By the time you see this, you will have received your ballot by email or snail mail for the Reston Association Board Elections. It is really easy. All you have to do is check a maximum of three blocks once you decide who to vote for. The Association affects us all in many ways, and its leadership makes a difference. I hope you’ll take a few moments to make your choices among those running. But, first, I want to nominate the RA Parks and Rec staff for another Snow Gold Medal. February-early March was the coldest, and snowiest, I have seen in about 50 years. Yet, the RA staff once again seemed to have our pathways (55 miles in total) cleared almost before the snow stopped falling--every time! We love to walk and, thanks to these folks, we’ve been able to enjoy the winter wonderland every day. Hats off to all the men and women who made it possible! In other areas, the Association shines less brightly. In the last two years, questions surfaced about transparency, internal communications, and ethics. For example, leaders and members of the Environmental Advisory Committee resigned to protest the Board secretive and questionable handling of the Lake Anne “land swap.” Communications are so tightly controlled that Board members cannot talk to RA staff without going through the CEO. And, Board members were filing incomplete financial disclosure forms—but, no one even bothered to review them until a homeowner made a FOIA request and blew the whistle. It took months to get data partially filled in. Change is resisted by this Board. New blood may help.
Every Reston homeowner or renter can vote for two At-Large Directors (3-year terms). South Lakes members will select one Director and North Pointers will select a one-year Director to complete a departed Director’s term. There is no At-Large competition—two candidates for two seats. The two candidates are Michael Sanio, a sustainability consultant running for re-election, and Ray Wedell, a Reston realtor new to elective combat. To his credit, Mr. Sanio initially voted against the land giveaway, but then voted to block a new procedure to prevent a recurrence and voted no for an independent ethics panel. Mr. Wedell says he wants to “spruce up clusters,” in part by creating a “Reston Infrastructure Bank” to offer interest-free loans to clusters. In the North Point race, there are two candidates for a one-year vacancy. Dannielle La Rosa, recruited by RA CEO Cate Fulkerson, is an accountant and former PTA President. She has served eight months as an appointee. Hopefully, she will be an independent voice on the Board. Her opponent is Charles Dorfeuille, a new, young candidate with some refreshing ideas to fill programming gaps for youth and others. Slight edge to Mr. Dorfeuille. South Lakes is where the action is. Incumbent Richard Chew will have to overcome neighbors’ upset over a Bocce ball court he pushed. He also voted for the land swap. Andy Sigle, a former At-Large Board member, is intelligent but hard to pin down on issues and voted for land swap. My personal pick here is first-time candidate Julie Bitzer, a landscape designer and longtime Reston outdoor activist. She is a thoughtful environmentalist ready for change. She opposed the land swap, and supports transparency, a strong code of conduct, and budget rigor.