Cupertino Matters

Hope all of you had a chance to relax and reflect on the meaning of the Martin Luther King holiday. On the national scene, the transition of power is eerily different than Inauguration Day, 2017. Local governments have seated their new members, and reorganized for 2021.

Council will conduct interviews for city commissions beginning at 5 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021 and Tuesday, January 26, 2021 for vacancies on the Audit Committee, Bicycle Pedestrian Commission, Fine Arts Commission, Housing Commission, Library Commission, and Planning Commission. Approximately 50 applicants will be scheduled and interviewed on these two days.

The process is documented on the city website: Interviews and Appointments. Readers are urged to write or speak at Oral Communication for the Jan. 19 council meeting regarding compliance with the city’s Policy Embracing the City’s Demographic Diversity, which has been disregarded by the majority council which favors their political contributors and followers, rather than qualified applicants. Also note that the Planning Commission has no women commissioners, no renters, no young people.

Section 1 of this policy explicitly states:
A. To foster comprehensive representation within advisory commissions and committees, it would be advantageous for new members to represent the community by such factors as culture, gender, age, and location of residency within the city.
B. In the conduct of their business, commission and committee members shall pursue the benefit of a variety of perspectives in making decisions.
C. Commissions and committees increase the city’s potential, effectiveness and creativity as an organization by offering a wide range of approaches and perspectives to addressing issues and solving problems. Resolution No. 03-203

There is also a minimalist City of Cupertino Ethics Policy.

UPCOMING – CUSD Board Meeting, Jan. 21, 2021, Thurs. 3:00 p.m. Board Advance. 6:00 Public Hearing for Parcel Tax Ballot Measure

The Board Advance is a study session on Progress of K-8 Students in Math Distance Learning.

The Public Hearing regards the decision whether to place a $398 Parcel tax on a mail in ballot in May. This would replace the current $250 parcel tax, with a $148 increase to maintain current levels of quality education. The district has also incurred significant costs associated with COVID-19. If the parcel tax does not pass, there would be significant cutbacks at CUSD. Review the impact of the parcel tax here: Building Long Term Fiscal Stability. Here is the language to be approved: Resolution and Ballot Statement: and PDF of public hearing notice. You can register your support for this measure at Yes for CUSD. Note that support can consist of (1) being a volunteer, (2) endorsements, and (3) contributions. Other school districts have local parcel taxes to supplement inadequate state funding, i.e. Los Altos for $790 and Palo Alto for $836. Letters of support for the board decision can be sent to Board <>, Jeff Bowman <>, Stacy McAfee-Yao <>.

All board meeting agendas, documents, and videos 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 usable).

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL MEETING Tues., Jan. 19, 2021, 6:45 Regular Meeting; 5:30 Study Session

The Study Session is on Lehigh Southwest Cement Company/Permanente Quarry and Stevens Creek Quarry regarding Reclamation Plan Amendment and Use Permit Applications to County of Santa Clara. The County Planning Department is the lead agency, the Public Works Department and the City Attorney will present information.  Supervisor Joe Simitian’s office will host his annual public update meeting on March 3, 2021.

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations have returned: (1) Certificates of Recognition for Cupertino Science Fair winners who participated in the 2020 Santa Clara County Synopsys Championship, (2) Proclamation to Stanford University in appreciation and acknowledgement of their donation of trees to the City of Cupertino, (3) Proclamation to the Santa Clara County Library District for their excellent response during COVID-19, providing continuing and invaluable resources to our residents during this time, and for working to keep our community safe and mentally healthy, and (4) Proclamation to the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh organization to support the national campaign, “Health for Humanity – Yogathon” also known as “Surya Namaskar Yajna” (Sun Salutation Yogathon) running from January 16th to January 31st, 2021,

Postponements include (#5) Amending the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Fee Schedule to establish updated fees for the Community Gardens. This item has been continued to a date uncertain and (#6) 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. This item has been continued to March 2. Item #7 is the City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts and Item #8 is a report on committee assignments,

One or more items on the Consent Calendar may be pulled for discussion. Item #10 is authorization for the city manager to renegotiate license agreements for the two farmers’ markets: Friday at Creekside and Sunday at the Senior Center/Memorial Park parking lot on a temporary basis. Item # 11, an increase in the construction contingency budget for the McClellan Ranch Preserve Community Garden Improvement Project (Project No. 2017-15) due to COVID-19, might also attract attention. Originally, garden beds were to be built with volunteer labor, which is no longer feasible. In order to have the beds ready for the spring planting season, staff is recommending having the contractor do the work with a budget increase from $64,930 to $280,530, a budget increase of $125,000.

Item #12: Second reading of Ordinance No. 20-2218: “An ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino amending Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 6.24 (Garbage, non-organic recycling and organic waste recycling collection and disposal)”. This should be non-controversial.

Item #13: Second reading of Ordinance No. 20-2219 adopting Municipal Code Amendments to CMC to adopt bird safety development regulations to implement the Fiscal Year 2020/21 City Council Work Program items related to bird safety. (Application No. MCA-2019-004; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: Citywide). This item has been considered in a different form at the Dec. 15, 2020 council meeting. After a lengthy discussion, the bird safety regulations involving glass were approved 4-1 with Councilmember Moore voting nay. This is likely to be approved.

Item #14 is a public hearing regarding Abatement of public nuisance from weeds or other fire hazards pursuant to provisions of Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 9.08 and Resolution No. 20-136; hearing for impacted property owners to contest the matter of proposed abatement. This should be a routine hearing, though this council has previously wasted an inordinate amount of time complaining about the mandated county process, and debating whether it should apply to Vice-Mayor Liang Chao.

Item #15: Municipal Code Amendments to update existing Mobile Vending regulations, including conforming edits to Titles 5 and 13 in the Municipal Code, adopting new regulations for Sidewalk Vending in compliance with SB 946. This was continued from Dec. 15, 2020. Based on community outreach and Planning Commission deliberation, , mobile vending has been divided into (1) modification of sidewalk vending regulations to comply with SB 846 and (2) regulation of motorized vending which had not been regulated before. The Planning Commission did not recommend proposed mobile vending regulations, particularly the 15 minute limitation. Given the unknowns for our small businesses due to COVID-19, should the city be imposing more regulations at this time?

Item #16: Municipal Code Amendments to adopt lighting regulations to implement the Fiscal Year 2019/20 City Council Work Program items related to Dark Sky. Council originally considered a combined Bird-Safe and Dark Sky ordinance on Dec. 1, and decided to separate the two ordinances. The Bird-Safe ordinance which governs windows primarily in new construction was approved by the city council on Dec. 15.  This item concerns Dark Sky regulations intended to reduce light pollution in the city. Significant changes have been made to allow pedestrian lighting up to 4 feet, no limit on hours of illumination of storefront windows, and lighting fixtures may be a maximum of 3,000 Kelvin illumination due to lack of availability of lighting fixtures that are 2,700 Kelvin.

Item #17: Approve the updated Commissioner Handbook. The city council adopted new recommendations to standardize protocol between commissions on January 21, 2020, so the Commissioners Handbook needed to be revised. It has been shortened from 32 pages to 10 pages and is therefore more likely to be read. It will be provided to new commissioners (and should be reviewed by current commissioners).

As usual, listen closely to full council reports at the end of the meeting.

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:

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., Jan 12, 2021, 6:45 p.m.

YouTube: 3 hr. 27 min.

There was little public comment on these items. This was also Commissioner Sanjiv Kapil’s first meeting as a member of the Planning Commission. As the designated alternate, he will fill out the remaining two years of this seat left vacant by Kitty Moore’s election to the City Council.

Item #3: Consider modifications to the Procedures for Processing General Plan Amendment Applications to implement the Fiscal Year 2020/21 City Work Program items related to quality of life. There was a lengthy discussion about the value of this process, previously known as the “gateway” process for projects needing pre-authorization of any GPA exceptions, whether minor or major. It originated at a time when there were multiple major projects being considered, so the council sought to throttle the development pipeline. However, there haven’t been applications for the last few cycles. Timing of the cycle was questioned–should pre-authorizations be considered at any time? The commission split on their support for once a year (Chair Wang and Commissioner Saxena) recommended by staff vs. the current twice a year cycle (Commissioners Fung, Takahashi and Kapil). In the current environment, Cupertino has to compete with neighboring jurisdictions for development, so is this process unduly restrictive? Does it encourage developers to use state laws to circumvent the council, i.e. the Vallco SB35 project?

Item #4: General Plan Annual Review (postponed from Dec. 8, 2020 meeting). Postponed.

Item #5 Discuss potential City Work Program proposals for Fiscal Year 2021-2022. This was a short discussion since Commissioners Alan Takahashi and David Fung had to leave for other meetings. The five items identified were (1) RHNA and Housing Element update requiring major city resources from both Planning (5 people) and Housing (2 people), (2) development plan accountability, (3) review and update the General Plan,  (4) residential and mixed-use design standards, and (5) sign ordinance update. Due to staff attrition and COVID-19, most items are carryovers from the 2020-21 as well as 2019-20 council work plans.

CUPERTINO COURIER, January 15, 2021

The cover picture and feature story on page 5 is Chefs of Compassion Going Virtual: West Valley nonprofit cooks up online fundraiser, honoring our own Richard Lowenthal, former Cupertino mayor, and his wife Ellen for their long time contributions to the community and WVCS. Community briefs on page 6 are (1) Library ends late fines and (2) Software scholarships.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor