Cupertino Matters

Summer is officially here with many events scheduled not only in Cupertino, but also surrounding communities. The city hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, June 9, to celebrate the opening of two projects at Wilson Park: a community garden and a new full-sized basketball court. The repurposed ponds at Memorial Park are the site for Cupertino’s Summer Concert Series, which started Thursday, June 15. The full schedule of Parks and Recreation activities can be found here.

Holidays disrupt the usual routine, and the new Juneteenth/Emancipation Day on June 19, a federal holiday established last year, is no exception. The city council meeting was, accordingly, scheduled for Wednesday, to allow staff time to prepare for the meeting.

A key item on this meeting’s agenda regards the revitalization and redevelopment of  Memorial Park. This process has been long, and now the preferred conceptual plan will be presented to city council for approval to allow the development of the schematic design. The plan is well-done and forward-thinking, incorporating new recreational needs expressed by the community and our aging population. Key features include:

  • Three event lawns for festivals and civic activities (currently two exist)
  • Three reservable picnic areas (currently one exists with no shade)
  • Three restrooms (currently one exists near the southern playground, while another sits tucked alongside the tennis courts)
  • Senior Center expanded/integrated deck/courtyard with access to fitness stations and event lawn for exercise classes/events
  • Replacement of underutilized softball field with new popular recreational facilities (1) highly requested pickleball courts, (2) a full-sized basketball court, (3) fenced DOLA (Dogs Off Leash) area, (4) reservable picnic area with shade, and (5) a new restroom.
  • Improved safety and ADA access to the amphitheater and event lawns by adding loading/handicapped parking on Anton Way.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL Special Meeting – Wed, June 21, 2023, 5:00, Memorial Park Agenda Item No. 1) with  Public Hearing (Agenda Item no. 10) starting no earlier than  6:45

Agenda and Presentations (note revised order for the agenda)

At 5:00, the meeting starts with an Action Item:Consider the Memorial Park Specific Plan conceptual design. This conceptual plan was developed after extensive community outreach, presenting three different design alternatives. The conceptual design incorporates elements from all three alternatives. Readers are encouraged to review the Staff Report and Preferred Draft Concept 06-01-2023. It adds significantly more recreational functionality and ADA access to the park.

The Consent Calendar has eight routine items, including two continued from the June 6, 2023 council meeting. 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. Members of the public may comment on that item when it is considered.

Item No. 10: Consider a proposed mixed-use redevelopment project consisting of 34 residential units and approximately 7,482 square feet of commercial space. Project includes the removal and replacement of 51 development trees and a range of site and landscape improvements. Location: 1655 S. De Anza Blvd., APNs 366-10-061, -126 .  This project was unanimously approved by the Planning Commission on May 25. The project proposes the redevelopment of a small strip mall owned by Coach House Wine and Spirits as a 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 of which 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 screened by existing mature Italian cypress trees and infill trees from the city’s approved tree list. 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 wending through the development pipeline.

Council Reports (now submitted in written form) will follow, then the City Manager Report. There are two Informational Items: the Monthly Treasurer’s Report and Monthly Treasurer’s Investment Report.

CANCELED – PLANNING COMMISSION – Tues,  June 13, 2023, 6:45 p.m. Regular Meeting

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

YouTube: Part 1 – 2 hr. 38 min;  Part 2 – 1 hr. 45 min.

Agenda and Presentations (note new order for the agenda)

The Ceremonial Item was acknowledgement that the city of Cupertino proclaimed June as LGBTQ+ Month, with a Pride Month Flag Raising Ceremony 2023 on June 1.

Six items were unanimously approved on the Consent Calendar, but four were pulled for discussion: Item No. 4 was reordered after the public hearing for Item #11. Item No. 2 (Chao), Item No. 3 (Moore), and Item No. 10  (Chao) were also pulled to be considered at the end of the meeting.

Item No. 11 was a Public Hearing to consider approval of the renewal (with no increase) of the 1992 Storm Drain Fee and renewal of the 2019 Clean Water and Storm Protection Fee with a 3% increase. Council approved unanimously with little discussion

Item No. 4: Consider executing an Agreement between the City of Cupertino (City) and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce (Chamber). This should have been a routine approval of a relatively small contract ($52,000 annually for 5 years) with a service provider, but became an hour-and-half marathon. A substantial staff report to answer council questions was included in the agenda prior to the meeting. There were fourteen speakers for public comment, with most favoring the agreement, including two former mayors. Discussion and council questions were dominated by Councilmember Moore rehashing irrelevant 2020 campaign accusations, which City Attorney Jensen characterized as “false statements” in a rare rebuke from the dais. After a substitute motion by Chao and Moore failed 2-3, the staff recommendation was approved 3-2, with Chao and Moore voting nay.

Item No. 12 is Consider the Recommended Operating and Capital Improvement Program Budgets for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-24, adoption of the Operating and Capital Improvement Program Budgets for FY 2023-24, establishment of the Appropriation Limit, and related actions. At 9:23 p.m., council began consideration of the most important item on the agenda. The city is required to present a balanced budget by June 30 to start the new fiscal year. Adjustments to the budget can be (and routinely are) made quarterly as the city adjusts to reality on the ground. In this year, that likelihood is stronger as the city responds to the impact of the audit by the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA), which remains in flux. Public comment centered the need to retain the fee waiver to maintain fiscal viability of non-profit festivals. The meeting bogged down when Councilmembers Moore and Chao argued over an incomprehensible substitute motion, which subsequently failed 2-3, with Wei, Mohan, and Fruen voting nay.

The final vote was 3-2 (Moore and Chao voting nay) to approve the Operating Budget of $117,645,365 with these additional community-oriented adjustments from the previous draft budget:

  • $8,000 additional for the Community Funding Grant Program
  • $8,380 for Movies in the Park
  • $146,650 for Golf Course Turf Management
  • $30,000 for Shakespeare in the Park in 2023 with fund-raising for 2024 season to keep Cupertino on the schedule
  • $36,492 for Sheriff’s services at festivals
  • $84,218 retention of festival fee waivers.

Staff was able to find additional savings in these items:

  • $154,149 from the prepayment of the CalPERS pension plan’s Unfunded Accrued Liability
  • $160,000 from the elimination of extra library hours funding currently provided by the county library system
  • $313,218 resulting from an updated SB 1 (Gas Tax) revenue estimate

Consent Item No. 5: Consider authorizing the City Manager to execute a Third Amendment to Professional Services agreement with Quartic Solutions, LLC., for software updates and technical support services, increasing the current contract amount by $184,800 over the next three years, for a total contract amount of $354,800 was shoehorned into consideration before council adjourned. Councilmember Moore questioned the procurement processes that have changed over the years. Legal advised changing from an industry standard purchase order process to a professional services contract. These questions should have been answered in one-on-ones with staff prior to the meeting, not  at 11 p.m. when the meeting was running overtime. Council approved 4-1 with Moore voting nay.

Consent Item No. 2 to consider approval of the May 16 City Council minutes was continued to the June 21 meeting.

Consent Item No. 10 to receive the FY 2021-22 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report (ACFR) and related supplemental reports was continued to June 21 meeting.

CUPERTINO COURIER: June 16, 2023

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Track runs in the family: Teen follows in footsteps of father and mother. a Monta Vista grad.  Community briefs include (1) Road safety grant, (2) Parents Nights Out, (3) Summer concerts and (4) Independence Day. Page 8 is an article entitled Students design tech to send alerts of school shootings: Siren system would detect gunshots, notify everyone on campus, the police.  The SIREN team includes Swarnya Srivastava, a senior at Monta Vista High School. There are no legal notices.

CUPERTINO COURIER: June 9, 2023

The front page photo and article on page 3 is entitled No evidence found: DAs office ends investigation into hiring, firing practices by former mayor.  The article specifically cites “no evidence a crime was committed in the last year, which means the statute of limitations precluded investigation of actions prior to May, 2022. The Grand Jury Report and the Fact Finding Report uncovered incidents that went back further. Community briefs include (1) A natural performance, (2) Sidewalk office hours, and (3) Midpen honored for financial transparency. Page 4 is an article entitled Apple unveils MIrage artwork near Apple Park Visitor Center. The only legal notice is a public hearing for a Development Proposal for 1655 S. DeAnza Blvd,a small strip mall owned by Coach House Wine and Spirits, located near the intersection of S. De Anza Boulevard and Prospect Road.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor