Cupertino Matters

Sunshine and flowering trees greeted the city this week–the rainy season may finally be behind us. Meanwhile, the Sierras host record snowpack, and there is concern about flooding with warming temperatures. Nearby reservoirs and creeks are full, though there are no reports of local flooding.

Mark your calendars for the Cupertino Earth and Arbor Day on Saturday, April 22 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This festival will feature more than 75 booths hosted by local nonprofits and businesses, hands-on activities, live entertainment, a family tour through Regnart Creek Trail, and more. Find resources, activities, and conversation to inspire residents, businesses, and community members to take action to reduce their own impact on our planet. Learn more at

Have readers noticed the improvements in city council governance under Mayor Hung Wei? The city council meeting on April 4 ended at 10:30 p.m., the earliest conclusion in a long time. There has been a significant decrease in the number of closed sessions, and they are now scheduled the same day as other regular/special council meetings, instead of separate days, reducing staff time as well as minimizing council scheduling. Consent calendar items that are pulled are considered at the end of the meeting, so public hearing and action items receive timely consideration instead of late-night attention. These changes are the direct result of the new City Council Procedures Manual.

The city now faces a new challenge with an audit of sales tax revenue remitted to Cupertino, which potentially reduces overall regular city revenue by 17% ($13 million), so adjustments will need to be made to the city budget. The Budget Forecast currently on the city agenda is a “bean-counting” approach, rather than a strategic approach. The Moss-Adams Enterprise Risk Assessment Report issued in Dec. 2020, specifically identified (1) Planning and Strategy, (2) External Environment and (3) Governance as major risks for the city. On page 14, “the City does not have a strategic plan and the Council sometimes operates at more of an operational rather than strategic level, focusing on immediate action items and implementation details rather than setting long-term strategic goals.” Strategic goals need to be considered before expenditure reductions that impact community services.

The next city council meeting will occur on May 2.

UPCOMING  – CITY COUNCIL – Thurs. April 13, 2023, 4:00 p.m. Special Meeting followed by Closed Session

Agenda and Presentations (Note the new order for the agenda)

There are no Closed Session Reports nor Ceremonial Items so Oral Communications will quickly follow. Note that changes have been made in the procedures pursuant to the Council Procedures Manual. There will ordinarily be a 30 minute limit, with a limit of 3 minutes per speaker, though the mayor may reduce the time allocated per speaker or reschedule additional speakers to the end of the meeting.

The Consent Calendar has three routine items. Members of the public may speak on any or all consent calendar items when the mayor asks for public comment on the Consent Calendar. If a member of the council pulls an item from the Consent Calendar, it will be addressed after all action items and members of the public may comment on that item when it is considered.

Item No. 4:  Consider the proposed development of a 282,320-square-foot office building with a detached 213,080-square-foot parking structure and removal and replacement of 113 trees subject to a Development Permit, Architectural and Site Approval, and Tree Removal Permit, and exemption from the California Environmental Quality Act. (Application No(s): DP-2021-001, ASA-2021-003, TR-2021-020; Applicant(s): Apple, Inc.; Location: 19191 Vallco Parkway; APN #316-20-117). This was approved by the Planning Commission on March 28, on a 3-0-2 vote with Commissioners Fung and Lindskog recused. The staff report details compliance with the General Plan and city ordinances. The Apple presentation from the Planning Commission provides additional details, including a 2,300 sq. ft. commercial space well-suited for a bike shop to support the over 1,000 employees who commute daily to Cupertino, as well as students and residents. The project fits well with Apple’s $9.7 million support of bikes and trails, including providing a trailhead to the proposed I-280 trails (officially renamed the “Tamien Innu” at the last council meeting). The four-story building would be a state-of-the-art structure with a public plaza  replacing a functionally obsolete two-story building designed around cars, rather than bikes and pedestrians. The project is expected to deliver roughly $7.0 million in taxes and fees to the city.

Item No. 5: Consider submitting a letter in support of, or otherwise regarding, Assembly Constitutional Amendment (“ACA”) 5, expressing the intent of the Legislature to amend the California Constitution to protect marriage equality. Assemblymember Evan Low had made a presentation at the April 4, 2023, council meeting requesting support for this constitutional amendment. This is the formal approval of a council letter of support.

Item No. 6: Consider the FY 2023-24 10-Year Budget Forecast Informational Update presentation. Sales tax provides about 34% of the revenue for the city of Cupertino.  Online sales are a major percentage with Apple a major contributor as well as online vendors such as Amazon and Wayfair, but actual amounts are confidential information. Online sales surged during the pandemic, but as expected, dropped afterward.

Online sales taxes are collected and paid through a “county pool” as a pro-rata share of taxable sales each quarter. The California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) oversees this process. There have been changes in the agency and judicial opinions on sales tax generally. As a result, the CDTFA audit is projecting a significant (73%)  ongoing reduction in overall sales tax paid to the city of Cupertino. This is estimated to be approximately a 17% reduction ($13 Million) in the overall city revenues, which could require cutbacks in city services. The city will be exploring (1) expenditure reduction strategies, and (2) revenue generation strategies to manage this shortfall. Notably missing are longer term financial strategies for revenue generation, specifically development that would increase property tax revenue. New development is excluded from the 10 year projections which is unrealistic given the Housing Element. The actual budget will be brought to the council in May.

Item No. 7: Councilmember Reports. Oral reports have not been heard due to other agenda items, so informational written reports have been submitted by Mayor Wei, Vice-Mayor Mohan, Councilmember Fruen, and Councilmember Moore. Note  attendance at the number of community events and building relationships with other jurisdictions.Informational Items 
Item No. 8: Consider the Monthly Treasurer’s Report for February 2023
Item No. 9: Consider the Monthly Treasurer’s Investment Report for February 2023

Closed Session immediately following a 15 minute recess.
Item No. 10: Conference with legal counsel – initiation of litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9(c) (two cases)
Item No. 11: Conference with Labor Negotiators pursuant to Government Code § 54957.6 (Kristina Alfaro and Christopher Boucher)

CANCELED – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues. April 11, 2023, 6:45 p.m. Regular Meeting

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues. April 4, 2023, 6:00 Closed Session, 6:45 p.m. Regular Meeting

YouTube:  3 hr. 36 min.  (Finished at 10:30 p.m.)
Agenda and Presentations

The Consent Calendar had five routine items, including two continued from the previous meeting: (No. 4) an informational item regarding Chamber of Commerce information for events and services approved by the previous council, and (No. 5) a maintenance agreement for city orchards, both postponed from the March 21 agenda, which were again pulled by Councilmembers Moore and Chao.

Item No. 9: Adopt Fiscal Year 2023-2025 City Work Program. After public input and council discussion noting that the work plan would be incorporated into the city budget in May, the staff recommendations were approved 4-0-1 with Councilmember Moore abstaining without a stated reason.

Item No. 10: Consider submitting a letter in support of, or otherwise regarding, Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1469: Valley Water – Assisting Unsheltered People.  After public input and council discussion, council unanimously approved this item.

Consent Calendar Item No. 5: Consider authorizing execution of a Maintenance Services Contract for City-owned orchards (Continued from March 21). Council accepted edits to the Maintenance Services Contract submitted by the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society (dated April 3). The contract was then approved unanimously.

Consent Calendar Item No. 4: Consider staff reports and the attachments provided at the June 21, 2022 and March 7, 2023 City Council meetings regarding the Chamber of Commerce (Continued from March 21). Council spent nearly an hour arguing over next actions to remedy the relationship between the city and the Chamber of Commerce. No action was taken on this information item.


The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Crushing it: Winemaker commutes daily between vineyards in Cupertino, Soquel. The community brief is School board seat open after trustee Roy Rocklin dies. Legal Notices include (1) SEIR scoping meeting, Housing and Safety Element Update on April 18 2023, (2) Public Hearing for FY 2023-24 Community Development Block Grant  Action Plan on May 11 for the Housing Commission, (3) Administrative Hearing on April 20 for a lot line change for 21966 Oakleaf Court, and (4) Fremont Union HIgh School District Board Trustee Vacancy application deadline April 21.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor