Cupertino Matters

This week opened with the state lifting the Stay-At-Home order for COVID-19, and the county returning to Purple Tier restrictions. Outdoor dining can resume, as can personal care services (indoors and outdoors), which provides welcome relief to our local businesses. For more details, see the Jan. 28, Items of Interest from the City of Cupertino.

The last 10 days have been busy for the city. Mayor Darcy Paul just gave his State of the City. The 34-minute speech rightfully praised the city staff for meeting the challenges of 2020. However, the speech lacked substance with no mention of Vallco, future challenges regarding housing, and economic impact of COVID-19 for our businesses. (Construction is progressing at Vallco, even though it might not be obvious from street level.)

UPDATE – CUSD Board Meeting, Jan. 21, 2021

School reopening remains a moving target, with 57% of parents surveyed preferring remaining in distance learning to avoid changing teachers and routines. 45% of parents prefer a hybrid learning model. The District’s current focus remains limited hybrid learning for students whom distance learning presents unique challenges, i.e. special needs.

After extensive discussion of the pros and cons, the Board unanimously approved placing a $398 Parcel tax on a mail in ballot for May 4, 2021. This would replace the current $250 parcel tax, with a $148 increase to maintain the current quality of education. Readers can find the approved resolution here: Resolution and Ballot Statement: 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.

Note: 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).

UPDATE – Commission Interviews, Mon. Jan. 25, and Tues. Jan. 26, 2021

There were 74 applicants scheduled for interviews over these two nights. The process proved perfunctory with 3 minutes allocated to each applicant, in addition to a minimal application form. Applicants received sample questions, but these did not correspond to actual questions asked by councilmembers.

Appointments for Commissions have not been completely finalized due to some procedural issues. However, the most problematic appointments are to the Planning Commission:

  • Former Mayor Steven Scharf (the only sitting Cupertino mayor ever rejected by voters in a re-election bid and well-known for bringing the city into disrepute on land use questions)
  • R “Ray” Wang (previously convicted under a cyberstalking law for harassing a political opponent in Redwood City, and who created a media storm around Cupertino by threatening his critics’ private employment for disagreeing with him on housing needs in Cupertino)
  • Muni Madhdhipatia (known largely for his divisive and bullying behavior on the social media platform, Nextdoor)

These appointments are all male, all homeowners, all older adults from the high tech industry. Each is a political supporter and/or donor to the council majority drawn from the Better Cupertino organization. How do these appointments possibly square with the city’s stated Policy Embracing the City’s Demographic Diversity, which declares the policy’s aim: “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. As these appointments are all drawn from the same political ideology, is their advice meaningful to a council majority with the same opinions?

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL MEETING Tues., Jan. 19, 2021, 6:45 Regular Meeting; 5:30 Study Session Part 1: 2 hr. 48 min; Part 2: Starting Item #14 (weed abatement): 2 hr. 59 min.

Ending at 11:20, this was an unnecessarily long meeting given the limited agenda.The Study Session on the Lehigh Southwest Cement Company/Permanente Quarry and Stevens Creek Quarry regarding Reclamation Plan Amendment and Use Permit Applications to County of Santa Clara was an update about city actions. Supervisor Joe Simitian’s office will host his annual public update meeting on March 3, 2021.

Postponements were unexpectedly controversial. In addition to the two posted Postponements, the city manager recommended postponing Items #13 and #16 to address additional concerns regarding adoption of bird-safe regulations. This generated public input as well as council disagreement on process. The motion to postpone both items finally passed 3-2 with Vice-Mayor Chao and Councilmember Wei voting nay. Council approved the two posted postponements: (#5) Amending the Fiscal Year 2020-21 Fee Schedule to establish updated fees for the Community Gardens and (#6) Approving City of Cupertino 2020 Transportation Impact Fee Nexus Study Update, increasing the Transportation Impact Fees.

Item #7 the City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts included prediction of windstorms and power outages. Item #8, report on committee assignments, included VTA’s announcement that its top executive, Nuria Fernandez, had accepted a position with the Biden administration. Councilmember Kitty Moore was elected chair of the VTA Policy Advisory Board. The Consent Calendar was approved unanimously.

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)”. Council approved unanimously.

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). As noted above, council voted to postpone this item.

Item #14: 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. Vice-Mayor Liang Chao requested and was granted separate consideration so she could be engaged in consideration of the rest of the properties, thus prolonging this routine hearing to nearly an hour. Council unanimously approved the list.

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. Approved unanimously.  Council agreed that regulation of motorized vending be deferred to the post-COVID era to determine business impacts.

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 voted to postpone this item.

Item #17: Approve the updated Commissioner Handbook. The handbook was received positively by the members of council with commission and board experience, acknowledging that training of commissioners in addition to the written guidelines is needed. The handbook was developed with extensive input from current commissioners, yet the council spent an hour attempting to wordsmith additional revisions on the dais.

EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to speak at council meeting, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers have three minutes, and coaching is available!  Readers are also encouraged to email individual council members, the council as a whole, the city manager, and the city clerk.  These become part of the public record. Contacts at

CUPERTINO COURIER, January 22, 2021

The cover picture and feature story on page 5 is A Virtual Viewing: Euphrat exhibit provides “Sources of Solace”, the kickoff event for Silicon Valley Reads. On page 8, there is a full description of this annual event Silicon Valley Reads aims to foster connections. It will be completely virtual this year. Community briefs on page 6 are (1) Library ends late fines and (2) Software scholarships. The sole legal notice on page 20 is Notice of Public Hearing for Amendments to the General Plan Authorization Process to be heard at the Feb. 2, 2021 council meeting.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor