Cupertino Matters was founded in 2017 to keep our community informed about elected officials, given the lack of local coverage by the Mercury News and Cupertino Courier. Readers who subscribe at CupertinoMatters.org receive weekly email updates on key council and commission meetings.
2020 is a crucial year for our city, as well as nationally. Due to COVID-19, our city is faced with a shortfall of $10.5 million in revenue, primarily sales and hotel taxes. Recovery will take several years. City expenses will have to be carefully controlled, and services reorganized to deal with this new reality.
Current city council has been irresponsible in spending city monies, our taxpayer dollars, on self-inflicted lawsuits filed by two of the current city council candidates. The legal fees include:
- $225,441 Mayor Steven Scharf filed Measure C appeals (lost)
- $341,531 City attorney, Randy Hom (paid off by Council – wrong on SB35)
- Vallco SB35 Planning Chair Kitty Moore, et. al. brought lawsuit against Cupertino (lost)
- $241,382 (2018, 2019, 2020 Attorney’s Fees)
- $171,072 (2018, 2019 Wendel Rosen)
- $ 70,310 (Shute Mihaly & Weinberger)
- $$$ Unknown for city staff and city attorney on actions by these Councilmembers who are supposed to work for us.
This wastage continues with $2,036,404 budgeted for the City Attorney in FY20-21 Adopted Budget.
As a former library commissioner, I object to paying a former city attorney more money than the city is providing in library services for FY 2020-21 ($318,340), especially in light of his having broken the ethical rules governing all lawyers in California–the Rules of Professional Conduct–to the detriment of the city. Mayor Steven Scharf’s appeal cost more than the Tenant Eviction Programs ($200,000). And the Vallco SB35 lawsuit brought on by Planning Chair Kitty Moore cost much more than Small Business Relief Grants ($229,017).
Shouldn’t taxpayer dollars be spent benefiting RESIDENTS, not lawyers?
Why would you vote for candidates who have sued our city and LOST? The city can’t recover their legal expenses from residents, unlike the private sector.
Two years ago, the newly elected council promised transparency in government. Mayor Scharf, however, has failed to keep that promise. Decisions are made in the wee hours of the morning long after residents have given up on providing input to council. Here’s the record:
- 2019 – 15 meetings out of 22 regular meetings lasted after midnight
- 2020 – 6 meetings through 8/12/20 lasted after midnight.
The council also governs behind closed doors:
- 2019 – 22 regular meetings, but 27 closed meetings
- 2020 – 13 regular meetings and 13 closed meetings through 8/12/2020
Why would you vote for council candidates who have wasted your money, and exclude the public from participation? It’s time for new faces, responsible faces, on city council. The San Jose Mercury News, in endorsing council candidates J.R. Fruen and Hung Wei, observed “For the better part of a decade, Cupertino has developed a well-deserved reputation for having one of the most dysfunctional city councils in the Bay Area.” Is this the reputation our city deserves?
My recommendation for this year’s council race? That’s easy this time. VOTE for change on our city council:
- J.R. Fruen – a local attorney, community advocate, and entrepreneur – JR4Cupertino.com
- Hung Wei – former Fremont Union High School District trustee and non-profit board member – HungWei.org
Then stay up to date with civic affairs in Cupertino by subscribing to CupertinoMatters.org.
Cupertino Matters, Publisher and Editor