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.

Only 100 Days Ahead

I received several campaign emails which remind me the general election will take place in 100 days. I am running for Howard County Board of Education and definitely understand the election is approaching us very soon. I have received around 10 candidate forum invitations already.

This 100-day stimulus slogan reminded me about my high school time. We had to take the College Entrance Exam to enter college. So our teachers and schools wanted to keep us motivated to get a good grade and enter college.

The following two pictures depict what happened in those tough period:

  1. Caption: There are only 100 days left before the College Entrance Exam.
  2. Caption: There are only 100 days till the college entrance exam. Let’s strive to do our best.

After I entered the college, I found I need study even harder because all of college classmates still worked very hard. And I had so much to learn in order to grow myself.

Time flied quickly. I graduated from college long time ago and life keeps moving on. Life is a process of constantly learning new stuff and growing myself.

So my friends and my readers, will you join my campaign to explore some excitements of your life? Contact chaowu2016@gmail.com. A Vote for Wu is a Vote for you.

Superintendent Struggle Part 2

What is happening with our superintendents recently?

  1. Howard County Superintendent Renee Foose resigned with 1.6 million dollars’ package in 2017.
  2. Baltimore County Superintendent Dallas Dance first resigned without any early notice and now was jailed for greed, bribery and lie in 2018.
  3. P.G. County Superintendent Kevin Maxwell retired with 800,000 package in 2018. Under his leadership, PG county systematically inflated student grades to meet graduation requirements.
  4. Montgomery County could not find a superintendent for a long time since 2015.

These four school systems are very large. The superintendent struggle probably tells us something unique to our school system. The Council of Great City Schools, which researches tenure, salaries and characteristics of school superintendents, found in a 2014 report that 3.2 years was the average tenure among superintendents in cities with populations of more than 250,000. Ref: http://www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/news/2017/04/18/baltimore-county-schools-superintendent-dallas.html

In order to prevent the superintendent position as a cash cow in the future, we need give the school board the authority to fire the superintendent. In my opinion, the firing needs a super majority, not a simple majority.  We need push our state legislatures to update our law.

 

2018 Transportation Overview of Columbia (The Villager 2018-08)

2018 Transportation Overview of Columbia

This article will be published on the August 2018 Issue of The Village of River Hill Village Association.

There has been a substantial effort to create a transportation network in Columbia to help our residents move around. In this Council Corner, I am outlining some efforts and policies which are shaping the implementation and discussion of our transportation status and outlook.

Stakeholders and Process

The County Executive (CE) takes charge of transportation implementation. Under CE’s leadership, with the help from the County Council, there are two county departments working on transportation matters: 1) Office of Transportation has the lead in planning, oversight, and bicycle, pedestrian, and transportation demand management; 2) Department of Public Works’ Bureau of Engineering handles capital projects and the Bureau of Highways focuses on traffic engineering and highway maintenance.

There are a variety advisory and advocacy groups which help formulate transportation policy and implementation: Bicycle Advisory Group, Transit & Pedestrian Advisory Group and Multimodal Transportation board, RTA Commission and Riders Advisory Council. Stakeholder groups include Bicycle Advocates of Howard County, Association of Community Services, Transportation Advocates of Howard County, as well as resident focused groups such as the village community associations.

PlanHoward 2030 (Council Bill 26-2012)

Transportation policy is guided by PlanHoward 2030. This document (Council Bill 26-2012) was passed in 2012 by the County Council as the general plan for Howard County for land use and land conservation and multiyear development planning for transportation, public facilities, water, sewerage, parkland, housing, human services and environmental protection; and generally relating to planning, zoning and land use. Specifically, the following three policies focus on transportation:

  1. POLICY 7.3 – Prioritize and pursue cost-effective, long-term capacity improvements to the road and highway network to support future growth in accordance with place type designations.
  2. POLICY 7.4 – Enhance the accessibility and quality of existing and future transit services.
  3. POLICY 7.6 – Reduce highway congestion, energy consumption, and greenhouse gases by increasing the number of residents using alternate modes of transportation

These policies provide the guidance for transportation decisions. The county government implements many projects with the help from the advisory groups. The state and federal government are also involved if the road is a state or federal road. I recommend everyone take some time to read PlanHoward 2030. This document will provide insight on why certain projects move forward separately from the changes made by developers.

Columbia Wide Effort

In Columbia, the focus is on four transportation modes: roads, transit, bicycle and pedestrian. There will be two main nodes: downtown Columbia and Gateway.

Howard County’s transportation planning unavoidably should think about the future: aging population, more population, self-parking cars, and autonomous and semi-autonomous cars. One recent exciting development is the concept of self-parking cars. They have already come to Columbia. A local company, STEER, is working with Merriweather District and Howard Hughes Corporation. A driver can exit a car at a destination and the car parks itself in a designated parking lot.

The county has a bus rapid transit plan to connect Route 29 in Howard County (six stops) from Route 40, to Montgomery County (2 stations). Route 29 has seen more traffic over the years and many of our county residents use it for daily commutes. The County government hopes the implementation of bus rapid transit will mitigate the traffic congestion problems on Route 29. In my own opinion a dedicated direct lane on Route 29 during rush hour will help mitigate the traffic problems too.

BikeHoward outlines the County’s vision to become a bicycle-friendly place where residents and visitors can bike as a means of daily transportation and healthy recreation. Right now, there is a 3-year implementation plan and the County is investing $8 million over 3 years and will provide a 48-mile connected network. This investment includes 14 miles of bike lanes, 20 miles of shared use pathway, and 14 miles of shared roadway improvements. There is a bike rental program called Howard County Bikeshare. You can join the program and rent bikes at several designated locations using a smart phone app.

There has been strong commitment from the county government and Columbia Association to provide a connected pedestrian network that safely and conveniently accommodates people of all ages and abilities. Recently Columbia Association established a trail steward program on our pathways in high-traffic areas. The stewards will educate and engage with pedestrians and encourage more people to use our pathways. With more people using the pathways, we hope to create a positive experience so that more people feel safer to use our pathways.

I believe these transportation improvements will create a better quality of life for the county’s residents.

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.

The above photo is the Bike Share Program in front of the County Government.

Follow the law, simple and straightforward

I got the permission to post this letter from Stu Kohn, President of Howard County Citizen Association. As humble as an ordinary citizen, we just simply ask our County Council Members, who are making law for everyone in this county, to follow the law first.

Many people may remember the farce that the County Council passed APFO last winter and then they found out the legal time span to vote on the bill expired. How awkward and wrong!!! http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-votes-invalid-update-1116-story.html

They are not new council members. Four of five council members have been on the seats continuously for almost 12 years.  By the way, if our ordinary citizens do not pay attention, this probably continue to happen. On the hand side, if we go back to the last 12 years and examine those bills/resolutions passed before, we may find more violations.

I am not talking about the Erickson Senior Living project at all. Our River Hill Village Association Board had many discussions and sent our opinion to the DPZ already.

I am simply asking our elected County Council Members to follow the law.


Date:  16 July 2016

Subject:  CB59-2018 Erickson Proposal – Expansion of the PSA

Dear Council Members – My name is Stu Kohn and I am the President of the Howard County Citizens Association, HCCA testifying on their behalf.  This proposed Bill is not about any marketing on Erickson’s part or any campaign donations.  It is about the expansion of the Planned Service Area, PSA and only this.  Unfortunately the Planning Board did not adhere to this mandate announced by Val Lazdins, Director of DPZ when it was heard in April.  You will hear from other Associations that we are very infuriated we are even here to discuss CB59.  We should not be here.  This is because the Howard County – Code of Ordinances under TITLE 16 – PLANNING, ZONING AND SUBDIVISIONS AND LAND DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS, SECTION16.211 – COUNCIL MANIC ELECTION YEARS clearly states the following:

“In any year in which members of the County Council are elected, the incumbent Councilmembers, shall not take final action on any zoning application after the date of the primary election as set by law and until the newly elected County Councilmembers have qualified and taken office. The enactment of this section shall not in any way prevent the Zoning Board or the County Council from acting on zoning matters which are considered, in the discretion of the Council or the Board, to be emergency matters that could be injurious to the County or any of its citizens.”

There is absolutely no interpretation required as the aforementioned states you are not permitted to discuss any zoning changes during the specified period of time.  This is by all means a “Zoning Matter.”  Just refer to the contents of this Bill on page 1, lines 27-30.  It states, “WHEREAS, the proposed expansion of the Planned Service Area is a part of a specific zoning proposal to rezone the Property from RC-DEO to CEF-M for the stated purpose of providing a continuing care retirement community (“CCRC”) to consist of independent living units; assisted living; and skilled nursing care.” This clearly is a zoning change request!

 In fact you clearly state exactly this in the proposed CB56 which you all support on page 3, Lines 2 thru 4.  It states, “Because the County Council is prohibited from taking any Zoning action until January 2019, it is imperative that the County have sufficient time to consider and act on any recommendations concerning zoning changes in the Tiber Branch Watershed.” Furthermore you declared CB56 via a Resolution an Emergency situation.  So in order for CB59 an Emergency must be declared by this body via a Resolution before you even think about public testimony.  In addition, the sad thing is that CB59 and for that matter CR119 was not Pre-filed or Late-filed when you conducted your Legislative Hearing on 2 July.  Why not?  How was the public to be properly informed?  On the County Website regarding Pre-filed it states, “Legislation that will be introduced at the next legislative session is pre-filed 11 calendar days before that legislative session. During these 11 days, you will be able to view pre-filed legislation on this page.”  Where is the transparency? 

In conclusion you as Councilmembers have no choice but to tell the applicant that the Expansion of the PSA cannot be discussed by us because we would be wasting everyone’s time as we are not permitted to take final action because of an election year as stipulated in Title 16, Section 16.211.  If the applicate wants to pursue then it is incumbent for you to tell them their proposal will have to wait until at least January 2019.  We simply ask you to fulfill your duty as our representatives. 

Thank You,

 Stu Kohn

HCCA, President

 

CA Board Working Session Summary 2018-07-12

This is not an official meeting minutes.

Open Space and Facility Services Update

–many ongoing/completed projects.

Discussion on annual charge rate for FY 2020

There was a discussion on the annual charge rate. The staff recommends keeping the annual charge rate at 0.68 dollar per 100 assessed dollars. I am advocating lowering the rate a little bit because I am concerned about more than 10% budget increase over four years.

Advisory Committee Report:

  1. Senior Advisory Committee: Sharonlee Vogel
  2. International Multiculture Advisory Committee: Valerie Montague
  3. Watershed Advisory Committee: Deborah Wessner
  4. Tennis Advisory Committee: Leo Bruette
  5. Art Center Advisory Committee: Doug Satteson
  6. Golf Advisory Committee: Keith Heilveil
  7. Health and Fitness Advisory Committee: Jessica Rennenkampf

Strategic Initiatives for President/CEO for Fiscal Year 2019

Milton Matthews proposed his own five strategic initiatives.

  1. Facilitate Development of and Gain Board Approval of a New Five-Year Strategic Plan for Columbia Association (CA).
  2. Open Lines of Communications and Develop a Working Relationship with Cedar Realty Trust, Inc., Primary Owner of the Oakland Mills Village Center.
  3. Implement Upgrades and other Improvements to CA’s Website, which may include the Development of a New Website.
  4. Provide the Board with an Updated Five-Year Capital Improvement Plan.
  5. Identify and Attend an Executive Level Professional Development Training Session, with a Focus on Growing my Knowledge to Anticipate and Execute the Requirements of Nonprofit Leadership.

Every Vote Counts. Yes

I did not think of “every vote counts” very much before. Now it comes to us so closely. There are three important, very very close races in the 2018 Primary Election in Maryland. This is an eye-opening moment.

  1. Howard County Council District 1, Democratic Candidate Race
    1. Liz Walsh (3173 votes) led Jon Weinstein (3171 votes) by 2 votes
    2. absentee/provisional vote: Liz: 125, Jon 82
    3. There is a 0.054% difference
  2. Baltimore County Executive, Democratic Candidate Race
    1. John “Johnny O” Olszewski ( 27804) led Jim Brochin (27795) by 9 votes
    2. absentee/provisional vote: John: 953, Jim 1290
    3. There is a 0.032% difference.
    4. The primary race winner will be the next county executive since Baltimore County is highly blue.
  3. Montgomery County Executive, Democratic Candidate Race
    1. Marc Elrich (37529) led David Blair (37449) by 80 votes.
    2. absentee/provisional vote: Marc: 2629, David 3041
    3. There is a 0.21% difference.  This difference is a little larger and Blair has difficulty to flip the race.
    4. The primary race winner will be the next county executive since Montgomery County is deep blue.

Now everything comes to the absentee/provisional votes. Invalidating/validating votes will take some time. The candidates probably need/will hire election lawyers to sit there side by side.

 

Newly Proposed Affordable Housing of Robinson Overlook at River Hill

Newly Proposed Affordable Housing of Robinson Overlook at River Hill

This was presented to River Hill Village board on July 9th, 2018.

Tonight, the Wode Cooper Development, with the Howard County Housing Commission, is proposing 48 housing units at 7410 Grace Drive, Columbia, MD, 21044. The location is at the corner of Cedar Lane and Grace Drive, between Grace building and Robinson Nature Center. Note this is different from the Simpson Oaks’ development plan along Grace Drive uphill.

Woda Cooper Development (CJ Tyree), formed in 1990, have over 300 projects in 15 states. They build, own and manage properties. This project costs around 20 million dollars.

Howard County Housing Commission (Peter Engel) facilitated the development of around 800 affordable units in the county. This is their new project, partnering with Woda Copper.

Back-to-Back stacked units

48-unit rental townhouse/apartment

  1. 8: 1-bedroom (718sf)
  2. 19: 2-bedroom (962 sf)
  3. 21: 3-bedroom(1398 sf)
  4. Amenities include community room, computer lab, and tot lot.

Financing through low-income (62,000 a year income) housing tax credit, administered by Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).

JC believe this stacked type of housing more appealing than apartment.

Mixed Income Structure

  1. 30% AMI targeted units = 9 . , annual salary of 20K for 1 bedroom
  2. 40% AMI targeted units = 6
  3. 50% AMI targeted units = 6
  4. 60% . AMI targeted units = 22
  5. Unrestricted income units = 5

Timeline

  1. May 2018, submitted tax credit application
  2. August 2018, begin county entitlement process
  3. September 2018, receive tax credits
  4. July 2019, Receive building permits, begin construction
  5. August 2020, Complete construction
  6. December 2020, Complete leasing

Zoning 101 and Howard County Rezoning

The Columbia Association board took a three-hour zoning 101 lesson from Jeff Zyont this Saturday morning. I learned a lot.

ZONING 101 by Jeff Zyont

At the same time, Howard County is going to rewrite the zoning law. This change may have a huge impact to our county in the future. Attached is an assessment for our county’s zoning regulation.  More details could be found at https://www.howardcountymd.gov/regulationassessment.

HoCo 2018 Rezoning assessment

 

Correlation between early voting and election day voting

There is a consistent correlation between early voting and the election day voting for all candidates except No. 5 and No. 6 seats.

But overall, candidates received votes proportionally in the early voting and the election date voting. Coincidentally, No 7. and No 8. received exactly the same total votes. Every vote counts.

2018 primary election BOE data.JPG

The result is obtained from https://results.elections.maryland.gov/elections/2018/results/Primary/gen_results_2018_1_by_county_140.html

The data may change before it is certified.

Baltimore Sun’s report on BOE race

Eight Howard County school board candidates advance

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ph-ho-cf-school-board-primary-0626-story.html

Eight school board hopefuls are one step closer to having one of the four seats on the Howard County Board of Education, according to unofficial primary election results.

Vicky Cutroneo, Bob Glascock, Robert Wayne Miller, Chao Wu, Jen Mallo, Sabina Taj, Danny Mackey and Anita Pandey were the top eight winners among 13 candidates in Tuesday’s primary.

Cutroeno has 19,991 votes, Glascock has 16,951 votes, Miller has 15,968 votes, Wu has 15,047 votes, Mallo has 13,080 votes, Taj has 12,849 votes, Mackey has 9,685 votes and Pandey has 9,666 votes, with 97.6 percent of the votes reported.

The remaining five candidates are Carleen Pena with 8,020 votes, Saif Rehman with 7,307 votes and Mavourene Robinson with 5,634 votes, Timothy Hodgson Hamilton with 3,579 votes, Christopher Michael Hilfiger with 3,071 votes with 97.6 percent of the votes reported.

Two numbers:

  1. How sad the two shadow candidates ( Timothy Hamilton, Christopher Hilfiger) can still get more than 6500 votes.
  2. I got 47 extra votes over 15000. We got a higher voter turnout this year than 2014. In the 2014 BOE primary, the No. 4 candidate received around 12000 votes. 47 is a small number. However 47 votes could flip District 1 County Council race this year. Now incumbent Jon Weinstein led his challenger Liz Walsh by 41 votes. When the absentee and provisional votes come in, we will see how it play out. Every vote counts.

CA Board Meeting Summary 2018-06-28

Chairman’s Remarks:

oncoming meetings for Columbia Association related

July 4, 2018

Fireworks at Lakefront

5:00 PM

July 7, 2018

Chrysalis Kids: Grandsons, Jr.

10:00 AM RR

July 8, 2018

CA’s Second Sunday Swim (free access with Columbia Card)

(See Pool Schedules)

July 12, 2018

CA Board work session

7:00 PM (note time change)

July 17, 2018

Volunteering Made Easy

6:00 PM RR

July 17, 2018

Columbia Solar Cooperative information session (OM)

7:00 PM

July 17, 2018

Aquatics Advisory Committee meeting (HR – see web site)

7:00 PM

July 19, 2018

Senior Advisory Committee meeting

2:30 PM

Resident Speakout:

Brian England, on behalf of Guilford Business Group, asked CA to join them to proceed commercial covenant enforcement, instead of waiting for the county rezoning process to be finished( the timeline for the county wide rezoning process is uncertain).

Chris Alleva, proposed a building alteration process. The process is for building alterations without a change of use to the Architectural Committee. Demolition of a building or in some circumstances a. change in use requires an amendment of the Final Development Plan, Comprehensive Plan and the Preliminary Development Plan. Amendments to these plans are reviewed under those provisions in the commercial and industrial architectural guidelines.

Ginger Scott: talked about flood damage on the Fairway Hill Golf Court, whether CA staff informed the board about the risk or not, recommended CA reevaluate the whole golf court area.

Board Action:

  1. The board sent board resolution indemnifying CA Team Members on the 401(k) Plan Investment Committee back to CA staff for further clarification. The board has concern of “gross negligence”.
  2. The board approved an updates to the Board Reimbursement Policy.
  3. The board approved resolution allowing Residents to Speak on Any Topic at Board Work Sessions.

Board Discussion:

  1. FY 2020 Draft Budget Schedule
  2. Two Closed Meetings related to Business Transaction

Join Team Wu’s Independence Day Parade

Please join us to celebrate the great moment. Please email me at chaowu2016@gmail.com. We will meet at 9:00 AM on July 4th, Pointers’ Run Elementary School and Clarksville Middle School.

   http://www.villageofriverhill.org/sights-and-sounds-of-summer-19th-annual-independence-day-parade-is-local-highlight/

As always, this year’s parade will be held on July 4 beginning at 9 a.m. The parade stages in the parking lots at Pointers Run Elementary and Clarksville Middle Schools, travels the length of Great Star Drive, and ends at Signal Bell Lane at the 5th District Fire Station. It is not unusual to see chairs set up along the route early in the morning in anticipation of this community tradition. There are many great things about River Hill’s Independence Day Parade. The kids might say it’s the candy and trinkets or the opportunity to ride a float or march with their friends. Of course, who can forget the Lawn Chair Marching Dads and the blasting sirens of the fire trucks. The presence of our elected officials and veterans of our nation’s wars honor our democracy and remind us of the sacrifices made on its behalf. We can all agree that each Independence Day our diverse community is fortunate to have the opportunity to think about what it means to be an American and to celebrate our freedom.

Our team needs your help to celebrate Independence Day as founding father John Adams envisioned in 1776, with “pomp and parade”! 

I have joined the parade each year since my daughter was two years old. It is fun and aspiring.

Please email me at chaowu2016@gmail.com. We will meet at 9:00 AM on July 4th, Pointers’ Run Elementary School and Clarksville Middle School.

Thank you note after primary election win

I am really excited to get into the top four (of 13 candidates) with more than 15000 votes in the 2018 Howard County Board of Education Primary Election. I will advance to the general election in November 2018. I am so grateful to many voters who trusted me and my volunteer team who helped me.

It is a learning experience. When the journey began, I was really careful with what I said or what others said about my campaign. You don’t want to offend your potential voters, right? I paid attention to Facebook posts after work every night. During one meeting with some community activists, when I said “I value education” and one person asked me back “so you mean others don’t value education?”, I began to realize that I didn’t need to and I could not please every one. What I need to do is to have an equal conversation and promote my experience, my value and my vision for HCPSS.

It is not always easy for me, as a non-native speaker to speak as eloquently as other candidate. I need to slow down while speak ( I often forget this either because of nervousness or excitement) and I need to articulate about my thought. Even if I have great ideas, I need present them well. I picked up my old vocabulary book and other accent training tapes again.

As an engineer, I need to find ways to resonate with audiences and voters. During my professional work, I just need focus on A+B=C or ax^2+bx+c = 0, etc, which has a very standard way to be expressed and understood between engineers. I can articulate well and get the ideas exchanged effectively and efficiently in the engineering field. While in a community meeting/discussion/chat, many people’s backgrounds are quite different from mine, I need to understand their background first and find a way to get my thoughts out in the right format.

As myself growing up from a low-income family, I have always believed education is not about education only. It is an effort that should be worked with students, teachers, families and the community. We just could not expect the school to address all the issues which are caused by the society. That is not realistic. We need to motive our students to learn and work hard by involving families and communities.

We need to provide more vocational training as an another career choice for our students. My brother graduated from a teaching school ( equivalent high school level) and became a teacher when he was 18. With his support, my family was turned upwards and I followed his path, studied really hard, eventually went to college.

I am not an emotional person which prevents me connecting with some voters. I stay calm, listen to others and try my best to look at issues objectively and find a practical solution.

I am independent and always keep my eyes open to new ideas. I do my research first and speak later. I learn from every source to keep myself informed and engaged at issues.

I am new. I even did not know politics was associated with color. Some people assumed me to be republican since I was using “red” in the yard sign or I wore a red tie. I was really surprised. Just reiterate: I am an independent candidate. The color identity politics is weird and wrong. I just feel red/write yard sign in the green/blue grassy background is more visible and it bring me the energy. It is the person, their idea and character that matter in the life, not the color of their tie, nor the color of their skin.

I will continue to advocate “quality education” for our students. We should look for a reasonable and fair solution to address each issue we are facing in the school system.

It is a learning experience for me as a county-wide (at-large) candidate because our community is so diverse and their focuses are also quite different . It is also a learning experience for my volunteers. Many of them never participated in any political process before. They were disfranchised in the community or the political process before. Now they are engaged.

Our campaign is a grass-root effort. This time we jumped in the boat and learned to row the boat. We made some mistakes ( I apologize if those mistakes cause some trouble for you or others) and will make sure we do not repeat those mistakes in the general election in November.

If you would like to continue the journey with my team, please board our boat. Please remember:

  1. A Vote for Wu is a Vote for you.
  2. Save the best for last since my name is the last in ballot.

Together, we are stronger. Now it is time for us to sail further, wider and happier.

Some thought before tomorrow’s primary election day

I am more exposed than many other candidates. I have been writing articles for four years publicly, including the monthly Council Corner for The Villager of The River Hill Village Association ( around 5000 circulations). I also write on school related issues extensively by attending meetings and reading school documents. I wish those writings give you more understanding of myself, my style and my experience, not just on the limited interactions during the campaign trail.

I am consistent, pragramtic and independent.

I believe I am the right candidate for the school board. I appreciate your trust and vote tomorrow.

Thank you!!!

Columbia Association FY 18 Annual Report( The Village 2018-07)

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.
This article will be published on The Village, July 2018 issue.

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

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/bs-md-ho-columbia-sister-city-20180613-story.html

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.

Background:

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.