Cupertino Matters

The end of May is coming quickly, with Memorial Day next weekend. It’s certainly a busy month with graduations and end of the school year events.

The ceremony honoring the 2023 CREST (“Cupertino Recognizes Extra Steps Taken”) Awards Winners will be held this Thursday, May 25, at 5:30 at Cupertino Community Hall. All are invited to join in honoring the outstanding contributions of these Cupertino community members:

  • Lifetime Achievement – Jim Walker
  • Organization of the Year – Friends of the Cupertino Library
  • Volunteer of the Year – Fari Aberg
  • Public Safety Champion – Fari Aberg
  • Rising Star – Adhya Kasamsetty

City dysfunction created by Councilmembers Moore and Chao is again highlighted in Bay Area news
in response to the May 9 council review of the Fact Finding Report. The city attorney has now published 185 of the over 1500 emails that the independent investigator examined (The remainder continue to be protected by the attorney-client privilege or other similar restrictions and remain part of an ongoing investigation for further action). The headline article in the Local section of the print edition of the Mercury News on Sunday, May 21, was “Cupertino: Emails reveal conduct of 2 on council:  in them, councilmembers accuse staffers of cutting backroom deals”  This was previously published online with a different headline  “Cupertino: Newly released emails reveal conduct of two council members at the center of a recent investigation: In the emails, two councilmembers accuse staff of cutting backroom deals and criticize staff’s work In addition, the May 17-23 issue of Metro Silicon Valley  carried an article “Cupertino Reviews Report, Moves to End ‘Governance by Email’”

May and June are challenging months for the Finance Department, which has to prepare a draft Final Budget for approval by the Council on June 6. The final budget is due by the fiscal year end on June 30. The city held three budget meetings this week, summarized below. These included a public budget town hall, which Councilmembers Chao and Moore failed to attend. The city faces a major cut due to an audit by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) which has targeted the sales tax reporting of a major sales tax producer for the city of Cupertino. The preliminary number from the state is an ongoing reduction of $31 million (or approximately a 30% loss of sales revenue) according to a city press release,

Readers are urged to complete this 2023 Community Budget Survey by May 31 to guide the Finance Department as they finalize the new budget.

UPCOMING – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues. , May 25, 2023, 6:45 p.m. Regular Meeting

Agenda and Presentations

There is a single action item on the agenda in addition to approval of the April 25, 2023  minutes: Consider a proposed mixed-use development with 34 residential units, 7,595 sq. ft. commercial space, and the removal and replacement of 51 development trees. (Application No(s): TM-2021-003, ASA-2021-004, DP-2021-002, U-2021-001, TR-2022-006, EA-2022-005; Applicant(s): Carlson Chan (Prospect Venture LLC); Location: 1655 S. De Anza Blvd., APNs 366-10-061, -126. This project proposes the redevelopment of a small strip mall owned by Coach House Wine and Spirits as mixed-use development near the intersection of S. De Anza Boulevard and Prospect Road. The project would activate the state Density Bonus Law to include 34 total homes (5 would be reserved for low-income and very low-income families). The portions of the site abutting single-family neighborhoods to the west would all be townhouses. The end of the property fronting on De Anza Boulevard would include 23 apartment homes with over 7,000 sq. ft. of retail uses that would be maintained below. Projects like this have slowly started making their way through the development pipeline.

RECAP – Community Budget Town Hall, Thurs., May 18, 2023,  6:30 p.m., Community Hall

YouTube: 1 hr. 3 min. 

Agendas and Presentations

The presentation for this meeting was short and high level, with 8 attendees in Community Hall, and about 40 online. Attendees expressed support for the city in developing a balanced budget. In addition, there was support for keeping Blackberry Farm Golf course, and continuing waivers for festivals. Councilmembers Moore and Chao were notably absent.

RECAP  – CITY COUNCIL – Wed,. May 17, 2023, 5:00, Budget Study Session 

YouTube: 3 hr. 40 min.

Agenda and Presentations

Item No. 1: Initial Study Session on Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-24 Proposed Operating and Capital Improvement Program Budgets. The draft budget is over 600 pages, but the highlights were presented in a 170-page presentation, which included preliminary results of the Budget Survey. The city faces a $23.9 million deficit compared to the initial FY2023-24 Proposed Budget. Staff is proposing to balance the budget through a combination of expense reductions as well as using $6 million of the city’s general fund reserves (a.k.a. the Unassigned Fund Balance of approximately $52 million) as finances are adjusted over the next year. Overall headcount will be reduced both now and through attrition over the next several years to provide a “soft landing” so that city services to residents and businesses do not suffer. Departmental details start on page 170 of the document. Council discussion was robust, identifying minor modifications and restoring $8,000 to community funding. Of particular note is a spreadsheet provided by the Community Development Department in response to an April 13 request from the dais by Councilmember Fruen which details added revenues–both ongoing and one-time–from new development expected over the next ten years (the period of the overall budget planning forecast). The spreadsheet gives hopeful news: even on a conservative estimate of new revenues, the city should expect to see new annual, ongoing revenues in excess of $6 million by 2033, which will more than close the structural deficit the anticipated loss of sales tax revenue will create.

RECAP  – CITY COUNCIL – Tues., May 16, 2023, 6:45, Regular Meeting

YouTube: 1 hr. 23 min.  (Shortest meeting in years!)

Agenda and Presentations

The Consent Calendar was approved unanimously except Item No. 6, to consider the City Manager’s Third Quarter Financial Report for Fiscal Year 2022-23, which was considered after the Action Item for discussion, then unanimously approved. The third quarter report is an important milestone for adjusting finances for the current FY2022-23 fiscal year, and provides a look-ahead to prepare the next FY2023-24 budget.

There was a single Action Item No. 13 to consider a first reading of Ordinance No. 23-2248: “An Ordinance of the City Council of the City of Cupertino amending Chapter 9.18 of the Cupertino Municipal Code (CMC) regarding Stormwater Pollution Prevention and Watershed Protection.”  After discussion, it was approved unanimously.


The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Studios open to the public:  South Bay artists share work spaces with visitors during final leg of spring show. Community briefs include (1) Sinks appointed to the school board and (2) Regnart Creek cleanup. Page 8 is a previously published Mercury News article entitled Two councilmembers forced from committees: Investigation finds ‘abusive and controlling behavior’ and asks DA to look into ex-mayor. Legal notices are (1) Renewal of storm drain fees and (2) Invitation to bid on Bridge Preventative Maintenance Program Project.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor