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Op-Ed: Reston Association’s Price is Wrong

by RestonNow.com May 8, 2015 at 4:30 pm 26 Comments

This is an op-ed from Reston resident Flora Nicholas, who also created “The Price is Wrong” video in response to Reston Association’s Tetra referendum. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

My husband and I, like a growing number of Restonians, are very concerned about how the Reston Association and the board have conducted themselves with regard to this Tetra purchase, and how they are running Reston Association generally.

We therefore marshaled our company, Brainwave Inc., resources to write and produce “The Price is Wrong” video because we wanted to highlight how ridiculous and eyebrow raising the RA’s contract to buy the Tetra property is.

Additionally, as the RA has spent close to $100,000 promoting its own one-sided information, this video gives all those who are vehemently opposed to the Tetra deal a way of promoting their concerns too. And it does so in a humorous way that will grab the attention of the media and those on social media too — and today’s article in the Washington Post and this article in Reston Now shows we’ve achieved that.

Whatever the outcome of the referendum, the RA and its board have a lot of explaining to do. Why did they enter into a contract to buy a building for $2.65 million when the County had valued it at $1.2 million? Why have they not disclosed to the community that its own appraisers valued the property “as is” at $1.3 million, as the Washington Post revealed today? Why, despite that $1.3 million appraisal, did the RA then proceed to enter into a contract to buy the Tetra property for $2.65 million? What else is really going on here?

All these questions need to be asked of the RA and answered. When all this is done, I think the RA’s going to need a watch dog. H’mm, may be we’ll start one.

  • JCSuperstar

    It absolutely amazes me there are so many people who do not bother to read what has been provided to them. Instead they play the telegraph game and end up looking like complete buffoons.

    Bet you also believe the US military is invading Texas as I write this.

    Sad, just really sad. If this is what the founders of Brainwave are really about, good luck. Your watch-dog concept can easily come back to haunt you.


    • Ray Wedell


  • Chuck Morningwood

    I thought that the Fifth Estate was the watch dog of governance. Isn’t that why we have the whole Concept of Freedom of the Press in the First Amendment? Admittedly, RA is not officially a government institution, so there would be limits on the applicability of 1A to RA. Still, I’m not so sure that another layer of dues consuming bureaucracy is the solution to RA Stoopidity.

  • Ray Wedell

    Why does Reston Now allow this non-creative and nonsensical “op-ed” to be published, but censors valid and valuable facts from being printed from reputable sources who supported the “yes” side? Where is the “Fifth Estate” on this one?

    And, oh by the way, to all of this “what is going on here?” commentary about the RA Board, you are lucky to have a Board of volunteers with such a high degree of integrity. If you want to question who might have financial interests in this vote, wouldn’t it more likely be the Opponents of Open Space group, promoting a “no” so developers can gain control of things in the near future? Just askin’ . Just putting the legitimate questions out on the table. The street does run in both directions.

    • Karen Goff

      Ray – I would have run your op-ed word for word, except for two paragraphs that made a very insensitive analogy. You opted to not run it all. There was no censorship.


        Insensitive analogy? Print it anyway. Let it show him as the buffoon that he is. “High degree of integrity”? According to whom?

        • Ray Wedell

          Once again, “the buffoon that he is”…..From Mr./Ms. Bojangles? How do you know I am a buffoon? Hey, Bojangles….maybe I do know you, in which case you can make comments about me, my beliefs, my style, etc. So allow me to give you this opportunity, and perhaps you will exchange the same courtesy to me: You are free to call me anytime you want. Everyone knows how to reach me. I am not hiding, and I will take your call. Now, to further improvement of dialogue, what is your name, and what is your phone number? Thank you.


            Interest free RA bank = buffoonery. Screw off.

          • Ray Wedell

            Er, no I won’t “screw off”…”Bojangles”. You know zero about me, you know zero about any of my ideas, you probably know zero about many things yet you take advantage of the RestonNow “free press” forum to make a fool of yourself personally attacking everybody and anybody….so Mr./Ms Bojangles (or The Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, or any other name you post under), I am not going to simply disappear at your command. I am here. Why don’t you show a bit of the integrity you claim nobody else has, and post your REAL NAME?


            If she didn’t print your op-ed because she thinks a reference to Russian Roulette promotes suicide, then she is ridiculous and knows nothing about real journalism. My apologies. But the interest free loan thing is still a really dumb idea.

      • Ray Wedell

        We will agree to disagree, Karen. The two paragraphs were at the crux of my position and not at all offensive, as verified to me by the 50 or so people of varied backgrounds and political persuasions to whom I showed it. Taking out the core of presentation is censorship. It was an op-ed, not meant for “editing” of content….. Pieces like this garbage you allowed as “op-ed” above, the total trash piece by a “retiring DRB member” (full of lies and misstatements), and dozens of other op-eds from the Opposition to Open Spaces group which were laced with out of context quotes, manipulation of “facts” and other shrewdly-designed political pieces were allow free access of uncensored venom. But you claim that an an accurate analogy to playing a game of “Russian Roulette” (an analogy used frequently in many arenas) is “promotion of suicide”?….whew.

        To say nothing of crude and blatant personal attacks against colleagues of mine who have more integrity that the combined total of the cartoon-characters in here who throw verbal molotov cocktails from behind the veneer of their Marvel Heroes. There is not a single media outlet I know of who would allow weeks and months of vitriol like this to poison debates from people who will not even tell you their names. None would allow The Green Lantern, Batman, Spiderman, or whoever else these jokers hide behind as a shield to spit their verbal vomit upon the rest of us. But you allow it to go on…unchecked. I repeat: no media outlet I know of would allow this. None.If people will not identify themselves, they don’t get posted.

        And as for the OOS “no” vote leaders, they never once tried to muffle the personal attacks, either. Saying that they never personally did any of it, yet deliberately casting a blind eye to commentary they know to be damaging and hurtful to large numbers of very good people, just doesn’t make the grade. The poison fed their “cause”, so these “environmentalists” chose to allow the atmosphere to be poisoned, perhaps permanently. Regardless of how this vote turns out, there is a lot of work to do to mend these fences.

        • Karen Goff

          Ray – This is the last I am going to say on this because it is the weekend and you are taking up too much of my free time. You are confusing comments with op-eds. There were no anonymous op-eds that ran here. I would only run an op-ed with a person’s real name.

          While comments are “technically” supposed to be under someone’s real name, we do not have a great way to enforce that, so there is really nothing I can do about that.

          I don’t care if 50 or 150 or 150,000 people told you your Russian Roulette analogy was Pulitzer Prize winning. It offended me, and that’s the bottom line.

          Now take the evening off. I am.


            This job is taking too much of her free time? Good thing she isn’t a real journalist with a serious job.

          • Karen Goff

            My paycheck would say otherwise. Closing the comments now. Namaste.

  • Annie Garnett

    This piece was ludicrous, it contains nothing of substance and serves only to smear and disparage the people that were elected to the Board. What facts can you offer to support any of your statements? What a shame that this is how your mind works- why would the RA Board seek to hide and deceive the RA Members on this purchase? What do they stand to gain? What’s in it for them? Your crap piece? I’m disgusted by this.

    • Ray Wedell

      Thank you, Annie. This has been going on for months now. It is an infectious disease which has been allowed to multiply unchecked in here, leading to RA Board members, and others who are being needlessly attacked, to simply retreat and avoid it. Real debate was stifled long ago.

      Now that the vote is over, it is time to point these facts out. I am an RA Board member, and the entire Reston World knows my strong advocacy of open spaces, so I have no problem with standing up to this type of mindless hate-speech, but I know others who are more human than I (that’s a joke, Karen) on the RA Board, with a high sense of honor and good families, who are hurt by all this personal commentary rubbish thrown around about them. To expect them not to harbor bitterness about it is to suggest that they should be void of human emotion. I am sure all will move on with a personal dignity that the Marvel Comic characters in here would not, if roles were reversed. Thank you again.

  • JCSuperstar

    I think the bigger issue here is the apparent large group of people who opted to not vote — as some form of protest. You folks received bad advice, it’s a bad strategy. What a waste.

  • RAMember2

    For one thing the video is really awful. It does nothing to promote a dialog; for another thing clearly Brainwave didn’t read any of the actual materials since there seems to be a lot of factual errors in Ms. Nicholas’ understanding of the situation. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me if the video is indicative of Brainwave’s ability to dig deep into a topic I’m not impressed.

    • Ray Wedell


  • Concerned RA Member

    The video is as crude as her argument is weak; not a very sophisticated thinker; not a company I would hire to market my organization.

    • JCSuperstar

      It’s always wise for businesses to avoid controversy.

  • JCSuperstar

    Could be the famous last words:

    John Farrell to FULL TIME BOJANGLER • 2 months ago

    “If less than 1700 homes participate in the referendum, the purchase fails.
    Thus, the answer is don’t vote in the referendum.
    Ironically, even a “no” winds up having the same effect as a “yes” vote toward meeting the 10% participation minimum.”


  • Rodney Dangerfield

    raise the standard of decorum, huh?

    You people are just offensive and disrespectful to the volunteer RA Board
    to create such a misleading and insulting video.

    As was amply clarified in Eve Thompson’s Op-Ed, it is actually quite common
    for properties to trade a values far above (and in some cases below, although
    less common) than the County assessment, precisely because there are few
    comparable properties for the assessor to rely on without a complete appraisal
    (like the one the RA obtained).

    This is a unique opportunity for RA to gain control of a strategically
    important asset to complement its open space and to also prevent development in
    a place where it would be undesirable.
    As much as Flash and Maynard would like to make you believe it could never
    be approved, they are uninformed alarmists.

    Now that the referendum is closed, I can only hope the vote
    count comes down in favor of this, but regardless of how it turns out, I would
    suggest all of you stop making insulting commentaries like this one, lest you
    be the victim of one the next time …

    And, Karen, you defend this in the name of no censorship,
    but giving the same voices multiple bites at the apple is not right either.

    • Karen Goff

      Two things:

      1. I said “there was no censorship” in response to Ray Wedell’s piece. I never said there was no censorship overall. I reject things all the time for various reasons. That’s my job.

      2. This was the first time we heard from Ms. Nicolas so “the same voices multiple bites” does not apply in the this case. I rejected her video several times until she put her name on it. She finally did, so I agreed to run it. The many op-eds we ran reflected both sides of the issue, which, thankfully and mercifully, is now over.

      • Reston Watcher

        Karen- I think you did a great job running one side and then the other. No one has any reason to complain that you favored anyone.

        • Karen Goff

          Thank you


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