Cupertino Matters

As the year ends, residents can look forward to positive changes in our local government. This new council provides a chance for the new city manager and staff to recover from the trauma of the past year, which included 60 council meetings. A normal schedule would be 30 or fewer meetings, since there are approximately 22-23 regular meetings by default. This is the last city council meeting until January 17, since the meeting normally scheduled for Jan. 3 is scheduled to be canceled due to the holiday shutdown and lack of staff time to prepare.

Change will also be mandated as  a result of the newly released grand jury 51-page report,  A HOUSE DIVIDED: CUPERTINO CITY COUNCIL AND CITY STAFF published on Dec. 19, 2022. The summary states:

“The 2022 Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury (Civil Grand Jury) received multiple complaints concerning the behavior of the City of Cupertino (City) councilmembers toward City staff. The essence of these complaints focused on an adversarial relationship existing between the Cupertino City Council (City Council) on the one hand and City management and staff on the other. Complainants alleged: (1) councilmembers interfered in the day-to-day operations of the City; (2) councilmembers routinely berated and belittled presentations made by City staff during City Council meetings; and (3) certain councilmembers gave direct work assignments to City employees, thwarting the requirements of the Council-Manager form of government. “

The report describes (3) as “Councilmanic Interference” stating that ”Councilmanic interference is a violation of the Council-Manager form of government, as established by Cupertino Municipal Code section 2.28.50…” (page 4), and furthermore “A violation of any provision or failing to comply with any of the mandatory requirements of the code shall constitute a misdemeanor…” (page 5). The report specifically names Councilmember Kitty Moore and former Mayor Darcy Paul as engaging in councilmanic interference.

“The investigation focused on four critically important areas: (1) councilmanic interference by councilmembers with City management and staff; (2) operational and fiscal risk management concerns; (3) behavior dysfunction leading to failures in governance; and (4) the lack of an Ethics and Code of Conduct Policy with enforcement provisions. As a result of this investigation, the Civil Grand Jury developed several findings and recommendations to address the identified areas of dysfunction.”( Page 6)

On Jan. 15, 2019, the previous council rescinded the City Code of Ethics and Conduct, then adopted a new, weaker ethics policy that lacked enforcement provisions. The report notes “Last, it seems that the rationale for creating a policy with generic ethics goals and no enforcement provisions was to avoid accountability. (Page 13) In addition, the policy is not available to the public online.

The grand jury report lists 4 findings and makes 8 recommendations, with dates for implementation. The city is required to respond with a public document.

A second Grand Jury report was issued on Dec. 14, 2022, entitled SHOW ME THE MONEY: FINANCIAL TRANSPARENCY NEEDED. This regards a monthly treasurer’s report, which identifies jurisdictions which did not comply with the state law. Cupertino was noncompliant at the beginning of the investigation, but is now compliant.

Readers are encouraged to apply for openings on city commissions. This is an opportunity to be engaged with city staff and council on policy issues. Applications are due by 4:30 on Jan. 6, 2023. Openings for this cycle are as follows:

  • Planning Commission – 2 positions. This key commission will be deeply involved in revising the Housing Element as well as establishing housing and General Plan land use policies for the next 8 – 10 years.
  • Parks and Recreation – 2 positions. This body is responsible for advising development of city parks and recreational programs. Memorial Park and Blackberry Golf Course are major upcoming projects.
  • Bicycle Pedestrian Commission – 3 positions. This commission is responsible for working with Public Works on the infrastructure for improving walking and biking in Cupertino..
  • Housing Commission – 1 vacancy. This body recommends policies for implementation and monitoring of affordable housing projects.
  • Library Commission – 2 vacancies  This commission liaises with the Cupertino community library concerning library services.
  • Technology, Information and Communications Commission – TICC advises city council on telecommunications infrastructure, among related items.
  • Arts & Culture Commission – 2 positions. This body advises the city council on arts projects.

For more information, go to

A reminder that comments on the Housing Element draft are due Dec. 23, just prior to the Christmas shutdown. Readers can speak at Oral Communications on Tues. Dec. 20, at city council. Comments on this 492-page document may be sent to the Community Development Department, Attn: Luke Connolly, Acting Community Development Director, 10300 Torre Avenue,Cupertino, CA 95014, or, clearly identifying Housing Element in the subject line.

UPCOMING – City Council – Tues., Dec. 20 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular, TELECONFERENCE ONLY

This should be a short meeting. There are no Ceremonial Matters and Presentations, so  Oral Communications will begin immediately. Reports should be routine.

The only business is the Consent Calendar with 9 items, of which 4 are approval of minutes. Two items may be pulled for further discussion.

Item #8: Consider approval of response to 2022 Civil Grand Jury of Santa Clara County Report Entitled, “If You Only Read the Ballot, You’re Being Duped”. Cupertino was one of the jurisdictions required to respond to the grand jury investigation. This is the city’s proposed response.

Item #9: Consider appointment of 2023 Councilmember Committee Assignments. After electing a new mayor and vice-mayor, the presiding official (the mayor) then makes outside committee assignments for the upcoming year. These assignments rotate to incorporate new council members, with each council member serving on at least three committees.

RECAP – Planning Commission – Tues, Dec. 13, 2022, 6:45 p.m. Regular

YouTube: 1 hr. 47 min.

This was a short meeting, with Commissioner Muni Madhdhipatla absent. The sole agenda item was the 2022 Review of General Plan Annual Report/Implementation Plan  Staff presented updates thus far to a portion of this state required 75-page report, with additional sections to be reviewed in future meetings, prior to council consideration by April 1, 2023.

CUPERTINO COURIER: December 16, 2022

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Change in the system: Pandemic prepared Josh Selo to handle his future duties as a housing advocate. Josh Selo ready for next challenge as advocate at Bill Wilson Center. The community briefs on page 5 are (1) College housing grants available, (2) Commission vacancies, and (3) Blacksmith demonstrations .Page 7 is the previously published Mercury News article “Hung Wei is elected mayor of Cupertino.” There were no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor