Friday, March 10, 2006

Mike Sarich - Candidate for Ward II

I've invited all of our 8 council candidates to answer 4 interview questions. Our next candidate response is two-term Ward II incumbent Mike Sarich. Please feel free to use the comments section to ask additional questions.

1. Who are you?

First, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to learn more about the candidates for Laurel City Council.

Briefly; I am a lifelong Laurel resident, a St. Mary’s and Pallotti alumnus, Gulf War era Veteran (first), and a small business owner. I hold a bachelors with honors coursework in Political Science and a Masters Degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland. I’ve held internships in the Irish Parliament and US Government agencies. Currently, I am honored to be serving my second term on the Laurel City Council.

2. Why do you want the job of Laurel council member at this time?

While a great deal has been achieved over the last four years, much more work needs to be done. I believe the next Council will be a “Council of Change” by becoming more responsive to citizens and businesses needs. To make this happen, I need your support on March 20th.

3. What are the three most important things you want to accomplish if (re)elected?

a. Correction of the flawed DROP program (this is the program that in my view discriminates against police officers by making their eligibility date for participation 5 years after their regular retirement date). We can not afford to have a system that divides our City employees and creates ill-will among them.

b. The continuation & amplification of programs to return the Lakes to ecological viability. Over the last four years we’ve enacted shoreline stabilization, Geese Police, increased code enforcement, and other programs in order to help the Lake. More work is coming and the prognosis is promising.

c. I will work to bring a Main Street Manager to our historic Main Street. There seems to be consensus from all candidates (excepting one At-Large incumbent) that Main Street needs someone to “Live, Sleep, Eat, and Breathe Main Street Business.” It’s time to put the studies aside and take action. If I’m reelected, I will make sure that this next Council will be a Council of actions, not words.

For more information on any of these three core goals, please email me @

4. What is your vision for Laurel 10 years from today?

My hometown has grown dramatically throughout my life. In ten more years I envision a livable, more walkable community. Streets with bike lanes, a vibrant Main St., and a city filled with Smart Growth development are all realistic goals for the next ten years.

In my vision, Laurel will continue to be a place where people can live in affordable, high-quality housing. A place where people can work in high-quality, rewarding careers. And a place where people can play near a clean lake, participate in fun recreation leagues, and enjoy living in a historic town.

Of course, your support in the coming election is critical to helping me make this vision a reality. So please, come out and vote on March 20th, I’m looking forward to seeing you and remain grateful and humbled by your continued support.

Mike Sarich
Laurel City Councilman
Ward II


Anonymous said...

Why are you pushing a Main Street Manager when Main Street doesn't want one? The only time this comes up is during the election and always by you.

Mike Sarich said...


Thank you for your question, it provides me with an excellent opportunity to clarify a bit of confusion.

First, based on my outreach, Main Street does want a Main Street Manager. The Friends of Historic Main St. are unanimous in their desire to have a Main Street Manager. Many merchants are supportive of the program and much to my delight, 7 out of 8 of the candidates for Council expressed support for it at our recent forum. Simply, as more residents learn about the program, it gains support.

The other night we were asked: “What would you do to increase the diversity of businesses on Main St.?” Fred Smalls five word answer: “Hire a Main Street Manager.” Further, Rick’s excellent survey indicates that support for Main Street Businesses is very important to around 70% of the respondents.

So to assert that I am the only one who A) thinks it’s a good idea or B) supports it, is patently false.

Quite frankly, I wish that I was smart enough to come up with this idea by myself and create the program that has produced thousands of jobs; returned hundreds of millions of dollars in reinvestment, and revitalized scores of Main Streets across the nation. The simple fact is that this is a proven program that many of us want and Main Street needs.

I want to thank you for pointing out that my support for Main Street is an ongoing concern and has been a priority for me since my fellow citizens gave me the honor of representing them four years ago. Without committed leaders, desirous of action, our City will not achieve its full potential. While I have been frustrated in my previous attempts to win support for this program, the tide is turning and I believe this program will become a reality.

I regret that you are one of the 30% or less who do not think Main St. is worthy of this investment. Perhaps you could check the following websites for more information; or

On these websites you will see scores of success stories. If you’d like to discuss how we can apply these lessons to Laurel, I’d be happy to sit down with you over coffee. Or perhaps you have a better idea, and believe me if you do, I'm all ears.

Again, thank you for your post. Your obvious knowledge regarding my long record of commitment to Main Street and interest in my hometown’s future is truly gratifying.


Anonymous said...

One of the major issues in the region is affordable housing. Why are we concentrating all of our energies in this campaign on Main Street when there are teachers, police and nurses unable to afford to live in the community they serve?
Didn’t the proposed Bazzuto development include apartment housing with an eye towards teachers in particular?

Anonymous said...

I noticed that you and at least one other candidate mentioned the condition of Laurel Lakes. Is that not the County’s responsibility?

Anonymous said...

One of the major issues in the region is affordable housing. What are you doing to help those who are priced out of living in our community, such as beginning teachers?
Didn’t the proposed Bazzuto development include apartment housing with an eye towards teachers in particular?

Mike Sarich said...

Regarding Bozzuto; While "workforce housing" was discussed during this project's many iterations, it was determined by the Mayor and his administration that they were unable to implement it at this time.

The reasons given were a lack of governing ordinance, inability to monitor the program without additional funding, potential non-compliance from the developer, and their overall inability to handle this challange at the time. That siad, it's clear that an administration as forward thinking a Craig A. Moe's will be ready for this challange in the future.

You both raise an important issue and have my thanks for your contribution. Clearly this is an issue that will remain at the forefront as future developments come to our City.

Anonymous said...

On the lake;

While it's technically true that the Lake is the responsibility of the County (as is all stormwater management in the City) it is our problem.

Let's face it, do you want a City that just says "It's not our responsibility" and washes thier hands on an issue or one that says "This is a problem that affects our citizens ability to enjoy a high quality of life. Therefore, lets do something about it." When it comes to the Lake, the County has dropped the ball, it's time for us to pick it up.

I believe that you expect us to work hard for you on issues that affect your quality of life. That is something you can count on me to continue to do if reelected on March 20th.

Anonymous said...

Are you sugesting that the City take over storm water management? That seems to be the only way to fix the issue, other than sueing the County that is.

Councilman Sarich said...

On stormwater management;

This is something the Mayor and I had a recent discussion on. We're in the process of exploring the pros/cons.

In my view the pros are having the ability to deliver results to our citizens without putting our hand out to the County and waiting, and waiting.

On the con side of the equation, the costs could be huge. What we're doing now is looking at those costs and figuring out if they outweigh the benefits. Look for this to happen or be dismissed sometime over the summer.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Sarich,

Why are you criticizing others on their thoughtful positions regarding collective bargaining and binding arbitration demands by the State FOP? You don’t have the right. I did not realize it until yesterday that you Mr. Business owner do not run a Union shop for your lifeguards. Shame on you and shame on the FOP for endorsing you. I am quickly losing my respect for those men and women in our police department that, as I understand it, endorse only on a single issue dictated from the State FOP. I once worked part-time during the summer as a lifeguard in New England and during the holiday season for UPS and in both place we were Union Shops, so I know that even seasonal part-time lifeguards can be part of a Union. Politically Correct? Not. You don’t have my vote!

An Informed Voter