Cupertino Matters

Memorial Day weekend is coming up but promises to be quiet compared to pre-COVID-19 years. State restrictions will remain in place until June 15, then the county and city will determine restrictions that will remain at the local level.

In good news this week, our very capable City Manager Deborah Feng Named One of Silicon Valley’s “Women of Influence” by Silicon Valley Business Journal. City council will be very busy, even though there isn’t a regular meeting. Teen Commission interviews are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, with a Study Session on Wednesday on the City Work-Plan, which is well behind schedule for approval due to council contentiousness. A last minute Closed Session is being squeezed in on Monday night regarding existing and potential litigation.

UPCOMING – CUSD Board meeting Thurs., May 26, 2021, 6:00.

This is a special meeting to consider the school budget for the next 3 years, which will be challenging given the defeat of Measure A. The virtual link and comment form will be posted 15 minutes before the meeting starts. The school closure alternatives developed by the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) will have to be considered as well as other board financial levers, such as closing school libraries. Closing schools is never easy, but will be essential with declining enrollment and the funding linked to it. Determining which schools should be closed or consolidated and the structure of the remaining schools will likely be contentious if recent history illuminates the future. School board members will have hard decisions to make about the future of the district, and school closure opponents have been very vocal. 

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Mon., May 24, 2021, 8:00., Closed Session

Scheduled immediately after the first Teen commission interviews, this is yet another closed session with legal counsel regarding three cases of existing litigation and two cases of potential litigation. Is the city headed back to court over Vallco? This is quite possible, given the letter of rebuttal from SHP, countering the city’s newly hired attorney’s claims, pointing out that the areas of concern are only 1,250 sq. ft. of the over 1.3 million sq. ft. site and can be easily removed pursuant to guidance from local environmental regulators. The letter also points out misunderstanding of SB35 requirements, as well as the environmental compliance procedures used in the area.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION Tues., May 25, 2021  6:45 p.m., Regular Session

This is the first regular meeting since March. Agenda item #1 is a Presentation by the City of Cupertino IT Department Staff regarding the DUO MFA – 365 application, for multi-factor authentication. This will be followed by approval of the March meeting minutes.

Item #4 Amendment to an existing Use Permit (U-1994-01) to consider allowing a childcare use to operate Monday through Friday, 7:50 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at an existing church facility. (Application No.: M-2021-001; Applicant(s): Archana Naphade (Delight Montessori Preschool); Location: 6191 Bollinger Road APN # 375-41-007). This would ordinarily be a routine approval. Previously, there had been a childcare facility, Haven Christian Preschool, at West Valley Presbyterian Church, but it ceased operations in 2014. The existing use permit expired, so the new operator in the same space is required to apply for an amendment.

Item #5 Review of the One-Year Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-2022 Report for Consistency to the City’s General Plan. This may be a lengthy review due to the inexperience of the commissioners, who may not understand that their role is review for consistency with the city General Plan, not setting the projects and funding priorities.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL, Wed., May 26, 2021, City Council,  6:30 p.m., Special session

There is a single item for this meeting: Consider the proposed Fiscal Year 2021-2022 City Work Program. This was first considered on March 30, and has taken two months to solidify using a rating process that engaged all councilmembers. Then at the May 5 council meeting, Mayor Darcy Paul introduced new work projects that had not been vetted by staff nor rated by councilmembers: (1) $250,000 for a 4th of July drone show in 2022 that has unknown feasibility due to FAA regulations (the regular fireworks event cost $82,500), (2) $300.000 for commissions and council to supposedly reengage the community, with undefined projects, and (3) $100,000 for a Cupertino Store at the Chamber of Commerce. The total of  $650,000 is a significant amount of money – what is the benefit to our community?

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL, Tues., May 18, 2021, City Council,  6:45 p.m., Regular Session; Closed Session 6:00 p.m.

YouTube:  Part 1 –  1 hr. 50 min.;  Part 2 – 3 hr. 14 min. starting  Item #15

The report out from the closed session was no “reportable action” on the search for a city attorney.

Item #14: Consider and act on Ordinance No. 21-2227: An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino amending City Code Chapter 10.90 of Title 10 (Public Peace, Safety, and Morals) to prohibit smoking in multi-unit housing and certain outdoor areas. Council spent over an hour on this contentious item. Vice-Mayor Liang Chao and Councilmember Hung Wei were strongly opposed to the inclusion of single-family homes with junior ADUs in this ordinance as requested by Councilmember Kitty Moore.  Following circuitous discussion, Councilmember Jon Willey agreed with them, so the stated ordinance failed to pass the second reading. At 8:40, council finally agreed to revert to the original staff recommendation, and unanimously passed it with a first reading, noting amendments could be made later.

Item #15: 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. (Previously heard on April 20). This was a confounding discussion. At the May 18 council meeting, this council refused to approve a routine consent item to authorize an additional $40,800 for unexpectedly high expenses due to COVID-19 for the contract Economic Development Manager. The city manager presented options for payment and council seriously considered not paying the bill for expenses already incurred. Deliberations revealed a lack of preparation on the part of some councilmembers who could have supplied their questions to staff in advance in order to ensure timely consideration of the matter and higher quality deliberations. Ending about 10 p.m., the council finally agreed to pay up to the contract maximum, but not for some $14,000 of services rendered beyond that amount, and came to question the entire procurement process after 1 hour and 20 minutes of perplexing deliberation. 

Item #16: Accept the Third Quarter Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2020-21 and City Work Program and Key Project Update; consider adopting Resolution 21-038 approving Budget Modification #2021-140 increasing appropriations by $787,279 and revenues by $9,552,599; consider approving a $2,000,000 contribution from the General Fund to the City’s Section 115 Pension Trust. Council spent a mere 38 minutes reviewing this routine report before approving unanimously.

Item #17: Initial Study Session on Fiscal Year (FY) 21-22 Proposed Budget. Council spent approximately 1 hour considering the proposed budget of $121 million, a $10.4 million increase over the bare-bones FY2020-21 budget. There was no discussion of strategies to reduce city dependence on one major corporate source of sales tax, nor a lack of development suppressing growth of property tax revenue. Instead questions focused on the line item for festivals, and minor CIP items. Approved unanimously.

Item #17: Recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Commission to approve funds in the amount of $92,900 for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 Community Funding Grant Program, annual funding for the Cupertino Historical Society in the amount of $20,000, and approval of final funding amounts for the Community Funding Program, to be included in the Recommended Budget for FY 2021-22. Due to dithering over earlier agenda items, council ran out of time to consider this item, despite the number of residents waiting to speak. It is now deferred to the June 1 council meeting, with the promise that it would be first on the agenda.

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. 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


The front page photo and community brief on 5 is Major upgrade: Nonprofit unveils market for food-insecure clients, highlighting the opening of the West Valley Community Services’ (WVCS) expanded food pantry following a $2,215,000 capital campaign.  Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Food for Thought, (2) Give input on design of Junipero Serra Trail, and (3) EmPower film contest. Minor legal notices appear on pages 19-21.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor