Cupertino Matters

  • ATTENTION  Commission Interviews – Mon. Jan. 25, 2021, 6:00 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2021, 6:00 p.m.

This last week, our attention focused on Washington, D.C., and the inauguration of our new president, thankful that this was a  peaceful event, though under heavy security.

This week, the city council selects new community representatives for the next round of appointments to city commissions. The Planning Commission is of particular concern since it has a quasi-judicial function and can make binding decisions. The two most experienced members with extensive planning and public engagement backgrounds are leaving: Alan Takahashi (termed out) and David Fung (declined to reapply). That leaves Commissioner Vikram Saxena with two years on the commission, and Commissioner Sanjiv Kapil, who is filling out Kitty Moore’s term (and has attended one meeting so far).  Both are engineers with no previous planning experience.

There are 17 applicants for the 3 seats. Some applicants merit particular concern, for reasons not reflected in their applications:

Council will conduct interviews for city commissions beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday, January 25, 2021 and Tuesday, January 26, 2021. These are Brown Act meetings, so the public can “attend”, though no oral feedback is allowed. These will be on Zoom, same as other city meetings, but not be televised on the city TV channel. Readers will need to register to be able to view the interviews.

Monday, Jan. 25, 6:00 p.m. Registration Link Interview Schedule, plus Commission Diversity Resolution, Current Commission List and Commission Attendance Report at this link. 

  • Planning Commission
  • Library Commission
  • Fine Arts Commission

Tuesday, Jan 26, 6:00 p.m. Registration Link Interview Schedule plus same documents for these commissions at this link; 

  • Housing Commission
  • Bicycle Pedestrian Commission
  • Audit Committee

Readers may review the complete list of applicants for all commissions, and send their comments regarding qualifications of applicants prior to 4:30 each day of interviews. Actual applications are not posted on the city website, but these have been obtained through a Public Records Act (PRA) request. They are not in name or commission order, so use CTRL F to search for individual names.

Here is the relevant section of the  Policy Embracing the City’s Demographic Diversity, which has been disregarded by the majority council which has previously favored their political contributors and followers, rather than qualified applicants. Also note that the Planning Commission has no women commissioners, no young people, nobody with a planning background, and no renters. The Housing Commission suffers similar deficiencies, though 40% of Cupertino consists of renters.

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.

Readers are urged to voice their opinions to individual councilmembers, the council as a whole, the city manager, and the city clerk. 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 the  subject line that you are commenting on commission interviews.

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

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor