Cupertino Matters

Availability of COVID-19 vaccinations remain top of mind for residents. The county has taken the lead in increasing distribution, rather than relying on individual health care providers. In particular, the county has adopted a “no wrong door” policy, allowing vaccine recipients to be vaccinated at any site irrespective of insurance carrier.  Guidelines have been simplified and as more vaccine doses become available, additional sites will be added, including Levi Stadium. The City of Cupertino piloted a program with the county to make vaccine appointments for seniors who lack access to technology and to coordinate logistics. According to City Manager Deb Feng, 60 seniors were enrolled, a commendable effort to service a very vulnerable population.

Readers may have missed the Mid-Year Sales Tax Update in the January 28 Items of Interest from the city which has some surprising information regarding sales tax  revenue during the middle of the pandemic. The City receives 1% of proceeds from sales and use taxes imposed within Cupertino boundaries. Sales tax receipts of $13 million for the third quarter of the 2020 calendar year (July to September) were 41.8% above the same period one year ago. Sales taxes for bricks-and-mortar businesses were down, but there was a continued surge in online sales, which increased the City’s share of the county pool (online sales tax is collected at the county, not city level). The lack of business diversity in the top 25 sales tax producers is striking.

All business types in Cupertino showed significant downturns in business with the exception of sporting goods/bike stores, which posted an 86% increase. Casual dining was down 51%, with fast-casual down 28%, and quick-service restaurants down 24%, as a result of limitations on indoor and outdoor dining. Fuel-service stations are down even more at 54% due to work-from-home requirements that reduce commuting. COVID-19 has greatly impacted consumer buying behavior. What will be the long-term impact?

This week, city council reverted to old practices, with 24 notice of a closed session on Tues. Feb.9, 2021: Public Employee Structural Performance Evaluation (Gov’t Code Section 54957(b)). Title: City Attorney.  What is happening behind closed doors that necessitates an emergency performance review of the city attorney?

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., Feb. 9, 2021, 6:45 p.m.

Item #1: Oath of Office for newly-appointed Planning Commission members; training on Commissioner Handbook approved by City Council on January 19, 2021. Three commissioners will be sworn in with the first introduction of training.

Item #2 Election of Chair, Vice Chair and Committee appointments. The newly appointed Planning Commission reflects the political loyalties of councilmembers and contains few experienced or knowledgeable members. If traditional succession is followed, R “Ray” Wang, the current Vice Chair (and Acting Chair) is likely to be chosen chair, despite his regional reputation.

Item #3 Draft Minutes of January 26, 2021. Usually approval is routine, but with the absence of Commissioner Vikram Saxena for the meeting, and the departure of two commissioners, the approval process will hinge on whether new members watched the proceedings of the last meeting and reviewed the minutes for consistency.

Item #4 Hillside Exception application to consider allowing the construction of an 864 square foot deck expansion on slopes greater than 30% to an existing single-family residence. Application No(s).: EXC-2020-007; Applicant(s): Curt Cline (Raifi residence); Location: 22637 San Juan Road. City code allows up to 500 sq.ft. of improvements on hillsides, so this appears to be a reasonable request for an additional 364 sq. ft for a structure on a 15,770 sq. ft. lot.

UPCOMING – CUSD Board Meeting – Thurs., Feb. 11, 2021, 6:00 p.m.

In addition to the usual business, Agenda Item 12.2 is Reopening Schools Update and Agenda Item 12.3 is Addressing declining enrollment. The link to the live meeting is available 15 minutes prior on

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL MEETING Tues., Feb 2, 2021, 6:45 Regular Meeting

YouTube: Part 1 – 1 hr. 19 min; Part 2 – 2 hr. 49 min starting Item #15

The council meeting ended at the reasonable hour of 10:55, with a limited agenda.

Item #2 consisted of the City Manager’s update on emergency response efforts, which are ongoing and fluid. Item #5, the award of a construction contract for the Bubb Road Separated Bikeway Improvements Project (Project 2020-06) for the construction of the separation of bike lanes on Bubb Road, between McClellan Road and Stevens Creek Boulevard, was pulled by Councilmember Kitty Moore for discussion, and then approved unanimously.

Item #14: Second reading of Ordinance No. 21-2220 adopting Municipal Code Amendments to update existing Mobile Vending regulations. This item was amended to exclude mobile vendors from infringing on festivals and other paid events. This modification transformed the action into a first reading, rather a second reading.  Council approved unanimously.

Item #15: 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. This item received extensive discussion. Mayor Paul and Councilmember Wei supported the existing process. The definition of “substantial compliance” and “minor amendments” were questioned. Councilmember Moore requested removal of community benefits, a move opposed by Councilmember Wei. Concerns arose over complicating the process and prolonging the development cycle by requiring Planning Commission review in addition to regular city council consideration. Questions were raised about requiring additional data for (1) traffic impacts when the project has yet to be approved, and (2) expected student generation rates not available from school districts. Council tabled the item at 9:50 for further review.

Item #16 Consider Municipal Code Amendments adding Chapter 2.100 (“Regulation of Lobbying Activities”) to Title 2 (“Administration and Personnel”) of the Cupertino Municipal Code to create lobbying registration and reporting requirements.  Conceptually, this amendment initiated by Mayor Paul might lead to increased transparency in city government. In practice, enforcement is problematic. The city of Santa Clara estimates that it takes roughly 100 staff hours a year or 2-3 weeks of labor for a city for enforcement. Definition and identification of lobbyists is not always obvious. After lengthy discussion, the council adopted the resolution based on San Jose’s lobbying transparency regime, rather than Santa Clara’s procedures. The vote was unanimous.

Item #17 Consider adopting the 2021 Legislative Platform. After a lively debate over some of the wording in the platform, the original proposal was adopted unanimously.

EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: 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:

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, February 5, 2021

The cover picture and feature story on page 5 is Gratitude and Opportunity: Mayor sees opportunities for Cupertino to weather pandemic, regarding Mayor Darcy Paul’s State of the City address. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Youth essay contest, an essay contest hosted by the city and Rotary, and (2) Virtual hike for older adults. Page 20 is (1) Notice of Public Hearing for Amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code regarding Vehicle Miles Travelled (VMT) and (2) Modification of a Use Permit for 20132 Stevens Creek, both scheduled for the Feb. 16 council meeting.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor