Goodwin resigns from OVA board
Saying he wanted no part of an “agenda of gentrification,” Greg Goodwin resigned from the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) board of directors on Oct. 16 in a stinging letter that drew a sharp response from the board president.
“I cannot in good conscience continue working with the majority of this board who have an agenda of gentrification to increase attraction by people with higher incomes which can lead to displacement of people who have lived here for many years,” Goodwin said in a letter to OVA Board President Steve Spanier. “Oakmont was never intended to be a ‘premier’ community. It was to be affordable living for active adults.”
Bay Area housing prices have more than doubled since their recession lows in 2012, and Oakmont is no exception. But while some homes in Oakmont cost more than $1 million, housing prices still range down below $400,000.
“It is irresponsible, blatantly untrue and, frankly, baffling to suggest this board plans to gentrify Oakmont,” Spanier said in a comment posted on the OVA website on Oct. 19. “The board is working with the community to understand and address the nature of economic influences in a way that ensures Oakmont remains a relevant and desirable place, where both present and future residents come to live and enjoy their lives here.”
At the center of the argument is how Oakmont would fund projects going forward. There are contentious, and potentially expensive, ideas under discussion over upgrading or even replacing the half-century-old Berger Center and whether to help the financially-strapped Oakmont Golf Club. The board scrapped efforts to explore funding a dog park at the west end of Oakmont that potentially could cost as much as $300,000, but it did not rule out finding another location for a dog park.
Goodwin was part of a slate elected to the board in 2017 at the height of the pickleball controversy and would have been up for re-election next spring. He played a major role in converting two of four tennis courts at Oakmont’s East Rec Center into a six-court pickleball complex. That move quelled a two-year battle that had attracted wide attention far beyond Oakmont after the board halted building a new pickleball facility that would have cost at least $250,000.
In his resignation letter, Goodwin said he has “always based my decisions and voted with my original pledge to always keep three things uppermost in mind: safety of the community; budget (fiscal responsibility); and service ensuring that our recreational facilities were properly maintained and upgraded.”
His departure leaves Director Carolyn Bettencourt as the last member of the slate that also included former board presidents Ellen Leznik and Ken Heyman. Spanier and four new members elected to the board last April formed a new working majority.
Goodwin called his minority status “a hollow experience when I have little or no board influence and cannot make a difference in the direction Oakmont is heading. I wish this Board well in its future endeavors.”
Spanier announced Goodwin’s resignation at the Oct. 16 board meeting but did not offer any other details. “I want to thank Greg for his service to the community. We are all in debt for his many hours of time that he has spent over the recent past,” he said.
Oakmont governing rules require a special election to be held if the board does not appoint a replacement member within 30 days. “We want to encourage everyone who might be interested in being appointed to the remainder of Greg’s term to put together a resume and submit it to the OVA office,” Spanier said. He said several residents have already applied.