This has been a tumultuous week with the protests against racism and police brutality, dubbed collectively Black Lives Matter (BLM). These protests not only included the nation’s capital and large cities, but also occurred in smaller towns and suburbs all across the country. One such protest took place right here in Cupertino on Saturday, June 6, immediately after another in Saratoga that morning. Organizers hosted a similar event in neighboring Sunnyvale on Friday, June 5. Turnout in Cupertino cut across demographics and was estimated at well over 1,000 protesters. Here, demonstrators gathered at Hoover Park for speakers, then the crowd marched to the sheriff’s substation, and subsequently returned to the park for closing speakers. The event was well-organized and peaceful, and the sheriff’s department exhibited restraint. The League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale posted photos to Facebook here. You’ll find live-action captures on YouTube of the event in Cupertino here.
While these protests expand, the COVID-19 pandemic endures. The County has amended its Shelter-in-Place order to allow a number of businesses to reopen starting last Friday. Outdoor dining, childcare, and more service businesses are allowed. The Chamber of Commerce has been collaborating with the city to provide support for small businesses in reopening their businesses, as well as navigating the confusing array of programs, hastily enacted to assist them.
On another front, after months of complaints about the homeless encampments in Cupertino along Wolfe Road, garbage pickup and portable sanitary facilities will be provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, while longer term housing will be explored. The story was covered by Marisa Kendall, “After months of complaints, Cupertino homeless camp to get a bathroom: The decision signals an about-face by the city” in the Mercury News. Council has yet to provide any action to provide a medium or longer term housing solution for these residents.
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/
CANCELED PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., June 9, 2020, 6:45 Regular Meeting
Special meeting scheduled for Mon., Jun 15 to review Capital Improvements Plan (CIP) for consistency with the General Plan.
RECAP CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Fri., June 5, 2020, 4:40 Closed Session; 5:45 Open Session
YouTube: 1 hr. hr. 21 min.
This special meeting was announced at the very last minute, with the agenda posted just before the 24 hour deadline to meet Brown act requirements. Item #1 was Public Employee Performance Evaluation (Gov’t Code Section 54957). Title: City Attorney. This was not a usual agenda item, and appeared to come in response to frustrated comments on the part of Friends of Better Cupertino. The report out of the closed session is that no action was taken so Heather Minner of Shute, Mihaly and Weinberger continues as contract city attorney.
Item #2: Adopt Resolution Affirming the City’s Commitment to Stand in Solidarity with the Black Community. This request came out of the council meeting on Tuesday night, and was time-critical. Individual councilmembers stated their support and the resolution was adopted unanimously.
Item #3: Receive City Manager’s Status Report on Planned Protest Event in Cupertino. A protest to support social justice and the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement was scheduled on Saturday, June 6, at the sheriff’s substation on De Anza Blvd. This item updated the council on announcements and preparations to ensure safety for participants and traffic.
Item #4: An Urgency Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino authorizing the outdoor operations of qualifying establishments (restaurants, wineries, breweries, and bars) pursuant to a Special Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit. Santa Clara County is loosening COVID-19 restrictions, so Cupertino needs to modify dining and parking space requirements to allow business to restart their operations. Angela Tsui, the city’s economic development manager, has actively worked with local businesses on requirements to help them open as soon as possible. After discussion and encouragement, the ordinance was approved unanimously.
RECAP CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues. June 2, 2020, 5:30 Study Session, 6:45 Regular Meeting
The 5:30 Study Session is on the Capital Improvement Program (CIP) reviewed funded FY19-20 projects and those recommended to be deferred for one-year and projects proposed for FY2020-21. Though the overall city budget has been impacted by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 Shelter-In-Place order, the impact on the CIP is minimal. The budget for FY2020-21 proposed projects is $1,559,500 with $567,000 funded by external sources, so only $992,500 would be city funded. Coupled with FY19-20 CIP projects recommended for a one year deferral, the budget is reasonable while continuing to maintain and improve existing city facilities.
Item #2 consists of the City Manager’s update on COVID-19 response efforts. The county has just issued a new set of orders which the city is actively implementing. Council was briefed on the status within Cupertino, and council discussed potential mitigations. The revised county guidelines are here.
Item # 17: Update Fiscal Year 2020-21 City Work Program. Council adopted this program at its March 31 meeting, shortly after a Local Emergency proclamation was issued. At that time, council acknowledged that the program would need to be updated as more information became available on the impact of pandemic on the city. Work items requiring coordination with commissions and other cities have been delayed due to COVID-19. The Short-Term Rental ordinance has been delayed pending business activity, as well as business tax and revenue measures. Some minor projects have been recommended for deferral to later years. The scope of some projects was revised to decrease costs. The major changes to balance the budget are (1) deferring the “Heart of the City Plan” at a cost of $1,000,000 to future years, and (2) removing the “Vallco Specific Plan” for a savings of $650,000. Given the magnitude of business disruption, the proposed changes appear minimal and consist primarily of extensions of timelines. Council generally accepted the changes, with the exception of Councilmember Liang Chao who objected to delaying the Heart of the City, even though RHNA requirements will necessarily take priority, making this expenditure redundant.
Item #18: Tax Measure Polling and Strategy for November 2020 ballot. This item was tabled and will not be considered for the upcoming election.
Item #19: Resolution rescinding City Manager designation as City employee/official to attend closed sessions of the City Council and keep closed session minutes and reaffirming the City Clerk as the designated closed session minute keeper; 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. As expected, this item received unanimous approval.
Item #20: Consideration of a City Council summer recess and cancellation of meeting(s). Council decided to cancel the Aug. 4 and Sept. 1 council meetings which are later in the summer to possibly accommodate travel, though not planned at this time.
Item #21: Establishment of the Complete Streets Commission. This was a proposal to expand the scope of the Bicycle Pedestrian Commission to include traffic calming and transit issues. The proposed ordinance would likewise expand the membership to match, taking the commission from 5 members to 7. After extensive lobbying by opponents of various trail projects, council voted down the commission expansion by a 3-2 vote. Commissioner Jennifer Shearin subsequently resigned from the Bicycle-Pedestrian Commission in protest over its failure to support bike-ped infrastructure improvements, citing policy opposition from new members of the Commission.
CUPERTINO COURIER June 5, 2020
The front page photo and article on page 5 is Ready to go virtual: De Anza’s student art show makes its online debut, a virtual exhibition featuring 60 student artists, usually exhibited on campus at the Euphrat Museum of Art. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) City compost site reopens, and (2) County librarian appointed, the announcement of Jennifer Weeks at the Santa Clara County Library District. Page 10 is a previously published article by Marisa Kendall, Tent city: Wealthy tech capital grapples with new homeless camp: “They’re certainly not used to seeing something like this in Cupertino”. Legal notices on 21 are (1) Notice of public hearing proposed budget for fiscal year (FY) 20-21 on June 16, and (2) Planning Commission special public hearing on June 15 to review the five year Capital Improvement Program for conformity to the City’s General Plan.
Congratulations to all the new graduates who are celebrating in unexpected ways during the year of the pandemic!
Publisher and Editor