Cupertino Matters

Hard to believe we’ve been locked down due to COVID-19 for a full year–we didn’t expect the siege to last so long. Vaccinations are now more widely available, but getting an appointment is still challenging because of fluctuating supplies. Business activity, particularly for restaurants, has started to pick up for those that have survived. Technology has become more important to our everyday lives, with increased dependency on devices to access the internet. Who knew Zoom would become a verb?

Across the Bay area, there has been an outpouring of outrage with regard to recent anti-Asian hate crimes. In support rallies and demonstrations of support for the Asian-American Pacifici Islander (AAPI) community, such as occurred over the weekend in San Jose. There will be a “Stop Asian Hate“ rally on Saturday, March 27, 2021 from 11 a.m. to noon at Saratoga City Hall, 13777 Fruitvale Ave, Saratoga, CA 95070, hosted by Saratoga and other west valley cities.

Local governments and organizations have put out statements in solidarity with the AAPI community and in condemnation of acts of hate. This includes our own city council voted unanimously to approve a resolution of solidarity with the Asian and Pacific Islander community. Some of these resolutions have not gone without controversy, however, as with Vice-Mayor Liang Chao’s sole “nay” vote on a substantially similar resolution passed at the Cities Association of Santa Clara County.

UPCOMING – CUSD Board Meeting – Thurs., March 25, 2021, 6:00 p.m.

The is a regular board meeting. Item 10.3 is a presentation on Enrollment Trends and Update. The decline in enrollment continues, but not drastically accelerated by COVID-19.  Item 11.1 on the agenda provides an update on the reopening of schools. Plans remain on track for hybrid opening on April 5. Item 11.2 is a resolution Condemning Violence Against Asian Americans.  The first canvassing for the vote for Measure A will be Sat., March 27.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION Tues., March 23, 2021, 6:45 Regular Meeting

The first item on the agenda is the previously postponed training on the Commissioner Handbook.The Consent Calendar is the 2020 General Plan Annual Housing Element Progress Report (APR) presented at the council regular meeting. There is a single action item: Appeal of the Director’s approval of a Tree Removal and Replacement Permit to allow the removal and replacement of fifteen (15) live trees of various species and two (2) dead trees in several locations within the Commons at Cupertino complex.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL Wed., March 24, 2021, 6:15 p.m., Closed Session

This is yet another Closed Session regarding lawsuits: (1) Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation – two lawsuits and (2) Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation – three potential cases. The city’s legal costs are a function of both costs per hour under contract and the existence of actual billable hours. Would the city’s legal costs be so high if the city council were less litigious?

RECAP  – CITY COUNCIL Tues., March 16, 2021, 6:45 p.m.; Regular Session; 5:45 Study Session; Closed Session 5:15

YouTube:  Part 1 – 3 hr. 44 min. Through public input Item #14;  Part 2 – 1 hr. 59 min.

Following the last minute Planning Commission meeting to find the property acquisition in compliance with the General Plan, council, in Closed Session, authorized the city manager to negotiate an agreement to acquire a small office building at 10455 Torre Avenue located at the northwest corner of Torre Avenue and Pacifica Drive (APN 369-40-009) adjacent to Library Field. This site would allow the city to move some city operations out of city hall which is too crowded and seismically unsafe, while keeping them in close proximity to city hall itself.

The 5:45 Study Discussion regarded the County Board of Supervisors’ consideration of Measure A funded potential acquisition of the shopping center site located at 10591 N. De Anza Blvd. Cupertino, where Outback Steakhouse was located. This would be an excellent use of Measure A funds to benefit Cupertino by providing affordable housing and services in a location already zoned for residential and commercial use. Ultimately, council signaled support in principle for the acquisition, but only after getting side-tracked in a lengthy discussion of non-existent project details and a rehash of old grievances about Vallco and state legislation.

Item #14: 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. Consideration of this item consumed two hours of public input and wordsmithing before the motion was finally made to accept the staff recommendation as presented. Council approved unanimously with the condition of a yearly check-in to determine if modifications are needed.

Item #15: Consider adopting a resolution affirming the City’s commitment to stand in solidarity with the Asian and Pacific Islander community. This was approved unanimously, with a modification suggested by Vice-Mayor Chao to remove language that was critical of then-President Trump’s use of the terms “Chinese virus” and “kung flu.”

Item #16: 2020 General Plan Annual Report, including the General Plan Annual Housing Element Progress Report. This was a lengthy presentation that required no action by council. Rather than focusing on how Cupertino can improve housing production, the majority council wanted to know how Cupertino compared to other jurisdictions to counter perceived “unfair attacks.”  A study session on the upcoming Housing Element is scheduled for April.

The meeting adjourned at 11:40 p.m.

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: These become part of the public record. Contacts at

CUPERTINO COURIER, March 19,  2021

The front page photo and story on page 5 is Helping hand for Mother Nature: Audubon Society counts feathered friends in Birdathon. This organization is headquartered at McClellan Ranch in Cupertino. Community briefs on page 6 are (1) RYDE gets grant to expand service in the West Valley and (2) Library lobby opens.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor