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Candidate Forums for Reston Association Election Slated for the End of February

by Fatimah Waseem February 15, 2018 at 3:30 pm 61 Comments

Public forums to engage with the 13 candidates vying for seats on Reston Association’s Board of Directors are slated for the end of the month.

There are 11 candidates are running for three at-large board seats and two candidates are running for the South Lakes District seat in an election that could dramatically alter the makeup of the board.

The at-large candidates’ forum for candidates seeking a three-year term is set for Monday, Feb. 26 from 7-9 p.m. at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The forum for South Lakes candidates and at-large candidates seeking a one-year term is set for the next day at the same time and place. A tentative rain date is set for March 1.

The breakdown of candidates is as follows:

  • Two at-large seats (three-year term): Aaron Webb, Colin Meade, Derrick Watkins, John Pinkman, Sridhar Ganesan, Travis G. Johnson and Ven Iyer
  • At-large seat (one-year term): Andy Sigle, David Ballard, John Bowman, Ray Wedell
  • South Lakes District seat (three-year term): Tammi Petrine and Julie Bitzer

The voting period for the election is March 5 through April 2. Results will be announced on April 10 at the annual members’ meeting at 7 p.m.

Stay tuned for candidate profiles on Reston Now in the coming weeks. Information on each candidate is available on RA’s website.

File photo.

  • The Taxman Cometh

    Anyone who as on this board during the Lake House debacle deserves to be removed from office. Those persons should not be elected/reelected to the board. They have forfeited their right to represent us in any capacity due to their lack of leadership and oversight, nto to mention the lack of curiosity about the sordid details in a timely manner. Empty promises to do better next time will not cut it,

    • Greg

      Name names?

      • LC

        I think Bitzer and Wedell were on then…but I could be wrong.

        • The Taxman Cometh

          Well, I was thinking especially of those two…and btw does anyone else remain as unimpressed with some of the candidates’ statements on the RA website as I am? I’m going to be there on the 27th.

    • LC

      Well someone needs to run against them or nothing will change.

    • Milos Foreman

      I think candidates who were on the Board during this fiasco need to address it. I live in South Lakes, so I will definitely ask Bitzer if I ever have the chance of meeting the candidate.Everyone should be asking this question and Board members need to be able to explain their vote. Bitzer’s candidate statement did very little to impress me.

      I am surprised in Wedell running after recently abruptly resigning. While I applaud him for standing up to RLL — wait sorry, RhLL, his actions were pretty Trump like. I agree with some of his viewpoints but professionalism is important.

      I like Vin Iyer but he lacks being cogent when he speaks but he definitely knows his stuff.

      Not an easy election in voting for someone.

      • Bernie Supporter

        Wow, couldn’t disagree with anyone more. Vin Iyer not being cogent? That’s ridiculous. He not only knows his stuff, he articulates it well, too. Best example: using hard numbers to demonstrate how our appointed board member and current Treasurer and candidate, Sridhar, is taking undue credit for lowering assessment fees. “I like Vin Iyver but …” is just a disingenuous cheap shot. I urge members to Vote for Ven. He’s someone who will watch your back.

  • Reality Check

    Forget about the lake hut. Anyone who is disruptive to the meetings or uses more than 50 words at a time to clarify their position is not working in the interest of the community. These meetings should take no more than 90 minutes and each should have a reported outcome. Youtube is fine, but we don’t run our community on it.

    • Donald

      Unfortunately, several members of the existing board appear to be very close to several candidates in the running. These candidates will have a significant advantage with that kind of “behind-the-scenes” support. Getting to a real “majority,” of the next board, is the objective of these folks.

      So, nothing has changed. This board is no different than those of the past – all having their “agendas”.

      My questions:

      1. Which of the candidates now running have been “officially” blessed by specific board members? Talk about Conflict of Interest.

      2. Who, on this board, are collaborating with each other regarding the elections?

      3. Are there “meetings” of a majority of board members, without public meeting announcements?

      4. Any Reston Members being promised a future position by this board?

      5. Any candidate, running now, being bullied by an organized group?

      6. I would love to see some board emails out in the light of day.

      Donald

      • Reality Check

        My personal choice here, for better or worse, is untainted Ven.

        Thanks for sharing my concerns, you got them out first.

      • Tom

        I think your tin foil hat is on a little to tight.

        • Donald

          Actually Tom, this is something even Mr. Magoo would be able to see clearly. No hats needed.

          Donald

          • Tom

            You must not see it either because you just asked questions based on speculations without making any solid points.

          • Donald

            I’m looking for honest replies from the board as well as the candidates to those questions. Get the responses on record for public consumption.The truth will set them free.

            Donald

          • John

            How do these questions apply? Has there ever been a person blessed by the board or someone bullied by organization?

          • Donald

            My goodness yes. Our elections history is chock-full. Just read the old Restonian, Patch, Connection, and RestonNow discussions.

            Nothing’s changed.

            Donald

          • Tom

            Still not giving concrete details.

          • Donald

            There have been slates and agendas since the days of the original ROA and RCA days. Again when the governing documents were being rewritten, through the recent fiascos. It never stops.

            This cabal, forming now, will take the members on another ride. I do give them credit for just being blatant and obvious about their intentions though.

            Donald

          • Tom

            If this is common knowledge this how has it been aloud to happen? Does no one care?

          • John

            Eh I don’t know still not really saying anything.

          • YoungRestonFamily

            This is the 1st time I agree with you Donald in your statement;

            “This group, forming now, will take the members on another ride. I do give them credit for just being blatant and obvious about their intentions though.”

            I guess there is a 1st time for everything 🙂

          • Donald

            “…It were not best that we should all think alike; it is difference of opinion that makes horse-races…”

            – Mark Twain

          • J Gallagher

            Agree – everyone had a right to run and all the members get to vote – remember Hillary was endorsed by the DNC and look how that turned out – people should just vote who they think is best – who will read the materials, do the homework, contribute to the Board, help provide oversight, and put members first – vote for who you think is best

          • Donald

            Anyone who runs should not have to find themselves campaigning against an organized cabal of select board members and their colleagues running. Not at this community level.

            Donald

          • Tom

            You are still making baseless claims. Where’s the proof? Do you have any or is this all just your opinion?

          • Bernie Supporter

            Nope. These candidates are literally running as “a team” and should fall as a team. Sadly, there’s one on that team that I would like to vote for, but the lack of judgment to buy into this “vote for us all” nonsense is too big an obstacle to overlook. These guys – with their current board supporters — are looking for a super majority. Can’t let that happen.

          • J Gallagher

            Yeah Donald I would like to see your data and analysis on that – LOL

        • Bernie Supporter

          But not as tight as your blinders.

      • ANG

        Bowman and Ganesan were appointed by the Board. They have formed a slate with Petrine and Johnson. So it is clear who the Board is backing. Oh, this Board has an agenda alright, and is not worried about being secretive since they have announced this slate and the slate has embraced the Board warmly as seen in the candidate videos. Once this slate is elected the meetings will only be 90 minutes like you say since there will be no disagreements or discussions.

        • Donald

          I am hearing the same. Supported by their close associates on the board.

          Donald

        • YoungRestonFamily

          This is how they want it. They don’t want anyone to challenge or disagree with them. This is not what’s best for Reston and the fact that certain Board members are condoning this, it only proves that they don’t care about the members, only their agenda. I can’t wait to vote the president, Carr, and White out as well. We need people in there that care about Reston and the members. I’m not able to attend a lot of meetings, but from the few I’ve been to and I watch all of the meetings on You Tube, I’ve been very disappointed in their behavior, the lack of respect for members, their votes, and how they treat people that comment

        • J Gallagher

          What is the agenda?

          • Donald

            Maintaining a constant “voting majority block” on the next board.

            This will be extremely detrimental. I feel for the other candidates running – they will never have an opportunity to participate.

            Donald

        • Bernie Supporter

          This is why I’m voting against all four “4”, and urge everyone else to do the same. As Donald says, these guys are looking for block voting. I prefer my board members to be independent thinkers.

      • J Gallagher

        Well consider the last Board gave concerned members 3 minutes to speak on the Lake House and this Board gave 60 – and consider that the last Board tabled a Conflict of Interest Policy for nearly 4 years while this Board is moving forward not only on the COI but also on a Whistle Blower Policy, and consider this Board has also begun to analyze the procurement decisions and the financial impact of RA decisions, and are working to reduce legal fees which are astronomical – I support efforts to increase transparency and efforts to reduce waste of RA funds.

        • Donald

          I’m glad to see you’ve become the spokesperson for Mr. Ganesan and a board that still has not responded to any of my requests. Apparently this board tables items that are of no concern to them — in the name of being “transparent” and “on a mission”.

          These select individuals now running (and already on the board) are no different from your descriptors of the last board — just change the names.

          Donald

          • Just wondering

            What were your requests? Maybe they were unreasonable.

          • Donald

            Data

          • J Gallagher

            That’s not really fair – I haven’t said anything about who I support – I think the most important thing is that the people who want a spot on the Board have the time to participate – to read documents, to listen to members, to support the mission of RA – it’s not an easy job!

          • Bernie Supporter

            I agree. Not an easy job. And made even more difficult by this group’s ludicrous decisions. I was at one meeting where one guy recently purchased dock/boat that was “too big” by two feet. Hadn’t been a problem under the last owner, and this should have been grandfathered in. I heard this board unanimously say how foolish it would be NOT to just grandfather this RA member in and solve the problem. Then at the last minute they said “no, we can’t change the rules” — and voted unanimously against this guy. I want every board member who heartlessly voted against this man off the board — starting with the ones who are on the “4 for Reston” team. If board members can’t change the rules when common sense says they should, I say change the board members instead.

        • Donald

          The COI is now — how many pages? It’s getting to the place if you are a paying member of RA, you are in conflict with RA.

          Donald

        • Bernie Supporter

          Interesting how this board is working on a Conflict of Interest policy. Up until now, current board members were discouraged from supporting candidates for the board. Seems like this board talks the talk but can’t walk the walk.

      • Derrick Watkins

        Being a candidate myself, I completely agree with what you are pointing out and some of these questions really need to be addressed. I agree with you that things need to change. I am a fresh face in the group and will bring new perspectives if I am elected. Being much younger than the other candidates, I have a point of view which will help young families have their concerns heard and acted upon, but I’m also one who listens to the knowledge of those who have been living in Reston for several years and have seen both the good and the bad. I am fully prepared to give the community my full attention and help out in any way that I can.

  • Timeforachange

    After receiving a post card on my door step telling me who I should vote for, I plan on making sure I don’t vote for anyone on that mailer. This board DOES NOT listen to its members and doesn’t represent all of Reston. Those that dare give comments at meetings are not listened to(because the president and treasurer both seem to be looking at a phone or talking to each other, when I’ve emailed and sent letters directly to board members they have gone unread and when I reached out 4 members let me know that they are too busy to read all of the member emails and letters sent to them as they agreed with each other when I asked during a meeting about my letter, they never return calls, and I’ve never seen any of them out visiting their districts and speaking with members. NO I WILL NOT BE VOTING THEM BACK IN OR THOSE THAT ALINE THEMSELVES WITH THEM. They do not do a good job representing those in the community that pay their assessments and that voted them in to represent and them all of Reston, not only those select few

    • voting4theotherguys

      Why would anyone vote for people the Board hand picks and campaigns for? I don’t want a Board full of people that all agree with each other and have the same agenda. How is this fair? So members are supposed to vote for candidates that all agree with this board, so they can vote for and push through everything they want without anyone to challenge or disagree with them. This benefits Reston how? We might as well have a Board of 1, because that’s what it will be if we vote for only candidates that agree with the current Board. There’s a reason Board members are campaigning for certain candidates. They have an agenda and want to make sure that agenda is carried through. They can’t have anyone on the Board that may question them. These are bully tactics and shameful

      • Donald

        Would love to know what promises are being made behind the scenes.

        Donald

  • YoungRestonFamily

    Anyone that has attended any of the Board meeting or that follow the current board would be foolish to vote Ganesan and Bowman back in. In meeting after meeting Bowman doesn’t seem to have a clue on what’s going on and isn’t well informed on how the Association works. Ganesan seems to like to hear himself speak and belittles people that don’t agree with them. He and the President seem to have an agenda during the meetings that aren’t in the best interest of Reston in a whole. They seem to be in their own world. We need new people on the Board that will challenge some of the decisions and bring fresh ideas in without an agenda, because they aren’t part of the “good old boy network”. We also need some younger Board Members. As someone that moved to Reston, because of its lakes, trails, pools, tennis courts, etc. I represent one of those young professional families with children that have moved to Reston to raise their children. I want someone on the Board that will represent the young families and preserve the community that we moved to, to raise our families.

    • J Gallagher

      Well I have 5 kids and feel that Reston offers so much – over the years, we have attended their programs for little kids, nature walks, Girl Scout programs, swim team, life guard training, summer camp – all of these are still all in place -we have rented the pool for graduation and taken prom pictures at the beautiful Lake Newport – I think they do a great job with programs and facilities – i think we need to make sure the money stays focused on our main mission – and that’s what we need to ask these candidates –

      • YoungFamilyReston

        All of that is fine, if you can afford the rental cost of those facilities. Both my husband and I are very hard working professionals(I’m a new educator) and the rental cost of some of the facilities are not within reach. Also, some of the programs and clubs that were offered are now gone(fishing club & sign language). Girl Scouts programs at times have time commitments that not all parents can commit to. There are also no programs for tween and teen children during the fall and winter from the association that we pay into. Yes, there are trails and pools during the summer, but when looking at communities in the area to move to, I look at a You Tube video stating all the features members have, I received a Welcome package that contained so much information about what the Association had to offer families and what our assessment could get us. Now I feel as if we were lied to, we moved to this community and bought a home based on things that are just not true. I have sent emails to the Board to express these concerns and never gotten a reply. I asked RA if the emails listed online we the correct emails, and I was told they were, yet I’ve never heard back. I’ve voiced this concern at meetings last year and I wasn’t listened to. Some of the Board members didn’t even look at me while I talked and the President was talking to another Board member while I spoke. I never even received a follow up. I also asked about maybe starting a once a month committee for young families new to the area to add input to the meetings and communities. I was told at the meeting last October this was a good idea and that they would discuss it, yet I haven’t heard a thing back. This Board does not listen to their members. I will not vote them in again, but I will ask the candidates, and send a few more emails to the Board(let’s see if I get a response back this time).

        • Donald

          Join the club. They only respond to those who favor them.

          Donald

          • YoungFamilyReston

            This is very true. This actually happened to me and as a member that pays the assessment this is disappointing. I was told I had 3 minutes and stopped when they said my time was up, thanked, and told they would discuss it. I have never heard back and none of my emails have been responded to. Yet, when the older guy speaks(the one that speaks every meeting), he gets to speak as long as he wants, they ask him questions from the table, and he’s allowed to speak multiple times. I went to a meeting and two ladies spoke one was Ms. Petrine and they were allowed to speak as long as they wanted and the Treasurer and President encouraged them to speak longer, because they were thanking them and saying how great they were. Yet, I was shut down for voicing my concerns and asking about a way young families could input in what happens here in Reston. Again, I will not vote for them

          • Donald

            Yup. Sad, just very sad. Don’t they realize they’re on camera, being recorded?

            Donald

        • J Gallagher

          Oh gosh – I so understand YoungFamily – I was a stay-at-home mom for years. Being a one income family in Reston = not easy. Now I have multiples in college and again, not easy!! It’s actually the reason why I got involved – when I saw our overhead costs at RA so so high (our building, our salaries, our legal staff) and our assessments going up, and no real big discounts to camps and programs – it felt like we were handing money over to lawyers and handing money over to the owner of the Lake House (like a LOT of money!!) – it felt like it was time to get involved. I’d rather have it go to reducing program costs or sprucing up our pools or making things more affordable for us. I attended meeting and joined the fiscal committee and feel like there are folks (Board and staff) who are trying! We need to stop paying people so much ($800K in legal fees? Seriously?) wouldn’t you rather reduce program costs or enhance services with that money? If you go to the candidates forum, ask where they would reduce waste – that will tell you if their priorities align to yours.

      • YoungFamilyReston

        Not everyone that lives here and pays the assessment can afford all of those programs. I have neighbors whose work situation have changed, due to lay offs, lost contracts, health, etc. Some of the options offered during Board meetings takes away from this being an inclusive community. Both my husband and I are college educated hard working people and can’t afford rental cost of the facilities that the Board keep saying are at a “affordable rate” or use Life Time Fitness like the President said to the older adult at the meeting. That is out of reach for some older adults that are living on a retirement income. I just think that they can look at how they can serve all members in a way that aligns with their financial goals. They just need to listen to members to do this and they are failing to listen to members or take our suggestions. I mean I can’t even get a reply back to an email or a follow up from my questions are asked at past meetings. This is very upsetting to me as a member

      • YoungFamilyReston

        After I read back over my response to you, I wanted to come back and say that I respect your views and I hope I didn’t come off harsh or rude to you, because that was not my intention. I just can’t support a Board that doesn’t listen to all of its members. We voted them in to represent us and part of that is listening and allowing us to have input in the process. They don’t do this and this is what I want to ask of the candidates. You can have a money focus and be fiscally responsible while listening to members. There needs to be a balance. There may be a reason why some programs are being taken away, but if this isn’t communicated back to the members they get the wrong idea. I asked about a program at a meeting and I was shut down. I was told that it was voted down, its over, and we aren’t discussing that now or at this meeting. I felt embarrassed and insulted. A Board member that respected its members and people, would of said. That was voted down, because…………x,y,z, and if you have more questions I would be happy to explain it to you at another time or please refer to…….. Instead of placing your hand in the air in a stopping motion and shutting me down. Yes, take care of the budget, but please don’t be rude to members while doing it

  • YoungRestonFamily

    The Board takes advantage of the fact that many younger people can’t join the Board, because of work and family obligations, so they vote in their own interest and often don’t think about the young families that also live here in the community and that will be responsible for keeping Reston a great community. This Board is running young families away as they plan on shutting down pools, make each of our facilities a rental only facility with members that pay the assessment being charged a huge fee to use the facilities they pay for, push maintenance off on facilities until the price becomes so great,they put closing it on the table(why not do scheduled maintenance, to keep cost down?), take away classes, events, programs, ball fields, etc stating to just turn these things over to the county. They don’t realize that people move here for the amenities and feel this is what our assessment should be paying for. I also haven’t heard any answers in regards to my emails or question at a Board meeting last summer in regard to what the board is doing for the tween and teen age youth in the area. I think Reston should have more things for them to do instead of only hanging out at a shopping center. What winter activities are being offered? My heart broke for some older members of the community that the Board decided to shut their class down at a meeting I viewed on You Tube. The president told these people that had canes and that were over 80yrs old to go to Life Time fitness, because the Lake House is for rentals. I’m not sure if their budget can afford Life Time Fitness or if they offer the class they were talking about, but these members pay an assessment and didn’t deserve to have a once a week class canceled. This current Board doesn’t seem to care about young families or senior adults. Shame on them. I will not vote for them or anyone that supports the two of them. Mr. Johnson and Ms. Patrine you do not have my vote

    • YoungRestonFamily

      I was going to include Bitzer in the no vote, but after watching her in a few meetings it seems as if she does care about the older adults and the residents having access to facilities. I also heard good things about the work she does on PRAC, so for now, I’ll be voting for her in lieu of Ms. Petrine. Ms. Petrine lost my vote when she went on and on at one of the meetings about how the great the Board was and then I see them supporting her. This doesn’t sit well with me

    • wish_i_was_young_again

      Wow, I wish I could write like this. truly well said.

    • Bernie Supporter

      Well said.

  • Rational Reston

    There are no real positive options here. And the process will ensure that this continues.
    The best hope for revitalizing the RA Board to work with a clean slate, rotating in part of the board only cements in the faults, and the worst thing about Reston will continue to be the RA board and their actions.

  • cRAzy

    Wow! What a mindless set of comments!

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