Board Names Kathleen Connelly to Replace Andie Altman

Photo by Julie Kiil

Al Haggerty

Kathleen Connelly, a long-time Oakmont resident and former board member, has been chosen unanimously to fill the remaining year of Andie Altman’s two-year term.

Altman resigned last month to focus on new priorities.

Board president Ellen Leznik, in announcing the Personnel Committee’s choice of Connelly at the May 16 board meeting at Berger Center, described her as a “non-partisan” and “neutral” candidate who was not involved in the recent bitterly contested board election. She described Connelly as “very impressive” with wisdom and depth of knowledge.

Connelly was an OVA board member in 2010-11 and was vice president in 2011. She moderated two candidates forums in recent years.

Director Frank Batchelor, who said he feared the naming of a “partisan” candidate, described Connelly as an “impressive person with experience” and said she had his “full support.”  Other board members were unanimous in praising Connelly’s experience. Director Gloria Young said she “couldn’t be more thrilled” and Director Greg Goodwin said he looks forward to working with her.

Leznik, who said serving on the board “is not for the faint of heart,” expressed her gratitude to all the residents who expressed interest in the board vacancy.



In a discussion of the 15% rock rule, which forbids the use of rocks on more than 15% of front yards (not including driveways and paths), Marianne Neufeld, chair of the Architectural Committee, said the rule in Oakmont’s CC&Rs, can be changed only with the approval of 75 percent of property owners. Since the total vote in any election does not approach 75 percent, any change is virtually impossible.

Since the AC began enforcing the rule with board approval, Neufeld said, only 119 of Oakmont’s 3,200 homes were found with excessive rock. She said almost half the violations have been corrected and she will personally assist anyone to meet the rule.

She noted that anyone who can’t afford to comply can attach a covenant to their deed requiring new owners to comply.
Leznik stressed that the board is taking “a kind, gentle approach” to the issue. “There’s nothing to be afraid of,” she added.  “We will work with you” and “help in every way possible.”

Emphasizing the board’s determination to work with people, Batchelor said when he became aware of a 93-year-old woman who “panicked” when she got the rock rule violation letter, he took her to a nursery to buy nine plants and then dug the holes and planted them. Whatever the problem, he added, “Marianne will take care of it.”



The board voted 4-2 to assess 45 residents who requested a recount of votes in the April board election $92 each to cover the $4,142 cost of  recount. This included $2,632 for the printing and mailing of the recount notice to all OVA members and the $1,510 cost of ballot inspections, the actual recount and mileage for the inspector of elections.

Voting against the motion were directors Greg Goodwin and Batchelor, who argued that the $2,632 cost of informing members should not be included because OVA’s election rules are “vague” on the issue. However, OVA attorney Malcolm Manwell, said that although he agreed with Batchelor concerning the vagueness issue, he recommended the community-wide notice because of the controversy surrounding the election. He called either interpretation “reasonable.”



The board unanimously approved spending $128,440 for medical, dental, vision, life, long-term disability and accidental death and dismemberment insurance for Oakmont’s 14 employees for 2017-18. This represents an 8.5 percent increase over the previous year.  Association manager Cassie Turner attributed part of the increase to the fact that OVA had four fewer employees last year. A total of $133,000 was budgeted for the insurance.

Leznik, addressing the issue of whether renters, in addition to owners of OVA properties, can speak at board meetings, said the OVA has no policy barring non-members from speaking.   She added that the board does not want to interfere with renters who have been in Oakmont for many years and have “earned the right to speak.”

Several residents urged the board to hold off on developing a community gathering spot on the site of the now canceled pickleball project behind the central pool until it learns if the city of Santa Rosa will approve the use of the East Recreation tennis courts for pickleball. They suggested the pickleball project could be revived if the city decides against pickleball at East Rec.

Leznik disputed the claim that the proposal for a central gathering place is was a “thinly veiled” scheme to fill the space and make a revival of the pickleball project unlikely. She said the site is now unsafe, littered as it is with broken concrete, and aesthetically unpleasing. She said residents need a central gathering place and that residents have submitted some “amazing plans and ideas.” She said a town hall will be held to explore these ideas and promised the gathering place would be a “centerpiece of the community.”

Batchelor said the central meeting place idea sets “the wrong priority,” adding that if the city rejects pickleball at East Rec, there is no “plan B,” meaning that there would be no pickleball in Oakmont because the site behind the pool would no longer be available. He added that the site could be cleaned up and the safety concerns addressed at little cost.