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Saline Mayor's Race Pits Former Colleagues Against Each Other

Brian Marl hoping to fend off Glenn Law in November.

Two men with a passion to make Saline a better place to live and work both want to be mayor, but know only one will get the job.

Brian Marl and Glen Law will face off Nov. 6 in a non-partisan election to replace longtime incumbent Gretchen Driskell, who is running for the state House. Both men have strong ties to the community and a professed desire to see it thrive.

Both men have a history of public service. Marl is a sitting member of the City Council, having served as mayor pro tem in 2011. He also works for State Rep. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor).  He has always worked in Lansing for the state of Michigan.

Marl believes his experience in government is a plus for his mayoral aspirations.  

“My experience in Lansing helps people get the most out of government,” he said. “My opponent suggested working in Lansing is not real work, that is a bunch of hooey.

“I help people on a daily basis to get the best out of the government.”

Law spent more than seven years on Council before moving to the Upper Peninsula to pursue a teaching job.  He has worked in commercial radio before going back to school and earning a teaching degree. He spent a year in Menominee to gain experience to help him find a local job.

Law said that background in the private sector give him the real-life experience to relate to his constituents. The ideas of hard work, moving ahead and keeping one’s head above water are his motivating factors.

“I know what it is to make sacrifices, to put off a vacation,” he said. “I have raised a daughter, who is going to be a senior this year.”

Both men have served on various committees or task forces that were designed to address specific issues. The experiences from being on those panels have shaped their philosophies.

Law wants to re-think incentives such tax abatements. The incentives are a useful tool but need some alterations.

 “When I was on the special projects committee we tweaked the rules to make it more stringent to hand tax abatements out,” Law said. “Maybe it’s time to reevaluate.

There’s a place for them but we have to be careful on how we hand them out and where we hand them out. I am not against them, but we have to become more attentive. Is this a business we feel deserves abatement?”

Tax abatements are useful in Marl’s opinion, since they are the biggest incentive for a municipality. But instead of focusing strictly on larger companies, Marl wants to emphasize small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“We should be helping people know where the resources are so they can be successful,” he said.

Those resources include financial institutions which can help someone open a business, Marl said.

On the subject of parking, which has become a topic of discussion on council recently, the candidates vary on the proper response. The discussions by council have dealt with what to with drivers who are abusing the 3-hour limits in city lots.

Marl prefers the status quo, which means not ticketing violators, because he said the police department does not have the staffing to monitor the lots.

“I think we have some activity in the city where the police should be,” he said.

Law can understand why the council kept things the way are, but asked why have the laws on the books if they are not going to be enforced.

“It’s a very delicate issue and balancing act when you are trying to balance the needs of businesses downtown and those of residents,” he said. “And not having to scare off potential customers who come to Saline.”

Communication and education should be the proper response to the problem, Law said. But all options should be on the table just in case.

“(We need to) have some form of enforcement at least on those individuals,” he said.  “It is not fair to the businesses. It isn’t fair to those residents who live in the area and pay their rent and taxes.

“It’s a delicate balancing act for businesses to keep people coming down to Saline.”

Both men tout the city’s festivals as shining examples of citizen involvement.

Marl likes the Celtic Festival, but believes it should not be subsidized by the city. Law said the city needed more efforts such as the one that put up a new flagpole at Oakwood Cemetery.

The city’s finances are important to both men.

Marl wants to “think outside the box” and partner with local and state agencies to promote growth. He said he wants to be wise with the taxpayer’s money.

That sentiment is echoed by Law. That’s why he wants the city to rethink tax abatements. With the city still lagging behind the state, this is no time to be giving money away.

John Carter August 30, 2012 at 02:28 AM
@PeterT...there are worse things in life than agreeing with me. I'll assume when we start to talk about school board candidates, there will not be such agreement. Go Delhey and Hynek.
barbara buchanan August 30, 2012 at 06:03 PM
If we put an editorial comment in the Ann Arbor paper you have to use your real name so my comment is to the saline business owner....why don't you use your real name instead of hiding behind a "generic and unproven" name? I don't know if you truely own a business or not.
Frustrated Saline Taxpayer September 19, 2012 at 11:14 PM
I have been a neighbor of Glenn Law's for many years. I used to say hi anytime he would walk by my house. After years of being ignored and seemingly been condesending to, I stopped my efforts of being neighborly. He has shown that he only listens and speaks for his chosen few. I certainly will not vote for a canidate who only is receptive to those he selects. Brian Marl has always been receptive and communicative. Both traits that Mr. Law is lacking. My Vote will be for "Marl".... so should yours!
Frustrated Saline Taxpayer September 22, 2012 at 06:30 PM
All of you anti-Marl finger pointers need to look in your own back yard and get your facts straight before you pass judgement. Brian is a taxpaying resident who does NOT live with his parents, If you really want to nit-pick over irelevant things...drive by Law's house. It is one of the most unkept in his neighborhood. He violates city ordinances by placing old nasty furniture, household items etc. on the curb for weeks at a time hoping someone will pick them up. Go to the dump like the rest of us Glen. Just because Brian doesn't have a degree doesn't mean he can't go back to school and get one ...but that is his choice not yours. With over 30 years of experience as a Successful Manager, I have hired and fired a lot of employees. I also found many diamonds in the rough who lacked a College degree but worked their butts off and became very succesful. Brian is the best choice with out doubt!
Rick Kuss September 25, 2012 at 04:53 PM
I know both men running for Mayor in the City of Saline. First, I would like to say that it is great that there are two candidates running for the Mayor's office. I believe that Brian Marl has a lifetime of experience growing up in Saline. Brian has attended the Saline school system and understands what education means to the children of Saline. Brian worked with his father, owner of the Saline Dodge company that grew from a small beginnings to a more modern and technological building to better serve Saline. Brian understands small business. I have known Brian since he was a young man; and I believe 100% that he is capable of being an excellent Mayor for the City of Saline. Rick Kuss

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