Cupertino Matters

This weekend brought lots of Halloween events with residents celebrating being able to socialize outdoors. Sunday night, however, brought few door-to-door trick-or-treaters.

Public outreach by the city for the Housing Element will be initiated with a presentation at the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Action Committee (LAC) on Friday, Nov. 5, at 12:30 p.m. The program also features Shiloh Ballard, Executive Director of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. Registration is free, but a contribution is appreciated.

This is also a reminder to complete the survey to assess awareness of existing senior services available to residents. This survey isn’t limited to seniors, since many of the resources, such as West Valley Community Services, are available regardless of age.  Even if you don’t need these services today, there may be neighbors and family members who either need services, or may need them in the future. Complete the survey, available in both English and Chinese at by 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.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Nov. 2, 2021, 6:45 Regular  session, 6:45, 5:30 Study session; 5:00 Closed Session

There were four closed sessions regarding the city manager search, with late addition of a closed session prior to this meeting. So far, there has only been “no reportable action” .Will council be able to act before the contract for the interim city manager, Greg Larson, ends?

The study session is consider new state legislation (Senate Bill 9), that provides for ministerial approval of up to two units and/or a lot split in a residential single-family zone (Application No.: CP-2021-001; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: Citywide in all residential single family zones). This housing bill, signed by Gov. Newsom in September to encourage production of more neighborhood housing, has rankled a number of historically exclusionary cities. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, this new law would allow homeowners to build two homes on lots zoned for single-family use only. It would also allow such homeowners to split their lots and separately sell one or build up to two homes on both lots by-right without protracted public hearings. However, there are significant restrictions, including owner occupancy, restrictions on hazardous sites, historical resources, and properties currently occupied by tenants, to name a few. Under SB9, the city may only rely on “objective” standards in implementing this law through local ordinance. Staff expects to bring an ordinance to council on Dec. 7, 2021.

The regular meeting agenda is short, so the session may end early. There are two Ceremonial Matters and Presentations: (1) Presentation from United Against Hate and proclamation recognizing November 14 – 20, 2021 as United Against Hate Week and  (2) Proclamation recognizing November as Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Oral Communications follow immediately. Reports should be routine. The Consent Calendar appears to be routine.

Item #11 Consider the second reading of Ordinance No. 21-2232 adopting amendments to the 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. This should be a pro forma approval of an ordinance previously approved unanimously.

Item #12 For the future operations of the Municipal Water System, consideration of: 1) Key Lease Terms for a new Long-Term Lease; 2) first amendment of the Current Lease Agreement with San Jose Water Company to extend the term up to three years; and 3) request to increase Public Works Administration – Special Projects Budget Allocation.  Three water systems provide service to the city of Cupertino, with one system owned by the city, but leased to San Jose Water Company until Sept. 30, 2022. This short-term extension is needed to ensure that the city has time to evaluate RFPs from qualified water service providers, and to recommend (1) sale of the system to free up capital for other high-priority projects, (2) city operation which would require significant ramp up time and unknown benefit to residents, or (3) a long term lease similar to the current lease. Should the city be expending resources to consider taking on  the business of providing water services to only one-third of its residents?

Item #13: FY 2021-2022 City Work Program Q1 Update. The approved city Work Plan was unrealistic for FY 2020-21, since it didn’t include the impact of COVID. As a result many work items rolled over into FY 2021-22. Then, the council added even more work items. Progress on the Top Ten priorities have been substantial, but lower priority items are not being addressed.

However, the work program (and council attention)  fails to  accommodate ongoing challenge to city operations:

    • Key staff vacancies in every department except Information Technology;
    • City Manager and City Attorney leadership transitions;
    • Vallco project review and processing;
    • COVID response and planning, including resumption of some pre-pandemic services;
    • Initiation of a comprehensive internal audit program with substantial staff support;
    • New campsites for unhoused individuals;
    • RHNA process efforts and project re-launch;
    • SB 9 response and implementation; and
    • Other referrals and work items beyond the normal course of work that were not included in the Work Program.

Council members as a whole lack substantial management experience, reflected in gridlock at the day-to-day city level, but will they recognize the need to go into maintenance mode, rather than development mode?

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to speak at council meetings, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers have three minutes, and coaching is available!  You should introduce yourself and have a clear statement of your position. Readers are also 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

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

YouTube: 56 min.

This was a short meeting, less than an hour.

Item #4: General Plan Annual Review.  No changes to the report were recommended.

Item #5: Look ahead at 2022 Planning Commission meetings. This was a general roadmap for the Planning Commission. Attendance at the annual Planning Academy for Planning Commissioners was recommended.

CUPERTINO COURIER, October 29, 2021

The front page photo and article on page 5 are titled Boris Stanley Day: Council honors man who aided city’s incorporation in 1955. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) DeAnza president joins WVCS board, (2) Fall festivities  and (3) New minimum wage of $16.40 per hour in Cupertino.

Warm regards,

Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor