Education, Transparency and Civility

Last Updated: 04-30-18

  • OVA Board President, Steve Spanier

Previously, I mentioned my priorities are education, transparency and civility. I’d like to tell you what we’re doing to improve these.

To date, board meeting announcements included only an agenda with cryptic titles of discussion topics. In our recent Board meeting announcement, we also provided the submitter’s name, background information on each business item, committee reports and the precise motion we’ll address. This advance opportunity to review more detailed information about agenda items will benefit everyone.

An important new standing committee called the Community Education and Transparency Committee, or CETC is in early planning stages. This committee’s job is to keep a finger on the pulse of the community and recommend to the Board information the community needs to know. The Board approved this recommendation, andthe committee may now plan and execute the workshop, town hall meeting, structured debate, or similar event. The committee can also recommend education for the Board itself.

In effect, the CETC will be the eyes and ears of the community, looking for information vacuums and proposing how those vacuums could be filled. Residents may also provide suggestions to the CETC.

Still on the topic of education and transparency, an event to be held on June 5 will, we hope, greatly expand the community’s knowledge of the pros and cons of supporting the golf club. A town hall meeting on July 10 will further expand that knowledge.

An informational seminar tentatively scheduled for July 3 on reserves will answer many questions from those who care about Oakmont’s financial situation. We will almost certainly follow that one up with one on the Berger Center.

Whatever the format of these events, the focus will be on dialogue, not talking head presentations. The format will allow questions, answers and comments. Such events, coupled with electronic and print articles that will keep members up to speed on projects such as the pickleball court conversion and the East Rec renovation, as well as other contemporary topics, will further enhance education and transparency in our community.

Finally, a bit about civility. I’ve recently spoken to some interested Oakmont residents about establishing a new Oakmont club, which the board also approved at the May 1 meeting. The purpose is to create small groups of individuals who would like to practice respectful dialogue with neighbors with whom they may disagree. The proposed leader of this new club, Mary England, spoke during Open Forum.

The model for such get togethers comes from a transpartisan organization called “Living Room Conversations,” the website of which is found at ( Using six simple “conversation agreements” as discussion guidelines, the groups will practice discussing contemporary Oakmont and/or other topics without judgment or aggression.

Stay tuned as we continue to roll out initiatives designed to increase education, transparency and civility, thereby helping to ease tension in our community. This, in turn, should enable productive work on the complex issues facing us.