- Fiscal (IR)Responsibility
- TONIGHT – Planning Commission, April 26, 6:45 p.m
- RECAP – City Council, April 19, 6:45 Regular, 5:30 Study
The 2022 election season is well underway with a primary election on June 7. Ballots will be mailed out beginning May 9. The League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale is sponsoring Candidate Forums. The League’s Voters Edge publication compiles information about candidates. Redistricting occurred this year, so readers will want to check to see if their district has changed as a result.
Last week’s first regular hybrid Council meeting highlighted its ongoing dysfunction. The agenda remained ambitiously long and several items were postponed. Nonetheless, council spent over an hour on reports, then over two hours on the consent calendar–items that are usually so unobjectionable that they can be passed in a single combined vote without additional deliberation. Only at the very end of the evening did council reach the all-important city work plan for 2022-2023. Instead of actually prioritizing the 48 projects, councilmembers bogged down the process by making minor changes in the descriptions, and trying to add new projects to an unrealistic list. As a result, the item was continued to Thursday night for another almost three hours, with members still not submitting their prioritized lists. Can city staff function with this sort of direction?
Council also demonstrated fiscal irresponsibility in failing to act on a competitive $400,000 reimbursement grant from the Metropolitan Transportation commission, sparking this Letter to the Editor which appeared in the Mercury News, Sunday, April 24, 2022 entitled “Cupertino council flunks fiscal responsibility” Is it time for a new council?
The community engagement process for the state-required Housing Element update is moving slowly. Councilmember Kitty Moore, Chair of the CEP – Strategic Advisory Committee, scheduled a followup meeting for Mon. Apr. 25 at 11:00 am, which is difficult for public input. According to agenda materials, the initial focus group, aka Cupertino community meeting, is tentatively scheduled for May 23, later than previous cycles.
UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., Apr. 26, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular session
Other than minutes, the sole agenda item is: Third study session on the Housing Element update focusing on the establishment of a housing sites selection inventory and strategies to promote the development of new housing. This is the first substantive draft of potential sites to include in the updated Housing Element, with specific parcels identified. It should generate extensive discussion as some sites on the list are already developed, so highly unlikely to be redeveloped in the next 8 year cycle. Counts of units at Westport and Vallco may be double counted.
RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Apr.19, 2022, 6 :45 p.m.; Study session 5:30 (hybrid)
The hour long Study Session was 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. Convinced that lobbyists have undue influence on the city, council discussed extending the definition of lobbyists to include all nonprofit 501(c) organizations, and consultants who have multiple clients. At the direction of Mayor Paul, they also asked staff to study adding a private right of action to the ordinance. Adding such a right would allow individual residents to sue other individual residents alleging that they are unregistered lobbyists. How chilling of an effect would such a policy have on free speech and petition rights?
Item #5: Report on the Farmers Market. The Sunday market has been given a two month extension to relocate from the senior center parking lot .The Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend has agreed to allow the market to infringe on their event.
The Consent Calendar took an extraordinary amount of time. Councilmember Kitty Moore pulled the Accounts Payable Registers questioning reconciliation report items of $0.52, $8.18, and $8.28 to Angela Tsui, a former employee. After discussion, the council then decided to form an Audit Committee subcommittee to investigate.
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. Council questioned this item. Such funding would reimburse the city for $807,000 and.was recommended by the Bicycle-Pedestrian Commission. After discussion, council approved unanimously.
Item 21 was to consider the contract for Below Market Rate (BMR) Program Administration, as recommended by the Housing Commission. This item surfaced a significant housing issue. This contract covers administration of the 263 total BMR units secured by the city, of which 121 units are for-sale units and 142 are rental units. However, it is estimated that 67% of the City’s BMR rental units will expire from the BMR Program between July 2026 and January 2028 due to the expiration of many BMR development agreements.
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 should have been a routine approval to accept $400,000 for reimbursement of costs associated with the state required Housing Element. However, in a height of fiscal irresponsibility, the council failed to act. Readers who object to this failure to accept the grant may email the firstname.lastname@example.org and the email@example.com
Item #24: Consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23 Fee Schedule Update. Continued until May 3.
Item #25: Internal Audit – Procurement Operational Review Final Report. Council expressed general support for establishing a procurement officer function, though it was obvious not all councilmembers had read the 65-page report, despite being identified as the highest risk for the city. Councilmember Hung Wei requested that councilmembers be included in training on procurement functions based on the internal auditor’s findings that procurement roles and responsibilities are not clearly understood among City staff and the Council. Council directed staff and the Audit Committee to identify next steps in implementation. Council then accepted the report unanimously.
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) Continued until May 3.
Item #27: Consider Fiscal Year 2022-2023 Council goals and prioritize potential items for the FY 2022-2023 City Work Program. The intent of this item was to have councilmembers provide a final ranking of the 48 projects in the draft program. Instead, the process got bogged down, then at 11:38 p.m., the item was continued to a special meeting on Thursday, April 21.
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). As midnight approached, the council decided to remain out of compliance with code for one more year, and appoint four commissioners this cycle and five positions in the next cycle. This means the teen commission will have ten members for one year, reverting back to nine in the subsequent cycle. Interviews have been delayed until August. Council approved unanimously.
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).
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.
CUPERTINO COURIER, April 22, 2022
The front page photo and article on page 5 are Requesting input for new park: What does community want in east side open space? with regard to the recently acquired land to build a new park along Lawrence Expressway. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) City hall reopens, (2) Simitian hosts sidewalk office hours, (3) Shredding, recycling, and (4) Virtual candidate forums coming up for the June 7 primary. Legal notices on page 20 are (1) RFP for Orange Avenue sidewalk improvement, and (2) Memorial Park ponds repurposing project.
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