Reston, VA

Arlene Krieger/Reston AssociationVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Arlene Krieger, who is facing John Mooney (profile) in the race for the North Point District seat. The two squared off in a candidate forum last week.

Profiles of candidates in the races for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat and an At-Large seat will run later this week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. Each candidate had an opportunity to answer the same questions in their own words.

How long have you lived in Reston? What brought you here?

Three generations of my family have lived in Reston. My family has enjoyed Reston’s green, open spaces, its incredible schools, its dog park, its lakes, its pools, its wide range of recreational facilities, its library, and its beautiful residential neighborhoods. I have been a wife, a mother and a grandparent here in Reston. Members of my family have been born right here at Reston Hospital.

Nobody is more INVESTED in preserving North Point’s lifestyle and quality of life than I am. As a long-term resident of North Point, how could I be anything else? Bob Simon’s beautiful vision of a planned community is what brought me here. But with what’s happening with all the redevelopment I see around me, I think that Bob must be spinning in his grave.

What inspired you to run for the board?

I was one of three women who began the fight against the St. John’s Woods Redevelopment Plan. I live nearby. This affected me directly. SJW would have more than doubled the amount to people living in this one neighborhood … destroyed a beautiful green canopy of trees … and created even more traffic congestion than we already have. We cannot allow developers to trample on our way of life without fighting back.

After the Reston Design Review Board approved SJW’s plan, I got it out of their hands and in front of the entire board of directors instead. There, it was shot down. Turned out it violated our Master Plan. It was then that I realized I needed to be on the RA Board. We need louder voices to protect our neighborhoods and homes. My outrage at projects like St. John’s Woods, the Golf Course, Tall Oaks, the Soccer Field and the disastrous Lake House purchase mirrored that of residents throughout North Point. I realized that my specialized skill set as a professional community organizer would give me an edge to better deal with the challenges confronting North Point, and give our residents a stronger voice in protecting our shared interests.

What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?

Foremost, it’s how developers are targeting residential neighborhoods in North Point. I hear much talk about Reston’s need for “balanced development.” But it seems to me that the only balance that matters is the bank balance of developers. I am extremely concerned about special waivers, exceptions and zoning changes for specific developers that allow them to encroach on our neighborhoods like invasive plants.

Second, the lack of communication between RA and our community troubles me. Everything seems backwards. Today, the onus is on YOU to find out what’s happening. YOU need to check the RA website. YOU need to figure out how to sign up for crucial alerts. Transparency has become a buzz word. Everyone says it, but few know how to implement it. That’s why so many Restonians don’t learn about development projects until bulldozers show up. It’s almost as if RA doesn’t want you to know what’s going on. As a community organizer, my plan is to reverse this paradigm. Make RA responsible for transparency, not members.

Third, even though I know it’s not a tax, I’m not a fan of the way assessment fees are determined. I think some people are paying more than their fair share.

What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?

All the candidates know the basics. Compromise … Dialogue … Negotiation. But what makes me different is one unwavering position: developers MUST abide by Reston’s Master Plan and Deed, and other binding legal instruments.

I am NOT a politician and I’m NOT part of the establishment. I haven’t worked for the government in any capacity whatsoever. I think that’s important. I am a community organizer and activist. Always have been, always will be. And what I hope to accomplish by being on the board is to bring my unique experience and special skill set to the table, to enable the community to have a stronger say in their own lives. I know how to keep people informed. And I know how to form collations to help ordinary people deal with the challenges we all face.

The advertising for the Reston Parkway commercial building soon to come reminds me of the biggest challenge we face in Reston. It labels itself, “One Address Above it All.” And I believe that’s what developers think about us: That they are ABOVE us all. I won’t accept that. No one should.

How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?

I have spent my entire career organizing people around vital issues. As a community organizer, I have created committees, boards, special events, community services and collaborations that bring people together to work for the common good. I have done this on behalf of major national nonprofit organizations.

As an activist, I know how to change the status quo. This experience is urgently needed on the RA board. The status quo is tearing Reston apart. There are so many different kinds of service and experience. That’s why I always say, “Vote for Results, Not Resumes.”

In addition, as a North Point wife, mother and grandparent, I have used our schools, our kiddie parks, our dog park and our open green spaces with joy. I have benefited from every facet of Bob Simon’s vision of a planned community, and I can’t bear to watch developers continue to chip away at his legacy. In my opinion nobody will fight harder for their community than a person whose neighborhood is being threatened. And that person is me.

Read more about Krieger and the other candidates in the 2017 Reston Association election on RA’s website.

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