Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid
Not only has Reid been absent from the council chambers, but also from other public meetings going on nearly three months.
At an important Community and Economic Development Committee meeting this month dealing with the two new Coliseum City investors, of which Reid chairs and sits on the Oakland Coliseum Authority board, proceeded without whom Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan called the council’s most important voice on the stadium issue. Although Reid was excused for his absence that day, a member of his staff lodged some opposition for the plan on the boss’s behalf.
In late August, Reid announced he would not seek to challenge Jean Quan for Oakland mayor, citing what he described as his daughter’s unspecified concern for his health.
So, where is Larry Reid?!
Ray Leon, Reid’s long-time chief of staff, said Tuesday, he could not disclose the nature of the councilman’s ailment. “This puts me a in tough situation,” he said, but later disclosed Reid is suffering from a bad back. Other Oakland City Hall sources have heard the same reason for Reid's excessive absences of late.
When asked if problem might require surgery since the amount of public meetings missed suggests a condition of greater severity than is being disclosed, Leon said, “I’m not his doctor, sir.”
Reid is not the only East Bay council member fighting through back pain. Hayward Councilmember Al Mendall is suffering through a chronic back condition that makes sitting unbearable. Mendall has spent much of his first year in office standing at a lectern placed near his designated seat on the council dais.
The extent of Reid’s specific back problem is not known, but Leon said Reid will again be absent from Tuesday night's Oakland City Council meeting.