Cupertino Matters

There are several significant community meetings this week. The Annual Lehigh Public Meeting will occur on Feb. 13, Thurs., 7-9 p.m. at the Cupertino Community Hall. The Blackberry Farm Entrance Feasibility Study Meeting will be held on Feb. 12, Wed. 6:30 – 8, at McClellan Ranch Preserve. The city bought a property at the entrance to Blackberry Farm, with the intent of improving vehicle access to the parking lot, picnic areas and swimming pool (which is currently limited to 100 days of operation). The city is considering Bird Safe and Dark Sky Design  Guidelines, and will hold two community meetings. The first will be Feb. 12, from 7-8, in the Quinlan Community Center, and the second will be Feb. 20, also from 7 – 8.

The city announced appointments for city commissions. Some very well qualified applicants were bypassed in favor of council majority political contributors. With all the work done on commissions in the last year, hopefully there will be a more defined onboarding process with the new ethics policy and changes in parliamentary procedure. Newly appointed commissioners will have to be sworn in, and then attend their first commission meeting.

UPCOMING  CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues., Feb. 10, 2020, 5:30 Special Meeting – Community Hall, 10350 Torre Avenue

This is a Televised Special Meeting Study Session and represents the first half of a strategic planning session. Historically, this has been a half-day retreat held at an off-site location and initiates the planning process for the 2020/21 City Work Plan. The full planning process this year will be lengthier than previous years, as shown in this document.

Agenda Item #1 is Review Progress on FY 2019-20 City Work Program and provide any input to staff. The progress report consists of 30 pages, an unrealistic work plan bloated and approved by an inexperienced council, which failed to acknowledge the short-staffing in city departments. City manager Deb Feng inherited this plan when she joined Cupertino in June, 2019, but it has been challenging to fill positions vacated by resignations and retirements.

Agenda Item #2 is Develop Council Goals to guide the upcoming City Work Program. Staff will then develop a plan and bring back a plan for a second strategic planning session on Feb. 24. This is a very lengthy process compared to years prior. Hopefully, the city manager can consolidate council’s requests into a concise and actionable plan. Without that, the expansion in hours of planning looks extremely inefficient.

Your voice is important.  Information on expressing your opinion via emails and oral communications with the city can be found at

UPCOMING  PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues., Feb. 11, 2020, 6:45 p.m. – Regular Meeting – Community Hall, 10350 Torre Avenue

This is a continuation of the planning commission meeting on Jan. 28, with only one item in addition to approving the previous minutes.

Item #2: Study Session on the General Plan Annual Review/Implementation Plan and consider General Plan Policies and Strategies that could benefit from clarification. This is a continuation of the review on Dec. 10 and Jan. 14, which were continuations from the Oct. 28 meeting. Expect more page by page review of this 107-page document.

RECAP  CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues., Feb. 4, 2020, 6:45 Regular Meeting

The week’s meeting ended before midnight, despite overly long consideration of two items. Consent calendar Item #6 Award of Construction Inspection Services, Plan Review Services, and Public Works Inspection Services contracts for the Vallco Town Center SB 35 project was pulled. This item involves three highly qualified consulting services who are to ensure the timely and proper buildout of the Vallco SB 35 project. This long overdue agreement would be administered by the city and reimbursed by the developer. Vallco submitted plans for review in December 2018—over a year ago. It is an approved project, regardless of the status of the lawsuit by Friends of Better Cupertino, and the city is required to complete review of those plans in a reasonable amount of time in order for the city to stay out of legal jeopardy. Staff member Albert Salvador patiently explained the need for outside contract services, since the department is handling about 1300 inspections per month for non-Vallco projects in the city. Similar to the Apple project, the scope requires outside expertise. Inexperienced council members nit-picked on discrepancies in the responses to the RFP and final agreement which evolved over the last year with minor corrections, failing to realize that the contract is based on hours expended, regardless of the project description. The city manager then recommended making modifications to the documents and resubmitting at next council meeting. Failure to respond in a timely manner is a potential massive liability to the city—shouldn’t council be more responsible?

Item #9: Second reading of an Ordinance Repealing Ordinance No. 006 Regarding Adoption of Robert’s Rules of Order. Council approved unanimously.

Item #10: Relative to Recology Cupertino’s Franchise Agreement with the City. Recology provides essential city services in the form of waste removal. This agreement altered various aspects of the service provider’s hazardous waste removal program. After some discussion, council approved unanimously.

Item #11: First reading of Municipal Code Amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code, repealing and replacing Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 5.50 of Title 5 (Business Licenses and Regulations), adopting new policies to regulate the sale of tobacco. The revised ordinance conforms to the county ordinances so the county will administer the program, rather than the city. Council approved unanimously.

Item #12 Municipal Code Amendment to Cupertino Municipal Code Section 2.20.010 to remove the City Clerk’s duty to attend each closed session of the City Council and keep closed session minutes; designate the City Manager as the City employee/official to attend each closed session of the City Council and keep closed session minutes. This is more efficient use of staff time that reflects ongoing practice. It too was approved unanimously.

Item #13: Hearing regarding abatement of public nuisance from weeds or other fire hazards pursuant to provisions of Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 9.08 and Resolution No. 19-141; hearing for impacted property owners to contest the matter of proposed abatement (continued from January 21, 2020). Starting at 10:30, this last agenda item generated more controversy than the rest of the agenda items. Two former mayors had properties on the list, and did not request personal exemptions. One such property is actually in the course of being donated to the city to complete the Linda Vista Trail. Separate and apart from those properties, the county weed inspector recommended removal of one property he felt never should have been included and another property that was found to include a city tree which was not properly maintained. Councilmember Liang Chao’s property appeared on the list and she previously asked for an exemption. After discussion her property was retained on the list, thanks to reader emails objecting to her request for a personal exemption and other affected property owners requesting similar exemptions. The modified list was approved 4-0-1 with Chao recused.

 CUPERTINO COURIER  February 7, 2020

The cover photo and community brief on page 7 is Blackberry Farm: Seeking local feedback; City is looking for ideas on pedestrian, bike pathway improvements. The community meeting on this topic will occur on Feb. 12, 6:30 – 8 at McClellan Ranch Environmental Education Center. Legal notices on pages 7 and 8 include (1) Public Hearing for municipal code amendments for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), and (2) adoption of the Cupertino Parks and Recreation System Master Plan. These will be heard at the Feb. 18 city council meeting.

Hope to see you at a community meeting this week!

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor