Ranked–Choice Voting for Howard County – Board of Education Elections –

Howard County – Board of Education Elections – Ranked–Choice Voting

Here is the bill:

Primer of Ranked Choice Voting

Our team created a four-page PowerPoint slides to explain ranked choice voting.

Here is an article by Frank Hecker which talks about RCV.

A better way to elect the Howard County Board of Education – FrankHecker.com

Howard County 2022 In-process and Planned Development

This is a long list (30 pages) for in-process and planned development for Howard County this year. It showed where the new units will be built and which school is designated to go.

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide the Board with additional supporting documentation for the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) School Capacity Chart.

Howard County APFO 101

Howard County APFO ( adequate public facility ordinance) 101

The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO) provides a growth management process that will enable the County to provide adequate public roads, schools, and other facilities in a timely manner and achieve general plan growth objectives. This process is designed to direct growth to areas where adequate infrastructure exists or will exist.

My APFO questions

On Monday, BOE and County Council had a conversation on the APFO. I raised a few questions:

  1. In the overarching objective, I did not see “meet residents’ needs” as a goal of APFO.
  2. The low impact fee or surcharge fee is a huge problem for the long deferred maintenance we are facing now. HCPSS is in a crisis of overcrowded and short of capital project funding. Schools we are building now will need significant renovation in 20 years, which is actually quicker than many people think. Our newest, Marriotts Ridge High School, many people still feel it is new, actually was built in 2005 and it is 16 years old already.
  3. In the traffic study section, I strongly opposed that traffic study was paid and presented by the developers themselves. The study should be impartial. The county should collect fees from developers and outsource that study to a third independent party. The same principles should apply to other studies too.
  4. There is a problem using the resale and new development yield number as presented for the county to project new housing student yield. The yield for new house development only consider the first year number and did not consider the accumulated impact.

Attached please see the latest APFO.

Please share your feedback with us. I am going to have some further discussions with county council members on this.

Charter School Application (Reading Opens Doors Charter School) and Update

HCPSS BOE is receiving its first charter school application, at least in my term. Here it is the application document for discussion on Thursday May 27, 2021. The school will be located in Elkridge and focus on students with needs.

The report provides the evaluation of the Reading Opens Doors, Inc charter school application. The original letter of intent and application were received on August 7, 2020 with the final application documents received on March 4, 2021. The applicant’s focus is to maximize the academic abilities of K-5th vulnerable and marginalized children and help them to pursue their dreams.

Here is the application pdf file.

Evaluation Result and Application Document

Final Vote

On Dec. 7, 2021, the board voted unanimously to disapprove the application.

The Housing Opportunity Master Plan for Howard County with my comments

Who are on the committee?

Maybe I missed, I did not see any Asian Americans on this committee, nor Latino Americans.

Some comments on the challenges raised in the report


Housing supply has not kept up with housing demand, particularly over the last decade and given recent employment growth. This imbalance between supply and demand is leading to rising affordability issues.

Wu Comment: what is the goal (balance point) for the demand and need? If we don’t define it, we will see this argument for life.


A lack of housing diversity throughout Howard County inhibits racial and socioeconomic integration. Historically disadvantaged populations, lower-income households and households experiencing poverty find that most of the housing options affordable to them are concentrated in only a few locations. This challenge is especially problematic considering that most remaining land and school capacity is in the Rural West, where current zoning regulations largely prohibit affordable housing development of any kind.

Wu Comment: But they are keeping building low-income houses in a few buildings in the Columbia downtown area, instead those should be spreat out. The newly proposed policies keep the same old, ill-practice.


New development today is less diverse than the housing inventory overall. In recent years, new development has shifted in favor of rental apartments, and—at the same time—the for-sale market has largely stopped building smaller, attainably priced for-sale housing.

Wu Comment: there are only limited lands available and only 7% land left for development in Howard County.


Howard County lacks a cohesive strategy for prioritization, policy/program design, and resource allocation.

Wu Comment: The policies are driven by developers such that loophole and exception everywhere.


Existing resources are not sufficient to meet current and future capacity and demands (e.g., schools, transportation, etc.) while also dedicating funds to housing goals.

Wu Comment: That is the reason we need slow down new development to make sure the current school capacity and infrastructure to catch up first. Keeping building more and we will never catch up.


It continues to be difficult to supply housing for diverse populations, with significant needs going forward.

Wu Comment: this is a very vague statement and it be applied anywhere they see fit.


The COVID-19 pandemic and associated economic disruption is exposing and exacerbating housing insecurity.

Wu Comment: This is true.

  1. Housing security actually relates to job security. Sometimes policy with good intention can lead to larger harm. Remembering the 2008 finance crisis which crippled many many families, was built on the assumption: everyone should buy a house.
  2. Another is a sound personal financial management. How to spend the money we have wisely is not an easy task.


A large portion of housing that is affordable to low- and moderate-income households in Howard County is older and at risk of deterioration and/or redevelopment going forward.

Wu Comment:

  1. Yes. We need revitalization on those houses with policy, monetary and community support.
  2. Look at the affordable housing debate in 2016, a proposal by Council Member, now state delegate Jen Terrasa where the proposal required 15% affordable units in all new housing development. It did not pass the county council. Here is the article I wrote at that time: https://chaowu.org/2016/07/27/columbias-downtown-and-affordable-housing/
  3. Another event showed developers’ influence during the last APFO update vote. The developers were sitting in the George Howard Building. In that night past 12 o’clock, some of them shouted on social media: your vote was illegitimate because of some procedure violation. I could not recall much detail for that night now unfortunately.


The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (“APFO”) is placing significant limitations on the amount of housing that can be built, and it is
potentially accelerating those capacity issues by limiting the ability to increase the tax base.

Wu Comment: New housing development could not pay for itself, neither school funding nor other infrastructure cost. Here is my calculation for your reference: https://chaowu.org/2021/05/10/some-math-about-hcpss-funding-needs-and-gaps/

The whole report is here:

HoCo County Council Bill CB 24-2021

HoCo County Council Bill CB 24-2021

CB24-2021 has two amendment areas.

  1. The first addresses the addition of a public ethics report to be made by applicants for development regarding campaign contributions/business with County Council members and/or the County Executive.
  2. The second would prohibit action on proposed zoning regulation amendments during a period leading up to the adoption of a new Howard County General Plan (specifically, nine years after the implementation of the current plan up until the new plan is adopted – this plan is currently on a 10-year cycle, thus this would apply one year before adoption).

While staff cannot estimate a direct impact on HCPSS without knowing what proposed regulations may be delayed by the bill, generally they would agree with the notion that if changes to the General Plan are imminent within the next year, passing new zoning regulations may be counterintuitive to the purpose of the plan itself to provide guidance.

The video is here:

4th SAAC Presentation materials-12/17/2020

SAAC Meeting Schedule

  • 19-Nov 7:00-9:00am      General and fiscal update
  • 3-Dec    7:00-9:00am      CIP – Education
  • 10-Dec  7:00-9:00am      CIP – Infrastructure
  • 17-Dec  7:00-9:00am      CIP – Infrastructure / other big projects
  • 7-Jan     7:00-9:00am      Commercial Base & Business
  • 14-Jan   7:00-9:00am      Operating budget – Overview & Education
  • 21-Jan   7:00-9:00am      Operating budget – Other Agencies
  • 28-Jan   7:00-9:00am      Economic Outlook & Long-Term Demographic/Development Trends
  • 4-Feb    7:00-9:00am      Revenue, Debt, Multi-Year Projections
  • 11-Feb  7:00-9:00am      Recommendations for the Report
  • 25-Feb  7:00-9:00am      Report Writing  – Draft review

Two presentations on December 12, 2020

Howard County Office of Transportation
FY 2022 Presentation to Spending Affordability Advisory Committee – December 17, 2020

Ellicott City Flood Mitigation

HoCo SAAC presentations on county capital projects

Four slides for you to read

  1. Road Resurfacing, ADA Ramps, Sidewalk Repair, Street Tree, Store Drain Repair, Traffic Signalization
  2. East Columbia 50+ Center, Detention Center, Bain 50+ center, Utilities RTU
  3. Downtown Columbia Capital Projects: New Culture Center (, $47.7 million, FY22), New Central Library ($40 million, FY25), Banneker Fire Station ($20 million, FY28), New Elementary School ($34.6 million, FY30), Traffic Improvements($95.1 million, FY 32), Transit Center ($12.3 million, FY 32)
  4. New Central Library (Estimated cost 68 million (construction 53 million, garage 13 million))

Public Notice: Howard County Local Bills Hearing 11/17/2020

The Howard County Delegation of the Maryland General Assembly, chaired by Senator Clarence Lam and Delegate Jessica Feldmark, will hear testimony from the public on proposed local bills and Legislative Bond Initiative requests. No testimony on other issues will be permitted as a second hearing devoted to statewide bills will be scheduled. 

The hearing will be held virtually at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17.  Members of the public may register to testify or to watch the hearing through WebEx by going to https://howardcountymd.webex.com/howardcountymd/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1b32cd17996caef752a24df9f0944fd1 and clicking on “Register”. Registration will be available by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 9, and will remain open until 5:00 p.m. on Monday, November 16. Written testimony may be submitted by email to HowardCo.DelegationStaff@mlis.state.md.us. Members of the public may testify on any or all of the proposed legislation within their allotted time to speak. Oral testimony will be limited to two minutes per bill up to a total of five minutes for three or more bills. The hearing will also be streamed live on the Howard County Delegation’s Facebook page.  

Full text of the proposed Howard County bills can be accessed, as they become available from Bill Drafting, beginning Monday, November 9, 2020, at 6:00pm on the Howard County website (Home>About HoCo>State Delegation>2021 Session Proposed Local Legislation):  https://www.howardcountymd.gov/About-HoCo/State-Delegation/2021-Session-Proposed-Local-Legislation. Please monitor this page regularly for the most recent updates. Short descriptions of the local bills and a list of bond initiative requests are included below.

Bond Initiative Requests

Humanim – Remodeling Gerwig, Ho. Co. 16-21; $150,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Patuxent Commons, Ho. Co. 17-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation

8125 Main Street Reconstruction and Renovation, Ho. Co. 18-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Centennial Park ADA Improvements, Ho. Co. 19-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation 

Harriet Tubman Cultural Center Playground, Ho. Co. 20-21; $200,000

By: Howard County Delegation 

Robinson Nature Center Amphitheater and Stage, Ho. Co. 21-21; $100,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Expanded Tiber Park, Ho. Co. 22-21; $500,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Patapsco Female Institute Chapel, Ho. Co. 23-21; $300,000

By: Howard County Delegation 

Historic Barnard Fort House, Ho. Co. 24-21; $150,000

By: Howard County Delegation

East Columbia 50+ Center, Ho. Co. 25-21; $1,000,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Harriet Tubman Cultural Center, Ho. Co. 26-21; $750,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Ellicott City Quaker School, Ho. Co. 27-21; $150,000

By: Howard County Delegation

Proposed Local Bills

Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Delivery, Ho. Co. 1-21

By: Delegate Watson

FOR the purpose of authorizing a holder of a Class A alcoholic beverages license in Howard County to deliver alcoholic beverages in the county; authorizing certain employees of a license holder to deliver alcoholic beverages; requiring that an employee making certain deliveries be of a certain age; requiring an individual receiving a certain alcoholic beverages delivery to provide certain proof of age; providing for the manner in which an individual receiving a delivery of alcoholic beverages provides proof of age; requiring the Board of License Commissioners for Howard County to approve a certain certification; requiring the purchaser of certain alcoholic beverages or a certain designated individual of a certain age to be present to receive a delivery of alcoholic beverages; and generally relating to alcoholic beverages in Howard County.

Howard County – Class A Alcoholic Beverages Licenses – Quota by Election District, Ho. Co. 2-21

By: Senator Guzzone

FOR the purpose of altering the quota system for Class A licenses in Howard County so as to limit the issuance of the licenses to not more than one for a certain number of residents in each election district, rather than in the county; and generally relating to Class A alcoholic beverages licenses in Howard County.

Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Alcoholic Beverages Inspectors, Ho. Co. 3-21

By: Chair, Howard County Delegation

FOR the purpose of authorizing an alcoholic beverages inspector to issue a citation in Howard County; requiring an inspector to complete a training program in the use of arrest authority and pertinent police procedures; prohibiting an inspector from carrying a firearm in the performance of the inspector’s duties; requiring the Howard County Police Department to employ certain inspectors, rather than requiring the

Chief of the County Police Department to provide a sworn member of the County Police Department as an inspector; requiring the Chief of the County Police Department to have certain authority over the hiring of inspectors; and generally relating to alcoholic beverages in Howard County.

Howard County – Alcoholic Beverages – Class B Beer, Wine, and Liquor License – Off–Premises Consumption, Ho. Co. 4-21

By: Delegate Watson

FOR the purpose of authorizing the holder of a certain Class B beer, wine, and liquor license in Howard County to sell beer, wine, and liquor for off–premises consumption, subject to certain requirements; repealing certain provisions that authorize the Board of License Commissioners for Howard County to issue a certain permit to a certain holder of a certain Class B beer, wine, and liquor license; and generally relating to alcoholic beverages in Howard County.

Howard County – Board of Education – Redetermination of Geographic Attendance Area, Ho. Co. 5-21

By: Senator Lam

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to submit a certain annual report on the program capacity of each permanent school facility, beginning in a certain school year; requiring the county board to submit a certain report to the General Assembly and the Howard County Delegation to the General Assembly under certain circumstances; requiring the county board to implement certain processes set out in a certain policy to make a certain assessment; requiring the county board to submit a certain report to the General Assembly and the Howard County Delegation regarding the outcome of a certain assessment under certain circumstances; defining certain terms; and generally relating to the target utilization of permanent school facilities in Howard County.

Howard County – School Redistricting – Public Testimony, Ho. Co. 7-21

By: Senator Lam

FOR the purpose of requiring, during a school redistricting process in which the redistricting plan proposed by the Howard County Board of Education differs from the redistricting plan proposed by the Howard County Superintendent of Schools, that the county board allow a certain number of members of a household whose school assignment is changed only in the county board’s plan to provide public testimony before the final vote on either school redistricting plan; and generally relating to the Howard County Board of Education and school redistricting.

Howard County – Howard County Board of Education – School Safety Personnel, Ho. Co. 10-21

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of requiring the Howard County Board of Education to develop a plan to implement certain school safety guidelines that does not assign school resource officers to public schools in Howard County and uses adequate local law enforcement coverage to implement the guidelines; and generally relating to school safety personnel in Howard County.

Howard County – Howard County – Commercial Building Excise Tax – Board of Education Deferred Maintenance, Ho. Co. 11-21

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of authorizing the County Council of Howard County to impose a certain excise tax; requiring the County Council of Howard County to specify the types of buildings subject to a certain excise tax; authorizing the County Council of Howard County to impose different tax rates on certain construction; requiring the excise tax to be deposited into a certain fund to be used only for a certain purpose; requiring

the Howard County Board of Education to submit a certain report on or before a certain date to the County Council of Howard County, the Howard County Executive, and members of the Howard County Delegation to the General Assembly; requiring the County Council of Howard County and the Howard County Executive to submit a certain report on or before a certain date to the Howard County Delegation to the 15 General Assembly addressing certain recommendations made by the Howard County Board of Education; providing for the termination of certain provisions of this Act; and generally relating to deferred maintenance in the Howard County Public School System.

Howard County – Fee–in–Lieu of ModerateIncome Housing Units – Prohibition, Ho. Co. 12-21

By: Delegate Atterbeary

FOR the purpose of prohibiting Howard County from authorizing payment of a fee–in–lieu of a requirement under local law that a developer provide moderate–income housing units in a new residential development project; and generally relating to moderate–income housing unit requirements in Howard County.

Howard County – Homeowners Association Commission – Alternative Dispute Resolution Authority, Ho. Co. 13-21

By: Delegate Terrasa

FOR the purpose of authorizing Howard County to establish a homeowners association commission to hear and resolve, through alternative dispute resolution, certain issues between a homeowners association and a homeowner regarding certain documents; and generally relating to the resolution of disputes between homeowners associations and homeowners in Howard County.

Howard County – Residential Rental Licenses – Fee for Tenant Services, Ho. Co. 15-21

By: Delegates Feldmark and Terrasa

Bill still in drafting. Check this webpage for updates or email  HowardCo.DelegationStaff@mlis.state.md.us to request to be notified when bill text is available for review.