Cupertino Matters

The council meeting this week will be the last one for 2020. City hall shuts down between Christmas and New Year’s, so the Jan. 5 meeting is cancelled, with the next meeting on Jan. 19, then commission interviews the following week, and a regular meeting on Feb. 2. Council will be very busy!

Interested in becoming more engaged with the governing process? Cupertino for All, a local community advocacy group, is sponsoring an event “Get Local: How to join Cupertino boards & commissions on Saturday, December 19, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. Sign up to receive the Zoom link. Many elected officials have experience on commissions before running for office.

Cupertino city commissions with upcoming vacancies include: Audit Committee, Bicycle Pedestrian Commission, Fine Arts Commission, Housing Commission, Library Commission, and Planning Commission. The application deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 8, 2021. Council will conduct interviews beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021 and Tuesday, January 26, 2021.

Applications can be submitted via the Online Commission Application.  For more details, please see the website or call the City Clerk’s office at (408) 777-3223. Also, you can contact for personal insights and videos of previous interviews on the Cupertino Matters YouTube channel.

UPCOMING – CUSD Board Meeting, Dec. 17, 2020, Thurs., 5:00 p.m.

This regular meeting starts early to accommodate the shelter-in-place curfew. The agenda includes (1) Swearing-in of re-elected board members and installation of new officers, (2) Update on Enrollment Projections and (3) Long Term Fiscal Stability, in addition to the usual board business. Agenda is available., but the presentations for the last two items will not be available until the meeting. Link will be posted at approximately 15 minutes before the meeting starts.

The significant decline in student enrollment is projected to move the district from its current LCCF funding formula to community funded Basic Aid in 2022-23, with marginal improvement in funding. Due to the mix of residential and commercial properties, CUSD has an aggregate property funding base of $117,385,764 for 17,145 students in 2019-20 vs. neighboring Santa Clara which has $173,139,905 for 15,387 students. (Apple Park pays taxes to the Santa Clara school district, not CUSD).

At the regular board meeting on Dec. 10, the board made the decision to put a parcel tax on the ballot in May or June, 2021. The recommendation is $398 flat tax for 8 years, which was deemed more passable than a new square footage tax. This is an increase from the current $250 per parcel which expires in 2023. Passage of this measure is critical to avoiding immediate school closures, even though state funding is better than originally projected.

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 – Tues., Dec. 15, 2020, 6:45 Regular Meeting; 5:30 Study Session

The Study Session focuses on the Santa Clara County Community Plan to End Homelessness 2020-25. This plan was previously reviewed by the Housing Commission which is recommending endorsement by the City Council.

The regular meeting has four recommended postponements to the January 19 council meeting: (1) Continuing 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, (2) Amending the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Fee Schedule to establish updated fees for the Community Gardens. (3) Approving City of Cupertino 2020 Transportation Impact Fee Nexus Study Update, increasing the Transportation Impact Fees by about 40%, and (4) Municipal Code Amendments to update existing Mobile Vending regulations

Item #5: City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts. This will include an update on state and county orders regarding COVID-19, as well as city responses, i.e., closure of playgrounds has been lifted.

Item #6 Report on Committee assignments is usually brief. The Consent Calendar: should be approved unanimously. Note Item #9, Appointment of Council Member Committee Assignments that will represent Cupertino to other agencies. Item #10 is Authorize negotiation and execution of a Measure B funding agreement for design of Junipero Serra Trail, Central segment. This authorizes the city to accept VTA money for this work.

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. At the council meeting on Dec. 1, this item was sent back to staff for revision of the lighting regulation. The impact on late night businesses is still unclear, particularly the commercial areas adjacent to I-280, a federal highway with constant traffic. Shouldn’t the commercial areas in close proximity to I-280 and the on ramps be well lighted, night and day? Doesn’t Cupertino want freeway traffic to find our retail and hotel businesses? Vallco suffered for years from lack of visibility from the freeway. Post-pandemic, shouldn’t 24-hour operations be encouraged? Apple employees are likely to arrive at all times of the day. Shouldn’t council consider exempting the corridor between Lawrence Expressway and 85, from Homestead to Stevens Creek? The biggest Dark Sky reduction will be in the 91% of the city that is single family residential.

Item 12: Adoption of a housing program to incentivize development of affordable housing by allowing for density bonuses up to 40 percent and initiating a zoning code amendment to include the program in the City’s density bonus ordinance. This item seeks to restrict development density bonuses to 40%, rather than the 50% for affordable housing allowed by state law AB 2345 effective Jan. 1, 2021. The analysis in the staff report is questionable since it does not include the 50% analysis, just the current 35% and 40%, implying the proposed ordinance would be an improvement rather than a restriction from state law. This resolution is being ramrodded through at the last council meeting of the year, without proper consideration by the Planning Commission and the Housing Commission. The legality of this item as a resolution, rather than an ordinance is both questionably legal and a violation of the process espoused by Mayor Darcy Paul. Leaving the city’s housing programs open to legal attack also seems like a problem on its own. Is this transparency? Consider expressing your opinion.

Item #13: Approval of a new 10-year franchise agreement with Recology Cupertino (Recology) related to recycling, organics, and solid waste collection, processing, and disposal effective February 1, 2021; adopt a maximum rate schedule for Rate Year 1 and percentage increases for Rate Years 2 and 3; authorize the use of Enterprise Funds to smooth and mitigate rates, approve an associated budget modification, and establish a minimum fund reserve; and amend Chapter 6.24 of the Cupertino Municipal Code to update provisions related to solid waste, recycling, and organics collection and disposal. The city engaged a consultant and did a resident survey, concluding that the rates were competitive with good service. There was a study session earlier this year on this agreement, so approval should be non-controversial, though the discussion may be tedious.

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:

City Manager Deb Feng:
City Clerk Kirsten Squarcia:
City Council:
Mayor Darcy Paul: 
Vice-Mayor Liang Chao:
Councilmember Kitty Moore
Councilmember Hung Wei
Councilmember Jon Willey:


YouTube: 3 hr. 31 min.

Only one item was considered. Item #2: Presentation on the transition from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for determination of transportation impacts under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act), a change required by Senate Bill (SB) 743. The commission spent 3 hours before deciding to approve staff recommendations on this very technical topic and to move the item forward to council, since action should have been taken in July, 2020.

Item #3: General Plan Annual Review. The commission had little appetite for this item at 10 p.m, so postponed the item.

CUPERTINO COURIER, December 11, 2020

The cover photo and story on page 5 is ”Peninsula stands in for Big Apple: Local woman’s love of running inspires marathon re-creation”, about Cupertino resident Barb Love’s response to cancellation of marathons due to the pandemic. Community briefs on page 9 are (1) Rotary serves holiday meals to 190 residents in need and (2) Winter wildlife talks by the Santa Clara Open Space Authority. Legal notices on page 21 include the Second Reading of Ordinances amending the Municipal Code regarding the Emergency Management Program.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor