Cupertino Matters

Reopening schools on a hybrid basis has been welcomed by students, teachers and staff as a start to the resumption of normalcy. Though there has been an infusion of one-time monies to defray COVID-19 costs, funding for our schools continues to be challenging. Canvassing for the vote for the CUSD Measure A parcel tax continues with ballots due by May 4. Ballots can be either mailed or dropped in the ballot box at city hall. The current parcel tax expires in two years, so this replacement is critical to maintaining adequate funding for our schools. The district is required to submit a balanced three year budget by June 30, so this measure is needed to cover the “fiscal cliff” in year 3.

Our city council seems to be determined to tarnish Cupertino’s reputation as a technology leader as they consider restricting badly needed 5 G small cell  infrastructure in the city, as noted by Joint Venture Silicon Valley: Joint Venture to Cupertino: Your networks are really slow. Will Cupertino catch up with the rest of the valley? What’s your cell coverage like? What’s it like for emergency service providers? You can send your concerns to the City Council.

TONIGHT – Tues., April 20, 2021, 6:45 p.m. Special joint study session meeting with City Council, Planning Commission, and Housing Commission on the Housing Element update

This Housing Element Kick-off session will provide background for the upcoming process. It will be facilitated by the Santa Clara County Planning Collaborative’s technical support team. Cupertino will be required to produce (not just entitle) over 4,500 new homes in the next 2023-2030 cycle. More information can be found on the city website. Presentation materials can be downloaded from

This meeting is introductory and will cover the enhanced requirements under new laws designed to help cities plan for actual housing production and the standards by which those plans the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development will judge city-level plans. Two key requirements–that the city plan with the realistic capacity of infill development sites in mind and that the city’s location of such housing affirmatively further fair housing principles in order to ensure greater inclusion–will likely receive the most attention as part of the discussion.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL Thurs., April 29, 2021, 6:30 p.m., Closed Session

This is yet another closed session with legal counsel regarding two cases of existing litigation and two cases of potential litigation. For a change, one at least includes a potential for cost recovery–a civil fraud case against a former city accountant who is due to stand trial in a parallel criminal case later this year. Former city employee, Jennifer Y. Chang is charged with having embezzled almost $800,000 from the city from the early 2000s until her sudden retirement after a change in city management in 2015. You can read the city’s filing

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL Tues., April 20, 2021, 6:45 p.m., Regular Session; Study Session 5:30 p.m.

YouTube:  Part 1 – 1 hr. 58 min; Part 2 starting with consent calendar – 3 hr. 17 min.

This was a particularly unproductive meeting. The Study Session on the City of Cupertino’s Permitting Guidelines for Small Cell Facilities within the Public Right-of-Way  rehashed decisions that have been made over the past 3 years. Council has little control over most aspects touching on small cell facilities, yet seems to be listening to the handful of residents who want further impediments to the city’s technology infrastructure. The study session ran late, so Mayor Paul paused the study session, then resumed it after Oral Communications and Reports by staff and council members. It finally ended at 8:45 p.m., over 3 hours later.

Two items were pulled from the Consent Calendar. The first item was #8, Approve a Semi-Rural Designation, Eliminating the Requirement for Sidewalks on the Eastern Portion of Carmen Road, between Scenic Boulevard and Stevens Creek Boulevard. Though 9 out of 11 houses on Carmen Road requested this change, the time engendered a 40 minute discussion about sidewalks and ADA accessibility. The item was not approved.

The second item was #9, Proposed amendment to the Professional/Consulting Services Agreement between the City of Cupertino and HdL ECONSolutions of an additional $40,800 as an extension of the contract terms and conditions to provide supplemental Economic Development (ED) staffing services for the City of Cupertino through the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2021. Council spent another 40 minutes requesting more information on what should have been a routine approval of a contract extension due to a higher workload than originally anticipated. Instead, questions were raised about sending the contract out for competitive bidding, scope of work, and other matters out of proportion to the amount of money requested and the timing during the contract year. What does this say about the judgment of this council when they spend this much time on a $40,000 contract extension in a $110 million budget? In the meantime, important policy decisions are deferred meeting after meeting.

Item #10: Consider amendments to Cupertino Municipal Code Sections 19.56.030A (Table 19.56.030) and 19.56.030F (Density Bonus Ordinance) to incentivize the development of affordable housing by allowing for density bonuses of up to 40 percent (Application No: MCA-2021-002; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: Citywide. (Continued from April 6). Consideration of this item, the first substantial item on the agenda, commenced at 10:10 p.m. Despite  warnings that this ordinance potentially violates state housing law and invites litigation, council voted  to approve 4-1 with Wei voting nay. The state Housing and Community Development (HCD) reviewed a similar ordinance passed by the City of Encinitas, received  two letters (one on December 16, 2020, and another on March 25, 2021) explaining its ordinance violates state housing law and demanding its revocation.

Item #11: 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. (Continued from April 6). This is another postponement from the previous council meeting which ran late and was postponed yet again, a consistent pattern with this council avoiding making decisions.

Item #12: Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 Fee Schedule Update. Due to the late hour, this item was continued to the next city council meeting.

Item #13: Consider approving the updated Athletic Field Use Policy. Due to the late hour, this item was continued after public comment to the next city council meeting.

EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to email individual members of the council, 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 your subject line the topic or agenda item on which you are commenting.  These become part of the public record. Contacts at

CUPERTINO COURIER, April 23,  2021

The community briefs on page 5 are (1) Safe Routes contest for students grades 6-12 and (2) Librarian gets read in, announcing appointment of Stephen Fizgerald as deputy county librarian. A legal notice on page 21 is a hearing on May 6 before the Environmental Review Committee meeting for 10625 S. Foothill Blvd, a mixed-use development to replace the now closed Foothill Market.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor