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.