Cupertino City Council approves local emergency declaration

Photo courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook page.Photo courtesy of City of Cupertino Facebook page.

At a special meeting Tuesday night, Cupertino’s City Council unanimously approved a proclamation of a local emergency, due to COVID-19.

Operating in a modified format, with social distancing in place for councilmembers on the dais and Mayor Steven Scharf calling in via videoconference, the discussion focused mostly on what services would be covered and operational, as well as what opportunities might exist for reimbursement.

“What type of funding will we get [from the federal government],” asked Councilmember Liang Chao.

According to the acting City Attorney Heather Minner, the declaration authorizes City Manager Deb Feng “to provide and request mutual aid from other jurisdictions,” in addition to giving Feng oversight over rules, regulations, and emergency response during the pandemic.

The proclamation is valid for 60 days, and can be extended with a vote of the City Council. It also allows the city to seek reimbursement from state and federal sources for the cost of responding to the novel coronavirus.

Potential action to prevent evictions

A second item on the agenda focused on preventing evictions during the crisis for renters who lose income due to the virus. It comes after Governor Newsom removed barriers to these types of local measures. While the item was not a vote on an ordinance itself, councilmembers did provide direction for what a future ordinance might resemble.

Vice Mayor Darcy Paul asked the legal staff to review options for making the action retroactive to a certain date. Mayor Scharf, who owns a rental unit, asked staff if other cities have made a distinction between large corporate landlords and those who may one one or two units and rely on rental income to pay their mortgages. That was a concern seconded by Planning Commission chair Kitty Moore, who spoke during public comment.

The council expects to consider potential eviction-prevention ordinances in approximately a week.