Two Hours With The Irrepressible Mayor of Irving

gears indiaIrving Mayor Herbert Gears proudly tells people that The New York Times once called him a “combination of a Baptist preacher and a used-car salesman.” You couldn’t quite shake that image last night when the shoot-from-the-hip mayor delivered his fifth annual State of the City Address to a crowd of 600-plus at the Westin DFW Airport hotel. During a talk that lasted two hours–two hours!–Gears reviewed the city’s many accomplishments, but made the presentation bearable with a delivery that would have done Larry the Cable Guy proud.

Gears described a trip he took last year to India, for example, augmenting his recollection with vacation-style slides. The trip, he explained, came about after he’d met some Indians in Irving with an international nonprofit called BAPS Charities. The mayor referred to the group simply as “BAPS,” adding, “It stands for four really long words that you couldn’t pronounce anyway.”

During a meeting on the Indian trek with BAPS guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj–“he’s like the Pope!” Gears said–he recalled scandalizing onlookers by playfully pinching the swami’s cheeks. (Apparently that’s just not done.)

The mayor then showed the crowd another photo (see above, with Gears in suit coat)–one that had him walking on rose petals that had been strewn in his path by his Indian hosts. “So, I’ve been working on the Irving city council” to strew rose petals in my path back here at home as well, Gears joked. “I told ’em, ‘Hey, you guys better treat me better–look at this! And these are poor people!’ ”

At another point the mayor showed off the city’s new logo, its distinguishing feature a line drawing of a horse’s head atop the Irving name. Deputy Mayor Pro Tem “Rose Cannaday came up with the new logo,” Gears said. “She told us if we didn’t support this new logo, we would find one of them [horse’s heads] in our bed. So, she knows how to get things done.”

In between the quips, Gears described a city that’s active on a number of fronts, including with several major highway projects. A $160 million convention center is under construction. A new, 5,000-plus-seat entertainment center is going up in Las Colinas in partnership with Live Nation. DART’s Orange Line, and a huge transit-oriented development, are on the way.

The city lost the Dallas Cowboys to Arlington–Texas Stadium will be imploded later this year in a corporate promotion with Kraft–but it retains the team’s headquarters in Valley Ranch, Gears stressed. It’s also under increasing pressure from Hispanics, who claim discrimination by the city over various policing and political-districting issues. (The mayor let an old clip from WFAA-TV’s Inside Politics show address that.)

In the end, the Times‘ description of Gears–part preacher, part car salesman–seemed spot-on. Some of his talk was devoted to explaining John 1:1 from the Bible, after all. (“In the beginning was the word of God,” Gears intoned. “Words matter.”) He even lived up to the car-dealer part. “I understand car dealers make a lot of money,” Irving’s irrepressible mayor said with a grin. “So I’ll keep that in mind when I get out of this $600-a-month job.”


  • S. Paul Jordan

    In Irving, the seven letter word for pompous is spelled HERBERT and the way the article discusses how Herbert Gears discussed things about himself and Irving proves it. As for the rose petals comments, what does he want from us? Does he want us to start calling him by the name Caesar?

    Who paid for his trip to India and what exactly did he accomplish, other the proving that he thought that rules over there did not apply to him the same way he thinks that the rules here do not apply to him? After all, how inappropriate, and egotistical, it was for him to keep pinching the cheeks of an important person in India. What about decorum?

    As for his comments regarding the new Irving logo, from who designed it and that the person wanted the new logo used, shows what there is to fear about city government in Irving these days. After all, Rose Cannaday is married to the former Irving Chief of Police and many here know the harm the good ole’ boy way doing things has caused.

    Threats, inappropriate actions, snide remarks, jokes and the list goes on describes how the City of Irving is run these days; which is why the Citizen Forum ceased being televised after Herbert Gears was elected in 2005, because the last thing that many serving on the City Council want is for residents to be able to speak truths for other residents to hear.

    Many in Irving are praying for him to leave his $600 a month job, which has cost all of the residents in Irving far more than $600 a month and that includes his flying around at taxpayer expense. His last flight to Washington, D.C. is proof of that, as it cost taxpayers an extra $1,200 because his flight reservations were not made two weeks in advance.

  • S. Paul Jordan

    As an update, the City of Irving (City) lacks any records for why the flight reservations for the roundtrip flight to Washington, D.C. in December of 2009 for Herbert Gears, and paid for by the City using taxpayer funds, were only made two days in advance.

    As such, the flight reservations cost $1,482.20 when, if the flight reservations were made two weeks in advance, would have cost less then $300.00. This shows wasteful spending by the City on behalf of Herbert Gears and a waste of our tax dollars.

    At the same time, a travel agency in Richardson was used to make the flight reservations for the Mayor of Irving. Why exactly wasn’t a business in Irving used, if making money in Irving is so important for Herbert Gears that he would insult the Dallas Cowboys?

    Perhaps such wasteful spending explains why Herbert Gears’ history includes the several federal tax liens that were filed against him by the IRS and why he has been sued more than once due to his financial wheeling and dealing.

    If all this is not enough, the City lacks any records showing what schedules and agendas Herbert Gears had during his trip to Washington, D.C. or who Herbert Gears met with while he was there. So, what exactly was he doing on our tax dollars?

  • Gears is doing a great job…

    Gears is doing a great job. Irving has not seen so much progress and is finally reaching its potential. The naysayers lack vision and are motivated by personal dislikes and are jealous. They use attacks as a way to gain power. This old way of politicking does not work.

  • Mary Beth

    Gears is Irving’s own version of Bernie Madoff.

    One would do well to check out that guy and his “wife” a little closer.