Cupertino Matters

Welcome to the new look for Cupertino Matters, which now has a companion website with all the back issues for 2020. New readers can catch up with civic activity, and seasoned readers can do research on previous news. It’s also easier to subscribe, so please encourage friends and neighbors to sign up for our newsletter.

This week will mark a quiet 4th of July, with the cancellation of traditional city festivities, including the annual evening fireworks. It will likewise be a quiet week for city government with the next City Council meeting on July 7, and the next Planning Commission meeting on July 14. It’s been over 100 days since the county issued the Shelter-In-Place order and economic activity only now slowly picks up. The county is expected to allow additional relaxation of the SIP, though there is concern about the increase in COVID-19 cases in California in general. Park restrooms are now open, but the Blackberry Farm pool and cafe remain closed for the season.

The city recognized Pride Month with a virtual flag raising ceremony using a flag donated by local community advocacy group Cupertino For All. The previous year’s flag was noticeably undersized compared with the other flags on display. The new flag rectifies this problem. On a similar note, Cupertino For All in tandem with the Cupertino Association of Youth LGBTQ+ Advocates (CAYLA) submitted a petition to install a rainbow crosswalk at Stevens Creek and Finch Avenue. 

A second Community Forum on Policing, this one aimed at a discussion with CUSD and FUHSD students and alumni, has been scheduled on July 8. The City of Cupertino will host this meeting in collaboration with the Fremont Union High School District, Cupertino Unified School District, and Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office-West Valley Division. The City, FUHSD, CUSD, and Sheriff’s Office have received inquiries about policies and training regarding use of force, as well as the purpose of School Resource Officers. The first Community Forum on Policing occurred on June 22 to follow up on the well-organized and peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Cupertino.

In further action, the city website now has a solidarity page describing Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department policies, as well as general information about the services provided to the city:  Cupertino has relatively low law enforcement budget of approximate $14 million for roughly 60,000 residents. By contrast, Palo Alto—a similar sized city—has a budget of $45 million for their own police force. Campbell, a smaller city of roughly 42,000 residents has a budget of $29 million for its own department. This means Cupertino retains more general fund money for services such as Parks and Recreation and the library.  

In more election news, incumbents Jeff Moe and Roy Rocklin will be running to retain their seats on the Board of Trustees of the Fremont Union High School District. Previously, incumbents Phyllis Vogel and Sylvia Leong had announced bids for the two seats up for election on the board of the Cupertino Union School District. At the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, all three incumbents—Peter Landsberger, Laura Casas, and Gilbert Wong—have announced their intention to seek re-election. No challengers for these posts are yet known. During this period of significant revenue declines, the community needs to have experienced board members with budget experience and a deep understanding of the districts’ funding sources.

This week, residents likely received a postcard re-noticing plans for the Westport development to replace the aging Oaks shopping center at 85 and Stevens Creek Boulevard. An earlier version received the unanimous approval (after an exceedingly lengthy discussion) of the Planning Commission on May 12, but is now coming back to the Planning Commission on July 14, and city council on Aug. 18. This development has been through multiple iterations over several years. The project is primarily a housing development with 206 senior apartments, including 27 memory care units and 48 below market rate affordable homes, and an additional 88 rowhouse/townhouse units for a total of 294 new homes. It includes 20,000 sq. ft. of retail space. No hotel. No office space. Atria Senior Living is working with KT Urban (the owner and developer) to operate an assisted living facility with senior services on a portion of the project. Such units remain in short supply in Cupertino.

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YouTube:  1 hr. 24 min.

This was a short meeting with two commissioners absent (Vikram Saxena and Alan Takahashi). No action was required for the one item on the agenda: Study Session to provide an update on the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) implementation. The council had approved the changes in the ADU ordinances to comply with state law on March 3, 2020. So matter became an after-the-fact update to the Planning Commission to complete the work plan. Staff has developed an extensive information sheet for owners considering an ADU. The planning department is developing a streamlined procedure along with pre-approved plans to encourage more ADUs.  


The front page photo and article by Anne Gelhaus appearing on page 5 is Helping stay in contact: Students make pen pals of quarantined seniors, a project to send cards to hospice patients organized by several local Interact clubs, the high school service arm of Rotary, and funded by the Cupertino Rotary Club. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Poetry content winners, sponsored by Rotary which experience 50% increased participation using Zoom,  and (2) In the running again, announcing that all three incumbents in the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District will run for re-election. Legal notices on pages 32-33 include (1) Public Hearing for the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) Plan at the July 9 Housing Commission meeting, (2) Renewal of Storm Drain fees for 2020-21 at city council meeting on July 7, and (3) Hearing to regulate short-term rental activity (i.e., AirBnB) at the city council meeting on July 7.

Enjoy your Fourth of July. There will be virtual celebrations, and you can furnish your own food!
Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor