However, Bauer is not taking No for an answer. So his next step is to attempt to get it on the April 2008 municipal ballot in the form of an advisory vote. The advisory vote will not result in its adoption; instead, it merely gives the community an opportunity to express their opinion about it "electorally". If voters approve, then it goes back to the Assembly for reconsideration. Full stories published by the Anchorage Daily News and aired by KTUU Channel 2.
And Bauer's efforts begin at the next Assembly meeting to be held Tuesday January 29th (click HERE to view the agenda). The first hurdle is to get his proposal, labeled AO 2008-23 (link no longer available), introduced. He needs three votes. Bauer's vote counts as one. Dan Sullivan is expected to be the second. Dan Coffey, who was one of the three who voted not to "defer" the ordinance back in November, would likely be the third. However, according to Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins, posting in the ADN's Alaska Politics blog, Coffey may not vote to introduce the measure. This means Bauer would have to find one more ally. Perhaps he should work on Eagle River Assemblyman Bill Starr. If it does get successfully introduced, it would need six votes to pass and to be placed on the April ballot.
AO 2008-23 (link no longer available) specifies that two questions would be presented to the voters for the advisory vote. The first question asks if Anchorage police should question the immigration status of people they pull over or investigate. The second question asks if police should be trained to uphold federal immigration laws.
"They would get their training with a cooperative agreement through the immigration customs enforcement agencies who train our officers to do the right thing and avoid any type of racial issues litigation issues," Bauer said.
Bauer doesn't believe the vocal opposition, driven primarily by minority advocates and the Anchorage Police Department brass, is representative of public opinion in Anchorage. "There is a quiet, I think, a quiet silent majority out there in Alaska and in Anchorage that know this is an issue," Bauer said. "We can't put our heads in the sand."
APD's previous opposition has been based upon logistics; their concern is the impact on their ability to do their job efficiently. So far they've not weighed in on Bauer's latest effort. But the usual suspects have slithered out of their holes in opposition.
The Anchorage Immigrant Rights Coalition, which formed last fall to fight the Bauer proposal, plans to rally once again. Spokesman Erick Cordero, who is also president of the Hispanic Affairs Council of Alaska, says the group is ready again to fight against what it calls a flawed idea. "The coalition's mission is not to promote or endorse illegal immigration," he said. "The opposition to Mr. Bauer's original proposal was to stop a law that will divide the community that will take away (police) resources to fight crimes."
But that's not all. The main argument against Bauer's immigration bill, according to Cordero, revolves around who exactly police will target when asking citizens their immigration status. "It could create the potential for racial profiling because it wasn't something that was across the board," Cordero said. "It would be some people that get asked not just everybody."
But Bauer says this isn't about race. "It's a pro-legal immigration issue; it's an anti-illegal immigration issue. It's people who are breaking the law coming into our country," he said.
And two Assembly members have already expressed opposition to Bauer's latest gambit. Assemblywoman Sheila Selkregg, who like Bauer represents East Anchorage, opposed the original plan. "We've got a high murder rate, we've got serious challenges before us, and the police department indicated we have absolutely no problem enforcing federal laws right now," Selkregg said.
Assembly vice chair Debbie Ossiander, who represents Eagle River, said Bauer asked for her support, but she's not ready to give it. "His concern was that we were somehow this sanctuary city (for illegal immigrants) and I don't believe we were and I don't believe we are," Ossiander said. [Ed. Note: Au contraire, Debbie. OJJPAC's list, current as of January 20th, 2008, still shows Anchorage to be a sanctuary city.]
The local media have been devoting considerable attention to this story. During a debate between Bauer and Cordero aired on KTUU on January 24th, some facts emerged. First, using the latest census data, Dept. of Labor Economist Neil Fried estimates there may be in the neighborhood of 2,300 illegal aliens in Anchorage alone. Bauer asserts his number show that there are anywhere from 7,000 to 12,000 illegal aliens in the state of Alaska. And in a January 23rd interview with ADN reporter Kyle Hopkins, documented on the Alaska Politics blog, Bauer outlines how he expects the ordinance to work.
Commentary: Sounds like that "quiet, silent majority" spoken of by Paul Bauer needs to break their silence, just I have here. Assembly members are known to be influenced by those who show up to testify. The invaders are taking our country because they're willing to organize and raise hell. We need to start doing the same.