- Council Harassment
- TONIGHT – City Council, Apr. 5, 6:45 p.m.
- RELAUNCH Continued – Housing Element, Thurs, Apr 7, 11:00 a.m.
April is the beginning of festival season in Memorial Park! There have already been several festivals, including the Chamber’s Holi event just this past Sunday. The Cherry Blossom festival will occur on April 30 and May 1.
Members of the Cupertino city council ended up in the news again–this time, provoking a lawsuit by the Cities Association executive director, Andrea Jordan, against the 15 cities in the organization, including Cupertino. According to LosAltosOnline, “On Nov. 19, 2021, Jordan received the results of a nine-month investigation into her claims. The investigation allegedly concluded that Enander, Lee Eng, Cupertino Councilmember Liang Chao and Mountain View Councilmember Lisa Matichak had engaged in “unlawful harassment” and they were supposedly banned from participating in the association.”
The issue of council behavior has surfaced before. A December 10, 2020 Enterprise Risk Assessment Report by outside consultant Moss Adams identified the ongoing issue of council roles and behavior. However, it was not released to the public until the July 21, 2021 council meeting, when council gave the findings minimal consideration due to the late hour at which the consultant presented the report.
The second highest risk level was Governance, defined as follows, which has received virtually no attention from the city council:
“Risk Areas: Risks associated with ongoing oversight; ethics and values; control environment; policy management; risk management; accountability; performance management; coordination and communication; and defined roles, responsibilities, and authorities.
“Scope: Governance is a process of overseeing an organization’s management of risk and control processes and is ultimately the responsibility of the City Council. Management is responsible for identifying and managing risks.
“Staff and elected officials report potential role confusion related to directing operational matters. As noted in the Planning and Strategy section, the City does not have a strategic plan and the Council sometimes operates at more of an operational rather than strategic level, focusing on immediate action items and implementation details rather than setting long-term strategic goals. This contributes to a reactive environment where staff priorities can change depending on the Council’s interests.”
See pp. 13-14 of the Report. Survey respondents rated the quality of the strategic direction for the city as Poor/Terrible at 47% with 3% rating it as excellent (pp. 13-14). The full 72 page report, complete with responses from city employees is worth review. The areas of risk created by councilmember behavior underscore the need for public accountability and may help explain additional unexpected staff departures. The Audit Committee–which included Councilmember Moore and Vice-Mayor Chao–engaged in a more substantive review of the report, but no additional action was taken beyond shortening city council meetings.
Yet another issue that the city council dithers in addressing is the lack of housing in our city since the implications of high housing costs go beyond high rents and purchase prices. The lack of housing affordable to young families has a direct impact on school enrollment, resulting in school closures and educational budget constraints, according to San Jose Spotlight: Silicon Valley housing crisis linked to declining school enrollment, study says.
Recent state legislation on housing has attempted to incentivize increased home construction. SB 9 garnered many headlines last September when Gov. Newsom signed it into law. SB 9 simplifies lot splits, and allows duplexes in areas zoned for single-family residences. However, as the Mercury News reports, most owners are discovering that this type of development isn’t yet financially feasible. Cupertino has had a number of inquiries, but no actual applications.
The second meeting to plan the community engagement process for the state-required Housing Element update is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2022 from 11 am – 1 pm. The agenda and Zoom link have not yet been posted. The recording of the kickoff meeting on March 30 has not been posted.
UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Apr. 5, 2022, 6 :45 p.m.
Ceremonial Matters and Presentations include (1) a proclamation recognizing the Uenaka family, and their business Cupertino Florist, for more than 50 years of service to our local community, and (2) a proclamation declaring April as Fair Housing Month commemorating the 54th anniversary of the enactment of the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 (Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act), which guarantees equal housing opportunities. This second proclamation will recognize Project Sentinel, a nonprofit that focuses on mediating landlord-tenant disputes and which is supported with city funding. This proclamation comes as the council continues to struggle with affirmatively furthering fair housing requirements as part of the Housing Element.
Oral Communications then follow. Reports should be routine. Item #5 is a City Manager Update. The Consent Calendar also appears to be routine.
Item #12:Consider Council Goals and Prioritize Potential Fiscal Year 2022-2023 City Work Program Items. This is a high-priority item so staff can remain on schedule to develop FY 2022-23 budgets and programs. An initial prioritization of 69 items occurred at the March 8 council meeting, with council providing individual rankings. Staff analyzed proposed items, and return now with a consolidated list of prioritized projects. Council will be asked to re-rank priorities based on staffing and resources. There are 56 proposed items on the list. Key city departments have lost staff and a number of work items remained unfinished during the pandemic. City resources, particularly planning, are stretched extremely thin. Major projects, such as Vallco, Westport and Marina are not included in the work plan.
Item #13: 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. The current cycle of teen commission terms is out of sync with 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.
Item #14: Consideration of Municipal Code amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code related to regulation of single-use plastic foodware and single-use carryout bags. 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 be problematic. For example, the 14 boba 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 #15: Consideration of Municipal Code amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code, Title 2 to add Chapter 2.96 and codify the Economic Development Committee This is a follow-up to the study. This item codifies a city committee which has met informally for over two decades to discuss items of importance pertinent to local businesses and to provide feedback to staff on business‐related city initiatives or projects. It would consist of 7 members appointed by council for 4-year terms, and meet quarterly.
YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers are encouraged to email individual councilmembers, 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, April 1, 2022
The front page photo and brief on page 5 are Fremont Union High School District: New offices come in under budget – Pandemic helped keep construction costs down. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Library gets $1 million in federal funds, (2) Jollyman Park playground, (3) Free compost, and (4) Shop with a Cop fundraiser.. Page 8 is a previously published article from the Mercury News: Huge Cupertino village seeks residents, shops,offices, retail:Project, called The Rise, would be at site of former Vallco Mall. On pages 28-29 ,legal notices include (1) Public hearing on Capital Improvements Program at April 12 meeting of Planning Commission, (2) Public meeting regarding 2022-23 Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) and Below-Market-rate (BMR) Affordable Housing Fund on at May 3 City Council meeting, and (3) Fiscal year 2022-23 Fee Schedule .In addition, there is an invitation to bid on a traffic signal modification on De Anza Boulevard.
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