BACKGROUND: From 2018-2022, resident-focused Council Members held a 4-1 majority in Cupertino, ensuring that our local government served the needs and interests of residents first. These Council Members pushed back against those who came to Cupertino intent on maximizing profit with little regard for how their actions impact the people who live here.
During 2018-2022, the Council worked with City staff to accomplish significant achievements for the benefit of Cupertino residents, including:
Despite efforts to elect 3 resident-focused Council Members in 2022, campaigns backing financial interest candidates were significantly better-funded. Council Member Liang Chao was re-elected, but financial interest candidates prevailed in 2022 and, for now, hold a 3-2 Council majority in Cupertino.
Resident-focused Council Members Liang Chao and Kitty Moore continue to work hard to advocate for fiscal accountability, transparency, environmental protection, sensible development, and improved transit and City services for residents. They continue these efforts in spite of a work environment made hostile by a Council majority that resents sharing the dais with Council members whose legislative priorities and support base differs from their own. Unlike today’s Council majority, Council Members Chao and Moore neither sought nor received campaign support from financial interests: not from real estate interests, corporations, nor labor unions.
CIVIL GRAND JURY REPORT: In 2022, an anonymous individual submitted a complaint to the Civil Grand Jury, Santa Clara County alleging that resident-focused Council Members asked too many questions, wrote too many email messages to staff, made certain staff members “feel threatened”–not to be confused with threatening staff, which they did not do–, and filed public records requests (a right protected by State Law for all persons, including elected officials, under Code § 7921).
MAY 9TH CITY COUNCIL RESPONSE: Council Member Chao questioned which specific Cupertino Municipal Codes she allegedly violated. None were cited by number in either the Civil Grand Jury Report or the City-funded investigation summary. She also cited specific Municipal Code sections which did appear to codify the right of Council Members to ask questions of staff. The City Attorney did not answer Chao’s question. Instead, he asserted that the problem rested with her perceived “volume and tone of voice,” presumably when engaging with staff.
Then, Council Member Fruen initiated a motion to remove Council Members Moore and Chao from their committee assignments. The motion was approved by Mayor Wei and Vice Mayor Mohan.
It is questionable whether 3 Council Members will adequately represent Cupertino residents on the many City, district, County, and regional boards and committees without Council Members Moore and Chao.
In 4-5 months, Council will revisit the Civil Grand Jury report and reconsider the political consequences the Council majority has imposed on their colleagues. What will have changed?