Reston founder Bob Simon, 93, joined Reston Citizen Association directors and volunteers on Thursday evening, Aug. 16, to collect signatures for a referendum on whether Reston should be a town.
“He has a magnetic presence,” said RCA director Colin Mills. “Even people who don’t know who he is are drawn to him.” Mills said Simon was very effective in getting signatures on the petition in the one hour he spent in front of the Hunters Woods Village Center Safeway. “No one gets them like he does,” said Mills. He added that people who recognized Simon would stay after the fact and chat with him about their positive experiences in Reston.
Reston resident Myrna Marrero was one of the people to sign the petition after Simon approached her. “I’ve lived in Reston for a long time and never realized the businesses didn’t contribute,” she said about RCA’s argument that businesses headquartered in Reston do not contribute to building and maintaining the area’s infrastructure. Marrero hopes the referendum effort would succeed and that Reston residents would vote for the town in the referendum in order to collect some revenue from the business community.
Chris Howley, a Reston resident since 1990, also signed the petition. She said she loves Reston and its quiet side. However, she feels Reston is already a town, with its own sense of place. Incorporating it into a town would confirm that sense of place. “I feel like it’s just a town,” she said. Reston Town Center, she said, feels like a town within a town.
Simon said he had done similar work in the past, campaigning for certain political candidates. Thursday’s work, he said, was different. “This is not adversarial, it’s just educational,” said Simon.
— Mirza Kurspahic