Cupertino Matters

I hope readers, their friends and families are managing the heat. The Bay Area is fortunate that our natural “air conditioning” moderates the effect, unlike other areas of the country suffering from high temperatures. The Cupertino library serves as a cooling center for the community during open hours.

The pandemic has certainly changed the workplace, with at least partial work-from-home the norm for many. One unexpected consequence is the increase in park usage and outdoor recreation, including golf courses, such as the city-owned Blackberry Farm Golf Course. This trend is highlighted in an article on the front page of the Mercury News on July 16, 2023, entitled  Zoom meeting, emails and a quick 9 holes: weekday tee times increase as more swap 9- 5 grind to work from home.  

Discrimination in various forms is in the news at many levels with concerns particularly relevant in our multicultural city. The current state law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act,  prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language or immigration status. This past week, the city council considered whether to take a position on, or otherwise respond to, a state bill, SB 403, which would have added another “protected category”, namely caste. The bill engendered a high level of disagreement and very strong reactions, particularly from the South Asian population both in Cupertino and across the Bay Area.

Instead of filing a formal position–an action no city or county has taken–on this bill which remains under revision in the state Assembly, the council wisely issued a proclamation expressing the City’s commitment to diversity and respect for the rights of every individual and every community. City of Cupertino Issues Proclamation Reinforcing City’s Commitment to Oppose All Forms of Discrimination

NOTE: Council recesses for the month of August, so there will be no council meetings that month. The first regular council meeting in September will occur on Wednesday, September 6, due to the Labor Day holiday.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues. July 25, 2023, 5:00 Study Session

Agenda and Presentations (note new order for the agenda)

There are only two items for this meeting, both concerned with housing;

Item No. 1: Study Session and staff presentation on the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update. The city’s initial draft of the Housing Element, developed under the auspices of the prior city council, was not approved by the state Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), which provided a 14-page comment letter dated May 4, 2023. At the same time, new state housing law–AB 2011–went into effect July 1, 2023, which allows residential development in defined commercial corridors regardless of underlying zoning. Based on HCD feedback and the new laws, the Housing Element is being revised to (1) reduce reliance on the Vallco and Hamptons pipeline projects, and (2) align sites with transportation state laws AB 23 (2006) and SB 375 (2008) regarding climate change and greenhouse gas. Cupertino For All, a local housing advocacy group, has submitted a 20-page document outlining suggested Recommendations for Policies and Programs. Council will provide direction on these matters at today’s study session so that Cupertino can take its next step toward achieving a state-certified Housing Element.

Item No. 2: Consider taking a position in support of, in opposition to, or otherwise regarding Senate Bill (“SB”) 423: Streamlined Housing Approvals: Multifamily Housing Developments. The primary purpose of this bill is to extend the SB 35 sunset in 2026 to 2036. It also includes a number of other provisions to make SB 35 projects more economically viable and to allow its application in parts of the Coastal Zone.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues. July 18, 2023, 6:45, Regular Meeting, 6:00 Closed Session

YouTube:  Part 1  – 1 hr. 25 min.; Part 2 – 3 hr. 8 min. Agenda Item No. 13  

Agenda and Presentations (note new order for the agenda)

The eight items on the Consent Calendar were approved unanimously.

Item No. 10: Hearing to consider approval of lien assessment and collection of fees on private parcels resulting from abatement of public nuisance (weeds and/or brush) for the annual Weed and Brush Abatement Programs and accompanying budget appropriation request. There were no comments from the public. Council approved unanimously.

Item No. 11: Fiscal Year (FY) 2023-24 Fee Schedule Update. There was minimal discussion of the fee schedule. Several members of the public encouraged increasing the golf course fees for better cost recovery. There were no fee changes by the council, since the city will be doing a full fee study to be brought to council later this year.  Council approved unanimously.

Item No.12: Consider scheduling a Council agenda item to update the FY 23-25 City Work Program to include an item relating to the Noise Ordinance. Council did not act on this item.

Item No. 13: Consider taking a position in support of, in opposition to, or otherwise regarding or in response to Senate Bill 403, amending the Unruh Civil Rights Act to clarify that existing state law prohibitions on discrimination based on ancestry prohibit. The council chamber was packed for this item, with the council receiving over 300 letters. Mayor Wei established the ground rules  of non-divisiveness and respect as the council listened to public comment in person for an hour, then half an hour for Zoom. The majority of speakers were from out-of-town, with passionate commentary both for and against support of this bill.  Vice Mayor Mohan made a motion to issue a simple proclamation crafted to clearly state that the city opposes discrimination in all forms. Councilmember Chao then proposed an alternative lengthy proclamation which included the specific bill. After lengthy discussion and competing motions, Mohan’s proclamation was amended to include a reference to caste, and passed 3-1-1 with Moore voting nay and Chao abstaining.

After the meeting, the two sides continued their debate outside Community Hall. Very sadly, one of the advocates suddenly collapsed and was taken to the hospital where he subsequently passed away.

Council Reports (now submitted in written form) were provided by Fruen, Mohan and Wei. There were no submissions by Chao and Moore.

Informational Items included: (1) FY 2022-2023 City Work Program Fourth Quarter Update; (2) Streetlight Transition Assessment Report; (3) the Monthly Treasurer’s Report for June 2023; and (4) the Monthly Treasurer’s Investment Report for June 2023.


The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Under new management:  Newly hired GM brings her hospitality experience to Vidovich Vineyards. Community briefs include (1) Summer concert series, (2) Shakespeare in the Park, and (3) Emergency prep training. Page 6 is a County Connection column entitled Lets make Santa Clara County a more accessible place for all, highlighting the College of Adaptive Arts at West Valley College and Camp Via West in the Cupertino foothills. Of note to local golfers, page 17 has a previously published Mercury News article Zoom meeting, emails and a quick 9 holes:  Week day tee times increase as people swap 9-5 grind for work from home. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor