Cupertino Mayor Hung Wei described the city as “challenging, progressing, promising, full of opportunities and evolving” as part of her first State of the City address, an annual perspective on the municipality’s outlook. Hosted last Wednesday by the Rotary Club of Cupertino and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce, the address provided the city’s approximately 58,000 residents and other members of the public a rare opportunity to hear directly from the newly seated mayor.
The results of November’s midterm elections rewrote the political makeup of the Cupertino City Council. For the first time since 2018, the legislative body’s majority is no longer aligned with the historically anti-development community organization Better Cupertino. Mayor Wei’s speech repeatedly acknowledged the City’s challenges related to housing, reflecting the local government’s growing acceptance of its requirements to approve and build more.
Specifically, the Mayor identified the City’s late submittal of its Draft Housing Element as a proof point of the continuing difficulties the municipality faces in balancing its legal obligations under state law with divided public opinion around its land-use decisions. The address comes after lawsuits filed by housing advocates last week named the City of Cupertino and other Bay Area cities and the County as defendants in relation to a missed deadline for jurisdictions to submit compliant housing elements to the State’s Housing and Community Development Department (HCD). The Housing Element serves as a jurisdiction’s blueprint for how it intends to plan for its population’s housing needs.
Since being sued earlier this month, the City has submitted its Draft Housing Element. Mayor Wei noted in her remarks that, as HCD’s review of the City’s submittal proceeds, Cupertino remains “expeditiously committed to moving an ambitious housing element forward.”
Other challenges noted in the Mayor’s speech include the City’s pending response to a December 2022 report from the Santa Clara County Civil Grand Jury related to City Councilmember misconduct that allegedly created “a difficult work environment” and “a culture of distrust” within the workplace. Mayor Wei confirmed that the City will respond to that report no later than March 20, 2023.
The Mayor expressed that the City’s top priorities include repairing its aging facilities and parks, increasing public safety, and implementing a Vision Zero traffic plan. A complete recording of the speech was made available by the City of Cupertino here.