Cupertino Matters

2024 elections are only a year away, with changes in electoral districts to be completed by early 2024. The Fremont Union High School District (FUHSD) will transition Governing Board elections from At-Large Elections to By-Trustee Area Elections. Board members will be elected from trustee areas, instead of by all District voters. As part of this transition, the Board is seeking input from the community on the development of the trustee area boundary map by requesting that a Community Trustee Area Districting (CTAD) Committee be formed to facilitate the process of gathering input and developing the draft maps that will be considered by the Board.

The CTAD Committee will facilitate the process of gathering input and developing maps, to be considered by the FUHSD Board of Trustees for elections from 2024 to 2032 (i.e., until the next national census). There will be multiple community meetings to gather public input. The Committee will then submit a set of focus maps to the Board of Trustees to be considered. The Board of Trustees’ goal is that the CTAD Committee will represent the diverse communities, interests and experience of the residents of the District.

The CTAD Committee application is now available on the Trustee Areas webpage<https://www.fuhsd.org/newsroom/trustee-areas>. The application window closes on October 30 at 4:00 PM.

In addition, there will be a FUHSD Board of Trustee Meeting on Tuesday, October 17th beginning at 5:15. There is an Item 8.2. Public Hearing: Input Regarding Composition of Trustee Areas, in order to receive public input (NB: this procedure does not anticipate Board discussion of the item only the receipt of public input).

FUHSD has posted 4 sets of draft maps and a public input questionnaire at this webpage: https://www.fuhsd.org/newsroom/trustee-areas  Note that this process does not affect school attendance boundaries nor does it result in the closure of schools.

The city of Cupertino received yet another threat of a lawsuit, this time from former council member Darcy Paul complaining about the Civil Grand Jury process and the city’s response to it. His letter and the scathing response from the City Attorney are available as Public Record Request 23-121 as an 8-page PDF with both letters.

UPCOMING – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Oct. 17 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting; Special meeting 5:30 p.m. 

Agenda and Presentations 

Special Meeting Agenda Item No. 1: Approval of Joint Powers Agreement to establish the Cities Association of Santa Clara County Joint Powers Agency. Over thirty years ago, the cities and towns in Santa Clara County (“Member Agencies”) established the CASCC to improve cooperation on issues of common interest. This action would formalize the relationship by establishing a Joint Powers Authority.

Regular Meeting.

The Ceremonial Item is Recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month  

The Consent Calendar has 5 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. Members of the public may comment on that item when it is considered.

Item No.7: Options for construction of a City Hall facility. The current city hall is seismically unsafe, potentially endangering  employees, a known liability since 2005. The HVAC and electrical systems are also well past the manufacturer’s useful life, and subject to breakdowns–breakdowns that are extremely expensive to repair because of the lack of available parts and relevant expertise to repair them. Various alternatives have been investigated over the years, but previous councils “kicked the can down the road”, including rejection of a new city hall included in the Vallco Town Center project in 2019.

The city now faces financial challenges, with an extreme structural deficit stemming from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration’s audit of a major sales taxpayer in Cupertino. As a result, funding options for infrastructure are severely limited. The staff report for this item proposes exploring a new option, which is a private public partnership (P3). This approach involves a development which produces an income stream to offset the cost of new and better municipal facilities including a city hall.

At this point, the most feasible option for an income stream is rental housing, potentially below market rate housing funded through tax credits and grants. Only two city owned parcels are large enough for such a mixed-use development: (1) the Sports Center parcel with a 25,000 sq. ft. building and 17 tennis courts occupying most of the site and (2) City Hall plus Community Hall (the Library and adjoining field would not be impacted). In either case, the current one story buildings would have to be demolished to build multi-story buildings in order to replace and expand the existing civic uses.

Staff is requesting direction to further explore these options for financing a new City Hall, due to lack of other options for sources of funds for building improvements. P3 projects are inherently complex, and difficult to deliver, and the economics may change over the time required to implement such a project. No decision taken in the meeting would result in any change to current operations.

Item No. 8: Blackberry Farm (BBF) Golf Course Feasibility Study, considering options to complete minimal repairs and improvements to the BBF Golf Course (Option 1) or convert BBF Golf Course to a Natural Habitat (Option 3). The need for improvements to  this property owned by the city since 1991 has been on council agendas for several years, without any definitive action. The latest effort started in 2020 and has involved extensive studies and community outreach, culminating in the staff recommendation to proceed with minimal repairs to maintain the golf course.

“While the conversion to natural habitat might provide environmental/sustainable benefits, the City would need a compelling reason, either cost benefit or a clear directive from the community, in order to dismantle an established public facility that is strongly supported by a significant segment of the community. While balancing the desirability of the existing recreational use with the potential to restore natural habitat is a policy decision that is within Council’s discretion, the research and public outreach conducted by staff has not provided a compelling reason to remove the existing golf course.”

Community support has focused on running the golf course as a business, raising fees, and reducing water use, as well as making improvements which could increase natural habitat areas. There is also the potential of leasing the golf course to an outside vendor to reduce city expenditures and increase City revenues.

Council Reports (now submitted in written form) were provided by Vice-Mayor Mohan, and Councilmembers Fruen and Moore. Mayor Wei submitted her report as a Supplemental Report. There is no report from Councilmember Chao.

Informational Items: (1) Receive the Monthly Treasurer’s Report for September 2023 and (2) Receive the Monthly Treasurer’s Investment Report for September 2023.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Oct. 10, 6:45 p.m., rescheduled from Oct. 3 Regular Meeting

YouTube: 3 hr. 32 min. (Ended at 10:20 p.m.)

Agenda and Presentations 

Consent Calendar: Item No 10 Stevens Creek Boulevard/Calabazas Creek Storm Drain Repair Emergency Work Declaration, and authorization for the City Manager to negotiate and execute contract(s) for the repair work was considered first and out of order since is it is an emergency repair to start immediately that requires closure of a portion of Stevens Creek Boulevard. Council approved unanimously.

Item No.11: Establish a General Fund Sales Tax Repayment Reserve. There was an extensive staff presentation outlining the situation regarding the potential liability of required sales tax repayments through the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA) due to an audit of a major Cupertino sales taxpayer.
The initial funding allocation is $56.5 million, corresponding to sales tax revenue received between April 2021 and June 2023–the legally permissible look-back period. Staff was authorized to augment this reserve as needed as additional disputed sales tax revenue is received.

The initial funding for the $56.5 reserve is as follows:

  •  $40.5 million from General Fund Unassigned fund balance.
  •  $10.0 million from the General Fund Capital Projects Reserve.
  •  $6.0 million from the General Fund Economic Uncertainty Reserve.

Impact on city operations to be determined.

Approved 4-0 with Moore abstaining.

Consent Calendar: Item No 5: Updates to the Policies and Guidelines on Sister Cities, Friendship Cities, and International Delegations was pulled and heard at the end of the meeting. Council spent over 50 minutes hashing over minor changes, and low reimbursements, i.e. $25 for gifts for visiting delegations.. Agenda item approved 3-2, with Moore and Chao voting nay..

Consent Calendar Item #9: Award a construction contract for the McClellan Road Separated Bike Corridor Phase 3 Project to Redgwick Construction Company for improvements at the intersection of De Anza Boulevard and McClellan Road/Pacifica Drive and approve a budget modification in the amount of $975,000 was also pulled. This project is externally funded, and corrects a dangerous intersection. Thanks to the foresight of Public Works several years ago, an easement from property owners, crucial to the project, was granted to the city, so this was a no-brainer for unanimous approval.

CUPERTINO COURIER: October 13,  2023

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled ‘Real Talk About Fake Pills’: School districts tackle illicit fentanyl poisonings and overdoses, educating families on the dangers of fentanyl. Community briefs are (1) Electric showcase winner, and (2) Othering and Belonging. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor