Cupertino Matters

Does the administration of this recall election seem disjointed? The first mailing from the Registrar of Voters (ROV) was the County Voter Information Guide (sent to every voter), which provided a list of voting places. There were two pages hidden in the middle listing the 46 replacement candidates with their party affiliation and ballot titles. Then there were two trifold ROV Voters Choice mailings to encourage voting. Finally, the actual ballot arrived in the mail, with the Yes/No item on the recall on the front, and the list of candidates on the backside. Almost a week later, the official state California Gubernatorial Recall Election pamphlet arrived, one per household, not voter. This contains ballot statements by 34 of the 46 candidates. Some statements are brief (“Do you dig it” by Dan Kapelovitz). Some candidates have websites; others do not.

This recall features a disturbing lack of candidate information, non-partisan forums and voter engagement. It will be fought in the media. Governor Newsom is saturating traditional media with his Vote NO campaign. The replacement candidates are running on social media name recognition, with the impact showing in a poll by Survey USA  released on Aug. 4. This poll shows YouTuber “Meet Kevin” Paffrath leading with 27% of the voters, followed by radio’s Larry Elder with 23%, and John Cox, the most recent Republican nominee for Governor in 2018 at 10%. How well do these individuals represent your values and priorities for the CEO of our state?

Given that a replacement candidate (based on the poll above) could easily be seated with a clear minority of voter support, is this process even democratic?  Voters will have a much better opportunity to make their voices known following our well established electoral process coming up in 2022, less than a year away.

In city business, Cupertino has made negligible progress planning for 4,588 units for its RHNA Housing Element due by the end of 2022. One overlooked type of housing is the growing need for senior housing. There are only 584 units available for the over 6,000 households in Cupertino with residents over the age of 60. Learn more about the needs of our community at the speaker series starting Aug. 29, Sun.1- 3, on Senior Housing sponsored by the Cupertino Library Foundation.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION Tues., August 24,  6:45 p.m., Regular Session

This is a Study Session to provide an update on the Pre-Approved Accessory Dwelling Unit Program and Accessory Dwelling Unit implementation. The upcoming  RHNA Housing Element process encourages ADU’s as one strategy to increase housing stock by streamlining the approval process. This has been somewhat successful with 20 ADUs permitted last year, up from 8 in 2014. Permits dramatically increased following a raft of state legislation in 2016 to the present making these secondary homes easier to build by removing them from the political process, reducing the fees and requirements imposed on them, and establishing clear approval timelines. The program under consideration is modeled on a similar one already in effect in San Jose and is designed to make the ADU permitting process simpler and quicker.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL Tues., August 24,  6:15 p.m., Closed Session

This council continues to spend taxpayer money on legal expenses. The subject of this session is Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation. Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to § 54956.9(d) (two cases).

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Aug. 17, 2021, Regular meeting, 6:45 p.m.

YouTube: 3hr. 46 min.

The meeting was chaired by Vice-Mayor Liang Chao since Mayor Darcy Paul was sick. It ended at an unusually early 10:30 p.m., though the 3 items on the agenda did not justify even that much time. Council failed to approve 2 of the 3 items, only passing an extension of the Special Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit for restaurants and eating establishments–a key piece of legislation that has allowed Cupertino restaurants to weather the pandemic by allowing outdoor dining.

Item #19 Consideration of a Professional Services Agreement for Plan Check Services for the Westport Cupertino Project. Rather than authorizing the city manager to proceed with finalizing this agreement, council delayed a decision until they could peruse the final agreement. However, KT Urban, the developer, reimburses the city for this work, so it is not clear why council should need to micromanage the contract. This is yet another delay by this city council in getting a housing project under construction that was  approved over a year ago. Is this responsible governance?

Item #20 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. (Application No. CP-2020-003; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: City-Wide). (Tabled on February 2, 2021). This was another extensive discussion–this time, one continued from Feb. 2. This council flip-flops on the concept of “community benefits.” They requested more community benefits from the sole small project approved for a General Plan Amendment application earlier this year, but questioned including them in future General Plan Amendment applications. Due to the absence of Mayor Paul, the majority council decided to table the decision, creating yet more unproductive work for city planning staff. Given council inaction, the previous process remains in place.

Item #21:Consideration of an Urgency Ordinance of the Cupertino City Council extending authorization of outdoor operations of qualifying establishments (restaurants, wineries, breweries, and bars) pursuant to a Special Temporary Outdoor Dining Permit  With little discussion, approved 4-0-1 with Mayor Paul absent.

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 the 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, August 20, 2021

The front page photo and article on page 5 feature the article Ceremony ‘a very somber moment’:  City holds bell ringing for peace with Japanese sister city, Toyokawa written by Jack Zhang and Rachel Hang, interns for Councilmember Hung Wei. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Sidewalk hours for Simitian and (2) Bellarmine Hall of Fame inductions. There were no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor