2017 Reston Association Board Election: Meet John Mooney

by RestonNow.com March 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm 26 Comments

John Mooney/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 John Mooney, who is facing Arlene Krieger (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?

Susan and I bought our Hampton Pointe condo in March 2016, and it was love that brought us here.

First was our love for each other — two widowed people, she living on a forested farm in West Virginia and I living in suburban Fairfax County for the last 27 years, meeting miraculously on Match.com. She had grown up and worked in cities for her first 30 years and enjoyed city culture, but she loved the country. I had lived in cities all my life but also enjoyed nature’s beauty. Farms are hard as people age, so when we married Susan agreed to move to Fairfax.

Then it was love of Reston. As we looked for a new home, urban and typical suburban settings couldn’t satisfy her soul. We looked all over northern Virginia. She kept saying, “I think I need to live in Reston.” We love Reston’s trees and trails and bike paths, the proximity of the wooded residential neighborhoods to Reston Town Center, and its easy access to the DC region. We fell in love with Bob Simon’s vision for Reston, an open and diverse community that strives for harmony at so many levels. We love how dedicated Restonians have preserved so much of that vision.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Running for the board was the furthest thing from my mind when we bought our condo. It was the awareness that Simon’s vision was challenged today, and that my 27 years in local-government management could help RA face that challenge, that changed my mind.

The wake-up call was the proposed monster redevelopment of St. Johns Wood Apartments right in our neighborhood. In June 2016, we joined a small leadership team that had formed around the online petition opposing the project. We attended various hearings and gave testimony. I wrote some analyses of SJW’s incompatibility with the Reston Master Plan that were posted on the RA website and on Reston 20/20. Some members of the community then asked me to consider a run for the board.

The SJW involvement made me aware of other challenges facing Reston, ones I had dealt with throughout my career. Running for the Board made sense.

But there’s other inspiration for running, really the deepest. The last words in the magnificent film about Reston, “A Different Way of Living,” are spoken by Bob Simon himself: “Community is what it’s all about.” That has been one of my deepest, lifelong convictions and passions. Running is my (and our) investment in our Reston community.

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

My three biggest concerns are internal governance, development and redevelopment pressures, and its relationship with Fairfax County and state/regional agencies.

Reston has internal governance challenges. RA must keep assessments as low as possible while maintaining service excellence. A capital improvements plan should frame the evaluation of all capital expenditures. RA needs early and thorough analysis of complicated proposals so that new Tetras don’t occur. It needs to inform and involve affected groups and neighborhoods early on big issues. Finally, it needs to demonstrate transparency and accountability in its deliberations and decisions.

Metro’s arrival heightened the development pressures on Reston from construction in Reston Town Center and the Dulles Corridor. Reston also faces internal re-development challenges, like St. Johns Wood and Tall Oaks. As Reston’s early construction ages, the redevelopment pressure will accelerate. RA, RTC and the Dulles Corridor must work as a harmonious “One Reston” or we’ll all fail.

Fairfax County is Reston’s local government. Had the county not approved Reston’s “residential planned community” zoning in 1962, Reston would not exist. But Fairfax County’s growth orientation can endanger the Reston vision.  We must increase collaboration with the county and state/regional agencies, but in a way that protects and advances Reston’s unique interests.

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

The short version: I hope to help RA successfully address the challenges noted in the previous question.

Let me highlight a few specifics I want to focus on:

  • RA Governance: RA needs stronger analytic capacity (staff, contractual or committees) to analyze complex issues. It also needs a better community-involvement process to improve members’ confidence in RA.
  • Development/Redevelopment Pressures: RA needs to “protect the protections” of our Reston vision — the Reston Deed and the Reston Master Plan. Case law shows that failure to enforce consistently either an HOA deed or a master plan weakens their protective power in future legal battles. We need the RA, and especially the RA Design Review Board, to rigorously ensure that proposed large development projects follow the RA Deed, Design Standards and Master Plan.
  • Relation with the County and State/Regional Agencies: We need designated RA liaisons (RA Board members, RA committee members, or both) to engage regularly with the county and with agencies like the Virginia Department of Transportation, Metro and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

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

The first asset I’d bring as an RA Board director would be my 27 years in local government management, 17 of those in Arlington County, and 7 of those as Arlington’s senior Assistant County Manager. (Details are at Mooney4Reston.com.) I helped maintain and further Arlington’s regional reputation of excellent services within a fiscally responsible budget. We made sure that community processes informed, involved, and listened to all affected groups. We did strategic regional networking.  We used wise capital-improvements planning and budgeting. Perhaps above all, we were doggedly faithful to Arlington’s comprehensive plan despite strong pressures for over-development.

I also bring my background in ethics generally and local government ethics specifically. I have a Ph.D. in philosophy with a specialization in ethics and have taught local-government ethics courses to employees of Arlington County, the District of Columbia and Montgomery County. I’m confident that I can help the RA Board and members in their concerns about RA’s internal ethics.

Finally, I bring decades of personal effort of working for the common good, of building up community at many levels — civic, religious and political. Helping communities grow and succeed has always been my greatest joy.

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


  • Reston Realist

    John, can you answer this question: why do you think your skill set as a professional bureaucrat is better suited for the board than the skills of an activist community organizer?

    • Scott

      Is there a difference between the goals of the two?

    • vdiv

      One actually knows what the levers do and which ones to push?

      • Bernie Supporter

        Sadly, he’s too indecisive to push levers. He over-analyzes things to death … comes to no conclusion … until someone else makes a decision first. Then he’ll jump on board, as you might expect a professional bureaucrat might do. To borrow a phrase from another poster elsewhere, “He’s all hat. No cattle.”

    • Reston2000

      From the Lake House debacle, you can see that the Board did not have a grip on budgets, contracts, staff management, project management, cost controls, or ethics. This guy brings professional management experience and has the skills to conduct checks and balances on lawyers and staff. We need that. And, not for nothing, but Arlington County has a way more comprehensive ethics policies that we do – telling its employees to be truthful in all endeavors; be honest and forthright with each other and the community, and to avoid even a perceived conflict of interest. This is someone raised in a very different culture than what we have right now…we need those skills and values.

      • Bernie Supporter

        You’re right when you say that this is someone raised in a very different culture… he helped develop Arlington into a city. Nothing wrong with that… IF you want to live in a city. But a lot of Restonians don’t. That kind of management experience is NOT what Reston needs.

        • Bernie Supporter

          Oh, and about Arlington’s comprehensive ethics policy telling its employees to be truthful in all endeavors. Does that include “true, but misleading” ??? Because I’ve heard/read that he was for the Soccer Field before he was “against it”. This is what the what people who were there say:

          “Arlene supported the movement in North Point to stop the give-away of RA land to a private group, Reston Soccer. She didn’t equivocate or hesitate, she joined us in opposition right away. Mr. Mooney waited until it was clear the soccer boondoggle was going to lose. Then he joined the bandwagon.”

          “True, but misleading.” Another hallmark of long-time political bureaucrat. Another reason we do NOT need Mr. Mooney’s skills and values.

          • Reston2000

            So the ethics policy in Arlington is related to the soccer fields in Reston…huh?? This is not even comprehensible…

          • Bernie Supporter

            I disagree. Being truthful IS comprehensible.

          • Reston2000

            Your tone is so angry and aggressive. I hope this is not the candidate as they suggest above because what I see here is that you have no ability to listen or even consider what others are saying. This is not what we need on the Board right now.

          • Bernie Supporter

            Another attack on Ms. Krieger. Wow. You guys are relentless: Suggestion. Conjecture. Innuendo.

            So, yeah. Like I told the other genius. I AM Ms. Krieger. And you are Sherlock Holmes. How wonderful for you to share with us all this incredible display of how brilliant you are. 🙂

        • Reston2000

          So you are saying that one person – a staff person – who works for the county is solely responsible for all the development that occurred there? That is a ridiculous statement. It shows your lack of understanding about how things work in government. We are in dire need of someone who is an experienced manager, who can read financial records, manage staff, manage projects. I dunno BS, to push so hard to fight that kind of person with that kind of experience getting on the Board is making me wonder about your motives and your alliances.

          • Bernie Supporter

            So you’re saying that his experience and “skills to conduct checks and balances on lawyers and staff” made no difference in the overdevelopment of Arlington/ That is a more ridiculous statement. Either you’re claiming that his “leadership experience” was either superfluous or incompetent. If I read Ms. Krieger’s answers correctly she has the ability to read financial records, manage staff, manage projects — AND involve the community a force of power. You say I don’t have an understanding of government. Well, I understand this. Everyone behind this guy defaults to the position that RA Board has no power. (Oh, except to make bad deals like Tetra.) And you Ad Hominem attack on my motives mean nothing to me. Anyone who can read can see the REAL alliances in this campaign. And you don’t have to wonder about my alliances. I’ll tell you up front who they are. They are the people fighting against SJW and the people who fought against the elitist Soccer Field, the people who are fighting against the overt misappropriation of our financially successful Golf Course for the benefit of developers, and everyone who is sick to their stomach with worry that an Eviction Notice is going to show up in their mailbox any day. Those are my allies. Who are yours? And why does your candidate only join these causes — on behalf of our community — AFTER the battle has been waged and won (even if only temporarily)? And then claim he was a supporter from the start?

          • Bernie Supporter

            Oh, you don’t have to wonder about my alliances. I’ll tell you up front who they are. They are the people fighting against SJW and the people who fought against the elitist Soccer Field, the people who are fighting against the overt misappropriation of our financially successful Golf Course for the benefit of developers, and everyone who is sick to their stomach with worry that an Eviction Notice is going to show up in their mailbox any day. Those are my allies. Who are yours?

          • Bernie Supporter

            Forgot to address you’re first point, 2000. Sorry. So are you saying Mooney’s experience and “skills to conduct checks and balances on lawyers and staff” made NO difference in the overdevelopment of Arlington? Are you suggesting he was superfluous? Well, I guess you’re right. You do know how government works.

  • Donald

    Mr. Mooney, good luck with your campaign. If you are willing to use this forum for a quick discussion, I’d like to ask the following question(s) (I’ll ask the same of all the candidates.)

    Reston Association, Rescue Reston, Fairfax County have taken on defending the Reston National Golf Course as open space. In fact, Reston Association has gone as far as to state it would be willing to purchase the property as last resort.

    Hidden Creek Country Club represents a mirror image to RNGC on the North side of the Transit Station Area (TSA.)

    Given the demonstrated motivation of developers and some property owners in our area, what will you do to make sure the Hidden Creek CC does not go down this path? Is it able? Would you be willing to state RA should be prepared to purchase the property?

  • Donald

    Edit. Given the nature of some of the conversations elsewhere, I’ll remove my question for now.


  • Donald

    Mr. Mooney, as you may have noticed, a question came back to life on Ms. Krieger’s Q&A page, so please allow me to ask the same here.

    Reston National Golf Course is under constant threat of being redeveloped. Reston Association, Rescue Reston and the County continue to be vigilant, spending precious time and dollars, to defend the open space. Hidden Creek CC, could conceivably go the same route as RNGC.

    Reston Association committed to purchasing (via referendum) the RNGC as a last resort to preserve the property.

    What would you do, if either of these items came to you while serving on the board?

    Thank you,

  • Steve

    I attended the candidate event between John Mooney and Arlene Kreiger. Mr. Mooney was thoughtful and gave concise answers. He also came prepared and stayed within the time speaking limits. Ms. Kreiger was just, for lack of a better word, nasty. As I’ve said previously, if you like the Trump/Bannon/Conway form of non-government, vote for Kreiger. Else, do Reston and yourself a favor and vote for Mr. Mooney.

    • Bernie Supporter

      Ha! Another “nasty woman” comment. That reveals who really loved Trump/Bannon/Conway. Neither candidate stayed within their time limit, but your slanted point of view faults only Ms. Krieger for it. (Can’t trust the messenger, can’t trust the message.) Mooney did come prepared — and what he was prepared to tell us was that he knew better than the community and would keep us informed only if he deemed it necessary for us to know. Did he come off more polished? Absolutely. 17-27 years of being a professional bureaucrat will do that. Wearing your pants that long will also leave it with a shine. Ms. Krieger may have been the less polished candidate, but she was the REAL candidate. Reston, do yourself a favor. Vote for Arlene Krieger who fights back against overdevelopment. Not for Mooney, who has made a long, long, long career of supporting it. Else,, you never know what you have … until its gone.

  • Bernie Supporter

    I read the “Meet John Mooney” questions — and its clear that if anyone else did, they’d have to come to the same conclusion. Vote for Arlene Krieger.

    Mooney tells us how “love” brought him to Reston. Um, like last year — so this is a long all-consuming love. He also says wife “had grown up and worked in cities for her first 30 years and enjoyed city culture, but she loved the country.” I guess that’s why they couldn’t live in Arlington. Mooney in Arlington’s local government there helped overdeveloped into the city she couldn’t live in today.

    “As we looked for a new home, urban and typical suburban settings couldn’t satisfy her soul. We looked all over northern Virginia.” How interesting that Arlington was NOT what they were looking for.

    When Mooney says, “We love how dedicated Restonians have preserved so much of that (Bob Simon’s) vision, he should know that those are the same Restonians who will vote against him. He’s a pawn of the developers, and willing to negotiate away all our wooded residential neighborhoods, starting with St. John’s Woods.

    • Tammi Petrine

      Oh, for heavens sake. Just give it up. Negative campaigning is a violation of RA rules. 25+ posts on the last column about the At-Large race? Do you not think we get who you are??? Only one person would put so much energy into trying to destroy a candidate. Besides you’re giving Bernie a bad name. He deserves better. So do John Mooney AND the Reston community.

      • Bernie Supporter

        Concerned about giving candidates a bad name? Did you not say you had 5 DREADFUL meetings with the other candidate? Ms. Krieger and the Reston Community also deserve better.

        • Tammi Petrine

          Yikes, you are a victim of your own hubris. While I appreciate your spunk, you should’ve just let it go. At an RA meeting yesterday, Mrs. AK said almost verbatim the same thing so you just outed yourself AGAIN.

          Campaign fairly. We have had enough shady actors on the RA board recently. Avatars are dishonest in the way you are using them. RA has rules against negative campaigning. If you feel strongly, use your real name discussing the issues but not attacking the man.. Above all, especially after Tetra, honesty is paramount if you are to serve RA and us well.

          And, Hey, guess what? In Supervisor Hudgins’ March newsletter, St. John’s Wood, the project that you swore up and down was toast and Mr. Mooney said ‘No it is still in process’? WELL, it’s BACK. So much for YOUR heroic slaying of that beast. That’s the problem. Your ideas may be popular but your constituency has to be able to trust your information and guidance. And in this case and several others at different meetings, you misunderstand the process by which things fail or succeed. Your knowledge is incomplete. You reduced Mr. Mooney to serf level in your bragging about how YOU were so wonderful at the candidate forum. But he was right and you were wrong. Kinda embarrassing, no?

          PS: the 3/27/17 Reston P & Z meeting on SJW has been on their calendar since before the candidate forum. While we all wish SJW redevelopment would disappear, sadly, saying doesn’t make it so.

          Mr. Mooney, besides having invaluable planning experience, is careful about his pronouncements. If we are lucky, his detailed work questioning the compliance of the new SJW details to the Master Plan requirements may yet save the day. Fingers crossed. John Mooney will work well with others and is a kind person. He can be trusted. For this reason, I happily support him for the N. Pt. seat.

          And BS, I wish you well if you work positively for the good of Reston in the future.

          • Bernie Supporter

            Oh, No!!! You’ve outed me again! If I were you I’d go right to the board and out me there, too. RA has rules against negative campaigning. Can’t wait for you to take your whispering campaign public … so you can get you self-inflated backside taken to the cleaners. That’s the great thing about everyone in your little cabal of equally self-important, know-it-alls. You’re frequently wrong but never uncertain.

            You’re right. Mooney had gobs of invaluable planning experience. Gobs of exactly the WRONG EXPERIENCE for Reston to remain Reston. Fingers crossed, Mooney will never get his indecisive, add-to-the-problem fingers on MY Reston. You think I’m giving Mooney’s deceptive campaign hell? (Along with his equally deceptive surrogates?) To quote Truman, “I don’t give them hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it’s hell.”

          • Bernie Supporter

            P.S. I bet you dollars to donuts that the plan that ms. Krieger said WOULDN’T be coming back, DIDN’T come back. No one is naïve. We ALL know that developers never give up. They come back over and over and over again. So again, dollars to donuts, I’m betting what you’ll see at the next meeting will be more capitulation by the developers — and it still won’t be enough. Oh, it may be enough for your Compromiser-In-Chief, who has never met a developer he couldn’t get along with. But it won’t be enough for anybody who’s willing to FIGHT for Reston, and frankly you and Mooney aren’t part of that group. “Mr. Mooney is a kind person”? Is that the standard for a board member now? Yeah, what we need on the Board are more indecisive, “kind people” who side with the developers. It’s elementary, Sherlock. if you’re not part of the solution, you are part of the problem — and you and Mooney are a part of the problem. Any one who disagrees with Your Worshipness “doesn’t understand.” Poor us. You’re always the smartest person in the room. If only we all listened to you. What a laugh.


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