Cupertino Matters

I hope all of you had an enjoyable and relaxing Fourth of July! The city-sponsored celebrations at Memorial Park–the first in-person Independence Day events held by the city in three years–boasted a very good turn-out.

In the meanwhile, the Housing Element to plan for 4,588 new homes in the next 8 years trudges along. An extensive and detailed draft site inventory update received over 11 hours of hearing time in Joint Meetings of the Housing and Planning Commissions. Lack of engagement of both commissioners and the general public remains a source of concern. With recommendations, the draft site inventory is scheduled for city council review at the regular meeting on July 19. A community meeting focused on the housing needs of seniors and De Anza students is scheduled for July 20.

The city manager vacancy remains in limbo, with closed door sessions to address recruitment. Despite public claims from Mayor Darcy Paul there is no evidence that the city has retained former Interim City Manager Greg Larson to help negotiate a compensation package with a candidate for the vacant position. In the meanwhile, the out-going city manager, Jim Throop, designated the assistant city manager, Dianne Thompson, as Acting City Manager. As such, she supplied the City Manager’s Report at the July 7 council meeting. The July 5 edition of Mercury News highlighted the situation with a front page article in the Local Section entitled Cupertino losing another city manager: Jim Throop, whose last day is July 22, is third to leave post in four years.

On a more positive note, the City of Cupertino Awarded Over $8 Million to Improve and Expand Via-Cupertino. In addition, Via-Cupertino is providing $2 rides this summer, through August 15. 

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION: Tues., July 12, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular  session

Other than approval of minutes, the sole item on the agenda is a Hillside Exception to allow a maintenance road within an existing residential property on slopes greater than 30%. (Application No(s).: EXC-2019-003, EA-2022-001; Applicant(s): Bruce and Joyce Steakley; Location: 21750 Rainbow Drive; APN #366-03-064). Due to a neighbor’s decision to block access to an existing vineyard through an adjacent property, the owner is requesting a permit to build a maintenance road to provide access.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Thurs. July 7 (moved from July 5),  2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular; 5:00 p.m. Closed Session

YouTube:  Part 1 – 2 hr., 46 min.; Part 2 – 1 hr. 42. min.

Item #1 Closed Session Conference with Labor Negotiators pursuant to Government Code § 54957.6 (Kristina Alfaro and Christopher Boucher). The Cupertino Employees Association (CEA) MOU ended June 30, 2022 so presumably this session finalized that agreement. Numerous employees and residents called in to voice their support for better compensation for Cupertino line staff in advance of the council going into closed session. The mayor cut off public comment before all attendees desiring to speak were able to do so,.

Reports consumed nearly an hour. On the Consent Calendar, Councilmember Kitty Moore pulled Item #12 on a conforming Mitigation Measure NOISE-1 for 22690 Stevens Creek Boulevard (Alan Row) and 10625 S. Foothill Boulevard (Canyon Crossing Mixed-Use Project) with noticing requirements in the Cupertino Municipal Code (CMC) Chapter 17.04. This item was to resolve a minor conflict in the municipal code regarding noticing to demolish vacant buildings for safety reasons. This item took over an hour for councilmembers to understand the difference between a demolition permit and a construction permit. This item received unanimous approval with a 14-day noticing period requirement for parcels within 500 feet.

Item #13: Consider an update on drought conditions and the City of Cupertino’s ongoing water conservation measures for City operations and provide input on potential further water conservation measures. The city of Cupertino has taken a number of measures to reduce use of water at city-maintained facilities.

Item #14: Consider conducting a first reading of an ordinance amending Municipal Code Chapter 2.84: Environmental Review Committee (continued from June 21). 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 have changed membership to two councilmembers, and one planning commissioner (an appointed position), none of whom necessarily have land-use or legal expertise, and resulting in the politicization of this highly technical committee.

 The city attorney framed 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.”

Three members of the public spoke strongly against changing the composition of the ERC. After deliberation, this item was tabled and returned to staff.

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 codification of the committee’s role on the City Work Plan with nine members, excluding the Chamber of Commerce, was approved 5-0.

Item #16: Consider designating a voting delegate and up to two alternates to vote at the Annual Business Meeting (General Assembly) during the League of California Cities Annual Conference & Expo, September 7-9, 2022. Mayor Paul was selected as voting delegate, with Vice Mayor Chao as alternate.

RECAP / Continuation  –  Joint Planning Commission / Housing Commission – Tues., June 28, 2022  continued to July 5

YouTube: June 28, Part 1 – 2 hr. 39 min.; Part 2 – 2 hr. 32 min;  July 5,  Part 1 – 2 hr. 26 min.; Part 2 – 2 hr. 2 min.; Part 3 – 1 hr. 31 min

The agenda item was the fifth meeting on the Housing Element update focusing on the establishment of a housing sites selection inventory. The previous four meetings were solely with the Planning Commission.

This joint session between the two commissions consumed over 11 hours. The first meeting lasted until midnight on June 28 when approximately half of the site inventory was reviewed. The session was then adjourned to July 5 to complete review. Commission attendance was problematic. Planning Commissioner Vikram Saxena was absent from all sessions. Planning Commissioner Sanjiv Kapil and Housing Commissioner Angan Das were absent for the second session. Maintaining a quorum was challenging.

The objective of these meetings was to review the revised site inventory to plan for facilitating 4,588 new homes in the next 8 years. The original list of nearly 400 sites which fit the state criteria of 0.5 to 10 acres in size was whittled down to 98 parcels. There are 16 Pipeline Project parcels (projects with previous entitlements), 58 Tier 1 parcels (the default), and 23 Tier 2 parcels. The 3,536 pipeline projects (Vallco/The Rise, The Hamptons redevelopment, plus others) make up 77% of the 4,588 total RHNA figures. Over 80% of those homes are from Vallco and The Hamptons alone–both of which have experienced significant development challenges. The site inventory assumes that all of them will be built in the next eight years. As such, the inventory still needed to identify locations for 1,497 homes.

Theoretically this meeting provided an opportunity for the community to provide input on individual sites. However, only a handful of residents listened for the duration in order to make site-specific comments. The recommended modifications resulting from this meeting now head to the city council agenda on July 19.

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


The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled On the move: Longtime Ridge winemaker takes the helm of Napa’s Merus. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) Road safety meeting, (2) Summer meal program for kids, and (3) Going batty with Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority. Page 11 is the previously published article from the Mercury News entitled City’s revolving door for city managers continues: Jim Throop, whose last day is July 22, is third to leave post in four years. The legal notice on A24 is a Notice Inviting Bids on 2022 Pavement Maintenance Phase 1 Project.


The front page photo and community brief on page 5 is entitled Celebrating Independence: Cupertino lights up as Sunnyvale chills. Community briefs on page 5 are (1) City manager resigns, (2) Construction at Memorial Park, and (3) Essay contest. The sole legal notice on A21 is the First Reading of the name change from Fine Arts Commission to Arts and Culture Commission

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor