Farrell: Next Three Years RA's Most Crucial

Longtime Reston resident wants to use planning background to aid Reston Association.

John Farrell, Board of Directors at-large candidate, has been involved in various Reston projects, committees and initiatives in the more than 25 years he has lived the community.

Farrell, a land use attorney, was outspoken during the  redistricting process in 2007, is an advocate for reforming FCPS' discipline policy, and has spoken at recent RA meetings about changes and upgrades that need to be made to recreational facilities.

Making sure that RA's facilities are able to be maintained and improved as the association faces a crucial time in its growth are what spurred Farrell to run for a seat on the board, he says.

"The next three years are probably the most important in the life of RA," says Farrell, who has served on RA's Parks and Planning Advisory Committee. He has also served as president of Fairfax Girls Softball and as National President of Candlelighters Childhod Cancer Foundation.

"The adoption of the comprehensive plan will set the course for the next 20 years. RA needs more professional and informed leadership in the input it gives to the county."

Reston founder Robert E. Simon says he has endorsed Farrell, as well as Realtor Eve Thompson, for at-large seats. Two at-large seats are up for grabs.

Farrell says that RA "has been getting by on assets that were built 40 years ago."

"I would like to maintain the assets we have," he said. "We haven't been maintaining the assets. Many of the ballfields are 40 or more years old and have never been regraded or resodded."

Obtaining recreational proffers from developers who are expected to build in Reston as the opening of Metro approaches (in 2013) is one key to the future, Farrell says.

Also key: recognizing that Reston's new transit-oriented residents are going to want something different than the community currently offers.

"The new residents will live in high-rise residential," Farrell said. "They are a different demographic. They are not going to have large numbers of kids on the ballfield. They are going to be looking for a gym and a 50-meter pool. RA might not have to be the operator of the gym and pool, but if it is not in the language of the comprehensive plan, we are going to be scratching around looking for it.


Reston Patch will have occasional stories about all six of the Reston Association board candidates as the March elections approach.

Read previous stories:

The BSD Guy February 09, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Putting land developers on the various boards that oversee development is a bit like putting a pedophile in charge of the schoolyard.
Michael Sanio February 10, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Correction to John Farrel's article, I am an engineer with over 20 years professional sustainability experience at the local, national and international level. My family, Grecia and three sons moved to Reston in 2005; I have been very active as a member of the Reston Association Environmental Advisory Committee promoting sustainability in all that we do. Reston is at a cross roads, the infrastructure that we build now through the Metro extension will have impacts on transportation, congestion and energy consumption that will effect our community for the next 50 years and beyond. We must get it right. The Reston Association has made major strides in incorporating sustainability into its strategic plan over the last year. I look forward to working with EAC, the Reston Board, and the Reston Community to move "words to action". Michael Sanio At Large Candidate Reston Board of Direction
Karen Goff February 10, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Thanks, Michael. I will make the correction and I will get in touch with you next week about a similar profile. Karen Goff, Reston Patch editor
John Farrell February 12, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Reston cluster associations, individual homeowners, churches, mosques and synagogues, the Salvation Army, environmental groups, municipalities, social service agencies and small business owners have also been my clients. As a former altar boy, can I ask you to please consider that your analogy is disrespectful to the suffering thousands of young people have endured for decades. Allow me to offer another: FDR put Joe Kennedy in charge of the SEC after Joe had made his fortune in stock manipulation. And before some other wag says it, yeah, I know, I'm no Joe Kennedy. Thank Goodness.
The BSD Guy February 12, 2012 at 07:52 PM
Dear Mr. Farrell: Thanks to the efforts of some fairly incompetent Supreme Court Judges as well as the influence of special interests, this country has literally become nothing more than a laughing stock. Observing Republican candidates supported by millionaires and billionaires "hiding" behind Super PACs essentially, publicly, stabbing each other in the back, reminds me not of a country "headed in the right direction", but one that is degenerating into "food fight" status. The problem with this country, which has now gotten completely out of control, is the influence of special interests in the political process. Our two political parties no longer seem to think it's important to make any effort to represent the people, but rather to get behind closed doors with their special interests and come up with "schemes" to try and sell the American people. The time has come to get special interests out of politics. As far as I'm concerned, significant ties to special interests should disallow an individual from office. That's my opinion. That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the person, I'm simply saying the connection and influence that either can or will exist between an elected official and a special interest should be disallowed. The way one disallows this is easy: Either the candidate drops out or the voter doesn't vote for them. And that, sir, is my opinion.
RKO February 14, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Mr. Farrell's write up sounds just a too little developeresque to me. "Endorsed by Robert Simon" is almost a sure sign someone's is all about development. We now have the worst traffic in the nation. Developers have been offering up their plans for over forty years, and they always go something like this: 1. Let us go on yet another one of our 'Developers Gone Wild' Binges 2. People, jobs, and money will magically flow into the area, just because there are new buildings. That's right people, NEW BUILDINGS=JOBS. 3. Revenues will skyrocket out of control, and tax money will magically fall from the sky. 4. Things will be so wonderful people will be happy to wait in traffic, pay high taxes to pay for all the newly needed schools, road improvements, police, etc. etc. etc. The problem is, the plans aren't working out that way any longer. We have a lot of empty or marginally filled buildings throughout the county, and they've been that way in many places for 10 years. Money isn't falling from the sky. The area is tied to the Fed. Govt. which will be in budget cutting mode, like it or not, for at least the next 10 years. The *magical* growth that developers are promising will not come. All they'll manage to do is create problems for the area, increase our tax burden exponentially, and take a decent looking area and turn it into a concrete pig stye. Adopting a comprehensive plan that only benefits billionaire investors is not my idea of good thinking.
John Farrell February 14, 2012 at 09:38 PM
RKO I live in a 20'wide Ryan built townhouse (circa 1980) that overlooks the 7-11 on Soapstone. I drive a 2000 green Mazda Protege, a ULEV car. Hardly the life style of Til Hazel or Milt Petersen. The 1965 plan for Reston anticipated 80,000 people would live here. The 2010 US Census had us at 58,000. I very much doubt we'll ever get past 70,000. If you've read my statements, you'll see that I want whatever development that does get approved near Metro to pay it's fair share for the recreational needs of its customers and the rest of the Restonians. If Reston were an independent city, we could decide how much development would come here. Until that day, those decisions will be made by Fairfax County, not RA. All that an RA Board member can do is insist that sufficient resources are available for RA to meet the recreational needs of the existing and new Restonians.
Scott March 08, 2012 at 04:42 PM
I had the pleasure to speak with Mr. Farrell yesterday afternoon when he was walking our cluster and meeting and greeting. Good old fashion politics - he wants to hear from his potential constituents and that was very refreshing. What I met was a man with a true desire to protect our community and do so with practicality rather then emotion. He asked me what my concerns are and while I did not agree with everything I have to admit that he has an enormous amount of working RA knowledge and inasmuch my opinion was driven without full disclosure. of all the facts and history. Again - very refreshing. RA elected officials give of themselves, time and energy for what I can tell for the most part is a thankless job. How lucky we are to have folks willing to give of themselves in such a selfless way...to that end Thank You all! I am supporting Mr. Farrell in the election because I now know him have a face and a voice to go with the written dialogue. In addition I support him on all his key points: 1. Transparency 2. Responsibility 3. Priorities 4. Fiscal accountability (The RA Office move still bugs the heck out of me - such a waste of our dollars; but I digress).
Scott March 08, 2012 at 04:42 PM
Part two: While we all can point fingers and say what we would do - the question is do we? The reality is no - In John's case he is willing to take the heat for addressing the less then popular view. That is more then I can say! Mr. Farrell, you have my support and thank you for visiting with us in Beacon Hill!
John Farrell March 08, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Scott Thanks for taking the time to talk to me yesterday and for posting your kind words in today's comments. I'll be walking Reston's neighborhoods for the rest of the month. I've already gotten several e-mails and a phone call this morning. I enjoy discussing Reston's future with my neighbors.
Scott March 08, 2012 at 08:26 PM
John - Your comment is that of a Class Act! Thank you for what you are attempting to achieve. As I said - you have my support! Best of luck to you!!
Laurie Dodd March 15, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Seeing John Farrell's frequent comments here on Patch has given me the impression that he tends to be argumentative and divisive, which is not what I want for the Reston Association. He will not get my vote.
Not Chillin Just Rest'n March 15, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Miss Dodd, I think you are confusing argumentative and divisive with advocacy and a passion for improving Reston. It's about time the board had someone to speak out for the best interest of RA members.
Laurie Dodd March 15, 2012 at 07:22 PM
The fourth comment on the attached page gives one example of a tone that is not helpful when working with a group of people, furthering my concern that John Farrell would not be the best person to add to the Reston Association board. http://reston.patch.com/articles/fcps-expulsions-and-reassignments-dropping Also, see his stream of comments here: http://reston.patch.com/articles/ra-pledges-100k-for-slhs-turf-fields
Skip Endale March 15, 2012 at 07:59 PM
I haven't seen other candidates being attacked over their personality, is this the shot that starts the race? If so, I have plenty to say.
Not Chillin Just Rest'n March 15, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Ma'am, In regards to the first link, Ms. Goff's coverage of the RA candidate forum last night makes clear she and Mr. Farrell have respect for each other. As for the second link provided I can point to several commentators who were just as adamant in their position as Mr. Farrell was in his. At no point did he ask any commentator to "stop the madness". I find it disheartening anyone would base their vote on message board comments, where tone and inflection are never clear, but frequently assumed. To quote Winston Churchill, "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
Scott March 15, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Ms. Dodd - What a mistake to judge someone based on comments on a board without seeing the persons expression and passion. How sad that you take the responsibility of an election in such a way that you scour boards for comments that you may or may not agree with. Did you attend the meeting last night when all the candidates addressed the group? I did! John is passionate and it is about high time we had someone shake up things a little bit. Assessments are going up and spending is out of control. Soon - we will price Reston out of the market unless action is taken now! For that reason I give my full support to John and Farell and Donna Rostant - my number one concern is Reston viability and fiscal responsibility both very much lacking in my humble opinion.
The BSD Guy March 16, 2012 at 05:51 PM
Since I issued the first comment about Mr. Farrell, allow me to say the following: INVESTIGATE EVERYONE, not just Mr. Farrell!!! By investigate, I mean check out their backgrounds, current employment, past employment, and if possible employment relations with special interests exist, etc. Developers, like any other special interest that tries to manipulate authorities to suit their own needs, love to stick their hands into things and try to get control. They would LOVE to have people on the RA that are nothing more than "talking heads" for their activities. Check out Mr. Farrell FAIRLY along with all the other candidates, but by all means check them out.
Laurie Dodd March 18, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Scott, I am judging the candidate John Farrell by his own words, and he does not fare well. Public office demands the ability to work well with others, and the insulting tone he uses here on Patch indicates that he is likely to resort to similar tactics in office, rather than build bridges to get things done. "Passion" is not enough if one's working style alienates others.
Not Chillin Just Rest'n March 18, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Ms. Dodd, This is a do nothing RA board. All of the comments you have left in this thread have displayed the negative behavior you have falsely accused Mr. Farrell of.
LauraR March 19, 2012 at 02:13 AM
I think the piling on of people who are willing to serve is a bit much. How about we all act like adults, read the candidate statements, speak with friends and neighbors who's opinions we respect and vote. As BSD Guy says, check them all out FAIRLY. Laurie, I think checking out the candidate's comments on Patch is completely legit, as is Google & Facebook. The Board does need to function productively, and if Board Members are combative in general, then that's a problem. But most of all, we need to vote.
Laurie Dodd December 28, 2012 at 06:11 PM
I worked with John Farrell during November's election season and earned a newfound respect for a man I had previously "met" only though his written comments. His passion for good governance is clear, as is his knowledge on such matters. His advocacy for the rights of voters is admirable. While I sometimes wish he would consider his chosen words more carefully, I have substantially revised my opinion of him and thought it only fair to post this message alongside my earlier comments. It was good to meet you, John.


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