News and notes from Reston (tm).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

RA Headquarters Referendum: I Want My RCTV

In case you are still on the fence about the awesome referendum on whether to spend up to $15 million to build a shiny new Reston Association headquarters building equipped with modern-age filing cabinets, hopefully in the middle of some pristine wooded "reach" which will require extensive "restoration," you clearly don't want to use something as disreputable as a filthy "web-log" to help you formulate your opinion. That's what public access cable, long the refuge of would-be psychics and lonely, basement-dwelling conspiracy theorists, is for.

Fortunately, something called "Reston Impact," which is on Channel 28 if you can get cable in your cardboard box in Targetville, hosted two half-hour shows on this very topic to an audience of tens! Since RCTV is the only public outlet in Reston, including standing with a megaphone at the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunrise Valley, which may actually reach fewer people than this site, we're using the magic of the Googles to share its awesome insights with a larger audience.

Seriously, this stuff is riveting. Host and former Reston Association board member John Lovaas is a cross between Larry King and Jiminy Glick, minus the awesome suspenders.

Here he asks Reston CEO Milton Matthews, who mentioned he had worked in city government in Missouri before coming to Reston, if that meant that town had "a real government." Zing!

Also, at one point, RA President Robin Smyers said some crackpot actually suggested that RA "put the headquarters on top of Lake Newport pool and close it." Wait, what? We guess it's a good thing someone realized that in the event that a giant $15 million building was built on top of a swimming pool, it might have to close. Kudos.

In this second thrilling installment, Reston ARCH President Jerry Volloy says... oh, hell. We stopped paying attention about 5.6 seconds in. But go see their spreadsheets and whatnot, which we're told are quite compelling. More compelling than a "web-log" which uses the word "awesome" in every other sentence, anyway.


  1. Since we don't get TV anymore we're SO grateful that you alerted us to this important news show. But since we already voted NOT NO BUT HECK NO, we are either behind the curve (not up with RA's preferred trend) or ahead of it (DONE!). The broadcast does raise a question though -- who pays for Channel 28's riveting news shows? I'm guessing it's one of those taxes added on to Cable Bills ensuring public access...oh goody.

  2. One of the REALLY good things about Verizon FiOS is you don't get the "Reston Channel." Talk about a blessing!

  3. One thing that really irks me about ARCH,is that they always weigh in on Reston Association issues, yet a large percentage of their members live in areas like West Market and Town Center, and don't pay Reston Association Dues.

    The worst offender is that idiot Robert Goudie, who is not a fee paying Reston Association member, yet he has no problem commenting on Association matters,and even more egregiuos, is the fact the local TV station and press let him get away with this.

    At a minimum, his musings, and those of ARCH for that matter need to be qualified, as a source with no skin in the game so to speak.

  4. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm now leaning towards voting YES. Why? Because if it doesn't pass now, we'll wind up going through this entire process again somewhere down the road, when real estate prices have rebounded and the ultimate cost will be much higher. With the possible exception of the real estate firm "advising" RA, I think everyone's trying to act in the community's best interest, and there's no guarantee a future RA board will do any better a job with the process 5-10 years from now.

    Also, if I get one more freaking postcard reminding me to vote, I'm going to scream.

  5. Re Anon above on ARCH:

    The President of ARCH is Jerry Velloy, the former Executive Director of RA. Its core membership includes the heads or their representatives of virtually every cluster in Reston.

    ARCH also includes people in Reston outside RA and, in that sense, is the most inclusive representative of Reston. This was particularly important in discussions about the proposed increased in Reston density, which affects both RA and non-RA members.

    Mr. Goudie was a key voice in that discussion as he has been in the latest discussion of the headquarters referendum. In both cases, he represented the consensus view of the entirety of the ARCH membership. I don't even know what his personal views were on either, but as an attorney, he adds both knowledge and an articulate voice to the discussion.

    I find such scurrilous personal attacks unwarranted and, frankly, abusive of this blog's privileges.

    And, for the record, neither I nor my neighborhood (which has no cluster governance) in RA Reston are members of ARCH.

  6. These people need to do something real with their lives and leave us alone. It's really time to get rid of the RA -- this area should be a town. What a bunch of hot air.

    I don't know who's tougher to stomach in those videos.

    Down with the RA! It's time!

  7. Last time I was in the RA office I couldn't help but notice multiple expensive looking ergonomic chairs around the board room table. My guess is there were about 20 of them and that my annual accessment probably paid for two. If an employee was sitting at a desk all day and need a chair like that... sure no problem. But I take issue that all these chairs where purchased for how ever often they have meetings. What's this have to do with the new RA building. Wastefull spending! I think RA needs an oversight committee. If RA does get it's new building. Fine. The numbers actually make sense. But I want a fitness center in that building. Or how about close one of the pools that hardly gets used and build a fitness center so we have some kind of recreation that can be used year round. I heard some chatter about building and indoor pool. So guess what? We have one. At Hunterswoods Center. I don't care that it doesn't belong to RA. It's still part of our communitee for people that find a need for an indoor pool. Sorry for that rant. But I don't play tennis and I don't swim. I just don't see the value of putting so much into things that don't serve the greater population year round.

  8. Hmmm. So the RA Board is acting in our best interest? This whole escapade has been one series of misrepresentations after another by members of the Board and RA staff. For example, a month ago there was the claim that RA had to be out of its current spaces next year. Not quite true. The word is out that the landlord not only is disinclined to kick RA out of their spaces any time soon but is actually interested in a lease extension.

    A consistent theme by RA in its presentations has been, "we can't tell you, but trust us." RA started consulting with "the membership" after the ballots are mailed. RA's estimates for its space needs are murky at best. RA was not forthcoming with the name of the real estate firm they were working with until it became apparent the vote is going against them. Only then did RA trot out representatives of the firm at the mothership in Isaac Newton Square. Straight up, RA has changed it story too many times.

    What to do? What to do? Whether you vote yes or no on the referendum, vote. Then start working towards changing the composition of the RA Board in next year's elections. This means getting people to step up and run against those board members who have run unopposed of late. While it may take more than one election cycle to get enough votes on the board to do so, the next step is to replace RA management.

    Do these changes, if they come to pass, guarantee that everything will work out just fine? No. But doing nothing will ensure that the RA board and management remain unaccountable. That almost guarantees decisions made for reasons other than the best interests of the membership RA is supposed to serve.


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