Cupertino Matters

Primary elections are on March 5, a result of the shift of the California primary to align with Super Tuesday in presidential election years. The retirement of Anna Eshoo late in the election cycle compressed the normal cycle into two months, since ballots will arrive the first week of February.

Endorsements of candidates are likely to be limited, with the Mercury News providing its first endorsement: Elect Patrick Ahrens for Evan Low’s Assembly District 26 seat: Low staffer and college board member stands out among race’s youthful trio of top candidates with political experience commenting, “Ahrens brings a critical eye to the state’s role in addressing homelessness, housing, transportation and the high cost of doing business here.” The League of Women Voters will be holding the candidate forum for this race for California Assembly District 26 on February 15 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm Zoom

The second major race impacting is to fill Joe Simitian’s seat as County Supervisor. The League of Women Voters will be holding a candidate forum for County Supervisor – District 5 on January 31 at 7:00 PM available via Zoom. Leading leading candidates include Margaret Abe-Koga and Sally Lieber, as well as  Barry Chang (formerly on Cupertino city council), and Peter Fung.

The full list of local candidate forums is available on the League of Women Voters Cupertino-Sunnyvale website. The site also features additional election information. Videos will be posted on YouTube after the event.

The annual Silicon Valley Reads program will kick off on Wednesday, January 31, 2024 at the Visual & Performing Arts Center (VPAC) at De Anza College from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Doors open at 6:00 pm. The event will be simultaneously live streamed by the Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley. See registration and the full event calendar here.

CITY COUNCIL – Mon, Jan. 29, 2024, 6:00 p.m., Commission Interviews; 5:00 Closed session

Closed Session: The sole agenda item was a conference with legal counsel regrading existing litigation pursuant to Government Code § 54956.9 (City of Cupertino v. California Department of Tax & Fee Administration). This item regards the sales tax audit.

Special meeting Agenda

Agenda item No 1: Interview applicants for commission terms expiring on the Audit Committee, Housing Commission (Community Member and Business Representative), Parks and Recreation Commission, Public Safety Commission, Sustainability Commission (Community Member, Business Representative and Educational Representative), Technology, Information, and Communications Commission; and Sourcewise Advisory Council (Cupertino Representative). There are an unusually large number of applicants–59 in all–for 16 positions on 6 commissions and an advisory council.

Tues., Jan 30, 6:00 p.m., Commission Interviews

Continuation Agenda

This meeting resumes commission applicant interviews. Voting will occur at the end of the meeting.

RECAP – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Jan. 17, 2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting; 5:00 Study Session

YouTube: Part 1 1 hour, 34 min (Study session); Part 2: 2 hr, 30 min.; Part 3 1 hr. 43 min.  

Agenda and Presentations 

Study Session: Provide input to staff on potential service-level reductions for the FY 2024-25 Proposed and Final Budgets. Potential service level reductions were presented which could reduce the budget shortfall by $10.5 million, leaving a gap of $4.5 million. Significant savings would be achieved by policy decisions to shift sidewalk and tree maintenance back to property owners pursuant to state law, as well as returning school grounds maintenance to the Cupertino Union School District. Public input and council discussion was robust, and will be continued. Readers are urged to review the 3-page Appendix outlining potential service level reductions and participate in public outreach.

Regular Meeting:

A Closed Session Report announced the recent settlement with YIMBY Law that will help the city speed its adoption of a new Housing Element.

Item No.10: Public hearing on the abatement of public nuisance from weeds or other fire hazards pursuant to provisions of Cupertino Municipal Code Chapter 9.08 and Resolution No. 23-117. Three property owners questioned assessments of their properties. Council ultimately approved the staff recommendation 5-0.

Item No.11: Application for a seven-unit townhome development and associated environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act. (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.) This project had previously been approved by the Planning Commission and  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. Council and the public commented favorably about the project. Final approval was 4-0-1 with Chao abstaining citing her disagreement with state housing laws. She has previously approved other projects that utilized the Density Bonus Law, which is memorialized separately in our own Municipal Code. It is not clear why she would choose to object now. 

Item No. 12: Proposed amendments to Municipal Code Chapter 19.12, Chapter 19.28 and Chapter 19.112 regarding Two-Story Permit and Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) laws. (Application No. MCA-2023-002; Applicant: City of Cupertino; Location: City-wide)  This amendment streamlines the permit approval process and updates the code to conform with revised state requirements. Public support for these amendments was  robust, with almost no objections. The Planning Commission recommended going beyond minimum state law requirements to allow: (1) a maximum or 3 ADUs per single-family lot selected from an exclusive menu of one of each allowed types, (2) heights of 18 feet for a detached ADU or 25 feet if attached to a principal residence, and (3) allowance for a second story on attached or detached ADUs regardless of proximity to transit and to treat all property owners equally. Council amended these recommendations to retain the proximity to transit for non-streamlined ADUs and extended the provisions to apply to residential duplexes and to allow for a choice of ADU types in any combination. Council approved the revisions 5-0.

CUPERTINO COURIER: January 26, 2024

The front page photo and Community Brief on page 3 is entitled Candidates address the issues: Virtual forums set for crowded South Bay races. Previously published in the Mercury News, an article on page 3 is entitled Cupertino settles YIMBY housing suit:  City is expected to OK 4,588 homes by 2031 to keep pace with mandates. Previously published in the Mercury News, an article on page 5 is entitled Apple’s  ‘mothership’ Infinite Loop retail store closes. Page 6 is a County Connection article by Joe Simitian entitled Reflecting on data privacy at state and local levels. There are no legal notices.

CUPERTINO COURIER: January 19, 2024

The front page photo and  community brief on page 5 is entitled Save a chair for Hsueh: District 5 representative elected to board chair for third time. Additional community briefs are (1) Vision Zero meeting  and (2) MetroED head to retire. There are no legal notices.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor