Endorsement for Chao Wu

Here comes the endorsement for Dr. Chao Wu for Howard County of Board of Education. I believe it is not a specific organization that can speak for you.
It is you, our voters, by making a little bit of effort to understand the candidate’s background, experience, and vision for the school system, make an informed vote. Your vote is my endorsement. Even my name is shown last in the ballot, “save the best for last”.

On the campaign trail for the Board of Education, many people from all sides have keep encouraging me because of my ideas, my experience and my vision for HCPSS.

  1. Here are my priorities:
    1. I will work with stakeholders to solve the $50 million school budget deficit. I will make sure the BOE is not a rubber stamp.
    2. I will make sure HCPSS provide equitable learning opportunities for all students, motivate students to learn and to succeed through hard work.
    3. I will listen to all sides and be open to new ideas for solutions.
  2. I have the experience as an effective board member of Columbia Association, working on the budget committee( once as a chair), the risk management committee and the audit committee. I also has the opportunities to engage with community members, village associations and other stakeholders. I write monthly to inform our residents what is happening in our neighborhood. This experience prepares me with the necessary skills and education as a BOE board member.
  3. I have been involved with the school system for several years. I testified in front of BOE several times. I sat on the BOE Operating Budget Review Committee. I led some discussion on the school starting time. I go to many meetings, PTA, PTAC, SEC, CAC, CEC, etc. I read and write a lot on many school topics and keep myself informed. I am passionate about how to provide a quality education for our students.
  4. I have the experience as a first generation immigrant who was lifted up by the public education all the way along. This experience gives me the best understanding how a quality education can inspire students to learn and succeed.
  5. I have the experience staying in three different countries(China, Singapore and United States), three different systems(educational, religious, economical and political). These experiences give me the first hand understanding how a diverse of community can live together harmoniously. I can bridge the gap and seek common ground for our school system.

I will be your voice and you are my strength.
A Vote for Wu is a Vote for you.

Columbia Association FY 18 Annual Report

Columbia Association’s FY 18 Annual Report

By Chao Wu
This is a simple version of the annual report. You can find CA’s official annual report at https://www.columbiaassociation.org/about-us/policies-statements/financial-reports/columbia-association-annual-report/ shortly.

During fiscal year 2018 (May 2017 to April 2018), Columbia Association (CA) accomplished many of the goals that were set by the board in 2017. This article recaps the report written by CA board chair Andy Stack.

Inside Columbia Association

I always want to make sure CA has a well-balanced budget, maintaining the fiscal health of the organization while making the necessary expenditures. During fiscal year 2018, the CA board approved the annual charge rate without any increase and maintained limited borrowing. The board has built a long-term plan by allocating $20 million yearly in capital funds for several years to help deal with overdue and necessary repairs and improvements required for CA’s facilities.

We are continuing to maintain and improve our facilities and environment. In FY18, there was a large amount of funding allocated to the Swim Center, Ice Rink, and Athletic Club. We continue to clean our lakes and ponds, reduce stream erosion with watershed improvement projects, and improve pathways and bridges.

CA opened a new indoor tennis facility in Long Reach and converted the old Tennis Bubble in Owen Brown for outdoor tennis and pickle-ball. A major renovation at the Athletic Club is currently underway.

The board and CA staff actively reviewed and discussed options for assuming responsibility for handling commercial covenants in Columbia . We reviewed and discussed potential enhancements to the Lakefront Plaza. The Board wants to ensure that our master plan takes into account Howard Hughes’ proposal for the redevelopment of the Lakefront Core area.

Within Howard County

The board worked with the developer and with Howard County on the redevelopment of the Long Reach Village Center. CA presented testimony before the Planning Board and the Zoning Board in support of this crucial effort to enhance a village center.

CA participated in Howard County’s Phase 1 land use/development regulations review process. Phase 1 set the stage for Phase 2 which will focus on rewriting the actual land use regulations. This will have a major impact on the future redevelopment of Columbia. We want to make sure Columbia continues to be a planned community.

The board followed developments regarding the new Cultural Center in Downtown Columbia, the Crescent area in Downtown Columbia, the Hickory Ridge Village Center, the Lakefront Core area, and other proposed developments in and around Columbia.

Bigger Community

The board established a new Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee. The committee recruited environmental experts across the county and just held its first meeting. With their help, we want to make sure Columbia continues to be conscious about reducing energy waste and improving the environment.

CA helped to celebrate Columbia’s 50th birthday with great success. More than 85 great events were held and many community members were highly engaged. I attended many events with my family and I am glad Columbia continues to be a diverse and vibrant community.

We established a new sister city, Liyang, China for Columbia after three-year’s planning work. I believe connecting people and building friendship will provide a better vision and network for Columbia and Howard County residents.

I am looking forward to your feedback and please enjoy your summer.

Chao Wu, PhD

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

Email: superbwu@gmail.com Website: http://www.chaowu.org

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.

Interview with Baltimore Sun reporter

I was interviewed by Baltimore Sun’s reporter Janene Holzberg sometime ago over the  phone. As I said before, we would love to connect people and build friendship. I wish this is the first step and we can do more.

The article is out today online:  Columbia poised to add China’s Liyang as sister city


Connecting people and building friendship

Connecting people and building friendship. That is the exact reason why I have been working with CA’s program manager Laura Smit and our residents Hui Dong, Jun Han to explore a sister city relationship between Columbia and Liyang of China since Oct. 2015.

The Liyang Sister City Committee of Columbia Association took its official name on Tuesday 6/12/2018. We are promoting culture exchange, high school students exchange, tourism and many more between Columbia, Howard County and Liyang, China.

Congratulations to all China Sister City Planning Committee members. Thanks a lot for your great and continuous work. It is tremendous work.

Congratulations to all delegates who made the trip to Liyang last year, including CA board members Alan Klein and Dick Boulton, Delegate Eric Ebersole , former long time Delegate Liz Bobo and Howard Council member Lloyd Knowles, Marcy Gitt ( Liyang Sister City Committee Vice Chair), Barbara Kellner ( former Columbia Archive Director), Laura Smit and many more. Unfortunately our great reporter Len Lazarick did not get the visa.  It was a successful trip.

I am looking forward to many opportunities for these two great cities to work together.

Connecting people and building friendship. Liyang China

Who to Vote for Howard County School Board

Save the Best for Last and Vote for Dr. Chao Wu as shown in the ballot.

There is not doubt that you should vote for Dr. Chao Wu for the school board.

  1. He has been involved with the school systems for more than three years. He testified in front Board of Education for many times. He participated in many meetings in PTA, PTAC, CAC, etc. He joined the BOE operating budget review committee to look at our school spendings and priorities..
  2. He has the experience as an elected board member for Columbia Association to manage a big organization. He was once the vice chair and the chair of the budget committee ( 72 million dollars’ budget). He was on the Risk Management Committee and Audit Committee. He is in the International Multi-culture Advisory Committee. He led a team and developed another sister city for Columbia. He is always responsive to citizens’ concerns.
  3. He has the strong believe that great education is the key to success for our students. He came from a low-income family, and studied in China, Singapore and USA. He graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park with a PhD degree from Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  4. He is always improving himself. He is not as eloquent as other candidates because he only started to learn English at Middle School and oral speaking was not a focus in his schools. He keep increasing his English vocabulary and reducing his accent. He always believe he should always try his best and never give up.
  5. He is open minded and looks for solutions to change the status quo. He seeks common ground and believes common sense.

More will come along the way. Thanks for reading.

Columbia Association Board Is More Active Than Ever (The Villager 2018-06)

By Dr. Chao Wu
This article is published on June 2018 issue of “The Villager” of River Hill Community Association.

Columbia Association board starts a new fiscal year without little change. We have the same board chair and vice chair. However, CA board is more active than ever.

Internally, CA board members had some unofficial, offside board meetings which never happened before. We discussed how we could improve the board meeting process. We will not restrict the topics in resident speakout. We will disclose closed meeting minutes in a timely manner with more transparency. We will push for our staff more responsive to both board questions and residents’ concerns. We will consistently evaluate the membership structure and we continue to improve the energy efficiency.

Externally, CA board will be more outspoken in the development around Columbia. The board is against the current Royal Farm Gas Station along Snowden Parkway because it does not fit Columbia vision. The board will take classes on land use and zoning. We will provide valuable feedback to the county council on the undergoing zoning regulation changes. We want to make sure Columbia, as a planned community, will stay as planned with a good future to come. We will enforce our commercial covenant with stronger will. Unregulated development will destroy the quality of life many of us are enjoying now.

We need our residents get engaged too. Recently, I got tagged on Facebook for some lawn mowing issues in a non-CA property. I immediately forwarded that to our open space director and he immediately contacted the relevant parties to address the issue. Eventually the lawn was mowed although it took a few days. I would say as long as you express your concerns with me or the board, I will try my best to help you get the problems to the right hand in CA. It may not result in the way you want, but we listen to you and value your feedback.

The worst part is indifference from our resident. We need hear from you and need help from you too.

Chao Wu, Ph.D.

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

Email: superbwu@gmail.com Website: http://www.chaowu.org

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

HCPSS 2018 Feasibility Study

This feasibility study is for an Annual Review of Long-Term Capital Planning and Attendance Area Adjustment Options.  It will be discussed on 6/7/2018 Board meeting.

School Staff Recommendation:

Adjustments School Attendance Areas This report is not recommending initiation of an attendance area adjustment process in 2018-19 for the 2019-20 school year. The next boundary line adjustments are anticipated for 2023-24 with the opening of High School #13 and the addition of capacity to Hammond High School.


Each year, the Board of the HCPSS reviews the capital planning options and boundary adjustment considerations through a feasibility study. The report has four goals:

  1. Inform the long-term planning process.
  2. Facilitate discussion of decisions that may lay ahead.
  3. Provide strategic information to the school system.
  4. Prepare for scheduled school boundary adjustments.

It is on school  website https://www.boarddocs.com/mabe/hcpssmd/Board.nsf/files/AZAM235910BC/$file/06%2007%202018%20Feasibility%20Study%20BR.pdf

Several observations:

  1. Local Capacity and State Rated Capacity as of June 20 are quite different school by school. For example, Dayton Oak’s state computed capacity is 901 while local computed capacity is 675.  These two computations should be consolidated.
  2. The following figures show where the population growsplanHoward2030
  3. For Elementary Schools, 2018 and 2023 projected utilization rates
    Region 2018 2023
    Columbia East Region 103.7% 96.6%
    Columbia West Region 90.9% 106.4%
    Northeastern Region 95.3% 103.9%
    Northern Region 106.7% 114.2%
    Southeastern Region 98.0% 100.0%
    Western Region 95.0% 102.4%
  4. For Middle schools, 2018 and 2023 projected utilization rates
    Region 2018 2023
    Columbia East Region 92.6% 93.9%
    Columbia West Region 92.7% 100.4%
    Northeastern Region 104.9% 110.5
    Northern Region 106.7% 114.2%
    Southeastern Region 94.4% 101.8%
    Western Region 97.2% 98.3%

    Ellicott Mills Middle School is 126.% capacity.

  5. For High Schools, 2018 and 2023 projected utilization rates
    Region 2018 2023
    Columbia East Region (Oakland Mills) 86.9% 98.5%
    Columbia West Region 94.8% 98.2%
    Northeastern Region 120.2% 144.7
    Northern Region 106.3% 113.7%
    Southeastern Region 111.1% 111.6%
    Western Region 96.6% 103.0%

    Centennial High (122.4%) and Howard High (134.4%) are most crowded in 2018.

Eddison Hermond Memorial Scholarship Because of May Ellicott City Flood

Some of you may hear in the news that a person who was helping others was missing during last week’s Ellicott City flood.
The hero’s name is Eddison Hermond and he was found dead two days later unfortunately. There is a memorial scholarship set up under his name.
If you would like to make a contribution, please visit the following page:


Answers to Howard County Chamber Questionnaire

Howard County Candidate Questionnaire from Howard County Chamber

May 31, 2018

Board of Education Candidates

1.     Some believe that Howard County schools are overcrowded. However, data seems to reflect a balancing issue. Would you consider school redistricting to best utilize the existing facilities we have in our county?

In reality, many schools are overcrowded and a few schools are just below the allowed capacity. From the school data we have, even as we try to balance the student numbers, some schools will be still overcrowded because we don’t have enough capacity to house the existing and ever growing student population. School redistricting should be used to utilize the existing facilities, but it should not be the only tool to address the school overcrowding issue. We need build more schools where the students come from. We need plan our housing development more carefully.

We should not allow developers drive our county’s development by consistently redistricting schools. 

2.     If Howard County schools operate under capacity as a result of the Board of Education’s desire not to redistrict, are you willing to fund school construction without state funding?

As indicated in my first answer, I am against massive (20%) school redistricting which is disruptive and damaging to the students and the community. Massive school redistricting will shift the burden from the county council and the county government to the parents and students. We need the county council and the county government to provide enough funding for the school system, plan housing development at the right pace and the right location.

I believe BOE should seek any opportunity to fund school construction with a short-term and long-term plan. 

3.     How can the Board of Education best support education while at the same time promote Howard County as a business destination?

BOE should work hard to maintain our quality education such that we can attract families and employees to live or work in Howard County.

Having a top employee force can promote HoCo as an attractive business destination, for sure.

At the same, we want to keep our business tax at a competitive level. This requires the county not to overspend its money and then have to raise tax. Since our school system spends around 58% of the county budget, BOE should make sure our school system is fiscally managed well.  

4.     Do you believe that there is a shortage in career and technology education and how would you address this issue going forward?

I believe there is a shortage in career and technology education. I would ask HCPSS to promote such career path to our students. We need provide such opportunities to our parents and students. At the same time, we must make sure our parents and students take advantage of such opportunities.

Furthermore, we should work with business communities to hire our graduates. We should build a reliable partnership between HCPSS and our business community both for the program direction and the hiring collaboration.

5.     Howard County has long been lauded for its education system but there are concerns by many that an achievement and equity gap exist. Do you agree with these assessment? How would you work with the superintendent and the community to address these concerns whether real or perceived?

I agree that HCPSS has a problem that some of students are not achieving the level of the success they can achieve. We need work with the superintendent, the school staff, families and the community together to address this issue. We will not succeed with the only focus on the school involvement. We should create an inspiring and motivational learning environment for our students which will eventually drive our students forward.

6.     Previous Board of Education and administration decisions have left the school system with a health fund deficit. What recommendations will you propose to remedy this situation and prevent it from happening again?

If I am elected into BOE, I will never be a rubber stamp as before which left us the current $50 million budget deficit. The board should keep their fiducial responsibility for HCPSS and the community.

We need improve the budgeting and spending process such that line item transfer should be strictly controlled and specifically approved by the board. The school should not start a new initiative without sustainable income to support such program.

We need better and frequent audit and risk management system for HCPSS such that problems can be found earlier before it becomes catastrophic.

7.     Is the current budgeting process between Howard County and HCPSS working well, or does it need improvement? What improvement would you pursue? 

The budgeting process definitely needs improvement.  For each budgeting cycle, before the school proposes its budget to the county government, the county government and the school should have an honest discussion on much money can be allocated to HCPSS. Based on that discussion, the school proposes a feasible budget to the county government and county council.

Right now, the school system and the county government are treating the school budget as a kicking ball in the public face. This process causes a huge distraction to the real problems:

1)    what is a reasonable and fair share that the county government can fund our education system based on our county’s revenue;

2)    what is a good mechanism to fund the education system when the county revenue is fluctuating from one year to another.

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 (https://www.hccs-md.org/ ),
  2. The Peiying Chinese School at River Hill High (http://www.peiying-md.org/),
  3. The Chinese Language School of Columbia at Howard High (http://www.clscweb.org/).

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.  https://www.columbiaassociation.org/facilities/international-exchange-multicultural-programs/multicultural-programsevents/

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 https://hocoapfo.blogspot.com/.

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

You can register to vote there too.

Then the general election is on Tuesday, 6/26/2018. The polling station may be changed. Check https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/PollingPlaceSearch.

If you could not make it , please request the absentee vote right now at: https://voterservices.elections.maryland.gov/OnlineVoterRegistration/InstructionsStep1

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 www.chaowu.org/donate

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: superbwu@gmail.com Website: http://www.chaowu.org

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 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liyang or http://www.jiangsu.net/city/city.php?name=liyang) .

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)