Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: Insight into charges against former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed

Written by Scott LaMar, Smart Talk Host/Executive Producer | Jul 15, 2015 10:28 AM
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Photo by WITF-TV 2003

What to look for on Smart Talk Wednesday, July 15, 2015:

Former Harrisburg Mayor Stephen Reed was once hailed as the city's savior -- a leader with vision that transformed Pennsylvania's dying capital city into a destination for entertainment and investors.

During his 28 year tenure, Reed did oversee a resurrection, but today many are asking at what cost?

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Tuesday that a grand jury had recommended and Reed faces almost 500 criminal counts on 17 charges ranging from theft and bribery to corruption.

Reed dreamed of five national scale museums in Harrisburg that would draw tourists who would spend money, stay overnight, and make the city a destination.  Over the years, Reed had acquired thousands of artifacts that would go on display in the museums. 

Now, Reed is accused of using money that belonged to the city to improperly purchase those artifacts.

The investigation also showed that bonds used to pay for upgrades to Harrisburg's trash-burning incinerator were not obtained using proper procedure.

Wednesday's Smart Talk focuses on the Reed years and what the charges mean with Harrisburg Solicitor Neil Grover, The Burg staff writer Paul Barker and Keystone Crossroads reporter Emily Previti.

Check out a 1997 WITF production, People Who Must: Mayor for Life, depicting Stephen Reed's early years as well as his time as mayor of Harrisburg.

Mayor Reed Charged 7.15.15.jpg

Emily Previti, Neil Grover, Paul Barker

Published in News, Smart Talk

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  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-15 11:25

    Eric comments...
    Although I understand that we live in a nation of laws, and Harrisburg is suffering under great debt, Mr. Grover’s attitude seemed rather smug and sanctimonious. He didn’t lift the city out of its doldrums—Reed did. I moved to this area in 1984 and as Scott Lamar said, this place was in terrible shape. Reed might have to face justice for being too much a “king”, and that should happen. But I think most of us feel that Harrisburg is better for Reed, and that our current troubles and our debt are something we’re all guilty of, the City Councils in power then, The County Commissioners, the School Boards, even us, the electorate.

    And I DID live in the city for 22 years. I think a lot of this sanctimony is people crowing that they were right. They should tone it down. Reed loved this city.

  • Scott LaMar img 2015-07-15 11:26

    Lisa comments...
    Stephen Reed is a perfect example of why term limits are needed on ALL public positions. Had he been limited to 2 terms, I doubt that Harrisburg would be in the economic position it is today. Even when voters (or other elected officials such as school board members) are paying attention, it is extremely difficult to get any government entity to investigate questionable behavior until it has gone way out of control. Power is corrupting and allowing anyone to remain in a position of power of an indefinite length of time is just tempting corruption to occur.