Letter: Rescue Reston Begins Fifth Year With Golf Fundraiser

by RestonNow.com September 22, 2017 at 1:30 pm 14 Comments

This letter was submitted by Reston resident John Pinkman, a member of the Rescue Reston board of directors. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now. We publish article and opinion contributions of specific interest to the Reston community. Contributions may be edited for length or content.

On Monday, Oct. 2, Rescue Reston will hold its third annual golf fundraiser on the course that Northwestern Mutual would like to turn into thousands of housing units. All fundraisers are directed toward the legal defense. Will NWM stay in town and make a commitment to our community, as did Mobil? I don’t think so; if there were a door, you would hear NWM slam on their way out! See ya!

Through my work with Rescue Reston, I have criticized myself for the inability to create a sense of loss throughout the community that we would experience if we lost the open space the golf course provides. I was hard on myself — until I learned how few Restonians voted in the Reston Association Board elections. Way less than 10 percent, I’m told.

I understand apathy; I expect it. However, Reston was not built on apathy. Thousands of people have worked hard to create the community we thrive in today. It costs more to live here because of the discipline of the way we choose to live. As a result, we have succeeded. The manner in which we built this town has yielded consistent national recognition. It’s a special place.

When I was young, I lived in Houston. They exuded pride in having no zoning regulations. The out-of-control pace of development stretched the city’s boundaries in Texas-size growth. That is, until the housing bust plummeted values and the recent rains came. You could build a million dollar home and see a 7-Eleven store spring up on one side and an oil rig on the other. I don’t remember even a neighborhood in Houston, let alone a sense of community.

When I first saw Reston in the late ’60s, I instantly felt a sense of community. When I returned in 1978, I walked into the Reston Festival at Lake Anne and instantly decided — this is home. There is not a day I walk through the plaza without recalling that celebration of Reston in ’78.

We have lived here for 40 years, 25 in a home on the golf course. We have worked so hard to buy our home and invest in Reston as we raised our three kids and now seven grandkids. As have thousands of others, we have contributed to our neighborhood and community. The beat goes on; our children and their spouses are all teachers making an impact.

Let me be clear; our family is far from unusual. Other families also have a long legacy and have done much to make Reston what it is. Why do 90 percent of people who live here care so little about its future as to ignore their right to choose the leaders who guide that future? Are they too busy? Got to get the kids to soccer? “All I care about is driving on these nice roads, seeing the trees and kicking back. I’ll let someone else take care of the future.” Apathy.

No doubt everyone has a reason, specifically valid to himself or herself, for focusing inward of their own four walls. Busy for sure, but apathetic about the very nature of how we evolve and unaware of how we have to fight to preserve the very concept of Reston, only arousing when the threat of uncomfortable or inconvenient change rustles the bushes close to home.

For decades, Reston has fought the internal view of North and South Reston. Honestly, I have never understood that concept. Even before the Wiehle Avenue bridge was built, we developed as one community — many neighborhoods but one community. We took pride in the big “Reston” billboard on Route 7. Perhaps I feel that way because of the years I’ve spent in recreation and teaching players. We would use all of the parks, pools and fields.

But in the process of trying to preserve our open space, I have been amazed to hear comments like “that’s a South Reston problem,” “I don’t play golf,” or “I live in North Reston — don’t care.” Any problem that affects a neighborhood in some way impacts the entire community. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but we must direct our efforts to understand the effect on the whole.

We must be united in facing the big issues, regardless of the immediate neighborhood where we live. Six thousand housing units and the multiples of people residing on 167 acres of what is currently open space would have a domino effect on the entire area. It changes how we move, how we educate, the value of a RESTON property. It changes our patience too.

There are before us now many issues that require the energy of our leaders and their followers. We need to remember that the best way to achieve solutions to the challenges we face is for more people to become involved in the process. I am committed to the Steven Covey quote, “begin with the end in mind.” That’s how we became Reston. That’s how we shall deliver this town to our children who love to return and raise their own children.

If you have read this far it’s only right that I ask you to help support Rescue Reston’s Golf Tournament on Oct 2. Play golf that day. If you don’t play golf — seriously — everyone knows someone who does! Call them; ask them to play. Stay up on Northwestern Mutual’s continual assault to destroy those 167 acres at RescueReston.org/golf.

  • Drip

    In explaining Reston’s general apathy, perhaps it is because our local leaders, to include our quasi-governmental leaders, have progressively led Reston further and further astray of its original vision and master plan. At the most local level, this of course culminated in the misleading and scandalous sales tactics known as the Tetra debacle. Notably, Rescue Reston burned a large chunk of its credibility in vocally advocating for that albatross on the community. That blunder demonstrated Rescue Reston’s lack of pragmatism. Certainly, large-scale development of the golf course would create a traffic nightmare. But apathy will continue to long as Rescue Reston allows itself to get dragged into more good idea fairy aka Cate Fulkerson adventures.

    • Richard

      The Tetra purchase hardly indicated a withdrawal from Reston’s principles or a tarnishing of Rescue Reston. If anything, it is Cathy Hudgins and the rest of the Fairfax County Board of Directors who are eroding Reston’s principles with their approval of any new development and density increases that come around, regardless of the community’s views.

      • Drip

        I don’t disagree re Hudgins’ propensity for siding with developers without extracting significantly-more concessions. But regarding Tetra… It’s not Reston’s principles at issue but rather the RA’s ability to effectively and credibly perform its required tasks. Tetra is a very egregious example of RA’s failure and the harm that such failure can have on the community both tangibly and intangibly. This in turn significantly tarnished its reputation and may cause further apathy among its members. Rescue Reston, as a vocal proponent of Tetra, is therefore tarnished due to its role in the debacle.

        • John Farrell

          While supporting their work on RNGC, it must also said that RR’s leadership’s promotion of Waddell for the RA Board also seriously tarnishes their credibility.

    • Donald

      You have it all wrong — it’s the reverse. Apathy gets what it deserves. We got it in droves — nationally down to local.


  • Habitat

    I don’t understand why it isn’t made clearer for people who don’t give a hoot for golf or golf courses (like me) that THIS course is different than most. The fund raiser will include a nature walk for non golfers to show those differences, which includes an abundance of wildlife and very rare habitat that has shrunk down to almost noting in Ffx County, thanks to our supervisors.

    • No party affiliation

      Apathy has no home here.

  • Donald

    Well written John. Hope people read it and get it.

    Most importantly, your statement — ” begin with the end in mind.” That was engrained into me way, way back in my youth. I’ve used that principle in everything I do. It’s the only way one will see the outcomes one wants..


  • tryks67

    Stop hijacking the thread. Mr. Pinkman’s well-thought out post is about the golf course, not Tetra. If you have comments for or against surrendering open space to corporations, let’s hear those.

    • John Farrell

      This letter is a campaign commercial and should be labelled as such.

      We’re slowly ridding the RA Board of the Tetra supporters and don’t need to put another one back on.

    • Drip

      No, this letter is about Rescue Reston. It’s well documented that Rescue Reston was a leading proponent of RAs flawed plan, in league with a small group of lakefront homeowners, to significantly overpay on a dilapidated property that held little to no risk of actually being developed. As such, I question Rescue Reston’s judgment and credibility. Rescue Reston will forever be linked to Tetra and you can’t simply revise history. The letter discusses apathy in Reston. Perhaps Rescue Reston has contributed to some of that when it signed onto the Tetra bandwagon, which in turn destroyed so much goodwill.

  • TheKingJAK

    The one thing I’ve always loved about Reston is how engaged the citizenry is. Thus, I am a bit shocked if the 10% number is true.

    It’s always been great to see Restonians of all political persuasions coming together for a common cause of preserving the community, and I hope such unity only continues to strengthen as we move forward, for we shall certainly need it!

  • John Higgins

    Indeed, if “way less than 10 percent” of eligible voters cast ballots, the problem would not be just apathy, it would eight vacancies on the board. The Deed of Reston requires a minimum of 10 percent participation for a vote to be valid. Last year, just under 16 percent of ballots were returned. The count in one district was 22 percent.

    • Donald

      Well said.

      The good news, I don’t see in the Community the vitriol I often read here in the comments of RestonNow. Having conversations with neighbors and friends in the area, all they want is: to live in a unique, beautiful, and safe, community.

      The majority do not read RestonNow or even the Connection or the Fairfax Times. They are basically uninformed.

      The majority of people I know in Reston get their news from me, primarily, or the grapevine, typically started when a for-sale sign goes up in their locale — everyone wants to know “what are they asking?”

      They love the glossy Reston magazine (sorry folks). They tell me the magazine gives them important info as well as lovely articles on the Community — versus what I share about Reston. More times than not they think I’m too negative on their Community.

      Voting is secondary to them when it comes to RA. It’s apparent there is no sense of urgency in their local life to get too involved. If they do vote, they always ask me who they should vote for.

      They are starting to ask about all the high rises along the toll road, the parking at RTC, will real estate prices hold up because of all the apartments being built. They would not think of attending a meeting — unless I convey the importance. Dunno…



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