Page 2 of 6
But it wasn't preaching that Reid was interested in. He says serving others is integral to serving God. "It's social gospel, and that was my motivation for going to seminary," Reid explains.
So Reid got involved in community development and fund raising for the national body of the church.
It was in this life, jetting from city to city, meeting wealthy and powerful people, that Reid first ran into trouble. He started drinking heavily, and the drinking led to crack cocaine use. In 1989, Reid wound up in drug rehabilitation.
In rehab, Reid says his counselor told him to stay away from high places. Pun aside, the guy was making a serious point. He was saying that power and money would bring out his character flaws, Reid says. And that's not an unexpected outcome for a man who grew up having to beg for food.
"He was saying that I can overextend myself and sacrifice values to get from 'a' to 'b'," Reid says. "He said, 'It's a setup for you.'"
Once Reid got clean, he spent a year as a VISTA volunteer working with drug addicts in Athens, moved from there to become the first director of the Department of Human and Economic Development for a unified Athens/Clarke County government. He succeeded in both ventures.
"He was an aggressive pursuer of resources," says then-Mayor Gwen O'Looney. "[Reid] ... wants to make a difference in the lives of people who are less fortunate." If anything, he started too many programs, initiatives that were too big for the county, says O'Looney, the current director of Clarke's Department of Family and Children Services, but he left the county in a better position than it was prior to his arrival.
Before Reid entered office, Athens/Clarke County's annual Community Development Block Grant allocation was less than $1 million and by the time he left, it was $5 million.
Certainly, though, Reid was "personally ambitious," O'Looney says. And that's probably why he left Clarke County in April 1994, after having been, as he says, "recruited by the mayor," to put together Atlanta's application to become a federal empowerment zone.
The application succeeded, and Atlanta became eligible for $250 million in federal block grants and tax incentives. That money was supposed to be used to improve, through job training, housing and social services programs, the lives of people living in the poorest sections of the poorest cities in America. The city was one of six in the country to win the designation.
But in December 1995, when it came time to name an empowerment zone director, Reid was passed over for the job by Mayor Campbell and the zone's board. They chose Paul White, a bureaucrat from Gainesville, Fla.
There was disagreement on the board about the choice, and Reid's detractors said that his ego had grown too big for the position.
State Sen. Vincent Fort says about Reid's arrival on the Atlanta scene: "He came on preachifying and praying. [He] had the feel of oil about him."
But Reid thought he had a lock on the job. After all, it would be difficult to find many people who knew more about empowerment zones.
Reid felt whipped and betrayed after White was chosen, and he didn't hold an official job or city responsibility. Most people, given a definitive vote of no confidence by the mayor -- his boss -- probably would have left the city. Reid wouldn't, and in a show of either incredible moxie or amazing hubris, Reid moved himself into an office on an abandoned floor in City Hall East and had business cards printed up that said "Assistant to the Mayor."
Campbell consented to the job title, but "he never really gave me any kind of assignment whatsoever." At his new, self-created, $72,000-per-year job, Reid busied himself working deals he had been involved with in the empowerment zone. All the while, he says he was trying to figure out a way to return to the City Hall power structure, claim the zone post he coveted and restore his stature and dignity.
That opportunity came along in 1997, in the form of Campbell's re-election campaign. Reid had raised money for the Presbyterian Church, and had done similar work setting up the empowerment zone. He says Campbell asked him to raise $20,000 for the campaign. Reid agreed if he could give the money directly to Campbell, a sign of loyalty. After the empowerment zone fiasco, he says he didn't trust members of Campbell's inner circle. He didn't want their hands to touch his chance at redemption.
Reid claims he raised close to $300,000 for Campbell's election, a figure corroborated by another key actor in the campaign.
Mankind has pimped billions of tons of pollutants into the atmosphere over the last 150…
No one is concerned about the 28.5% of the kids who don't graduate? That is…
Yes, there is climate change, and there has been for millions of years. Remember the…
oh, and get rid of those orange sodium lights. they make everything look like a…
i wouldn't feel safe walking south of alabama street at night, simply because it's abandoned…