Cupertino Matters

Thanksgiving this year was very different. Most of us chose to forgo our traditional large gatherings for small groups and used Zoom to connect for shared festivities. Then, on  Saturday, Nov. 28, the county issued even stricter guidelines due to an alarming rise in COVID-19 infections. Governor Newsom commented that he will likely issue new stay-at-home orders in the next few days. May all of you stay safe and healthy!

Cupertino is making major progress on improving walking and biking. Work is nearly completed for the separated bike lanes on McClellan Road with further bike safety improvements to connect the library with Monta Vista High School. At their regular meeting, Council voted unanimously to authorize the city manager to solicit bids to start construction on (1) the Linda Vista Trail project and (2) the Regnart Creek Trail. Walk-Bike Cupertino advocacy for final approval of Regnart Creek Trail proved effective, with 49 speakers providing public comment and over 65 emails to city council.

With 99% of votes counted, Hung Wei and Kitty Moore will be sworn in as the next councilmembers. The last city council meeting with current members is Dec. 1 at 6:45 p.m., with the swearing in of new council members, and election of mayor and vice mayor for next year on Dec. 3. The ceremonies will occur over Zoom, rather than the in-person events of the past. The new council will then meet on Dec. 15.

CUSD Updates – Board Advance, Nov. 19, 2020

There were two topics for this all-day study session. The agenda item from 9 – 11:30 was Reopening Schools, now complicated by purple tier restrictions and anticipated further government action. The second agenda item was Building Long Term Fiscal Stability. The Board reviewed financial updates from previous meetings. State funding is looking more hopeful, but remains in a state of flux.

The item primarily emphasized a financial update utilized for developing options for a parcel tax, with no decisions made on amount or type of tax, and recognizing crucial time pressure to file a ballot measure. The board was clear that the staff also needs to prepare a contingency plan if such a tax measure fails. While the emphasis focused on the financial pressures, the district still faces major challenges:

  • Declining enrollment which continues with an unexpected decline of 960 students this academic year, the equivalent of two elementary schools, instead of the previous one elementary school a year decline which started in 2014. The district has 25 campuses, with 25 principals, custodians and lunch supervisors. Does it make sense to continue this cost structure indefinitely? As a whole, schools in Santa Clara County are expected to decline by more than 15% over the next 10 years.
  • Expansion of alternative schools, since there are waiting lists for all, indicating unmet demand for these focused curricula. The wait list for Faria is large enough to justify a second such campus. The Chinese Language Immersion Program (CLIP) has shared a campus with the small Meyerholz neighborhood school. As a result, this means classrooms are not available to expand the CLIP kindergarten class to meet  waitlist demand. Alternative schools can be located anywhere in the district, without attendance boundary restrictions.

Community reaction has been contentious, with Trustee Jerry Liu taking the initiative to ask parents to stop the bullying and personal attacks on board members. Conversations surrounding school consolidation are difficult and require leadership and civil discourse.

Presentations and videos of all board meetings reside on BoardDocs. Click on meetings on the right side of the gray bar at the top to get a list of meetings on the left hand side. Select a meeting and view the agenda to get to each item. The navigation is clunky, but the presentations and videos are available.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL MEETING Thurs., Dec. 3, 2020, 6:45  Election Results and Swearing-in  Ceremony.  6:45 p.m.

This meeting offers the opportunity to thank outgoing councilmembers and to welcome new ones. It also features council’s election of a new mayor and vice-mayor. You may wish to voice your preferences at this meeting.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL MEETING Tues., Dec. 1, 2020, 6:45 Regular Meeting; 5:30 Study Session

The Study Session focuses on the city’s Climate Action Plan 2.0 initial draft goals and vision statement. As part of the Fiscal Year 2020-21 City Work Program, the City is updating the original 2015 plan to CAP 2.0 to reflect new legislation and new technology.

The regular meeting has two postponements: (1) Municipal Code Amendments to update existing Mobile Vending regulations and (2) Approving City of Cupertino 2020 Transportation Impact Fee Nexus Study Update, increasing the Transportation Impact Fees by about 40%.

Item #3: City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts. This will include an update on the homeless encampments (see recap of Nov. 19 council meeting below), as well as city responses to the reversion to purple tier and the state curfew after 10 p.m.

Item #3 Report on Committee assignments is usually brief. The consent calendar is fairly routine, including weed abatement instead of a public hearing. The rest of the agenda is light.

Consent Calendar: These items are largely routine. Item 8, however, remains eye-opening. It consists of a voluntary report on various impact fee accounting, including spending plans for such fees. The city has over $6,000,000 in funding from below market rate housing impact fees to support affordable housing but no apparent plans to spend it. Why not?

Item #10: Second reading of Ordinance No. 20-2216 to amend Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 2.40 (concerning the Disaster Council and the emergency management program). This should be a routine approval since the item was approved unanimously at the previous meeting on Nov. 17.

Item #11: Municipal Code Amendments to adopt glazing and lighting regulations to implement the Fiscal Year 2019/20 City Council Work Program items related to Dark Sky and Bird-Safe Design. This item received extensive Planning Commission review. It has support from local environmental groups, but there may be questions about the impact on late night commercial activity, including Main Street and upcoming Vallco construction.

Item #12: Updated Administrative Procedures Within the Community Funding Grant Policy. These provide a more formal process for applications for city funding of community organizations.

As with all matters, feel free to voice your opinions to individual councilmembers, the council as a whole, the city manager, and the city clerk to have your thoughts and views heard. Note that emails to city council as a whole are forwarded to the city manager, whereas emails to individual councilmembers are not. Clearly include in your subject line the topic or agenda item on which you are commenting. Information on expressing your opinion via emails and oral communications with the city can be found at

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., Nov. 24, 2020 – Cancelled

Thurs., Nov, 19, 2020

YouTube: 1 hr. 22 min.

A last minute special meeting was called to approve  Emergency Assistance Funds to assist unhoused members of the encampments located along Wolfe Road near Interstate 280 (Wolfe Road Encampment) to mitigate safety hazards including COVID-19. This was an innovative agreement negotiated to provide six months of temporary shelter in San Jose for the homeless encampment on Wolfe Road. For unsheltered residents who prefer to remain outside, a safe encampment will be provided at Vallco Parkway and Tantau in the public right of way.  Kudos to our city manager for her tenacity in coordinating a very challenging situation. After lengthy questions from various councilmembers, the item was approved unanimously.


YouTube: Part 1: 1 hr. 43 min. – Study session; Part 2: 3 hr. 45 min, with Item #20 reordered before Item #17; Part 3: 2 hr. 0 min.

The study session was Review the “Regional Housing Needs Allocation Proposed Methodology Report: San Francisco Bay Area, 2023 – 2031,” discuss potential comments, and decide whether any comments should be sent on behalf of the City,. After a long discussion, the mayor was authorized to send a comment letter to the state HCD (Housing and Community Development) and ABAG (Association of Bay Area Governments). That comment letter largely rehashes Mayor Scharf’s electoral positions on housing development and fails to acknowledge the city’s role in preventing housing development.

Item 1: City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts. The city is stretched thin reacting to the change back to purple tier. You can find county updates on COVID-19 here.

The consent calendar was approved unanimously. This included Item #13 authorization for the city manager to award a contract for construction of the Linda Vista Trail project, and Item #15 an increase in the construction contingency for Cupertino Sports Center Seismic Retrofit,   

Item #16: Approving City of Cupertino 2020 Transportation Impact Fee Nexus Study Update, increasing the Transportation Impact Fees, and amending Schedule B of the 2020-21 Fee Schedule to incorporate the increased fees. Postponed.

The agenda was reordered to allow students to participate in public comment:

Item #20: Regnart Creek Trail private fencing allocations and authorization of construction award for Project. Following extensive public comment, discussion was limited, acknowledging the long process. The feasibility study was done in 2017, and the construction will finally start in 2021, with an unprecedented number of council votes. The item was ultimately approved 5-0 with no additional public monies for fencing improvements. Council expressed some concern, echoing public comments, about setting a precedent for funding private property improvements with public monies. The trail itself is paid for by Measure B funding.

Item #17 Accept the First Quarter Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21 and City Work Program Updates; consider approving a Budget Modification increasing appropriations and revenues by $1,873,298 and $1,662,300 respectively; consider approving the conversion of limited-term Senior Transportation Planner to permanent.  According to this report, the city is doing better than expected financially. Sales tax in the business-to-business sector increased over $3 million due to work-from-home sales.  This offsets the loss of $1.4 million in TOT(Transient Occupancy Tax) revenues. Thanks to staff’s good financial management, the city remains fiscally healthy. This item was approved 5-0.

Item #18: Proposed amendments to Chapter 2.40 (Disaster Council) of the Cupertino Municipal Code to better reflect the Emergency Management Program. This was not controversial and council approved unanimously.

Item #19: Cupertino participation in Stevens Creek Corridor Transit Study. Though Cupertino staff have participated in a VTA Stevens Creek Corridor working group since 2017, the group is focused just on Stevens Creek. Discussion led by Councilmember Rod Sinks questioned continuation of that collaboration, given that Cupertino would have to pay the cost of studying the route from I-280 between Lawrence Expressway and SR-85. VTA is planning on spending Measure B funds on BART, rather than the road repair as promised to the voters. Forming a separate body of West Valley cities may be a more effective strategy. No action was taken, as the item goes back to staff.

The meeting adjourned at 12:38 a.m.

CUPERTINO COURIER, November 27, 2020

The cover photo and article on page 5 is “Coming full circle: Bobbi’s landlady reopens coffee shop that has strong family ties,” about the reopening of this iconic Cupertino coffee shop, owned by the Yamagami family. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) “New cricket field,” at a CUSD site, Luther Elementary School, and (2) “Students’ pet project”  to develop a QR tag for pets. Legal notices on page 29 include (1) First reading of Disaster Council ordinances and (2) Fee schedule for the community garden at McClellan Ranch.

CUPERTINO COURIER, November 20, 2020

The cover photo and article on page 5 is “Cupertino hits pause on school closures:  Decision comes after families rally against plan”, regarding CUSD decision to pursue a parcel tax. Community briefs on page 6 are (1) “COVID-19 testing,”  free to anyone at the Senior Center, and (2) “Open studios online”  a fund-raising event for Second Harvest of Silicon Valley. Legal notices on page 20-21 include (1) Bird-Safe and Dark Sky regulations and (2) Mobile vending regulations.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor