Candidate Brent Weaver: ‘What are WE going to do to fix this?’

  

Today we feature Brent Weaver, who announced Friday his plan to run for a seat on the Redding City Council.

Weaver has been described as a homegrown success story. He was born and raised in Redding where he participated in football, tennis and choir at Shasta High School. He worked at his family's lumberyard from eighth grade through high school.

After graduation, Weaver attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and served a two-year mission to Taiwan, where he became fluent in Mandarin. He also studied abroad at BYU's Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. Weaver earned his degree in political science and international relations, with an emphasis on international law and diplomacy.

Upon returning to the north state, Weaver purchased Hughes Plywood in 2003, Hughes Redwood in 2006 and Moss Lumber in 2012, all of which have been renamed Weaver Lumber. He opened his True Value store in south Redding on October 11.

While he was growing Weaver Lumber, Weaver also launched a development company that has been instrumental in creating mixed-use projects in downtown Redding. The Gateway Building features three retail/restaurant spaces, four office spaces and four apartments. The Pine Street Lofts have four retail/office spaces and 14 apartments.

Weaver says that although the Great Recession devastated much of the construction industry, he says his business grew by nearly 300 percent.

Weaver has been a leader with the Boy Scouts of America for seven years, and is currently a den leader. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Redding and serves on the Mercy Foundation North board of directors. He has been a board member for the Shasta Junior Wolves football organization and coaches youth soccer, basketball and football.

Weaver and his wife, Leanne, have four children.  Bio excerpted from Brent Weaver campaign website

Q: Brent Weaver, welcome to anewscafe.com, and thank you for taking the time to answer some questions.

First, congratulations on the announcement that you'll be running as a Redding City Council candidate. Before we get too deep into this conversation, can you tell what it was that made you decide to run? Has anyone asked you if you need your head examined?

Over the past several months, yes, quite a few people have asked if I am crazy to run for a publicly held office.

Honestly though, I love the thought that a person who cares about their community and has ideas on how we can improve it can throw their name into the hat. Whether or not he or she will win is a totally different story.

I believe my roots as a third generation citizen of Redding, along with my four kids being born here, qualify me as somebody who cares deeply about the community. My experiences as an employer at Weaver Lumber and my entrepreneurial spirit displayed in my redevelopment projects downtown (e.g. Gateway Building, Pine Street Lofts) paint me as somebody who has not just talked about what he would like to do, but has shown that I have a track record of results. People are fed up with the discord and gridlock we see at all levels of politics, they just want results.

Q: Brent, I attended part of your announcement in South City Park, which I believe might be the first time I've seen any public event held there, primarily because I think most citizens consider it a dangerous place. I know that speaking personally, you couldn't pay me to take my grandchildren there. And I couldn't help but notice a group of transients in the park that morning, including one man sleeping on the asphalt with his head on the curb. So, why did you choose South City Park as your announcement location?

It would have been easy to pick a location like the Sundial Bridge to announce my candidacy, which is very picturesque. However, I'm running to draw attention to programs and places that are broken and need attention. By announcing from South City Park it allows us to show where we once were as a community - when I was a child - to where we are today, and where we'd like to go.

City issues are constantly evolving and will require elected leaders to keep pace. It's important we send leaders into office who have a record of getting things done.

Q: I see. So, in a way, South City Park was the perfect location to make a point. Speaking of which, why are some of the "broken"  places, frequented by transients and homeless, such a concern for you?

I was taught growing up that we need to care about all people, especially for those who are less-fortunate. I will work to strengthen those non-profits in our community who are dealing with these social issues under very difficult circumstances.

They need resources, collaboration and leadership from their elected leaders. It's time we make an honest effort to discuss these difficult subjects.

On the flip side, there are neighborhoods and merchants who are being placed in very difficult situations in terms of the illegal activities that are taking place, literally at their doorsteps. In light of funding constraints, I would like to see more community outreach between community services and private neighborhood leaders and merchants, so our citizens can organize in the appropriate way to make the places they live and work safer.

Somebody asked me recently on this subject, what are you going to do to fix this? My reply was, "What are WE going to do to fix this"?

Q: "WE" ... I remember that from your announcement. So what other issues will form your platform?

  1. WE value good governance and a spirit of civility-
  2. WE will promote fiscally conservative policies-
  3. WE will strengthen public safety (Police & Fire)-
  4. WE will invest in city Infrastructure-
  5. WE will create a vision for the next 10 years and bring it to fruition-

Q: Sounds good, but what experience do you have that you believe makes you the kind of candidate who can successfully deal with those issues and meet goals?

We live in an era of financial constraints. Whether you are in the public, private or non-profit sectors you have had to learn to do more with less.

I think I have shown over the past 10 years that I can manage a business during very difficult market conditions. I can calmly make decisions and show leadership to keep everyone focused and invested in the task at hand. At the same time that I was running my lumber business, I took great financial risk in moving forward with my mixed-use projects downtown during the great recession. I had a lot of sleepless nights, but I stayed the course and today both of my buildings downtown enjoy full occupancy.

The lessons I have learned from the private sector have honed my skills to be a better leader and decision maker. I believe this is exactly what our city needs at this time.

Q: How would you describe your views about government leadership?

It starts with a spirit of cooperation and respect. You get five leaders together, all with different backgrounds, and you are guaranteed to have differences. It's how you go about the process that is key.

Do I have differences with people I do business with in the private sector? Absolutely. But you learn sooner or later that you've got to be able to disagree in such a way that you can still work together on the next project. The polarization and conflict we see in all levels of government today is only hurting the people who elected you in the first place to achieve results on their behalf.

If elected, I promise those who vote for me that I'll listen more than I speak, show humility in my conduct, and have an open mind and a thirst for knowledge. That's how I was taught from a young age that a leader should conduct oneself.

Q: Brent, as you think over the years and recall previous council members, can you think of anyone whose sensibilities are similar to yours? If so, how?

Yes, Mike Dahl. Although he served on the City Council and as Mayor at a time when I was away for College, I've had the opportunity to get to know him better over the past year.

His sincere desire to see Redding succeed, and his willingness to listen to those from all different political walks of life is a testament of his openness to putting the best idea forward regardless of who gets credit for it.

Mike has been very successful in both the public and private sectors; that's a historical fact. Whether I am able to live up to such a high standard is still open to debate. In other words, we are only a few chapters into my story. I have a lot to prove, talk is cheap...

Q: What is it that most bothers you about the city of Redding that you'd like changed?

That there is a tendency by some people to sometimes view Redding as a second-class community. I've lived in Utah, Taiwan, Jerusalem, and the Bay Area during my life. I can tell you hands down that the quality of life we experience here in Redding is second to none.

We need to hold our heads high, not that we are better than anyone, but with the attitude that WE are Redding and we are proud of our community. Not only do we have great people who live here but our outdoor amenities are second to none.

You know what people in the Bay Area are thinking about as they work in their cubicles and wonder how they are going to deal with the traffic on the way home? They are thinking about their upcoming weekend, driving out of the City to go mountain biking, hiking, boating, camping, etc. We get to do that everyday here!

Q: And how the best thing about Redding; something you'd like reinforced?

That each of us can make a difference in a community like Redding. Having lived in bigger metropolitan areas, you feel like there are so many people around you that you couldn't possibly make a difference. It is exciting to think about the future of Redding, what the next generation of leaders will bring to the table.

Q: Speaking of you being part of the next generation, it's hard not to miss your social media connections, such as your Facebook page and blog. But let's say you are elected, how would you like people to describe you after you've been in office a while?

I would like to be described as a reasonable leader who shows innovative thinking for tackling both problems and carrying out our vision for where we want to go as a community. I want people to comment that I've been effective in getting things done.

Q: Finally, what would you like as your legacy?

That I was the best husband to my wife and father to my children.

 

Q: Anything else you'd like us to know?

I want your vote so I can get to work on your behalf.

Thank you, Brent. Best of luck to you.

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

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13 Responses »

  1. Brent and his family have been my neighbors since coming to Redding in 1974. We have backpacked the Trinity Alps and other places from a time when Brent's pack was almost as large as his small legs. I listened with interest to his presentations at Redding Planning Commission Meetings as he correctly told us there were people, even in Redding, who needed places to live and work which did not revolve around the automobile.

    The idea that someone has to be a senior citizen before they can be useful as a leader, an innovator, a creative force is both untrue and painfully wasteful. Einstein was in his twenties when his great work was discovered. Mozart was dead at thirty five. Joan of Arc was gone before she was twenty. Steve Jobs was a teen wonder and Bill Gates quit Harvard so that he could get busy doing something important.

    Here is an incredible local talent wanting to help. He has my full support.

  2. Brent Weaver seems like the type of moral forward thinking persons we need on the City Council. The decisions of our recent council certainly points to a change. Moving the REU call center out of Redding to Nebraska removing 24 jobs from the City's tax base being a prime example of backward thinking that needs correction. Brent see's the value in our community has worked hard to create rather than eliminate jobs and will be an advocate for bringing jobs to the community not sending them away.

  3. This is a GREAT article.

    I am so excited about Brent and I'm pretty sure a LOT of Redding will be too as they get to know him.

  4. hmmmm. the fact he wants to deal with what is broken is refreshing. the park is a perfect place to stand on a soapbox.
    we built our city municipal building , a county library, a baseball field and decorated the intersection near it with waterfalls and salmon sculptures. now we need to deal with that park.

  5. Brent has the wisdom and practicality of a former Peace Corps Volunteer. Having spent so much time in other countries, he will have a more appreciative, yet inclusive, attitude and respect for our diverse community. I hope his wisdom and insight will incorporate the Sacramento River and the river's flow of life through Redding. His youthfulness and hopeful support of us grey hairs will also help. As a member of a local group that volunteers to clean the outside Of the So. City Park, I will have to attest that Brent has the inner strength and our community at heart. He will be part of the political nova that needs to have more support from the older political traditions.

    Daryl

  6. Good luck Brent - you will no doubt make a difference in a great way!

  7. I plan on voting for Brent. We need more young, energetic young people in our local government. He has great ideas. His Mom and Dad are super people and I would like to see an article on his brother Sean some time as he has done some great things also. Best wishes for winning the election.

  8. Brent is a phenomenally talented leader, and his humility has always impressed me.

  9. When one presently looks at our governments, be it federal, state, or local, one feels many are "in it" for their own recognition and think less of being there for the people they represent. I feel Brent truly wants to help Redding stay and prosper in the future and puts our thoughts and ideas at the top of his consideration list. Good job!

  10. Nobody asked the hard questions. " WE will promote fiscally conservative policies", Brent says in his bullet points. What does that mean? More of the same that has brought Redding to mess it is now. Nothing new there. Most of what he says is the same old political-speech that most candidates use based in emotional responses of an ignorant electorate.
    Doni, where's the journalist willing to throw something besides softballs?

    • Doug, what specific, hard questions would you ask of Brent here? I can't promise he'll reply (considering how you've already characterized him, and the ignorant electorate). But you can give it a shot.

  11. Hi Doug,

    I'm new to public chat forums, but I'll make this comment. I respect that you give your opinion with your real name and you don't hide behind a pseudo blog name. For that reason alone, I feel inclined to give you a reply here, but I really hope you'll come talk with me in person or attend a future campaign event. I'm at Weaver Lumber Monday - Friday, would love to sit down and talk with you in detail. Read my response below, sorry in advance for it's length.

    We are early into the campaign season. My team's Q4 goal was to roll out a positive message to the public along with some personal background information knowing that we'll have a year to lay out more detailed information to make our case.

    While we certainly have generalities in our message as all candidates do, if you were at my announcement, here are a few specifics you would have heard:

    1) Promoting civility is key to success in both the private and public sector. At Weaver Lumber I have worked very hard to make sure my employee's and managers treat one another with respect. It's a continual process (not always easy). I believe this is one of the key reason's my company has survived and grown during the recession. Our City Council will be more effective if they can live this.

    2) Regarding "promote fiscally conservative policies", I am referencing that we have a budget short fall in light of unfunded liabilities. There is no magic wand to fix this over night. It will take years of both sides sitting down and coming up with palatable compromises to fix the mess we are in. You can expect me and anyone else who is running on this message to tell you they have the right stuff to lead our City. I would simply ask you to look at what myself and any of the other candidates have done in their respective fields before running for office. Do we have hands on experience with budgets? Have we been successful in managing our budgets during the recession? Have we shown that we can work well with other people? If you don't know much about me, again I encourage you to come visit with me and I'd be happy to share with you my life experiences and why I believe I'm the right person for this job. I've taken the time to read the entire City of Redding budget and had several meetings with Kurt Starman to date to understand the realities of our annual budget and the promises we have made as it concerns future obligations.

    3) Regarding public safety. I spent considerable time discussing community out reach programs (at my announcement) as a specific tool for us to use in light of budget constraints. I don't believe we'll be able to hire our way out of this mess we are in today, as the economy improves we'll be able to hire more police officers and CSO's but rather than putting our heads in the sand and just waiting for better days, I want to facilitate neighborhood and merchants organizing with the aid of education, resources and best practices that are practical and appropriate to implement. I'm not a public safety expert but I have taken the time over the past several months to do ride alongs and sit down with Chief Paoletti to better understand the concerns and limitations our police department is facing. Along with implementing public out reach programs I also advocate leveraging technology. I worked in the tech sector after College for close to 6 years, technology & innovation when applied and implemented correctly have the ability to compensate for lack of man power.

    4) Regarding infrastructure. It's hard to make this subject sexy, but quite frankly that's why City's form and incorporate... to offer water, sewer services, public transportation, parks, public safety etc. We need policy makers that are forward looking. Again, looking at a person's background prior to running for office is what I believe is the best indicator for whether or not he or she will have the aptitude and judgement to be effective in making policy decisions for the entire City.

    5) Vision for the future. I gave 3 specifics here. 1) Promote Redding as a must experience City, build our brand as an "Outdoor Recreation Mecca" 2) Support Downtown's growth 3) Attract growth industries to our area; specifically manufacturing and technology jobs. More to follow on this subject over the next year.

    The goal for myself and our campaign team over the next 11 months is to continue laying out specific plans that fall under the 5 areas we have defined as our platform. I encourage you to come visit with me in person.

    It's getting late. Time to turn off the computer ... Thank's for the response. When election day comes, please vote for who you think will do the best job to lead our City. That's all any of us can expect out of each other as fellow citizens. Go to: http://www.weaver2014.com to learn more.

    Sincerely,

    Brent Weaver

  12. I would like to know how Brent Weaver plans to bring people together for the civil discourse and progressive decision making that I as a community member feel is desperately needed. I do agree that we need to do that, but I also see huge obstacles to doing in part due to peoples vastly different values and priorities. How will he address the growing educational and income inequality and the overall lack of employment opportunities in our region. How will he specifically get state, local and federal government agencies, non-profit organizations and businesses to work together to solve these problems. What will he specifically do to facilitate that happening? It would be great to hear some examples of where he see's a need and can offer a well thought out and cohesive plan for a working solution. Statistically our region is getting a failing grade from both the Sate and Federal government in many different areas. How will he address growing poverty, crime, urban blight, sprawl, corruption, homelessness, lack of recreational opportunities for underserved youth which in turn leads to high rates of teen pregnancy and drug abuse for example, how will he deal with the fact that our utilities can no longer afford to keep up with the pace of developers? How will he support our local economy and make it easier for entrepreneurs to compete with large corporations in growing their small but lucrative businesses? How will he protect our natural resources and promote sustainability within our community besides the trails (which are awesome)? I would like to hear more from Brent Weaver on those and many other topics!

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