Cupertino Matters  

The city is quiet with school vacations and families traveling after two years of shutdown. For those in town, be sure to take advantage of the many Parks and Recreation programs, including the return of Shakespeare in the Park.

Breaking news The League of Women Voters League of Women Voters filed suit against the city today over its anti-criticism “lobbyist” registration ordinance. According to the press release, this is a “federal lawsuit challenging the city’s anti-nonprofit speech ordinance, which requires nonprofit organizations to register as lobbyists. Organizations that fail to register risk being penalized. The League asserts that the ordinance’s definition of “lobbyist” is too vague and chills voter engagement by harming voter service organizations.” The press release contains a link to the complaint as filed this morning in U.S. District Court.

Retention of city staff is a major concern well expressed by Richard Lowenthal, former mayor, speaking out in a Letter to the Editor in the July 14, 2022, Mercury News: “Fractious Council costing Cupertino leaders”. Instead of opening a new search, the revolving door continues with Mayor Darcy Paul extending an offer to a candidate previously interviewed a year ago, Pamela Wu, who currently serves as Community and Economic Development Director in San Bruno. Her resume demonstrates a lengthy and consistent background in planning, though it does not appear that she has any experience as a city manager or assistant city manager. Her contract calls for quarterly performance reviews and requires coordination with the city council on a press release if she resigns. She is scheduled to start on August 29, if her contract is approved. The bigger question is timing on this hiring decision, especially with council composition changing in less than four months. Should a new council elected in November have the opportunity to choose a new city manager, or should this lame-duck council?

The city continues to be unable to fill the Finance Manager position, open since early March, despite two recruitment cycles. The city has now hired an Interim Finance Manager, Lizz Cook, a consultant with Boucher Law Firm, while recruitment for a permanent manager continues.

The Housing Element slowly progresses with a second Community Meeting to be held on Wednesday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will include a panel of De Anza students, local high school students, and older adults who will share their personal stories related to housing. Registration is at The Site Inventory will finally come to the city council at the August 16 meeting, which further delays submission of a draft Housing Element to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD).

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., July 19, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular; 5:30 p.m. Special Meeting (in-person/Zoom)
Closed Meeting – Thurs., July 21, 5:00 Agenda not yet posted.

The subject of the Special Meeting is the receipt of an update on the Lawrence-Mitty Park project. This report from.Parks and Recreation includes the results of their evaluation of the site condition and the community outreach program.

Ceremonial Matters and Presentations.feature a proclamation of July 2022 as Parks and Recreation Month. Oral Communications follow. Reports should be routine. The Consent Calendar is lengthy with 18 items, and appears to be routine, though some items may be pulled for more discussion.

Item #25: Consider conducting the Second Reading of Ordinance No. 22-2241: “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino Amending 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.”  This item passed unanimously on the first reading so this should be a pro forma approval.

Item #26: Consideration of second reading for Municipal Code amendments to the Cupertino Municipal Code, Title 2 to add Chapter 2.96 and codify the Economic Development Committee. This item also previously passed unanimously on the first reading and should likewise be a pro forma approval.

Item #27: Hearing to consider approval of lien assessment and collection of fees on private parcels resulting from abatement of public nuisance (weeds and/or brush) for the annual Weed and Brush Abatement Programs and accompanying budget modification request, This is a routine annual county program. Affected property owners may request mitigation at this hearing.

Item #28: Consider the appointment of Pamela Wu as City Manager and approval of an At-Will City Manager Employment Agreement; consider Proposed Amendments to the Appointed Employees’ Compensation Program.  Pamela Wu has accepted the position, but the council has to formally vote in public to approve the employment agreement for $298,000 per year. As noted above, it contains at least two unusual provisions: the imposition of quarterly performance reviews and the requirement that Ms. Wu coordinate with council on a press release in the event that she voluntarily leaves the position.

Item #29: Consider Proposed Second Amendment to Employment Agreement for the City Attorney Increasing annual salary to $280,000 effective July 20, 2022, Consider Proposed Amendments to the Appointed Employees’ Compensation Program and Related Budget Modifications. This item seeks approval of an annual salary increase.

Item #30: Consider adopting a position on Senate Bill 1338 (Umberg) – The Community Assistance, Recovery, And Empowerment (CARE) Court Program. Council will be asked to support this bill to establish a program allowing courts to order those suffering from certain mental illnesses into a treatment program at the local level.

Item #31: Consider the Fiscal Policy Inventory and Gap Analysis Final Report. The Moss-Adams Enterprise Risk Assessment identified six high risk policy areas in the finance and accounting functional areas. Staff currently uses non-formalized procedures, and agrees that formalized policies and procedures are needed. The high risk Policies and Procedures will be developed in FY 2022-23 and lower risk areas in FY 2023-24. However, in the original Moss-Adams Enterprise Risk Assessment, Accounting and Finance are Low-to-moderate Risks for the city. Shouldn’t internal audit be focused on high risk areas, such as governance?

Item #32: Consider the Capital Program Effectiveness Study Final Report. Another area identified in the Moss-Adams Enterprise Risk Assessment was the need to improve the consistency and efficiency of CIP-related operations. Over the past several years, the CIP Division has experienced significant staff turnover. The current team is making progress but needs additional staffing to ensure that the team has the resources it needs to be successful.

Item #33: Consider establishing a Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Program and conducting a first reading of an ordinance amending Municipal Code Section 2.88.100 (Audit Committee – Duties-Powers-Responsibilities). The Moss-Adams Enterprise Risk Assessment recommended a Fraud, Waste and Abuse Program. This item amends the responsibilities of the Audit Committee to include an additional duty: “To review quarterly Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Program reports.”

Item #34: Consider approving the FY 2022-23 Internal Audit Program. This item outlines the plans for FY 22-23 internal audit projects. The proposed projects focus on low risk projects. Shouldn’t the areas identified in the Risk Assessment as Moderate-to-High Risk be addressed: Governance, External Environment, Human Capital and Resources, Information Technology, and Planning and Strategy?

Item #35: Consider accepting the Monthly Treasurer’s Report Subcommittee’s recommendation to include Accounts Payable reports with the monthly Treasurer’s Report reviewed by the Audit Committee and accepting staff’s recommendation to not include Accounts Receivable reports and checking account statements with the monthly Treasurer’s Report. These are procedural issues. Though initially requested by Chair Moore, visibility of detailed checking accounts and treasurer reports could expose the city to additional risk leading to this staff recommendation.

Item #36: Consider selection of Councilmembers to serve on the City Hall Project Subcommittee. Council will select two members to serve on this subcommittee.

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

YouTube: 43 min.

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). Commissioners approved this item in less than an hour due to overriding safety considerations. The vote was 4-0-1 with Commissioner Vikram Saxena absent. Planning Commission meetings continue to feature frequent absences.

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 community brief on page 5 is entitled National Night Out:  Cupertino needs neighborhoods to register for events by July 29. This event will occur on August 9. Additional community briefs on page 5 are (1) Housing Element meeting and (2) Teen wins Diana Award. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor