With Anchorage’s local election just around the corner, KSKA and Alaska Public media are bringing you a look at those running for mayor. As KSKA’s Zachariah Hughes reports, candidate Paul Bauer plans on bringing fiscal prudence to the office.
Bauer retired from the Army after more than two decades of service, and for the last 14 years has been in the private sector as a branch manager for a company working with airlines at Ted Stevens International Airport. When it comes to city finances, Bauer doesn’t think new sources of revenue should be on the table. He expects the state’s current financial difficulties to improve. For now, he think it’s important right now to find existing budget items to trim.
“My view is that if elected mayor the first thing I’m gonna do is set up citizen committees and pose that question to the people,” Bauer said. “Of course privatization is an option. There could be some areas where we could privatize businesses instead of government handling it.”
Bauer’s past political experience includes one term on the Anchorage Assembly from 2005 to 2008. The experience informs his understanding of what a mayor realistically can and cannot do in city politics. On community-level issues like affordable housing, Bauer sees the mayor’s office as a position of influence, but he says solutions need to come from the Assembly and residents.
“It’s gonna take time the housing that we [en]vision developing. And that means helping developers, there’s less buildable land out there, that means the price of housing is gonna cost,” Bauer said. “So I don’t see how we’re really gonna get affordable housing unless the city does come into some tax incentive breaks somewhere. Again, it’s back to the community people to bring it all up and propose it to them to come to a possible solution.”
Another on-the-ground proposal from Bauer is increasing the number of Community Service Officers to handle lower lever public safety issues, freeing up officers for more dangerous incidents.
“Policing today is mainly a reactive force, and I would like to move towards a more proactive department in certain areas, especially in specialized units like gang units, drug units, street crime,” Bauer said. “And that goes along with community policing as well.”