2018 Reston Association Board Election: Meet John Pinkman

by Fatimah Waseem February 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm 34 Comments

Voting in the 2018 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 5 through April 2. This week, we will continue posting profiles on each of the candidates.

Featured here is John Pinkman, who is facing six other candidates for two at-large seats for a three-year term. The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. With the exception of minor formatting edits, profiles are published in unedited form. 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?

I have lived in Reston for 40 years. After reading an article in the NY Times I visited Reston around 1970. The townhouses lining Lake Anne, the only lake in town at that time, were 2×4 sticks just being framed. I returned in 1978 looking for a permanent home for the family. I arrived on the weekend of the Reston Festival at the Lake Anne Plaza. It was such a joyous international community event with such diversity. I immediately fell in love. Still am.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Five years ago I co-founded Rescue Reston. Working closely with the county and RA, as we fought to defend open space, we realized that working together was more beneficial than organizing opposition separately. As successful as we have been, I believe we need a greater unification of community action. We need to unite the Reston Spirit. We face external challenges to the culture we have built for 50 years. The proposed senseless development is foreign to how Reston historically has grown. Take your profits and run, is not how we became Reston. The integrity of “let’s build what’s good for the long term benefit to the town” is how we thrived together. Now we see irresponsible growth expressed in “what can we get away with”. It looms in the future and on the bottom lines of external sources.

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

I see concerns as opportunities to share a vision of uniting a positive and cohesive future.

  1. Protecting Open Space preserves the very identity of Reston as a planned community.
  2. Maintaining our nature standards and planning for the future of Parks and Recreation amenities protects our property values and quality of life.
  3. Public Safety – Many years ago Reston was a safe community. The police use to say it was because the criminals couldn’t find their way out of town after burglary! It’s naïve to think that that is still true today. Although RA does not have responsibility for public safety we should increase our cooperation with police and fire first responders to raise awareness and use our best efforts to work with them in crime prevention and home security.  The term “first responders” is meaningful – they respond. Their main mission is to respond to emergencies. It is our job, our mission, to work with them to enhance the term  “prevent”.

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

We need to create an Annual Leadership Summit between neighborhood leaders and RA. We need to listen to each other’s needs and challenges. Listening shows respect. Conversations give birth to solutions.

As a professional baseball instructor and coach for 36 years I understand the need to create a unifying Reston Sports Council. The athletic community shares one goal – teaching children athletic values that they can use off the field, court, or pool to become excellent citizen leaders. Working together we can support the growth of individual sports, parks and facilities. Sharing excess capabilities and assisting each other’s needs for expansion helps everyone. Unifying safety standards is in everyone’s best interest. As Reston residents age in place, we need to learn how to provide social sports as well as we have understood competitive youth sports for decades.

Finally, I support and believe it is vital, to create a member survey that would assess the needs of the community as to parks and recreation use. It is important to learn from Restonians their needs as together we determine the future of Reston. Community leadership is creating a vision and listening to the people you serve.


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

During my 36 years as a coach and professional instructor I have learned that successful coaches are team builders. Creating a winning team begins by building trust. Trust begins with sharing information and the truth. Communicating what the team has in common and the joint vision for the future generates action. Teams that are apathetic or confronted with individuals, who present a unique self-interest, do not endure.  In the context of a community, town or city, there are varying and very local challenges to neighborhoods. Whether faced with a success or threat, leaders must recognize that any one issue may affect us all.

When evaluating a player or creating team strategy a coach must consider one skill or one game at a time. Observe, analyze, provide or obtain information, then if necessary make changes for improvement. The process is reasonable and objective. The integrity of the team or community is exposed in the process. As we live together and work together we all seek improvement and with the assistance of each other the community succeeds.

Click here to view video statements or read candidate statements submitted to RA. 

Photo by Reston Association

  • Drip

    Sorry, Pinkman struck out when he-through Rescue Reston-went all in on supporting the Tetra fiasco. That shows a complete lack of pragmatism and due diligence.

    • OneReally

      I see what you did there. 🙂

    • Drip drip drip

      Honestly, I think John knew as much as we did and basically had no malicious intentions as you insinuated. Lets keep in mind that we all were lied to, that we did not know the extent of the fiasco because it was a cover up (“lost paper work”), and that the mismanagement of the renovations never became public until it was too late.

      So which part of the scam did John participate in? Because if you knew you should be quiet and report to law enforcement, and not tattle tale on a public forum. In legalese its called slander.

      • Mike M

        There is zero slander in his comments you legalistic bully.

        • Bully WHO

          You provide little answers, only try to shut me up with insults.

          • Mike M

            There is NO slander. You were wrong.

        • Drip

          They get so mad when one reminds people that Rescue Reston and Pinkman vigorously advocated for Tetra. This guy is in… wait for it.,, left field. It’s not libel (slander is verbal) to state a simple fact, particularly regarding a public figure. So again, Pinkman supported and advocated for Tetra. He did not die his due diligence that even during that time, enough facts were out there to give one pause before staking his reputation on the line. Sue me.

          • I’d Rather Post As A Guest

            Pinkman and Julie Bitzer and hoping that everyone will forget their support for Tetra. They got snookered because they didn’t ask the right questions, they were out of their depth, they didn’t even know what questions to ask, or of whom. And shame on Rescue Reston for its support that boondoggle.

          • John Higgins

            Good swing, but foul ball. I think you meant to say “oral”. Sander and libel are both in words (verbal.) Unfortunately, it was also in words that Rescue Reston advocated for Tetra. It’s fair to call Mr. Pinkman on it. It’s also fair to hold judgment until we hear why the support was so strong. We heard from Mr. Wedell and Ms. Bitzer. Back in the batter’s box, John.

      • Tetra Troll

        Terry Maynard, Ed Abbott, Irwin Flashman, John Farrell and others wrote extensively 3 years ago about why the Tetra purchase was a bad idea.

        Nobody, including Segal, Wedell, Pinkman or Bitzer, can claim they were ignorant of the faults in Knueven/Byer proposal. At best it was willful ignorance by Rescue Reston and the “amen corner” – or, to borrow a phrase throw around a lot over the last two nights, a goobsmacking example of groupthink.

        • Sam In Reston

          WTH are you even talking about! It’s all BS, there was no money to follow you fool!

          • Donald


            “don’t trust the majority
            question priorities”


        • Bernie Supporter

          Regardng Terry Maynard, Ed Abbott, Irwin Flashman, John Farrell: Have they served on the Board in the past? And if so, when?

          • Terry Maynard

            I have not served on RA’s Board, but I did serve on RCA’s Board for several years. Also, the Reston Task Force and still co-chair Reston 20/20 among other activities.

            I’ve done my time and I know Ed (DRB) and Irwin (EAC) have both served on RA committees. John may have also, but I just can’t remember.

          • RestonWatcher

            If the group of 4 get elected we’ll be getting the aforementioned, Terry Maynard et el, as well! It’s like a buy one get one except awful!

          • Donald


            “don’t trust the majorities
            question priorities”


          • Bernie Supporter

            Probably a large one. I read Flashman’s Op-Ed piece on why RA shouldn’t do Tetra, and he pretty much nailed it. If he’d been on the board he may have prevented it. Missed opportunity there.

    • OpenSpace

      So what about the 51% that voted yes? Everyone condemned to ever lasting hell? John Pinkman did an amazing job in preserving the open space of the golf course. As I watch the towers come up all over Reston I wonder if we won’t be feeling differently about Tetra in just a very few short years.

      John, you’ve got my vote.

      • Drip

        “I wonder if we won’t be feeling differently about Tetra in just a few short years”

        Are you saying that you and Pinkman STILL think Tetra was a good investment of other peoples money based on prospective development in Reston? Holy crow.

      • Are you

        Ever heard that past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior. If Pinkman, Wedell, and Bitzer get on the Board – RESTON – HOLD ON TO YOUR WALLET – they will bankrupt RA.

  • Tetra Troll

    John, I was disappointed that you didn’t take the obvious opportunity last night to tell us whether you regret supporting the Tetra purchase. The question was posed and you said nothing.

    I also noticed that you did not address whether you are running in coordination with Julie Bitzer as has been suggested by others here.

  • Tetra Troll

    John, I was disappointed that you didn’t take the opportunity presented last night to address whether you regret supporting the Tetra purchase in light of the cost overruns for the renovations and been revelations of the Stoneturn and Callahan/Gallagher reports.

    I also expected you to address the suggestion that you are coordinating your campaign with Julie Bitzer. Certainly, you both are using similar phrases and issues.

    Care to address?

    • PinkmanYes

      For goodness sake does that matter? I just got a VOTE 4 FOR RESTON that has current board members and candidates on it?

      • Bernie Supporter

        Aren’t they disgusting?

        • Are you

          At least the 4 are transparent which is what everyone wants. The others are covert (Pinkman, Bitzer, Meade, Sigel) No one wants to admit to it. Give me a break – it is obvious!

          • Bernie Supporter

            Clearly, you’re not attending or watching the candidate forums. Given the unfair advantages of the “Frightful 4 for Reston” slate of candidates, Ray Wedell announced that he was supporting Ivyer and Pinkman (so much for your covert theory). All you have to do is listen.

            Sadly, the FRIGHTFUL FOUR FOR RESTON is not only about Groupthink and wanting Control of the Board. It’s also about money and trying to get an unfair advantage over the other candidates.

            The “FRIGHTFUL FOUR FOR RESTON” have four times the resources creating an overwhelming financial advantage. One piece of political advertising with 4 faces costs the same as one piece with one face. So the FRIGHTFUL FOUR can release four times the amount of campaign material for the same investment.

            Even worse, look at what the “Frightful Four” is putting out. It’s just NAME RECOGNITION CAMPAIGNING. There’s no room on their handouts and mailers to say anything but vague “non-statement” statements. They are trying to buy this election. Don’t fall for it.

      • Tetra Troll

        It matters for two reasons:

        1) his support for Tetra exhibits his vulnerability to group think, poor judgement and an unwillingness to dig into the details

        2) his refusal to admit his mistake demonstrates an inflexibility and hubris that will harm RA.

  • The Taxman Cometh

    So John is all in for saving golf courses–especially the one in his backyard–but what about all the other development he rails against? Which new projects are part of the “proposed senseless development” that you rail against? And how do you propose to stop or slow down the process? Do you have opinions on the metro-adjacent buildings going up? Which office or apartment buildings would you have us tear down?.

    • Are you

      Bitzer lives on that golf course too.!!! Hmmm better protect their property values.

  • MakeRestonBetter

    It is so interesting that there are so many candidates for a volunteer, near-full time position in this election. Yet, for all the criticism of Supervisor Hudgins, who is regularly lambasted on this site, she gets no real competition for that seat – and that’s a PAID position! I’m genuinely curious about the reasons behind this. Why would people compete so vigorously for non-paid totally thankless positions that have very little real power? Hudgins and Plum have been re-elected many times without any effective opposition, or even real discussion of the issues. Where’s the energy for change at those levels?

    • John Higgins

      Interesting question. I have a multi-facet theory, but no one wants my opinion. Sure would like to hear some thoughtful responses.

    • cRAzy

      Nothing resembling a viable Republican candidate for any of these positions in this heavily Democratic area. One independent stepped up against Hudgins about a decade ago, but was beaten.

      Most of the reason for the Dem. dominance strangely lies in Republican gerrymandering. They tried to “herd” all the Dems into 1 or 2 NoVa districts and so we end up with the likes of Gerry Connolly as our Congressional rep. On the other side of the equation, it’s why Barbara Comstock wins. Makes me puke! That may change if the case against Va. gerrymandering eventually wins, but don’t hold your breath.

      • MakeRestonBetter

        But so many of the people I hear complaining about development are self-described progressives. Why don’t they get their party to find someone else if they think she is part of the problem? I agree that finding a Republican who can win against her is a non-starter. But an independent … maybe.

  • Arlene Krieger

    I would also like to know what your opinion is about getting rid of Lake House once and for all. There is no way to get enough income to even cover the expenses. Why not cut our looses and take what we can get and put the money back in our emergency fund. Why not invest that money in such a way to get the member’s money back?.


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