Friday, September 20, 2019

Mailing List Sign-up

* indicates required

Oakmont News, Opinion & More

Spanier: No Membership Votes . . . EVER!

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.

Our President, Steve Spanier, seems afraid that, should he allow a membership vote on any issue, or at least on any issue involving spending our money, the vote may not go his way. On Tuesday, in a not unexpected event, 8 days after the petition was delivered, he published his response in a President’s message — he asked OVA’s legal counsel for an opinion that would emasculate the required Special Meeting.  In the words of the legal opinion itself, “The scope of this opinion letter is limited to the Association’s legal obligations in response to the petitions.” The opinion claims that the Association has no legal obligation to allow a user vote, because members “are not entitled to force a vote on a particular matter unless such right is expressly provided by law or in the governing documents.”

“…the response by the Board is strong confirmation that this Board will do everything in its power to prevent the membership from voting on this and any other decision”

This opinion may be one that would be held up in court, but perhaps not, because the petition was vetted by an HOA lawyer before it went out for signature – lawyers do not always agree, and they will try, when possible, to support a client’s position. Steve, in his President’s message on the subject, quotes Bylaws paragraph 3.3, but he conveniently leaves out that it states that a Special Meeting may be called for “any purpose or purposes whatever.” Paragraph 3.3 does not make any sense if OVA’s legal opinion is correct; it certainly cannot be the intent of those who wrote those words. Steve also announces that the Board “has scheduled a meeting for August 2, 2019 from 2 to 5 PM in the Berger Center to discuss the OGC question.” Virtually no one will see any purpose in another OGC pep rally, especially since, if Steve gets his way, the OVA’s attempted purchase of OGC may be a done deal by then.

This is unlikely to be the end of this Special Meeting petition for a membership vote. Both the Board and the Oakmont Alliance know that the precedent set by denial of the membership vote will discourage all future efforts by the membership to use the Special Meeting, because acceptance of the Board’s solicited legal opinion would mean that there could be no reason for calling a Special Meeting for anything short of recalling a director!  I expect Oakmont Alliance to explore all legal options and to build their fund in order to pay legal expenses.

Regardless of what happens with this Special Meeting petition, the response by the Board is strong confirmation that this Board will do everything in its power to prevent the membership from voting on this and any other decision, unless absolutely legally required. The Board has considerable leeway to allow membership votes, even when they are not required by law. Their decision on this matter is evidence of their elitism and of their lack of faith in the membership, as well as of their fear that they would lose such a vote. This is the most important OVA decision to be made since purchase of the OGC was turned down 30 years ago, but they hope that the OVA membership will quietly sit back and let it happen without a membership vote. Not likely.

Contact OA at OakmontAlliance@gmail.com for additional information on their movement. If you approve of recent efforts by the OA, including the DEMAND A VOTE flyer in the Kenwood Press and the petition referred to in this article, and would like to show your support, you may contribute to Oakmont Alliance, c/o Umpqua Bank, Account #4870898881 for deposits or transfers. For convenience, you may also contribute using a credit card at the Oakmont Alliance GoFundMe site.

Share this page:

5 Comments

  1. Steven Moore on May 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

    “Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.”
    -Steve Irwin

  2. Betty Frain on May 15, 2019 at 11:06 am

    Is it too late to sign the petition? There are probably many people who would like to sign.

    What do you think of my idea of putting up a sign that says No to forcing us to purchase failing golf courses and a restaurant.

    I don’t want to be divisive but I have heard that many people think there is very little opposition. I hesitate to do so because it may interfere with people trying to sell their homes.

    Thank you!

    Betty

  3. Bruce Bon on May 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm

    First, on behalf of the Oakmont Alliance, I want to thank everyone who did sign the petition — OA showed that in four days with no advertising, they could collect over 230 signatures of people who want a vote in deciding Oakmont’s future. If OA had a substantial organization and enough time to cover Oakmont completely, we certainly would have had several times that many signatures and perhaps a majority of Oakmont. Without a vote on the issue, of course, we will never know how many people want the opportunity to vote on whether or not the Board should make an offer to buy OGC.

    Having received signatures for around 70 more than the 5% needed to validate the petition, there is relatively little purpose in pursuing more signatures. If the Board ignores a petition with 230 signatures, in all likelihood they would also ignore one with 2,300. Thank you to all who, having learned of the petition, have expressed the desire to sign it.

    Relative to the idea of NO signs in opposition to the YES campaign, we decided that signs are tacky and show Oakmont in a bad light, possibly interfering with home sales, so we didn’t pursue that avenue of expression.

  4. James on May 16, 2019 at 7:49 am

    Adding a few quotes to consider, where George Lucas (almost a neighbor) says it well:

    “The story being told in Star Wars is a classic one. Every few hundred years, the story is retold because we have a tendency to do the same things over and over again. Power corrupts, and when you’re in charge, you start doing things that you think are right, but they’re actually not.” – George Lucas

    “I strongly believe that the Founding Fathers of our country got it right: power corrupts, and any time you have too much power concentrated in one place, it tends to get abused, so checks and balances are always needed.” Dean Ornish

  5. Stuart Griffiths on June 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    Thanks for your involvement and enlightening us on the truth behind this OVA attempt to mislead the residents / members. I’ve heard it said many times by serious golfers that ‘they’ve never seen a public golf course make money’. It’s a money pit!

    I truly believe the majority of people who moved into Oakmont Village moved into an active retirement community NOT a golfing community.

    We will be making a contribution to help continue this fight and make future changes to restrict the powers of the board members.

    Thanks again

    Sincerely,

    Stuart

Leave a Comment




IMG_9427.JPG

Never miss an article

Sign-up for The Oakmont Observer email list to keep up to date.