Cupertino Matters

The storm this weekend brought much welcomed rain, though it caused power outages and downed trees. Hopefully, there will be more rain to alleviate the drought and finally douse the fires that are still burning across the state.

Our Parks and Recreation division has launched a citywide survey to assess awareness of existing senior services available to  residents. The population  of Cupertino is aging–approximately one in three households has at least one resident over the age of 60. There is a growing need for more senior housing and services, yet many residents are unaware of current programs for themselves, their family members, and their neighbors. While senior housing is quite limited in Cupertino, there are many resources to assist residents who are aging-in-place. Please complete this survey, available in both English and Chinese, no later than Dec. 3. You can also help spread the word by posting this link to Facebook, and other social media, and  publicizing it to your community organizations, as well as personal contacts. A hard copy form is available at the library, senior center, and Quinlan Center. Respondents do not have to be Cupertino residents–our Senior Center (eligible at age 50) includes members from adjoining cities.

In local governance matters, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)–the state’s campaign ethics watchdog–has opened two investigations into former Cupertino mayor, and current Planning Commission Vice-Chair, Steven Scharf, for failing to disclose campaign finance contributions for nearly a year (FPPC Case No. 2021-00875; Steven Scharf), and for failing to file mandatory financial conflict of interest disclosures. For her part, Vice-Mayor Liang Chao was also previously fined for failing to file mandatory financial conflict of interest disclosures, and remains under investigation alongside the Better Cupertino Action Committee in part for unlawful campaign coordination. Both campaigned on transparency. Do they apply the same standard of transparency to themselves as they demand in public?

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Oct. 26, 2021, Closed session, 4:30 p.m.

There were three closed sessions on the city manager search, and so far, there has only been “no reportable action”.  This is the fourth session which has 3 agenda items: (1) Public Employee Performance Evaluation (Government Code § 54957(b)(1)); Title: Interim City Manager, (2) Public Employee Appointment/Public Employment (Government Code § 54957(b)(1)); Title: City Manager, and  (3) Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation (Government Code § 54956.9(c)); City of Cupertino v. Jennifer Chang, Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 21CV380291. The former city manager resigned in May, and left in June.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues, Oct. 26, 2021, Regular meeting, 6:45 p.m.

There is a limited agenda for this meeting, with only two substantive agenda items, neither requiring action.

Item #4: General Plan Annual Review. The city is required to provide a review to the city council and the state Department of Housing and Community Development each year. The commission will review the approved 119-page 2021 document and provide input for the next revision due April 1, 2022. The report was substantially reformatted for 2021 to improve readability.

Item #5: Look ahead at 2022 Planning Commission meetings. This item outlines four areas of review for the Planning Commission for calendar year 2022, all related to housing:

  1. Housing Element site selection – Winter 2022
  2. SB 9 and potential other housing bills objective standards – Spring/Summer 2022
  3. Housing Element policies, environmental review and related discussion/adoption – Fall 2022
  4. Mixed Use and Residential Design Guidelines review and recommendation – late Fall 2022
RECAP –  CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Oct. 19, 2021, Regular session

YouTube: 3 hr. 45 min.

The meeting ran less than four hours, ending at approximately 10:30 p.m., a welcome change from midnight adjournments. Councilmember Reports focused on participation at a number of community events that resumed this fall. The Second Reading of the Density Bonus Ordinance (Item #15) passed unanimously, concluding 10 months and 9 council/planning meetings with unnecessary staff work to futilely circumvent state housing law AB2345. The Second Reading for the Organic Waste Disposal Reduction Ordinance (Item #16) also  passed unanimously.

Item #17: 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). Staff presented a 34-page report on modifications to municipal  code to ensure the standards are objective. There was extensive council discussion, but ultimately the only changes were minor modifications to Figure LU-2 to disallow architectural features in the 1:1 building plane, which further constrains the design of new buildings. The item passed unanimously.

The staff report also included a 13-page list of items requested for objective standards adoption. The list was well-organized, with items grouped into (1) Immediate completion with Item #17, (2) Current work program, (3) Completed, (4) Possible Housing Element update, (5) Possible Future Work Program and (6) On hold. All of these require Planning resources–are there enough resources to do the day-to-day work for the community PLUS these additional work projects requested by council? Isn’t the Housing Element the top priority given the consequences for not having one certified?

YOU CAN 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. Council contacts can be found at

CUPERTINO COURIER, October 22, 2021

The front page photo and article on page 5 are titled Some frightful delights:  Halloween happenings are happening again locally with a summary of events. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) “Cher Jacques!” premieres Sunday and (2) Transformative Reads – Silicon Valley Reads in February /March 2022. There is a legal notice on page 21 regarding extension of the current lease of the Cupertino Municipal Water System for three years.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor