Cupertino Matters

This year’s elections will bring more changes than usual due to redistricting. Every ten years, electoral districts are redrawn based on census data. Districts are legally mandated to be relatively close in population size, and to take into consideration communities of interest. This process is coming to a close with some interesting twists in the redrawn district lines.

The most notable shift is that incumbent Assemblymembers Evan Low and Marc Berman would have opposed each other in the redrawn state Assembly districts, so Asm. Low is planning on moving to run in the new Assembly District 26, which now includes Sunnyvale, Santa Clara and Cupertino. Asm. Low currently represents almost all of Cupertino in the state Legislature and his office is already in Cupertino. Asm. Marc Berman will run in his newly drawn district, which now includes Campbell, Asm. Low’s longtime home.

In the state Senate, Cupertino now finds itself in a newly drawn district comprising primarily cities on the Peninsula–effectively adding Cupertino to Sen. Josh Becker’s district. Previously, Cupertino was in the 13th Senatorial District, represented by Sen. Dave Cortese. However, since both were just elected in 2020 to 4 year terms, they will not be subject to re-election until 2024.

The Foothill-De Anza Community College District is transitioning to district elections, which will have a major impact on incumbents currently residing in Cupertino. At the January meeting, the board voted 4-1 with Trustee Gilbert Wong dissenting, to support a map based on city boundaries, rather than those of school districts. The map will be finalized at the February 14 meeting..

Cupertino will again find itself in County Supervisorial District 5, which will now extend from Palo Alto along the Santa Cruz mountains to Los Gatos. Sup. Joe Simitian will continue to represent the district.

Local Congressional maps also saw boundary shifts. Cupertino will, however, remain in a majority-minority AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) district extending from our city in the south to Fremont in the north, largely tracking the present boundaries of California Congressional District 17, a seat presently held by Rep. Ro Khanna.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues., Jan. 25, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

Item #2 Housing Element Update study session focusing on the establishment of a housing sites inventory, This working item is a look at the progress in developing the Housing Element, focusing on the methodology for developing the housing sites inventory, which is the primary deliverable for the Housing Element requiring sign-off by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Thus far, public participation at city-led events has been relatively sparse. Only 30 people attended the Cupertino Community Workshop, and only 7 versions of community-supplied maps have been submitted. By contrast, a community-based Housing Element panel discussion hosted by West Valley Community Services and Cupertino for All in October had approximately 100 attendees. Is the city’s outreach sufficient?

Item #3 Election of Planning Commission Chair and Vice Chair, and Committee representatives. This is the annual transition of commission positions.

Item #4 2022 Planning Commissioners Academy. This is a training seminar scheduled for March 16-18 and available for members of the Planning Commission. Most of the Planning Commission has little to no experience in land use planning, so this training will help them fill gaps in their knowledge.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Thurs. Jan. 27, 6:00, Closed session

Item #1 Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation (Gov. Code § 54956.9) a. People v. Jennifer Chang, Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. C1899743 b. Harshit Shrama & Poonam Salekar v. City of Cupertino, Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. 22CV392971.  These cases have been previously considered by the council.

Item #2: Conference with Legal Counsel – Anticipated Litigation. Significant exposure to litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9(d) (one case)   

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Mon,. Jan. 24, 5:30 p.m., Commission Interviews

Council had  5 minute interviews for 1 position on Fine Arts, 1 position on Housing, 1 position on Parks and Recreation,  2 on Public Safety, and 2 on Sustainability. Three of the eligible commissions did not reapply, which is not good for commission continuity. In contrast to 2021, there are only 20 all interviews were on one night.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Jan. 18, 2022, 6:45 p.m., Regular meeting

YouTube:  3 hr. 37 min.  

This was a short meeting, adjourning at 10:15 p.m., a welcome respite from long council meetings.

Item #14:Abatement of public nuisance from weeds or other fire hazards pursuant to provisions of Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 9.08 and Resolution No. 21-112; hearing for impacted property owners to contest the matter of proposed abatement.   Annual county process passed 4-0-1 with Vice-Mayor Chao absent.

Item #15 Consider Development and Architectural and Site Approval permits that would allow the replacement of seven (7) storage buildings, with three (3) new buildings between one (1) and three (3) stories in height to allow for a 166,845 sq. ft. storage facility; Consider a Fence Exception request to allow electronic vehicular gates and a Tree Removal Permit request to allow the removal and replacement of eight (8) protected trees. (Application No(s): DP-2019-05, ASA-2019-05, EXC-2019-04, TR-2019-048; Applicant(s): Emilia Samudio (Jordan Architects); Location: 10655 Mary Ave.; APN: 326-06-050). Discussion was brief on this replacement project to replace an existing 59,546 facility with a 166,845 square foot facility. Hunter Properties worked with planning staff for 3 years to upgrade this facility. The project received unanimous approval.

Item #15  Athletic Field Use Policy Update. The presentation and discussion started at 8:45 and extended until just after 10 p.m. The Parks and Recreation report was an excellent in-depth analysis of field usage. Surprisingly, team field bookings represented only 19% of available hours in the fall, with an estimated increase to 30% of hours during the spring, which features more team sports. As such, the overwhelming majority of field time is open for unscheduled usage by residents. Scheduled times are posted on the Parks and Recreation website, though more outreach may be needed to inform the public about open times.

The only sport with unsatisfied field needs is cricket. It requires a large field for games which last 4-5 hours, and can’t be shared with other sports at the same time. Library Field plus some use at Homestead HIgh School are the only locations large enough for games. Councilmember Hung Wei affirmed that FUHSD had explored a cricket field, but concluded that space was just not available on school campuses. A similar study had been done by Parks and Recreation, concluding that the city of Cupertino just doesn’t have sufficient open space for a dedicated cricket field. Council did approve a pilot program to grant cricket an additional Saturday per month until the end of the fiscal year.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to speak at Cupertino public meetings, either on specific items on the agenda, or at Oral Communications on any topic not on the agenda. Speakers ordinarily 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 emails become part of the public record.

CUPERTINO COURIER, January 21, 2022

The front page photo and community brief on page 5 are titled Bove announces retirement: FUHSD superintendent to step down at end of the school year. Also on page 5 is Silicon Valley Reads taps ‘Power of Kindness, Resilience, Hope’, an annual program hosted by the Cupertino Public Library and other Santa Clara County libraries. Community briefs on page 6 include (1) Changing EVs app means lower charges and (2) Trails survey. Page 8 is a previously published article from the Mercury News: Contaminated soil puts redevelopment of site on hold: Environmental health officials say chemicals at old Vallco property must be cleaned up. Legal notices on page 16 are (1)  Public Hearing Amending Schedule C of the 2021-22 Fee Schedule, scheduled for the Feb. 1 council meeting, and (2) Extension of an Emergency Ordinance – SB 9 Implementation.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor