Cupertino Matters

Happy holidays! May our readers relax and spend time with family and friends to celebrate the season! City facilities will be closed between Christmas and New Year’s.

The big news at city hall is the election of the Honorable Sheila Mohan as Mayor, sworn in by Assemblymember Evan Low,  and the Honorable J.R. Fruen as Vice Mayor, sworn in by Rosemary Kamei, Vice Mayor of San Jose, for 2024. The turnover was a celebratory event with a full council chamber and  over 20 community speakers commending now former Mayor Hung Wei for her leadership during a very challenging 2023, and supporting Mohan as the next Mayor and Fruen as the next Vice Mayor. Readers can listen to the Oath of Office Ceremonies to hear the community express their appreciation for Wei’s public service during a very challenging 2023.

The next council meeting will be on Jan. 17, 2024, due to holiday closures. Cupertino Matters will be on hiatus until council meetings resume.

Readers are encouraged to apply for positions for city commissions, which serve as advisory bodies to the City Council. Commissions with upcoming vacancies in 2024 include:

  • Audit Committee  –  3 positions
  • Housing Commission – 2 positions  (1 Community Member and  1 Business Representative)
  • Parks and Recreation Commission – 2 positions
  • Public Safety Commission – 3 positions
  • Sustainability Commission  –  3 positions  (1 Community Member, 1 Business Representative, and  1 Educational Representative)
  • Technology Information and Communications Commission – 2 positions
  • Sourcewise Advisory Council – 1 position (Senior representative for Cupertino on nonprofit organization designated by the State of California as the Area Agency on Aging in Santa Clara County

Applications can be submitted via the Online Commission Application at cupertino.org/vacancies.  The application deadline is 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 5, 2024 with interviews to be held in late January.

The South Bay political scene changed dramatically in late November when the long-serving Congresswoman Anna Eshoo announced her retirement. Several electeds representing Cupertino and nearby communities immediately joined the race for her seat. Evan Low, our current representative in the state Assembly,  and Joe Simiitian, currently the District 5 representative on the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors both announced their candidacies and began fundraising. In addition, Patrick Ahrens, currently president of the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District Board, filed for Evan Low’s seat in Sacramento. The primary election will occur on March 5, 2024, with ballots mailed the first week of February.

CLOSED SESSION – City Council – Tues., Dec. 19, 2023, 11:00 a.m.

The sole agenda item is Conference with legal counsel – existing litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9 (City of Cupertino v. California Department of Tax & Fee Administration). The city continues to contest issues involving a state sales tax audit of a major taxpayer.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Thurs., Dec. 14, 2023, 5:00 p.m, Special meeting

YouTube: 1 hr. 52 min.

The sole agenda item was Election of Mayor and Vice Mayor. Public comment from well over 20 speakers voiced support only for Vice Mayor Mohan as Mayor and Councilmember Fruen as Vice-Mayor. Councilmember Fruen made a swift nomination of Mohan for Mayor. The quickly ensuing vote was unanimous. Mohan then nominated Fruen for Vice-Mayor, whereupon Councilmembers Chao and Moore each nominated the other for the seat. After a protracted series of comment from Chao and Moore, the nominations were followed by a series of split votes, with Chao and Moore on the losing end of all three. Ultimately, Council chose Fruen as Vice-Mayor in a 3-2 vote, with Moore and Chao voting nay. Fruen is the first openly gay Vice-Mayor in the city’s history.

RECAP – Planning Commission – Tues, Dec. 12, 2023, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting

YouTube: 1 hr. 35 min

Agenda and Presentations 

Item No. 2: Application to consider the construction of a seven-unit townhome development and associated environmental review. The application includes demolition of an existing four-plex, subdivision for condominium purposes only, architectural review, and associated tree removal. (Application No(s): DP-2023-001, ASA-2023-002, TM-2023-001 & TR-2023-008; Applicant(s): Leon Hu of Top Mission Realty & Investment, Inc.; Location: 10046 Bianchi Way, APN: 359-07-021.)  Parking and density were the primary concerns regarding this small infill development. However, the project meets the requirements of various state laws (SB 330, the Housing Accountability Act, and the Density Bonus Law) that limit the discretion of the city to reject the project. Accordingly, the Planning Commission voted to approve the project 3-1-0, with Madhdhipatla voting nay, and Mistry absent. Council will consider the project in early 2024.

Item No. 3: Sign Exception to allow two wall signs for a single tenant (Shane Co) at an existing retail building (Application No(s): EXC-2022-004; Applicant(s): Kevin Tallman, Shane Co.; Location: 19900 Stevens Creek Blvd.; APN: 369-05-044). Shane Company, a jewelry store, does not have the same traffic in this location that it had at the old Oaks Shopping Center. Architectural improvements to the storefront have been approved, with the company requesting two additional signs. Staff recommended allowing one additional sign. After discussion, the staff recommendation was approved 4-0-1 with Mistry absent.

CUPERTINO COURIER:   December 15, 2023

The front page photo and on page 5 is entitled Taking initiative: Local teen’s goals promote circular economy. Cupertino 16-year-old writes the book on circular economy. Community briefs are (1) Hop over to Santa Clara, and (2) Commission vacancies. Previously published in the Mercury News, an article on page 7 is entitled Vallco Mall redevelopment changes focus: First mixed-use buildings could appear by late 2024 or early 2025 in Cupertino. The sole legal notice is the First Reading of an Ordinance to allow privately owned and operated educational uses on publicly owned land.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor