City Desk

Inaugural Booze: Bill Duggan Apologizes (Wink, Wink!)

While the fur continues to fly with our federal friends and their thoughts on whether or not we can keep slammin' our Obama Slammers well into the a.m., City Paper's favorite bar owner has been quietly killing it on the Adams Morgan Listserv with his rapier sarcasm.

To wit, regarding (presumably) ANC Commissioner's Bryan Weaver's comments in the Post poo-pooing extended inaugural hours—"To have 3 1/2 days of 24-hour service without any input from the community, there's going to be hell to pay from a lot of neighborhood associations"—"Bill D" responds:

To hear these extremely low level, local politicians speaking out about how they should have been consulted before decisions were made about this grand international event is absurd. I'm surprized there has been no ANC demand that one of their exaltd leaders be designated to hold the bible for the swearing-in ceremony. Apparently these other elected officials who passed legislation without conferring with Bryan and Mindy beforehand just do not understand the importance of the Adams Morgan ANC...they will live to regret their impudence.

Enter the Duggan pile-on. How dare "Bill D" malign the innocent character of ANC Commissioner Mindy Moretti! She is not interchangeable with Bryan Weaver! She is her own person! She can respond for herself! (But, it should be noted, she does not.) "Bryan Weaver," however, is no shy violet when it comes to being poked by "Bill D". I mean, there's a reason we picked him as Best Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. To wit:

And yes, I have asked that I swear in President elect Obama while holding Howard Zinn's "A People's History of the United States" and that the Presidential Inauguration be moved to midnight at the Basketball Court at Walter Pierce Park. Looks like it will happen, but we need to push for some emergency legislation for the park to be open all night in case some of the 4 million expected visitors want to play a game of  basketball after the inauguration, perhaps President Obama will even join us in a game or 2, hey now that is emergency legislation I could get behind.

With sarcasm less rapier (as in she's totally serious), another Adams Morganite, "Nani WePaste," brings the issue back to the national focus is so clearly deserves. To wit:

When you read on this community forum an outright personal attack on two of the hardest working Adams Morgan community organizers, you have to wonder what the agenda of the attacker is. Remember Sarah Palin's attack against community organizers in her speech at the Republican Convention this year?
The Struggle Continues.

This totally serious hyperbole is no match for "Wes Combs," however, who demands "Bill D" take back his mean, mean comments. To wit:

It would be nice to hear Bill Duggan just once say, “We are also concerned about the possible excitement that the visitors to our city will be expressing as they patronize our bars and restaurants.  We are committed to ensuring that they do so in a safe and responsible manner.” His continual refusal to be part of the solution does a disservice to the many responsible bar and restaurant owners.

To which (and here's the money pullquote you've been waiting for) "Bill D" offers up his sincerest of sincere apologies.

Wes is so right. I wasn't able to sleep last night after I realized what a dick I've been; how callous I was, not just to Bryan and Mindy, but, by extension, to all "community organizers" everywhere and, shit, really to everyone, everywhere. I realize now that I should never have opened that stupid bar. That the neighborhood and the city would be way better off without it. So, Wes, here I go. I'm going to say just what you need me to say "We are also concerned about the possible excitement that the visitors to our city will be expressing as they patronize our bars and restaurants. We are committed to ensuring that they do so in a safe and responsible manner." I'll do better in the future, Wes.  I swear I will.  Please don't give up on me.

CP photo by Charles Steck

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  • Amanda Hess

    "they will live to regret their impudence." ha, yes!

  • Wesley Combs

    Julie, I am not familiar with your column or your point of view on the balance between nightlife and neighborhoods in our city. But, your quick dismissal of the key points in my response to Bill Duggan reduces this very critical neighborhood issue to a sarcastic, patronizing response.

    The decrease in the quality of life for Adams Morgan residents is easy for ANYONE to see if they visit Adams Morgan on any given Friday or Saturday night. Imagine if this was your front yard. I invite you to spend a weekend night standing on the street in front of Madams Organ and see what I am taking about.

    In case your readers care, I am attaching my entire response to Bill Duggan so the more salient points can also be understood.

    Wes Combs

    From my posting on

    I have to disagree with Bill D about his comments about Bryan Weaver and Mindy Moretti with respect to the upcoming extended hours for the inauguration.

    Bill Duggan’s consistent refusal to admit that some of the problems in Adams Morgan center around nightlife and its contribution to the deterioration of the quality of life in Adams Morgan is an example of how certain restaurant and bar owners do not take any responsibility for the situation.

    The facts are clear:

    1) The density of liquor licenses in Adams Morgan in the 2 block area surrounding Madam’s Organ is the highest in the city. (close to 70)

    2) You are UNABLE to walk or drive safely down that section of Adams Morgan because of the unruly crowds on any given Friday or Saturday night. (The creation of band aid solutions like forcing taxi cabs to pick up fares in two designated spots to reduce traffic congestion is further proof of this.)

    The continual statements from certain bar and restaurant owners that the cause of the increased problems in Adams Morgan is not due to their patrons or their establishments but from outsiders is laughable and detracts from their credibility on being seen as part of the solution. In fact, it demonstrates to me that they are never going to be part of the solution.

    - Can these business owners honestly say that their establishments are not filled past the fire code occupancy limits?

    - Can they say that they are not serving intoxicated patrons?

    - Can they say that they are meeting the percentage food to liquor requirements as stated by the moratorium legislation?

    - Are they doing their best to maintain public order on the streets in Adams Morgan?

    The current environment provides the facts: 18th Street between Wyoming and Columbia is not a desirable place to be as a bystander or resident on a Friday or Saturday night. The police admit this, Jim Graham has admitted this in public forums and yes, and our ANC Commissioners Bryan Weaver and Mindy Moretti say this because it is true.

    As a 10 year resident of Adams Morgan, sure I would have liked to see some interaction between the city and the neighborhoods that are most likely going to be impacted by this change in the hours. I have even considered leaving town because of the raucous environment that will exist during the Inauguration in Adams Morgan.

    It would be nice to hear Bill Duggan just once say, “We are also concerned about the possible excitement that the visitors to our city will be expressing as they patronize our bars and restaurants. We are committed to ensuring that they do so in a safe and responsible manner.”

    His continual refusal to be part of the solution does a disservice to the many responsible bar and restaurant owners.

    Wes Combs

  • Skipper

    Where's Mr. Belvedere when you need him to tell Wesley to go to his room?

  • Chris B


    It's hard to take Adams Morgan residents seriously when they complain about the nightlife. It wasn't all that different 10 years ago when you moved there. So maybe you should take one for the team and, as you are considering leave town for the inauguration. That way thousands and thousands of people could have fun without imposing on you.

  • jdg


    Do what I did and move out of Adams Morgan.

  • Rydawg

    Wes - I heard that Cabin John is nice, why don't you give it a shot. THIS IS A CITY.

  • KCinDC

    If Bill Duggan doesn't think bar hours during inauguration are a local issue, then he must be thrilled that members of Congress are weighing in. Is Vince Gray demanding to hold the bible at the swearing in?

  • Joan M.

    As a 15 year resident of Adams Morgan, I will say that, yes, I moved to this neighborhood because I appreciate and enjoy a city environment and the amenities in the area. I love the restaurant and bar scene here, and have been a happy participant in it for years. However, I am not the only long-term resident to have noticed that in the past two to three years the "scene" on Friday and Saturday nights has, at times, taken an ugly and unwelcome turn. The recent spate of violence and foolishness is not welcome, and does not contribute to the community. In fact, if I want to go out on a weekend evening, I leave the neighborhood. I understand the decision made about inauguration, and support it, but I will not participate in it.

  • Joan M.

    Chris B. - I beg to differ, Adams Morgan is different today than it was 10 years ago - I felt much safer going out here on a weekend then than I do today.

  • Edgar

    As a 37 year resident of Adams Morgan, I would like to throw my full support behind Bill D and other area bar owners. All you newcomers with less than three decades of AdMo experience should quit bitching and pack up and leave. If you want serenity and nimbyism, save up your money and go to Kalorama or Damascus. I'm sick of these new arrivals trying to smear their smelly poop all over the most excellent party to hit DC since Nixon resigned.

  • John

    I'm entirely agnostic on the matter of keeping bars open all night during the long inauguration weekend. I seriously doubt there will be any noticable increase in mayhem because of it. I'm also little troubled by lack of ANC input on the issue. Not every public-policy decision requires a vote; I understand that other believe this one did.

    However, I do object to Edgar's "As a 37 year resident of Adams Morgan" post. I've only lived here for 22 years, Edgar. Whatever my opinion is, is it 40% less legitimate than yours? Are the perspectives of people who just moved to Adams Morgan last month 100% irrelevant? How long do you have to live here before you qualify to offer views and opinions? Long enough to just accept that Adams Morgan has some serious problems and there's nothing to be done about that? I guess that takes somewhere bettween 22 and 37 years.

    I've heard that kind of nonsense ever since I moved here (all the way from U Street!), and it was bullshit then and it's bullshit now.

  • 15thandColumbia

    The violence is not coming from the drunk college students. It's coming from the people preying on the drunk college students as they cut through the nearby alleys. The only way in which the drunks are "causing" the increase in problems is by making themselves attractive targets and not paying attention to the surroundings. And yes, I feel very safe walking on 18th street in the mob. It's when I leave 18th street to walk 3 blocks home that I feel the slightest bit in danger.


  • Jule Banville

    Lively stuff, commenters! And, for the record, Wes, although I have not been here 37 years, I do live AND work in Adams Morgan and it's possible that I have a sense of this "very critical neighborhood issue." And what I love more than the mob on 18th Street on the weekends is the people who hop on the Listserv to complain about it. Because it's so damn entertaining in its futility.