Letters to the Editor, March 15, 2020
Drivers license renewals should be extended for seniorsDear Editor,
Getting to the DMV for a license renewal is almost impossible. My renewal is due by April 4 and I can’t get a reservation to see them until June. Given the coronavirus I don’t want to visit their very crowded offices anyway as I am over 65 with an underlying medical condition. My suggestion is for Governor Newsom to provide a one year grace period for seniors, 60-plus years old, so they can follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC.
This is simple, sensible and politically correct for a governor trying to do the right thing!
More transparency for PATDear Editor:
The Greenbelt Alliance has criticized Permit Sonoma’s decision to close to the public the meetings of the planning advisory team (PAT) working on the Specific Plan for the Sonoma Developmental Center. The Alliance requested that the meetings be open. “This should be a fully transparent and open process every step of the way,” Greenbelt’s North Bay Regional Director wrote to PAT members.
Interested parties should not be excluded from the SDC planning process. The PAT will hear important details and analyses about the SDC that all of us should be able to access; and the PAT’s deliberations will be richer and better grounded if the public has the three-minute opportunities to speak that the Brown Act provides for every other public body. Brown Act agendas and minutes will be important aspects of regularly communicating with the public.
Occasional mass meetings for community input will not be enough.
Dave Ransom, Facilitator
Sonoma Valley Housing Group
Response to article about the Berger CenterDear Editor,
I normally do not respond to editorials or written opinions. However, after reading Karen Oswald’s article about the Berger remodel, I felt compelled to respond. As a little background, I moved to Oakmont from the Peninsula shortly after the 2017 fires. I was looking for a vibrant over 55 community. What drew me here was just that… the active lifestyle and friendliness of the Oakmont residents. During my housing pursuit, my realtor always provided me with the latest copy of the Oakmont News. I was amazed by the number of clubs and myriad of activities Oakmont offered.
I have to disagree with the opinion of the Guest editor. We DO need a bigger and more modern Berger. I am not going to get into the politics and what transpired before I moved here, as it is not relevant to today. Contrary to the editor’s opinion, things do change here in Oakmont, and, we must adapt and change with them. In the past two years this board has had major issues other than Berger to deal with (the aftermath of the fires, the golf course bankruptcy and sale, and power outages to name a few).
Since moving here, I have joined a variety of clubs and activities within our community. Meeting space is a major issue. I have experienced many standing room only crowds at our biggest meeting area, “the Berger.” I belong to clubs that cannot find meeting spaces for events because of a lack of meeting space. Having spent time with the OVA staff, it has nothing to do with “the management of allotted space.” The issue is that there are not enough meeting rooms, flexible in size, to meet the growing needs of our active over 55 residents (with a population of over 4,000).
The Berger is an embarrassment. It is in bad shape. You have to admit that without even hiring anyone to inspect it, it appears that it suffers from years of deferred maintenance. The floors, ceilings, ventilation, walls, furniture leave a bad first impression. Adequate parking is also a big issue. We cannot expect that our current dues will be sufficient when major renovations are needed. Whether it is new construction or a major remodel, it will cost money that will likely result in a dues increase. I did not move here expecting that the cost of living here would remain the same. It doesn’t anywhere. (FYI: My former HOA’s were almost five times higher than what mine were here and did not have access to near as many amenities.)
In closing, I have great confidence in our current board. They have shown the vision, cohesion and leadership we desperately need. There will always be complainers, but thankfully the resounding majority support them and know they have our community’s best interest at heart. I trust they will get us through all the challenges we continue to face, including the assessment and planning for our central downtown area, aka Berger.