Answers to Questionnaire of Facebook HoCo School Interest Group

Thanks to Bonnie Bricker’s effort, she organized a Facebook HoCo School Interest group and had an online BOE candidate forum. There are four questions and my answers to all of them.

Questions, Board Of Education:

  1. Please describe your role as a board member in creating equity for vulnerable populations including those in Special Education, immigrant and undocumented students, LGBTQ, and racial minorities. (350 words or LESS)

I believe all students, including those in Special Education, immigrant and undocumented students, LGBTQ, and racial minorities, should be treated equally. As an immigrant and racial minorities myself by these definitions, I know the challenges first hand. However, I don’t want to be labeled as “vulnerable” in my work place or my community, neither I want my children to be labeled as “vulnerable” in school. This label puts me down and does not aptly describe who I am. I want everyone to be treated equal with respect. I believe I am not the only one who share this sentiment.  Putting our students into different baskets is not the best way to help them to perform to the best of their abilities. It may prevent them to become the best version of themselves and this is not a healthy mindset for students to adopt both in and outside of school.

As a board member, I will ensure all the policies are non-discriminatory. I will ensure these policies are implemented in a non-discriminatory way. Most importantly, I will ensure everyone feels welcomed in school and everyone is expected to achieve the highest standard no matter which “basket” he or she is in.

Family involvement and effective communication is another crucial component of creating a supportive and encouraging environment in our schools. We need to create an avenue for families to communicate to the Board about the inequities they are facing in order for the Board to pass policies to address these inequities. Labeling people as “vulnerable” does not create this avenue of communication and only discourages our families from reaching out for help. We should create a straightforward, efficient and effective feedback mechanism for each policy and each program such that we can engage with the students who are not treated equally or need resources. Only through continuous effort and improvement, we can provide an equitable learning opportunity for all.

  1. What experiences or skills do you have that prepare you to make educationally focused decisions?(350 words or LESS)

I want to make sure HCPSS has a quality of education for years to come. I have one child currently in HCPSS and another one will enter next fall.

I have been actively involved with the school system. I served on the BOE Operating Budget Review Committee (OBRC). I have testified on multiple issues during Board of Education hearings including later school starting time and school redistricting. Most recently I provided suggestions to the school regarding transportation optimization. I have been an active participant in CAC and my local PTA meetings.  I also testified on tightening APFO in front of county council since I believe APFO will affect our education system significantly.

I have been elected twice as a Board Member of Columbia Association and River Hill Village Association since 2015. I am a strong proponent of fiscal health and great customer service for Columbia Association. I care deeply about both the organization health and residents feedback.

I was educated in three different education systems, China, Singapore and USA. My unique international education experience gives a multi-dimensional perspective and approaches while looking at issues and solving problems.

As an engineer, I always look for practical and optimal solutions when encountering problems. I look for solutions which are data-driven, pragmatic, community involved and professional derived.

  1. Redistricting is a difficult process, yet we know it is in our future. How can we best help this process to be more informative and less divisive? (350 words or LESS)

Redistricting is one part of strategies to solve the overcrowding issue. I was involved in the redistricting process last year by applying for the Area Attendance Committee (the selection process was not transparent, to say at least), attending community meetings, engaging with community members, exchanging ideas with HoCo Collaborative Community Plan group, I have learned a lot thought my first-hand experience.

We should improve both the process and methodology for school redistricting. We need accurate, complete and clean data for a data-driven solution. We need to develop in house capability to process redistricting data in real time while discussing this important topic.

We need a more objective goal while moving polygons around. In policy 6010, we should assign each criteria a weight (for example, each criteria 7.69%) objectively and evaluate the overall performance while doing the adjustment. We should not let one criteria dominate all of other factors.

We need to keep student-focused education in the policy center. Siblings, rising junior etc. should not be negatively impacted. We should always try to give parents and families options and choices such that they can choose what is the best for them.

Furthermore, the board should keep the pressure on building new schools as our student population keeps growing. Since the board approved high school #13 at Mission road, the board should continue look for high school 14. We should make sure high school #13 will be completed on time with quality assurance and make sure the elementary school in Turf Valley be on track.  We just could not keep large scale school redistricting plan on the table all times.

  1. If elected, what are your top 3 priorities as a Board member? (350 words or LESS)

1)      Work with all stakeholders to solve the $50 million school deficit and bring accountability and transparency back to the school system. Because of the rubber stamp support from previous BOE members and continuous lack of accountability and transparency, HCPSS is hitting hard with this $50 million deficit. We need work with the community, teacher association, county council, county executive and other stakeholders to develop a long and stable plane to address it.

2)      Provide equitable learning opportunities for all students and motivate students to learn and to succeed through hard work. Different students have different learning capabilities, different learning environments and different personal interests, the school system should provide individualized learning opportunities for them. At the same time, HCPSS should work with families and communities to address individual student need, motivate students to achieve their best potential through hard work. If there is a will, there is way for both students and HCPSS.

3)      Listen to all sides and be open to new ideas for solutions. As a board member, I am looking for data-driven and practical solutions. We have a diverse community and diverse perspectives and we need respect and embrace them and use the talents from all resources.

Issues with HCPSS world language program

About the language program, unfortunately HCPSS is not offering enough support. Because of the budget issue, Spanish classes were dramatically downsized too. Here, I am introducing some community support for the language learners. For Chinese language learner, there are several channels you can use:

1) There are three weekend Chinese schools in Howard County:

  1. The Howard County Chinese School at HCC and Centennial High ( ),
  2. The Peiying Chinese School at River Hill High (,
  3. The Chinese Language School of Columbia at Howard High (

All of them offer Chinese language classes from K-12, paced with our public school schedule. The tuition is really affordable. There are more than 20% of class participants do not have Chinese heritage at all.

2) The Columbia Association’s language coffee at East Columbia Library. It takes place at the fourth Tuesday of the month. It offers almost all major languages and is relative causal. It is fun.

If you can weigh in and share other language learning opportunities in the same post, that will be great. I can then put all of them in one place in the future.

Summary of CA board meeting 2018-05-10

This meeting is the first meeting for FY 2018-2019.

Resident Speakout:

Brian England: talked about New Town zoning, “Guiding Principles for the 21st Century Planned Community of Columbia, Maryland”, Patuxent Self Storage development, commercial covenant enforcement, Royal Farms gas station problem (more monopoly, not compatible with county plan), parkway versus boulevard (DPZ term). DPZ should come up with a new CSP ( comprehensive sketch plan), they just ignore it. The CSP is an overview of what is allowed and CSP is missing unfortunately.

Jervis Dorton: commercial covenant enforcement problem, asking CA to stand up and enforce covenant, especially in industrial parks. One example, new gas station setback is 10 yards, in the past, the setback is 40-50 yards.

Board Agenda

  1. There is no change of board members this year from all 10 villages.
  2. Board Chair Election: Andy Stack is the chair and Dick Boulton is the vice chair.
  3. Board member sitting in the Audit Committee, Risk Management Committees and several advisory committees.
  4. Representative of Columbia Association to Inner Arbor Trust: Lin Eagan and Janet Evans.
  5. Discussion on the Royal Farms Gas Station Development. The Columbia Association Board voted to ask CA staff to develop a strategy to oppose the current Royal Farms Sketch Development Plan again.
  6. Discussion on how to release closed meeting minutes in a timely manner. I added a clause to release closed meeting minutes. I believe any info which can be open should stay open in CA.

Against Industrial Mulching in residential areas in HoCo

I expressed my opposition to the industrial mulching at residential area in HoCo and also shared my expectation on school construction (high school 13 at Mission Road, another high school 14 at Elkridge, elementary school at Turf Valley) Thursday night at the Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman’s Town Hall meeting, organized by Howard County Citizen Association,

I have been watching this debate for a while. The height came in the same night when I testified in front of county council for tighter APFO last year. The mulching bill was before APFO. It was a lengthy debate for the mulching bill such that I testified on APFO around 11:30PM.

I have been seeing the debate of the future of Howard County. I read the Plan Howard 2030 and discussed it with others. I talked to many concerned residents how our future will look like. Certainly I don’t like industrial development in residential areas. We have our zoning law which governs the exact problem.

Columbia Association board will also actively participate in the DPZ’s process of formulating a new zoning regulation in the following years. The New Town zoning which governs Columbia provides a good way to plan our development and guarantee a better quality of life and economical development .

The HoCo APFO website is a place for great resources

2018 Howard County Primary Early Voting Locations

The following four centers open from 10 am to 8 pm daily from 6/14-6/21. A vote for Wu is a Vote for you.

  1. Miller branch Library, 9421 Frederick Road, Ellicott City, MD 21042
  2. The Bain Senior Center, 5470 Ruth Kenton Way, Columbia, MD 21044
  3. Howard County Fairgrounds, 2210 Fairgrounds Road, West Friendship, MD 21794
  4. Ridgely’s Run Community Center, 8400 Mission Road, Jessup, MD 20794

Then the general election is on Tuesday, 6/26/2018 at the same place you voted for president in 2016.

If you could not make it , please request the absentee vote right now at:

It is your right to vote and it is your voice to determine the BOE race.

Picnic with Chao Wu on 5/19/2018

Dr. Chao Wu, 2018 Howard County School Board Candidate is cordially inviting you to join a picnic fundraising party where he will share his perspective and vision for our school system.

Time: 4:30PM to 8:00PM, Saturday, 05/19/2018

Location: Cedar Lane Pavilion East

Address: 10745 RT108, Columbia,MD, 21044

Ticket: $25 per person. Free for children under 12. Please pay at

Food, drink and fun!!!

By Authority of Chao Wu, Treasurer: Ying Wang

Enhance Columbia’s Community Centers(The Villager 2018-05)

Enhance Columbia’s Community Centers

This article will be published on The Villager of River Hill Village Association, May 2018 issue.

During the Columbia Association (CA) Board work session on Thursday, April 12, 2018, many community members came to testify on the importance of Columbia’s neighborhood centers in their daily lives.

The discussion on neighborhood centers has been in the pipeline for the Board’s agenda for a while, although the roll-out was a little rough. CA can definitely improve communications. Last year, the Board identified strategic initiatives for the President/CEO for Fiscal Year 2018 and asked staff to review the 14 neighborhood centers. They were asked to use 14 criteria, which included the cost and benefits of maintaining the buildings. Recommendations for each center were required, including The Meeting Room in River Hill which is adjacent to the outdoor pool. The results of this analysis were presented on April 12.

For the past several years, CA has been assessing its facilities and this neighborhood center study and staff recommendations will be used by the CA Board to help make decisions. These assessments are focused on costs for repair, upgrades, and maintenance. However, costs are not the sole consideration, community usage rates and significance to the community are important factors too. CA staff will work with each individual village to get more information on the usage of each neighborhood center and its contribution to the community. During the public testimony, when I heard that one co-op nursery school in Columbia only charges $220 dollars monthly for a 4-year old, I immediately felt the school serves the community well since I also feel daycare is expensive. I truly appreciate the services they provide.

Consolidations and renovations to the existing neighborhood centers may be needed. For example, the American Disability Act (ADA) automatically kicks in when CA has to renovate/fix some community centers. This adds to the cost of a seemingly simple improvement. In some cases, the current footprint of the building is a little small to be a viable neighborhood center. CA may need to find new ways to address renovation or maintenance issues under these types of scenarios.

I believe CA should enhance, even build new neighborhood centers, and provide valuable services to our residents. Each village’s success is part of CA’s success.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

River Hill Representative to Columbia Council and Columbia Association Board of Directors

Email: Website:

Disclaimer: This letter only represents Dr. Chao Wu’s personal opinion. It does not represent River Hill Board of Directors nor Columbia Association’s Board

National Gun Violence Awareness Day Proclamation

It is kind of shame we could not stop the continuous mass shooting around the country. More than ever, every parent now has a fear of their children’s safety at school.

CA board approved the following proclamation during last week’s board session on 4/26/2018. Please join their effort ( Moms Demand Action of Howard County) to advocate gun violence awareness. There was a Baltimore Sun report on them (Ruth Hughes, leader of the Howard County section of Moms Demand Action, said in the meantime children are being “literally caught in the crosshairs.”):

CA national gun violence awareness day


Official Liyang-Columbia Sister City

The Columbia Association Board unanimously approved the fifth and latest Sister City Liyang, China during 4/26/2018 board meeting. This begins a new era for Columbia to connect with a fraction of the most populous country in the world.  Liyang is a city with rich culture, education, tourist and economical development ( or .

We are connecting people and nurturing friendship. Sharing two videos here:

1: Liyang, China. This video was shown at CA board meeting working session 4/12/2018.

2: Liyang, China: Nanshan Bamboo Sea


The following banner was shown during Columbia Sister City Festival in the Columbia Mall last weekend.

Liyang China



Presentation related to Patuxent Trail and Patuxent Self Storage

Recently many people are aware of the Patuxent Self Storage which will negatively impact the Patuxent Trail along Guilford Road ( or old Guilford Road). More than 2500 people petitioned on this issue online.

According to the DPZ director, basically there is no much CA and the DPZ can do. It is M1 zoning. They don’t request land easement with CA. Now, the county government proposed a multi-modal trail in that section to reduce potential safety concern.

I was thinking maybe if our stakeholders approached the issue and the developer earlier, it may lead to a different outcome. Then another problem is that when many residents know this development, it is already in a later stage for development. As a CA board member, I even did not know much about this since the developer did not engage with CA on this project.

The county should build a more proactive system to inform our residents about the developments near the home and their community. I believe many residents just want to make sure new developments can integrate into the community. For example, having the entrance for the Patuxent Self Storage facility designed on the Guilford road, not on the Patuxent Trail.

We love our long, beautiful trail system in Columbia and Howard County.

Here I am sharing two documents for you to read. They were presented to CA board on 4/26/2016.

Guilford 3 29 18

Patuxent Trail at Guilford Rd DDM (1)


CA board meeting summary of 2018-4-26

Resident SpeakOut:

Ingrid Pyne : Oakland Mill Village, worked for(former employee) the Spa at the Haven on the Lake,  talked about the legal dispute between CA and the Still Point Spa.

Jeff Dumber: talked Patuxent trail, the newly proposed Guilford Self Storage place will negatively impact that.

Richard Brigs,  talked about the Patuxent Trail, negatively impacted by the proposed Guilford Self Storage.

Harry Dunbar, democratic county executive candidate, asked to keep neighborhood centers.  The Rouse vision and spirit should be kept.

Keith Heilvel: support beer on Fairway Hill Golf court

Ken Walsh:  talked about the debate whether beer cart should be allowed on Fairway Hill Golf Court

Chris Alleva: Guilford Self Storage was zoned on M1(was zoned in 1948). NT zone is allowed for better control.  Commercial covenant enforcement issue.  Zoning capability sometimes is handled as administrative power which is not right. Zoning power should be handled legislatively by the county council.

Jerry Hukman, talked about Patuxent trail problem.

Ruth Hughes, Moms Demand Action of Howard County( each county has one moms club in Maryland), advocating reducing gun violence.

Ginger Scott, against selling beer on the cart.  She mentioned an old and outdated law from the liquor board (1996-1-17).

Joel Hurwitz, talked about Guilford road development issue,  sign issue,

Lewis Shipp: 79 houses around Fairway Hill Golf Court, 2/3 of people bought the house when the golf court would be built.

Jen Hayashi:  support selling beer at Golf Court

Bill Harrls, Vice chair of green committee of Columbia Association, support selling beer

Whitney Schreiber. talked about her concerns with neighborhood center closing.

Nicole Huber, talked about her experience about community center. Community center is as important as supreme court to serve different residents.

Peter Barners, talked about Patuxent trail. 2500 people signed a petition to change the Guilford Self Storage entrance to the Guilford Road side.

Christiana Rigby, on Kings Contrivance board, CA should work with the village together on the discussion of Guilford Self Storage.

Kelly Zwada, Wilde Lake, talked about valuable contribution from the community center.

Bob Sumers, enjoy living close to the golf court.


Board Chair remarks: CA got an energy start award. Athletic Club will be closed on April 29th.

Board Vote:

  1. The Board approved Liyang as Columbia’s fifth sister city unanimously ( Gregg is absent)
  2. The Board approved selling beer on the cart at Fairway Hill Golf Court unanimously ( Gregg is absent).

Board Discussion:

  1. Patuxent Trail at Guilford Road: There is not land easement request from the developer with Guilford Self Storage.
    1. From DPZ director Valdis Lazdins: It is outside parcel. It is not New Town Zoning such that basically the developer can do anything they want. CA has no leverage on them. County government has few leverage on that either. The old Guilford road was used by previous owner to access his property. The county government proposes multi-modal trail along that section of trail (estimated cost 200k. From David Lee, the County has some left-over money available for this proposed multi-modal trail already).
    2. Jen Teressa, council woman, talked about her ideas how to change some laws.
  2. National Gun Violence Awareness Day Proclamation.  The board voted to waive the 3-reading requirement for this motion and proceeded to approve this proclamation.




Columbia Development Tracker 2018-04

This development tracker is created by CA staff. More historical development status can be found at

I always keep a close eye on this tracking because our schools are facing an overcrowding issue and residents complaint about lack of infrastructure support. I am listing major housing development here.

By the way, the newly proposed 375 units located at the intersection of Leishear and Gorman Road has not been included here yet. This development will have a huge impact

Near Dorsey Search

Dorsey Overlook The owner of property at the NE quadrant of the intersection of Route 108 and Columbia Rd is proposing to build a 133-unit, age-restricted apartment on 4.5 acres.

Near Tow Center

PB 435/FDP-DC-L-1 Downtown Columbia, Lakefront Core Neighborhood, Phase1

The property owner is seeking approval of the FDP, NCP, NDG, and NIP for Phase 1 of the Lakefront Core Neighborhood including 509 dwelling units and increased net new retail and office development, two community commons, the lakefront connection, the Lakefront Neighborhood Square, and a network of public and private streets.

Near River Hill

GPA 2018-01-Erickson Living Petition to amend the General Plan to revise the Planned Service Area (“PSA”), Growth Tier Maps, and Designated Place Types for Howard County.

The petition is associated with the project is known as Erickson Senior Living at Limestone Valley and a zoning change proposal to create a CEF-M district for the purposes of developing 1,200 independent living residences and a care center with 240 beds on approximately 61 acres located in Clarksville, MD in the vicinity of Clarksville Pike and Sheppard Lane.

A revised concept plan was submitted in February 2018.

Long Reach

Long Reach Village Center ZB 1121M-Orchard Development

Major Village Center Redevelopment of 18.07 acres with proposed mixed-use buildings with retail, commercial, and office space. Project includes residential townhouses, senior housing, and community space.

Near Hickory Ridge

ZB-1115M Preliminary evaluation for proposed Community Enhancement Floating – Mixed Use (CEF-M) zoning district.

Brightview Senior Living – Columbia is seeking a rezoning of three parcels from R-12 zoning to CEF-M. The site is ~ 6.69 acres, is located at 6680 Martin Road, is adjacent to Route 29 and Martin Road Park, and includes the historic Athol Manor site. The associated development proposal is for 170 Senior Living Residences (80 assisted, 90 independent

Near Kings Contrivance

Case No: BA-17-030C – Conditional Use Case Proposal to build 24 single family attached age-restricted houses at the SW corner of Guilford Road and Eden Brook Drive on the historic Wildwood House site. The Design Advisory Panel reviewed this case in fall 2017 and recommended changes to the site layout and architecture.

River Hill

Simpson Oaks Phase 1 and 2 WP-18-083 (Associated with F-18-060)

The owners submitted an alternative compliance request to reactivate their final plan submission deadline for Phase 2 of their project. The plan consists of 46 single-family detached home lots and 83 town home lots, 12 open space parcels and 8 future residential parcels to be developed under Phase 2 on ~60 acres of land.
The Howard County Zoning Board previously approved a rezoning of the property from commercial to CEF-R.
The DPZ has approved two waiver petitions requesting alternative compliance from requirements prohibiting the removal of specimen trees and a requirement to submit a preliminary plan for Phase 2 of the project.

You can have a look at the document for details :


Columbia’s Sister Cities Show at the Mall

We have four Sister Cities, Cergy-Pontoise, France; Tres Cantos, Spain; Tema, Ghana; and Cap-Haitien, Haiti. Another new sister city from China, Liyang is under the board consideration now.

Ongoing High School Exchange Program

There are three amazing opportunities for Howard County high school students to travel abroad next summer and experience the life of a teen in one of Columbia’s three sister cities: Cergy-Pontoise, France; Tres Cantos, Spain or Cap-Haitien, Haiti.

We are connecting people and building friendship.

Lisa Cameron Schuster shared a valuable picture (from Columbia Flier) when she joined a CA sister city trip to France long time ago.

2017 Area Attendance Committee Recommendation to HCPSS and BOE

This is 2017 HCPSS Area Attendance Committee’s feedback to HCPSS and BOE. There are a lot of great and useful recommendations to HCPSS and BOE and I truly appreciate their difficult and important work last summer. I believe those recommendations will help this year’s AAC. By the way, HCPSS will release a new 2019-2020 redistricting proposal in June, 2018.

It includes recommendations in several areas: administrative, planning, field work and planning. All of them are very useful except one recommendation which says: “if a parent makes a thread, bullying to AAC members, their children should be disciplined.” This is totally wrong. I am not sure how the committee signed off this recommendation.

I would like to add two more recommendations:

  1. Assign a score to each adjustment with the polygon change, i.e., we need assign each factor in Policy 6010 with a weight (one example, for those 13 factors in Policy 6010, each has an equal weight of 1/13 = 7.7%) . In this way, we will prevent one factor dominating everything else. And we can always compare the score for each polygon manipulation objectively.
  2. Estimate the bus transportation cost in real time while AAC members are doing the polygon swap. If HCPSS is not able to do it now, they should hire some people with the skills to provide the numbers during the discussion. We should always be conscientious of the cost. For example, for each polygon move, we should be able to tell how much bus transportation will be increased/decreased comparing to the current level (benchmark). This cost change will be weighted into the overall performance score for the redistricting.

2017 AAC Feedback to BOE

Quick summary of HCPSS portable classroom

An HCPSS BOE meeting document dated on March 8, 2018 outlined the portable classroom status for the year 2018-2019. We will have more than 222 portable classrooms in HCPSS.

I believe portable classroom is a safety concern, does not provide great learning environment and skews the capacity calculation. We should slowly reduce the number of portable classroom and eventually eliminate all of them. 

Quick summary of portables in 2018-2019

Elementary School ( 130 total portables)

Only 7 (of 42 in total) elementary schools  do not have portable classrooms.  Fulton will have 9 portables in one year (considering the fast house development there). Pointers Run has 9 portables, Talbott Springs has 10 portables and Waverly ES has 9 portables.

2019 hcpss portable elementary school

Middle School ( total 47 portables)

There are 7 middle schools having no portables of 20 middle schools. Clarksville MS, Dunloggin MS, Harpers Choice MS all have 5 portables. Ellicott Mills MS, Glenwood MS and Murray Hill MS all have 6 portables.

High School ( 45 total portables)

Centennial High has 8, Hammond High has 4, Howard HS has 15, Long Reach HS has  8, Mount Hermon High and Reservoir both have 5 portables.

2019 hcpss portable middle and high school

Quoted from the document:

“Principals requested an additional 26 relocatables to be placed (25 individual and one 9-unit modular) and 8 relocatables (7 individual and one 9-unit modular) to be removed. The estimated cost to buy and place, or remove, the relocatables by principals is approximately $4.4 million. The current budget request is $2.5 million. Not all of the requests can be accommodated based on budgetary limitations. So the movement of one modular building, the placement of fifteen (15) new single classroom units, and the demolition of six (6) units are recommended by staff.”

Attached is the official document for your reference.

03 08 2018 HCPSS portable classroom list

Summary of CA board work session of 2018-4-12

Resident SpeakOut:

Ruth H. , of Mom Demanding Action against Gun Violence, asked CA to sign proclamation . She talked about Long reach high school reported a bullet in the school this morning, a gun shot in the Columbia Mall.

Lewis Shipp, supporting CA selling alcoholic drinks from cart on the Fairway Hills golf course.

Kith Heilval., chair of Golf and Green Committee, supporting selling beer.

Steve Ronning,  supporting selling beer, with a discount to senior citizens.

Jen Hapashi, whetstone road resident, supporting selling beer.

Bill Harris, five time championship of Fairway Hills Golf course, vice chair of Golf and Green Committee, supporting selling beer.

Shawn Paterniti, support selling beer.

Ginger Scott, against selling beer because of boorish people or behavior.

Chet Fisher, member of Alcoholic Anonymous, talked about possible closing of Longfellow community center.  His organization keeps people sober.

Jonathan Edelson, Oakland Mill Village Chair, talked about closing of neighborhood centers.

Judy Pittmay, of Village In Howard,

Jim Smith, talked about neighborhood centers closing. He is a scout leader.

Bob Foutaine, chair of Harpers’ Choice Village Board, talked about neighborhood center closing.

Jessica Harvey, own a summer camp, great location for a summer camp.

Rebecca Palmquist, president of Wilde Lake Children’s Nursery Co-op. It charges $212 per month for 4-year old. Six co-ops are still running in Columbia.

Amy Gallargher, talked about their service to the community, against closing the community center.

Ed Coleman, Village of Long Reach board member, daycare centers providing a valuable service to the community. Proposing modernizing those centers, increasing energy efficiency, make it cheaper to rent.

Joel Hurwitz, Harper’s Choice village sign issue,  community center closing issue, village management contract issue,

Rebecca Bealli, talked about community center closing.

Kimberly Akers, representing Oakland Mill Nursery co-op, talking about their service to the community.

Leah Kennedy, talking about community center closing. The community needs more affordable place for meeting, daycare, etc.

Jo Mapak, 26 years in the co-op. We need have a place for the family connected.  These community centers are key to this idea, because it is affordable.


China-Sister City Presentation

from Columbia China Sister City Planning Committee

“Promoting peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation-one individual, one community at a time.”

Athletic Club Renovation 2018

The staff talked about the six-month transition for this Athletic Club Renovation. 74 out of 81 classes will be maintained.  You can check with for assistance.

Fairway Hills Golf Cart, serving beer or not

There were boorish behavior or boorish people in the golf course, which caused neighbors unease.

Village/Community Center Discussion

There are 14 village/community centers in total in CA.  Many of them are operating under a financial loss. Need more information to make a decision on these centers.




Carry the torch and move forward

Part of my speech at 4/7/2018 African American Coalition and Delta Sigma Theta Soroity BOE Candidate Forum:

When I grew up, Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream” was one of the few English articles I was asked to recite. I really like it and he motivated and changed this county.

If it were not for Dr. King and the civil rights movement, I would not even be here, let alone running for BOE.

Civil rights movement never ends until everyone has the opportunity to succeed. Education is one of the key parts of this movement and this dream. We must provide equitable learning opportunities for each student. We must also encourage our students to overcome all difficulties and pursue their dream.


CA’s neighborhood center discussion

CA board will begin to discuss our neighborhood/community centers at 4/12/2018 night’s board work session.  Due to the financial constraints, there is a possibility some community centers will be closed in the future.

Here are some materials from CA staff for the board to review. I am extracting some information here and attaching the backup material for your reference:

  • CA owns 14 neighborhood centers which are maintained jointly with the village associations. The neighborhood centers day to day operations and rental programs are under the purview of the village associations. The neighborhood centers are primarily used as daycares and for church gatherings, and other village rentals.
  • CA construction department staff conducted an evaluation of all 14 facilities to assess major building components, remaining useful life of building systems, and assign value to necessary capital repairs. In addition, ongoing operating income and expenses were analyzed for strategic consideration regarding long term building operations relative to CA’s other operating and capital initiatives.

Dorsey’s Search : 1
Harper’s Choice : 2
King’s Contrivance : 1
Long Reach : 3
Oakland Mills : 3
River Hill : 1
Wilde Lake : 3
Three villages, Hickory Ridge, Owen Brown, and Town Center have no neighborhood centers

Staff recommendation:

CA will evaluate an offset to the village association for operating losses from closing neighborhood centers with additional CA grant allocations. Passive parks will replace the building footprint where buildings are removed

  1. FY20: Demolish Locust Park Neighborhood Center replace with passive park.
  2. Pending: (CA will coordinate with Village Associations)
    •Repurpose Running Brook and Faulkner Ridge for ADA pool bathhouse improvements when current tenant vacates.
    •Replace Stevens Forest and Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Centers with passive park when current tenants vacate.
    •Take out of Service Talbott Springs, Longfellow and MacGills Common, when current tenants vacate
  3. On-going: Maintain Bryant Woods, Dorsey Hall, River Hill, Thunder Hill, Swansfield and Phelps Luck Neighborhood Centers

Item_06(d)_(1)_Memo_Neighborhood Center Strategic Plan

Item_06(d)_(2)_Financial Information

Item_06(d)_(3)_Power Point-Neighborhood Centers Evaluation


You can also get all information at,