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Roster of Candidates Running for Reston Association Board Released

by Fatimah Waseem January 31, 2018 at 11:30 am 66 Comments

Thirteen Restonians are vying for four seats on Reston Association’s Board of Directors in this year’s election.

The nine-member board is up for a major shake-up this year. Eleven candidates are running for three at-large board seats and two candidates are running for the South lakes District seat for a three-year term.

All races are contested. A breakdown of the candidates, who were certified earlier this week, is below. Seven candidates are running for two at-large seats with three-year terms:

  • Aaron Webb
  • Colin Meade
  • Derrick Watkins
  • John Pinkman
  • Sridhar Ganesan (appointed as treasurer due to board vacancy)
  • Travis G. Johnson
  • Ven Iyer

Four candidates are running for another at-large seat for a one-year term:

  • Andy Sigle
  • David Ballard
  • John Bowman (current at-large director)
  • Ray Wedell

Tammi Petrine is challenging Julie Bitzer for the South Lakes District seat.

Voting opens on March 5. Results will be announced on April 10.

The nine-member board consists of eight directors, who are elected for three-year, staggered terms by members, and one director elected by apartment owners. Four of the eight directors are district-level representatives while others are elected by the membership at-large.

Reston Now will publish candidate profiles in the coming weeks. Submitted candidate statements are available on RA’s website. Candidates are listed in alphabetized form.

For more information, email the elections committee at [email protected] or call 703-435-6530. Information is also available on RA’s website, including an elections calendar.

  • Drip

    Yay, Ray Wedell is running again! He was (verbosely) for the Tetra purchase before he was (verbosely) against it (only after the sham became apparent). Glad another Tetra supporter, Ms. Blitzer, is being challenged “for her the South Lakes District seat.” But seriously, this is much better than the days when every position was uncontested.

    • SickOfIt

      Oh Please, Tammie?! Talk about verbose!

      • cRAzy

        No candidate knows more about RA and its activities that Tammi Petrine. And her judgment on matters such as Tetra, the Lake Anne land swap fiasco, the Lake Anne Fellowship House debacle, and much more has been timely and spot on.

        • The Constitutionalist

          Too bad nothing else she says is, luckily, nothing else she says matters.

  • Joe Leighton

    Sridhar is the Treasurer of Reston Association he is not the Secretary

    • TiredOfIt

      Let’s hope he’s neither. 1/2 these guys Sridhar included had to be appointed because they couldn’t get elected!

      • cRAzy

        Sridhar has never run for RA BOD. He has been President of the RCA Board of Directors.

        • CaptainObvious

          Indeed, they are leaders of the cleanup of devastation left by Bitzer, Wedell, Knueven and Co.

          • Conservative Senior

            Don’t forget Cate! She should have been fired!

        • SarcasticCFO

          I know, we must be crazy to have an election where members vote. Surely the Board knows what is best for us and picks the right people for the job. How else can a group of people with a stellar decision making history do anything but the right thing for us.

  • John Higgins

    Technical Correction: Mr. Ganesan was elected by the board to the office of treasurer. He was subsequently appointed to fill the vacant director seat.

    • John Lovaas

      Thanks for the correction, John. Sridhar
      Ganesan has played a leading role in RA reforms as well as action to pay off Tetra mortgage, saving RA membership over half a million bucks.

      • SarcasticCFO

        How many of you use your spare cash to pay off your mortgages? I mean, you will avoid all that interest on that 3% 30-yr mortgage, right?That is the best use of cash to pay off a 3% loan on a property that RA is upside down.

        • Technical correction: it was not a mortgage. It was a personal loan secured against RA’s future earnings (our dues). RA could not secure a mortgage on Tetra because they paid well over the appraised value.

          • Donald

            Mr. Carr, you do understand this is the way an association would typically secure financing. In most cases, an association cannot pledge real property against a loan. You make it sound as if this was something unique, disguised or concealed. Your ignorance as a board member frightens me.

          • SarcasticCFO

            That’s even worse – try getting a payday loan for 3%.

          • Donald

            Mr. Carr, it is very common for community associations to secure financing this way. They will use assessments, dues, etc. This is how our association sought its loan. In fact, as I understand, in most instances this is the only method lenders will accept. You make this sound as if it were contrived, or misguided.

          • John Higgins

            Correct, Donald. Loan rates are driven by the risk the bank faces. Pledged revenue (the case here) offers significantly less risk than a mortgage and therefore the lowest cost. I appreciate the view of Mr. Carr and many, many others that the appraisal (by independent, professional appraisers) was flawed. Nonetheless, had RA chosen to seek the higher rate mortgage, the appraised value would have supported that. RA took the right decision given its options.

          • Donald

            Agree. I’m tired of the hiding/disguising of the facts. Please Mr. Carr, ask questions before laying out your opinions as ‘fact’. ‘Personal’ loan — really sir?

          • Mike M

            Um, his point is valid. Most Clusters don’t have such an underwater asset to even consider.

          • J Gallagher

            No one said this was not a common way to finance – what we said is that the members were not told that we were taking a loan and paying for it out of our assessments.

          • curious

            Are you allowed to engage on social media sites comment sections as a Board Member, putting information out there as if it’s a fact in regards to the loan? If this is in deed a fact, can you please direct me to where this is written on the website. I’ve watched the video from the last meeting in regard to the Lake House and that was not mentioned. I’ve even gone back to watch it. Is there something that we aren’t being told? Did the bank say they couldn’t secure a mortgage on their own, because they were paying over the appraised value? Prompting them to go back and use our assessment dollars? Please explain Mr. Carr, because this is something we should all be made aware of. Thank you for bringing this to our attention, because the presentation didn’t mention they sought this type of loan, because they could not get one on their own, due to the appraised value. I look forward to your reply. Thank you for making us aware

          • First of all, I am commenting in my role as an RA member and Director. I do not speak for the Board as a whole, but for myself based on my knowledge and experience with this issue.

            My comments on this issue date to my service as Tetra Review Committee chair through my present service as a board member, and are based on the documents provided to the StoneTurn Group and to Jill and Moira.

            In 2014, RA staff and our general counsel discussed a mortgage for Tetra. Our counsel raised the concern that RA would be unable to secure a mortgage because the appraisal would be too low. I cannot confirm that they asked the bank for an opinion on this, either officially or informally, as no documentation of this potential conversation exists. In the end, the bank did not conduct–to my knowledge–an appraisal on the property. In lieu of a mortgage (which would have been problematic had it been performed and come in under the purchase price). RA took out a loan secured by future dues revenue, and used the proceeds from that loan (a personal loan, essentially) to pay for the Lake House.

            Jill and Moira have this documentation, and RA staff can provide copies of it if they are asked. This is also documented to a limited extent in the StoneTurn report (pp. 15-16).

          • Reston

            First, banks do not appraise properties. A mortgage applicant is responsible for presenting an appraisal if that’s the intended security for a loan. If the security offered is something else, an appraisal is not relevant.

            Second, the appraisal for Lake House was dated Feb 4, 2015, and stated a value commensurate with the purchase price. Financing had not been locked in at that point, so any speculation as to what the appraisal might be doesn’t tell us much, except that counsel was mistaken.

            Third, characterization of a revenue-secured commercial loan as “a personal loan” is not correct and really doesn’t add to the dialogue. If this subject is of any interest (it’s not to me) how about asking the former CFO to fill in the blanks regarding his discussions with the bank. Short of that, we are all just throwing spitballs at the blackboard.

          • curious

            First of all that was a question in regard to Board members/directors commenting on social media sites without providing exact details on where the information is listed. Second of all I did not mention the board in a whole, I mentioned you. I asked you a direct question. Then you still did not give me a direct answer. Then you sited two RA Member presentations(which I watched 2 times) and a “limited extent report”. I will take you up on that offer and go to RA and ask them for the report Jill and Moira presented. Your statement was “RA could not secure a mortgage on Tetra because they paid well over the appraised value.” So, from this statement one would assume that RA went to the bank and was denied a mortgage, so they went back to the bank to secure a personal loan, because they could not secure a mortgage due to the purchase price. I did not hear evidence of that in the video. So I asked you if that is indeed the case, where they could not get the loan on their own, so went back and took out a personal loan for this reason, I would like to know and as a home owner we should all be made aware. Are Jill and Moira providing their documentation to the Board members and to the public.

          • Reston

            I’m sure Mr. Carr can answer for himself, but permit a few comments. A number of RestonNow readers have urged RA board members to contribute comments here, not as spokespersons, but as informed individuals who have personal views. Very few directors have done so, and we should welcome their initiative.

            We all make mistakes, as he has here when he suggests that the valuation would not have supported a mortgage. He was perhaps led to that error by a few somewhat careless statements in Thursdays’ report. One presenter said, “I can’t understand why a bank would not obtain an appraisal.” Had a banker or realtor been asked, the answer would have been clear. Elsewhere we heard that the “highest and best use” of the property was as an office. That’s not what the appraisal report says. (It’s available on the RA website.) The remainder of that sentence in the report says, “…with correction of deferred maintenance and to proceed with expansion of the property with a commercial use.” (e.g. a restaurant.) Some folks say building a restaurant there would have been impossible; others say possible but difficult. From here it gets complicated, so I’ll leave the subject with this comment…not everything we hear and read is accurate, even from those we would expect to have all the facts.

          • J Gallagher

            Well “careless” is kind of a harsh word. Nothing that we said or did was careless. To clarify, there were a couple of loan packages that RA was considering, including the option of securing the loan against the property. We saw this in spreadsheets and correspondence between the CFO and the fiscal committee. Stoneturn references a Tetra bank appraisal, but we have not seen that. My thought was to check this bank appraisal to validate the property price but because we secured the loan against our assessments, no appraisal was needed. I have no indication if this decision was intentional or if RA obtained better rates/terms using our assessments; I do know it would have helped if we had a second opinion on the purchase price.

          • J Gallagher

            In addition Reston, “Had a banker or realtor been asked, the answer would have been clear.” – so what’s the answer?? If it’s so clear, then why not state it here? You have a whole thread of 40+ comments here talking mostly about the financing, asking really good questions, and you’re telling me it’s clear?

            And on the highest and best use, it does NOT say “(e.g., restaurant)”. Our point was NOT only that it was appraised as a restaurant, but the value of the space as an office was not even briefed to the Board (that we can see), that the zoning was questioned by the previous appraisal and not mentioned to the Board (that we can see), and that there was a difference in opinion as to the development potential of the property between the owners and the county, as cited in the earlier appraisal. None of this was shared. Our point was that critical information was omitted in the fact sheet and referendum materials.

          • Guest

            Thank you for working to lower our annual extortion payments by $10 this year.
            This gravy train has got to stop ‘curious’, and dump the CEO.

          • J Gallagher

            Hi there – we had many questions on the loan and remain unclear as to how decisions were made. The CFO at the time said in a public meeting that he was shopping a $2M loan, and discussions with the fiscal committee on loan terms, and then we saw things change (amount to $2.65M, not securing against property, no appraisal) – then Stoneturn include in its list of documents a bank appraisal, which we requested but did not receive. We had questions on the financing decisions and felt like we should raise the questions that were not addressed in the fact sheets or website or other public documents. We also felt like the members should have been told that the loan was being secured against our assessments and not the property.

          • Donald

            J Gallagher,

            Is this report of yours available for review? I saw the video, and if I may be blunt, I heard many assumptions being made. You know, sources and methods. This is starting to sound like the proverbial “memo” being touted over the last several weeks, and given RA is now starting a new election cycle, people have a tendency to cherry-pick the facts at the local level too.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            To be blunt you sound like John Higgins who always gives us a hard time just not always under his own moniker. And you always answer right after Higgins. Hmmm. I keep seeing you discredit the presentation “Donald” but I don’t hear any specifics – so what do you need me to explain to you? Be specific.

          • Donald

            J Gallagher,

            Goodness, no need to lash out.

            My ask was a simple one: is your report available for review, and does it include your assumptions, sources and methods? Nothing more.

            And while I’m flattered, no, I am not Mr. Higgins. Never met the person, but appreciate (more times than not) his sensible, well thought out commentary.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            Ok John LOL

            Just look at the posts – you always post at the same time.

            We said we would provide our information to the Board and let them decide what to do with it.

            And you still haven’t provided any specific questions.

          • Donald

            J Gallagher,

            For someone that has been portrayed as an individual bent on transparency — you are failing horrendously.

            All I asked — a simple ask — may I (and Reston members) review your report? I’d like to see your data sources, the assumptions you had to make, and the reasoning behind your conclusions. Any good analyst would be able to provide this.

            But, what I’m getting from you, comes across as subterfuge. It appears you’re hiding something. Why is the board the only entity that can review this? Is there data behind your presentation? Did you prepare this presentation for nine people, or did you prepare this for us (Reston members) to review, so we could make our own conclusions? Show the data.

            Thank you,
            Donald
            (you can call me Don or Donny if you’d like)

          • J Gallagher

            We delivered our presentation and sources to the Board and believe they will be posting for members. In all honesty, if you look at our presentation, most of the slides are already sourced or have snapshots of the sources we used. About 85% of what we used was available on the RA website and stoneturn report, the rest were publicly sourced (social media, county records).

          • Donald

            All the members have seen is a video of your presentation, taken from a distance. All I have from the publicly disclosed documents, from the board, is the following statement below item G of the January 25 board packet:

            “Information on this item will be presented by the Ms. Callaghan and Ms. Gallagher during the January 25, 2018 Board of Directors Meeting.”

            Many conclusions, and opinions, were shared by you and the board. Yet, none of us – Reston Association Members – have anything to review, to interpret, to analyze, for ourselves.

            Why is the data being kept from us? Why won’t you share it?

            Donald

          • Mcallaghan

            Donald,

            We gave the RA board a copy of our slides and sources this past weekend. Ask the board to share it. Is it our understanding they plan to do so

            Most of the materials we reviewed are the same materials that Stoneturn reviewed. Ask RA to provide you with the Stoneturn exhibits/files. Look at the documents on the RA Lake House website.

          • Donald

            I have reviewed the StoneTurn Report, found it thorough. It’s all here at the Reston site:
            https://www.reston.org/CapitalProjects/TheLakeHouseSponsoredbyComstock/tabid/978/Default.aspx

            I still don’t understand why you won’t share your information with the RA members (your neighbors) yourselves. Is this your work? Or, are you somehow tied or obligated to this board, or some person(s) on the board? I find your unwillingness to share with us, strange and disingenuous.

            Sorry, but perceptions can be obvious telltales.

            Donald

          • Mlcallaghan

            Donald,

            I am tied and obligated to no one except my family.

            We submitted the information to the board for them to share. Reston Association’s website and office is the most appropriate place for our work to reside so all members can have access to it. All the documents are in the RA offices. Anyone can call the county for additional information.

            Ask RA to provide the documents. If you are declined, then let everyone here know.

          • Donald

            Mcallaghan,

            I’m sorry to keep belaboring this, but I’m fascinated as to why you won’t make your analysis available directly to the Reston members. Your statement implies the board controls your analysis.

            You made some serious inferences during your presentation. It would be nice to directly see the analysis that went into these statements.

            Question: if RestonNow or the Connection asked to publish all of your data used, as well as the presentation that summarizes your findings — would you?

            Thank you,
            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            We both told you that we shared what we had with RA so that anyone could access and you continue to come after us aggressively. It makes me wonder who you are and what your motivations are as no other member has treated us this way.

            The fact that you questioned if the work was ours was shocking – is that because we are women?

            You called us “careless” and “disingenuous” and “strange” and that we “failed horrendously” – for what? releasing our documents in 7 days rather than 1? Or not consulting you on how we wanted to distribute OUR work? Really?

            I’m gonna go out on a limb here and make a bet that Donald gives our work a negative review and uses vague words like “inconclusive” or “naive” or something similar to discredit our work. I’m expecting it.

            We did what we said we were going to do. We delivered our documents. I’m done.

          • Donald

            J Gallagher,

            Please accept my sincerest apologies if I’ve caused you any angst.

            All I was trying to say is: why not share your analysis with all of us? How did you come to your conclusions? To this point all we have seen is a video of the verdict, without having seen the trial or deliberations.

            But, I see this is causing more harm than good. Someday, we’ll see what the board is willing to share.

            Thank you,
            Donald

          • curious

            Mr. Carr if you go back and read my comment/question, you should see that I was indeed asking a question as a concerned member. Yet, your reply was quite rude and curt. I’m a home owner here in Reston and I’m ashamed and personally offended that a board member would reply in such a manner to a member, when you were elected to be a voice for all of us in the community. Your tone is very unbecoming of what a Board member should be. Instead of seeing my question for what it was you took it personal and lost my respect for you as a board member. have a great evening

        • The Constitutionalist

          You think people actually do that? In this day and age?

      • John Higgins

        I forgive him for that.

        • Donald

          Agree. I’m still trying to understand it myself.

  • Sonia M. Valdes

    The word to describe Ray Wedell is “shameless”. He resigned less than a year ago.

    • LaureenMT

      I am shocked to see Ray Wedell run for this office, when he resigned in the fall. At the Hook Road meeting, his rudeness to citizens of Reston was appalling. He is no public servant.

      • Bernie Supporter

        I figure Ray Wedell is running again because of how badly the board screwed everybody by paying off a low-cost loan and trying to pretend that the Lake House is now a profit center. Didn’t the payoff money come from RA emergency fund? And Laureen, I was at the Hook Road meeting. Was Wedell loud and interruptive? Sure he was. But given that he was the only voice speaking out against what seemed like an orchestrated presentation on why it was imperative to destroy the Hook Road park area, the other point of view clearly did not get equal time. And the people who “explored” making the changes in Hook Road all where special interests groups, trying to take an area that was designed for all and put it into the hands of the few instead of the many. Rudeness is point of view. You found him rude. I found him protective of his constituents.

        • Donald

          What I observed of Mr. Wedell is his passion and dedication to everything Reston. It’s a truly admirable quality. What I also observed was his method of delivery. At best, poor. If Mr. Wedell could do one thing it would be — listen and adjust. I hope the others will heed the same. Just one person’s opinion.

          Donald

      • EaglesWon

        Ray wrote that confusing 5 page letter and acted poorly in that August Hook Road meeting, yes. But you should see the March 2017 BOD meeting video where he spoke clearly and definitively against the Hook Road project so effectively that the Board was about to vote against it. Somehow the CEO managed to keep the proposal alive in that meeting.

  • Posting as a Guest

    The number of people who vote in the RA Board election is fewer than the number of people who complain here about them.

    • The Constitutionalist

      If only that were true.

  • Donald

    Where is Ms. Petrine’s application and statement? I do not see it on the Reston portal. Did I miss it somehow?

    Donald

  • Thought Ray Wedell had just resigned from the board? Is he still a Reston renter or has he bought a home? Would it be something to elect a board member with a long term commitment to Reston? Not just a temp living here.

    • Frank

      That seems pretty discriminatory, why do you have a problem with renters?

      • Owners tend to have more long term interest in a community than a person renting month to month or year to year. Should the 1,000 apartment renters have a vote ….if the TC became a part of RA? I thought that the RA was created to protect the long term interests of the community?

        • Reston is on a roan to add 5,000-10,000 renter residents and maybe they will want to run things.

          • Butts

            How dare people who live here want to have a say in where they live.

          • I thought that legally RA is a HOA..Home Owners Association?

          • Butts

            See here:

            https://www.reston.org/Portals/3/Inside%20RA/Reston%20Association%20Governance/Governing%20Documents/RADeed.pdf

            Section III.3. Membership

            (a) Members:

            Category C Members shall be all Occupants of residential units on the Property.

            Section III.4. Member Voting

            (b) Voting Rights:

            3) For purposes of electing Directors, a Category C Member shall be entitled to cast one vote for the residential unit he occupies. No more than one Category C vote per unit may be cast. Except as may be provided in the Bylaws, in all other cases a Category C Member shall not be entitled to vote.

            Also straight from Reston.org:

            Reston’s membership is comprised of 21,346 residential units. All residential property owners and renters subject to the Reston Deed are automatically members of the Reston Association

          • Frank

            I still don’t understand why you don’t think renters should have a say in their community? Should they not have the same rights because they rent?

    • Reston

      That’s an odd question, Lord James. One must be an owner to be a “true Restonian”? There are many reasons one might choose to rent rather than own and I don’t think they owe you or me an explanation. I think your question does disservice to the thousands of RA members who are renters.

      • Owners tend to have more long term interest in a community than a person
        renting month to month or year to year. Should the 1,000++ new apartment renters have a vote ….if the TC became a part of RA? I thought that the RA was created to protect the long term interests of the community? Of course, the county like the boom in renters as they tend to not have children so the taxes paid on the property they rent can go to things other than education. But it does and will change the character of Reston as BobS saw it.

    • Reston

      That’s an odd question, Lord James. One must be an owner to be a “true Restonian”? There are many reasons one might choose to rent rather than own and I don’t think they owe you or me an explanation. I think your question does disservice to the thousands of RA members who are renters.

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