City Council Q&A: Attorney Jones looks to continue public service

Published 2:31 pm Friday, August 10, 2012

City Council Ward 1 Q&A: Aaron Jones


Q. Why are you best qualified to represent Austin’s 1st Ward?

A. My experience working in the public sector for my entire career gives me an understanding as to how things proceed. After attending a multitude of meetings, I understand the nuance of how things actually get done, and understand that not everything is exciting and a vast majority of decisions will also not be contested. My experience has also involved working with people of different opinions in trying to reach a common goal.

Q. Should city officials be more open to hearing public input? If so, what would you do to bring that about?

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A. Listening to the public has always been the one thing I have respected of politicians the most. This is where all the ideas come from. Personally, I am not a fan of formal public input, in seems to devolve into a certain few complainers talking about the same things. In this brief campaign I have been more interested in talking to people who have not been involved in the process in the past who have expressed ideas about what the city could do differently, these are ideas that would not have come forward during a formal process. As far as what I would do, I would continue to talk to a wide range of people about what they think would work.

Q. What should be the top three priorities for city government?

A. • Increasing the livability of Austin. There are many things such as parks and cultural events which increase the livability of a town that are only possible through the public authority.

• Thinking through what the effects of decisions will be. There are not arbitrary decisions in law making.

• Not letting opinions get in the way of rational decision making.

Q. What steps, if any, can city government take to minimize tax increases?

A. First, my approach would be to often ask why something is funded. The answer “we have always done it that way” will not suffice for me. In my other dealings I have often learned if you trace back any policy based on “we have always done it that way” back to the origin it can be for the completely arbitrary or even wrong reasons.

Second, the best way to increase the pot is to expand on the livability of Austin so that all of the highest paid people working in town and in the area are living in Austin.

Q. What other issues do you believe the city of Austin must address, and how would you provide leadership on those issues?

A. One thing that differentiates Austin from other similarly sized towns in the area is the diversity of the town. It is the make-up of the town currently and will be in the future. It is my belief that everyone needs to be able to get along in order to build community. I am someone who likes to learn about different cultures and have met several deeply fascinating people in Austin who have come here from other countries. With a little understanding from both sides I have learned the “problems” related to the different groups getting along really do not exist.