Cupertino Matters

I hope readers had the opportunity to enjoy the Cherry Blossom Festival this past weekend.

Notwithstanding the weekend’s festivities, the Cupertino city council is once again grabbing headlines for dubious reasons. Mayor Darcy Paul’s proposal to require 501(c)s to register as lobbyists, and to allow residents to sue each other over their comments to the city council and staff drew quick criticism: Cupertino mayor wants to let residents sue people they believe are unregistered lobbyists. Why would this council even consider such potentially illegal and speech-chilling actions?

In the meanwhile, progress on the state-required Housing Element remains sluggish. The Planning Commission examined a very rough draft of site inventory presented at the April 26 Planning Commission meeting. Councilmember Kitty Moore, Chair of the Community Engagement Plan – Strategic Advisory Committee, has scheduled a followup meeting for Monday, May 10 at 11:00 am, which is difficult for public input. There is also a community meeting scheduled for Monday, May 23, at 6:30 p.m.

Finally, voter materials have started to arrive in the mail for the June 7 Primary Election. The League of Women Voters are holding candidate forums, including the following:

Thursday, May 5, 7 pm: Santa Clara County Assessor, hosted by LWV of Los Altos/Mountain View. Readers may register for this forum at

Wednesday, May 11, 7 pm: New Assembly District 26, Candidate Forum, Hosted by LWV Cupertino-Sunnyvale. Readers may register for this forum at

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., May 3, 2022, 6 :45 p.m.; Study session 5:30 (in-person/Zoom)

The Study Session is to consider the Capital Improvements Program (CIP,) including review of the five-year CIP (Fiscal Year (FY) 22-27) and new proposed projects for FY 22-23. Annually, staff develops this plan for improvements to city infrastructure. The process is complex since projects typically require more than one fiscal year to complete, and because the pandemic heavily impacted construction. Ten projects have been completed in FY21-22. There are 40 active projects in various stages. Due to staff turnover and staff constraints due to major new development projects, including Vallco, only a limited number of new projects are being proposed:

  1. Blackberry Farms Pools Splash Pad – $500,000
  2. City Hall Renovation/Replacement and Library Parking Garage: Design and Construction – $4,000,000 for initial phase
  3. City Lighting LED improvements – $1,3000,000
  4. De Anza Boulevard Buffered Bike Lanes – $525,000
  5. Jollyman All-Inclusive Play Area: Adult-Assistive Bathroom Facility –  $850,000
  6. Major Recreation Facilities: Use and Market Analysis – $350,000
  7. Stocklmeir, Bryne and Blesch city-owned houses: Inspection Reports and Analysis – $50,000

The most controversial will be City Hall and Library Parking item. The current city hall was built in 1965 and is not only seismically unsafe, but also functionally obsolete. It is not ADA compliant, a requirement for public buildings. Any modification requires even more extensive upgrades. Previous councils have recognized this need. In 2018, council secured funding for a new structure as part of the Vallco Specific Plan, but a new council in 2019 scrapped that plan and the new city hall with it. Cupertino is projected to increase in population by approximately 20% and so city infrastructure needs to be addressed if it is to keep pace with new residential needs. The current city hall also houses the city’s disaster management center. It is not clear that the center would withstand a major earthquake, which would frustrate coordination of the city’s disaster response and put lives at risk.  

Readers may review the entire CIP packet which includes the five-year horizon for projects.

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations include (1) proclamations honoring musicians from two Cupertino High Schools (Homestead-Cupertino Symphony Orchestra and Homestead Symphonic Wind Ensemble) for their performances at the Washington D.C. International Music Festival on April 16 and 17, 2022; and (2) a proclamation commemorating the Eid al-Fitr holiday, honoring the end of Ramadan for members of the Islamic faith and celebrating religious freedoms for every member of the Cupertino community

Oral Communications then follow. Reports should be routine. The Consent Calendar    is long with 16 items. Item #6 , the April 19 minutes of the Study Session has the text of Mayor Paul’s motion to extend lobbyist status to 501(c) organizations and a “private right of civil action for enforcement” to sue individuals over their comments to council and staff. The rest of the Consent Calendar appears to be routine, including the 10 Accounts Payable items previously pulled by Councilmember Kitty Moore for miniscule amounts.

Item #23: Consider the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022-23 Fee Schedule Update (Continued from April 19, 2022). 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. The schedule includes a proposal to increase Park Land Dedication In-Lieu Fees by 30%–an item that may provoke litigation, and which may further imperil Cupertino’s ability to achieve a state-certified Housing Element.

Item# 24: Consider conducting the first reading of an Ordinance related to regulation of single-use plastic foodware and single-use carryout bags (continued from April 19, 2022). This ordinance is a 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 #25: 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 19, 2022). This item proposes a curious composition. The committee would include five members, two of which (40%) would be council members potentially with no business expertise.The other members would be representatives from  the (1)Technology sector, (2) Retail/small business and (3)Hospitality/Tourism. There is no representative from the Chamber of Commerce, which other cities typically include on such a committee. It also lacks an education representative (the education sector is the second largest employer in the city). Many of the new businesses in Cupertino are service businesses, not retail. Residents and property owners are not included..

Item #26: Consider accepting Accounts Payable for the period ending December 20, 2021. This item was pulled from the consent calendar for extensive staff work to justify the city relationship between the city and the Chamber of Commerce which has been mutually beneficial, but not detailed in a written agreement.

Item #27 Consideration of a City Council summer recess and cancellation of meeting(s)  Traditionally, one or two meetings are canceled for a summer recess.

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., Apr. 26, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

YouTube: 3 hr. 50 min.

This meeting was frustrating. The sole agenda item was a 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 It was supposed to be a substantive review of potential sites to be submitted for environmental review. Other than Chair Steven Scharf, the rest of the commissioners were either missing or unprepared. Public comment was more substantive, including a 7-page comment letter submitted by Cupertino for All. The most useful takeaway was the actual meeting presentation which identified actual parcels area by area as well as the written comments which identified shortcomings in the draft.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers may speak at council meetings, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers have three minutes, and coaching is available!  Readers may also 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 become part of the public record. Contacts at


The front page photo and story on page 5 are Festival blossoms again: The drums, dancing, martial demos expected referring to the Cherry Blossom festival. An article on page 5 is Cupertino awards to honor the community members’ contributions. Community briefs on page 5 include (1) Help rename commission, (2) Parking enforcement is back, and (3) Weed abatement deadline. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor