Cupertino Matters

Cupertino Matters

September 29, 2020 Newsletter

 

Cupertino Matters

The big news this week is that the city has finally acquired the 7.8 acre Lawrence-Mitty property along Lawrence Expressway for $2.69 million after more than a decade of negotiating with Santa Clara County. City meetings are minimal with the next city council meeting on Oct. 6. Campaigning is gearing up with Zoom forums, lawn signs and campaign materials on your door and in your mailbox. Ballots will be mailed starting Oct. 5.

Our school districts, as well as the city, are faced with revenue shortfalls. Several candidates are touting a new tax based on square footage, rather than per parcel, as the solution to budget woes. Candidates Steven Scharf, Kitty Moore (not the jurisdiction of the city) and Sudha Kasamsetty have yet to address the critical differences in CUSD’s current situation in citing the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) as a solution to school funding woes:

  • Tax measures require a 2 / 3 majority – Measure O for CUSD failed in March 2020. Measure H, benefiting Foothill-De Anza, failed on the same ballot. The Berkeley tax passed in 2016, with a different voter sentiment. Why would voters approve a new tax at this time?
  • FUHSD studied this tax in 2018, and concluded there was not enough voter support to pass a square footage tax.
  • Tax measures cost money for a study, formulating the measure, putting it on the ballot and campaigning – nonrecoverable costs over a 2-3 year election cycle.
  • The Berkeley tax was for program enhancement, i.e. libraries and music, not operating deficits.
  • Berkeley had an existing square footage assessment, so the basis for taxes remained the same, and was predictable. Even though the square footage model might be more equitable, any major change in taxes requires years to implement. Tax rolls are complicated.
  • A tax of this sort would likely be subject to legal challenge from anti-tax organizations leading to a delay in its assessment even if it were to pass.

So be skeptical when candidates promote BSEP as  “new thinking” or  an out-of-the-box financial solution for CUSD which has to take immediate action for the next fiscal year, meaning closing some schools.

CUPERTINO UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT (CUSD) Board Forum

As previously reported, decisions on restructuring, consolidating, and closing schools will have to be made this year to meet a projected $5 to $7 million revenue shortfall–one that worsens in a few short years with the expiration of the Measure A parcel tax

Readers have the opportunity to hear all the candidates at the Rotary/ LWVCS League of Women Voters – Cupertino Sunnyvale forum on September 30, 2020 at 12 noon to meet candidates for the Cupertino Union School District (CUSD) Board. Registration is here.

Candidates: Sylvia Leong, Phyllis Vogel, William Fluewelling, Sudha Kasamsetty

Of the four candidates, two are incumbents: Phyllis Vogel, who has a depth of administrative experience and institutional knowledge from many years on the Board and from her prior service in the District’s administration; and Sylvia Leong, who has served on the Board since a vacancy was created there with the mid-term departure of Liang Chao.

UPCOMING CUPERTINO CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE  FORUMS

Cupertino Chamber of Commerce Forum on October 7, 2020 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Readers may register here.

LWV Cupertino-Sunnyvale sponsored Cupertino City Council Candidate Forum October 12, 2020 at 7 p.m. Readers may register here.

Candidates: Joseph “J.R.” Fruen, Hung Wei,  Catherine “Kitty” Moore, Steven Scharf,  Charlene Shulien Lee

The YouTube recording of the first city council candidate forum is available: Cupertino Rotary/LWVCS sponsored Cupertino City Council Candidate Forum  on September 16, 2020. A summary of the forum can be found on CupertinoToday.com: Cupertino council candidates share ideas on housing, schools at lengthy forum

LWV is also hosting Forums for Sunnyvale candidates. See event calendar at https://my.lwv.org/california/cupertino-sunnyvale

Your voice is important. Information on expressing your opinion via emails and oral communications with the city can be found at https://cupertinomatters.org/express-your-opinion/

RECAP – PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Tues., Sept. 22, 2020,  Regular Meeting

YouTube2 hr. 25 min. 

There were only two agenda items:

Item #2: Item Study Session and presentation on the transition from Level of Service (LOS) to Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) for determination of transportation impacts under CEQA, a change required by Senate Bill (SB) 743. This was a technical discussion centering around the two different methodologies, though both may be used during a transition period. City council will hear the item later this fall.

Item #4: Consider Municipal Code Amendments to CMC Chapter 10.48 Community Noise Control to regulate leaf blowers to implement the Fiscal Year 2020/21 City Council Work Program items related to Ordinance updates on gas-powered leaf blowers. Commissioners questioned the need to further regulate noise levels, given that there were approximately 3 complaints a year. They voted 4-0-1 with Commissioner Vikram Saxena absent to recommend against sending the amendment to council.

CUPERTINO COURIER, SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

The cover photo and article on page 5 is Responding to dire need: Growing demand means expanding space for Cupertino nonprofit, regarding West Valley Community Services. A related article on page 8 is Struggling residents to get community pantry makeover, regarding the successful capital campaign to enlarge the food pantry. KT Urban will provide space at the Oaks shopping center during construction. Also on page 8, there is an previously published article, Council approves rainbow-colored crosswalk.  A previously published article regarding CUSD schools appears on page 10 entitled  District planning to close schools because of enrollment decline: School board president: We don’t have the luxury right now of not making decisions.  

Warm regards,
Jean Bedord
Cupertino Matters
Publisher and Editor

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