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Former Laurel Council Member Eyes Mayoral Office

Sarich to focus on economic development, engaging residents.

After a five-year break from elected office, former Laurel Council member Michael Sarich is aiming to get back into city politics by making a run for mayor.

Sarich, 38, served as a council member for Ward 2 from 2002 to 2008 but left office to pursue a law degree from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. In that time he has gotten married and is expecting his first child next year, and he says his commitment and engagement with the community never waivered.

 “I have a vision and a plan for the community that’s realistic and achievable,” he said.

His vision includes aggressively expanding the commercial tax base along Main Street, an area he said does not capitalize on its proximity to a MARC station and I-95.

He said he wants to attract businesses and fill vacant store fronts, resulting in more shopping options for Laurel residents who would then pay lower property taxes because of an increase in commercial tax revenues.

“The average citizen in Laurel in subsidizing the lack of investments in Main Street and Laurel,” he said. “It’s a vicious cycle…They’re subsidizing the failure of Laurel.”

But before Sarich can attempt to revitalize Main Street, he’ll need to convince voters to come out to the polls Nov. 1 and defeat Mayor Craig A. Moe who is seeking a third term in office.

In a city of more than 20,000, only 408 voters turned out for the last general election in 2008, according to records. In 2009, there were 13,647 registered.

Sarich has been critical of Moe for the Laurel Lakes path earlier this summer and the city council for not adequately embracing  the diversity of Laurel within the city government, he said.

Sarich called Moe’s decision to close the Laurel Lakes path one of the most “inappropriate “ administrative decisions in recent years.

“As mayor, I am not going to close parks. We’re going to open parks,” he said. "I’m not running against Moe, I am running for Laurel.”

City Hall, he said, would also see leadership changes that would reflect the racial diversity within the city.

“There are likely to be staff adjustments,” he said. “People think [Laurel] is Mayberry but we’re not, we can’t afford to act like we’re in” a small town.

Sarich's supporters agree Laurel should move past its small town image.

Resident Carlos Garcia, who owns in the city, said changes are needed to spur growth.

"As a resident and business owner in Laurel, I feel like we have an administration that is completely out of touch," he said. "Mike is very connected. He is very pro-business. I feel like he has a vision."

Chantel Upshur-Myles, a Sarich supporter, said that he always has the community at heart.

"I believe in what he's doing--his values," she said. "He's tapped into the heartbeat of the City of Laurel. We need change."

**Editor's Note** This profile is apart of our ongoing coverage of the . Click and to see additional coverage.

Annie Rocker October 07, 2011 at 07:50 PM
The Save Laurel Lakes Path is still my most important issue. I'm so so glad that I have a chance to vote against Moe.
oldtwnlaurel October 07, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Amazing how we all just skip over the ethics committee's findings. The vote cleared him of wrong doing but the quote from the Chair "I'd fire you if you worked for me." should give pause. Of course, there are the people who are so fixated upon one issue (the Lake Park's closing, for example - ignoring the reason why it was closed to start with) to vote for a candidate is silly. There is the added issue of Sarich's willingness, if we are to take his words at face value, that he will see that people are fired because they are white. Again, we can't dare call this racist, oh no. We just sweep that under the carpet.
Joshua Garner (Editor) October 07, 2011 at 10:36 PM
I find comments on these issues to be very interesting. I am curious to know oldtwn, does diversity mean anti-white to you? Can diversity include whites?
tanisha October 07, 2011 at 11:18 PM
oldtwn you refer to ethics violation but did not post the link. The commission found that Councilman Sarich's action did not constitute a violation of the Ethics Code. http://www.cityoflaurel.org/sites/default/files/ethics20080513b.pdf Diversity to me means- women, younger folks, white, black, Latino, Indian ...... People should be fired because the city is dying and it seems to be run by a bunch of inept individuals.
tanisha October 08, 2011 at 12:02 AM
how come no one mentions the city councilwoman that does not have MD tags or has that changed?
Wilma Washington October 08, 2011 at 03:21 AM
HelloTanisha, you hit this right on the head. Diversity to me is younger folks, white, black, Latino and Indian. Our current council and city leadership is far from diverse. Have you been to a council meeting lately? It does not reflect the city. The Mayor is single, no kids, never been married and has been in office for 10 years on a 8 year term. Mike Lescx the City Council has been in office for over 18 years. Businesses are leaving town at record numbers. We need young vibrant, family oriented individuals that know the struggle of families. I have been reading the paper as of yet and it amazes me that they are all endorsing each other as if this means something to this community. I am happy that we are finally having an election, remember they extended their terms to get out more voters to turnout, hopefully there plan worked. Good Luck Mr. Sarich, you have my vote. Also kudos to Mr. Rousseau in the Council At large position.
Carol October 08, 2011 at 11:32 PM
It’s my turn to throw out a Mike Sarich link: http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiryDetail.jis?caseId=CAL1106738&loc=65&detailLoc=PGV What is this Maryland State $52,000+ lien about? How could it be filed March 11, 2011 and settled by May 25, 2011? If he could settle it, why was it even filed? Where did this $52,000 come from? Is it shown on his Financial Disclosure Statement? Mr. Sarich has to tell everyone what this is about. It’s the third one the State has filed against him, and by far the highest. This stuff isn’t made up. It’s on the internet. If I could find it, why isn’t the Leader and Patch reporting on it? Maryland Judiciary Case Search has it. Here is the home link. http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiry-index.jsp If he can’t manage his finances, I certainly don’t want to put him in charge of a $25million budget. Tell us what this about. I look forward to your fair, detailed, and accurate reporting on this, and to Mr. Sarich’s press release explaining it. I want to know the rest of the story. I am certain it has nothing to do with the economy, because that would be a “phony excuse”, wouldn’t it?
tanisha October 09, 2011 at 01:09 PM
thank you for the site- never knew it existed. I would welcome an explanation from Mr. Sarich and Ms. Cunningham. Ms. Cunningham is facing foreclosure is this why she wants to be mayor? She needs a job? http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiryDetail.jis?caseId=CAL1110287&loc=65&detailLoc=PGV http://casesearch.courts.state.md.us/inquiry/inquiryDetail.jis?caseId=CAE1118941&loc=65&detailLoc=PGV
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 06:07 PM
He was found to have not violated the Ethics Code, but he hardly got off scott free. The quote remains "I would fire you." Getting off for technically not breaking the letter of the law is in no way the same as acting ethically. Casuistry can cover a multitude of sins, but the smell is still there.
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 06:10 PM
I believe that the car in question's tags had been a matter of probate, or at least that was what I was told when I ventured forth and saw it. Then again, I asked a direct question of a person in the know, and didn't engage in passive aggressive questioning on the internet.
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 06:12 PM
Oh, I see, so an unmarried person is unsuited for public office?
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Far to often in Prince George's County "Diversity" is part and parcel of the stated belief of former Sheriff Jackson that only Blacks should serve in public office, or at least whites who will do as they are told. And so yes, his statement can and should be read that what I said above is going to be his reasoning to fire people in order to "diversify." I do have a sneaking suspicion that he'll do it in order to get petty revenge, but I am unsure if that is better.
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 07:24 PM
Additionally, Ms Washington, there is a national economic downturn. There is precious little the city can do in the face of it. That things are not worse (i.e.: closer to the national average) should be seen as a good thing. You mention "record numbers" by what are you measuring that? It may be illustrative to know that most new businesses fail. Much of the rest you have to say borders on the insulting.
oldtwnlaurel October 11, 2011 at 07:31 PM
And now rumor reaches me, from multiple sources, that the Man of The People has been wandering around City Hall making his threats of dismissal personally to city employees. Is that sort of bullying what we want in Mayor?
CarolD October 14, 2011 at 01:15 AM
Laurel is a diverse city; and we are about to have the most diverse Mayor and City Council ever: two women, two African Americans, two white males, one gay white male. Can it get any better? This is great; it is exciting. It will make for great press for the great things Mayor Moe and the City Council will do in the next term. What's up with the bullying? Say it aint so! And what part of almost 200 years of institutional memory and experience is he going to remove, and who are the replacements? I don't believe, and have seen nothing, to give me comfort that Mr. Sarich can manage a large operational budget when he couldn't manage 3 smaller ones to the point the State had to place liens on him. Now I'm concerned over who is being replaced, which is definitely his perogative, and with whom. Since he doesn't have the budget experience, I'd like to know more about his plans for his Administration. I want to know if his replacements have the executive and government experience he is so lacking. I also want to know why he thinks gays are not part of Laurel's diversity. I note he has commended Mr. Ricks for taking down the photos on his facebook page while leaving the link to the original Patch article on his own facebook page. What does this say? I want to know more specifics about Mr. Sarich's plans, if he has any, than the lack-of-substance rhetoric he espouses. Seems like his mantra is get elected first, worry about the City afterward.
Peter Lewnes October 21, 2011 at 11:59 AM
GM Carol and I agree with YOU 100%! I had the terrible misfortune of Sarich and body gaurd (campaign manager) visiting my home yesterday with threats being made to me! LPD was notified and another visit by him will be considered "criminal trespass" and he will be arrested! A restraining order may also be put into place. Just another "BULLYING" tatic on his part. Word around the city now has him making threats to current city employees about who will be TERMINATED if elected to office! Seems to me that his campaign is really nothing more but a vendetta against those who oppose his campaign or who saw fit to bring him up on ethnic charges while on the City Council! A vote for the current Mayor and City Council will keep our City safe and diverse!

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