Since the election is fast approaching, we’re going to introduce you to another mayoral candidate, Paul Bauer.
Bauer originally hails from New York and he’s lived in Anchorage for the last 25 years with his wife Deborah Amy and his two sons. Bauer volunteered for the army after graduating from college. He worked as paratrooper for the 82 Airborne division in Fort Bragg, NC, and spent 22 years, before retiring in 1995.
In 1990, Bauer was stationed at Fort Richardson. When he retired, he worked at the Military Youth Academy. After 9/11, he says he felt he had to do something to help out, so he began working in security. He now manages the for Lufthansa Service Group at Anchorage International Airport.
In public service, Bauer has worked on the community council and the Anchorage Assembly, where he served from 2005-2008.
“The mayors position is a manager/administrator. He’s not a representative. It’s a different function. Some folks think, well, you’re going to be mayor you’re going to represent Anchorage and in a way you would. But mostly you job is a manager. You’re an administrator. And that’s what I think I do best,” Bauer says.
Bauer says he’s been in charge of people for 40 years and he loves being a manager. He says the city can do more and that things have been stagnant for many years now. He says he wants to be an innovator for the city.
“We need to focus on a new economy. Not a new economy, enhance our current economy. And that is, in my book, tourism. Now everyone can go talk about oil and mineral resources and stuff, but Anchorage does not have oil rigs, we don’t have mines in the city. The best thing we can capitalize is on our tourist ability. Our tourism: our hub.”
Bauer says the city could add museums: especially military museums like one at the site summit Nike missile, to attract tourism. He says that although now may not be a time when that’s immediately possible, the city should aim for that kind of development in the future.
“I’m really into getting into internal landscape development. A lot of people will start, especially on my side of the fence: the conservatives, will say ‘what? You’re gonna get into spending money on parks and stuff?’ No. I am looking at an idea that might, where we can get private enterprise, private business to work into the parks, into developing people parks. Useful parks. And the other side of the fence, of course, you’ve got the folks who want to keep it the way it is, ‘cause it’s wildlife. And it only caters to cross country skiers, maybe bicyclists, dog mushing, which I’m in to. But, the park idea that I’m looking at is more of a Central Park New York idea. Central Park is probably one of the best, useful, people parks in the country. It’s got everything from a zoo, carousels, row-boating, snack stands, restaurants, monuments, Grant’s tomb. There’s so much there to do and visit. That’s a park for the people, and I would kinda like to see something like that here.”
Bauer says he doesn’t have an answer to the housing crisis in Anchorage. The bottom line, he says, is that builders aren’t going to build unless they can make a profit. He says that the only way it’s going to be worth it, under current tax structures, is construction companies in Anchorage to get federal or state subsidies. Bauer says that the local government can provide tax incentives to construction companies.
I asked Bauer his position on the problem of chronic inebriates and homeless people living in Anchorage. He says he doesn’t see dealing with this as a priority for the city, although he does think its important.
“I don’t see where we’re going to spend tax payers dollars just for a couple hundred folks,” he says. “I think most of the folks that you see on the streets, the chronic inebriates, have already been ostracized or banished from the rural areas. And, it is a legal term, a community can banish somebody for various behaviors that are not acceptable in their community. And what do they do? They come to Anchorage ‘cause Anchorage is the best place: you get all the free care, if you will. I would like to, this is gonna be a little stretch here, but if a community banishes somebody, for certain behaviors, then they come to another community, what they’re doing is throwing their problem on to ours. They didn’t take the time to fix their person, their issues; we’re picking up the tab. Maybe we can go tell them to reimburse us for any kind of services we provide”
Bauer says he doesn’t think that the city can handle the costs of setting up housing and rehab facilities without the support of the state and federal government.
I asked Bauer for his take on the recent up-tick of violent crime, particularly gun crime, that the city has seen since January. He says he thinks part of the issue is the dark, cold environment. January, he says, seems to be the month with the most conflicts. He says he thinks Anchorage does have a gang issue and that the police department needs to reinstate specialized departments.
Bauer says the city needs to add more police but, he says, we can also get the community involved. He says one way to do that is to improve police communication and relations within the community and neighborhoods.
Here’s what Bauer has to say on the subject of marijuana.
“I don’t smoke it and I didn’t vote for it….Well right now I think everything that’s being done is premature….we have a state legislature that’s gonna work on it. I yield to them to come up with what they’re going to propose, first.”
He says it would be very simple to regulate marijuana in just the same way as alcohol. The only difference that he sees is the problem of second hand smoke. He says we shouldn’t complicate the issue.
Moving from the issue of pot in Anchorage to the issue of the Port of Anchorage, I asked Bauer for his take. He says that the city has failed to overlook the contractor closely enough and that that mismanagement has resulted in a huge loss of money.
The Port, he says, is very important for the entire state. Bauer says he liked the plans when he saw them and he thinks that if we can get the funding from the state or the federal government, the city should go ahead with construction.
“I wanna to lessen the impact coming from the property owners. Our local tax base could never fund the magnitude of that operation,” he says.
Bauer says he thinks a port at Point Mackenzie would be a good idea and that a joint port authority could be set up to make sure the two ports work in concert with one another.
A bridge over the arm, however, Bauer doesn’t think should happen. It’s just too expensive, he says. He says he would rather take a third of the money required for the bridge and use it to enhance the Glen and Seward high ways to create a freeway through town.
Bauer says that, even though UAA has seen some recent tuition hikes, he thinks it’s still one of the more affordable universities in the nation. He says he does recognize that students do have a higher cost of living here. I asked Bauer how he would support the University as mayor.
He says “the question is, what are they going to do when they graduate? And job development for this city is going to be one of the more important things to do for than anything. That would be my priority.”
Bauer is a registered republican, although this is a non-partisan race. He had this to say about his political platform:
“I am a conservative. But I’m not a conservative that doesn’t have new ideas and is not willing to spend money to make money. And that’s the investment into the city. So I would say my theme for my race, and what really helped prompt me to do this, is called Anchorage First. I am going to be a mayor, now or later, whenever, that is always going to put Anchorage first. I have many, many years of live, work and play around the world. A lot of places in the United States, from the East Coast to the West Coast. I come with a lot of experience of seeing what other places have that we don’t have that we can develop here. And so, I’m not going to be a mayor or politician that’s going to just come into office, do my two years and start lookin’ to the next office.”
Bauer says that it’s always going to be Anchorage First for him.
You’ve been listening to Paul Bauer, Anchorage mayoral candidate. I’m Mariah Brashar for KRUA.