Kenwood Press

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Letters to the Editor: 03/15/2018

Letters to the Editor March 15, 2018

An act of God

Dear Editor,

Kudos to letter writer Julie North (“Profiting From Disaster”, Press Democrat, Feb. 2.) The writer expressed my feelings totally, particularly with regard to, “those grubby-handed attorneys” that are simply trying to put their hands in PG&E's pockets to profit from the recent firestorm disaster.

I also heartily agree with her closing statement, “I sympathize with and support the victims of the fire 100 percent, but suing PG&E because it was unable to control nature? That just creates more victims of a natural disaster.”

In support of the latter, I submit an incident three years ago that I investigated while serving as a CHP officer. It involved a three-car chain reaction accident on Hwy.101 initiated by a shell camper being blown off a pick-up truck during a high-wind event and landing in the fast lane. Two cars were able to stop safely behind this obstruction. The third was not and struck the rear of the second car, which then was pushed into the rear of the first. No apparent injuries were reported at the scene and all parties left without assistance.

Some months latter I was contacted by an attorney representing the three occupants in the second vehicle, who now reportedly ALL had serious physical injuries. I was informed I would be called as a witness in the upcoming civil trial for damages. The attorney stated he had read my investigation report and cautioned me against making any statements on the stand about how strong the winds were that day. The attorney explained to me that if this was mentioned the event/accident could be considered “an act of God: and therefore not eligible for a damages award.” My response to the attorney was such that there was no trial and the matter was settled out of court without any formal testimony.

In view of the totally unexpected hurricane-force winds that precipitated the fire on an otherwise clear weather day, I would consider THIS event also qualifies as “an act of God” that could not have reasonably been avoided.

I sincerely hope that all parties negatively impacted by the recent firestorm receive a just settlement from their insurance carriers, but trying to put all the blame on PG&E doesn't appear to be the proper way to proceed.

Peter Hogan

Are you all back to normal now?

Dear Editor,

This is the question asked by a friend of mine who moved from Oakmont several years ago. I answered that we were learning to live with a new normal - how much needs to be done for us to be better prepared for disasters, about the remains of the damage after the firestorms and about the firefighters who came out twice to fight back the approaching fires across Highway 12.

Our homes were saved and we rejoiced. Our community has been represented by volunteers, who have given time and past work-related experiences by serving on committees, on the Board of Directors, as well as helping to put on events. Things changed when Ted Throndson retired. Our community started to become divided. Committees were dissolved. The tenor of “us against them” began. The “for the good of all Oakmont residents” fell away, only to be replaced with “we want it all and we want it now.” Procedures were ignored, community-wide voices were not heard, or ignored, leaving many to feel like no one cared any longer. The division widened. Voices were raised on both sides. Things have been said which have done nothing but hurt residents, some long-time residents who love living here.

The Berger Center is “home” to many groups in Oakmont - meetings, classes, dances, special events, a church, to name a few. It is not a “one purpose” venue. Remodeling it to serve limited purposes is, to me, not a thoughtful approach.

The Board of Directors is elected to serve all of Oakmont. It is not a vehicle for personal agendas and interests to be pursued and played out. It is not a forum to utter hostile, self-centered, thoughtless, disrespectful comments to individuals or to the Oakmont community, as a whole. Oakmont is home to all of us.

Brenda Steele

News vs. Oakmont News

Dear Editor,

I just read resigned Oakmont Vice President Ken Heyman's letter in your March 1 issue.

He is absolutely correct in stating that the Oakmont News is an in-house organ published for the benefit of our residents. He is dead-wrong otherwise, and obviously no lawyer. I happened to be a member of the Oakmont Communications Committee a few years ago when we decided to construct a website and turn the Oakmont News into a professionally written publication for ALL news within, or pertaining to, our residents. We, of course, ran the idea through our legal people and received the “good to go.” We recruited a cadre of retired professionals in the gathering and dissemination of news, received the blessing of the Board, and moved forward. The Oakmont News soon was read instead of being mostly used to wrap garbage.

Along came the newly elected Board last April and the fur began to fly. Two incumbents, both well-regarded past presidents, resigned in disgust after being left out of the information loop due to refusing to go along with the new policies. Our attorney since day one quit, claiming it was impossible to work with the Board, and so did our manager after being pushed aside by then Board officers.

The “harmful to the Corporation” article Heyman refers to was printed not in the Oakmont News, but on the Oakmont website, and was the result of both the manager and attorney resigning. There were no harmful opinions expressed, but rather a collection of the facts that lead to the resignations. This was immediate news, and the decision made was that it could not be delayed to the next publication date of the Oakmont News.

The Board was asked to contribute their side of the conflict, but chose to refuse and instead demanded the article be taken down, which it was. This all lead to the July 21 story in the Press Democrat.

Recently, following the resignations of Board President Leznik and VP Heyman, our attorney, who approved the original Oakmont News changes, has agreed to come back and has been re-retained.

Sadly, I also noted today the lead article covering the Candidate's Night meeting in the March 1 edition of the Oakmont News is not a news article, but an opinion piece with much innuendo and personal bias.

Electing any of the appointed incumbents that are running for the next Board will be a disaster for our community.

Wally Schillp

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