you, I have chosen to abide by the non-disclosure request by the Golf Club for business reasons.

  • No longer are the Association’s money funds fattened by impact fees that real estate developers had to pay in Oakmont. From here on out, repairs, rehabilitations and new projects will need to be funded solely with our monthly and increasing dues.

    In clear and concise language, Michael Connolly describes what happens to our monies and how t…[Read more]

  • More than half a century ago, H.N. “Nor” Berger, a developer from Sacramento, built 600 houses and an 18 hole golf course along Highway 12 – in a former hop yard. He fulfilled his dream to […]

    • Nice article Yvonne. My hope for 2019 is our new board will be comprised of members who understand their duty is to maintain our recreation facilities as first priority with intent to manage projects effectively, develop scope that focuses on quality but reasonable costs. The golf course needs to take steps to raise money independently including offering social memberships with benefits.

  • As one has come to expect from Don McPherson, another outstanding piece of writing, abounding in wise thoughts and excellent advice.

    It is to be hoped that our board of directors heeds his timely counsel.

  • Hello Gerry –

    You state that “‘It’s facilities” implies ownership of such facilities …”

    Precisely. That is implicit in my comment. The OVA acquires all assets owned by the Oakmont Golf Club, and, thereby, falls under the 1976 revision to the statutes governing 501(c)(7) entities.

  • Gerry – your ex-cathedra pronouncements fall on tired ears.

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