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Thursday •  December 2, 2021

HoCo Watchdogs Newsletter

Issue # 3

Welcome to the third issue of the HoCo Watchdogs newsletter!  This newsletter provides a concise list of articles, videos & social media posts for you to stay well informed about important Howard County, Maryland issues such as public school policies, land use & development, and county governance.


Staying informed is a community effort! If you have content to recommend for a future HoCo Watchdogs newsletter, please send the title & link to .


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Articles / Blog Posts

authored by HoCo Watchdogs, 11/4/2021


The scope of the HCEA and the judgement & motives of its current leadership are under scrutiny after the organization announced its intention to protest a community-organized forum focused on highlighting the role of parents’ voices in public education and a discussion of select niche controversial curriculum issues.

authored by HoCo Watchdogs, 11/15/2021


A follow-up post about a recent local community forum focused on highlighting the role of parents’ voices in public education and the concerning delivery of hate speech that occurred during the event. How should this be handled and where should the community go from here?

published by ScottE’s Blog, 11/23/2021


A Letter from County Executive Ball announcing that the “HoCo By Design” General Plan Update, originally planned for consideration in early 2022, will be delayed until after the 2022 election. The current pro-growth development plan has yielded significant public criticism and faced scrutiny by the County Council, with Councilmembers Liz Walsh, Deb Jung and David Yungmann expressing serious concerns. This delay will turn the plan into a major election issue, particularly in the District 1 & 4 primary races, where incumbent Councilmembers Walsh & Jung are facing primary election challengers.

authored by Hiruy Hadgu, 11/11/2021


A personal letter to the Howard County community by local blogger & activist Hiruy Hadgu that warns against being artificially divided by political party affiliation and distracted & polarized along artificial lines by “wedge” issues. Community residents are encouraged to unite on several common interests, particularly budget and land use/development decisions, and to party-agnostically support political candidates that will pursue a more responsible pace to county growth.

authored by Dr. Chao Wu, 11/19/2021


Dr. Chao Wu, Chair of the HCPSS Board of Education, reports on a recent “incentive pay” financial agreement between the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) and school bus contractors to begin to address the bus driver shortage that has presented recurring service problems since the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.


HoCo APFO 101 Webinar – Session #1

A highly informative first session on the Howard County Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance (APFO), led by former president of the PTA Council of Howard County, Brent Loveless. Topics covered include: What is APFO? Why are Howard County’s schools overcrowded? What affects class sizes and school quality? When is school redistricting an appropriate policy tool to alleviate overcrowding and when is it not? How do we pay to build and maintain roads? How are my tax dollars spent and what decisions affect how much taxes I pay? What is the General Plan and how does it affect me?

The full slide deck for this APFO 101 session is available here

Will an Affordable Housing / Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Requirement Really “destroy the neighborhood” of Turf Valley?

“They’re going to cheapen the neighborhood. This is a proposal to destroy the neighborhood…….this is a proposal to destroy Turf Valley”
– Mr. Sang Oh , November 4, 2021 , Howard County Planning Board Meeting on ZRA 199


Testimony by a Howard County land use/zoning/development attorney on the impact of proposed county zoning regulation ZRA 199 that will require 15% of future residential developments within the Planned Golf Course Community (currently comprised of ‘Turf Valley Golf Course’ community) to be affordable housing (Moderate Income Housing Units, also known as ‘MIHUs’).

HCEA Testifies to HCPSS Board of Education Regarding Special Education Understaffing Crisis

Leadership of the Howard County Education Association (HCEA) testifies at the November 18, 2021 HCPSS Board of Education meeting about challenges that special educators face due to understaffing and an overall lack of adequate supports. One solution proposed by HCEA is to revert some special needs students to fully “virtual learning” status.

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