, ,  Asian American Resource Center View All Reponses >>

This is a question that recurs every election cycle. Asian Americans are the fastest growing community, comprising nearly 7% of the Greater Austin population. However, Asian Americans are underrepresented on boards, commissions and committees addressing issues and policies pertaining to the city, the county or the state, though some improvements have taken place in the past 2-3 years. To address this disparity, what steps do you plan to take to nominate additional Asian-Americans to serve on boards, commissions and committees?

The mere fact that you have stated this is commonly asked question across many election cycles tells me
that it has not been addressed. Hopefully we can address it together ASAP.
– Listen Fully & Deeply – My commitment to the people of Austin is first and foremost to be a
servant. My first act as mayor will be to schedule a Listening Tour of the city. For the first 90-
180+ days, we will host open and public listening events in every neighborhood of the city. We
will listen 6 days a week, 6-8 hours per day. The purpose of this is to truly and deeply get to
know the most up-to-date pulse on people’s lived experiences, and what most crucially needs to
be done about it. Data in a vacuum can be worthless if it does not reflect the context and most
immediate relevancy of the people it attempts to describe. My goal as mayor is for all
1,000,000+ citizens to know me personally (if they so choose), and to have ample opportunity to
reach me, always. Everyone deserves the most basic and dignified respect of being truly listened
to. At these events, our team will be taking copious notes, gathering contacts, providing

opportunities for further and deeper engagement, collaboration, and discovery-centered-
learning. The imbalance in representation and participation is something we can overcome

when we truly respect each other. This will be an exciting time of community engagement, and
this trend will continue throughout my term(s) as mayor. We hope to build a new tradition of
mayoral service, so that at least 2 days of every week after the initial tour for new mayoral
terms, we continue to host listening events across every neighborhood in the city, 6-8 hours of those days. This will not be a distraction from other mayoral duties, it will re-prioritize who the
mayor truly serves: the people. The leaders needed from every community will organically
surface from this people driven approach, and I sense your community will be very integral in
the success of our new approach.

– Audit – Financial auditing is obviously something that happens internally, and of course we have
an efficiency audit on the ballot this year. I do support the Efficiency Audit on the ballot,
however in contrast to the current council’s framing of it, I believe we can actually accomplish
this type of audit for free, and use it as a tool to educate and unify us through cooperation. (I do
not support unaccounted for money influencing politics for undisclosed reasons). However, the
audit I am referring to in this context is more of a workplace-culture audit across all city
operations. There is a wealth of progress we can accomplish by encouragement and sharing
enlightenment with each other. Keeping spirits high is something we can do for free, once we
make the decision to consistently lift each other up. The reason this is significant is that we may
be due for a shift in attitude. We currently operate under the attitude of: “do what ever we
must to maintain certain structural employment dynamics and maintain the status quo”;
However, I think it’s time we simplify our approach to always be: “what is the best outcome for
the people, regardless of the impact on corporate structure.” Another way to characterize this:
No person is entitled to a job for life in public service, we must always adapt to meet the needs
of the people. Please do not interpret this as a criticism of any individual working in public
service; This is a plea for open-mindedness and transcendence of ego. We are here to serve, and
we must be always open to whatever changes are necessary, even if that includes personnel
changes. We already know the City of Austin has a hard time stretching beyond the status quo.
This is why we need an uplifting, motivational, heart-centered shift in our entire attitude toward
public service. I am here to help be one catalyst in this shift, and ultimately it will be collective
action that serves to meet the equity outcomes you have been leading on for many years.

– Discover new Area of Opportunity – This will arise naturally as the input rolls in from the
community. A culture of accountability and open transparency is like muscle building, we will
get stronger over time. We will build a positive slippery slope, because as the process continues,
folks will feel more empowered and inspired to share deeper and get more involved. It’s very
possible we will find new ways of reorganizing city resources to expand the types of offerings
and services that more deeply meet the needs of your community, and others, optimally ALL. I
profoundly believe in you and everyone as creative masterpieces, and together we can
accomplish anything. It’s time to maximize our mentality and reach for ultimate excellence.