Cupertino Matters

Easter is early this year, and will be celebrated on the last Sunday in March. Easter egg hunts abound in the city, and the city is sponsoring the annual Big Bunny 5 K run on Saturday, March 30.

The process of achieving a state-certified Housing Element reached another milestone last week. Reviewers for the state are stretched thin. In response to informal comments from the state, Cupertino staff made further revisions to the third draft submitted in February. The draft is open for public comment. A response letter from the state Department of Housing and Community Development is expected in mid April. Readers can read the full document at Cupertino Housing Element.

CANCELED  – Planning Commission – Tues., Mar. 26,  2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting

RECAP  – CITY COUNCIL – Tues, Mar. 19, 2024, 6:45 p.m., Regular Meeting; 5:15 Study Session

YouTube: Part 1 – 1 hr. 39 min Study session; Part 2 – 3hr. 20 min Regular meeting (ended 10:25 p.m.)

Agenda and Presentations

Study Session 
Item No. 1: Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) Fiscal Year (FY) 2024/2025 and Five-year Plan. Staff provided an overview of the process, plus an update on eleven  projects completed or scheduled for completion this year. New projects were prioritized based on criteria previously established by council. Six new multi-year projects were proposed for FY2-24-25. Three of the new projects have include outside funding and staff is actively pursuing additional grant opportunities. However, grant funders generally require completion of city funded upfront design prior to consideration for grants. That is, many projects must be “shovel ready” in order to be eligible or to score well in a competitive grant system. The most controversial project was the Bollinger Road Corridor for a traffic study and identification of alternatives to redesign this dangerous roadway. This is a joint project with the City of San Jose and already has grant funding.  Vice-Mayor Fruen recused himself from the vote out of an abundance of caution since he resides on Bollinger. The objective of the agenda item was to provide feedback to staff, so no vote was taken.

Readers may review the staff report that outlines the proposed projects for FY2024-25. Attachments identify all projects to be considered, along with a lengthy list from master plans which have yet to be approved and funded for implementation. Most helpfully, the documents describe the funding sources for projects which allows the public to see how little the CIP relies on the General Fund.

Regular Session
The Consent Calendar contained seven items; five items were approved unanimously except for Item 1, on which Chao abstained and Moore voted no. Two items were pulled: No. 4, revising Cupertino City Council Procedures Manual, and No. 5, the second reading to adopt Ordinance No. 24-2256, to regularize commissioner appointments and revise commissioner qualifications. These revisions from the March 5 Council meeting were then considered after the action items.

Item No. 8: Review city-owned properties. Staff reviewed five properties under consideration for future action. The 10301 Byrne Ave property has been declared surplus and may be sold. Staff is exploring multiple options for 10300 Torre Ave (Cupertino City Hall), since it is seismically unsafe. 10455 Torre Ave (Annex) was purchased to maintain public facing services, given that city hall would undergo significant remodel or reconstruction. The primary focus of interest dealt with the two properties near Blackberry Farm golf course: 22050 Stevens Creek Boulevard (Blesch property), a residential property in the flood plain next to BlackBerry Farm Golf and 22120 Stevens Creek Boulevard (Stocklmeir property), a property of local historic interest immediately nearby. Council discussion provided feedback to the staff on planning for future use in conjunction with the entire Stevens Creek/Blackberry Farm corridor. Council approved 5-0.

Item No. 4: Revisions to Cupertino City Council Procedures Manual. Though modifications had been previously approved, additional changes were made to curb a sudden abusive practice on the part of at least one councilmember. Councilmember Kitty Moore removed herself from the dais, and breaking the rules of decorum, spoke at Oral Communications, claiming to be a member of the “public,” instead of a council member, showing a fundamental misunderstanding of her role as an elected official, and the purpose of the Brown Act. The controversy centered around the category of “informational items” that would ordinarily be handled as off-agenda memos in any other city, but which are provided as attachments to the agenda to foster transparency, but which are not agendized for council discussion. Councilmember Moore, rather than following the process for councilmembers to agendize council discussion of a topic provided as informational took the opportunity to claim that the presence of the item on the agenda granted her the right “as a member of the public” to speak to that item during Oral Communications. The city attorney explained that for a councilmember to comment on matters not on the agenda, such as would normally occur for the public during Oral Communications, would be a Brown Act violation. Councilmember Chao made an initial motion to reject the resolution to register her objection to any changes to the Procedures Manual. Vice-Mayor Fruen offered a substitute motion to accept the staff recommendation and close the loophole  Councilmember Moore chose to abuse by shifting informational items off the agenda and posting them instead directly on the website for both council and the public at the time they become available. A second substitute motion by Councilmember Chao was to approve the staff recommendation and post informational items to the website.  This failed 1-4 with only Moore voting aye and Chao voting against her own motion. The first substitute motion was then approved 3-2, with Moore and Chao voting nay.

Item No. 5: Adoption of Ordinance No. 24-2256, to regularize commissioner appointments and revise commissioner qualifications  This was a second reading so a pro forma vote. After a series of questions from Councilmember Chao exposing a plain lack of preparation, Council approved the second reading 5-0.

Item No. 9 Council Reports (now submitted in written form) were provided by Chao, Fruen, Mohan and Wei. Councilmember Moore submitted a late report as a desk item.

CUPERTINO COURIER: March 22, 2024

The front page photo and article on page 5 is entitled Play area turning into reality:  Plans to build all-inclusive playground at Jollyman Park in the works. New play area designed to address the needs of all ages and abilities. Page 6 is Commentary: Inflation isn’t the problem – the shortage of housing is, a timely piece. Page 8 is New trustee elections plan causes uproar: Many angry with the Fremont Union High School District’s move to a zone voting process. Community Briefs on page 8 are (1) Bridge funds and (2) Free compost in Sunnyvale. Legal notices are (1) Public Hearing for modification of Development Agreement for Cupertino Village Boutique Hotel scheduled for April 3, 2024, (2) Public Hearing for modification of Development Agreement for DeAnza Hotel scheduled for April 3, 2024, and (3) FY2024-25 Community Development Block Grant (CBDG) annual action plan scheduled for April 25 council meetings.

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor