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After More Than a Decade, Reston Specialty License Plate Campaign Is Over

by Dave Emke July 25, 2017 at 11:30 am 20 Comments

Dreams of the issuance of a special Reston license plate have fallen flat, and now those who applied will be getting their money back.

In 2006, Reston’s Dan McGuire began a campaign along with the Reston Citizens Association to garner enough support to get the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to issue a Reston-themed license plate. Special license plates are eligible to be issued for any group that receives at least 450 prepaid $10 applications, as well as authorization from the General Assembly.

Virginia offers more than 250 unique varieties of license plates.

The design for Reston’s special plate, which featured the “Live, Work, Play” motto, was by Doug Fuller. Though McGuire and the RCA campaigned for the plates for several years, the effort fell short. McGuire died in 2013.

Tuesday, the Reston Citizens Association announced it will refund all residents who signed up. RCA says it will be sending notifications to all applicants, letting them know they have a refund coming. Any funds that are unable to be returned by Oct. 1 will be donated to a local charity.

Moira Callaghan, vice president of RCA, said 83 applications were prepaid. She said any future effort to create a Reston specialty plate would have to be “an entirely new campaign.”

“The best course of action [right now] is to refund these applicants and possibly start over,” she said.

For more information, contact Callaghan at [email protected].

Photo of Dan McGuire courtesy Shamus Ian Fatzinger/Fairfax Times

  • Julie H-H

    That’s a shame. I had never heard about this effort and I would’ve signed up if I had.

    • Reston Realist

      It truly is unfortunate – If I had any idea this was possible, we would have definitely signed up for at least two. Perhaps Reston Now can spearhead the campaign to give this effort a new life?

  • SuperCoop1280

    No wonder this failed. I never knew this was a thing and it is a shame. I would have gladly added my name. Perhaps going to the farmers markets and advertising on the blogs like this one would be a smart move.

    • Moira Callaghan

      The driving force behind this effort sought applicants at
      the Reston Festivals among other places. If anyone has an interest
      in starting up a new campaign I am sure your initiative and stamina would be
      appreciated by many. If you would like to be the driving force behind a new
      campaign you can contact me at [email protected].

  • Wings!!

    Oh man! I would have loved to put some Reston tags on my Ford Mustang and park it in the Hooters parking lot. Never knew this was a thing.,


    • RestonAssurance

      You just never know what gems may come your way in Reston.

  • John Lovaas

    RCA is doing the right thing, but it is way too bad that the license plate campaign lost momentum.
    It would be a great thing for the community.
    I’d be proud to have that plate!

  • Donald

    What a shame. This must have been the stealthiest grass roots effort — ever. The Reston Citizens Association needs to figure out who they are, their mission, vision and most importantly — actions. If they cannot, then hand over the reins to other successful – and visible – groups.


    • Tammi Petrine

      Donald, please stop your slam campaign against RCA. It is tiresome and demeans volunteers trying to do good works in Reston. WHAT have YOU done positively for Reston recently and in the past? There are so many worthwhile activities but you remain an anonymous complainer who seldom adds gravitas or new info to help solve problems. If you are not going to get off your computer stool to help, why denigrate those who ARE trying?

      • The Constitutionalist

        Good lord, that must’ve struck a nerve. All he was doing was giving real, useful advice. He didn’t say anything that wasn’t true, did he?

      • Donald

        Ms. Petrine, facts are facts, no more than a few hundred people in Reston know of RCA. It is an entity that has lived past its useful life. Only recently has the organization posted minutes of its meetings, I often wonder about quorum.

        Ms. Petrine, all I’ve seen from RCA are point papers. Never have I seen the group rally the Community on an initiative. From my perspective, it’s never taken the lead on any action. Rather, it comes in after the fact. It’s always the supporter, assuming it’s endorsement means something.

        RCA may have had a glorious past, but I haven’t seen anything impressive for a very longtime.

        I will say I have been impressed with other groups such as: Save Browns Chapel, Rescue Reston, and the St. Johns Wood efforts. RCA could learn something about stepping out on the limb as these groups have. Heck, even Reston Association takes on the big issues — one would argue, not well, but they step out.

        I give credit to those who do versus those who watch and tell.


        • Tammi Petrine

          Donald, why does Reston Citizens Association (RCA) annoy you so much? Second, who crowned you arbiter of all that is good and worthy in the community service realm?

          You state as fact that no more than several hundred people know about RCA… what is the source/proof of that statement? Wow, you don’t know what you don’t know…

          Apparently you missed the packed houses when RCA fought the insane RCC idea of locating an RCC funded Indoor Rec Center at Baron Cameron Park several years ago? How about the BCP dog park meeting? Apparently you also missed massive meetings supporting RR Library when our books were being thrown away? What about the Tetra debacle? RCA took the lead on that before and after the referendum. Have you been at the well attended meetings about the PRC Cap? RCA was there in force with others. I could go on to list more but here are some facts:

          Fact: RCA is not a PR driven, award-seeking organization. Instead it seeks to honor unsung heros and help people whenever possible.
          Fact: RCA IS a revolving team of concerned citizens who strive to be informed, share info with the public, study issues of concern to Restonians and work for solutions. It works independently and in concert with other orgs. on local and county-wide issues that impact Reston.
          Fact: RCA is 50 years old this year! It’s history is remarkable and the constant is deep love of Reston’s planning principles. Fact: In recent years, RCA has been neck deep in community concerns that are changing our beloved community. Currently, the PRC Cap issue is a major focus.
          Fact: RCA collects no dedicated nor compulsory funding from anyone nor restricts membership. Everyone is welcome; Reston residency is its only ‘requirement.’

          In all of Reston and indeed the universe, there is no organization that does not wish for a more perfect communication mode. IF you know of a golden method for universal communication, you are a genius. Reston Now is a valued resource so that’s why I am spending time giving info to the public about RCA. Lots of new folks have moved into Reston who might appreciate learning more.

          Further, all organizations obviously ebb and flow as interests, issues and leadership and directors change. Of course, we have all seen this with Reston Association, our master HOA. The other wonderful Reston orgs you cited are singularly focused and formed themselves grassroots-style to fight specific issues. Bravo! We love them, join them and support them totally!

          Finally, for all of its history, RCA, both alone and with Reston 20/20, has been producing original research about substantial issues that affect the community in ways good and bad. We gladly share info and include anyone interested in learning more. People come to us with great ideas as well. Because you do not know about RCA’s good deeds does not mean they do not exist. And certainly you are ignorant of RCA’s meetings if you believe that quorums are ever unmet. In the 10 years that I have been aware of RCA, never has there been a meeting where more than a few directors have been missing. All meetings are public and visitors/speakers are frequent.

          But, hey, I have an idea… WHY don’t YOU, Greg, The Constitutionalist and other naysayers show up and teach RCA how to do a ‘better’ job? Maybe RCA’s sincere, unpaid volunteers can learn something of value from you. Maybe you can impress yourself and the community by ‘doing vs.telling.’ Come join in. RCA folks are friendly, kind and generally really interesting…

          Now about that PRC Cap debate…

    • Moira Callaghan

      Donald, I welcome to you attend our next meeting and to join one of our committees.

  • 40yearsinreston

    The motto should be

    • cosmo

      You can’t die in Reston though. No funeral homes and no cemeteries.

      • 40yearsinreston

        Sorry I forgot
        Have to goto.Herndon

      • Conservative Senior

        RA could sell burial plots along the walking trails to pay off the lake house or another crazy idea!

  • Greg

    One more thing that the RA could have done. At no cost.

    83 applications for a place with 60,000 residents…

    • The Constitutionalist

      Could’ve gone door to door and gotten better results… and probably spent less time.

  • Tammi Petrine

    IF Dan McGwire and his committee had had the communication ability of Next Door and Reston Now, the Reston License plate campaign might’ve been a success. When Dan McGwire and RCA worked their guts out on this champaign in 2006, they had to rely on weekly print media and word of mouth. Up to Dan’s death in ’13, getting requisite numbers was impossible as DMV kept raising the minimums. He and his valiant committee stood at groceries, farmers markets, Reston festivals, bus stops, etc. trying to gain subscribers for years. He never gave up. Times and attitudes have changed as Reston is feeling the pressures of losing its precious planned stability.

    Certainly the public appetite for town-hood for Reston is high now. RCA tried mightily to get Reston independent status in years past and even had 6K signatures on a petition at about the same time as the license plate champaign began. Sadly, our local pols and developers already had plans that would’ve been threatened if Reston were a town and had been able to protect itself by using the existing Wiehle charter that Simon purchased when he bought the Reston-to-be acreage.

    Today we are hoping to educate the county about what Restonians value and how we want to help the county out of its dangerous budget problems. Working WITH the county, we CAN solve our problems. Frankly we are weary of fighting and think working together makes much more sense. Will our supervisors welcome our help and expertise? To find out, we will be announcing a community informational meeting in September.

    Thanks to all today and before who applaud Dan McGwire’s vision. He was a champ!


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