Cupertino Matters

Last week, Santa Clara County advanced to the Red Tier for COVID-19 restrictions.  This is welcome news to our local business community. Restaurants can now offer limited indoor dining, as well as indoor gyms and fitness centers at 10% capacity. The Cupertino Library now offers lobby service (not full stack service) in addition to drop off / pickup services.

Vaccination availability continues to expand with CVS and RiteAid providing the new Johnson and Johnson single shot vaccine. Scheduling appointments, particularly for seniors, remains challenging with additional outreach needed to overcome language barriers and technology limitations. Testing continues and remains available for anyone on Wednesdays at the Cupertino Senior Center.

UPCOMING – CUSD Board Meeting – Thurs., March 11, 2021, 5:00 p.m.

Item 7.1 on the agenda provides an update on the reopening of schools. Parents are being contacted for their decisions on keeping their students in distance learning only or returning to school in a hybrid mode starting April 5.

UPCOMING – Legislative Review Committee – Fri., March 12, 2021, 9:30 a.m. 

No agenda is yet posted, but based on the outcome of the last meeting, the LRC can be expected to examine legislation working its way through Sacramento and to authorize the drafting of various advocacy letters opposing the state’s efforts at solving the housing crisis.

CANCELLED – PLANNING COMMISSION Tues., March 9, 2021, 6:45 Regular Meeting

Per the Notice of Cancellation, this meeting will not occur on account of the postponement of business.

CLOSED SESSION –  CITY COUNCIL MEETING Mon., March 8, 2021, 8:30 p.m.

This was called with 24 hour notice on Sunday, with the subject Conference with Real Property Negotiators pursuant to Government Code Section 54956.8. Property: 10455 Torre Avenue located at the northwest corner of Torre Avenue and Pacifica Drive (APN 369-40-009. This parcel is currently occupied by a small office building that largely contains law offices and is part of a larger set of low-slung office buildings near City Hall. It could serve any number of needs, including some city operations given the limitations of the current City Hall building.

RECAP- CITY COUNCIL MEETING Tues., March 2, 2021, 6:45; Regular Session; 5:30 Study Session

YouTube: Part 1 – 1 hr. 54 min through Oral Communications; Part 2 – 2 hr. 58 min. Manager’s Report through Item #11; Part 3 – 1 hr. 26 min.

The 5:30 Study Session addressed the Rancho Rinconada Recreation and Park District City Work Program Item Update and Next Steps. Discussion was lively regarding this  small special district, a holdover from the Rancho Rinconada neighborhood’s pre-annexation era. The tax situation was clarified. Residents of the district do not pay extra taxes; instead a portion of their taxes are redirected to the district instead of being paid to the city of Cupertino. The current board opposes acquisition. The council voted for Option #3–to delay consideration of the acquisition.

The City Manager reported  (Item #5) that unhoused residents at the temporary encampment on Vallco Parkway have been moved into housing, a major success. Mayor Darcy Paul pulled Item #7, minutes for the city council workshop on Feb. 6, 2021 for an unusual 27-minute discussion, lobbying for modification of the meeting minutes. “Corrected” minutes will be brought back at a future meeting.

Item #9 consisted of a Study Session to review Council goals, City Work Program updates, and proposed draft FY 2021-2022 City Work Program. This study session graphically demonstrated the impact of unanticipated workload resulting from COVID-19, estimated at more than 32,000 staff hours. In addition, 3,000 hours of extra work not on the work plan during the same time had to be accounted for. This means that staff is still working on 2019-2020 projects as well as the current 2020-2021 projects, and has added only 6 small projects for 2021-2022 from commissions to the 25 page work plan. Given this load, it’s hard to see how the Work Plan can be accomplished at current staffing levels. Nonetheless, council shows little propensity to reduce the number of projects.

Item #10 Consider and act on Ordinance No. 21-2223: “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino Adding Title 17 and Chapter 17.08 to the Cupertino Municipal Code, Replacing Level of Service (LOS) with Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) For Use in Transportation Analysis Pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Council approved unanimously.

Item #11: Accept the Mid-Year Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21; consider approving a Budget Modification increasing appropriations by $32,626,692 and revenues by $34,509,156.  Council approved unanimously.

Item #12: Consideration of Municipal Code Amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code, Chapter 10.90, expanding existing policies to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke, including in multi-unit housing, entryways, public events, service areas, and outdoor worksites. Public speakers emphasized the negative impact of secondhand smoke, particularly in multi-family units. Overall, council agreed with the proposed ordinance, but  was split on expansion into single family homes and ADUs. After discussion, Councilmember Hung Wei proposed an agreement to consider redrafted language when the ordinance comes back for an additional reading. The original ordinance then passed unanimously.

The meeting finally adjourned at midnight.


The cover picture and feature story on page 5 is ‘Failure to perform its legal obligation’ – Lehigh sues county for stalling expansion of Cupertino quarry. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Homestead student wins art contest, and (2) Donors sought for Rebuilding Together. Legal notices on page 28-29 announce public hearings at the March 16 meeting of city council: (1) Bird Safe and Dark Sky Regulations and (2) Changes to the Municipal Code’s Density Bonus Chapter.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor