Oakland Councilmember Larry Reid has been absent from nearly every public meeting since the divisive July 26 censure hearing for Councilmember Desley Brooks. During the infamous meeting, Reed called some of his council colleagues and the city auditor racist and has rarely been seen since.

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.



6 Responses

  1. KL

    Not funny.

    A bad back is nothing to joke about.

    Racism isn’t either. It is not always direct. It may be an unintended result. It may be hidden or subtle. And it has to be called out.

  2. Jonatton Yeah?

    Maybe my joke wasn’t funny. But your reply sure was. And you don’t care about “calling out” racism. You care about YOU! And what matters to YOU! There have been countless rants in Community Voices with overt racism. You don’t call those out. You ignore them. And when you don’t, you make excuses for them, even going as far as to say those voices, “need to be heard.” Beyond being simply a hypocrite, you post here shows you to be nothing short of a joke.

  3. KL

    Obviously, you and I have different definitions/experiences with “racism.” Perhaps you should write an essay on racism and gentrification from the perspective of an angry white male.

  4. Jonatton Yeah?

    “Experiences” have nothing to do with it. The fact is you take issue with “racism” when somebody makes a comment, makes a joke, or gives a perspective about gentrification, for example, that isn’t from or doesn’t support your narrow point of view about what you think is right. It’s totally fine for someone to talk about “white bitches” and how many Oakland “fucks.” It’s okay to threaten people with “snitches get stiches” like it’s 2003. Those are, in your own words, “voices that need to be heard.”

    I, here, make a silly, snide comment about a guy who seems to blame racism for everything that goes wrong in his life; and now, all of a sudden, racism just needs to be “called out.”

    What a joke.

    The hypocracy so pathetically transparent.

    And maybe I will pen an essay on racism. But it won’t be from the perspective of a “angry white man” because a) I’m not angry and b) race, believe it or not, is not the only thing in the entire world; it’s not the only point of reference or the sole defining characteristic. Shocking, I know.

  5. KL

    You wrote “‘Experiences’ have nothing to do with it.” That’s not true. Both you and I read that essay from our “experiences.” The tone of your comments, which include name calling and ridiculing, definitely sounded angry to me.

    I look forward to reading your perspective on racism/gentrification.


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