Please welcome Bryan Weaver, a recent ANC Commissioner in Adams Morgan and candidate for the at-large DC Council seat in April’s special election.

 Live chat with Bryan Weaver(02/01/2011) 
12:55
David Alpert: 
Welcome to our live chat with Bryan Weaver, candidate for DC Council at-large. Bryan will be joining us momentarily.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 12:55 David Alpert
12:55
David Alpert: 
In the meantime, please type in questions you’d like to ask Bryan. We’ll get to as many as we can, and the earlier you put them in, the more likely we can cover it.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 12:55 David Alpert
1:01
David Alpert: 
OK, Bryan has now joined us. Welcome!
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:01 David Alpert
1:02
Bryan Weaver: 
Thanks to Greater Greater Washington for having me on today and hello to my fellow “little myopic twits.” It’s a pleasure to be here.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:02 Bryan Weaver
1:03
David Alpert: 
A lot of people have heard of your Ward 1 candidacy and the Draft Weaver campaign but may be less sure of what you stand for. Briefly, can you say what the top 2-3 issues for you would be if you are elected to the DC Council?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:03 David Alpert
1:04
Bryan Weaver: 
Without a doubt youth issues—we fail our young people at almost every level in this city and we need to do better in so many ways…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:04 Bryan Weaver
1:05
Bryan Weaver: 
Also oversight/transparency/reform of our government and how it functions…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:05 Bryan Weaver
1:05
Bryan Weaver: 
And finally sustainable development/growth. 
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:05 Bryan Weaver
1:05
David Alpert: 
A few readers have submitted some questions about development and growth, so let’s get to those.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:05 David Alpert
1:06
[Comment From NickNick: ] 
As a Columbia Heights resident, I’m curious what will fill the spot in DCUSA that was supposed to be filled with Ellwood Thompson.  Will we get another grocery store?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:06 Nick
1:06
David Alpert: 
And generally, what can DC do to encourage grocery stores in many areas?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:06 David Alpert
1:07
Bryan Weaver: 
It seems that our on-again, off-again bromance with Ellwood Thompson’s is now permanently off….We’ve spent a lot of money and effort to draw in high-end organic markets, but the one thing that we don’t have is a local incubator style market.  Something like Eastern Market but in other places…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:07 Bryan Weaver
1:09
Bryan Weaver: 
There are also great ways to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to underserved parts of the city. In Detroit they use a food-truck model, but instead of lobster rolls, its lettuce and grapes and other goodies.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:09 Bryan Weaver
1:10
Bryan Weaver: 
We need to think beyond Whole Foods and Harris Teeter. For instance the Palisades farmer’s market is looking for a permanent indoor space.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:10 Bryan Weaver
1:10
David Alpert: 
I was just in Los Angeles and visited the Grand Central Market downtown, and was thinking how great it would be if we had one of those in DC.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:10 David Alpert
1:10
David Alpert: 
One more urban life question:
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:10 David Alpert
1:10
[Comment From MikeMike: ] 
Will they ever grant more liquor licenses on 18th st?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:10 Mike
1:10
David Alpert: 
What do you think about DC’s approach to liquor licenses in general?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:10 David Alpert
1:12
Bryan Weaver: 
Actually there are more than a dozen licenses that are currently sitting in safekeeping, so at any given time, 12 new places could open up in Adams Morgan. Whether or not the moratorium will go away, depends on the community. I think the community would support more restaurants right now
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:12 Bryan Weaver
1:13
David Alpert: 
Let’s talk youth issues:
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:13 David Alpert
1:13
[Comment From MsVMsV: ] 
You’ve done a lot of work with at-risk youth in Ward 1.  What have you learned from those experiences and how do you think those experiences translate East of the River?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:13 MsV
1:15
Bryan Weaver: 
While I’m based in Ward One, my organization takes youth from all over the city as part of our summer program. I was just out at Thurgood Marshall Academy last week to talk to students. Kids are the same no matter what Ward they live in. They want an education or access to a career path job…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:15 Bryan Weaver
1:16
Bryan Weaver: 
I think the violence that many kids exerpience first-hand in this city is completely incomprehensible to most of us and that’s in all Wards. 
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:16 Bryan Weaver
1:16
David Alpert: 
That’s very sad that kids have to grow up with that.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:16 David Alpert
1:17
Bryan Weaver: 
It breaks my heart every day.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:17 Bryan Weaver
1:17
David Alpert: 
Some people have asked about what specifics the DC Council can do, since the job you are seeking is as a DC Councilmember, of course.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:17 David Alpert
1:17
[Comment From SusieSusie: ] 
Bryan, can you give us some specifics about how you would propose to stop the downward spirals of youth violence, disengagement from school, etc.?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:17 Susie
1:19
Bryan Weaver: 
There are about 2K juvenile offenders that are in the system. But we only have a 60 bed lock-down facility for the 60 most violent offenders. Those kids get all the services available, but the 61st most violent kid ends up in a group home with no services or they are outsourced to a for-profit out-of-state facility…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:19 Bryan Weaver
1:20
Bryan Weaver: 
We spend $61 million to have someone else in another state to care for our children. We have to find a better way to make better choices with that money. And there has to be a step-back. If a kid on parole committs a minor crime or tests dirty, we have to have an ability to put them somewhere, somewhere that’s not necessarily a jail, but has more accountability than a group home…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:20 Bryan Weaver
1:21
Bryan Weaver: 
We’ve seen the tragic results when kids walk away from group homes and committ crimes or become victims themselves….
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:21 Bryan Weaver
1:22
Bryan Weaver: 
Truthfully, I could spend this entire discussion about the reforms that we need to make to your youth adjudication system. 
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:22 Bryan Weaver
1:22
Bryan Weaver: 
That would be our youth adjudication system! We’re all in this together.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:22 Bryan Weaver
1:23
[Comment From JackJack: ] 
Would making drugs legal reduce many juvenile crimes?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:23 Jack
1:24
Bryan Weaver: 
Boy…you know, I don’t necessarily think so. I think employment opportunities play a huge part in this. So many of the young people I work with just want a job…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:24 Bryan Weaver
1:26
Bryan Weaver: 
I will say that because we are part of a federal system (whether we like it or not) we do have tougher penalties around drugs, so that certainly does play into the problem with youth crime. But at the end of the day so many really just want to go to work somewhere other than just on the corner. And just like the Wire, we can’t leave any street corner behind.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:26 Bryan Weaver
1:26
David Alpert: 
A number of readers have asked about economic development.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:26 David Alpert
1:26
[Comment From EvansEvans: ] 
There seems to be a disconnect b/w wanting economic development in all wards.  But economic development usually comes with increased property values, meaning issues crop up with affordable housing.  What is your take on this dichotomy?  How to promote development and also promote affordable housing?  Is that something you want to see the council do—promote affordable housing in the city?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:26 Evans
1:28
Bryan Weaver: 
I think sometime we have a bit of a disconnect over what “affordable housing” means. I am a huge proponent of creating incentives for workforce housing. Much like the co-ops Baltimore has created for teachers and artists.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:28 Bryan Weaver
1:28
[Comment From SteveSteve: ] 
What should we do with former DCPS school buildings that have been closed? Do you think the city has done the right thing so far?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:28 Steve
1:30
Bryan Weaver: 
It’s a mixed bag. Despite the terrible budget numbers, I don’t think the city should be in the business of selling off public property. I would much prefer to at least see the properties leased out charter schools or nonprofits, house other government agencies…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:30 Bryan Weaver
1:31
Bryan Weaver: 
In the case of Bruce Monroe, the city promised a new school and then came forward with proposals to sell off the land.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:31 Bryan Weaver
1:32
[Comment From NickNick: ] 
In terms of Smart Growth, there has been some discussion over whether it is time for the DC building height limit to go.  Would you support such a measure?  If not, how can we encourage denser and smarter growth?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:32 Nick
1:34
Bryan Weaver: 
I don’t think we’re at the level of height yet. But I do think we want to create incentives where you’re building more density, particularly where you’re going from commercial to residential. I think the proposals in inclusionary zoning (which I lobbied in favor of) maximizing height and density is the direction we should build. I’m not ready to say we should build anything higher than the Capitol dome…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:34 Bryan Weaver
1:36
Bryan Weaver: 
But as the success of the buildings around Metro stations have showed us, you can create buildings that maximize density and height and not one parking space per one apartment design.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:36 Bryan Weaver
1:36
[Comment From ChristineChristine: ] 
Comic development is often confused with real estate development, but it means business development too. What could the city do to create more jobs?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:36 Christine
1:36
David Alpert: 
(I assume Christine means economic development, though some development is often comic.)
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:36 David Alpert
1:37
Bryan Weaver: 
If only DC Comics would move their headquarters here…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:37 Bryan Weaver
1:37
David Alpert: 
BTW, wow, we have so many great questions in the queue here!
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:37 David Alpert
1:37
David Alpert: 
Thanks to everyone who’s submitting them!
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:37 David Alpert
1:38
Bryan Weaver: 
The city has had a 10-year policy of creating tax abatements for development with the requirement that the majority of the jobs on the construction site or the people working in those developments be D.C. residents and it rarely if ever gets enforced…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:38 Bryan Weaver
1:39
Bryan Weaver: 
This absolutely drives me crazy when you see 30 percent unemployment in Ward 8 and a relatively simple solution to the problem. We also desperately need training programs and internship programs so when these jobs are available, our residents can take them…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:39 Bryan Weaver
1:40
Bryan Weaver: 
In addition, small business really drives the economy here and provides so many jobs, we are always quick to give tax breaks and incentives to the large projects, but we do very little to support our small, local businesses. 
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:40 Bryan Weaver
1:40
David Alpert: 
So many more important issues to cover. Let’s move on to education:
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:40 David Alpert
1:40
[Comment From JaimeJaime: ] 
What are your thoughts on education? In particular, what role can/does the Council play in the Charter debate, as well as the possibility that vouchers will return? Vocational schools?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:40 Jaime
1:43
Bryan Weaver: 
We can’t really afford to build any additional vocational schools, but there is no reason why we can’t and shouldn’t be putting more vocational programs into existing schools. Cardozo has two great programs (green buildings initiative and Metro maintenance) that are housed there. We should be doing that in other schools, especially those with small populations…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:43 Bryan Weaver
1:44
Bryan Weaver: 
Vouchers are a gimmick. It’s $7500 to low-income families and there are almost no good private schools that have that low of a tuitition…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:44 Bryan Weaver
1:45
Bryan Weaver: 
If Republicans in Congress can guarantee me every at-risk student in D.C. a seat at St. Albans or Sidwell Friends, I might take that bet…but really this is a way for them to introduce “school choice” as a national program using us as the testing ground….
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:45 Bryan Weaver
1:47
Bryan Weaver: 
The largest role the council plays is oversight. The council also needs to play a role in creating incentives to get the best qualified to teach in the poorest, low-income schools. Because right now we work in almost the opposite, where the incentives go to teachers teaching at Murch or Oyster.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:47 Bryan Weaver
1:48
David Alpert: 
We could spend a long time on education, but there are a few things that I wanted not to skip. First, perhaps something that should be a pro forma question for GGW chats:
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:48 David Alpert
1:48
[Comment From DougDoug: ] 
Bryan, what types of public transportation do you use on a regular basis?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:48 Doug
1:50
Bryan Weaver: 
I use the bus and Metro quite a bit. And truthfully I walk a lot (ever since my bike got jacked at the U Street Metro). My four-year old daughter is quite the bus expert and can tell you where the 90s go and that bus rojo es para Target.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:50 Bryan Weaver
1:50
David Alpert: 
Sorry to hear about your bike!
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:50 David Alpert
1:50
[Comment From EricEric: ] 
What do you think of CM Barry’s recent suggestion to limit TANF benefits to 5 years?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:50 Eric
1:52
Bryan Weaver: 
In a perfect world, people wouldn’t need TANF for more than 5 years, but we don’t live in a perfect world. As Barry’s suggestion is proposed, I don’t think it can win. Not to say that there isn’t merit to some sort of sunset on benefits or a limit to benefits over time, but the current proposal just isn’t feasible.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:52 Bryan Weaver
1:53
David Alpert: 
One quick one coming back to something from earlier:
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:53 David Alpert
1:53
[Comment From NickNick: ] 
Speaking of food trucks, there has been significant push back from downtown restaurant establishments regarding the proliferation of these trucks and, I believe, are requesting the Council to create new laws/regulations to limit these trucks.  As a member of the Council, would you support this effort?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:53 Nick
1:56
Bryan Weaver: 
If the DC Slice truck pulls up in front of Matchbox, that’s probably not the best thing, but there are plenty of places for these trucks to locate and I don’t really see limiting them at this time as the way to go. If you want to create food truck zones, like Portland, Ore. has that’s one thing, but I don’t think we’re there yet…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:56 Bryan Weaver
1:57
Bryan Weaver: 
There have always been food trucks (“roach coaches”) in this city, but until we got some good quaility trucks with “hipster food” that appealed to a wider audience it was never a problem. I think they are part of the fabric of commerce in the city.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:57 Bryan Weaver
1:58
Bryan Weaver: 
BTW, how do you think I’m getting my 3K signatures? I’m following the lobster roll truck around.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:58 Bryan Weaver
1:58
David Alpert: 
Thanks, Bryan. To wrap up, I wanted to ask you a bit about the dynamics of the election, which has a fairly crowded field, one candidate with most establishment Democratic support, and one main Republican:
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:58 David Alpert
1:59
[Comment From MartinMartin: ] 
Isn’t the race over now that Gray&Co have anointed Biddle?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:59 Martin
1:59
[Comment From Confused VoterConfused Voter: ] 
I’m concerned that without instant runoff voting, I’ll vote for you as my first choice and my last choice will get elected. Should I still vote for you instead of my second choice, who is more of a frontrunner?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 1:59 Confused Voter
2:00
Bryan Weaver: 
If the race is over, then shame on the voters of the District of Columbia for not taking the time to actually learn about the candidates. This is an election not a coronation. Frankly, a lot of the strong-arm tactics that are being used, I find offensive and so should all the voters…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:00 Bryan Weaver
2:01
Bryan Weaver: 
Let people run on their ideas and merits, not who held a fundraiser for them…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:01 Bryan Weaver
2:03
Bryan Weaver: 
As for IRV, we’re not at that stage in D.C. (we’re still disagreeing over vote centers), so while I appreciate where you’re coming from with it, it’s just not an issue and I would say vote for who you think is best for the job…
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:03 Bryan Weaver
2:04
Bryan Weaver: 
I’m not really sure how we’re determining frontrunner at this point anyway. Because the Mayor or a councilmember told you to vote for somebody? If voters really care about this election and this city they need to take the time to learn about the candidates for themselves.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:04 Bryan Weaver
2:05
David Alpert: 
Sadly, that’s all the time we have, but thanks so much to everyone who submitted so many terrific questions including the ones we weren’t able to get to. We’ll be talking with Bryan about finding more ways to give you a chance to hear from him as well as from the other candidates.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:05 David Alpert
2:05
David Alpert: 
And thanks so much, Bryan, for joining us today!
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:05 David Alpert
2:07
Bryan Weaver: 
Thanks everyone! I had a great time. Now I’m off to find a food truck for lunch! It seems like a mac and cheese sort of day. For more info about me or my campaign, visit www.bryanweaverdc.com and stay tuned for a commercial message or two. 
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:07 Bryan Weaver
2:07
David Alpert: 
Also, stay tuned here on Greater Greater Washington for our live chat with Patrick Mara, another Ward One resident, tomorrow at 1 pm.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:07 David Alpert
2:08
David Alpert: 
And Bryan will be at the candidate forum we are cosponsoring with DC for Democracy and the DC Environmental Network on Thursday night, 6:30 (doors open at 6) at One Judiciary Square, 11th floor.
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:08 David Alpert
2:09
David Alpert: 
Finally, leave your thoughts in the comments. What did you think of what Bryan said? Are you more or less likely to vote for him? What else do you want to hear about from him or other candidates?
Tuesday February 1, 2011 2:09 David Alpert
2:09
 

 
 
 

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David Alpert is the founder of Greater Greater Washington and its board president. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle.