Cupertino Matters

The temperature today is a reminder that this is the first day of summer. The Juneteenth federal holiday, established in 2021, had mixed celebrations. While it was a federal holiday with no mail and a closed stock market, many businesses, including our City Hall, were open for business as usual on Monday.

A key piece of that city business is the Housing Element update, which sits in limbo. A meeting scheduled for Monday, June 19, for the Community Engagement Plan – Strategic Advisory Committee was canceled mere minutes before its scheduled start time without substantive explanation. Thus far, six months into its process, the sole output of this committee chaired by Councilmember Kitty Moore, with the participation of Vice-Mayor Liang Chao, Planning Commission Chair Steven Scharf, and Housing Commission Chair Tessa Parish is a video of the Community Meeting held on May 23, 2022.

Similar dysfunction was on ready display at the Planning Commission’s June 14 meeting. The Commission spent 3 hours reviewing the 3 items on the agenda, consisting of  two pro forma approvals and one appeal of a conforming single family residence brought by its immediate neighbor, a sitting planning commissioner, Sanjiv Kapil. Due to absences and the very late arrival of Commissioner Wang, legal counsel had to be consulted to determine the number of commissioners who could approve the minutes of the April 26 meeting, the only substantial public input to the Housing Element site inventory. Commissioner Madhdhipatla could have voted if he had listened to the video. Commissioner Kapil didn’t realize that the city takes action minutes, and that the official record is the video kept for 99 years, so he voted against the minutes. Chair Scharf didn’t realize that the Cupertino Courier remains the newspaper of record for all city of Cupertino legal notices. Hearing of the appeal dragged on for two hours, sparking this protest from the public, before the appeal was denied on a 4-0-1 vote with Kapil recused.

In election news, with 99% of votes for the June primary now counted,  Measure G–a bond measure supporting facilities at Fremont Union High School District schools– barely passed with just over 55% approval. (55% is required to pass.) Just over the Cupertino border, Santa Clara County Board of Education Trustee Rosemary Kamei appears to have won the San Jose City Council District 1 race with a strong enough margin to avoid a run-off in November. The mayoral race there also appears to come down to a November contest between Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez and San Jose City Council Member Matt Mahan, who represents District 10.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., June 21, 2022, 6 :45 p.m. Regular; 5:30 p.m. Study Session (in-person/Zoom)

Vice-Mayor Liang Chao will be chairing this meeting, since Mayor Paul is not available.

The subject of the Study session is Public Review Draft Climate Action Plan 2.0 Study Session. The city did extensive outreach regarding this plan reaching over 850 contacts, through workshops, tabling and festivals. The primary concern of residents is transportation measures and actions. However, many of the measures in the Plan to reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG) lean on regional collaboration, particularly in the area of transportation. The plan, oddly, does not reference the Housing Element update or its potential to reduce GHG emissions from infill development, building electrification, or the reduction of vehicle miles traveled from people being allowed to live closer to where they work.

There are no Ceremonial Matters and Presentations. Oral Communications follow. Reports should be routine. Most of the Consent Calendar is routine, though some items may be pulled for more discussion.

Item #16, Maintenance agreements for the Blackberry Farm Golf Course (Continued from June 7, 2022) was pulled by Councilmember Kitty Moore for a historical review of all signed agreements, consisting of 705 pages and substantial staff time to compile. The city has contracted with the same operator for over 20 years. During that time, other bids for this aging and high maintenance course have not been competitive. Is this an efficient use of increasingly limited staff time?.

Item #18: Brush Abatement Program hearing to consider objections to proposed removal of brush and order abatement of the public nuisance; and consideration of a resolution ordering abatement of potential fire hazard pursuant to Cupertino Municipal Code (Section 16.40.200) regarding Defensible Space (brush) and Resolution No. 22-055. This should be a pro forma approval of an annual county program for fire prevention.

Item #19: Consider accepting Accounts Payable for the period ending December 20, 2021 (Continued from June 7, 2022). The Chamber Of Commerce plays a key role in  outreach to local businesses and support for local businesses. Councilmember Kitty Moore questioned payments to the Chamber of Commerce, so staff investigated payments from 2015 to the present. One of the larger expenses consisted of development of the I Love Cupertino project and activities during the pandemic. Other payments are minimal.

Item #20: Update on the Status of the Research from the City Council Subcommittee Meetings for the Cupertino Historical Society. City funding for the Historical Society started as Community Funding grants, but this is an ongoing program which staffs the museum at the Quinlan Center. Changing it to an ongoing budget line item of $20,000 provides stability and frees up community funding grants for other programs and projects. Funding of historical organizations in other cities varies widely, with some constituting actual arms of the city government and staffed by city employees, and others staffed by volunteers. Cupertino city contributions are at the low end.

Item #21: Consider conducting a first reading of an ordinance for amendments to Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 2.80 and Sections 19.102.040, 19.148.030, 19.148.050, 19.148.060, and 19.148.090 to Adopt a Name Change for the Fine Arts Commission to the Arts and Culture Commission.  Requested by the Fine Arts Commission and placed in the council work plan, the city survey generated 36 responses in total, with sentiment favoring the name change. Was this worth the staff time?

Item #22: Consider conducting a first reading of an ordinance amending Municipal Code Chapter 2.84: Environmental Review Committee (ERC). This change to the municipal code would politicize the ERC. The current ERC committee consists of a councilmember, a planning commissioner, the City Manager, the Director of Public Works, and the Director of Community Development. The proposed change would change membership to two councilmembers, and one planning commissioner, none of whom necessarily have land-use or legal expertise. The city attorney frames the issue:

“Among cities and counties in California that have committees with a jurisdiction focused on the environmental review process, the standard composition is a committee of staff members appointed from different departments. No cities or counties identified rely on a committee with membership similar to Cupertino’s ERC.”

The new constitution of this committee could require costly and unnecessary environmental studies, create additional sources of legal exposure, and raise additional obstacles to much-needed housing in Cupertino.

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 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 council members 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

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., June 14, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

YouTube: 3 hr. 7 min. 

Item #3: Consider renewal of a Conditional Use Permit for an existing mono-eucalyptus wireless communications facility (U-2011-10). (Application No(s): U-2022-001; Applicant: Kathryn Leal; Location: 23600 Via Esplendor; APN(s): 342-54-016). The commission approved 4-0-1 with Wang absent.

Item #4: Consider renewal of a Conditional Use Permit for an existing mono-pine wireless communications facility (U-2011-02). (Application No: U-2022-002; Applicant: Kathryn Leal; Location: 22475 Rancho Deep Cliff Drive; APN: 356-02-999). The commission approved 4-0-1 with Wang absent.

Item #5: Consider an appeal of the Community Development Director’s approval of a Two-Story Permit to consider the construction of a new 3,233-square-foot, two-story single-family residence, and an attached 797-square-foot Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) (Application No.: R-2021-023; Applicant: Kyle Chan.; Property Owners: Dung N. (David) Do & Wen Hsiu (Cristina) Hung; Appellant: Sanjiv and Deepika Kapil; Location: 6522 Clifford Dr; APN # 369-24-037). The appeal was denied on a 4-0-1 vote with Kapil recused.


The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Thinking green for the silver screen: Local students clean up in short film contest. Community briefs are (1) Kwon is the com, and (2) Barnyard Jamboree. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor