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Five Seats Open in 2019 Reston Association Board Election

Reston Association has issued a call for candidates for the 2019 Board of Directors’ election. Five seats are open.

The following seats will be open next year: an at-large seat for a three-year term, apartment owners representative for a one-year term, Hunters Woods/Dogwood district representative for a one-year term, North Point district representative for a three-year term and Lake Anne/Tall Oaks district representative for a three-year term.

Interested candidates must complete a candidacy statement form. RA’s elections committee will validate candidates in late January and the election will begin on March 4.

The nine-member board is responsible for setting the mission and goals of RA, policies and procedures, monitoring finances, approving budgets and setting the assessment rate.

Photo via Reston Association/YouTube

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Reston Association Board Appoints New Director; Remains Deadlocked on Next Board President

After several failed attempts to appoint a new board member, Reston Association’s Board of Directors appointed Caren Anton, chairwoman of RA’s elections committee, to serve as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District Director through April 2019

The board was tasked with appointing a new director from a pool of four candidates after the previous director resigned earlier this year. At a Thursday meeting, five board members voted for Anton to fill the position after several motions to appoint other candidates failed to garner enough votes.

But the board failed to make a decision on the next board president after David Bobzien, the former president and apartment owners’ representative, resigned due to a leukemia diagnosis earlier this month.

Despite two rounds of voting, the board remained deadlocked due to a tie between two directors: newly elected Andy Sigle and incumbent Sridhar Ganesan. The board deferred a decision to its next June 28 meeting when an apartment owners’ representative is expected to be seated. Sigle previously served on the board from 2011 to 2014.

Sigle’s first attempt to appoint Anton failed to gather enough votes. But after Director Sherri Hebert’s motion to appoint John Bowman and Julie Bitzer’s nomination to appoint Travis Johnson fell through, the board reconsidered Anton’s appointment. Both Bowman and Johnson ran for a board seat earlier this year.

Board members lauded Anton’s experience as a Reston resident for 30 years, her knowledge of the community and what Sigle called her “goals of independence and collegiality.” Newly-elected Director Ven Iyer applauded Anton’s “independent thinking,” a point that Hebert found “offensive.”

“I have to say Ven that I find it offensive that you think the rest of the board members do not think independently and do not make the votes on their own merit,” Hebert said.

Iyer also urged board members to recuse themselves from voting if any financial intermingling took place between them and other candidates in order to shield the board from accusations of “cronyism or impropriety.” Bowman and Johnson ran for seats on the board earlier this year.

Hebert abstained from voting for Anton and instead unsuccessfuly pushed for Bowman, who previously served on the board. She said he would “hit the ground running” as RA navigates complex issues in the coming months, including the absence of a permanent CEO and other staffing changes.

Rick Landers, who also ran for the position, was not nominated.

Bitzer said she looks forward to having another woman serve on the board. “I feel that we as a board in a sense owe Caren a chance to show how much more she can do and give to us,” she said.

Positioning herself as “an open, honest, ethical and transparent” candidate, Anton said she hopes to engage with apartment renters, who often have little knowledge of the function and role of RA. She also wants to explore ways to make the Hunters Woods Village Center a more enjoyable place to dine, play and gather.

“I come to you with no hidden agendas or allegiances,” she said.

Photo via Reston Association

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Tuesday Morning Notes

The big boom — Big change is taking place in formerly quiet places. Reston is on the list of places where dramatic transformations — and price hikes — are coming. [Washingtonian]

A full plate — Reston Association’s Design Review Board will consider several major projects during today’s 7 p.m. meeting including an art spillway project by local students and upgrades to South Lakes Village Center. [RA]

Post-election analysis — RA’s elections committee is also set to meet this evening to discuss improvements to the elections process. [RA]

Balducci’s is coming soon — The food lover’s market is expected to open sometime in May in Reston Town Center. [Balducci’s]

Photo by Lauren Pinkston

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One Day After Election, Vacancy on Reston Association Board Surfaces

Victoria White stepped down from Reston Association’s Board of Directors Wednesday (April 11).

The vacancy comes just one day after four new board members were elected to serve on the nine-member board.

She stood alongside her colleagues on the newly formulated board at the conclusion of RA’s annual member meeting on Tuesday (April 10) when results were announced.

White who served as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative resigned because she no longer lives in the district she represents, according to a statement by RA. She also served on RA’s covenants committee and the board governance committee.

RA will issue a call for candidates to fill the open seat, which expires in April 2020. The board will consider possible candidates at its May 24 meeting.

Information on when and how RA was made aware of the need for the change was not immediately available.

At a meeting on Wednesday, David Bobzien, formerly the board’s vice president, was elected board president. Sridhar Ganesan, formerly the board’s treasurer, was elected vice president.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Photo via Reston Association

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Updated: Newly Elected Reston Association Board Members Highlight Need for Transparency, Improving Infrastructure

Reston Association’s Board of Directors will welcome two new faces following the Tuesday night announcement of election results in the contested race.

Returning board member Andy Sigle secured an at-large seat for one year and newcomer Ven Iyer won an at-large seat for three years. Incumbents Sridhar Ganesan, the board’s current treasurer, maintained his at-large seat for three years and incumbent Julie Bitzer also held on to her seat at South Lakes District Director.

“It’s our hope that the entire membership will join us in this recognition regardless of the outcome,” said Caren Anton, chairwoman of RA’s elections committee.

Ganesan won with 3,476 votes — just 294 votes more than Iyer. Margins in other races were not as slim. Bitzer won over Tammi Petrine with 662 more votes for the South Lakes District seat and Sigle won with more than 843 votes.

Thirteen candidates vied for four open seats during the election period — competitiveness that Anton said could help boost voter turnout, which has been historically low for the organization.

However, this year, overall voter turnout hovered at 19 percent — the same as last year. Turnout hovered around 14 percent three years prior.

Newly elected board members highlighted broad visions for the coming months.

Sigle said he hopes focus on three main goals: boosting community engagement, establishing relationships and processes to improve RA’s influence with the county related to development and sustaining and enhancing RA’s physical infrastructure.

Bitzer also highlighted the need to maintain recreational amenities. With five of RA’s fifteen pools slated for major renovations in the next five years, Bitzer said it is critical to complete a pool demand analysis before upcoming decisions on the budget and RA assessments. She also hopes to build off the work of a working group established in March to analyze lake and boat access.

Our overall policies and governance have some conflicting guidance and potentially out-of-date boat restrictions – again the timeline is to have recommendations ready for the Board’s consideration by November for changes to benefit all – those who use the lakes and those who must enforce our usage and access policies,” Bitzer said.

Iyer said the campaign season has been a “long and uphill journey.” He will continue to “ stop wasteful spending, improve Board transparency, stop projects invasive on neighbors and nature, and advocate Member interests with Fairfax County.”

He noted that the county’s response to RA’s letter about planned population density increases indicated the need to investigate more effective options witht he community.

“… I am not certain if our methods have been effective in conveying Member interests to Fairfax County,” he said.

He also said he was interested in addressing a concern he said he repeatedly heard on the campaign trail that member complaints were not being heard.

The impact of slates on the election — a relatively new development in the election — is unclear. One official slate, “4 for Reston” slate included Ganesan, Travis Johnson, John Bowman and Petrine.

A group of Reston residents created and endorsed an informal group for mailing distributions, coined the “Alliance for a Better Reston,” which included Bitzer, Sigle, Colin Meade and Aaron Webb. RA candidates said they did not choose to be a part of the alliance.

This story has been updated. Ganesan was not immediately available for comment. 

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Results of Reston Association Board Election To Be Released Tonight

The results of Reston Association’s elections for four new members of the Board of Directors will be announced today at the annual members’ meeting at RA headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive).

In this year’s board election, which ran from March 5 through April 2, thirteen candidates vied for four positions. Three of the open seats are for at-large positions and another is for the South Lakes District.

The meeting, which will run from 7-9 p.m., will include a report about the state of Reston Association, future projects and current initiatives and programs. A program is available online.

The new board will meet for its initial meeting tomorrow (April 11). New members will be officially sworn in. The agenda also includes the distribution of conflict of interest forms and a discussion about the board’s plans for the next three months.

The annual members’ meeting will be streamed live on RA’s YouTube channel.

Photo by Reston Association

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Monday Morning Notes

Election results released tomorrow — The winners of Reston Association’s Board of Directors’ election will be announced at a meeting tomorrow. [RA]

Girls to the rescue — Registration for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s summer camp for girls is open. The academy, which is open to all high school students except seniors, runs from July 9 through 13. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Academy]

Congrats to Tia Baller — The South Lakes High School point guard won all-state honors. [South Lakes Basketball]

Pony Barn renovations march forward — There’s no horsing around here. A plan to renovate the picnic pavilion goes before RA’s Design Review Board tonight. [RA]

Celebrating one year — Scout & Molly’s Boutique in Reston Town Center will celebrate its one year anniversary on April 28. [Scout & Molly’s]

HQ2’s frenemies — The possibility of landing Amazon.com Inc’s second headquarters has united Alexandria and Arlington. [Washington Business Journal]

Photo by Lauren Pinkston

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Monday Morning Notes

Last day to vote in Reston Association elections — Voting for the Board of Directors election closes at 5 p.m.. Ballots must be cast online or received in paper by the deadline. [Reston Association]

Get a little “Overboard” today — Enjoy the film “Overboard,” which follows the story of an heiress who hires a carpenter to build a closet on her yacht for her wardrobe. A free continent breakfast will begin at 9:30 a.m. today. [Reston Community Center]

Taking a toll — A $23.4 million upgrade to the equipment of Dulles Toll Road’s toll system could charge variable tolls based on the time of day or the volume of traffic. [The Washington Post]

Co-founder of Reston’s Used Bookstore dies — Susan Schram, a long-time Restonian, died in late March. She opened the bookstore with her best friend in 1977. [Legacy]

Photo by Gail Freiday Crockett

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Op-Ed: More Conversation, Less Confrontation

This is a commentary from Eric Carr in response to an editorial published on March 9. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Recently on these pages, an editorial appeared attacking me rather personally over a recent episode involving the RA Elections Committee. What struck me is that its author is a man I have never met and, indeed, was not involved in the issue. He did not reach out to express his concerns to me prior to putting pen to paper.  If he had, he would have learned that my concerns had nothing to do with any RA member’s right to an opinion, and everything to do with tone and civility, above all from members of the RA Committee chartered to enforce that very civility.

Reflecting on this has led me to a series of thoughts about the quality and tenor of discourse here in Reston, and I submit them for your consideration.

We have entered a time in our country where attacking people, rather than ideas, has become fashionable. People have become proxy for their positions and we have collectively relinquished our interest in dialogue.

This is all the more puzzling given that the vast majority of us are likeminded on the existential issues we face here in Reston. We almost all agree that we need to preserve our open space, develop our infrastructure before we grow, and band together to advocate for Reston on a bigger stage than ever before. We all want to foster a community where we can live, raise our families, feel safe, embrace all shades of America, be treated fairly, and enjoy the fruits of our labors.

We differ, too. In some cases, we differ on how to achieve these goals, on others how to govern ourselves in pursuit of those goals, and others yet on the relative role that our elected organizations should play in achieving those things on which we agree. That’s healthy, and those are conversations well worth having.

So, I am using this space today to ask a favor: let’s make our conversations contests of ideas, not people. Let’s assume noble intent in those with whom we disagree. Let’s not rush to imagine conspiracy or an intent to hide information or to deceive.

Let’s have more conversations in person, rather than from behind a keyboard or using pseudonyms. Those of you who know me, know my standard response to disagreement: let’s get coffee or a beer and talk about it. Face to face, as Restonians who care deeply about the health of our community.

Thank you for reading this. I look forward to our next conversation.

File photo

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Op-Ed: Multiple Resignations from the Reston Association Elections Committee

This is a commentary from Bill Krieger, a resident of Reston. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

On Wednesday, Michael Gandolfo resigned from the Elections Committee after a public dispute with current Board Member, Eric Carr.  In solidarity with Michael, I resigned as well. If you’ve seen Carr on Facebook you may already know some of the story. But you may not know it all.

Weeks ago, a current board member asked if he could actively campaign for candidates. The Elections Committee wasn’t certain if this was allowable, and sought legal counsel. My understanding of the answer we received was that no one forfeits their basic rights as an RA member to speak out as they please, regardless of serving on boards or board committees, as long as they make it clear that they are speaking as individuals and not as representatives of those boards or committees.

Speaking only for himself and not for the Elections Committee, Michael Gandolfo posed questions to Carr on Eric’s public Facebook page about whether the Tetra Loan was paid off with Reston reserve funds.  According to Gandolfo, Carr proceeded to berate him saying, “As a member of the RA Elections Committee, I would hope you would be more attuned to the operations of the Association, and I would further hope your social media postings might serve as an exemplar of civility.”  Carr then contacted the Chair of the Election Committee expressing his concerns about Michael’s position on the committee. In response, the Chair sent all its members an email, saying, in effect, that as Election Committee members we must not to engage in any Reston political issues with board members or candidates on social media or elsewhere.

While the position of the Chair seems reasonable at first, unfortunately it contains an inherent hypocrisy.  RA members do not forfeit their rights to speak out on any RA issues when they make it clear that they are speaking out as individuals, not official representatives. Michael Gandolfo did just that. His speech, therefore, was as valid and protected as Eric Carr endorsing candidates. When the Election Committee Chair sent out this email, Michael Gandolfo resigned. I followed suit not only in solidarity with Michael but also because I believe Eric Carr crossed a line. In my opinion, he used his influence as a current board member -not as an individual -to take Michael to task with his committee chair. I believe he abused his positon and for that reason, frankly, he should either be censured by the board, resign his office, or be voted out of office the next time he runs.

Eric Carr’s behavior, to me, personifies the fears of some Restonians regarding the candidates he is actively supporting – Bowman, Ganesan, Johnson and Petrine. These four candidates are running as a slate calling itself “4 for Reston.” For some, the math is troubling.  A slate of four fortified by even one current board member in lockstep can easily translate into a guaranteed majority, or what some Reston Now readers are calling “group think.” They rightly fear the creation of a board with a built-in majority that has the potential to rob the RA Board of all debate and independence when important issues come before it.  And now a second slate of candidates appears. This is a trend that we, as members, should actively discourage with our votes. The Board must consist of independent thinkers.

(Editor’s note: If you wish to submit an op-ed, email [email protected])

164 Comments

Tuesday Morning Notes

Six things to know after the windstorm — All you need to know about trees, power outages, food safety, and more. Let’s hope things can get back to normal soon. [Fairfax County Government]

Tackling traffic on Sunset Hills Road — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing on plans to realign the road today at 4 p.m. [Fairfax County Government]

Online voting for Reston Association elections is live — To cast a vote in the election for RA’s Board of Directors, visit RA’s website. Paper ballots were mailed yesterday. [Reston Association]

Travel “Into the Woods’ with Herndon students — Tickets are on sale for the performance by Herndon High School Theatre from April 13 through April 21. [Herndon Drama]

Photo by Ruth Sievers

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Op-Ed: Tetra, Ms. Fulkerson, and the Reston Association Election

This is an op/ed submitted by Paul Anderson, a Reston resident, on February 28. It does not reflect the opinions of Reston Now.

I was saddened to see that Ms. Fulkerson “resigned” last week. Saddened and disheartened that the populist anger that has so gripped our country seems to be very active right here in our own little community. Clearly the purchase of the Tetra property was the last straw, but I suspect that this has been simmering over a long time with many initiatives and changes causing increasing ire and angst; the new RA Headquarters, the Nature House, the Lake Anne land swap and finally Tetra. Add to that anything at all that happens in small tax district 5 and paid parking at Reston Town Center and boom! One head on a stake and sadly probably more to come.

The spite of board member John Bowman’s attempt to have the Tetra purchase reviewed by the Commonwealth Attorney even after a professional review by highly regarded StoneTurn, which found no evidence of malfeasance, was shocking in what it exposed. A well of vitriol whose depth is breathtaking to behold.

The orchestration of this separation before the new board is seated in April was also disheartening. Clearly there is a core on the current board with a mission, they needed to act while they knew that they had the numeric advantage. Which brings me to the election.
We have for the first time that I can recall a large “slate” running for the four vacancies. Two of the incumbents were previously appointed to their positions and two are running for the first time. Three of the four have past experience in the same Reston organizations, RCA – the Reston Citizens Association and Reston 2020. Since the four are using a single piece of co-branded campaign material it would appear that the old agreement that current Board Members do not endorse candidates has gone out the window. We could check the Ethics Rules on this topic but wait, no, we can’t because this board after making scene after scene about ethics found it inconvenient to actually get that task done.

My point in all of this is simple. The health of the Reston Association Board depends on a diversity of independent opinions, not groupthink that has been hobbled together by our most angry citizens. I’m not telling my fellow Reston citizens who to vote for but I hope that they’ll consider the new faces and differing opinions that are seeking election this term because that’s what will move this community forward in positive ways. To the current Board; you’ve got your pound of flesh in Ms. Fulkerson. Let’s move on.

File photo.

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Voting for Reston Association Board of Director Elections Begins Today

Voting for Reston Association’s elections begins today, launching a month-long voting period that would dramatically alter the nine-board Board of Directors.

A total of thirteen candidates are vying for four open board seats. Paper ballots will be mailed today and online voting will open at 5 p.m. on RA’s website.

All votes must be cast by April 2. Results will be announced on April 10 at 7 p.m. during RA’s annual members’ meeting at 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive.

This year, four candidates — Travis Johnson, Sridhar Ganesan, Tammi Petrine and John Bowman — are running on a slate, a choice they said was driven by shared positions on the Tetra purchase and a plan to increase Reston’s population density.

In mailing distributions, four other candidates — Colin Meade, Aaron Webb, Andy Sigle and current South Lakes District Director Julie Bitzer — are running as the “Alliance for a Better Reston.” In mailing distributions, they say they are committed to “implement[ing] Bob Simon’s original vision” for the community.” The alliance’s endorsements include Eve and Rick Thompson, Cheryl Terio-Simon, Bill and Betsy Keefe and others.

A breakdown of candidates with links to their profile statements is below.

At-Large Candidates (Two seats for a three-year term)

At-Large Candidates (One seat for a one-year term)

South Lakes District Candidates (One seat for a three-year term)

Voter turnout for Reston Associations hovered just under 20 percent of eligible voters last year. With contested elections for every open board seat, RA’s election committee hopes for more voter engagement this year.

Photo by Caren Anton

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As Voter Turnout Push Continues, Big Issues Draw Little Interest in RA Elections

Big issues, including ambitious growth plans, continue to draw scant attention as voting for Reston Association’s elections begins on Monday.

The beleaguered issue of lower voter turnout, which has hovered between 11 and 19 percent over the last four years, belies the importance of the election. RA commands an $18 million budget, funded in part through assessments from property owners.

In recent years, RA has pushed to boost voter turnout. Last year, nearly 19 percent of eligible voters participated in RA’s election for the Board of Directors – departing from a trend where turnout remained around 14 percent the three years prior.

But RA staff and residents say much more remains to be done.

This year, RA’s elections committee hopes to push turnout beyond 20 percent — a goal that Caren Anton, co-chair of RA’s elections committee acknowledges is a somewhat of a low standard.

“It’s not so much that people are not aware that it’s not happening,” Anton, who has served on the committee for roughly non-consecutive three years, said. “We’re making a real effort to call for candidates.”

Based on a Reston Now analysis of RA elections data over the last four years, voter turnout is significantly higher when elections are contested.

The committee pushed hard to court candidates last year. For the first time, RA will host an open house with all 13 candidates who are vying for four open board seats this Sunday from noon to 2 p.m at The Lake House. The roster of candidates promises a contested race, unlike recent elections for the seat of the Hunter Mill District Supervisor and state Del. Ken Plum.

The impact of past strategies like mobile voting sites at apartments and community centers and postcard mailings has been “minimal,” Anton said. In 2015 and 2016, the elections committee received $54,4000 in reimbursement. The largest expense was a $51,000 services contract with Intelliscan, Inc, which tabulates election ballots and certifies results.

RA staff and volunteers will also distribute a flyer with voting information at Metro Stations, community centers, shops, restaurants, libraries and on cars. Posters on RA property and roadways will go up next week.

Still, limited election engagement is perplexing to some, and RA’s board has grappled with the issue in recent years. The question of whether or not the outcome of RA’s election represents the voice of RA members often elicits pause.

Causes of low turnout have not been studied. Anecdotal evidence suggests members more invested in the community or who have lived in Reston for several years tend to participate more, sources say. Nearly four percent of eligible renters of apartments voted last year, with residents who own property boasting higher turnout.

“Some people think it’s not going to make a difference. And that’s certainly not the case,” Anton said. “It is important to vote and it does matter. We’re doing everything we can to make people aware.”

It’s no surprise the card slated to promote the election reads “important issues face Reston” in bold typeface.

Voting runs from March 5 through April 2. Paper ballots will be mailed on Monday. Electronic ballots can be accessed on RA’s website during the election period.

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2018 Reston Association Election: Meet Ven Iyer

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. This is the last of those profiles.

Featured here is Ven Iyer, 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 enjoyed living in Reston near Lake Anne for nine years. I was born and raised in Mumbai in a middle class family. After completing my bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering, I came to the United States to earn a Masters Degree in Computer Science. After graduation, I proceeded to take a job at IBM, which allowed me to live anywhere in the country and travel across the United States to customers. Eleven years ago, I was living in Florida, and planning to start my own technology company. I was searching for a place to call home, with plenty of open space and outdoor activities. I happened upon Reston, which was featured as one of the top places to live in America. I flew into Dulles to explore the area, and I was captivated by what Reston had to offer. After renting in Ashburn for a couple years, I bought my first home near Lake Anne in May 2009. I also went on to start my technology company. We are a small and minority-owned business, and our customers are Local, State, and Federal Government agencies. Thus, Reston has been instrumental in my personal and professional life.

What inspired you to run for the board? 

I want to stop the wasteful spending on projects Members clearly have expressed they don’t want. For example, the Board pushed for the Hook Road rec-area full-facility rebuild with a mere budget of $122,000. They proposed regulation soccer, baseball, lacrosse fields with lights, bleachers, pavilions; butterfly park, dog park, skateboard park and sculpture garden as “enhancements”, which Members found are invasive on neighbors and nature. This also shows that the Board is disconnected from the expectations of grass roots Members and there is influence from special interest groups. In another example, the Board insists that StoneTurn’s $45,000 business process review of the Tetra fiasco is forensic analysis. Members find that it is a 30-page report of process and policy philosophies devoid of individual culpability, law-breaking and conflicts of interest, also found in an HOA manual available at the Reston library or for $16.95 on amazon. Other examples are the $100k RA website with terrible user experience, glossy magazine with outrageous costs. I want to demand Board transparency. I want to stop the rapidly rising assessment bills – although RA brags that the 2018 assessments are lower, it is because new Members brought additional revenue and not because RA cut costs.

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

The biggest concerns for the Reston community are from wasteful spending and lack of transparency posed by RA, and threat of increased development posed by developers, Fairfax County and others set to benefit from it. Any zoning changes must be accompanied by planned growth and concomitant infrastructure without threat to Reston’s open and green space. Although RA may be viewed as a mere HOA with no enforceable ordinance by those who will benefit by increased growth, we must remind them that we are recognized as a hybrid government in many levels including courts. Also, the most common way people lose power is by thinking that they don’t have any. With about 22,000 households, our Members are our biggest asset in making our voice heard against zoning changes, and RA is in the frontline. We must, however, champion Member participation further in meetings, gatherings, protests and marches and increase our campaigning and lobbying efforts. Although we see hundreds of Members participate, it is a small fraction of the booming roar we can generate, and activist groups need further support. We also need DRB and Covenants to focus resources on deterring increased development over policing obsolete and burdensome design Rules on residents.

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

The RA Board is a highly cohesive group where its desire for consensus and agreement overrides critical thinking and correct judgment. Dissenting opinions are ignored or discouraged by the Board, and Member input is restricted in the interests of reaching a unanimous decision. Meeting minutes for this Board seem to show that there has been only one failed motion versus over a 120 of them passed unanimously. The voting majority and groupthink mode is evident when the Board unanimously voted to use $2.42 million of Members’ reserve money to pay off the Lake House loan. This was a rushed and self-serving decision by the Board in an effort to reduce the 2018 assessments by a mere $8.66, without due diligence, just weeks before its Directors are now running for re-election. They will spend a year’s time and $50,000 of the $122,000 budget to study the Hook Road rec-area but no careful analysis to support a $2.42 million decision? I want to avoid costly mistakes from groupthink, establish effective audits, Member inclusion and better two-way communications to improve transparency. I will remind RA that they operate with their Members’ money and trust, and the Board must always be cognizant of that.

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

I am grateful to this country; it has facilitated everything I’ve achieved, and that makes me want to give back even more. I have actively participated in prevention of St. Johns Wood high-rises, unwarranted Hook Road full-facility rebuild, replacing natural Lake Newport soccer fields with artificial turf, Fairfax County zoning changes that would eliminate our golf course open spaces, paid parking at Reston Town Center, and the Density Cap Increase. I have been involved in community service with Fairfax County organizations. At HART, I drove a van of rescue animals for adoption events, fostered rescue dogs and house checked potential adopters. At FACETS, I assisted parents and children affected by poverty and mentored students towards well-paying careers in technology. I am running for the RA Board, At-Large Seat because I believe my positions on key issues will benefit the entire Reston community. You can learn more at veniyer.com or facebook.com/voteforven. Finally, during my campaign, I have met some terrific Restonians with excellent insight into the issues and solutions, and many who are eager to help. I am certain that I can do my job better with their involvement and hope that the community will participate in making my service successful.

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

Photo by Reston Association

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