Cupertino Matters

April is a month of many religious holidays, as the seasons burst into spring. The city is hosting its expanded in-person 2022 Annual Earth Day & Arbor Day Festival on Library Field on Sat., Apr. 23.

There was positive news about Cupertino this week as the Mercury News highlighted Via, Cupertino’s ride-share service: Q&A: Is there a future to marrying South Bay public transit with ride-hailing that leads to cheap rides? With clicks on a phone, you can summon a shared-ride van in Cupertino for a $4 flat rate. Notably, Via-Cupertino provides wheelchair transportation, an important–and sometimes overlooked–feature for those temporarily disabled as well as seniors and other residents with diminished personal mobility. The service also transports bikes.

Confusion about council roles and responsibilities was highlighted again in the Moss Adams Procurement Operational Review, dated Feb. 16, 2021, which is Agenda Item #25 at page 12: 

“The City Council is responsible for setting policy direction and delegating the authority to implement adopted policies and manage procurement operations. However, due in part to an embezzlement that occurred from 2000–2014 and was discovered in 2018, the Council has shown elevated levels of interest in City operational matters and tactical activities and has engaged in detail level work such as reviewing credit card statements. This practice is not the best use of Council time, and the insertion of Council into day-to-day matters can perpetuate a sense of doubt among City staff, hindering operational efficiency. Such an environment weakens the authority and expertise of City leadership to develop and implement strategic updates to procurement practices.

The table at Page 13 then identifies high-level distinctions between the roles of the City Council and City staff.

The community engagement process for the state-required Housing Element update appears to be stuck. Councilmember Kitty Moore, Chair of the CEP – Strategic Advisory Committee, just scheduled a followup meeting for Apr. 25 at 11:00 am, but no agenda. The recording of the Mar. 30 meeting has been posted, but not the Apr. 7 meeting..

Attitudes toward housing may be changing, according to an article in the Mercury News based on a Zillow survey: Is support growing for more Bay Area housing? Survey shows broad approval from homeowners and renters for new apartments, ADUs.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Apr.19, 2022, 6 :45 p.m.; Study session 5:30 (in-person)

The study Session is Consideration of an update on the City of Cupertino Lobbyist Registration Program pursuant to Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 2.100 regarding lobbying registration and reporting requirements. In 2021, council spent an inordinate amount of time fashioning a lobbyist registration ordinance. Thus far,registrations have been negligible with the only registrants Apple, representatives for Verizon and Cal Water, and three individuals associated with the Marina Plaza development. Are these results worth the overhead of staff and council time?

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations include Proclamation for Fremont Union High School District Superintendent Polly Bove upon her retirement and recognizing her 40 years of service to the community. The agenda is long so there is a deferral of Item #29. Consideration of Municipal Code amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code, Title 2 to add Chapter 2.96 and codify the Economic Development Committee (continued from April 5, 2022). (Postponement to May 3, 2022 meeting proposed by staff).

Oral Communications then follow. Reports should be routine. Item #4 is the City Manager Update. .Item #5 is Report on the Farmers Market. The Consent Calendar runs long but appears to be generally routine. Note that Item #20, Consider adopting a Resolution of Local Support authorizing the filing of an application for funding assigned to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC,) committing any necessary matching funds, and stating assurance to complete the project for the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) Cycle 2 grant application for the Stevens Creek Boulevard Separated Bike Lanes Project was recommended by the Bicycle-Pedestrian Commission. In addition, Item 21 is to consider the contract for Below Market Rate (BMR) Program Administration, as recommended by the Housing Commission. Item #22 is to consider a Master Funding Agreement between the City and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Supplement One to the Master Funding Agreement accepting grant funds awarded to the City for updating the Heart of the City Specific Plan which was recommended–with conditions–by the Planning Commission. This grant would enable the city to offset general fund expenses for modifications necessitated by the new Housing Element. Council must accept the $400,000 grant no later than April 30 or funds will be granted to another jurisdiction. This is the last regular council meeting in April.

Item #24: Consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23 Fee Schedule Update. This is an annual process which adjusts the fee schedule based on the cost of providing services. The overall list of fees is extensive. The city is currently in negotiation with their labor groups, so those additional costs are not yet factored into the schedule. Due to increase in property values, Park Land Dedication In-Lieu Fees are increasing by 30%.

Item #25: Internal Audit – Procurement Operational Review Final Report. This internal audit report deserves significant attention. The overall Enterprise Risk Assessment report dated Dec.10, 2020, by third-party auditor, Moss Adams, identified Procurement and Contracting as the highest risk area for the city. According to the staff report,

”The City’s procurement model is currently highly decentralized, with department heads and their staff primarily responsible for conducting and managing purchasing and contracting activity with support from the Finance Division and the City Attorney’s Office(CAO). This decentralized procurement structure is the primary driver behind a number of the report’s observations and recommendations. Moss Adams noted several opportunities to improve the efficiency and coordination of procurement activities. Therefore, their primary recommendation is to consider a centralized procurement model.”

There are ten recommendations of which #2 is especially notable: Procurement roles and responsibilities are not clearly understood among City staff and the Council, which can hinder organizational effectiveness.

Item #26 Consider conducting the first reading of an Ordinance related to regulation of single-use plastic foodware and single-use carryout bags (continued from April 5, 2022)  This ordinance is follow up to the March 1 study session to reduce single-use plastic food serviceware used by food and beverage providers, and non-durable expanded polystyrene foam coolers. The ordinance would impact sourcing for restaurants and other food service establishments. Availability of alternative containers may pose issues. For example, the 14 boba tea shops in Cupertino do not have a ready  alternative to their sealed plastic cups. Technical assistance is expected to cost $100,000, and has been budgeted as the Mayor’s Cup Challenge, to cover support both before and after the implementation of the most significant changes.

Item #27 Consider Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Council goals and prioritize potential items for the FY 2022-2023 City Work Program. This process has proven long and drawn-out. Councilmembers are being asked to make their final rankings so staff can progress into the planning and budgeting cycle for FY 2022-23. The list remains overlong and includes 48 work plan projects, which don’t include day-to-day operations, the Housing Element, or major development projects (Westport, Marina Plaza, and Vallco/The Rise).

Item #28 Consideration of corrections to the current Teen Commission staggered term groups to return the Commission back to the term cycle that is specified by Cupertino Municipal Code, Chapter 2.95 Teen Commission (continued from April 5, 2022). The current cycle of Teen Commission terms is out of sync with the mandates of the Municipal Code. In 2011, Cupertino established the original commission with a cycle of 5 new appointments in odd years and 4 appointments in even years. But in 2018, council changed the terms, but did not change the Municipal Code to match. Council needs to make a decision to move forward on recruitment of commissioners.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers can voice their views via email to individual councilmembers, 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 emails become part of the public record.

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., Apr. 12, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

YouTube: 1 hr. 30 min.

No minutes from the last meeting in March were available due to lack of staff time.

Item #2 Review of the annual Capital Improvement Program (CIP) Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-2023 report for consistency with the City of Cupertino’s General Plan. This was a short meeting with staff presenting 7 CIP projects. A limited number were proposed due to heavy staff workload on current/delayed projects. The commission approved unanimously.

During commissioner updates, Chair Steven Scharf noted that the 60-day review of the modified SB35 project for Vallco ends June 3, 2020.


The front page photo and article on page 5 are Like old times as Cupertino gets down to Earth Day with April 23 festivities. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Big Bunny is back, (2) In-person meetings, (3) Be Natural concerts, and (4) Senior tax exemption. Legal notice is an appeal of approval of a 2-story single family residence with an ADU at  6522 Clifford Drive on page 32.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor