News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reston Association Headquarters: Like a Nike Factory, Only With Earth Tones

floor plan.jpg

This shocking schematic of a prototype space for the proposed shiny new Reston Association headquarters (PDF) lays bare the true secret of how the RA plans to sort all those files that have been stacking up over the past four decades: by hiring (or kidnapping?) an army of child slave labor, who, after a brief primer on alphabetization, will be forced to file away the organization's historic collection of goldenrod copies of Design Review Board citations for 18 hours a day.

Well, maybe not. But if you believe our legions of commenters, there still seems to be some third world-like behavior going on as the Very Special Committee (tm) charted with figuring out how to rent or build the new headquarters held its first meeting:

Our at-large representatives, Joe Leighton and Richard Chew, were not allowed to attend the executive session. They were asked to leave so the other board members could "review submitted facility proposals" for the new headquarters building. Our elected representatives were not allowed to attend the executive session. I guess I can say it again, OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES were not allowed to attend. Cheryl Beamer, acting as chair, sent them from the room. OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES. Folks, this is our homeowner's association, not dirty politics in Chicago in the 1930s. Or, I might be wrong.
We'd keep an extra close eye on the kids at the tot lot, is all we're saying.


  1. Holy Crap! When I saw the first screen-full of this schematic (which shows the first floor), I thought, yeah, this is a little excessive. And then I kept scrolling down... and it just kept getting bigger, and bigger...

    Reminds me of the first scene in Star Wars where the imperial battle cruiser flies over the screen and it goes on forever.

    This is just laughable. Do the people at RA realize how CRAZY they look to the residents? You know, the people THEY WORK FOR? As for not allowing our representatives into the meeting (which was secret in the first place), have these people forgotton who they are? They are running a freaking homeowners association! When did Reston become a despotic regime?

  2. This is absolutely asinine -- RA has lost their minds. While I see their need to improve their spaces, I'd prefer they be more open about how they are using our funds. Their hiding in "Special Committees" is wrong, this is our Assocation, not theirs...

    And yes, put the new location at Lake Anne Plaza, and kick-off that overdue re-development...

  3. How long before we see the minutes of this closed door meeting...???

  4. For those hoping for Lake Anne Plaza being the new site of the RA HQ ... well, just read the agenda of yesterady's meeting, where our elected officials were excluded.

    They hope to have approval on best and final terms before a special meeting on the 13th...

    At same time placating us by considering the Lake Anne site... this is sad.

    From the Agenda:

    "...4. Request for Meeting with Fiscal Committee Prior to July 13, 2009 for Review and Approval of Proposed Lease Proposals

    5. Request for the Call of a Special Meeting of the Board to Present Recommended Headquarters Facility Options
    - Receive authority from the Board to proceed to obtain the best transaction from the most competitive buildings. Cresa will proceed to negotiate the final business points to secure the best terms from among those properties actively seeking tenants to present to the Board for approval (while including the exploration of the potential for a Lake Anne site).

    6. Update on status of Mr. Simon’s Lake Anne site(s) for HQ facility; status on re-scheduling presentation per Mr. Simon’s request..."

  5. Time for a recall vote and out with the lunatics.

    First Robin, then Cheryl, then the sojourner, do-nothing, dressed in capes (!), three-named witch, and then the biggest idiot of them all, Milton Matthews.

    How do we get started on removing these abominable "leaders"?

    PS--It's too bad that Columbia Association did not hire Milton -- that would have been one easy way to get rid of him, but, alas, they don't drink the poisoned Robin Smyers Kool-Aid and wisely rejected him right away.

  6. I believe Robin is a good person, BUT, she needs to stop being manipulated by the Milton's of the world... His cew has to go...

  7. I typed too fast -- I intended to say -- "...His crew has to go.."

  8. I remember watching Bob Simon call down fire and brimstone and the end of the world on RA if they tried to lease the same megabuilding they failed to buy. What do you want to bet that this is the very same building? Now, I'm waiting for Simon to throw his thunderbolts.

  9. Well.. it appears they are interested in one of the low-rise buildigs at the corner of Reston Parkway and Sunrise (according to another post on this blog).

  10. All this leads to asking the following questions.
    1. Why would anyone pay a company for determining the size of the required RA headquarters and finding such a building based on the cost of that very same building (the more expensive the building the more the company making the decisions gets)?
    2. Wouldn't this be an obvious conflict of interest?
    3. Wouldn't the company look for any bases at all for showing that RA needed the largest most expensive building imaginable?
    4. And why would RA and it CEO sign such an obviously flawed agreement?

  11. In my business, it is definitely a conflict of interest... this deal with Cresa smells... and those folks are not cheap. I would love to see how much the Membership paid for this "assistance"...

  12. Mr. Simon needs to rally the troops...

    RA should stay where it is; extending the existing lease. They should commit to being the cornerstone to new Lake Anne Revitalization -- where it all started.

  13. My understanding is that Cresa is a pretty ludicrous choice for this sort of thing. Check out their client list:

    This doesn't seem like the obvious choice for advice on where an association with fewer than 50 people should find office space to hand out pool passes.

  14. suedenim -- I absolutely agree... .. and this is not Robin... this is definitely Milton's effort...

  15. So -- back to the Rec Center for a minute-- why is FFX County, RA, and RCC so interested in a complex in the heart of Reston... when thy are considering this effort down in the Lorton area....

  16. "this is not Robin..."

    Give me a break. Robin is Milton's boss. Milton is the hired man.

  17. either way - they have got to go...

  18. My favorite part of the revised space plan? The long lines that will form for those two restrooms immediately outside the conference rooms capable of holding 200+ people.

    (Yes, I saw the other restrooms through the doors and across the entrance hall, but we all know how people are...)

  19. So, if we assume the buildout is representative of the offices at 12005 Sunrise Valley Drive -- the spaces are going for @ $31/SqFt.

    At nearly 35,000 SqFt, that's over $1M year before utilites, maintenance, etc... what other costs should be factored in...

  20. If Milton is telling Robin what to do, then she should be recalled for incompetence. Then he should be terminated. If Robin is telling Milton what to do, she should be recalled, and then he should be terminated for participating in activities contrary to the interests of the homeowners.

    Then there are the other RA Board members who view Robin as "their boss" who they have to obey. These people have no idea of their duty as representatives of the home owners, not of Robin. They also need to be recalled. This is not hard to do. It takes a 10% agreement of the homeowners in their individual districts. Then there is a new election. But for this to work, you have to have found a candidate who won't be either corrupt or a wimp. Its too late to look after the recall.

  21. Anonymous 10:10 AM

    I absolutely agree, the process is there ... the willingness of the many is what's needed.

  22. So---what and how do we get started on a recall? I woll devote a great deal of time to this effort if there is supporrt.

    I do feel that time is of the essence!

    PS--don't forget that today HB 2305 (access to salary information) be made public, so we can, finally, see how much milton is (over)paid.

  23. Lets get the recall going

  24. V.4 Removal. Any Director may be removed for cause pursuant to Deed Section III.5(d)(1).

    (d) Director Removal, Resignation, and Vacancies.
    (1) Removal. Any Director may be removed only for cause through a referendum by
    a majority vote of the Members entitled to elect such Director and a successor may then and
    there be elected to fill the vacancy thus created. For the purposes of this Section only, a
    referendum to remove a Director for cause may be called by a petition which is signed by at
    least ten percent of the Member Category entitled to elect such Director. Any person whose
    removal has been proposed by the Board of Directors or the Members shall be given at least
    seven days notice of the time, place, and purpose of the meeting and shall be given an
    opportunity to be heard at a public hearing.

  25. I would suggest we reach out to those actively involved on these issues, including: former Board Members, former RA Presidents, ARCH, Mr. Simon, Cluster Presidents, etc...

  26. So I open today's issue of the Fairfax County Times and see the headline:

    "County Tightens Purse Strings to Breaking Point".

    Apparently the County is facing an additional $315 million in deficits. They will either need to go through further cuts or raise taxes or both.

    All the while our "esteemed" RA "leadership" recommends $50-60 million in further debt for a rec center and goes on a new headquarters building binge...

    Tell me where this makes sense...

  27. Yesterday's Washington Post said Fairfax County government is wondering aloud whether it is time to become a "city". Does this leave Reston better or worse off?

  28. Fairfax County a city -- interesting idea ...

    I'm not sure I see any benfit -- in my oinion, the County is the culprit that took Mr. Simon's best laid plan and sold it to developers...

    Ms. Hudgins needs to go -- she is our County representative and has basically rubber stamped everything... she's easily manipulated.

  29. Why does Hudgins run unopposed? If she had an opponent, even (gag, cough) a Republican he'd get my vote and my donation.

  30. So who is manipulating Ms Beamer? In my short conversation with her, she didn't seem bright enough/devious enough to pull off a take-over like that; she must be in cahoots with someone. Why are the other(present at the executive session) board members letting her do this? By doing so, they're all guilty. After all, they were discussing an issue that affects all of Reston and all of the the board membership. Is this even legal under the by-laws?

  31. It's apparent there are more closed door meetings than open at RA recently -- I suspect fear and defensiveness is driving it.

    We need to remember, at its core, RA is a homeowner's association. These people seem to believe they are running the City of Chicago... my only comment there, at least the crooks in Chicago do it well. Our folks, can't even spell homeowner.

    Yes, while politics should not be prevalent at the homeowners association level, I will definitely be voting for background, experience, and competency on the next go-round...

    Our Blogger friend "Restonian" should run a quick survey of attiudes... we nned to start showing our leadership the Reston "daily tracking polls"... :-)

  32. Slightly off-topic, BUT, related to the ill-conceived priorities of our RA/RCC/ and Fairfax County leadership... I just walked through the pedestrian tunnel displaying the Lake Anne Elementary School Mural... it’s now significantly damaged by graffiti and tagging... very, very sad. Here is a great story on the Mural:

  33. Beamer is a Kool-Aid drinker and is the queen mum of the RA Board of Idiots.

    Leighton is the only one with a brain and Chew is not 1/2 bad. The rest of them think smyers is their boss and she thinks that matthews is her boss. Talk about the tail wagging the dog -- and they are abusing the brand-new law by denying Restonians, including an RA director, access to any RA documents.

    I will be filing a complaint with the CIC Board next week...against the not-so-bright-and-definitely-not-esteemed Russian republic of Reston's board of idiots.

    BTW--those tunnels are crime magnets. Several years ago, a woman was attacked, and I believe, raped on one of the tunnels not two blocks from the police station.

    Cops should be required to get out of their cruisers and WALK their beats -- we citizens pay for their uniforms, boots and sneakers anyway, so let's get some mileage out of them!

  34. Hey, Anonymous (July 3, 2009 11:54 AM) ...

    When you file your complaint, perhaps you could also stress the point -- if we are going to convince the County to spend $50-60 Million on a rec center, and god knows how much RA is going to spend on new spaces – perhaps we could instead take those funds and allocate them to:

    The Police Department for more cops, and resources to patrol our neighborhoods...

    And, focus the funds on redevelopment efforts the County initiated like the Lake Anne Revitalization Area -- which would create permanent jobs, more and more revenue for the County in the long run...

    Just my 2 cents...

  35. May be two cents, but I think it's priceless advice. Well put and on the agenda...

    Lake Anne is an abyss -- Millennium Bank is now abandoning it and will move to Sterling -- what's left of Lake Anne is sinking into the cesspool of the "charrettes."

    The county has spent millions on it; the RCC subsidizes half (or more) of it on whatever that space is supposed to be; the condo fees are in the thousands each month and the place is a dump.

    Less talk and more action -- and NOT the county buying cheap ugly apartments for "workforce" housing that NO cop or teacher lives in -- not ONE!

  36. Lake Anne was where Reston was dedicated in 1966, as a new concept -- a village of villages. RA used to use Lake Anne, as its primary advertising piece until the "new Bethesda" came in with its fountain square.

    Smyers needs to read Simon's plan -- at least once -- and understand the value of bringing an HQ buildings, a smaller rec center, more businesses, new homes, more density at Lake Anne – which desperately needs it and would flourish once again.

    The County started the Lake Anne Revitalization effort -- they need to finish it with RA and RCC leading the charge.


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