Kenwood Press

Serving the communities of Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Oakmont

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News: 03/01/2018

Letters to the Editor March 1, 2018

Dues increases affect low-income residents the most

Dear Editor,

The lower-income and middle class of Oakmont are under threat from the faction that wants new facilities to appease wealthier residents. Oakmont residents, especially those of limited means, need to vote for fiscally-conservative candidates, because the new BOD will decide how much more of your monthly income will be needed to fund OVA projects, some of which have big price tags. With dues already increasing over the next three years, any other project being discussed raises serious financial concerns.

Some candidates for the current Board election have said they will reconsider a decision made by the current board to remodel vs. replace the Berger Center. If this causes the decision to be overturned, the new Berger will conservatively cost twice that of a remodeled center. We are already paying for excessive cost overruns (as much as 80 percent over budgeted expense) on projects begun in the past few years.

And now the troubled Oakmont Golf Club wants OVA to put them on financial life support.

Who will pay for these extravagances?

All of us, but the impact will be felt more severely on our residents of fewer means. A 2014 Oakmont demographic survey found that 40 percent of our residents live on less than $31,000 a year. Many of these are single women; many have lived in their homes for 10-25 years. Some of them are renters and all are facing increased costs of living while Medicare and Social Security cuts loom large.

Will Oakmont remain affordable if large, unnecessary projects go forward? And if some are forced out of Oakmont, where will they find affordable housing?

We don't need to build a resort. Our location in the beautiful Valley of the Moon is why homes here sell within days. We can update our existing facilities and live within our means if we vote wisely. If not, all of us will pay and a large number of our long-term neighbors will suffer as Oakmont becomes ever more gentrified.

“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.” - FDR

Julie Cade


Time to serve the people, not the gun lobby

Dear Editor,

Enough is enough! In 1980, one mother sitting at her kitchen table created a worldwide organization called “Mothers Against Drunk Driving.” In that year more people were killed by drunk drivers than died in war. Their mission statement is: “To end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support victims of these violent crimes and prevent underage drinking.”

They helped start the .08 driving impaired laws, more education in the schools, and stricter enforcement, and are still working to get to zero deaths from drunk drivers.

It is long past time to do something about the plague of gun violence in America. If the parents of all the victims would band together along with the other 75 percent of Americans who want stricter gun laws, we can reduce the senseless deaths of our children within five years.

We the people means that first, we can force the governments in each state and in Congress to stop taking gun lobby money and serve the people who vote them in. If they don't, vote them out! Second, we put metal detectors at the entrance to our middle and high schools. If need be, we assign one police officer to each school as a deterrent.

Third, the Supreme Court must honor the Second Amendment as written originally. It applied to ball and powder muskets and not 30 clip handguns or deadly repeating rifles. We don't allow the public to purchase RPG rifles, hand grenades, 50 caliber machine guns, etc., so “we the people” have the right to legislate hand guns, rifles, and shotguns. Fourth, all those with mental and emotional issues that have received treatment are put on the federal no purchase guns list.

Somewhere out there is a mother who is “Mad as hell and won't take it anymore.” No more children need to die from senseless violence. Who is that woman and how can we help?

Gordon Freedman


Mistaken belief about the Oakmont News

Dear Editor,

It's clear that a slate of Oakmont's Board of Director candidates are under the mistaken belief that the Oakmont News was, can be, or should be an “independent newspaper.” These individuals either do not understand the issue or are deliberately misleading you for political gain. I'm writing this to separate their opinion from fact and law.

The facts are very straightforward:

o Oakmont Village Association (OVA) is a corporation.

o The OVA financially supports the Oakmont News.

o The Oakmont News is an in-house publication, a corporate newsletter, an “in-house organ,” published for the benefit of the corporation. This is indisputable fact.

Board oversight of the Oakmont News is not a freedom-of-the-press issue. Oversight was and remains the Board's fiduciary duty of loyalty to the OVA, or an “Obligation of Trust.” As with any corporation, the Board is required to act solely for the benefit of the corporation and its Members collectively.

If the Oakmont News were an independent newspaper, the OVA would not subsidize its publication. Oakmont clubs, classes, and events would be required to pay for inclusion, and still be subject to the same legal oversight before being published. OVA provides the Oakmont News free of charge to the community.

When ANY story is published in the Oakmont News that harms the OVA, the Board has the legal obligation to take action. “In deciding what should or should not be published, the Board has access to information that is not available to the Communications Committee including access to legal counsel, employment and internal records and other information.“ (Steven Weil, OVA Attorney)

In July 2017, the previous Communications Committee published an article deemed harmful to the Corporation. The Editorial Team was reminded that as per OVA publishing policy, “content and distribution remained under the auspices of the Oakmont Village Association.” Although the Board can review any articles at any time, due to the publication of a damaging story with legal implications to the Association, the Board asked to review only articles specifically pertaining to Legal, Personnel, or Contractual issues.

The Editorial Team resigned saying, “We were not comfortable with having the board approve our story list or with having stories approved before publication.” (Marty Thompson, AdWeek.) The story of their resignation in the July 21, 2017 edition of the Press Democrat, “Oakmont News Reporters Quit as Political Fallout Widens After Pickleball Dispute” quotes Thompson as saying the terms “were unacceptable.”

Ken Heyman


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