News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, March 15, 2010

RA Election Committee Member, VP Criticize Election Behavior, Insult Elementary School Children in Process

s-BRATTY-KID-large.jpgA member of the Reston Association Election Committee and the current vice president of the RA Board have called for changes in RA rules following recent endorsements and non-endorsements and whatnot during the not at all controversial RA board elections, which took a fun new turn over the weekend when "electronic messages" went out alleging that one group of candidates were a sleeper cell of a reviled terrorist organization, or maybe just the Republican party -- which is just as insidious an allegation in our beloved earth-toned community.

First, Dave Edwards, a member of the 2010 RA Election Committee, called the actions of certain board members akin to "elementary school election behavior," which is an insult to hard-working elementary school student body leaders everywhere. Here's his "electronic message" on this subject:

Subject: Re: Board Standards of Conduct/ Robin's emails

All -

I believe that the RA Election Committee must meet with the RA Board immediately after the current election is over to present draft changes to the current Standards of Conduct for use in future elections. The Election Committee either should be empowered to rigorously enforce these standards, or it should go out of business. Flagrant or multiple violations of these standards should disqualify a candidate from becoming a member of the Board, and, in the case of sitting Board members should lead to their dismissal from the Board. RA's legal counsel needs to determine what, if any, changes are required in the RA Bylaws to accomplish this.

The current elementary school election behavior by candidates and sitting Board members is not necessary in a community election of this type, and it should not be tolerated.

Dave Edwards, Member
2010 RA Election Committee
Meanwhile, Kathleen Driscoll McKee, the current vice president of the RA Board, also weighed in over the weekend, denying "rumors" that she had endorsed anyone on the current slate of candidates -- which is NOT something we've heard. (Only the president, at least one other board member and the CEO of the organization she leads have done that.) Like Edwards, she is calling for new rules once the election is over. Here's her "electronic message."
The community of Reston is so fortunate to have ten individual candidates volunteering to serve on the Reston Association Board of Directors.
No question about it, we all love Reston – each in our own way. It is these various interpretations of how to best serve the community that make this RA election so thought-provoking. And even, at times, controversial.
Recently I became aware of a rumor alleging my personal endorsement of certain candidates in the current RA election. This kind of idle chatter undermines the significance of the work of the Reston Association Board, lowering the public character of the election to the level of a popularity contest. Furthermore, such an unpleasant political atmosphere could actually discourage future volunteers from joining the process at all.
While I am hesitant to validate to this fallacious allegation by acknowledging it—especially as a sitting Board member—I feel that this raises a bigger issue about which I am quite passionate. That issue is Board Standards of Conduct, as I suggested to the Board President last spring.
RA Board members may not endorse or campaign for their own personally selected candidate(s). Board interference violates the principals of election fairness and creates an insidious advantage for the favored candidates. For any sitting RA Board member or officer, it is impossible to shed their public identity, most especially during the Board election. It is confusing and disingenuous to pretend otherwise. This election cycle has been tainted with charges of stacking the board, back-room deals and cronyism that should have no place in any election of a community volunteer organization. Given appropriate Board fairness, respect, objectivity and proper distance, then these current charges would be spurious.
Our exclusive, mutual interest must focus on electing the best candidates through a creditable and trustworthy procedure, unhampered by gossip and innuendo.
Going forward, I propose that the RA Board thoughtfully consider, define and publicize Board Standards of Conduct that govern our behavior at all times, and, particularly during the election campaign. As the Reston Association Board, we owe it to our members, and we owe it to ourselves.
We are, after all, neighbors.
These are the first official statements from anyone involved with the RA that haven't involved glib self-justification or disingenuous, self-serving comments masquerading as concern. In case you're wondering, this is what leadership looks like. And we hope whoever wins this godforsaken election has the cajones to follow through with what these two are suggesting.


  1. Amen. McKee was right on!

  2. Chew is hoping for the candidates he and Robin support to win. He wants to be President.

  3. McKee's trying to make a "play" for the President seat. The whole thing is just sad.

  4. McKee hasn't said any of that.

  5. Chew can kiss the county supervisor's job goodbye. Having slandered the other candidates, nobody will vote for him for anything. Showed his true colors, he did.

    Good for Kathleen Driscoll-McKee and Dave Edwards. This ugliness needs to stop.

    All the candidates are worthy people.

  6. Let me get this straight: by joining the RA board, a member forfeits their right to endorse another member for a board position and cedes that perogative exclusively to former Board members, like Rick Beyers, and non-Board members like Amy Justice. That would be another reason not to volunteer for service on the Board.

    In recent years, some restonians lamented that only one person volunteered for each open seat on the Board (but only after much cajoling) and that many committee seats were empty.

    Having enticed/enraged 10 candidates to run for 3 seats, some of these same folks now want contested elections to be run as some antiseptic, holy ritual. Please. Contested elections at every level are popularity contests. That's human nature.

    Rumors and innuendo are part of service on the RA Board or any other group as the last year of RA has demonstrated. If those phenomena bother a candidate for the Board, maybe Board service isn't for them.

    No matter what unenforceable rules exist or that Kathleen and Dave want adopted, nothing will stop future Board members making their preferences know in contested elections. They'll just be surreptitious about it and I'd rather know those preferences out front than ask a member to forfeit any rights as the price of service on the Board.

    [Neither Beyer's, Chew's Smyer's, McKee's or Justice's endorsement is objectionable in my view. I agree with some, not with others and they were each an element is who I support in this election.]

  7. It's a matter of taking the high road. It's OK to endorse or support. What's not OK is slandering, insulting and defaming like Chew and Smyers have done.

  8. As McKee suggested there needs to be transparent rules regarding these elections and they need to be enforced.

    Right now there is a very nebulous grey zone that needs to be clarified going forward.

  9. To the 10 candidates - run away, run as fast as you can!!!

    And, to anyone thinking of doing their civic/community thing and VOLUNTEERING in the future... NOT!!! Go watch re-runs of Dynasty -- more entertaining, and probably more enlightening.

    Sad, oh so very sad...

  10. Finally a note of sanity and leadership from this sad board. Driscoll-McKee should be applauded for having the guts to stand up to Robin and Richard. She is absolutely right in everything that she states. Thank-you Ms. Driscoll-McKee.

  11. (Only the president, at least one other board member and the CEO of the organization she leads have done that.)

    I've said it before and I'll say it again that for Milton Mathews to send out emails endorsing his favored candidate which according to his own statement he did not apologize for was a violation of trust for the citizens he supposedly serves. For this he needs to be removed from what he was entrusted with. What's to prevent him from sending out even more emails either slamming other candidates or continuing to endorse the ones he favored in a attempt to further shore up his position of employment as CEO in RA? This dose not sound like democracy and I can understand why he would not favor democracy in Reston.

    It would be interesting and I think potentially important to hear the feelings on this matter from the other candidates and the seated board members. If they are inclined to speak about this. Some of course would not and Reston citizens should scrutinize their lack of inclination to speak out on this.

  12. The leadership in our community is embarrassing Reston with their behavior. Why are they foaming at the mouth for these board seats? What is so damn important.

  13. I think it's Robin's need to have a final victory as she is still fuming over her failed initiative to build the indoor rec center. It is also Richard Chew who is making a power play for the board presidency. He wants to get his people elected to the board at any cost as he knows they will support his bid. And then you have Leila and Bill Bouie from RCC who have not given up on getting their indoor rec center. They also want their RCC-friendly candidates on the board at any cost.

  14. If you look for mud slinging and negative campaigning it is coming from 2 people (I'm not talking about people leaving comments on this blog). You have Robin Smyers distributing negative emails and you have Richard Chew doing the same thing.

  15. Let me guess Anon 3:20...

    Could it be a little bitterness or resentment that someone's plans were exposed and derailed in the summer? Are there some ambitions for a future RA president that might be upset by a more diverse board? Revenge and ambition are powerful motivations (I learned that on Law and Order)

  16. Of course Driscoll-McKee also wants to be president, but at this point she has my vote.

  17. Mine two - of course not being on the board I don't get to vote for president but she has my good intentions.

  18. Of course, I'm not on the board either. I am just glad to see someone on the board willing to speak up about this mess. I think it takes some guts as the behavior of the board under Robin has been and I'm sure will continue to be catty and childish. Driscoll McKee is sure to feel some heat for this, but it gives me hope that someone on the board is thinking rationally.

  19. McKee has really nailed it. Smyers and Chew are embarrassing. Smyers and Chew are not leaders. Smyers and Chew are failures and their actions are a reflection of who they are.

  20. Smyers' little fairy tale is falling apart. It's the nightmare before resignation!

  21. Robin Smyers should resign, today, while she has some dignity left to preserve.

    As to her future, and her ability to earn a living or hold down any but the lowest of low-paying jobs, this web log (filthy or not) has nailed it.

    Poster (extra large to fit in all of you) image of failure.

    Smyers' failed tenure and abominable legacy will live in infamy.

    Richard Nixon would be proud of you!

  22. The RA, under the leadership of Smyers and management (he's no "executive") of Matthews has failed and shamed Reston and violated the law numerous times.

    Abuse of power, abuse of executive session authority; abuse of authority in the election process; breach of fiduciary duty; abuse of authority in taking retaliatory actions against dissidents or those of diverse opinions

    -- it's all documented and it's all a matter of permanent record. These facts will surely come to haunt both and have certainly ended the careers of them both.

    Good riddance Robin and Matthew; at least one of you will resign and one of you will be fired -- you choose your own destiny,

  23. Smyer's email was self righteous and defensive but hardly a smear.

    I've seen nothing from Chew that would come close to being a smear.

    Are Rick & Amy frustrated that Peter is not being received as well as Mike? Is Kathleen frustrated that her preferred candidate is not as well received as she'd like? Kathleen is advocating for her preferred candidate as much as Richard is for his, personally escorting her around to different functions.

    This is really much ado about nothing and bears absolutely no relationship to any of the dirty tricks of Nixon whether people are referring to the 'pink lady" run for Senate or Watergate.

  24. Mike the renter? Who can set, but not have to pay, the assessment. That's just wrong.

    Plesae don't vote for him.

    That is just wrong.

    And, don't lecture us that rents include the assessments. Rents are market based and have nothign to do with the RA assessment.

    Reston properties do not rent for $515 more per year because they are in Reston. Rents are actually LESS in Reston than they are in parts of Herndon.

  25. Lord have mercy -- I have not laughed so much since the Kennedy administration!

    This place (Reston -- not the blog)is a nuthouse and these idiots, Smyers, Chew, and the lot ruin themselves for what?

  26. Anon 10:11

    ". . . slander, insult and defame..." What?

    I have seen absolutely nothing that would qualify as any of these from Rick, Robin, Richard, Brian or Amy.

    If there is such an offending statement, call it out so that we can hold the defamers accountable

  27. Smyers was self righteous? Oh please! She's like what George W Bush used to be when you searched on Google for the word 'FAILURE'. You got that? Failure! Can you read it? Read my words... FAILURE.

  28. @anon 8:11 -- open your eyes and read a bit more --- it's all there.

  29. 8:16 it's all where - I've read all the e-mails except one from Milton endorsing candidates if that one actually exists.

    There's nothing defamatory in anything so far.

    If you think there is something, be explicit and name it. Never mind the vague innuendo

  30. Robin...Robin...the troll. Don't you think we know you? ;)

  31. @anon 8:16 aka ROBIN--- we know how you are-- plese have SOME dignity for the Reston that was and will be and resign...we all call for you resignation NOW!

  32. anon 8:43

    I'm anon 8:39 & 8:16. I'm not robin and I'm no fan of hers either. I wish I could vote against her.

    None of the 10 candidates are defending her actions.

  33. So when will the Wicked Witch of Reston (whom none of the ten candidates are dedending) resign?

  34. Anon 9:04 her term ends in a few weeks, why would you think she would resign?

  35. Has Smyers no shame?

    The longer she stays, the worse the pain will be for her.

    None of the current directors OR the 10 candidates will support her now -- she's an island in the sea of hubris, corruption and shame.

    Surely she will be a charter member of the HOA Nuthouse:

    Even Milton has not defended her -- but he's got a quarter-million dollar compensation package on the line and he will flush her like used TP if sees that gravy train coming to an big surprise there!

    I can only imagine the RA annual meeting -- it will be a massacre Robin fest, and were I walking in smyers' shoes, I would resign and get out of town ASAP to avoid that ugly tempest to be.

    It's not worth having the last word, Robin.

  36. Thank-you Ms. Driscoll-McKee.

  37. I am not a supporter of Robins, but she is not evil. I actually admire all of the volunteer work that she does. However, she has not been a good leader for Reston. She deserves a lot of the blame for the indoor rec center disaster. RCC is also a very guilty party here and they get away with it because most Restonians don't pay any attention to them. Having said that Robin is her own worst enemy. She gets herself into these messes. She is not as bad as the comments I am seeing here, but I certainly don't want another term of her.

  38. Anon 10:21 Smyers is term-limited and is moving out of town. RA will not have to deal with her after the annual meeting in April.

  39. See the pattern? She's the second president in a row who beats the dust after creating a mess. Her "legacy" (if you can call it that) has been scandals, wasting membership money, and inappropriate board conduct. Too bad she can't take Matthews with her. That would be $180,000 RA could save and get someone better for less.

  40. Anon 10:49

    Was Smyers responsible for multiple controversial fiascos? Yes

    Scandals and inappropriate board conduct. That's hyperbole at best, lies at worst.

    I opposed many of the things she did and how she did them. But demonizing her will only discourage good people from volunteering to serve RA.

  41. ANON 10:05A,

    You forgot your closing...

    Richard Chew

  42. I agree Robin is not evil. She's one of those people you love to hate. Every time she opens her mouth or for that matter writes a letter, she gets herself into trouble. She's arrogant, self righteous, but not evil.

  43. Anon 11:11 I posted the 10:05 am comment and I'm not Richard Chew but you are a boorish, unfunny troll.

    Anon 11:46 spot on.

  44. I really have to think that the current fervor in the election is a reaction to my own candidacy. My main point in my "goal" statement is two way communication. The Board seems to fear and hate two way communication as evident on the Restonian. What if the whole community was plugged in? If you control communication you control the populace. The RA controls the only real communication in Reston and in it's institutional mind set dose not want to change that. That's why I came to focus on this two way communication which would come to the right conclusion on any issue and is the essence of democracy. One man controlling the email list and sending out his own ideas is not.

  45. RCC had people elected in their "preference polls" with only a few hundred people yet they take in millions of dollars. They recently changed to mail in ballots but the same preexistent people ran. Yet the Browns Chapel people didn't make a bo there for some reason. One time a year they will listen to people. I went to speak recently to try and get them to open their wood shop more as the one day a week they are open so that the citizens of Reston can actually use it is very crowded. Lila Gordon just stands there and smiles . She's not going to let anyone use the wood shop she doesn't have to. It's just a dictatorship there. Lila Gordon is just another of those bullies in Reston that we just don't need. We need people that will listen to the public. Her idea is to turn the wood shop over to the thespians or close it for maintenance. The general theme at RCC is to close it for some reason. The place is getting over run with staff who are rapidly taking over the available space in their little catacombs which no citizen is allowed to enter. They used t have pancake breakfasts at RCC but no longer. The RCC is not about community but Fairfax Recreation. The original community effort to have a place for Reston "community" has been taken over by bureaucrats from Fairfax county with their institutional agenda and community isn't one of them; bloated bueracracy is.

  46. Rod, you are spot on with your comments about RCC. Leila does run things as a dictatorship. She has her ideas about what is best for Reston and she doesn't even live here (she lives in DC). She doesn't want to get input from residents. RCC run these ridiculous surveys every year. They devise the questions to get the answers they want to hear.

    RCC runs a ridiculously bloated organization. Look at their financials. They have way too much staff and they make way too much money. They lose millions in operation costs every year. They can't do anything efficiently.

    And their dirty secret is THEY DON'T WANT FAIRFAX COUNTY TO BUILD A REC CENTER HERE, because they would not run it. The biggest disaster would be another much larger rec center run by RCC.

    We desperately need to get some reasonable people on their board.


    For logic, civility, restraint, living within our means and, most importantly, banishing the entitlement mentality, arrogance and hubris of symers and her abominable reign of shame.

    Peter Greenberg - North Point District:

    I will adhere strictly to RA's Mission Statement: "To preserve and enhance the Reston community through outstanding leadership, service, and stewardship of our resources". Further, I pledge too:
    Be a Guardian of our Parkland and Open Space - Calling for all RA land to be placed in a Preservation Trust.
    Be a Guardian of Fiscal Responsibility - Each penny of members' money will be considered precious.
    Be a Guardian of Reston's Quality of Life - Smart participation in the Master Plan process that retains the character of our neighborhoods.

    Ken Knueven - Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District:

    For me, the future of the Lake Anne/Tall Oaks District must focus on improving the quality of life, creating a more sustainable community, without harming the environment or creating a financial burden for future residents. It will be about making sure our financial house is in order, while taking into account the condition of existing infrastructure. And for the RA organization, it's critical to ensure that basic business practices -- from hiring policies to fiscal management- are conducted with that same eye to the future.

    I believe I meet the needs and requirements of the ideal candidate representing Lake Anne/Tall Oaks:
    My wife and I have lived in Reston for over 20 years, the last six in Waterview at Lake Anne,
    I have 30 years experience leading, managing, and participating in high performance organizations,
    I have been actively involved at the local to national level on major Economic Revitalization efforts,
    And we love living in Reston...

    Joe Leighton - At Large:

    I am a 30 year Reston resident with 48 years experience as an accountant. I have worked for 9 years as an at-large and district board member to protect member funds, preserve our facilities and parks, and be of service to all my 'neighbors' in every corner of Reston.

    My focus for the future is on:
    Controlling spending - As a sitting board member I voted against recent dues increases because they were excessive.
    Keeping all existing facilities opened and well maintained - we have to keep all Reston pools open and operating in every neighborhood.
    Improve usability and safety of our common areas - we need pathway lighting near our village centers.

  48. @ ANON 9:57 --

    you are SO right --- that RCC is an abomination of justice and fair government.

    Leila is a royal arrogant @#$$@#$# -- rude and dismissive to anyone who is not, in her exact words, a "bleeding-heart liberal."

    You are to serve Republicans, Libertarians and anarchists too -- so either start doing it or quit and take your intolerant ideas back to the District of CORRUPTION where you foolishly choose to live.

  49. The sd5 tax is to be used strictly for programs that benefit the residents that pay the tax. However, Leila and co don't see it that way. They don't care about serving the residents who pay the tax. They believe that the tax revenue they receive is theirs to spend however they see fit for whatever agenda they have. Very few people in Reston ever use the RCC. They need to be held accountable to the residents who pay the tax.

  50. I had a conversation with Leila Gordon during the community input sessions last summer. She considers it just fine to take away a popular well-used neighborhood park and build a rec center that will be used by people from Sterling, but paid for by Reston residents. And if you object, she calls you selfish. She has the gall to think that she has the right to make these decisions. She is supposed to direct operations of a facility not make policy decisions for Fairfax County.

  51. Of course, why would she care? She thinks she has an open checkbook to do whatever she wants and not serve those who fund it.

  52. God bless you Rod but it's not all about you.

    You have not been attacked in the public letters, at least not directly. You have not been the direct target in Richard's well circulated emails (that's largely Joe).

    By the way for those on the receiving end of these emails being forwarded - can we all compare notes. It would be nice to put together a complete bound set.

  53. Get as mad at Leila as you want but nothing happens at RCC without the consent and approval of Supervisor Hudgins. RCC is merely advisory.

    STD #5's tax rate and budget is approved by the Board of Supervisors. All of the other Supervisors defer to the Hunter Mill Supervisor regarding Small Tax District #5.

    I'm fairly certain the hire/fire decision on Leila is made by the County Executive or the Deputy County Executive. Complain about Leila to Hudgins and Tony Griffin or whoever took over for Verdy Haywood.

  54. Apparently she's blasting emails in support of Kevin Danaher...

  55. Is Leila blasting emails from her Fairfax County account? Some are very close to file an ethics complaint against her for her "liberal Democrat" comments last year, since as a public official she's not to make partisan comments (she was not elected by constituents). That in itself destroy any credibility she had and intentions to make this a better place.

    If such email has gone out, an there's evidence, a complaint should be file against her. She should get penalized if not fired.


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