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by Dave Emke — June 13, 2017 at 2:45 pm 8 Comments

Inquiries from a pair of candidates who came up short in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election did not turn up any “voting irregularities,” RA’s Elections Committee says.

At Monday’s Board Operations Committee meeting, Elections Committee chair Ed Robichaud presented findings from an analysis of the 2017 RA Board election and its administrative procedures. Among the issues addressed were requests for voter data from Ven Iyer and Arlene Krieger, the runners-up in the At-Large and North Point District races.

According to Robichaud’s report, Iyer and Krieger requested information regarding the IP addresses and time stamps for online voting on April 3, which was the last day of voting. Iyer spoke during the member-comment portion of the May 25 Board of Directors meeting to explain his concerns, which regarded the way Reston Association handles the voting process.

“Did you know that anyone can contact RA claiming that they lost their paper or email ballot, and RA will provide them with a username and password to vote?” Iyer said. “It is easy for an entity to spoof several identities to collect usernames and passwords, and then on the final day, bulk vote for a favorable outcome.”

Iyer finished second in a six-candidate race for the At-Large seat, 117 votes behind Eric Carr in a race that saw 8,534 votes counted. Krieger was defeated by John Mooney by a vote of 1,384 votes to 1,069.

The Elections Committee agreed there was a higher-than-normal voter turnout on the day in question, but attributed it to a direct email reminder to voters that was sent that day. The committee did, however, agree to request the information from Intelliscan Inc., RA’s appointed counting agent for the election.

While Intelliscan does not capture IP addresses, it was able to provide time stamps of votes cast throughout the entire voting period. The Elections Committee reviewed the data and determined:

“The April 3 volume and timing of voting is consistent with other dates when reminder emails were sent. At the conclusion of its due diligence, the Elections Committee has determined that there is no credible evidence of online voting irregularities.”

In regard to the possible loophole Iyer mentioned, the Elections Committee is asking the Board to consider an amendment to the Elections and Referenda Resolutions. The new code would read that “[b]efore issuing a replacement paper ballot or the username and password to an electronic ballot, the Assistant Secretary shall verify the identity of the Member using one or more identity verification questions including but not limited to their property’s development name, RA voting District, and/or billing and correspondence addresses on file with the Association.”

Graph via Reston Association Elections Committee

by Dave Emke — April 12, 2017 at 11:30 am 4 Comments

Eric Carr, John Mooney and Victoria White were announced Tuesday at Reston Association’s annual Members’ Meeting as the winners of the three contested races in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election.

Carr won a six-person race for an At-Large seat on the board, defeating runner-up Ven Iyer by 117 votes in a race that saw 8,534 votes counted. The full breakdown of votes in the race:

“I think it’s clear from the turnout, the number of candidates and the number of votes, that this is a very impassioned community that got involved because of the changes that are happening here,” said Carr, who won a three-year term. “It’s a community that really embraced that idea that we need to take a new interest in how the organization is run, and I think that as you look at the results across the board, you see that.”

Mooney and White each won head-to-head matchups with their challengers. Mooney earned a two-year term as the North Point District representative with 1,384 votes to opponent Arlene Krieger‘s 1,069. He will serve the remaining two years of the term won in the 2016 election by Dannielle LaRosa, who stepped down.

“I’m very grateful to the voters, the members, for putting their trust in me,” Mooney said. “I hope to serve the board as best I can, and the Association as best I can. [There are] a lot of challenges, but I’m looking forward to it.”

White, meanwhile, earned a three-year team as the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District representative with 1,026 votes to opponent Syazana Durrani‘s 456.

“I’m looking forward to reminding the RA that the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District exists and reminding them that there are a lot of great community members who have probably not been getting involved because they haven’t been happy,” she said. “I’m really excited to remind the RA of that.”

David Bobzien, who was unopposed in the race for Apartment Owners’ representative, will also join the board for a three-year term.

“I’m sort of coming full circle, since I’ve lived here since 1975 and have been active in the community and was on the Planning Commission during some of the early development,” he said. “Now we’re looking at all this re-development, so I’m just looking to do my part and help out wherever I can.”

The four new board members will sit in on their first meeting tonight, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at RA Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). The agenda includes the election of officers, and discussion of committees and upcoming training. CEO Cate Fulkerson will also present the board with its 2017 calendar and strategic issues for consideration in the next three months.

The new members join continuing members Julie Bitzer, Sherri Hebert, Michael Sanio, Eve Thompson and Ray Wedell on the board.

In total, 4,918 ballots were tallied for the election — a voter turnout of about 18.97 percent. The North Point District had the highest percentage (24.79) of ballots returned; Hunters Woods/Dogwood (13.74 percent) had the lowest.

by Dave Emke — April 12, 2017 at 9:00 am 17 Comments

Board of Directors Election Winners Announced — David Bobzien, Eric Carr, John Mooney and Victoria White were announced Tuesday night as the winners of the Reston Association Board of Directors election. A full story will be posted later today on Reston Now. [Reston Association]

Report: Man Charged With Sexual Abuse Was Deported Felon — Media in D.C. reports that Oscar Perez Rangel, charged with sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl in Herndon, had previously been deported and was in the country illegally. [NBC Washington/WJLA]

Connolly: Hate Graffiti an Attack on Society — Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Fairfax) says of anti-Semitic vandalism at the Jewish Community Center and Little River United Church of Christ in Annandale that “an attack on one faith is an attack on all.” [Rep. Gerry Connelly/Facebook]

GMU Professor, Students to Perform in Reston — A free concert Thursday by Dr. Patricia Miller, director of vocal studies at George Mason University, and her advanced students will include performances from Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera “Iolanthe.” [Reston Community Center]

by Dave Emke — April 10, 2017 at 11:30 am 5 Comments

At the annual Members’ Meeting on Tuesday at Reston Association Headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive), the four new members of RA’s Board of Directors will be introduced.

In this year’s Reston Association board election, which ended April 3, 11 candidates ran for four positions. The winners of the election, to be announced Tuesday, will replace outgoing board members Ellen Graves, Dannielle LaRosa, Lucinda Shannon and Jeff Thomas.

The new members will join continuing members Julie Bitzer, Sherry Hebert, Michael Sanio, Eve Thompson and Ray Wedell on the board.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting:

  • Board President Ellen Graves will give the “State of the Association” report
  • CEO Cate Fulkerson will provide her report
  • the 2016 Reston Association Employee of the Year Award will be given out
  • members will be given time for comment

The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The board will meet for its initial meeting Wednesday. On the agenda for that meeting is the election of officers, and discussion of committees and upcoming training. Fulkerson will also present the board with its 2017 calendar and strategic issues for consideration in the next three months.

That meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, also at RA Headquarters.

Both meetings will also be streamed live on Reston Association’s YouTube channel.

by Dave Emke — March 31, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Rain, Rain Go Away — Rain that is expected to inundate the area through Friday is forecast to vacate later tonight. Saturday looks to be dry but cloudy, with sun coming back Sunday. Temperatures in the 50s and 60s will make for a nice weekend. [Capital Weather Gang]

RA Election Ends Monday — There are only a few days left to get your ballot in for the Reston Association Board of Directors election. Voting can be done online through RA’s website. Winners will be announced at the annual members’ meeting April 11. [Reston Association]

Submit a Video to Fairfax County Board — In what it says is an attempt to increase the amount of public participation in hearings, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is encouraging residents to submit pre-recorded comments via YouTube. The video-submission program will first be used for the county’s public budget hearings April 5-6. [Fairfax County]

Local Student Presents at Alabama Conference — Christine Roesch, of Reston, was one of 500 University of Alabama undergraduate students who were selected to showcase their research and creative projects during the school’s annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference earlier this week. Her project was titled “The Layout of Grass and a Trip to Starbucks Can Influence Which Way You Walk to Class.” According to her Facebook page, Roesch is a psychology major with a criminal justice minor. [University of Alabama]

by RestonNow.com — March 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm 1 Comment

HeidiAnne Werner/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We have posted profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is HeidiAnne Werner, who is facing five other candidates in the race for an At-Large seat. Her opponents are Roberto Anguizola (profile), Eric Carr (profile), Mike Collins (profile), Charles Dorfeuille (profile) and Ven Iyer (profile). The six squared off in a candidate forum last week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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 my whole life. I attended RA summer camps, was a camp counselor and even worked at RA in the Parks & Recreation office for a couple of summers. There was no question I wanted to come back to Reston after college. As an adult, I love living in a community that has such wonderful recreation offerings. I love playing tennis, walking my dog on our great path system and relaxing at the pools in the summer. When I was in the market to finally buy property, I knew that Reston was the place I wanted to be.

What inspired you to run for the board?

I love living in Reston, but there are many things that concern me which I would complain about to others. I realized that I had to stop complaining about the things I did not like unless I was willing to get involved in the process. I went to a Board meeting and it was one where they were talking about changing the dues structure. When I did not hear any opposing viewpoints I got scared that we would all quickly see a huge increase in our dues. So I decided I wanted to get involved and offer another viewpoint.

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

  • Financial Management — We keep on seeing dues increase year after year without cuts to ancillary services. Are non-Reston-residents being charged enough to use our services? Or are residents picking up the bill for everyone?
  • Deviation from Original Purpose — Do all of the programs that Reston offers fit into the purpose of our community?
  • Development — There is no question that Reston is changing. What is Reston’s responsibility to making sure we are not overtaken by development? How are we making sure our green space and recreation is being protected?

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

As a board member I cannot promise that I will cut dues, stop development or save our pools. But I can promise that I will work hard with the board, RA staff and residents to make sure that issues are discussed and addressed; to make my case for the issues. I promise I will work to collaborate with everyone and come to the best solution. I know that might not be the most popular viewpoint, but no one board member can drive through their platform. I will do everything I can to continue to make Reston a great place to live and work.

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

My career is association management and I am in the process of studying for my CAE (Certified Association Executive) exam. Through my career, I have practical hands-on experience dealing with boards, association staff and members. Through my CAE study I am learning the theoretical best practices. But my experience is not only through my career. In my personal time, I have served on various committees and boards and, in addition, I serve on my cluster board, which gives me the experience in dealing with homeowner concerns. My experience makes me a well-rounded candidate for this position.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 17, 2017 at 11:30 am 38 Comments

Ven Iyer/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Ven Iyer, who is facing five other candidates in the race for an At-Large seat. His opponents are Roberto Anguizola (profile), Eric Carr (profile), Mike Collins (profile), Charles Dorfeuille (profile) and HeidiAnne Werner (profile). The six squared off in a candidate forum last week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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 eight years.

I was born and raised in Mumbai in a middle-class family. After completing my bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering, I came to the United States to earn a master’s 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.

Ten 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?

Our assessments have nearly doubled in the past 15 years. This is neither warranted nor sustainable. I have spoken to retirees who are faced with the difficult decision of moving out of Reston. They lived within their means, their homes are paid off, and now the assessments are a sizable portion of their fixed income. If this does not worry you now, think again. In another 30 years, the Reston that we know now won’t be affordable by those who aren’t wealthy.

The cumulative year-over-year assessment increase percentage is almost twice that of inflation over the past 15 years. Those additional monies fuel RA’s well-documented spending habits of operating outside the scope of its mission statement. I want to stop the rapidly rising assessment bills and stop RA’s bad spending behavior.

I want to stop projects that are invasive on our neighbors and nature. I recently campaigned along with the Preserve Newport Fields coalition of residents, and together we successfully stopped the Lake Newport Soccer Proposal to demolish natural fields. Other proposals like redevelopment of St. Johns Wood apartments and Reston National Golf Course to dense residential properties puts RA in the frontline to protect the Reston way of life.

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

The biggest concerns for the Reston community are from RA’s behavior of wasteful spending, operating outside its mission scope, and simply put, strange conduct.

RA pushed for the purchase of the Tetra Lake House at more than twice its county-assessed value, made estimates on complex repairs instead of getting multiple professional estimates, drafted sloppy rent-back agreements allowing former owners to walk away and did not write an objective referendum. When the community wanted an independent investigation, RA conveniently appointed its own Tetra Review Committee, hardly making it independent, and therefore ineffective. This is evident when an effort by citizen subject-matter experts for a truly independent investigation at a pro-bono price of $1 got derailed, and another bidder’s $45,000 deliverable yielded 30 pages of process and policy philosophies devoid of individual culpability, law-breaking and conflicts of interest.

I wrote to the RA Election Committee in February asking them to collect COI disclosure statements from all candidates so that the community knows who they are voting for, to which they refused. Meanwhile, the Lake Newport Soccer Proposal is a $2.4 million spending proposal by a special interest group with tremendous access to the officers of the corporation. These proceedings are anything but normal.

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

I want to establish effective audits, member inclusion and better two-way communications to improve transparency.

Currently, RA uses it own convenient interpretation of rules, closed executive sessions, bare meeting minutes and restrictive member input in its decision-making process, rendering RA’s edicts to be unilateral and unfair to members. RA decisions in Tetra, the land swap and the soccer proposal demonstrate this pattern.

I also want to dismantle the ineffective Tetra Review Committee and salvage the independent pro bono investigation bid by citizen subject-matter experts. Who else but the citizens of Reston, completely removed from the Tetra deal and directly affected by it, will help give us closure? This time, RA must make certain that its board and legal counsel don’t stonewall and derail this effort.

I will vote to reduce operating expenses and review excess reserve funds. Projects related to safety and maintenance of existing facilities will be given priority, and all capital expenditures will be thoroughly vetted.

I will remind RA of its mission statement and make certain that it does not expand or operate outside those boundaries. 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 already been involved in community service with Fairfax County organizations. At HART, I drove a van full of rescue animals to and from Fauquier County to Fairfax County for adoption events. At FACETS, I assisted parents and children affected by poverty in Fairfax County and mentored students towards well-paying careers in technology.

I am running for the Reston Association Board of Directors as an At-Large candidate because I believe my positions on key issues will benefit the entire Reston community. You can learn more about my positions on key issues at veniyer.com or facebook.com/voteforven. As the President of a technology company with customers in state, local and federal government, I have experience in bringing the required change while operating within a defined scope and constraints.

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.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

Charles Dorfeuille/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Charles Dorfeuille, who is facing five other candidates in the race for an At-Large seat. His opponents are Roberto Anguizola (profile), Eric Carr (profile), Mike Collins (profile), Ven Iyer (profile) and HeidiAnne Werner (profile). The six squared off in a candidate forum last week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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 the area for around 15 years, nine of which being in Reston Proper. Even when I didn’t live in Reston I would always find myself here, be it because of the Town Center or Lake Anne. My family moved here from Herndon because of the strong sense of community we saw here.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Through my involvement in the Community Engagement Advisory committee I had seen many inefficiencies in RA policy that I have not seen the board properly work on. I see many ways to improve RA, and also want to see a Reston where more of us are taking full advantage of what RA has to offer!

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

For the short term, I think that redevelopment and rezoning are my biggest concerns. If this is not properly faced, it will have negative effects to our community for decades to come.

For the longer term, though, I see the rapid assessment increases as a very serious issue we must at least try to take on in a serious way.

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

I hope to accomplish three things in my three-year term. The first is to increase the role of cluster presidents by better involving them on issues that concern them. Increasing the role of community leaders will provide much needed public input channel for communities potentially impacted by RA projects, like the Lake Newport soccer fields.

The second goal would be to revive our fight to maintain Reston’s open spaces. With the green space of Reston National still at risk, we need to make clear to all that we as a community value our open space above all else.

Lastly, I would like to see the board work on our unfair assessment system. We now have a system where the new luxury apartments are paying half what normal apartment residents pay in assessment dues. I also believe we should add a new cap that will make the assessment increases both marginal and predictable.

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

I have grown up in this community, and as a result have taken advantage of youth-oriented programs. I know how to make these programs better through trial and error. I was also an original member of the Parks & Recreation Advisory committee and the Community Engagement Advisory committee. Through these postings, I have been able to learn the processes of RA and how things are done. This experience will allow me to hit the ground running if elected to the At-Large seat this April.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 16, 2017 at 11:30 am 8 Comments

Mike Collins/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Mike Collins, who is facing five other candidates in the race for an At-Large seat. His opponents are Roberto Anguizola (profile), Eric Carr (profile), Charles Dorfeuille (profile), Ven Iyer (profile) and HeidiAnne Werner (profile). The six squared off in a candidate forum last week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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 wife, Sarah, and our two young sons decamped from the West Coast to live closer to family and make Reston our home in 2008. I first learned about Reston while studying City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. Textbooks usually focus on Reston’s innovative architecture, layout and amenities, but they miss the genius of Bob Simon’s plan. His whole point was to bring people together to form communities and to create space for engaging nature. That’s what keeps us here.

What inspired you to run for the board?

This is actually my second time seeking a board spot. I represented the North Point District from 2010 to 2013. Although I absolutely loved serving our community this way, I did not seek re-election due to a job opportunity that did not allow for both.  

I want to return to the board because I know that the quality of life we enjoy here does not happen by accident. It takes a lot of work. Not only am I willing and able to do it, I actually enjoy it! I chose to run this year in particular because five or more directors will leave the board in the next two years and I believe my prior experience on and off the board will be particularly valuable in grappling with a strained budget and the challenges of development.

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

For Reston in general, our primary challenge is integrating new development in ways that do not overwhelm us. RA must have a very strong voice in trying to mitigate their impact on traffic, aesthetics and other quality of life issues. That’s why, as a Director, I strongly encouraged RA to hire land use counsel who can advise the Board and help advocate our community’s interests. I will also support a Design Review Board that takes a firm stance against projects that are out of character with our neighborhoods.

Second is the challenge of integrating new residents into our community. Residents of most new projects near Metro will not automatically become members of RA. That does not mean we can’t offer them that opportunity and some developers have already joined voluntarily. This can help build the sense of community that Bob Simon envisioned and help RA’s budget because new members will pay assessments without adding much cost.

The third challenge also relates to the RA budget. Recent overspending has severely constrained RA’s ability to maintain services and amenities, could preclude new programs and projects, and created upward pressure on assessments. No one wants to pay higher assessments, but I am particularly concerned on the impact on the nearly 5,000 (25 percent) households in Reston with annual incomes under $50,000.

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

I hope to help take Reston Association in a new direction, where people see a greater value for their assessment dollars, have more trust in the board decisions, and see an improved, more cohesive Reston. Specifically, I will focus on:

  1. Improving Communication — I truly believe directors must conduct direct outreach to their constituents. Personal relationships allow directors to get input beyond three minutes at a board meeting and provide them with the opportunity to explain their positions beyond press releases. I was the first RA Board member to create a newsletter for his constituents. I also attended numerous cluster meetings and convened three town halls. I got yelled at alot, but enjoyed every minute.
  2. Reforming the RA budget process — Too often, directors simply accept staff’s budget proposals without looking behind the numbers. Worse, the Board does very little to make sure that staff sticks to the budget. Directors must be willing to delve deep into the details to assure accountability. Given RA’s history of the recent Lake House project and the reconstruction of the Dogwood pool, I will not support new projects until RA can ensure delivery on-time and on-budget.  
  3. Improving our pathways — Reston’s paths were mostly designed for recreation, but they could be reoriented so we can walk or bike to places we need to go. This would not necessarily require the addition of entirely new paths. A few tweaks here and there could enhance connectivity and safety.

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

Professionally,  I was Congressional staffer for six years, including three as Outreach Director for Congressman Gerry Connolly.  I have 10 years experience as a lawyer with experience in litigation, contracts, and homeowners associations.  I have served on the board of a chapter of Habitat for Humanity and currently serve on the board of the Fellowship Square Foundation, which provides housing for 460 very low-income seniors in Reston.

Personally, my family and I have been involved in the best of what Reston offers. My sons go to FCPS schools, are involved in its Boy Scout troops, and have spent many fun summers at various RA camps. We set a summer goal — and met it — a few years back of visiting all 15 RA pools. We’ve jumped in Lake Anne at Freezin’ for Reason and sweated out many a July morning as part of the RSTA’s Lake Newport Lightning. We are living the Reston experience, and know Reston families’ concerns and priorities firsthand.

Learn more about me at www.mikelikesreston.com.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 15, 2017 at 2:45 pm 18 Comments

Eric Carr/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Eric Carr, who is facing five other candidates in the race for an At-Large seat. His opponents are Roberto Anguizola (profile), Mike Collins (profile), Charles Dorfeuille (profile), Ven Iyer (profile) and HeidiAnne Werner (profile). The six squared off in a candidate forum last week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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 here for 19 years. I picked Reston on purpose, and bought my first home here, because it felt like a different kind of community than the other places I’d considered in Northern Virginia. I loved the trees, the trails, the sense of togetherness. I also liked that Reston embodied ideals that were missing in other communities: multicultural, worldly, progressive, innovative, and a place for people of all incomes and backgrounds.

It felt like it meant something to be a Restonian, and I thought that was something I wanted my family to experience, especially my kids. I loved that. I wanted them to be from somewhere, not just from a bland, unremarkable suburb of Washington.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Nineteen years later, it feels like a lot of what I mentioned in that first answer is gone or eroding. It used to be that, driving around NoVA, you knew when you got to Reston. It doesn’t really feel like that anymore in many respects.

It is a very good thing that we have the Metro, because it connects us to cultural, educational, and sporting events downtown, helping to further broaden the experiences of our community. However, the Metro has brought a wave of redevelopment that was never anticipated in the Reston Master Plan, and it shows. The redevelopment will bring new neighborhoods into our community, which may or may not be part of the Reston Association, which may or may not connect to our paths and use our facilities and take part in our communal activities, yet they will also be Restonians.

RA was meant to be the connective tissue that makes Reston the single community that it is. If we get redevelopment wrong, however, we’ll start to look like all those other NoVA suburbs. That would utterly destroy Bob Simon’s vision. Redevelopment is in some ways inevitable, but this is a critical time when we can still shape what it looks like and how these new people fit into our community.

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

The challenges we now face, and will face over the next 5 years, are much larger and more complex than anything we’ve had to face, and so far the RA is not up to the task. The Board doesn’t hold the RA staff to account, and the RA staff doesn’t seem to know what it’s doing. Tetra, Pony Barn, bocce ball, Lake Newport Fields, indoor tennis, indoor rec center, the pool pass mess — these are just some of the recent disasters we’ve all had to endure. They all have a common theme, though: lack of a strong planning process from the outset and almost zero membership input before a decision is made. Over the past 5-7 years, the number of self-inflicted wounds has increased dramatically.

My three biggest concerns: The Board doesn’t hold the staff accountable. The staff makes decisions without Board or membership input. And neither entity has put together an honest long-term budget and planning process to anticipate changes and preempt problems.

The RA is the glue that binds all Restonians together. If we can’t do these three things, and soon, the RA will fail. It is already losing our members’ confidence. We have to turn this ship around.

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

The Board needs to do its job better. The coziness between Board and staff has led us astray, and has given us a Board and staff that do not respond to the membership. The Board needs strong leadership, needs the courage to ask challenging questions, have difficult conversations, and insist on results. Our Board of Directors represents us, the membership, and it has to insist that RA exists for the benefit of all of us. I think most people would agree that it doesn’t feel that way these past several years.

I want to put that spine into the Board, and I will lead by example. In an organization such as the RA, the Board exists to provide strategic oversight, scrutinize our finances, and ensure a holistic approach to fulfilling the membership’s needs. The Board is our voice. We elect them to speak for us. I want that to become reality once more. I will insist that the membership be involved in capital project planning and that all stakeholders are made aware of proposed changes to our community before decisions are made. I will have those difficult conversations with our staff. I will ask the uncomfortable questions.

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

I have lived here 19 years. I raised a family here. I have become involved in every aspect of what it means to be a Restonian. I have seen our community grow and change. I have the passion and deep personal attachment to Reston and my fellow Restonians.

I have served on corporate boards. I have lead teams large and small, and managed multi-million dollar budgets. I know what it means to serve on an effective board of directors, and I have done so. I have had those difficult conversations, and have reshaped large organizations around common, strategic goals.

For most of my 19 years here, I was content to pay my dues, go to work, raise my family, and enjoy the great amenities that we have here. The past several years, though, I haven’t been able to shake this nagging sense that we’ve derailed, that we’re losing our way. We are being overrun by the change, and this is the critical moment, where we can shape that change to keep the best parts of Reston. I am running because I feel compelled to help, and to apply my perspective, experience, and passion for our community, so that new families will feel about Reston the way I did 19 years ago.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 15, 2017 at 11:30 am 2 Comments

Roberto Anguizola/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Roberto Anguizola, who is facing five other candidates in the race for an At-Large seat. His opponents are Eric Carr (profile), Mike Collins (profile), Charles Dorfeuille (profile), Ven Iyer (profile) and HeidiAnne Werner (profile). The six squared off in a candidate forum last week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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 since 2008. I moved here from Chicago, Illinois, with my family to take a career position as a government consumer protection attorney. I was in private practice before moving here and this was a wonderful opportunity to serve and do meaningful work.

What inspired you to run for the board?

My children inspired me to run for the board. As the father of three children (2, 10, and 12 years old), I have a keen interest in maintaining and improving Reston’s recreational facilities and natural resources in an environmentally conscious manner. I want RA to continue offering a high quality of life now and for future generations.

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

  1. Aging Infrastructure. Most of our recreational facilities and amenities were built in the early ’70s. If we don’t invest in them and modernize them, our community will stagnate.
  2. Ongoing Development of Reston. The world doesn’t stand still and we are in the middle of re-development that is going to shape Reston’s future for decades. We need to do our best to shape that change is a way that will be positive for the community and seize on the many opportunities that it will bring. As a community, we need to lay the groundwork so that we are prepared to welcome thousands of new Restonians in the coming decade.
  3. Forward Looking Financial Stewardship. We need to balance necessary investment in Reston’s aging facilities and amenities with strong financial stewardship. Maintaining and improving a vibrant community is not free and nobody likes higher assessments. For this reason, we need to have tight budget discipline but also be open to partnerships with nonprofit groups and businesses that want to invest in our community through community use agreements, proffers and donations.

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

I love Reston and all of the amenities, programs and services RA offers. My goal as a board member would be to maintain and improve the high quality of life Reston offers for its community members in a fiscally responsible manner. The upcoming Board should focus on: (1) strategic investments in maintaining and improving Reston’s aging infrastructure; (2) positive and proactive engagement in ongoing re-development so that it can be steered in a direction that will inure to the benefit of the community; (3) long-term and forward-looking financial stewardship. In promoting these strategic objectives, the Board should encourage, incentivize and support RA’s wonderful professional staff without resorting to micro-management.

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

My professional and volunteer experiences have prepared me to serve as an RA board member. I have worked closely with RA as the President of Reston Soccer Association, a nonprofit sports organization. In addition, I volunteer as a coach for my son’s soccer team. In the past, I also served as a Cub Scout leader at HWES.

I have been a trial attorney since 1999 both in private practice (8 years) and in government (9 years). Over the course of my legal career, I have handled a variety of business and corporate governance matters. I am a graduate of Northwestern University (BA ’95 and JD ’99). I also recently completed the Partnership for Public Service’s Excellence in Government Fellows program which is an intense year-long leadership development program for civil servants.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm 9 Comments

Syazana Durrani/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Syazana Durrani, who is facing Victoria White (profile) in the race for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat. The two squared off in a candidate forum last week.

Profiles of candidates in the race for an At-Large seat will run later this week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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? 

Since 2011. We moved from Ballston. We fell in love with the woods, trails, the affordability of the home [and the] proximity of Glade Pool with its awesome slide.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Reston itself. A year ago, my husband’s family immigrated (14 years in the making through the highest, most proper legal channels) and I was able to help the family assimilate and integrate into American Living, as well as meeting their highest potential, I truly believe, because we live in Reston. Never mind that I have the best, most loving support system here in the neighbors and friends we have, but Reston, the community, is very much part of the wholesome entity that helped my nephews grow and expand exponentially to be the individuals they are today. And seeing how far the family has come, and loving the process and pushing the envelope to be better each day, I am running as a way to say thank you and to give back to the community that has given us all so much.

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

  • Short-sightedness of short-term gain, without fully understanding the long-term goals and impact of the inevitable expansion and development of Reston
  • Varied diverse communities that make Reston supremely unique — but unwilling to compromise and work together toward a common goal for Reston
  • Lower income group that is left behind from Reston’s progress due to lack of involvement and understanding of their own community’s potential and influence

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

Bridging the gap between the association and many Reston residents who don’t understand the significance of their personal engagement and involvement in RA. To be able to communicate with residents and community the kinds of impact the board’s direction and decision can be on them, on our community.

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

When I say I represent diversity, I mean the rich makeup of Reston residents: the stay-home/work-from-home parents; the multilingual/multicultural communities; the young families and elderlies; the single and the multi-family occupants; friends and neighbors who come from everywhere and have chosen and made Reston their second, third, fourth home.

I live my personal and professional life every day, in how I raise my family, in how I help my nephews assimilate and integrate into American Living, in the way I meet new friends and neighbors, in the way I share the best of Reston. Through this role with RA, it will just be another feature of Reston I can represent and promote, with insightful background of the meat and grit of how the association works.

How does this all help my role with the RA? I hope it will bring new perspective, a fresh breather of someone with lots of energy and positivity of where we are and where we’re heading. To be reminded and be mindful that every decision made as board member has huge impact on so many for a long while, thus the role with RA is laden with responsibilities not to be taken lightly. To be able to truly listen to all facets and factions, communities and committees that make up Reston and bridge the differences by being mindful of the end goal.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 14, 2017 at 11:30 am 9 Comments

Victoria White/RAVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Victoria White, who is facing Syazana Durrani (profile) in the race for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat. The two squared off in a candidate forum last week.

Profiles of candidates in the race for an At-Large seat will run later this week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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? 

In 2004, while searching for our first home, my husband and I chose Reston for its relative affordability and natural resources. Since that time, we’ve come to appreciate the wide variety of amenities available to RA members and cherish the sense of community we have found here.

What inspired you to run for the board?

In the time I have lived in Reston, I have seen a number of questionable actions undertaken by RA Board which have had an adverse affect on our community. As such, I decided that rather than continue to watch from the sidelines, the best way to prevent such further mistakes from being made would be for me to become more directly engaged in the decision making process itself. Further, this would allow me to set an example for our young son, on how to become better involved in his community.

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

  • RA’s less than ideal communication with its members, which leads to mistrust and lack of engagement by the community.
  • Poor management of our resources — Our pools are possibly the greatest example of this poor management where budget concerns lead to significantly reduced hours at some facilities in 2016.
  • One of the things that makes Reston truly special is the green space available to our community.  As the pace of development increases, our green space is threatened. We must band together and find creative solutions to protect this shared resource.

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

  • Promote transparency to enable Members to comment on the decision-making process and substance of issues before the Board, and to hold the Board and Staff accountable for its decisions.
  • Manage RA better. Reston is undergoing major and unavoidable change. Yet, RA should continue to provide services to all Members, independent of their life stages, or socio-economic status.  Annual assessments have escalated at an unsustainable rate. RA needs to maintain its current infrastructure, amenities, and environment, before jumping headlong into new ventures. Well-considered long range planning and budgeting is a way to achieve that.
  • Improve cooperation between the Clusters, Members, Covenants and the RA Board to assist Members in complying with DRB guidelines. As our Members age, it is more difficult for many to make the required improvements. We can use the experience and expertise of individual Clusters and the RA to assist many more Members to meet the requirements with creative solutions.

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

I am an experienced contracts administrator with over 10 years of experience negotiating and managing contracts in the non-federal space. I have managed 25-plus year sales and service support contracts valued at up to $1 billion, and short-term consultancy contracts of various values. I have an excellent track record of building consensus to successfully conclude contracts, while mitigating risks and managing cost and revenue throughout the contract life-cycle.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 13, 2017 at 1:30 pm 26 Comments

John Mooney/Reston AssociationVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is John Mooney, who is facing Arlene Krieger (profile) in the race for the North Point District seat. The two squared off in a candidate forum last week.

Profiles of candidates in the races for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat and an At-Large seat will run later this week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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?

Susan and I bought our Hampton Pointe condo in March 2016, and it was love that brought us here.

First was our love for each other — two widowed people, she living on a forested farm in West Virginia and I living in suburban Fairfax County for the last 27 years, meeting miraculously on Match.com. She had grown up and worked in cities for her first 30 years and enjoyed city culture, but she loved the country. I had lived in cities all my life but also enjoyed nature’s beauty. Farms are hard as people age, so when we married Susan agreed to move to Fairfax.

Then it was love of Reston. As we looked for a new home, urban and typical suburban settings couldn’t satisfy her soul. We looked all over northern Virginia. She kept saying, “I think I need to live in Reston.” We love Reston’s trees and trails and bike paths, the proximity of the wooded residential neighborhoods to Reston Town Center, and its easy access to the DC region. We fell in love with Bob Simon’s vision for Reston, an open and diverse community that strives for harmony at so many levels. We love how dedicated Restonians have preserved so much of that vision.

What inspired you to run for the board?

Running for the board was the furthest thing from my mind when we bought our condo. It was the awareness that Simon’s vision was challenged today, and that my 27 years in local-government management could help RA face that challenge, that changed my mind.

The wake-up call was the proposed monster redevelopment of St. Johns Wood Apartments right in our neighborhood. In June 2016, we joined a small leadership team that had formed around the online petition opposing the project. We attended various hearings and gave testimony. I wrote some analyses of SJW’s incompatibility with the Reston Master Plan that were posted on the RA website and on Reston 20/20. Some members of the community then asked me to consider a run for the board.

The SJW involvement made me aware of other challenges facing Reston, ones I had dealt with throughout my career. Running for the Board made sense.

But there’s other inspiration for running, really the deepest. The last words in the magnificent film about Reston, “A Different Way of Living,” are spoken by Bob Simon himself: “Community is what it’s all about.” That has been one of my deepest, lifelong convictions and passions. Running is my (and our) investment in our Reston community.

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

My three biggest concerns are internal governance, development and redevelopment pressures, and its relationship with Fairfax County and state/regional agencies.

Reston has internal governance challenges. RA must keep assessments as low as possible while maintaining service excellence. A capital improvements plan should frame the evaluation of all capital expenditures. RA needs early and thorough analysis of complicated proposals so that new Tetras don’t occur. It needs to inform and involve affected groups and neighborhoods early on big issues. Finally, it needs to demonstrate transparency and accountability in its deliberations and decisions.

Metro’s arrival heightened the development pressures on Reston from construction in Reston Town Center and the Dulles Corridor. Reston also faces internal re-development challenges, like St. Johns Wood and Tall Oaks. As Reston’s early construction ages, the redevelopment pressure will accelerate. RA, RTC and the Dulles Corridor must work as a harmonious “One Reston” or we’ll all fail.

Fairfax County is Reston’s local government. Had the county not approved Reston’s “residential planned community” zoning in 1962, Reston would not exist. But Fairfax County’s growth orientation can endanger the Reston vision.  We must increase collaboration with the county and state/regional agencies, but in a way that protects and advances Reston’s unique interests.

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

The short version: I hope to help RA successfully address the challenges noted in the previous question.

Let me highlight a few specifics I want to focus on:

  • RA Governance: RA needs stronger analytic capacity (staff, contractual or committees) to analyze complex issues. It also needs a better community-involvement process to improve members’ confidence in RA.
  • Development/Redevelopment Pressures: RA needs to “protect the protections” of our Reston vision — the Reston Deed and the Reston Master Plan. Case law shows that failure to enforce consistently either an HOA deed or a master plan weakens their protective power in future legal battles. We need the RA, and especially the RA Design Review Board, to rigorously ensure that proposed large development projects follow the RA Deed, Design Standards and Master Plan.
  • Relation with the County and State/Regional Agencies: We need designated RA liaisons (RA Board members, RA committee members, or both) to engage regularly with the county and with agencies like the Virginia Department of Transportation, Metro and the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission.

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

The first asset I’d bring as an RA Board director would be my 27 years in local government management, 17 of those in Arlington County, and 7 of those as Arlington’s senior Assistant County Manager. (Details are at Mooney4Reston.com.) I helped maintain and further Arlington’s regional reputation of excellent services within a fiscally responsible budget. We made sure that community processes informed, involved, and listened to all affected groups. We did strategic regional networking.  We used wise capital-improvements planning and budgeting. Perhaps above all, we were doggedly faithful to Arlington’s comprehensive plan despite strong pressures for over-development.

I also bring my background in ethics generally and local government ethics specifically. I have a Ph.D. in philosophy with a specialization in ethics and have taught local-government ethics courses to employees of Arlington County, the District of Columbia and Montgomery County. I’m confident that I can help the RA Board and members in their concerns about RA’s internal ethics.

Finally, I bring decades of personal effort of working for the common good, of building up community at many levels — civic, religious and political. Helping communities grow and succeed has always been my greatest joy.

Read more about Mooney and the other candidates in the 2017 Reston Association election on RA’s website.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILES:

by RestonNow.com — March 13, 2017 at 11:30 am 43 Comments

Arlene Krieger/Reston AssociationVoting in the 2017 Reston Association Board of Directors election will run through April 3. We will be posting profiles on each of the candidates. Featured here is Arlene Krieger, who is facing John Mooney (profile) in the race for the North Point District seat. The two squared off in a candidate forum last week.

Profiles of candidates in the races for the Hunters Woods/Dogwood District seat and an At-Large seat will run later this week.

The profiles are in a Q-and-A format. 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?

Three generations of my family have lived in Reston. My family has enjoyed Reston’s green, open spaces, its incredible schools, its dog park, its lakes, its pools, its wide range of recreational facilities, its library, and its beautiful residential neighborhoods. I have been a wife, a mother and a grandparent here in Reston. Members of my family have been born right here at Reston Hospital.

Nobody is more INVESTED in preserving North Point’s lifestyle and quality of life than I am. As a long-term resident of North Point, how could I be anything else? Bob Simon’s beautiful vision of a planned community is what brought me here. But with what’s happening with all the redevelopment I see around me, I think that Bob must be spinning in his grave.

What inspired you to run for the board?

I was one of three women who began the fight against the St. John’s Woods Redevelopment Plan. I live nearby. This affected me directly. SJW would have more than doubled the amount to people living in this one neighborhood … destroyed a beautiful green canopy of trees … and created even more traffic congestion than we already have. We cannot allow developers to trample on our way of life without fighting back.

After the Reston Design Review Board approved SJW’s plan, I got it out of their hands and in front of the entire board of directors instead. There, it was shot down. Turned out it violated our Master Plan. It was then that I realized I needed to be on the RA Board. We need louder voices to protect our neighborhoods and homes. My outrage at projects like St. John’s Woods, the Golf Course, Tall Oaks, the Soccer Field and the disastrous Lake House purchase mirrored that of residents throughout North Point. I realized that my specialized skill set as a professional community organizer would give me an edge to better deal with the challenges confronting North Point, and give our residents a stronger voice in protecting our shared interests.

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

Foremost, it’s how developers are targeting residential neighborhoods in North Point. I hear much talk about Reston’s need for “balanced development.” But it seems to me that the only balance that matters is the bank balance of developers. I am extremely concerned about special waivers, exceptions and zoning changes for specific developers that allow them to encroach on our neighborhoods like invasive plants.

Second, the lack of communication between RA and our community troubles me. Everything seems backwards. Today, the onus is on YOU to find out what’s happening. YOU need to check the RA website. YOU need to figure out how to sign up for crucial alerts. Transparency has become a buzz word. Everyone says it, but few know how to implement it. That’s why so many Restonians don’t learn about development projects until bulldozers show up. It’s almost as if RA doesn’t want you to know what’s going on. As a community organizer, my plan is to reverse this paradigm. Make RA responsible for transparency, not members.

Third, even though I know it’s not a tax, I’m not a fan of the way assessment fees are determined. I think some people are paying more than their fair share.

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

All the candidates know the basics. Compromise … Dialogue … Negotiation. But what makes me different is one unwavering position: developers MUST abide by Reston’s Master Plan and Deed, and other binding legal instruments.

I am NOT a politician and I’m NOT part of the establishment. I haven’t worked for the government in any capacity whatsoever. I think that’s important. I am a community organizer and activist. Always have been, always will be. And what I hope to accomplish by being on the board is to bring my unique experience and special skill set to the table, to enable the community to have a stronger say in their own lives. I know how to keep people informed. And I know how to form collations to help ordinary people deal with the challenges we all face.

The advertising for the Reston Parkway commercial building soon to come reminds me of the biggest challenge we face in Reston. It labels itself, “One Address Above it All.” And I believe that’s what developers think about us: That they are ABOVE us all. I won’t accept that. No one should.

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

I have spent my entire career organizing people around vital issues. As a community organizer, I have created committees, boards, special events, community services and collaborations that bring people together to work for the common good. I have done this on behalf of major national nonprofit organizations.

As an activist, I know how to change the status quo. This experience is urgently needed on the RA board. The status quo is tearing Reston apart. There are so many different kinds of service and experience. That’s why I always say, “Vote for Results, Not Resumes.”

In addition, as a North Point wife, mother and grandparent, I have used our schools, our kiddie parks, our dog park and our open green spaces with joy. I have benefited from every facet of Bob Simon’s vision of a planned community, and I can’t bear to watch developers continue to chip away at his legacy. In my opinion nobody will fight harder for their community than a person whose neighborhood is being threatened. And that person is me.

Read more about Krieger and the other candidates in the 2017 Reston Association election on RA’s website.

PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED CANDIDATE PROFILE:

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