News and notes from Reston (tm).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Brown's Chapel Rec Center: A (Sort of) Shocking Revelation

We're hearing more eyewitness accounts of Monday's "community input" meeting about the proposed $65 million rec center/ laser tag arena RA and RCC are angling to get built at Browns Chapel Park in North Reston. Some attendees are now alleging that the Reston Association is now seeking ways to circumvent the referendum process:

Throughout the evening RA CEO Milton Matthews stood outside the room in the hall trying to be as anonymous as possible. At one point someone asked him "are you beginning to understand the level of opposition and anger you will be facing". His answer was "no, I'm in the hall, I can't hear a thing and I'm not going into that room." Ironically, it was Matthews, in a conversation that he had with someone outside of the meeting room, who provided the most shocking information of the evening. When asked whether the community would have a final say, like a referendum on the transfer of RA land (Brown’s Chapel Park) to the county he said that RA's legal counsel was looking into ways that they could transfer the land and avoid a referendum. In the meeting itself someone asked RA President Robin Smyers whether there would be a referendum and she evasively stated "I'm not at liberty to say at this time".

Funny, that they claim no decisions have been made and they want community input and yet before they have even scheduled the first community input meeting they are already looking into ways to avoid letting the community decide through a referendum.
We are shocked -- just shocked! -- that RA would try to find a way to circumvent the referendum process. After all, it worked so well for them the last time around, when they wanted a shiny new building for their filing cabinets.

Anyway, please to be enjoying this video we found on the YouTubes that must have been smuggled out of the meeting at considerable personal risk to the cameraman.



Sadly, the spokespuppy is nowhere to be found.

8 comments:

  1. Apparently democracy is overrated in Reston by its residents. We're supposed to follow RA leadership because they know what's best for us. This is creepier than them following your blog!

    So many of Reston's residents work or have worked very hard to spread the principles of democracy, many around the world (State, Military). It is sad to see those principles undervalued in our local community.

    Whether or not the Brown's Chapel idea is a good or bad one, to try to circumvent the referendum process is downright snarky.

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  2. How many failures does Mullins have to perpetuate before he recognizes he's in over his head and leaves?

    He wouldn't go into the room during Monday's meeting?

    Snake Den, a new office bldg and Browns Chapel ought to be enough.

    Before he came to RA, he'd been a town manager, right? Did that town have anything like 65,000 people as Reston does?

    What do you think you'll do after RA, Mike?

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  3. The Convict in Gulag 4May 22, 2009 at 10:26 AM

    What a meeting! So much drama. I'm not particularly on their side, but I have to admit that the RCC/RA politicos were very well-behaved whereas the North Reston Tree Huggers were clearly a lawless bunch, hellbent on advancing their picayune agenda instead of working with our elected officials.

    For example, the meeting room has a Maximum Occupancy of 49 by Order of the Fire Marshall? Before the meeting started, there were significantly more than 49 people in the room and, once the RCC/RA staff tried to explain that it would not be possible to move to a new venue, the first speaker ceded the first two minutes of his time so that the North Reston Malcontents could pack even more of their followers into an already over-crowded fire hazard.

    This shows their very clear disregard for safety, not only there own, but also that of their children, whom they ushered to the front of the table. And so what are they risking their children for? A few acres of ballfields and hiking trails. Clearly, these people are out of control

    Yes, it became clear to me very early on that Law and Order be damned, this crowd was going to get their satisfaction one way or another. I understood that this was a throng perched on the edge. I really thought that I was going to be witness to a felony when the swimmer Mom braved the masses just as the wilderness freaks were deep in their frenzy. Perhaps because she looked as if she could probably give as well as she would get that the crowd left her alone. Discretion being the better part of valor, I decided against bringing up the notion of a banked track roller rink, which is a sorely needed amenity for our community I might add. I understood that one wrong move and these wild-eyed, ravenous yuppies would have torn me to shreds -- and the RCC Finance Committee probably would have been happy to set back and watch the mob lynch one of their own.

    But, I've got to admit, it was good political theatre. We could have maybe made a video and sold it: Grass Roots Gone Bad!

    Bring Roller Derby to Reston!

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  4. I thought everyone at the May 18 meeting was well-behaved, articulate, and amazingly restrained.

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  5. what exactly was the RA/RCC staff's explanation for not moving the meeting to the larger empty room next door?

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  6. May 22, 2009

    Dear Restonian,

    Most often, we at the Reston Association avoid providing a platform for negativity. Further, since the Restonian is a blog and not written by an experienced journalist, the blog is by design, opinion and not fact.

    However, we feel compelled to address the errors in your recent posting, Brown's Chapel Rec Center: A (Sort of) Shocking Revelation.

    Let us state the facts.
    1. No decision has been made with regard to the building of an indoor recreational facility in the Reston community.
    2. There is no plan to put anything at Brown’s Chapel. That just one of many, many ideas put forth in discussions. Over the years, Reston Association has also discussed covering tennis courts, had one of our larger pools enclosed for a number of years. Anyone who attends any of the four community listening and informational sessions will see all the ideas be strongly encouraged to share their ideas.
    3. We want to hear from the entire community – not just the small, vocal faction that boasts it says no to just about every forward thinking idea.
    4. There will be four district meetings during June and July for the express purpose of gathering information from the community. Those meetings will be announced as soon as all the locations are confirmed.
    5. The questions asked at those meetings will focus on what the community, as a whole, thinks of the idea of an indoor facility and what services and resources are needed.
    6. Reston Association is in no way trying to circumvent any process that leads to garnering public opinion. This includes, but is not limited to holding a referendum.
    7. In fact, RA’s General Counsel has been investigating whether a referendum would be required and as of Monday’s meeting, he had not released an official ruling. If one is required and IF we get to the point of moving ahead with an indoor recreational facility, the Reston Association would certainly welcome additional community input.
    8. Anyone who looks at the promotion for the May 18, 2009 meeting will realize it was a regularly scheduled meeting of the RCC Finance Committee, with an opportunity for public input and not a “community input” meeting.
    9. Monday’s meeting was held in a small room and many, many people stood outside in the hallway. Reston Association CEO Milton Matthews was among the many, many people who stood outside in the hallway. By his own words, Mr. Matthews engaged in several conversations covering many topics. “I never mentioned that I did not want to go inside the room, nor did I state that RA was looking for ways to avoid a referendum,” Matthews said.
    10. Last time we checked, laser tag was an amusement and is therefore not one of the needs expressed in the many surveys of the Reston community by the county.
    11. By examining the language of the Restonian, one quickly realizes there are only suppositions, opinions and hearsay presented as facts. There are many references to “someone” and “someone was told by an eye witness.” But those are not facts. Facts rely on data and first-hand accounts that are attributable to a person with a name. Facts are what we have presented here.
    12. You are invited to the RA Web site and to sign up for enotices, where you can have a real voice and learn the real facts. Attend the meetings where you can engage in respectful, civil dialogue.


    Robin Smyers, President
    Reston Association
    www.reston.org

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  7. Well, I'll take up that gauntlet, as I happen to be fond of the Restonian, which saves this society form superabundant seriousness. My comments are bolded and italicized.

    ...since the Restonian is a blog and not written by an experienced journalist, the blog is by design, opinion and not fact..... Am I to assume that all blogs are, by design, opinion and not fact? or that all blogs not written by an experienced journalist are, by design, opinion and not fact?
    1. No decision has been made .... This quibble is semantic, bogus. The facility has been named. It has been modeled. The gate fee has been established. All kinds of decisions have been made. But thank goodness there is no resolution on record to go forward with the building of an indoor recreational facility in the Reston community. 2. There is no plan to put anything at Brown’s Chapel.... Is it not a fact that Reston tax money has been spent to develop a plan for a hundred thousand square feet of indoor recreational facility, and Brown's Chapel was determined to be the most suitable location? That is extremely beyond anything I heard discussed at the Lake Anne District meeting I attended a couple of years ago. 3. We want to hear from the entire community – not just the small, vocal faction that boasts it says no to just about every forward thinking idea. To which small, vocal faction is S referring? The NIMBY neighbors, whose homes will sit a couple of hundred feet away from this facility, its lights, its parking, and its traffic? Or just a local gang of naysayers, some club of thugs with an obligation to disagree? And is it really the forward-thinkingness of ideas that invariably offends this small, vocal faction? 5. The questions asked at those meetings will focus on what the community, as a whole, thinks of the idea of an indoor facility and what services and resources are needed. From this information, an Excel spreadsheet will be drawn up to serve as a hypothetical space analysis when the small, vocal faction challenges the needs and benefits of a hundred thousand square feet of indoor recreational facility.7. In fact, RA’s General Counsel has been investigating whether a referendum would be required and as of Monday’s meeting, he had not released an official ruling. If one is required and IF we get to the point of moving ahead with an indoor recreational facility, the Reston Association would certainly welcome additional community input. No more input, everyone! Wait till the decision is made!

    8. Anyone who looks at the promotion for the May 18, 2009 meeting will realize it was a regularly scheduled meeting of the RCC Finance Committee, with an opportunity for public input and not a “community input” meeting. I'm sure only professional journalists can really get that distinction. 10. Last time we checked, laser tag was an amusement and is therefore not one of the needs expressed in the many surveys of the Reston community by the county... Sometimes we fail to understand what is and is not an amusement. Sad.

    11. By examining the language of the Restonian, one quickly realizes there are only suppositions, opinions and hearsay presented as facts.. ..Last time we checked, the Restonian was an amusement, which presents supposition, opinions and hearsay more as JOKES than as FACTS.12. You are invited to the RA Web site and to sign up for enotices, where you can have a real voice and learn the real facts..... I'll go to the Reston Association for facts, but when it comes to humor, give me the Restonian. But, seriously, the more facts RA provides, the less I need to rely on opinion to make my decisions.

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  8. Oh dear. *Forehead slap*
    How many more times are they going to do this kind of stuff. Can't they all just stop pissing people off for a few minutes? Maybe by not advocating crazy plans for building and buying and tree killing?

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