Letters to the Editor Feb. 15, 2018
Raise a glass to George
The family's obituary of George Mac-Leod was the first I knew of my old, dear friend's passing, and it was a lovely tribute. My family, then living in Los Altos, knew George and Greta when their children were very young. My father, George always said, was his mentor who gave him confidence to ask for raises from employers, a confidence that eventually made possible the MacLeod family's new adventure, buying the apple orchard that become Indian Springs Vineyard in Kenwood.
George never stopped being excited about all he could learn, from cultivating grapes, expanding his own family history and researching the terroir he loved with a passion that he turned into books. His can-do Scots determination, and the drive his mother gave him to excel, still sound as heroic as when he told me about their hard lives during the Depression when they had nothing but their brains and determination.
I am saddened at the loss of this sparkling, charismatic, generous “patron” of Indian Springs Ranch and the Kenwood community, but what a marvelous life he led. Raise a toast of Zin or Sauvignon Blanc to George.
Barbara L. Baer
Wrong decision on Berger CenterDear Editor,
On Feb. 6 the OVA board made a very bad decision to proceed with “modest upgrades and no increase in size” of the Berger. This decision ignored one year's worth of professional work, and was premature and irresponsible, and for the following reasons.
PREMATURE: The charter of the Ber-ger Action Committee (BAC) called for the completion of a schematic design and cost estimates of a remodel and new building options by December 2017. BAC was on track until the new board was elected in April and then no recommended consultant work was approved until July when the engineering for the seismic retrofit was approved. This resulted in a three month delay. The fires in October added another month's delay. Accordingly, BAC's work and final presentation should really be made in April-May. This would also have allowed time to complete the schematic design of the remodel as well as time to develop the ideas for the new building options and prepare more realistic costs for comparison. The board decision simply said in effect, “You're finished, regardless of the status of your work”. This is hardly the basis for such an important decision.
IRRESPONSIBLE: The board decision was highly irresponsible because of the incomplete nature of the remodel design process and the total lack of design development of the ideas for new building options. They were simply ideas and the Oakmont community had zero opportunity to review and comment on them (hence a very rash decision was made by the board). Note that following the BAC progress report in July, the work product for the remodel option was displayed in the Berger for a month and resident comments were solicited. These comments were considered and incorporated in the final remodel concept plan.
The board decision was also irresponsible because the so-called Option One did not represent the conclusions and recommendations of the undersigned, as we did by far the bulk of the work on the remodel option. Our recommendation for the Berger resulted from the BAC charter's mandate to create maximum flexible space, and included two essential features in this regard: 1) The extension of the auditorium, which will add badly needed flexible space for current and future needs, and 2) highest quality, movable partitions which will create more flexible space with high sound insulation. Our understanding is that the auditorium extension was rejected and that the partitions were included in the board approval. Our opinion is that without the auditorium extension no resident money should be wasted on the Berger, except the seismic retrofit, as the result will be inadequate space for current and future needs.
The new board should rescind this decision as a first order of business.
Claudette Brero-Gow, Chair BAC resigned
Bob Jackson, BAC resigned
What makes a good fence?Dear Editor,
“Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” but what is a good fence?
This statement in quotes is famous because it is from a poem by Robert Frost, and it's considered by some to be true. What makes a good wall between neighbors and between your property and the road where we all travel? I see new fences being built every day as the slow recovery begins. For some reason it gives me pause. After the fire, I notice we are more likely to reach out to our neighbors to connect with them. I also feel somehow more connected to the wildlife that have also suffered displacement and injury. So no wonder I notice these new barricades appearing. Plus, many of the trees are gone that used to offer coverage and serve as a natural buffer between the houses and the roads.
I hope that consideration will be given to placement and height of the fences out of respect for the neighbors who share the same narrow country roads. While driving, I have witnessed a family of deer slam themselves mercilessly and continuously into very tall fences on both sides of the road like a pinball machine. What if these fences could have been set back from the road a bit more? Or placed to allow for a wildlife corridor? It would also be safer for drivers.
“Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.”
To me a good fence is meant to protect your garden/vineyard, your animals, or for your security or privacy. A good fence can also mark your territory. But in any case, consider the benefits of fences being set back from the creeks and roads that connect us. I agree that good fences make good neighbors, and also that good neighbors make good fences.