The drunk-driving arrest of City Councilman Zack Reed
was topic one on WCPN-90.3's weekly reporters' round-table
this morning. As it should have been. Reed, the so-called Mayor of the Warehouse District, is a talented politician with serious ambitions, but he needs serious help. You can be a drinker in this town and still get elected; on the West Side, it sometimes seems like a requirement. But you have to be at least moderately decent at hiding it, especially after your first DUI. And you should probably have the number to a cab company in your wallet.
I happened to be on the WCPN show this morning, to talk about the much-less-sexy Myers University story
, among other topics. When the host, Dan Moulthrip, asked what I made of the Reed story, I said the councilman "needs a girlfriend." And I promptly got my ass chewed by a caller for making light of Reed's predicament. But here's the thing: I was serious.
I've spent too many nights in the Warehouse District myself, and I've seen Reed out dozens of times. He's always by himself -- which is fine. I've been there. He's usually drunk -- also fine. Been there too. And he's usually trying unsuccessfully to work his way into a crowd of young women. Again, I've got no problem with this. If I had his chutzpah, and his suit collection, I'd probably be doing the same thing.
Since he's been busted driving drunk twice now -- thrice, if you count the time he got caught by The Investigator, Tom Meyer
-- it's probably safe to bet he does that a lot. Fortunately, I don't have to live in Mount Pleasant; my bed's always stumble away. So I'll let other people chastise Reed for driving shit-canned. That's what Meyer and Carl Monday are for.
Reed's problem isn't that he drives drunk anyway (although he probably should stop doing that). His problem is that he doesn't have enough people to get drunk with -- or not drunk with, if he follows through with going sober this time. He doesn't, by all indications, have a girlfriend to stay home with or to drive him home when he's had too many T&Ts. Nor does he appear to have wingmen to work the town with, to share a cab with, or -- again, if he opts to go this route -- to go sober bowling or play sober Trivial Pursuit with.
None of which would be a problem if he wasn't so damn ambitious. As Mike McIntyre, the Plain Dealer columnist,
pointed out on the show this morning, Reed could probably keep racking up DUIs and still get reelected to his ward. When it comes to supporting their own guys, Cleveland's neighborhoods are damn forgiving, and remarkably loyal.
But if Reed wants to move out of Mount Pleasant -- he's been mentioned as a future mayoral candidate -- he's going to need some "social support," as Moulthrip called it in trying to bail my ass out. For now, it doesn't appear Reed has much of that. If he does, their jobs just got a lot tougher. -- Joe P. Tone