Sunday, July 31, 2011

ZAP! #63: A Sad Folly

ZAP! #63...July 31, 2011

Planet Earth to Herb Gears and Billy Bob Barnett.

If you ever wanted to hear two disingenuous statements, then cogitate on the following:

“Issues drive elections, not money or people.Herb Gears

“My investors wanted to know that I, individually, would try to protect their investment.” Billy Bob Barnett

(Dallas Morning News, July 27, 2011)

These statements were made after the final campaign finance reports reflected that Gears had received over $1.3 million for his campaign with over $860,000 of direct and in-kind contributions and $106,000 in “loans” being provided by Billy Bob. Wow! Was the “investment” Billy Bob was attempting to protect actually Gears?

And also of note was the $115,000 Billy Bob donated to the firemen’s union PAC for them to pay folks to campaign for Gears, Webb and Cannaday.

As a final wrap-up to the recent election, the staff of the CCR can only chuckle at the brazenness of these two individuals. Did they think the voters were not paying attention? Did they believe that the voters could not determine when a politician had been bought and paid for? Would they ever understand that their voodoo financing of the proposed $250 million Entertainment Center was flawed from the beginning?

Perhaps, the greater question should be: How could Gears and Billy Bob have had such a hold on an entire council when documents and reports as far back as 2010 from financial advisors and underwriters noted that the city could not prop up their $200 million slice of the project pie based on questionable revenue projections? Was the Kool-Aid so strong that eight members of the council couldn’t vocalize one iota of concern or dissent for nearly a year? Were members of the council immune to the public’s complete understanding that the Gears/Billy Bob “deal” was flawed?

Hopefully, this is the final election report in a long saga that surely will be remembered as Gears’ Folly. The only thing not funny with this folly is that the tax payers narrowly escaped being the target of politico/developer greed, avarice and fluff. Maybe now that enough light has been shone on the folly, the puppets on the council and city officials who also sipped, to excess, the mayor’s Kool-Aid will detox and: 1) plan a center that can be financed without gimmicks or voodoo chants; 2) ditch the corpse of this folly on the shores of Lake Caroline; 3) shift the burden of financing and risk to the developers.

After all, it will not really be an entertainment center for Irving citizens if tax payers are providing all the entertainment for the developers.

…………..Mark Holbrook