Kenwood Press

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Letters to the Editor: 03/15/2017

Letters to the Editor

Your vote will influence fate of Berger Center

Dear Editor,

As many as 2,300 households in Oakmont did not vote in the last election, more than 60 percent of our members. This is an appeal to those who are on the fence in this election and to those who belong to the silent majority who often donít vote in elections for Oakmontís Board of Directors.

You may have heard a lot of noise that does not appeal to you in this election season and decided to stay on the sidelines. This election is not as much about expensive new pickleball courts, or the discord they have created, as it is about who will be at the helm in deciding the future of the Berger Center, the facility used by the largest number of our members. This is one of the most significant decisions to be faced by our Board in many years. Please let your voice be heard.

In casting your vote, please consider the reasons the candidates stepped up to run. You have three candidates whose agenda emphasizes listening to and representing ALL Oakmont residents. Please join us in voting for Carolyn Bettencourt, Greg Goodwin and Ken Heyman. In addition to addressing other important matters, they have pledged to make the future of the Berger Center a top priority and to bring new views and new voices to this important issue.

Harry and Barbara Stringham

All our voices count and all our votes matter

Dear Editor,

Our little democratic republic of Oakmont is in the midst of voting for a new board majority. Every election is important, but this year there is a special need for all the members of the association to study the issues, to inform themselves of the details and to cast a well-informed vote.

Someone called 2017 the year of the pickleball controversy. It is true that no other topic has so animated the local citizenry for such a long time and at such a high level of intensity. At stake are the last open parcel of land in the village and a hefty price tag of $410,000 to construct the racquet courts. Proponents claim that the location behind the Berger Center is the only viable area for the new construction and opponents, in equal measure, plead for the repurposing of a couple of underutilized tennis courts.

The, at times, strident back and forth in the preferred social media of Nextdoor has pitted neighbors against neighbors, and friends against friends. Wise souls, compelled to lessen the divisiveness, counseled forbearance and patience, reminding us that the annual elections of directors needs to be the forum to decide the contentious matter.

And here we are; the time to make our selections has arrived. Historically, as in the rest of the nation, voter turnout leaves much to be desired. Citizens feel disengaged from the daily hubbub of governance, as long as they feel safe in their homes, the halls and rooms of their choice are accessible, and life is pleasant and comfortable.

But the din of the hotly contested pickleball affair has penetrated deeply into the community, and by casting their votes, the villagers have the opportunity to restore peace and harmony. And while the construction of the so-called superfluous racquet courts has been invested with unusual strength and potency, there remains an even bigger object, worthy of our attention.

The Berger Center, our beloved town hall, is 54 years old and in firm need of remodeling. Its seismic and structural integrity is in question and its floor plan somewhat antiquated. Bringing the building up to earthquake code will be very expensive, and the question has been raised, is the rejuvenation of a half a century old building worthwhile, or should we build a new hall? The difference in costs might be significant, and the coming deliberations over the fate of our main recreation facility promises to be another test for community input and participatory democracy.

While Oakmontís statutes do not make allowances for votes on individual projects, the election of board directors at this time is of heightened value. All of us Oakmonters have a chance to talk and converse with the eight candidates, representing their individual predilections and proposals, and to determine with whose opinion we can align ourselves, in order to cast our considered ballots.

Yvonne Frauenfelder

Please no stairs to access the Oakmont ERC pool

Dear Editor,

At its March 7 meeting, the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) board of directors changed the agenda order by placing the East Rec Center (ERC) Balcony Update before the OVA Membersí Open Forum. Therefore, residents in attendance didnít have an adequate opportunity to comment on this issue prior to the vote on getting drawings on a proposed shorter balcony with stairs to access the pool. I understand that the OVA Board has since decided to put that issue on the March 21 board meeting agenda for reconsideration. Good!

The issue of the stairs to access the ERC swimming pool was not one on which Oakmont residents were asked for input via a recent Internet poll. I would have voted NO on the stairs and so would have other residents. As stated by Director Herm Hermann, there is no compelling reason for people in the ERC main room to get down to the pool. There is already an access gate at the pool level with a security gate with a lock. Those steps would be dangerous for Oakmont residents and guests and make OVA liable for accidents.

I am surprised that the two OVA Board members who are attorneys donít share the same safety and liability concerns I have and those that were expressed by our OVA Manager Cassie Turner, a couple of board meetings ago.

I can imagine children participating in family gatherings in the main room running down and up the stairs. I can also see non-OVA members accessing the pool without key cards and carrying drinks down to the deck.

OVA Board, please donít make the pool and deck accessible through stairs and avoid all those problems and more!

Thank you,
Suzanne Cassell

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Community Calendar

Volunteer trail work
Music at Oakmont presents Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale
Blue Christmas Eucharist at St. Patrickís
Live Nativity Pageant in Glen Ellen
Mushroom Hike
Caroling with the Clydesdales
Public invited to annual State Parks meeting
Kenwood Fireís annual crab feed

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