Cupertino Matters

Mail-in ballots should be arriving in mailboxes this week. The Oct. 9 edition of the Mercury News describes changes in voting behavior with month-long voting: Election 2022: Campaign ads in August? Ill-timed ‘October surprises’? Is there such a thing as voting too early? Ballots arrive this week. Here’s how universal vote-by-mail is changing the way we vote

In addition to the actual ballot, two pamphlets should have arrived earlier:(1) a State General Election Official Voter Information Guide (thick) with statewide candidates and measures, and (2) a County Voter Information Guide (thinner) with local candidate statements. Additional information on candidates is available on the League of Women Voters Voters Edge by entering your voting address. Note that redistricting may have changed the candidates for whom you are voting. Most importantly, vote! Only 36% of voters returned their ballots for the June 7 primary.

Forums for school board elections to learn more about the candidates and their viewpoints will be held this week:

  • Oct. 12, 11:45 a.m., Wed., Cupertino Union School District and Fremont Union High School District Candidates Forum – This in-person forum is co-sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cupertino and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce. It will be held at the Quinlan Community Center on Stelling Road in Cupertino. Registration is required to order and pay for a box lunch and/or pose possible questions for the candidates. Individuals may attend in-person without registering or buying lunch. A registration link is here.
  • Oct. 13, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Cupertino Union School District candidates. Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale, this forum will be on Zoom and recorded. The registration link is here There are 3 seats and 4 candidates:

Ava Chiao – High School Science Teacher:

Jerry Liu – Tech Executive/ Parent:

Satheesh Madhathil – Engineering Leader:

Darcy August Paul – Attorney / Termed-out Cupertino Councilmember

The Mercury News printed a Letter to the Editor on Oct. 5, 2022 with a clear statement about the value of diverse teaching experience on the board::

Elect educators to Cupertino school board:

Cupertino presently has a wonderful group of people on the school board. The decisions they have made over the years have kept Cupertino highly rated for education.

The current members up for election, Satheesh Madhathil and Jerry Liu, deserve to be reelected. Ava Chiao is a high school teacher, someone who will bring educational experience to the school board.

Darcy Paul was on the Cupertino City Council and lacks the qualifications to be a school board member. His experience on the City Council brought us the current vacant lot at Vallco. Voters need people in the educational field to run the school board, not a politician.

Jon Ramos
San Jose

The Los Altos Town Crier (one of the six cities included in CUSD) interviewed all candidates and published its recommendations: Editorial: Chiao, Liu, Madhathil for CUSD board. Interviews with each of the candidates are available at Cupertino Union School District race: 4 candidates vie for 3 seats.

  • October 17, 7-8 p.m. Fremont Union High School District candidates.
    This is via Zoom and will be recorded. Registration link is here. There are 3 seats and 5 candidates:

Andrew Aaron Arness – Actor/Father

Rosa Kim – School Board Trustee/Educator

Stanley Kou – Educator/Engineer/Father

Naomi Nakano-Matsumoto – Governing Board Member FUHSD

Linda Price – Educator/businesswoman/Consultant

There are two recordings of the city council candidates, with different questions. On Oct. 2, the Mercury News stated the issues and its endorsements of JR Fruen, Sheila Mohan and Claudio Bono in this article Editorial: Cupertino needs overhaul. Elect Fruen, Mohan and Bono: Voters should end Better Cupertino’s devastating, NIMBY hold on the City Council.

  • Sept. 28, 2022, Cupertino City Council – a Zoom forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Cupertino-Sunnyvale Chapter.

City council continues to provoke unnecessary litigation.  Readers may recall the lawsuit headlines in the Local News section of the July 20, 2022, Mercury News: League of Women Voters sues Cupertino over lobbyist ordinance.

The City of Cupertino has filed a motion to dismiss this federal lawsuit. In response, LWV filed its opposition: LWV of Cupertino-Sunnyvale Opposes City’s Motion to Dismiss in City Ordinance Lawsuit:  Ordinance language must be amended to avoid chilling voter engagement in Cupertino. According to the press release,

“The League is not opposed to ordinances regulating paid lobbyists; we are opposed to badly written ordinances that harm voters,” said Tracey Edwards, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale. “Some have implied that opposition to an ordinance regulating paid lobbyists would be unreasonable. We agree. Unfortunately, the city ordinance does not make a meaningful distinction between paid lobbyists and nonprofit advocates like the League.”

The city could fix wording in the ordinance, but declines to do so. Is this a repeat  of the debacle of the housing Density Bonus Law that the HCD had to rule on?

Work on the Housing Element is muddling along. The third Community Meeting  to satisfy the AFFH (Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing) requirements held on September 26 was lightly attended, as were the previous two meetings. In addition, a draft of the Programs and Policies to implement the Housing Element has yet to be scheduled. Then there is also a 30 day public comment before submission to the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Cupertino significantly lags other cities in the Bay Area and is on track to be the very last jurisdiction in the county (if not the entire Bay Area) to submit a draft. Even Palo Alto, long notorious for bad housing policy, has put out more documents for public review.

As a result of council’s dilatory behavior, the city will not be able to meet its January 31, 2023 deadline to get a compliant Housing Element with prior HCD review and Cupertino will be stuck with the consequences. According to the  Mercury News Oct. 9, 2022, front page story. “Failing to do so risks missing out on affordable housing and infrastructure funding, and could put jurisdictions in jeopardy of lawsuits, fines and the loss of local control over land-use decisions.”

UPCOMING  – Planning Commission – Tues., Oct. 10, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

Item #2: Sign Exception to allow three (3) wall signs where two (2) are permitted and to further allow two (2) of the three (3) wall signs to be oriented towards the freeway on two separate storage facility buildings. (Application No(s): EXC-2022-003; Applicant(s): David Ford, All Sign Services; Location: 20565 Valley Green Dr.; APN: 326-10-044)  Public Storage is demolishing a 54,186 sq. ft. facility and replacing it with a 263,271 sq. ft. facility. The staff recommendation is to approve permits for two signs, and deny the third sign to comply with the Sign Ordinance which limits each business to two signs.

Item #3: Consider an ordinance to implement new state legislation (Senate Bill 9), that provides for ministerial approval of up to two units and/or a lot split in a residential single-family zone (Application No.: MCA-2022-001; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: Citywide in all residential single-family zones). The council enacted an interim ordinance to comply with SB9 requirements on Dec. 21, 2021. On Feb. 1, 2022 the interim ordinance was extended to Dec. 19, 2022. The Planning Commission now addresses the regular ordinance which incorporates feedback from the public and from City Council at their September 20, 2024 study session. This includes (1) allowing flag lots, (2) requiring a common access driveway for hillside lots, (3) continuing to disallow condominium conversion, (4) continuing to limit unit size to 2,000 sq.ft., (5) allowing a zero-foot side and rear setback from other lots developed pursuant to SB 9 (but not from surrounding properties, (6) disallowing second story decks and balconies unless subsequently approved through a discretionary permit, (7) continuing to disallow basements in both R1 and RHS zones to ensure that unit development remains affordable and to remain consistent with the proposed grading limitations, (8) extensive design standards, and (9) continued restrictions on ADUs and JADUs. The extensive restrictions on these Urban Lot Splits have chilled interested property owners who often seek opportunities to add housing for their aging parents or adult children, particularly dependent children. NO applications have been submitted, though there have been inquiries. The Attorney General’s office is already examining similar ordinances for compliance with state law and is poised to bring action against several jurisdictions.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Oct. 4, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

YouTube:  2 Hr. 48 min.

With a limited agenda, this city council meeting ended at 9:30 p.m., the earliest conclusion in several years.

Item #14: Consider authorizing execution of an Agreement between the City of Cupertino and Cupertino Historical Society. This item for an agreement to fund  the Cupertino Historical Society for $40,000 for three years was approved unanimously after it was moved to the Consent Calendar at the last moment by Councilmember Kitty Moore.

Item #15: Progress update on the Climate Victory Gardens pilot program. This item was an update to the “Lawn Buster Drought Tolerant Planting Pilot” in the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 City Work Program. This item was likewise moved to the Consent Calendar by Councilmember Kitty Moore and approved unanimously.

Item #16: Consider an ordinance to comply with AB 1236 to establish an expedited permit process for electric vehicle (EV) charging systems. After discussion, the council voted unanimously to approve the staff recommendation.

YOU CAN EXPRESS YOUR OPINION: 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

CUPERTINO COURIER, October 7, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Pivotal initiative for foster care youth: San Jose nonprofit expands program to include middle school students. Community briefs include (1) Public Safety Forum 2022, (2) Candidate forums, and (3) Coalition gets grant. There is a legal notice for the Council Oct. 18 meeting, regarding a Tentative Map Application (20860 McClellan Road).

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor