Cupertino Matters

Council reverted to old practices with this week’s meeting ending at 1:35 a.m., hardly conducive to public engagement. The meeting began with substantial public comment at Oral Communications regarding a petition to install a rainbow crosswalk over Stevens Creek Boulevard at Finch and Main Street. It ended with a lengthy council discussion of a letter to the California Department of Housing and Community Development regarding state housing allocations. In between, an overlong debate on weed abatement occurred. The next regular meeting has been cancelled, with meetings resuming on August 18.

The deadline to mount an appeal in the Vallco SB 35 litigation has expired. Not only that, but based on public filings with the court, the litigants who opposed the project–which included Friends of Better Cupertino, Planning Commission Chair Catherine “Kitty” Moore, FoBC President Ignatius Ding, and resident Peggy Griffin–have paid the court costs of Sand Hill Properties, which owns the Vallco site. With Better Cupertino’s defeat, Vallco is now a done deal from a legal perspective. Permitting activity shows that Vallco will now undergo electrical work to prepare the site for excavation and shoring.

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

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., July 28, 2020,  6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting – Teleconference

Other than approval of minutes of two previous meetings, the only agenda item involves the Planning Commission FY 2020-2021 Work Program. There are eleven items on the work plan, a hefty workload which may be unrealistic given staffing and pandemic constraints.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL MEETING – Tues., July 21, 2020, 5:30 Closed Session, Labor Negotiation for City Manager, 6:45 Regular Meeting

Youtube:  Part 1: 2 hr. 18 min. through McClellan Road bike lanes;   Part 2: 3hr. 52 min through Item 22.  Part 3: 28 min. Readers may also find the agenda and accompanying documents on the city website.

There were no reportable actions from the closed sessions regarding the performance review for City Manager Deb Feng. Note that Item #23 was moved after the Consent Calendar along with Item #13.

Oral Communications surfaced the lack of response by the city to the over 500 petitioners for a Rainbow Crosswalk at Main Street. There were over a dozen high school and alum supporters asking the city to move ahead with this project, rather than presenting roadblocks. Commenters presented their personal stories and what the crosswalk would mean to them and are worth watching on their own. This topic was added to a future council agenda.

Item #2: City Manager’s update on COVID-19 response efforts. Deb Feng reported that Santa Clara County is back on the state watch list, so Cupertino will be subject to additional restrictions. More testing is being provided, but demand remains high. On a positive note on facility shutdown, the Registrar of Voters is considering Quinlan Center as a voting center since normal activities there are suspended.

Item #3: Councilmembers’ reports on Committee assignments included an update from Councilmember Rod Sinks on meetings regarding VTA Policy Board 85 highway corridor recommendations. He stated his ongoing appreciation of the support of our readers regarding this transit corridor effort for Cupertino and West Valley cities.

Item #16: Second Reading of the Municipal Code Amendments to regulate Short-Term Rental activity in the City. Council accepted postponement of this topic.

Item #17: Second Reading of Municipal Code Amendment to Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 2.88 Audit Committee §100 Duties-Powers-Responsibilities. Council approved unanimously.

Item #18: Second Reading of Ordinance adding Chapter 2.20.120 to the Cupertino Municipal Code requiring online or electronic filing of campaign statements. Council approved unanimously.

Item #19: Hearing to approve lien assessment and collection of fees on private parcels resulting from abatement of public nuisance (weeds and/or brush) for the annual Weed and Brush Abatement Programs. Starting at 9:15, approval of this routine process generated over an hour of consideration. Councilmember Liang Chao caused an awkward situation by refusing to recuse herself from the general discussion, though her property is on the abatement list. While some councilmembers may want the weed abatement procedure changed, the city would have to pay the cost for this county program. As a result, council ultimately passed the resolution with a 3-1-1 vote (Willey voting nay, and Chao recused). The general approval for the rest of the list passed 4-1, with Councilmember Willey once again voting in opposition.

Item #20: Resolution supporting statewide measure Proposition 15, which increases funding for public schools, community colleges and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property through an initiative constitutional amendment on the November 3, 2020 ballot. There were 10 speakers  from the public in support of this resolution, and no direct opposition. Council approved 4-0-1 with Councilmember Chao abstaining.

Item #21: Authorization to Amend the Current Agreement with Lifetime Tennis Inc. DBA Lifetime Activities Inc. Due to the Impacts of COVID-19. This item was postponed.

Item #22: FY 2020-21 City Work Program- Consider adding a Housing Survey item and removing the Housing Program for De Anza College Students item. There were four speakers from the public all opposing the shift of resources from a Housing Program for De Anza College Students to a Housing Survey championed by Councilmember Jon Willey. The discussion revealed a significant disconnect between the council and De Anza College. The new president of De Anza College learned of the agenda item less than 24 hours before the council meeting and sent correspondence on the topic, yet was criticized by Mayor Steven Scharf for not speaking when this item was considered after midnight. Comments by majority councilmembers demonstrated a lack of understanding of school finances, and the contribution of De Anza College to the city. No mention was made about the potential value to Cupertino seniors of a house sharing program to match students with residents with empty bedrooms. Item passed 3-2, with Scharf and Sinks voting nay (for different stated reasons).

Item #23: Municipal Code Amendment Related to Prohibition of parking along McClellan Road between Stelling Road and De Anza Boulevard, and along Pacifica Drive between De Anza Boulevard and Torre Avenue for accommodation of Class IV bicycle lanes.  This item was moved immediately after the consent calendar so it could be considered along with Item #13 authorizing the construct for Phase 2 Project on McClellan Road for separated bike lanes. Both items were approved unanimously.

Item #24: Consider a draft letter requesting that the CA Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) postpone the final Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND) for the Bay Area; provide any input and/or authorize the letter to be sent on behalf of the City. Recommended Action That the City Council: 1. Review the letter drafted jointly by the Mayor and the Vice-Mayor requesting HCD to postpone determination of the final RHND (Attachment A) and provide input 2. Consider whether to authorize the Mayor to send the letter. Discussion of this item commenced at 1 a.m. The wordsmithing was finally cut short, and the council voted 4-0-1 with Sinks absent to authorize the mayor to send this long and partisan letter.


Community briefs on page 8 include (1) Free COVID-19 testing, (2) Sports center closed for seismic retrofit, and (3) Business owners can get virus questions answered.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor