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Op-Ed: Some Reston Association Campaign Watchers Have Gone Off the Rails

by RestonNow.com March 20, 2018 at 10:15 am 122 Comments

This is a commentary from Lynne Mulston, director on the Reston Citizens Association Board, the Coalition for a Planned Reston, and chair of Rescue Reston’s North Course Committee. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Please, citizens of Reston and members of Reston Association. The real issues are those that we hold dear to our hearts.

These attacks within our own ranks weaken our strength as a community. I refer to the recent activities within the Reston Association that attack staff and our elected board, resulting resignations of competent leaders, and negative campaigning tactics. The Reston Association staff and elected officials who should be looking out for our community, and protecting the ideals that Reston was built upon. I view this turmoil as a distraction of our attention away from the real risks our community is facing: developers purchasing our open space, Fairfax County’s Department of Planning and Zoning attempts to amend our PRC zoning, the County’s ongoing deference to developers when it comes to amending the comprehensive plan, etc. We need to be fighting the REAL issues at hand that threaten our community, our way of life, the Reston that Bob Simon envisioned and we have come to love and cherish.

Don’t think that the County’s deferral of the PRC Zoning Amendment constitutes a “win,” it is not. The County will continue with their standard M.O. – add community meetings to the agenda, allow citizens to believe they have input, that their voices are heard. With a placated citizenry, the County then steamrolls their desired outcomes (or the desired outcomes of the developers) despite the inputs of the community.

We’ve got a fight on our hands and it is not inward facing, but outward facing. Please let’s put all this infighting aside and focus on the real issues. We need RA leaders who are willing to stand up for the citizens of Reston and advocate for the issues that the community needs in terms of representation, motivation and advocacy. This is not us!

Get involved!

Reston Citizens Association (RCA) needs your help! We are an integral part of the Coalition for a Planned Reston (CPR) as we defend Reston’s current 13-persons per acre density zoning limitations for PRC zoned areas, and the need for infrastructure build-outs to support the building that has already occurred. RCA needs your talent and time to help affect positive change. RCA’s President, Dennis Hays observed: “RCA is the incubator for just about everyone involved in leadership positions in other organizations in and around Reston.  We provide the opportunity to get involved in serious issues and teach people how to interact with our state and local governments.” RCA includes all of Reston, including those who live in Reston Town Center, Deepwood and other parts of Reston that are not part of RA. Learn more about RCA Committees and how to get involved here.

Rescue Reston needs your help to protect and defend the Open Space that we call Reston’s “lungs,” the North and South Golf Courses, and the removal of the Road from Nowhere from the County’s “Conceptual” grid of streets that threatens Reston’s North Course.   You can join by sending an email to [email protected] and/or donate to Rescue Reston by visiting www.rescuereston.org/donate  and check out easy ways to help with our current fundraisers.

  • OneReally

    Another Op-Ed that has to insert Bob Simon.

    He envisioned dollars!!!!!

  • Guest

    The RCA is a toothless, unrepresentative group which no longer has any standing, save for that which it claims for itself. And please leave the poor corpse of Bob Simon to rest in peace. His name is invariably invoked in all manner of contexts. But his day has come and gone. And I want RA to stick to the task of being a HOA, with proper internal controls and governance and nothing more.

    • Are you

      I agree so please support Ganesan (he has put in place many internal controls as the RA treasurer).

      • Donald

        You’re kidding, right?

        Donald

        • Who?

          Who do you support?

          • Donald

            Not Ganesan. He’s the one that proposed RA go into debt for close to $ 4 million to build an indoor tennis facility at the Lake Jouse tennis courts.

            While everyone was demanding Boston Properties go back to free parking, as RCA president, he proposed to Boston Properties they donate their parking revenue to Reston causes. Yea, that one pleased a lot of Restonians.

            Ganesan’s record shows he not a critical thinker, and lacks board governance experience. But, he embarrassingly try’s to convey to the public he is.

            Mr. Ganesan is tightly aligned with a group (some on the RA board as well) that want to create a majority voting block.

            He hides his true identity better than Nick Brody did in ”Homeland”.

            Donald

          • Who

            Soooo who do you support?

          • Donald

            I will tell you four people I did not support.

            Donald

          • Ted

            Well I guess it’s good to know you don’t know who to vote for

          • Donald

            Yes, I voted. Make your choices. Like I said, I did not vote for Ganesan, Petrine, Bowman, or Johnson. I’ve shared many times why. Care for me to share again?

            Donald

          • Ted

            If you don’t support anyone why vote?

          • Donald

            Actually, I said I don’t support four people. Get your facts straight.

            I believe the other candidates are all qualified. Plenty to choose from.

            Donald

          • Ted

            Tis a shame

          • Donald

            I support:
            Aaron Webb
            Colin Meade
            Derrick Watkins
            John Pinkman
            Ven Iyer
            Andy Sigle
            Julie Bitzer
            David Ballard
            Ray Wedell

            I do not support:
            Sridhar Ganesan
            Tammi Petrine
            John Bozeman
            Travis Johnson

            Who do you support?

            Donald

          • guest

            What is you issue with Travis Johnson?

          • Donald

            Being naive enough to align himself with the other three.

            Donald

          • guest

            Isn’t Ganesan the only CFO on the board? Shouldn’t that carry some weight?

          • Donald

            Robert Wood is the RA CFO, as well as the acting CEO. He is a paid employee of the organization.

            Ganesan is a volunteer, appointed to the position of Treasuer, by this board. He is not compensated, or held accountable for his decisions. The Treasurer position is an advisory role to the board. A select group of Ganesan’s director buddies appointed him.

            Now, he wants to be a director too.

            Donald

          • guest

            Isn’t Ganesan the only board member who is a CFO, professionally? He has a finance background and according to Reston Now works as a CFO in the area. I understand the board seat is voluntary and he is not on RA staff. Of all the candidates running I think he is the only one with CFO experience. Correct? Wouldn’t this type of experience be a benefit to the board as they contend with budgets and financial matters?

          • Donald

            I’m not sure why being a CFO carries any more weight than someone with a strong desire to commit themselves to the community.

            There are many well qualified individuals running — who don’t carry the predetermined ideology Ganesan has. He’s been associated with a group that has attempted to disrupt the Reston Association to the core, under the guise of reform.

            Time to get fresh blood, untainted by old guard thinking.

            Donald

          • Guesrt2

            If it’s relevant. Spend some Google time and see if there is any relevancy.

        • Ray Wedell

          Amusing how the “kitchen Kabinet” people can keep posting anonymous comments ripping those who speak truth. All while simultaneously making ludicrous claims of accomplishment by “their” people. And then top it off by name-calling me and others, while complaining about “negative campaigning” because facts are revealed about their operation.

          I am so so sorry I have refused to play the game the way the “kangaroo court” folks are accustomed to seeing it played. Where are their detailed position papers and videos on the main topics of the day? I have over a dozen posted. Let’s debate or discuss any of those, shall we?

          No, a few buzz words is all Reston gets from them. The people of Reston are SO lucky to have them calling all the shots for us, aren’t we? Don’t we all just love the patronizing?

          I just saw this poster on the front porch of a house in DC: “Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent about things that matter.” —-MLK

          I have no intention of remaining silent on important issues. I have no intention of being silenced by anonymous opponents who have nothing else to hang their hat on but false outrage over an obviously generic joke that must have struck an exposed nerve. That in itself speaks volumes.

          #Authenticity
          #GrassRootsCandidate

      • Guest 2

        “Many” sounds a bit exaggerated. Get us started, name one that has been put in place. Not to be unfair, after all, it has only been a year since the StoneTurn Group recommendations.

    • Mike M

      His day was June 1, 1966.

  • Donald

    “…and you are…? I’m sorry… who, again…?”

    Donald

  • Bernie Supporter

    Lynne, your OP-ED piece bemoaning attacks on our elected board members and negative campaigning tactics would appear a lot more sincere if this page wasn’t ANCHORED BY A PHOTO SPREAD of the FRIGHTFUL FOUR against RESTON – Ganesan, Bowman, Johnson and Petrine – who are trying to BUY THIS ELECTION with FOUR TIMES the resources of all independent candidates.

    Or even if you mentioned that TAMMIE PETRINE’S — a former director of RCA — is the first mug shot on the page. So much for the “transparency” claim she makes below.

    This is NO DISTRACTION. The attack on Reston as a Community is real. But it comes from both outsiders and INSIDERS. Insiders like Irwin Flashman, who supports the FRIGHTFUL FOUR, and is rumored to have gotten his hands on a list of Reston’s voting households. Why was he allowed to have this list when no one else was? And how is that list being used in this year’s election?

    You are right pointing out the many risks our community now face. But to me, you OP-ED piece (hopefully unintentionally) is a just a distraction from the systematic and organized push by 4 candidates, 2 current board members and their influence-peddling cronies, to seat a from a slate of GROUPTHINK candidates who want a LOCKSTEP, GUARANTEED VOTING MAJORITY on every issue before this board.

    • cRAzy

      What are you talking about?

      • Perry

        Like most Bernie supporters, he doesn’t even have a clue about what he is talking about.

    • Are you

      I hope the smart people that call Reston home can see through your misguided rhetoric.

    • Ray Wedell

      Bernie Supporter….. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/26629aa64c7fff94495e8fe083acf7d58a33a7cc4fed32451dcecc25f89bf3f9.jpg

      Reston Now mistakenly used the wrong “mug shot” in your first two paragraphs. The correct depiction is below.

      • Bernie Supporter

        That’s funny.  🙂

      • John Bowman

        Ray,

        This is outrageous. Your implication that certain RA candidates are puppets is demeaning and not supported in fact. You should be ashamed of yourself & the RA elections committee should sanction you.

        • Donald

          Oh, how I wish there was one more candidate forum. Some good questions still need to be asked and answered.

          Donald

        • Bernie Supporter

          Outrageous. What’s outrageous is that you are the angriest person on the planet and your disdain for RA voters comes through in everything you do and say. I urge people to watch you closely in your debate. Spit is practically coming out of your mouth, you’re so angry and defensive. You may just be the MOST FRIGHTENING of the FRIGHTFUL FOUR AGAINST RESTON — Bowman, Ganesan, Johnson and Petrine. Not one person has ever voted for you, and now you’re trying to sneak you way back onto the board by hiding behind three other candidates. Take some anger management classes. And drop out of the race and resign your current seat now.

        • Ray Wedell

          Get a sense of humor, John. I am sure you will scream relentlessly to the EC, as you have screamed about everything you claim “offends” you for weeks now. So go scream.

      • Frank

        Mr. Wedell, your juvenile approach to a serious election demonstrates your lack of qualifications to be a Board member. Your apparent alliance with the Bernie Supporter also shows your lack of good judgment and your inability to take to heart the message being conveyed by Ms. Mulston. Is this how an adult conducts himself in his effort to convince voters that he is the best candidate and one meritorious of the voters’ support? Your negative campaigning is subject to the rules established by the Reston Association Election Committee and you deserve to be sanctioned by it for the violation of those rules.

        • Bernie Supporter

          Stop trolling the candidates, Bowman. “The message being conveyed by Ms. Mulston.” Wow. How full of yourself can you be? “You deserve to be sanctioned…” Yup, that’s your style, Bowman. Just like your partner, the master of using the election committee for retaliation, Eric Carr. You guys deserve each other.

        • Ray Wedell

          And your full name is?

        • Ray Wedell

          Actually, Mr. Frank ____ I think most people appreciate the detailed discussions I have put into over a dozen videos discussing very serious topics facing us. To you, This qualifies as a “juvenile approach to a serious election?”

          I think they also appreciate that I have offered to discuss any of these videos in any level of detail with any of the Four4Reston people and have been ignored. What are they afraid of? Once again, who is being serious about engaging for the purpose of reaching ALL voters, and who isn’t, Frank?

          As for your ludicrous claim that I have an “apparent alliance” with someone on RestonNow writing as “Bernie Supporter”, I confess to preferring the real Mr Sanders to the other candidates in the last Presidential election; but other than that, I have zero alliance with anyone else regarding this election and the way I choose to get the facts out to the people. And I always post under my real name, and under my full name.

          Thank you, Frank.

    • Frank

      You, sir, are nothing but a troll. All you know how to do is demean people, call them names, and otherwise attempt to mislead readers with your innuendo and false labels. You have no respect for the readers or their intellectual capacity and show no understanding of politics. You believe that all you have to do is to repeat the same thing all the time and people will believe it. There was a German propagandist who believed the same thing in the thirties and forties. It worked for a while, but then it didn’t. The same with you. The pablum you attempt to feed readers is frankly enough to induce vomiting. Your smear campaign is revolting and the very thing about which this article by Ms. Mulston is talking. You should be ashamed of yourself. The best thing you can do is to climb back under the rock from which you came and remain there quietly. You add nothing valuable to a serious conversation.

      • Bernie Supporter

        Mislead readers? Oh, so RCA didn’t create this OP-ED piece two weeks before the election telling everyone to concentrate on our community’s other enemies? And the FRIGHTFUL FOUR against RESTON – Ganesan, Bowman, Johnson and Petrine – are NOT all former RCA Directors. And they have NOT taken out a full bar ad at the bottom of every Reston Now page, begin able to do that because they have FOUR TIMES THE RESOUCES of any independent candidate. And they are NOT endorsed by 2 current board members who are looking to stack the board so they can LOCK IN MAJORITY VOTES. And they are not endorsed by RA ‘insiders’ like Irwin Flashman, who DIDN’T get the only printout of all RA voting households. And that is NOT an unfair advantage. I may be a troll but you, sir, are a fool.

  • Cubsfan6116

    Here is yet another claim from the RCA that an un-elected special interest group represents all of the people of Reston. I am citizen of Reston and generally disagree with the RCAs action. Why? Because I – like many of my neighbors – am not anti-growth. I don’t see Bob Simon’s vision – of a place where people can live, work, and play – spend their entire lives – and make many trips not by car – as realized. Most Restonians drive nearly everywhere. The tearing down of outdated and auto-oriented office parks and shopping centers to build places where people can live work and play (like at Lake Anne) is hardly an affront to his vision. And yet, while the RCA complains about holding elected officials responsible for their words and actions, they attack anyone who disagrees with them. Despite their claims about how much EVERYONE hates changes, Cathy Hudgins keeps getting reelected, there is plenty of demand to live, work, and play here, and the ELECTED RA Board has a diversity of perspectives.

    The best way to keep accountability, consideration, and openness to community input is simple: vote AGAINST Petrine, Bowman, Ganesan, and Johnson.

    • cRAzy

      Here are Bob Simon’s original goals (aka planning principles):
      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/92ed38b1feeafab0a9f410a58454bdad7a543127687c1e8fc158b580e5a4cbc0.jpg

      I don’t see any of your claims in these goals. Fake news.

      • Old man sick

        I experience the Garcia effect every time someone brings up Simon, here some of his rhetoric published by the Washington post:

        “[Robert] said density was not a bad thing. “Density is good,” Simon said. ”It makes open space possible,” when you use apartments or high-rises to create density vertically. “High-rises are not anti-community,” he said”… etc
        Why, if RCA is against density, do they not choose to move forward and groove a new path, a path that works for most people not just a few elect officials?
        The infighting is a symptom of this conflict and the conflict can only be solved by addressing the main issue: leadership by example not cognitive dissonance.

      • Mike M

        #4 is juicy and ripe!

      • Cubsfan6116

        Read his actual plan document, then get back to me. This isn’t even the entire list of his 13 principles.

    • Donald

      Are those four associated with RCA?

      Donald

      • Guest

        Petrine, Bowman and Ganesan are former RCA directors. Ganesan the most recent former RCA president.

        • Donald

          Sad. RCA has been nothing but a distraction for way too many years. They confuse, and distract the county and the Commonwealth — one Reston voice — not. They don’t represent me, a paying Reston Association member.

          Donald.

        • Bernie Supporter

          Ah, now this OP ED piece makes a lot more sense. RCA wants to steer the conversation away from the FRIGHTFUL FOUR –Ganesan, Bowman, Johnson and Petrine – FORMER RCA DIRECTORS. No endorsements or cronyism, here folks. Just like there’s no coordinated effort against all the independent candidates. It’s not like John Lovaas is misrepresenting the Frightful Four by calling them “Independent” in The Connection when they’re anything but. Or they’re supported by Irwin Flashman, the only known person to ever receive a PRINTOUT of Reston’s voting households. (Having that couldn’t be an advantage, right?) And its not like TWO CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS are endorsing the FRIGHTFUL FOUR in order to form a LOCKED IN MAJORITY every time. Or are retaliating against committee members who object to their policies.

          Nope, folks. Look over away. Look at the other bad guys. Forget that we’ve been fighting them FOREVER. But now’s not the time to re-evaluate the FRIGHTFUL FOUR. Why do it now, when there are LESS THAN TWO WEEKS OF VOTING LEFT? Some people didn’t even like Ganesan, Bowman, Johnson and Petrine as RCA directors. Why would they like them more as RA Directors???

          • Guest

            Meet Ray’s doppelganger, folks.

          • Guest 2

            Come on, Eric, you know better than that.

    • Mike M

      People drive because they can. Because they have to. You fantasy that people will not can only be achieved by denying rights and making things harder. Dysfunctional.

      • Cubsfan6116

        Who’s “rights” am I denying? People drive (including myself) because in Reston today, it’s by far the best option. Why? Because most of Reston was built by Gulf Oil, and while some of Bob’s principles were maintained (e.g., dense residential neighborhoods and shared open spaces), many other goals were dismissed (e.g., mixed-use village centers and comprehensive walkability) in favor of auto oriented solutions (strip centers and missing trail links). The plan has places like Washington Plaza at North Point, South Lakes, Hunters Woods, etc. and has many more pedestrian tunnels and denser walking trails than just those just found in the parts of our community built in the 60s and early 70s.

        No one is banning cars. But it doesn’t have to be one mode or the other. We can support both.

        • Mike M

          1) “Bob” is dead.
          2) His ideals have been dead for along, long time.
          3) Reston is not, nor will it ever be independent of the region. People will not work here for their whole career.

          • Cubsfan6116

            1) So? Reston prides itself on being a planned suburb. Plan still exists. We can and have revised it over time.
            2) Much of Reston has built out according to his plan. Much hasn’t been. Why should we aim to be another blah suburb?
            3) Of course not, it’s not a commune. The DTR and silver line make sense here for a reason. The question is, do we strive to be a mixed-use community where people CAN live, work, and play here, or do we strive to be a bedroom community like Centreville or Burke? Again, it’s not all or nothing. We can choose to grow and remain dynamic.

          • Mike M

            “We” didn’t choose to grow. Simon failed. Then came back and played the hero.

  • Drip

    It is this type of sanctimonious talk that roped Cate, Ray (aka Bernie S), John Pinkman and Rescue Reston, and others into blindly promoting the Tetra purchase under the guise of “Bob Simon’s vision.” The RA is a HOA; please stop trying to make it local government.

  • Ray Wedell

    Hi Lynne,

    I have known you for a long time, and cherish our friendship. I always said you are among the “good guys.”

    People think I am Bernie S., who comments frequently on these pages (I am not). As in many other cases, he makes some valid points, below. You have been in a rather small circle of opinion leaders in our town, some of whom have successfully co-opted the Board, and will completely engulf it if the slate of four people Bernie S mentions is elected. This is absolutely NOT what we need, and it is NOT negative campaigning to point this out.

    I have spent many hours developing videos on my positions on a very broad range of topics (www.facebook.com/GrassRootsCandidate). Has any other candidate done similar? Lynne, you know that I attempt to be real, and attempt to give people the Back Story. That will never change.

    Your “get involved!” mantra is one I have been harping on for the last month….the 20% annual voter turnout rate empowers the splinter groups like the Keystone Kops, Kitchen Kabinet, and Kangaroo Kourt, or are all of these the same group taking on different roles from time to time? The unholy Trinity, maybe?

    Remarkably, these interests have had a Rasputin-esque effect on some Board members, and they are now able to orchestrate some pretty amazing things. When will we get the real answer behind Cate being forced out, despite apparently fulfilling the archaic, but nonetheless given, obligations stated in her Performance Evaluation? What gag rules are in effect on that? But the gag rules merely lead people to suspect the worst. I have been advocating changing the performance standards for our CEO, but the response to my many cries has not been deafening: in fact, the Board response over the years has sounded like a caterpillar crawling across a Persian rug. I hope they watch my video on this subject, “What Traits We Should Seek in Our New CEO?”, rather than refusing to answer even generic questions on this subject.

    As you know, I am all-in with Rescue Reston and Coalition for Planned Reston. Also, as you know, I openly encourage everyone to participate and get involved in these magnificent groups and causes, as I have done. Does this mean I need to stop speaking truth about the many issues haunting this Board, and Reston in general? Of course not.

    But like with many of the older residents, the “established order” in Reston, I disagree on this false call for unity surfacing in some circles; the statement that by not “speaking with one voice”—-theirs— we portray weakness. QUITE THE CONTRARY. We have 80% of the people NOT VOTING in Reston. There are many issues simply not being addressed, and the agenda is set by a small handful of people. These people have THEIR agendas, and everything else takes a back seat. Us paying attention to special interest groups on important issues is not a negative, and I always try to incorporate their opinions into my own thoughts and decisions. Check the voting record if you count what I just said is true. But I am not willing to turn over the reigns of Government to them, and I certainly am not about to brag about the fact that the Board is doing just that. Others are patting themselves on the back for doing so.

    I direct you to my video: “Harmony, not unity.” Democracy can be messy. Autocratic regimes do, indeed, show order and the appearance of unity: which do you prefer? I am trying to incorporate many previously-silent groups within Reston to participate in our affairs. Suppose they do, Lynne? Will RCA, RA, and the trinity of the “KK” be willing to REALLY open up to them and REALLY let them in to the running of Reston? Lynne, I have my doubts on that.

    So let’s bring in the many heretofore unheard voices, and develop a harmony that your calls for “unity” can never match in power and vision. It may be occasionally noisy. But that is a by-product of democracy. Much preferred to the current mantra of stopping debate, including internal Board-to-Board debate, in the name of “time efficiency” and “showing unity”.

    Good luck with CPR and keep up the good work. I look forward to your latest guidance on how you guys think we should react to issues on that front.

  • 40yearsinreston

    Everyone who voted for, or still supports, Hudgins is culpable for the over building mess she continues to create as she pursues her agenda
    Remember her and the local party she represents when election time comes around

  • Donald

    Ms. Mulston,

    I cannot find any Elections tabulation data on your website:

    http://restoncitizensassociation.blogspot.com

    How many Reston Association members voted in your last board election? Do you allow non-Reston Association members to vote in these elections?

    Thank you,
    Donald

  • RCA Comedy

    If it wasnt so funny I would have called it theft outright but anyways, here the RCA [drumroll] asked BXP for a big check $$$$$ in order to have Reston membership reimbursed for parking at the RTC [drumroll] and the BXP did not even get back to provide official answer [drumroll]

    Lessons learned, its nice to be impotent but its more impotent to be nice [DRUMROLL]

    • Donald

      Again,

      I did not ask them to do that on my behalf. They do not represent my interests, the Reston Association does.

      In my book, as an assessment paying member, the Reston Association represents my interests in spirit as well as legally.

      At the moment, I don’t believe the Reston Association is doing a good job of doing that, hopefully fresh faces on the RA board (not RCA affiliated) will change that.

      Donald

    • Mike M

      Put down the drum. Step away from the drum.
      [drumroll]

  • Mike M

    Why don’t more people ask themselves why “the County” wants to urbanize our “lungs?” (Great analogy!) Why do you think that is. What do you think motivates them and why do you think the Democratic Party would be behind such a thing? Ask yourselves. It should be an epiphany. I am not a Republican and I don’t suggest anyone should ever vote party. Frankly, I think the GOP is an utter disgrace. But please look at your slavish devotion to the Democrats in local politics and ask yourself if they truly serve your interests.

  • Donald
  • Donald

    Question for the group:

    If a candidate has to exit the race at this point, what happens to the votes cast for that person?

    Are they still counted (basically dead votes)?

    Or, can those who voted for this candidate be allowed to recast their vote to another candidate still active?

    Or, can the candidate who exits commit those votes to another candidate?

    The reason I ask. I performed a very unscientific poll at the few coffe shops, grocery stores, etc., and must say the “4 for Reston” slate is taking the majority of votes.

    The other candidates are just ruining each other’s chances as they are splitting the remaining votes.

    The remaining distribution of votes, among the multiple non-slate candidates, is reducing the chance of winning for any of the remaining candidates. The effect is giving a healthy chance of winning for the infamous slate.

    Depending on how the questions above are answered, some candidates may want to bow out at this time and rally around one candidate.

    Or, an opposing slate really needs to take form immediately, to challenge the “4 for Reston” at their own game.

    I’m not a fan of slates, but, this may be the time to level the playing field.

    Thoughts?

    Donald

  • Donald

    I see RA will have a new in house counsel. $130,000 with benefits.

    Read the end of the minutes (within the consent calendar, pages 13-19), to be approved in tonight’s board meeting. Also, interim CEO is eligible for an additional bonus.

    Donald

  • Donald

    I see RA will have a new in house counsel. $130,000 with benefits. Read the consent calendar to be approved in tonight’s board meetng. At the end of the minutes. CEO is elegible for an additional bonus as well.

    Glad the members were brought in the loop.

    Donald

    • John Higgins

      Thanks for the info, one has to really dig to find that news.
      It’s at least odd that CFO is not being compensated for taking on additional responsibilities. A bonus is well and good, but absent evaluation criteria it’s simply odd that he has not been offered a pay bump (quite common in these situations) plus a bonus for exceptional performance.
      And speaking of news, I haven’t yet heard about the pending loss of a key player on the senior leadership team. Stay tuned.

      • Donald

        I believe more will be departing.

        Love the transparency (lack thereof) of this board.

        Donald

        • J Gallagher

          Knock it off. You show up at nothing and then criticize those who are volunteering their time to help. Is this the “Reston spirit” you are always talking about? No one is perfect but at least we are trying. Are you?

          • Donald

            There are those who volunteer with what I call the Reston Spirit and then there are those who volunteer with an agenda, under the guise of reform.

            Donald

      • Donald

        Garrett Skinner, Reston Association’s director of capital improvement planning and projects, is leaving.

    • J Gallagher

      Let’s put this is perspective – we’ve paid nearly $800-$1million in legal fees to lawyers who have reserved the right to represent others with interests that are contrary to ours and no one says a peep – this Board wants to hire an in-house attorney for $130 to represent our interests only and y’all start squawking? Is it because perhaps you are friendly with the previously contracted attorneys?? Or…?? How could you possibly not say a word when our legal budget approached $1 million (ridiculous!) and you’re throwing up a red flag on an in-house attorney that’s a fraction of the cost? We know you’re not aligned with the 4 for Reston…but this really makes me question who you are aligned with. Jeesh!

      • Donald

        I guarantee, within two years, our legal fees will be what they are now. This new in-house attorney will have to continue to reach outside for expertise. Hiring a contracts administrator would have been the better investment.

        But, the deal is done. Nothing to do now, but watch.

        Donald

        • J Gallagher

          You haven’t answered the question of why you didn’t say anything when the legal fees were nearly $1 millionaire a year

          • Donald

            The majority of our legal fees, as I understand, come from collections. And almost all of those fees are covered by the revenues they collect.

            My concern was how this hire was made by the board via email, and hidden after the minutes in the consent calendar.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            You still haven’t answered the question of why you weren’t squawking when those fees ran up over $1 million. We don’t get $1 million in revenues from collections. And not for nothing but the shenanigans that happened during tetra when we had not one but two attorneys on staff was nuts – the price was not in our interest, the timeline was not in our interest, the appraisal was not in our interest, the assessment of repairs was not in our interest, the contracts were not in our interest…who was
            Protecting our interests exactly?

          • Donald

            I was not concerned by the legal fee amount, knowing it’s a lot less, when you count the collected revenues, which are substantial. Talk to anyone on the legal committee. You’re the one that’s exaggerating.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            Why don’t you tell people who is making most of the money off collections. How many lawyers do we pay for to “manage” collections? Do you know how many we paid to “manage” the Lake House “transaction”?? Nine. Nine attorneys. And you’re wondering why folks are flabbergasted when folks on the old Board are supporting cuts to pools before cuts to our legal budget? Nuts!! The hiring of an in-hose attorney is the smartest thing the Board can do.

          • Donald

            Nine attorneys, wow, thats a lot. Are they all on their own retainer?

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            Wake up – you have contract attorneys trying to grow their business on our dime. I’m shocked that you’re defending them and attacking your own membership who has volunteered to run. Shocking that you can defend these fees. And tells a lot about why you’re going after the 4 – I see now. The attorneys r your buds and they stand to lose a lot of money with people who want reform. This makes a lot more sense now. Carping about paying off the loan and you’re ok with million dollar legal budget. This makes a lot more sense

  • Donald

    Tonight’s board meeting has turned into a circus. And it’s only 15 minute in.

    The organized response by the slate is absolutely unnecessary and blatantly obnoxious. Their motive is beyond the obvious.

    Donald

    • tony

      what list were they talking about?

      • Donald

        Irwin Flashman, a supporter of the “4 for Reston” requested, and received, from a prior board — a list of those property addresses that actually voted in that year’s board elections.

        It was maybe two years ago. But, the list is still pretty relevant, allowing the “4 for Reston” slate to target their advertising and outreach efforts heavily toward those most likely to vote.

        Other candidates, who don’t have such a list, would have to throw a larger net, requiring more resources — diminishing their voter capture rate.

        Donald

        • tony

          seems like a candidates should have been given that list

          • Donald

            Makes sense. This board should have made it available from the start.

            Unfortunately, several of the directors control the vote and also support the “4 for Reston” slate. The likelihood of them doing such a thing…??

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            Ok so you think people running should have access to the list that the other group has?

          • Donald

            Sure, it levels the playing field. If it’s out there, let everyone have it.

            Unfortunately, it may be too late, as voting spikes early, but, for the board, it’s the transparent thing to do.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            I think you’re right so how about let the other side access the Reston soccer email list that just sent out a letter for the other four. We know the info from Irwin was obtained through proper channels – was the Reston soccer list? If you pick up one end of the stick – you better be prepared to pick up the other Donald. I am sure the 4 for Reston would love to have that list. I mean it’s only fair right?

          • Donald

            The soccer folks can do that if they so desire.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            Ok so the other side can leverage that list and that’s fine and it does t have to be shared but the list that the 4 has has to be shared – okeee smh

          • Donald

            As an RA member, I have a right to the same RA records list made available to Flashman.

            Donald

          • J Gallagher

            Then ask for them!!

          • Bernie Supporter

            Wouldn’t work. As I understand it, a year after Flashman got the first list in hard copy, he went back to the well a second time and ask for it electronically. That board said no. And then made a ruling that a list of properties that voted would never be given out again. Until this meeting, I thought only Flashman had the list. But immediately after Flashman played the “offended” party (he said he didn’t use the list to advance his candidates … “this year”) Tammi stepped up to the mic and admitted that she had used Flashman’s list in the past.

          • Donald

            I believe you are correct, the following year, the board decided they did not have to provide something they did not actually have.

            But, the list Flashman recieved is something they did have, and provided.

            I would ask for a copy of that list.

            Donald

          • John Higgins

            Good luck, Donald. On RA’s records retention schedule, election records have a one year retention period, after which they are to be destroyed. The list people are talking about is several years old.

            It may be time to again test the board’s commitment to integrity of governance. Virginia law requires RA to make available to members all records (with enumerated exceptions, and this is not one) held by the RA and on its behalf by agents. RA requires its Counting Agent (note the title given to this outside firm) to compile a log of all ballots received, by mail or electronically. In an act of awesome sophistry, the RA board determined that the County Agent is not its agent, and therefore the log is not a record being held on behalf of the RA. Incredible.

            Given its commitment to transparency and reform, surely the current board will revisit the decision. Note, we do not know how the log is maintained. Names and how people voted are not required for this log. But it is conceivable that the Agent has only a property number and voting code; if so, a companion list of those numbers tied to addresses would need to be obtained from RA.

          • Donald

            The absolute shame of it is — Irwin Flashman has a public records list, albeit two years old. It’s still reasonably accurate.

            I’m wondering if someone at the RA offices made a copy of the list back then. It may still be in someone’s file folder.

            Yes, I agree with you, this board is big on using the word ”transparency”, it has been poor, to negligent actually practicing it.

            Donald

          • Donald

            One of the candidates could immediately file a ”Common Interest Community Board Mandated Members Complaint,” and ask for a delay in the final election tally (and decision) until the board has reviewed the matter.

            I would also take it to the Commonwealth’s Ombudsman.

            There is a form available on the RA website, Member Rights Resolution 4.

            The list Mr. Flashman has in his possession must be made available to any other member of the Association. If it was provided, a copy must still exist.

            Donald

          • Tony

            Surely others could ask for it just as he did.

          • Donald

            Absolutely.

            But, time is now against the other candidates.

            The candidate(s) have to submit the official request form. The CEO reviews the request, and has 10 days to respond.

            If the CEO denies the request, the candidate(s) can appeal to the board. The board would review at their next regular board meeting — which would be after the elections. Regardless, looking at the composition of the board, Carr, White, Bowman, Ganesan and Hebert would likely vote NO anyway.

            So, the candidates should ask Flashman, directly, if he would graciously provide the list he has .

            Donald

          • tony

            You’re not the real tony

  • J Gallagher

    I’m not calling anyone – I’m letting the elections run their course

    • Donald

      From what I’ve heard from my very unscientific survey, I think you’ll be pleased. The slate is doing well.

      Donald

      • J Gallagher

        Surveys are rarely right – I’m just gonna let the election run it’s course and trust the members to vote in the right mix of people with the right mix of skills

        • Donald

          I hope for the same.

          Donald

  • J Gallagher

    We really need a partner in a law firm to sit at our entire 4-5 hour meetings? Seriously?

    And there are many communities in Reston that have issues w what the county or developers are doing to their property values and green space – one RA member has come in several times about proposed changes in roadways that will affect his quality of life and I believe him and agree that RA should listen to them and help them but if we provide an attorney for every community-county issue, costing RA millions at the expense of our pools and other facilities then we will go broke. Should RA help them – absolutely. Should RA pay for their attorney or in the case of the Lake House, purchase the property, we cannot. We cannot afford it. There are several community-county issues going on and we cannot afford to pay everyone’s attorney fees at $300-400/hour. RA literally pushed to cut our pools budget (that serve everyone) before our land use legal fees (that helps a select few). This is what I don’t agree with. There needs to be some policies and thresholds set for when select groups get to use RA legal contractors. We cannot afford to do this for every community.

    • Donald

      When the RA is an affected party, the board better get involved! And it better have the best legal representation available!

      Example: Reston National. Go back and read what actually took place. Worth every penny spent.

      Donald

      • J Gallagher

        We can’t afford to represent every suit – our facilities will suffer. We have to find the right role for RA. We can’t afford another Lake House.

        • Donald

          I strongly suggest you read the governing documents, and review the responsibilities of the board.

          So, when they Hidden Creek Country Club is threatened with development, you want the board to say ”sorry folks, it costs too much money to protect open spaces…you’re on your own…”.

          Now, more than ever, we need to be prepared to be well represented.

          Donald

      • Tony

        It was the county attorney who took the lead on the BZA the case.

        • Donald

          The affected parties joined the county in the appeal.

          The Reston Association Board of Directors unanimously voted on Monday to direct Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, PC, on behalf of RA, to coordinate with Fairfax County, its Zoning Administrator and other homeowners adjacent to the golf course, to file an appeal to the Circuit Court regarding the April 15, 2015 decision of the Fairfax County Board of Zoning Appeals regarding Case # A2012-HM-020 RN Golf Management, LLC.

          Donald

        • tony

          Not the real tony

      • guest

        Both RA attorneys have said a politically active membership makes a great deal of difference —-and is far less costly. Tap into your community.

        • Donald

          They said you need both. Load the meetings with people, find affected parties tied to specific land use matters, and rally around them, and get a good counselor to represent you in the courts.

          Donald

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