Cupertino Matters

Are you feeling whip lashed by events this past week? The jobs report on Thursday reported that the national number of unemployment claims soared to a record 3.28 million claims. In California, about 1 million jobless claims have been filed since March 13, with last week’s filings triple the same time period a year ago.  Late Friday, the President signed a $2 trillion emergency relief bill. With rents due on April 1, the effects on local individuals and businesses will be determined in the coming weeks. The gyrations in the stock market reflect the uncertainty of the economy, down 23% for the first quarter of 2020.

Santa Clara County has just announced extension of the shelter-in-place rules until May 3, an additional five weeks to slow the spread of COVID-19 disease. County schools have also been ordered closed until May 1, but practically, will remain online through the end of the school year as educators and parents adapt to the abrupt transition to online education. Meetings and socializing have gone online, increasing the load on internet access. The economic impact will be felt not only on residents and local businesses, but also city, county and state tax revenues.

Locally, the number of residents seeking help from West Valley Community Services (WVCS) has increased dramatically at a time when the organization is purchasing food, rather than having sufficient donations from stores and Second Harvest. Requests for rent assistance have increased with loss of income due to layoffs, reduced hours, and business closures. The biggest need right now is money to assist WVCS clients, so consider making an emergency donation.

At the last council session, there was discussion of providing rental assistance funds from various city sources to be managed through WVCS. A follow up item is missing from this agenda. Renters will be in rising need of assistance as the coronavirus crisis continues. Assistance funds would help prevent individuals and families from having to make risky decisions (like trying to work) that endanger public health and would provide the reassurance necessary to hold the community in solidarity. Banks are providing mortgage relief to homeowners but there is little similar assistance to renters who typically have fewer assets to fall back on.

The city is providing other assistance: (1) Collecting medical supplies for Kaiser in front of city hall. Kaiser will donate items it can’t use to other Santa Clara County facilities. (2) Seniors who would like a social check-in phone call or are in need of food or assistance can contact the Senior Center at (408) 777-3150 or These services are provided to both members and non-members.

Approval of Vallco development plans continue at a snail’s pace. The court ruling on the Friends of Better Cupertino lawsuit expected by March 19 has been delayed by up to 90 days due to closure of the courts.  On the brighter side, the city of Cupertino finally approved demolition of the bridge that spans Wolfe Road set for Mon. March 30 to Tues. April 7.  Since most of the Vallco businesses are shut down and traffic on 280 is minimal, the detour to accommodate this work will have minimal impact on local traffic.

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

UPCOMING CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues., Mar. 31, 2020, 6:45 Open session; 5:30 – Closed session – Special Televised Meeting 

The open session consists of postponed agenda items for the Mar. 17 regular meeting. The closed session is  (1) Anticipated litigation: Possible initiation of Litigation and (2) Anticipated Litigation with Clean Cut Landscaping. Ceremonial matters and presentations is a staff presentation on Rosenberg’s Rules of Order which the council adopted instead of Robert’s Rules of Order to govern city parliamentary procedure. The consent calendar is routine.

Item #12: Consider participation in and funding for the Santa Clara/Santa Cruz Counties Airport/Community Roundtable on Aircraft Noise in the South Bay.  Councilmember Liang Chao is the primary representative and Councilmember Jon Willey is the alternate. The city joined the round table in 2018, with participation costing the city approximately $18,000 per year. Council needs to make a decision on whether to continue participation.

Item #13: FY 2020-21 City Work Program. This is a revision of the Work Plan developed at the Strategic Planning Session on Jan. 24, 2020. This Work Plan will then be used in the budget planning process. The staff report outlines the changes. It is questionable whether the city has the resources for the items added to Quality of Life under Community Development:

  • Heart of the City Plan (Large)
  • Review and Update General Plan and Municipal Code (Large)
  • Vallco Specific Plan (Medium)
  • General Plan Authorization Process (Small)

Staff is recommending approval of the work plan as presented, recognizing that it will change as a result of Local Emergency, as well as State and Federal emergency proclamations.

The Apr. 7 regular meeting will also be a teleconference. The city is working to allow for public comments via Zoom video conferencing.

 RECAP CITY COUNCIL MEETING –  Tues., Mar. 24, 2020, postponed from Mar. 17
YouTube:  1 hr. 58 min.

Despite the abbreviated agenda, the meeting lasted for almost two hours. This meeting was held on Zoom, with council and staff “attending” from home, so the format had a different feel.

Item #1: Urgency Ordinance Imposing a Moratorium on Evictions for Nonpayment of Rent by Tenants Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic.  Santa Clara County approved an emergency ordinance regarding rental evictions for the entire county approximately 2 hours before the meeting. The Cupertino ordinance was somewhat different, but council decided that having two ordinances would be confusing.  No action taken.

Item #2: Emergency Assistance Funds for Tenants at Risk of Eviction due to Impacts of by the Novel Coronavirus (“Emergency Assistance Funds”) Council clearly understood the funding need for West Valley Community Services to meet unprecedented demand for services. However, the most effective form of that assistance is a moving target, with federal and state programs still in flux.  The city needs to consider the impact on its budget, since Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) and sales tax will be impacted for the next fiscal year.  The council directed city manager, Deb Feng, to prepare for a recessionary budget.  No action taken.

Item #3: Consideration of an Emergency Ordinance to provide tenant protection to commercial tenants.  This item became moot because the Santa Clara County ordinance covered both residential and commercial. Relief programs are evolving, so no action was taken.

 CUPERTINO COURIER  March 27, 2020

The cover photo and feature story on page 5 is Coronavirus: Not business as usual – Sunnyvale, Cupertino curtail events, services to combat COVID-19 written by Anne Gelhaus. Community events for April have been postponed or cancelled.  Page 8 has an article about involvement of the tech community in helping schools deal with the sudden shift to remote learning: COVID-19 drives tech community to help with distance learning. These resources are critical in assisting students and teachers with the significant learning curve to use Zoom video conferencing which has been made available free to the K-12 community. Community briefs on page 8 include (1) County libraries close and (2) Rebuilding Day now on hold, according to Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley. Legal notices on pages 20-21 are for a hearing on April 7 for the DeAnza Hotel, which Council failed to pass on Mar. 3.

Stay safe and continue to support your local community by observing social distance, buying takeout or gift cards from restaurants, and reaching out to your neighbors.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor