Photo from Bryan Weaver.
The Greater Greater Washington contributors took an internal poll and found that we had a clear consensus in favor of Bryan Weaver. Therefore, we are endorsing Weaver for at-large councilmember in Tuesday’s election. Here is Jamie’s take on the reasons to support him.
Next Tuesday, April 26th, voters in the District of Columbia will vote to fill the at-large council seat previously held by Chairman Kwame Brown. We support Bryan Weaver to serve as the next at-large councilmember.
This is a particularly important election, with the city facing a serious budget crisis, concerns about shifting demographics, and questionable ethics at the highest levels of city government.
Bryan Weaver has worked with at-risk youth in the city for over 20 years through his non-profit, Hoops Sagrado. His commitment to youth issues is needed at a critical moment for juvenile justice in the city.
Weaver correctly points out that the youth facility New Beginnings has only 60 beds but there are over 2,000 violent youth offenders in the District. He advocates for a new approach to juvenile justice that does not leave violent youth solely in the hands of group homes. He has repeatedly noted how the District fails youth at every level of government and we support his call to reform the juvenile justice system.
On taxes, Weaver has been the most forward thinking. He supports creating a six-tiered income tax system that will more equitably distribute the tax burden in the city. Currently, the highest tax bracket is for income earners over $40,000 annually.
The mayor’s proposed budget makes significant cuts to social services, but a reformed tax code can generate more revenue and balance the budget without sacrificing services to the most needy. Gray’s budget does call for some targeted tax increases, which is good for the short-term. But Weaver’s call for long-term tax reform can help the city avoid some of these painful cuts in the future.
Weaver has been similarly forward thinking on tax abatements and new development in the city. As an ANC commissioner in Adams Morgan, he worked with developers to provide tangible community benefits in exchange for a $46 million tax abatement. He has been forceful on this issue. Weaver believes agreements with developers should include clawbacks if they fail to comply with requirements for local hiring or other community benefits.
On education, Weaver recognizes the disparity between the highest and lowest performing schools. He believes the city should provide incentives for the highest performing teachers to teach at the lowest performing schools.
Weaver also believes the city should be more watchful in its development projects to ensure school modernization projects like Eastern High School don’t overrun their budgets. This leaves fewer funds available for other schools to modernize. Bryan is also opposed to school vouchers because they are insufficient for many private schools in the city.
There have been many scandals in the city council over the past few months, and Weaver would be an independent voice. He has repeatedly said he would be a full-time councilmember and not take a second job outside the council. Bryan believes perks like SUVs and Verizon Center tickets are unnecessary for councilmembers and distract from the needs of city residents.
Weaver is a supporter of multimodal transportation and livable communities. He regularly rides the bus or walks and supports expanding bike lanes in the city. Weaver believes pedestrian and cyclist safety should be a priority for DDOT and MPD.
There are nine candidates running to fill the at-large council seat, many of whom have excellent qualities of their own, but we believe Bryan Weaver is the best choice on Tuesday.