Living with the COVID-19 pandemic continues. This week, the city of Cupertino in cooperation with the Santa Clara County Public Health Department is providing free testing for local residents at Creekside Park on June 16-18, from 10 – 4. You can find more details on the city’s website.
More local businesses are opening under the limitations of the city and county orders. There are outdoor dining areas and event tents springing up along our streets and parking lots as restaurants expand beyond takeout food.
In welcome news for the community, the Cupertino Library will start offering curbside drop-off and pick-up service beginning June 15. You can find details on the library website. Even though the building remains closed, the library offers a wealth of online services, as well as children’s stories on Facebook.
For those who support walking and biking trails in the city, your support is needed through letters and speaking to council. The funding for trails is included in the Capital Improvements Projects budget, but there have been numerous attempts during recent council meetings to defund these projects. The Bike Pedestrian Commission has strayed from its charter with the appointment of new members with little interest in bicycle and pedestrian projects. This statement by the advocacy group, Bike-Walk Cupertino describes the situation. The apparent hostility of this commission to its own projects led to the resignation of one commission member, Jennifer Shearin, with her resignation letter below on Item #23.
Your voice is important. Information on expressing your opinion via emails and oral communications with the city can be found at https://cupertinomatters.org/express-your-opinion/
UPCOMING CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues. June 16, 2020, 6:45 Regular Meeting – Teleconference
Approval of the proposed Fiscal Year FY 20-21 Budget and the Capital Improvements Projects (CIP) Budget are the major agenda items. In past years, these were considered at separate meetings. Study sessions have previously occurred for both, so the budget reflects feedback from council from those sessions. Overall, the city is in good fiscal condition with minimal cutbacks in overall services, though there are reductions in Parks and Recreation due to closed facilities and cancelled events due to COVID-19.
Item #1 consists of the City Manager’s update on COVID-19 response efforts. This item provides an up-to-date snapshot of the current situation, and city actions to restore services, and provide aid to the community. The county continues to revise guidelines. You can find updates here.
Item #2 is Councilmembers’ reports on Committee assignments, which we should expect to be minimal due to COVID-19. Following this item, the consent calendar appears routine, including Item #6 Resolution calling for a General Municipal Election on Nov. 3 to fill two City Council seats. Councilmember Rod Sinks terms out and Mayor Steven Scharf’s seat is up for election. Filing runs from July 13 through Aug. 7, unless the incumbent fails to file, which extends the period to Aug. 12. The election calendar is included in the resolution.
Item #19 Municipal Code Amendment to Cupertino Municipal Code Section 2.20.010 (Recordkeeping Duties-Closed Sessions) of Chapter 2.20 (City Clerk) To Title 2 (Administration and Personnel) to clarify limited access to closed session minutes. This is a cleanup item, so should result in an expeditious unanimous approval.
Item #20 Brush Abatement Program hearing to consider objections to proposed removal of brush and order abatement of the public nuisance and potential fire hazard pursuant to Cupertino Municipal Code (Section 16.40.320) regarding Defensible space (brush) and Resolution No. 20-044. This annual County Fire process ensures compliance with fire prevention requirements. There are only 3 parcels on the list, none of which belong to a city councilmember (unlike last time), so this approval should also be routine.
Item #21 Public hearing to consider and approve the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP); and the Recommended Budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020-21; and the Adoption of the Recommended Budget; and Establishment of the Appropriation Limit, and related actions; or take other action to approve interim expenditures. This hearing represents the culmination of several study sessions. The 15-page staff report is well worth reviewing to get a good financial overview of the city’s finances, both revenue and expenditures. One significant change is the increase in funding for Privacy Fencing Improvements for the Regnart Creek Trail ($200,000 for 28+ properties or $274,250 for 88 properties) to address persistent resident opposition to this long-awaited trail. Community funding usually triggers council discussion, with the council having the option of granting funding for 3 organizations for $34,000, or 6 organizations for an additional $30,000.
Item #22: Cupertino Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program. This item would authorize the city manager to negotiate arrangements to administer $229,017 in funds to provide grants to small businesses on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. A study session previously occurred on the matter.
Item #23: Accept resignation of Bicycle Pedestrian Commission member Jennifer Shearin and direct staff to fill the unscheduled vacancy. There has been significant conflict on this commission ever since Commissioner Pete Heller had to step down due to his relocation out of the city. His vacancy was filled by an alternate chosen by council who is a frequent bike-ped trail critic. The resignation letter merits reading because of how well it outlines the dysfunction on the commission.
Item #24: Potential nomination of the Bubb Road Special Area as a new locally nominated Priority Development Area (PDA) to accommodate future residential growth in Plan Bay Area 2050. This is being considered as part of a requirement to adopt a Sustainable Communities Strategy as part of its Regional Transportation Plan to achieve greenhouse emissions reduction targets and plan for adequate housing at all income levels. Currently, the Bubb Road area is the only light industrial zoned area in the city, yet it is in close proximity to De Anza College and the 85 corridor. So should this area be designated for additional uses?
As usual, listen closely to full council reports at the end of the meeting.
CUPERTINO COURIER June 12, 2020
The front page photo and article on page 5 is Reaching across the world: Cupertino High student’s nonprofit acts globally, locally, which highlights the Mysupportforkids foundation inspired by a visit to an Indian school. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Virtual recreation classes by the Cupertino Parks and Recreation Department, and (2) Library restores service. These services are being phased in beginning with curbside returns and pickup. A previously published article Wolfe Road: After complaints, homeless camp to get a bathroom; The decision signals about-face by Cupertino, written by Marisa Kendall, appears on page 8 (portable toilets are now installed). Page 10 is a major announcement for our local community college, Holmes named De Anza College’s 4th President by Anne Gelhaus.
Though June is the traditional start for summer vacations, staycations look to be the norm this year. Stay safe and healthy!
Publisher and Editor