Cupertino Matters

Election day, Nov. 8, is less than two weeks away. For both candidates and state propositions, the LWV is particularly useful. Just put in your voting address to obtain a personalized list of candidates and ballot issues. In addition, Mercury News endorsements for the Nov. 8 election are available. Contact the Registrar of Voters for Santa Clara County if you have any questions regarding your ballot. Most importantly, vote! Only 36% of voters returned their ballots for the June 7 primary.

State propositions, which are also important, are at the end of the ballot. Digestible summaries can be found at the LWV Pro & Con webpage, as well as one hour discussion recordings. A  complete list of candidate forums for both city council and school board races can be found at the League of Women Voters of Cupertino-Sunnyvale website.

The top issues in the Cupertino City Council race were highlighted in an Oct. 24 article published in the Mercury News, ‘Nimbyism’ or ‘balanced growth’? Housing debates at center of Cupertino City Council race: The election stands to shift the balance of power in city government at a critical juncture for Cupertino’s housing future highlighting the stakes in the upcoming election. Previously, 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.

Council interference with freedom of speech and nonprofit organizations continues to be problematic. The most recent incident occurred at the Diwali Festival when Councilmember Kitty Moore objected to candidates’ paid booth. The Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce described the situation and the legal risk to the city during Oral Communications at the Oct. 18, 2022 meeting.

The state-required Housing Element plan due by Jan. 31, 2023 will be very late,  exposing the city to the “Builders Remedy”, which allows developments of any residential density, to move forward on almost any parcel in the city–and the city council would be powerless to stop them. Santa Monica, which has similar land use economics to Cupertino, was exposed to the builder’s remedy for eight months and has seen 16 projects constituting over 4000 homes protected by the builder’s remedy submitted in a short space of time. Other Southern California cities that lack Housing Element certification and with high land values are seeing a number of such project applications. This BC council is increasingly losing local control over development decisions. Quietly, the planning department  is submitting a contract for a new Housing Element consultant, replacing the current consultant. This, however, will not remedy the calendar time lost in council delays, and the ineffectiveness of the subcommittee chaired by Councilmember Kitty Moore, Vice-Mayor Liang Chao, Chair Steven Scharf of the Planning Commission and Chair Tessa Parish of the Housing Commission.

Readers may have read about a ‘Massive decline’ in learning during COVID. Here’s how Bay Area students performed:This is an unprecedented challenge that we have to face.’  Though there was a significant decline overall in Santa Clara County, our local Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) had little performance decline, according to Stacy Yao, the superintendent, speaking at the 2022 CUSD State of the District.

RECAP – Planning Commission – Tues., Oct.. 25, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

Item #2: Work Session on the General Plan Annual Review of the Land Use Sections (through Policy LU-27.4). The city is required to provide an annual report to the City Council regarding the General Plan and progress on its implementation, on or before April 1. This is a partial review with additional sections reviewed as staff continues to work on the Plan. The commission was unable to proceed because of technical issues affecting the ability of staff to make the presentation. The commission meeting was therefore adjourned.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., Oct. 18, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular; 5:00 Special

YouTube:  Part 1 – 1 hr. 17 min; Part 2 – 3 hr. 25 min.    Agenda 

This meeting adjourned at 10:18 p.m. due to a light agenda, a welcome change from midnight meetings. The 5:00 special session was  a special meeting with a break to start the regular meeting.

Item #1: Amendment to Title 16, Buildings and Construction, of the Cupertino Municipal Code adopting the California Buildings Standards Code and Fire Code as mandated by the State of California and making local exceptions to those standards as warranted.  Council approved unanimously.

Item #2: Consider program and funding revisions for the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021-22 Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) project, City Hall Annex (10455 Torre Avenue Improvements). Council reaction was positive to the staff proposal to proceed with programming, design, and construction of the building as the City’s Permit Center and Emergency Operations Center (EOC), the most public-facing business functions in this 5,000 sq. ft. building across the street from the library field. Council approved unanimously.

The City Manager’s Office Update highlighted the high turnover in city staff. Three assistant/deputy city manager positions are vacant, as well as two analyst positions and two assistant positions. These vacancies strongly impact the functions of the city, as well as an overwhelming workload for our brand-new city manager. In addition, the Planning Department has vacancies in over half of its positions.   Lack of staffing means delays in getting approval for ordinary projects–things like home renovations–not needing planning commission or city council attention.

Item #15: Consider the second reading of Municipal Code Amendment to establish a streamlined permitting process to electric vehicle charging (EV) stations, in order to comply with State Laws AB 1236 and AB 970. Council approved unanimously.

Item #16: Application for Tentative Subdivision Map and planning permits for the development of six single-family homes on the parcel located at 20860 McClellan Road (Application No.(s): TM-2021-006, R-2021-040 to R-2021-045, RM-2022-015, -016, -022 to -025; Applicant(s): District McClellan LLC, c/o Alok Damireddy; Location: 20860 McClellan Road; APN: 359-20-030). Council approved unanimously.

Item #17: Consider: 1. Review crosswalk options across Rodrigues Avenue in the vicinity of the public pedestrian walkway easement through Tract 9405 (Campo De Lozano subdivision), located near 20138 Rodrigues Avenue; and 2. Review the proposed language for signage to be posted at each end of the pedestrian walkway easement through the Campo De Lozano subdivision (continued on September 20, 2022). This was moved to the consent calendar and unanimously approved.

CUPERTINO COURIER: October 21, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled “New Beginnings” Silicon Valley Reads celebrates 20th anniversary. Community briefs include (1) Monster Mash,  (2) Blacksmithing demo, (3) Apex predator program, and (4) Park and trail survey.. Legal notices include a notice of Municipal Code Amendments for SB 9 to be heard on at the Nov. 1, 2022 council meeting.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor