City councilman to hear student concerns

Editor’s note: This story was edited for accuracy on Sept. 17 at 5:40 p.m.

City Councilman Joel Burns, who represents the university and surrounding neighborhoods, will be on campus Thursday to discuss concerns with students who live in District 9.

Kristi Wiseman, a council aide to Burns and a TCU alumna, said people normally have to come to City Hall to voice concerns about their district. Neighborhood office hours are intended for residents of District 9 to voice their opinions to Burns without having to leave their community, she said.

“The idea is that instead of waiting for people to come to City Hall, we are going to go out to the district and find sites where we can set up and talk to people about their concerns,” Wiseman said. “(Burns) wants to make people available to listen and also to share their concerns.”

Burns, who attended TCU, will not be giving a speech or stand on a podium. He will set up a booth on the second floor of the Brown-Lupton University Union so that students may come up to him and ask questions.

“We get a lot of calls from the TCU area about parking issues and car break-ins,” Wiseman said. “We have had reports lately of cars parked in driveways being broken into. We understand the crime and theft issues, and we would like for students to come to us to voice their concerns.”

Tanner Twomey, a freshman pre-business major, said he was interested in talking with Burns, but was confused on what a councilman did.

“To be honest I don’t really know what a city council member does or the power he has,” Twomey said. “If I knew more about him and what it meant to be a council member I would definitely like to voice my opinion. It’s a hundred times better for (Burns) to come to TCU. If whoever is representing people in government stays in touch with you, then maybe I’m more inclined to come to his office next time I have a concern.”

Code compliance officers and a neighborhood officer will also stop by to address concerns of students about parking, road quality and crime, Wiseman said.

Kendall Reid, a junior strategic communications major, said her main concerns were with the safety of students.

“All the recent crime reports we get in the area really freaks me out,” Reid said. “I think it’s better for (Burns) to come to TCU rather than having to go downtown and find him. If I had time I would talk to him, but I honestly don’t know how many students know who (Burns) is.”

According to the City of Fort Worth Web site, the City Council appoints a professional city manager, city secretary, city attorney, city auditor, municipal court judges and citizens who serve on commissions.

Duties of the City Council also include setting the tax rate, approving the budget, planning for capital improvements, adopting all city ordinances, approving major land transactions, purchases and contracts, according to City of Fort Worth Web site.

Burns was elected to the City Council on January 2008 in a runoff election after Councilwoman Wendy Davis stepped down. Burns previously served on the Zoning Commission, the Tarrant Housing Partnership and the Historic Fort Worth board as well as chaired the Historical and Cultural Landmarks Commission.

Councilman Joel Burns Neighborhood Office Hours

When: 3-7 p.m. today

Where: Second floor of the BLUU

Council meetings are open to the public and conducted at 7 p.m. on the first and second Tuesdays of the month and at 10 a.m. on the remaining Tuesdays in Council Chamber at City Hall, 1000 Throckmorton St.