Wednesday • September 2, 2020
Board of Education Campaign Donations: Developers & Political Parties vs. Chinese American Parent Association (CAPA) PAC
By Steven Keller
Many supporters and campaign team members for District 4 incumbent BOE candidate Jen Mallo have vocally scolded the Chinese American Parent Association (CAPA) for providing endorsements & generous campaign donations to certain 2020 HCPSS Board of Education candidates (particularly to District 4 candidate Sezin Palmer) through their newly formed PAC.
They claim that these donations are comparable to and at least as egregious as the donations & generous in-kind gifts provided by political parties & local developers to certain BOE candidates like Jen Mallo & Antonia Watts.
This criticism might make sense if CAPA PAC was linked to a political party or some other special interest that is not directly a stakeholder in HCPSS. However, CAPA PAC campaign contributions merely represent the consolidated individual donations of hundreds of Chinese-American Howard County parent stakeholders in HCPSS who care deeply about public education and the future of Howard County & HCPSS. The only reason that CAPA (a 501c3 non-profit organization) formed a PAC to facilitate this process was because many Chinese American HoCo residents felt more comfortable contributing this way than to individual campaigns and wanted to have a way to support the candidates that they feel will best represent their viewpoints as HoCo parents on HCPSS-related issues.
These donations from CAPA PAC are starkly different from the distinctly business-driven developers and political parties donating significantly to non-partisan Board of Education campaigns. Neither of those special interests are true HCPSS stakeholders and neither have the best interest of HCPSS students & staff in mind — their involvement in BOE races and in HCPSS affairs comes strictly from the desire to maximize profits and consolidate their influence & power.