Commission application number 351 submitted by Tara O'Neill on 09/27/2020

First Name Tara
Last Name O'Neill
Voter Unique Identification number 1181169777
Ethnicity White
Gender Female
Age 45-54
Education Level Post-Graduate Degree
Major Pursued Urban Planning
What is your occupation? Asst. Dir. of Forecasting and Fiscal Analysis
Submitted Address
City Austin
State TX
Zip 78751
Verified Address
City Austin
State TX
Zip 78751
Do you have a spouse or domestic partner? Yes
Are you applying to be the student member of the commission? No
Have you been continuously registered to vote in the City of Austin for the last five years? Yes
Have you voted in 3 of the last 5 City of Austin general elections (or corresponding runoff if applicable)? Yes
Been appointed to a state or city office? No
Been elected to a state or city office? No
Been a candidate for a state or city office? No
Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of a political party? No
Served as an officer, employee, or paid consultant of the campaign committee of a candidate for elective state, county, or city office? No
Been a registered state or local lobbyist? No
A paid employee of the City of Austin? No
A person performing paid services under a professional services contract with the City of Austin? No
A person performing paid services under a professional or personal services contract to the City Council of the City of Austin or to any individual member of the City Council of the City of Austin? No
A controlling person of a person performing paid services under a professional or personal services contract to any member of the City Council of the City of Austin? No
Contribute or bundle one thousand dollars ($1,000) or more in aggregate to candidates for City of Austin elective office? No
Please describe your relevant analytical skills. I not only have a strong academic and professional background in analytics but I also have extensive experience with demographic data. I have a Master’s in Community and Regional Planning and a Ph.D. in Urban Studies. I have worked in affordable housing and K-12 educational policy. In all of these arenas, I have used demographic and socio-economic data to analyze population trends. I have also worked with very large datasets of educational and voter data files. I addition to analyzing data with classical statistics, I have worked with GIS for many years, including using GIS to analyze and better understand patterns in housing data. I have the ability to deal with large datasets, identify the most salient data points and discover the important patterns in the data.
Please describe your ability to be impartial. As someone who has worked extensively on data analytics, I am by nature comfortable with relying on data to guide decision making. Part of my approach is to establish the priorities and goals ahead of time and determine the importance or weights to assign to different factors before analyzing data. These priorities and factors should be based on a larger vision for what you want to achieve. If these things are done first, it easier to allow the results to speak for themselves. In the case of redistricting for City Council seats, it is especially important to have a clear set of guiding principles that you will use to assess various options. While this approach does not guarantee clear cut best options, it does make it more likely that you will choose options that truly serve the vision you have with less bias.
Please describe your appreciation for the City of Austin's diverse demographics and geography. Perhaps the two most important things to keep in mind in thinking about Austin’s demographics and geography are, first, the legacy of public and private efforts to reinforce segregation of white, Black, and LatinX populations and, second, the rapid population and economic growth of the area in the past few decades. The patterns of where different populations live in Austin are a result of these and other forces. They influence where different populations have historically lived, where changes in these historic patterns are occurring today, and even the growth and decline of different populations within Austin. Understanding the current patterns in Austin requires knowledge of history and adequately planning to serve Austinites for the next decade requires an understanding of how population change is likely to occur in the future.
Please provide your employment history. I have worked in affordable housing policy, K-12 education policy, higher education, food policy and disaster remediation and recovery. Over the past couple of decades I have worked for the Texas Education Agency, Battleground Texas, Feeding Texas, University of Texas at Austin, Cowen Institute for Public Education Initiatives, and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities.
How did you hear about redistricting/Applicant Review Panel? Social media
Disclaimer Agreement Checked
Disclaimer Signature Tara O'Neill
District District 9
Does this application qualify? Yes