Voting in the 2021 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run from March 1 through April 2. This week, we will begin posting profiles on each of the candidates. The complete election schedule is available online.
Featured here is John Farrell who is running against three other people for one of two at-large seats. 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?
My family had the good fortune to move Reston in 1984. My 4 kids went to Terraset, Hughes and South Lakes Schools. They went to RA camps, learned to swim at RA pools and played ball on RA fields. Our cluster has been home to many kinds of families of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. That diversity has enriched all of us and truly makes Reston a unique and amazing place to live, work and play.
My passion for Reston actually began many years before I moved here. In 1965, like other 12 year olds, I was fascinated by coverage of the Gemini V mission sponsored by Gulf Oil. Gulf’s ads featured Reston, a planned Virginia community. In the midst of the Massive Resistance era, Gulf touted Reston’s housing for all socio-economic levels throughout a family’s lifecycle and the absence of racial covenants. Those ads set my life’s course: to study urban government in college and zoning and planning in law school.
Getting to raise my four children in Reston has been the fulfillment of a vision formed 55 years ago.
What inspired you to run for the board?
I love all that Reston offers it members. Our amenities are one of the top reasons we are a nationally recognized place to live, work and play. There is a cost and as we welcome new neighbors and as facilities age, upkeep costs will increase as well. When I heard from RA leadership that it had not even asked the developers of the new apartments around the Metro station to join RA to help fund the upkeep of our trails, parks, lakes and ball fields that their tenants will use, it was clear the RA needs change. When I later found out that RA had not made a written demand to receive part of the recreational contributions made by those developers, it was clear that RA needed someone to advocate for its membership.
The bookshelves of the RA offices groan with one study after another, yet there is little action, advocacy or accountability by RA leadership. It’s time for RA to take action. It’s time for RA to vigorously advocate for its members interests. It’s time for accountability by RA leadership to its members.
What are three of the biggest concerns you have for Reston?
My overriding concern is to insure that we retain what’s best about Reston and that it prospers for the next generation. Some of my specific means of advancing that intention are to:
- Permanently preserve both golf courses;
- Promptly reopen Lake Thoreau pool as efficiently as possible and advocate that all RA facilities are open during their intended season; and
- Strongly advocate for the new apartment owners near the Metro stations to pay RA assessments to help pay to maintain our trails, open space and ball fields that their tenants will use.It’s only fair and will hold down our RA assessments
- What do you hope to accomplish by being on the board?
First and foremost, I want to be your advocate. There’s a lot to love about Reston and there’s a lot that we can do together to make living, working and playing here even better.
Here are a few of my ideas:
- Advocate for some the $25 million in recreational facility contributions from the developers of Reston’s new residential projects to be used for RA facilities and that all of it be spent in Reston;
- Do our part to protect our environment by adopting a clear plan to convert RA’s fleet to electric vehicles;
- Require all commercial properties to comply with RA’s covenants that protect our property values;
- Increase transparency and encourage member engagement by avoiding executive sessions and revising RA’s committee structure to improve members’ understanding of RA functions;
- Create a RA website that provides easily accessible information and two-way communication for all RA members at reasonable cost;
- Insist that RA engage knowledgeable people to securely protect its members personal data; and
- Preserving Reston’s legacy of inclusion of all social-economic groups at all stages of a family’s life-cycle.
How will your personal or professional experience help you in your role with RA?
- I’ve spent my professional career advocating for homeowners and homeowners associations and I can use what I’ve learned to strengthen RA.
- As an attorney specializing in zoning and wetlands law, I understand the regulatory challenges to preserving our unique community.
- As President of the Fairfax Girls Softball League, I worked with others to successfully lobby the County Board of Supervisors to spend $100,000 per year for 10 years to bring the softball facilities up to the same quality as the baseball facilities.
- As National President for the 40,000-member Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation, I managed a large volunteer membership organization.
- As President of Colonial Oaks cluster, for the last 6 years, I’ve successfully dealt with the many issues facing RA clusters and learned the strengths and weaknesses of the RA covenant process.
- I’ve spent the last 20 years protecting the right to vote in Fairfax.
I hope you’ll agree that all of that is experience you can trust.
Find out more by visiting farrell4reston.com.
Photo via Reston Association