- CUSD (Cupertino Union School District) Update
- TONIGHT – City Council, Tues., Sept. 28, 6:00, Closed Session
- TONIGHT – Planning Commission, Tues., Sept. 28, 6:45 Regular
- RECAP – City Council, Tues., Sept. 21
Cupertino publicity was negative this week, as Planning Commission Chair Ray Wang was called out for denying the presence of homeless in Cupertino, as well as his vote to maintain Cupertino’s unlawful Density Bonus ordinance. This is yet another incident of bad behavior by an appointed official representing the city. Previously, this included his threats to doxx residents, a prior criminal conviction under a cyberstalking law, a related sexual harassment lawsuit resulting from an apparent land use dispute in Redwood City and threats against his critics’ jobs. Why does this city council majority continue to accept this irresponsible behavior?
In related news, just today, Gov. Newsom signed an additional 27 housing bills, many that refine the Housing Element process that Cupertino is only just now commencing, that address how new housing development applications are handled, and that empower the California Department of Housing and Community Development to directly sue cities that fail to comply with numerous state housing laws. You can read a list of these new laws here.
The CUSD Board, on Sept. 23, heard recommendations to close 3 schools and 2 campuses in 2022-23. The following is a quick synopsis:
- Maintain all 5 middle schools for next 3 years and monitor enrollment
- Consolidate neighborhood Muir students on Dilworth campus
- Move CLIP (Chinese Language Immersion Program) from Meyerholz to Muir
- Close Regnart campus and split students between Lincoln and Blue Hills (can’t be accommodated on a single campus)
- Consolidate Meyerholz neighborhood school with Eaton, and close the Meyerholz campus
- Cap enrollment at 4 alternative schools to no more than 4 kindergarten classes
- Staff all elementary schools with a minimum of 2 kindergarten classes.
Overall, these recommendations were based on the work done a year ago by the CAC (Citizens Advisory Committee), and refined based on more financial analysis and facility assessments as well as the Criteria Data Dashboard available on the district home page that rated each school on weighted criteria developed by the board.
Public hearings for redistricting are being held for many jurisdictions. The second public hearing on communities of interest for the Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s move to trustee area elections will take place Oct. 4 at 7:00 p.m. Communities of interest will be considered in dividing the district into five trustee areas of roughly equal population size so voters in each can elect an area resident to serve on the board. The information will be incorporated into draft trustee area boundary maps that will be available for public review and comment in November, December and January. Additional information is available at www.fhda.edu/trusteeareas.
UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Sept. 28, 2021, Closed session, 6:00 p.m.
Mayor Paul has implemented monthly closed sessions that don’t have time limits. There are three litigation cases. Is it any surprise that the city has a $2 million legal budget?:
Item #1: Public Employee Appointment/Public Employment (Government Code § 54957(b)(1)); Title: (City Manager). No progress has been reported on the recruitment of a city manager, four months after Deb Feng resigned on May 27. Presumably, the council will be briefed on status. The last time the city was without a full-time city manager, there was a failed recruitment before Deb Feng was hired in the second cycle. Maybe Cupertino’s reputation is a factor? Experienced city managers talk with each other; there are several open city manager positions in cities with reputations as a good place to work.
Item #2 Conference with Legal Counsel – Initiation of litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9(c) (one case). Whom is council contemplating suing now?
Item #3 Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation. Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9(d) (two cases). Who is threatening to sue the city?
UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues, Sept. 28, 2021, Regular meeting, 6:45 p.m
There is a single major agenda item: Consider adopting amendments to the Cupertino General Plan to add clarity to existing language in Chapter 3 (Land Use) in Figure LU-2, Policy LU-1.1 and Goal LU-13, and to add emphasis to existing language in Chapter 6 (Environmental Resources and Sustainability) (Strategy ES-6.1.1), and Cupertino Municipal Code Title 17, Environmental Regulations, to add a new Chapter, Chapter 17.04, to adopt standard environmental protection requirements for construction, development and other similar or related activities. (Application No(s): GPA-2021-001, MCA-2021-004; Applicant(s): City of Cupertino; Location: citywide). This item regards minor modifications to the General Plan regarding environmental protections for construction and development. The discussion will be technical, and this commission has limited understanding of the complexities of city ordinances. This is part of a larger program to clarify objective standards, in light of state housing laws which limit discretionary decision-making and council direction. Overall, it’s a large, convoluted project. The current item is limited to objective standards for environmental protection.
RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Sept. 21, 2021, Regular meeting, 6:45 p.m; Study Session 5:30
Council ended at 11, the earliest it adjourned for quite some time. The subject of the 5:30 session was Study Session to provide an update on the Pre-Approved Accessory Dwelling Unit Program and Accessory Dwelling Unit implementation. This was an explanation of a special process for expedited ADU approval; however, vendors for the program have yet to be approved.
Consent Item #15 Initiate Sixth-Cycle General Plan Housing Element update, consider consultant agreement to complete the Sixth-Cycle General Plan Housing Element update, related rezoning, and all necessary environmental review as required under State law, and associated budget modification was pulled for discussion. The city manager declared this a Critical Path Project for the city. After two failed cycles, the city hustled to finally get six proposals, of which two came from qualified consultants. EMC Planning Group was chosen because it could start earlier than the other consultant, an important consideration given that other cities secured their consultants as early as Dec. 2020. The scope of work determines the size of the contract, since some cities have already done more groundwork. The planning department is shorthanded, and is recruiting another planner. Council ultimately approved unanimously.
Item #16: Consider adopting a resolution approving the addition of a Suicide Prevention Policy. There were several speakers and letters of support testifying to the importance of mental health in our community. Councilmember Hung Wei spoke very movingly about her daughter’s suicide, and desire to prevent more, particularly among young people. Council approved unanimously.
Item #17 Consider adjustments to the revised Athletic Field Use Policy. This item provided feedback to council about the new policies which may need to be adjusted in the future as usage sorts out. Cricket is problematic since it requires an entire large field. By contrast, other sports, such as volleyball, can share a field.
Item #18 City Work Program Update. The city manager and Mayor Paul visited the Stocklmeir house. It would require substantial capital investment to restore and bring it up to ADA requirements. They also visited the Lawrence-Mitty property, which is undergoing work to remove the berms, potentially as fill dirt for the Memorial Park ponds. There are homeless people on the property, so this is being monitored by the sheriff and WVCS. Mayor Paul requested more publicity on accomplishments, trying to spin meager council achievements.
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 CupertinoMatters.org/express-your-opinion
CUPERTINO COURIER, September 24, 2021
The front page photo and article on page 5 are by Rachel Jiang and Jack Zhang, interns for Cupertino City Councilmember Hung Wei, featuring the article Cultural outreach: New center offers Mandarin programs for adults, at Lynbrook High School. The Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Fall Bike Fest, (2) Westport moves forward, and (3) COVID town hall. Legal notices on pages 19-20 are (1) Changes to the municipal code’s Density Bonus Chapter and (2) Appeal of a 2-story residential permit to be heard at city council on Oct. 5.
Publisher and Editor