2018 Cupertino City Council Election Results

Dear Supporters,

Thank you for supporting me during my city council candidacy. The top three positions in the Cupertino City Council race are Darcy Paul, Liang Chao and Jon Willey, who currently has a 45 vote lead over the 4th position candidate. The Registrar of Voters will certify the result on December 6, while likely also performing an automatic recount.

The swearing-in ceremony for the three newly elected or re-elected City Council candidates will be held on Thursday, December 6th at 7 pm in the Cupertino Community Hall (next to the Library). You are cordially invited to attend.

Below is the results as of December 6th with 100% of votes counted. Voter turnout was at a historic high and the top two positions received more votes than any other candidate in previous elections, demonstrating high interest in the election and the future of our city.

I will resign from the CUSD Board by 6 pm on December 6th after participating in the last Board meeting from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm, where one of the topics will be how to fill the vacancy left by my resignation. I’m happy that there are already many well-qualified candidates interested in applying. CUSD has 60 days to fill the vacancy.

I’d like to congratulate you, and you and you. It’s everyone of you who have done it. You have accomplished the impossible. You have collected signatures from more than 5000 registered voters within 20 days and reached out to thousands of residents. You have helped two grassroots candidates, Liang Chao and Jon Willey, to get right up there to compete with establishment candidates, all with shiny resumes and a long list of endorsements. It’s People Power. Cupertino will finally have a grassroots-friendly City Council majority.

You spent countless hours canvassing, making phone calls, manning library booth and numerous other things, even in the face of harassment. You made it happen. You have taken the City back.

It’s everyone of you who have voted for Liang and Jon, even when there is a constant stream of smear campaigns against us and Better Cupertino. You have been able to see through the smokescreen and still voted for us. You put your trust in us. We are so honored for your support.

We will ensure that Cupertino residents will be the drivers of major decisions in Cupertino. We will ensure that the City proactively engages residents every step of the way before major decisions are made.  

Pretty soon Cupertino will open a new Chapter. All developers will be held accountable to follow the state law and municipal code equally, as common residents. City Council Members will stay engaged with residents throughout their 4 years in office, not just right before the election. Cupertino will continue to thrive and grow, while maintaining our quality of life, which brought us to Cupertino in the first place. We will look for real solutions that we could implement today and not rely on non-existent future innovation to reduce the traffic congestion. We will make decisions based on data and evidence, not just opinions in consultant reports. Most importantly, we will ensure transparency, accountability and community engagement in the process.

I am very honored to start this new journey with you and to have the opportunity to serve you as a City Council Member. Let's create a better Cupertino together.

Sincerely,
Liang Chao

Liang Chao talks about supporting affordable housing

Cupertino City Council candidate Liang Chao talks about affordable housing, and why she strongly supports it if the developer's proposal is right for Cupertino. Read more below or watch the video.

In summary, Liang supports affordable housing for all income levels and especially for families, seniors and people with special challenges.

  • Cupertino needs a solid action plan for affordable housing.

  • Cupertino has approved three housing projects in the last 3 years (Marina, Hamptons and Veranda). I support such housing projects that also have affordable housing included.

  • Does not support Vallco Tier 2 Plan because it contains a mega-office component which will worsen our housing shortage, causing our teachers and other workers to compete even more for housing. Additionally it will worsen commute times so that finding affordable housing nearby is even less attainable.

  • Those who care about affordable housing should not allow developers to disguise office-heavy projects as “housing” or “affordable housing”.

  • Supports stronger development agreements that ensure affordable housing is funded and constructed within a set time after approval.

Liang Chao participated in Rotary Club of Cupertino Candidate Forum

Liang participated in the Rotary Club of Cupertino City Council Candidate forum on October 17, 2018.

Here are some of the topics - click on the questions to jump to Liang’s responses in the video recording.

What would be your key city initiatives?

What design ideas from other cities would you bring to Cupertino?

Is Cupertino maximizing social media for community outreach?

Are you in favor of the Vallco Referendum? (yes/no responses from all candidates)

What is your top capital expenditure priority?

If elected, what would you like your legacy to be?

Thanks for a Successful Campaign Kickoff!

Thank you to all who came to our successful campaign kickoff!

Below is the speech given by Cupertino City Council Candidate Liang Chao on August 26, 2018. Scroll to the bottom to see the video.

I am so honored to be running in this campaign for Cupertino City Council with you, Jon, as a partner. Your dedication, attention to details and relentless advocacy for developers to comply with city codes impress me tremendously. You never ever give up. You are always the hardest at work to bring the violations of development projects to our attention. We need you on the City Council to protect Cupertino and hold developers accountable.

For three years, or for some of you here, more than 10 years, the City Council majority seems to have been unwilling to put the residents before other monied interests. Some City Council candidates say one thing to get elected and then do something else entirely once on the Council. This year we will make history. We will finally have a City Council majority who won’t be bullied by powerful outside forces when Jon Willey and I join Steven Scharf on the City Council.

The City of Cupertino is at a critical crossroads. Many disappointing and troubling events have happened the past three years that increased our frustration with the City’s leadership, mainly the City Council. If we cannot elect more pro-resident Councilmembers this November, we might not recognize our beloved Cupertino in a few years.

As a School Board member, I brought positive changes to critical problems, including restoring trust and replacing a superintendent. Now I hope to address vital Cupertino issues with transparency and true community engagement. The residents should not feel that their inputs are ignored again and again.

There shouldn’t be a mentality of “It’s a done deal” and we should just give up.

“It’s a done deal” for whom? Only for those people who have made a deal behind closed doors. For the residents, it’s never a done deal when we have to face the significant negative impacts of hyper-development every day. It’s never a done deal when more and more students are added to a handful of already overcrowded schools. It’s never a done deal when the traffic congestion around Cupertino becomes more intolerable and dangerous for our families. It’s never a done deal when the taxpayers are forced to cover the expenses to fix overburdened infrastructures: such as schools, transit, sewage system, emergency services and subsidized housing.

We, the people, should decide what we build or not build in our own city, not some outside forces. This is our community, our home. We set the rules and the developers should follow. If our rules are not clear, we must amend them. If the state laws, such as SB 35, weaken our city codes, we must take immediate actions to strengthen our codes. The Cupertino City Council had every chance to fix the poorly-written General Plan to ensure the 2 million square feet of office space at Vallco is NOT an entitlement and that it DOES expire in 3 years, as the Council promised. But the City Council majority REFUSED to protect Cupertino. We have to wonder. Whose interests they are protecting? Soon we will face a Vallco proposal with 2400 to 4000 housing units, in addition to massive office allocation. Those who refused to fix the poorly-written General Plan is responsible.

We must elect a pro-resident majority for the City Council before it’s too late.

We should empower the residents to be actively engaged in city decisions, not attempting to silence them.

  • I will adopt stronger policies to protect the City from powerful profit-driven interests or their proxies.

  • I will promote standards for quality developments and hold all developers equally accountable. No favoritism.

  • I will advocate for quality affordable housing, for families and people with disabilities, not just tiny units for singles. We need solid well-rounded action plans for housing shortage without compromising the quality of life.

  • I will hold Lehigh Cement and other polluters accountable, and seek long-term solutions with strong local control.

  • I will advocate for diverse businesses, which start with the true revitalization of Vallco Shopping Mall with thriving retail, entertainment, fitness and other customer-facing small businesses.

  • I will encourage work/study programs and apprenticeships for our students and young adults to provide paths to high-income careers.

  • I’ll engage senior residents with local schools to share their knowledge and resources. We should provide education programs that serve those ages 0 to 100+.

We need Councilmembers who will ask critical questions and make decisions based on research, data and evidence, not wishful thinking. We need Councilmembers who will stand up to tremendous outside pressures, as Jon Willey and I have done in the past three years. Now more than ever, Cupertino needs Councilmembers who believe in democracy that’s based on everyday residents, not dominated by establishment or monetary interests.

The powers that be spent over $7 million dollars in 2016 election. The stakes are high. We face a tough campaign season ahead of us. Jon Willey and I are determined to do the hard work to get elected, despite the potential smear campaigns. Our dedicated campaign team members are determined to do the hard work. But we cannot do it alone. We need all of you, all of the concerned residents, to help us. We are in this together. We, the people, should be the drivers of our future. Our home. Our City. Join us on this campaign to take back Cupertino.

Campaign Kick-off - Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Please Join us for an Exciting Evening with Dr. Liang Chao & Jon WilleY P.E. 

On a Mission to Elect a Pro-Resident City Council Majority

Come listen to them share their vision of a Better Cupertino. They invite you to share YOURS!

Guest Speakers - Cupertino CouncilMember Steven Scharf and Palo Alto Councilmember Lydia KoU

About the Candidates:

Dr. Liang Chao (Ph.D., Princeton, 20-year Cupertino resident) has taught at the university level in the U.S. & Germany before moving into industry work for 18+ years. She co-founded Better Cupertino in late 2014 and was elected to the Cupertino School Board in 2016. She brought positive changes to schools, including restoring trust and replacing a superintendent. Liang volunteers in service clubs, science & technology education for underprivileged students, and voter education.

Jon Willey P.E. and his wife Amor are the parents of three young children. He has worked at Applied Materials for 14 years & holds a license as a Mechanical Engineer in the State of California. He is a dedicated basketball coach at the YMCA & National Junior Basketball Association. As a longtime Cupertino resident, Jon is known for his strong representation of residents’ concerns about oversized development projects to the City and as a leader of Better Cupertino. On the City Council, Jon will protect our quality of life by ensuring that development adheres to the law and benefits the community.

Refreshments will be served. Register now!

Cupertino is at a Critical Crossroads

Dear Friends & Supporters, 

I have finally decided to run for the Cupertino City Council. I did not announce my decision sooner since I was not 100% sure until very recently. First and foremost, you have my personal commitment that I will continue to be open and accessible to you, and will continue to advocate strongly for issues that concern the community and education. 

With 2 years left in my 4-year term as a School Board Member, it has been a difficult decision, and yet a necessary one. I became involved in school and city issues because decisions often conflict with residents’ inputs and best interests. In 2016, I ran for CUSD School Board because CUSD was in crisis due to many issues, including the West Valley reconstitution, Luther school site conversion, 1-1 iPad program, and, most importantly, low teacher and staff morale and more. With a new Superintendent who makes sound decisions with openness and transparency, we’ve rebuilt trust on our way to a well-managed district. CUSD has recovered and is thriving.

On the other hand, the City of Cupertino is at a critical crossroads. Many disappointing and troubling events have happened the past two years that increased my frustration with the City’s leadership, mainly the City Council. If we cannot elect more resident-centric Councilmembers this November, we might not recognize our beloved Cupertino in a few years. I can contribute a lot more to Cupertino and all CUSD families, which are often affected by Cupertino decisions, if I am elected to the Cupertino City Council.

In CUSD:

  • We’ve restored trust and improved the relationship between CUSD and the parents and, more importantly, between CUSD and the staff.
  • We’ve improved transparency by livestreaming and recording CUSD board meetings.
  • We’ve improved engagement to keep parents and the community informed and we’ve used digital tools to gather more input with more interaction.
  • We’ve finally given the school sites more freedom in how to implement the 1-1 iPad program so that more conscious decisions are made that improve student learning, instead of just following a one-size-fits-all policy.
  • We’ve given the children of teachers the opportunity to enroll in alternative programs, which the previous administrations have been unwilling to even consider.
  • This year we finally reduced the size of the administration, which was previously increased due to one-time state funding for specific programs, such as Common Core.
  • In order to prepare CUSD for a more sustainable financial future, we’ve ventured to provide high-quality preschool and soon afterschool programs to generate revenue, by capitalizing on the good reputation of CUSD.

All this shows that with good leadership who is willing to make changes based on the community’s and staff’s input we can do great things together.

I desire to bring such positive energy to the City of Cupertino. The residents should not feel that their inputs are ignored again and again. There shouldn’t be a mentality of “It’s a done deal” and we should give up.

We, the people, should decide what we build or not build in our own city, not some outside forces. This is our community, our home. We set the rules and the developers should follow. If our rules are not clear, we must clarify. If the state laws, such as SB 35, weaken our rules, we must take immediate actions to strengthen our rules. We should empower the residents to be actively engaged in city decisions, not attempting to silence them. It’s time we elect someone who will do what it takes to protect Cupertino with stronger city rules and someone who will respect residents’ inputs.

We need a Councilmember who will ask critical questions, who will make decisions based on research, data and evidence, not wishful thinking, and who is willing to stand up to tremendous outside pressures, as I have done on the CUSD Board. Now more than ever, Cupertino needs someone who believes in democracy that’s based on grassroots residents, not dominated by establishment or monetary interests. It’s time we elect someone who will keep the City administration and the developers accountable by asking tough questions, instead of someone who only wants to make everyone happy on the surface.

If elected to the Cupertino City Council in November 2018, I will resign my position on the school board in early December.  I’m confident that the district is in good hands with new leadership led by Superintendent Baker. Most likely the remaining school board members will appoint a new member to replace me, as commonly done for school boards. As always, you can count on me to continue to be open and accessible to you, and continue to advocate strongly for city and also school issues that concern the community.

You all have supported me in my election to CUSD Board, for which I am extremely grateful. As you know, it’s a tremendous investment to run a campaign. And I will be facing a strong opposition who spent over $7 million dollars in Cupertino elections in 2016. We have a tough battle ahead of us in the next three months. I will need your support – emotional, physical and/or monetary – in order to bring positive and much needed changes to the City of Cupertino as we’ve done for CUSD.

Please reach out to me if you could lend a hand in any way. We are in this together for a better future for our children.

Feel free to contact me at 408-337-2176 at any time with any questions or suggestions.

Sincerely,

Liang Chao
Cupertino Union School Board Member and Cupertino City Council Candidate