Restonians may not appreciate the extent to which Reston Association Board elections are controlled by RA staff.
Last year’s race for an At-Large seat on the RA Board of Directors exposed me to a number of disincentives placed on the volunteer candidates by the RA staff that would discourage the most altruistically motivated soul. Donna Rostant was prohibited from using her professionally taken photograph.The rest of us had our pictures chosen for us. Every candidate ought to have the right to present the face they want to the membership; not the RA staff’s choice.
Further, staff refused to disclose to the candidates the voting habits of the membership, i. e., who voted in past RA elections. When the typical turnout in these races is only 10-12 percent, it’s disrespectful of volunteer candidates’ time to make them go door-to-door when eight or nine out of 10 doors that we knocked on didn’t bother voting. That information is public in County, State and Federal elections and there is absolutely no just cause to keep it from RA Board candidates.
Another of the staff’s abuses caused quite a problem for my friend, RA president Ken Knueven, and me. Staff refuses to disclose who has filed to run. Again, that information is public in County, State and Federal elections and there is absolutely no just cause to keep it from RA Board candidates. The result of this overcontrol by RA staff is that both of us, unbeknownst to the other, filed to run for the same seat.
We met last night to commiserate over this silly RA staff practice and the awkward position it put both of us in.
Ken and I agree on so many things:
We agree that the recent experience on the approval of the 23-story building to replace the old “Reston Times” building, where the P&Z rubber-stamped its approval without a commitment for recreational proffers being paid to RA and the RA Board opposed that building, showed that the P&Z Committee is a broken process and no longer represents the collective wisdom of Restonians.
Most Restonians may not know that the P&Z Committee is not part of RA, but used to be part of RCA. Its membership is unelected and is accountable to no elected officials. Ken and I both believe that references to the P&Z need to be removed from the RA website so that Restonians are no longer confused about who speaks for RA members in land use matters. Going forward, RA’s Board needs to be the singular voice on land use matters in Reston as is the practice in the rest of Fairfax County.
Ken and I also agree that the Phase I Reston Master Plan must include language calling for the inclusion of indoor tennis courts and an indoor 50-meter pool, paid for with developer proffers, in the station areas of Wiehle and RTC.
We also believe that it is essential the Phase I Reston Master Plan direct the $1,700 per residential dwelling recreational proffer be paid to RA for capital recreational purposes and that commercial developers must also pay a $1.50 per square foot toward that end.
Ken and I believe that Fairfax County and the Park Authority have been negligent in providing recreational facilities within RA’s boundaries and, that to redress those past shortcomings, the artificial turf fields at South Lakes High School ought to be fully funded by FCPS and FCPA alone.
We also believe that the lights on Brown’s Chapel Field #2, the only 90-foot baseball field owned by RA, should be turned on not later than September 2, 2014!
We also agree that the impending turnover at the RA’s CEO position is an opportunity to invigorate a desultory RA staff for the 21st Century. We both agree that I have much to contribute in that search process.
Those reading this blog by now should be asking, “If you two agree on so much, why are you both running?” That’s just it. I’m not. I sent in my withdrawal within an hour after my dinner with Ken.
As I told Ken, unlike others, I never run for office to add another line on my resume. I was running to get all of the foregoing accomplished and more. With Ken’s commitment to achieving those same ends, I can devote my time to other endeavors, like protecting all of our right to vote.
Good Luck, Ken. I have no doubt you can get most of the foregoing done before the Fourth of July 2013. If not, there’s always next year.