Regardless of your political affiliation, one cannot deny the kingmaking machine that is the Fort Worth District 9 City Council seat! The District 9 City Council chair, which includes downtown Fort Worth, has sprung forth two consecutive council members each of whom have recently attained their own prominence on an international level. The Honorable Joel Burns, our current City Councilman, had gained worldwide recognition overnight for a passionate “It Gets Better”-style speech he delivered from the City Council dais on October 12th, 2010. Literally within an hour after the City Council video was available online, it was already viewed by over a million people. This led to a multitude of major news outlets covering the story, and by week’s end the video had been watched over 2.5 million times.
Burns’ immediate District 9 predecessor, Senator Wendy Davis, had gained international notoriety for her recent filibustering of Senate Bill 5 which centered on new standards to be mandated for abortion clinics. As word spread of the ongoing filibuster, scores of websites started posting links to Texas Tribune’s live feed of the Texas Senate floor, with several hundred thousand viewers watching the events unfold live as the night drew to a close. The following day, Senator Davis’ filibuster efforts unexpectedly became the top news story across the globe, dominating domestic news programs in the US, and sparking a week’s worth of dialogue fodder for every radio talk show imaginable.
MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow, who has professed numerous times to be a personal fan of Wendy Davis before previous interviews, had punctuated her reporting on the recent filibuster by saying “Texas. Who knew?” That sentiment was echoed throughout the Internet as Joel Burns’ clip made the rounds as well. While we’d like to think that being the councilperson over the greater downtown Fort Worth area is a springboard to national-scale political notoriety, the real picture is that from these two people alone, Fort Worth has received a tremendous amount of attention for illustrating that some cities in Texas can indeed have a progressive and cosmopolitan side, debunking stereotypes that are held by folks in larger cities across the country.
As a fitting end-cap to the cavalcade of national news coverage of Joel Burns’ now-legendary city council speech from last Tuesday, Burns’ husband JD Angle joined him via sattelite on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Chris O’Donnell. When asked if he was surprised by his fellow councilmembers’ supportive response to his speech, Burns had effectively conveyed Fort Worth’s unique character trait in our ability to hold civilized city council meetings unlike other cities who are well-known for their divisiveness. View the clip here.
Straight from his appearance on NBC’s Today Show, Fort Worth District 9′s esteemed city councilman Joel Burns flew to Los Angeles to tape a segment for The Ellen Show on Tuesday. During its airing on Wednesday afternoon, downtown’s Simply Fondue was kind enough to open their doors early for a crowd of constituents and downtown friends as they had the show on their screens. You can view Burns’ Ellen appearance here.
From what is certainly the most-viewed Fort Worth City Council clip ever, Joel Burns appears on The Today Show and discusses with Matt Lauer his “It Gets Better” speech and how it’s skyrocketing to over a million views in under one week has spread the word about this campaign in unprecedented proportions. The clip can be viewed here.
Our now world-famous city councilman has been all over the Internet, television and radio discussing his touching speech he made during last Tuesday’s city council meeting. We have the audio posted here of Mr. Burns’ interview with Melissa Glass from NPR’s All Things Considered.
District 9 City Councilman Joel Burns’ passionate speech during last Tuesday’s city council meeting has been viewed over 500,000 times in just one day, and been featured on Gawker.com, Huffingtonpost.com and scores of other news websites worldwide. CNN aired an unprecedented thirteen minutes of Burns’ YouTube video before the live interview. Click here to view his interview with Fareed Zakaria on CNN.
Joel Burns, councilman for District 9 which carries Downtown Fort Worth, made an incredibly impassioned and emotional speech about his own personal struggles as a gay teen during Tuesday’s city council meeting. In light of the recent attention given to the many suicides by gay youth, video of his speech has been resonating across the Internet. Click to view the Youtube clip
For the first time during his seven-year reign, Moncrief had to dust off the gavel and eject a few disrespectful protesters who kept interrupting proceedings to insist the discussion about the Rainbow Room raid was pushed to the very back of the agenda, as if to imply that was some sort of homophobic move by the city to “sweep it under the rug”. At one point, openly gay city councilman Joel Burns had requested that one of the protesters be removed due to their unwillingness to remain calm and allow the meeting to proceed in order.
The evening council meetings routinely run well past midnight if they have to, only adjourning when the last speaker has spoken — as they did during this session. Even after repeated warnings for civility by Moncrief, the protesters — many who hailed from Dallas, where shouting and interruptions are a mainstay during their municipal proceedings — were not accustomed to the more relaxed non-confrontational Fort Worth approach. In the end, Moncrief was forced to summon the marshals and remove the disrespecting annoyance. View the video here.