Cupertino Matters

Election season has begun. The nomination period for city council candidates opened on July 18 and closes on Aug. 12. Mayor Darcy Paul terms out and is therefore ineligible for re-election. Several candidates have pulled papers for signatures and Registrar of Voters forms.

Cupertino has a new city manager, Pamela Wu, who will be starting on August 29, less than four months before a new council is seated, a gap which could have been better managed with an interim city manager so the new council could make the decision on  this critical hire. A press release from Cupertino for All expresses the situation clearly:

“We are excited to welcome Cupertino’s new City Manager—Pamela Wu. The City Manager serves as the Chief Executive for the City, ensuring that staff have strong direction and that the mission of the city is successfully carried out. We remain concerned by the reality that CM Wu is the 4th permanent City Manager, and the 7th City Manager over the last 4 years; former City Manager Jim Throop marked the third city manager to leave during Mayor Darcy Paul’s tenure and the second during Vice-Mayor Liang Chao’s.

“Cupertino for All strongly supports the City Manager and city staff, but believes that the current City Council has failed to live up to the standards that Cupertino deserves by involving the City in constant political and legal conflict.”

That constant legal conflict reemerged at the top of the Local News section of the July 20, 2022, Mercury News: League of Women Voters sues Cupertino over lobbyist ordinance. Support for this action has been surprisingly strong as exemplified by this Mercury News July 24, 2022, Letter to the Editor

League does more than register voters

Were you surprised to read that the League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale was suing the city of Cupertino? The League does a lot more than register voters.

The League was founded in 1920 and works to promote the informed and active participation of citizens in government. Sometimes it takes a lawsuit to clarify or protect citizens’ rights.

I’m proud to have been a member of the League since 1969. All women and men are welcome to join.

Barbara Wardenburg
San Carlos

The League’s motto is “Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy”. In this midterm election, where only 36% of voters returned their ballots during the primary, public engagement–like the League’s–to encourage full participation in democratic self-rule is essential.

Concern with conflict extends to individual councilmembers. Readers may recall that the April 5, 2022, Cupertino Matters newsletter reported that Vice-Mayor Liang Chao was sanctioned by the Cities Association and the Round Table. 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.

Executive Director Andrea Jordan sued the Cities Association for this behavior, and has  received an $180,000 settlement.from the fifteen cities belonging to the Association. The city of Cupertino paid her $8,030 (through her attorney, Cathy Arias Law) on June 17, 2022, as its share of this harassment settlement.

On substantive matters, the second Community Meeting for the Housing Element occurred on Wednesday, July 20 at 6:30 p.m. Josh Selo of West Valley Community Services (WVCS) moderated a panel group featuring speakers from the Foothill-De Anza Community College District and senior clients from WVCS. Despite citywide publicity, public turnout remained mediocre, reflecting a lack of engagement with the Housing Element process. The recording has not been posted to the city website.

The next regular city council meeting is Aug. 16, since the Aug. 2 council meeting has been canceled. A closed session, however, has been called to discuss two existing items of litigation, including the League of Women Voters’ lawsuit.

CLOSED – CITY COUNCIL – Thurs., July 28, 2022, 6:00 p.m. 

Conference with Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9

  1. People v. Jennifer Chang, Santa Clara County Superior Court Case No. C1899743
  2. League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale v. City of Cupertino et. al., N.D. Cal. Case No. 5:22-cv-04189
RECAP  – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., July 19, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular; 5:30 p.m. Special Meeting (in-person/Zoom)

YouTube: Part 1 – 1 hr. 8 min. Special; Part 2 – 2 hr. 54 min.; Part 3 – 2 hr. 12 min. 

Item #28, appointment of Pamela Wu as city manager was considered out of order so she could be present after 9 p.m.

The subject of the Special Meeting was the receipt of an update on the Lawrence-Mitty Park project. This report summarized the results of Parks and Recreation’s evaluation of the site condition and the community outreach program. Many challenges remain, including access to the site and debris cleanup.

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.” Council approved unanimously..

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. Council approved unanimously..

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. Council approved unanimously.

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. Council considered this item out of order so Pamela Wu could be present after 9 p.m. Council approved 5-0.

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. Council approved 5-0.

Item #30: Consider adopting a position on Senate Bill 1338 (Umberg) – The Community Assistance, Recovery, And Empowerment (CARE) Court Program. There was extensive discussion on this well-intentioned bill. Questions concerning funding emerged as the primary concern. The motion to watch the bill, rather than endorsing the measure was approved 5-0.

Item #31: Consider the Fiscal Policy Inventory and Gap Analysis Final Report. This was an overview of the development of Policies and Procedures, focusing on 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 would benefit the city. The high risk Policies and Procedures will be developed in FY 2022-23 and lower risk areas in FY 2023-24.

Item #32: Consider the Capital Program Effectiveness Study Final Report. This item focused on improvement of 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 adequate resources. Council digressed into grant management, revealing significant council confusion surrounding the grant process.

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). Council approved unanimously.

Item #34: Consider approving the FY 2022-23 Internal Audit Program. Council tabled this item to a future meeting

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. Council approved the staff recommendation unanimously.

Item #36: Consider selection of Councilmembers to serve on the City Hall Project Subcommittee. Ignoring Councilmember Hung Wei’s eleven years of experience as a trustee with Fremont Union High School District with their extensive school remodeling, Councilmember Kitty Moore and Jon Willey were appointed to this subcommittee.  Neither has project management or public works experience. Council approved 4-1 with Wei voting no.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: Readers may speak at council meetings, either at Oral Communications on any topic, or on specific agenda items. Speakers typically 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 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 are available at


The front page photo and community brief on page 5 is entitled Via-Cupertino gets grant: Program awarded $8.4M via California State Transportation Agency, a major accomplishment for the transportation department. Additional community briefs on page 5 are (1) Cupertino set to hire Wu as city manager.and (2) Via-Cupertino summer shuttle sale. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor