Did you hear? Advising a city’s elected officials to follow state law—as opposed to their own personal opinions—is as ludicrous an idea as a “free and fair democratic election in the Soviet Union.”
That’s how Ray Wang, chair of Cupertino's Planning Commission, felt Sept. 14, after his own staff recommended fixing the city’s illegal ordinance regulating AB 2345, which works to incentivize affordable housing projects across California through density bonuses. California’s Department of Housing and Community Development, which enforces these laws, warned legal trouble could ensue, if not.
Wang needs to update his historical references: The Soviet Union collapsed nearly 30 years ago.
Wang was especially concerned about how AB 2345 may impact approval of large projects—cough Vallco cough—that may “potentially” arrive in Cupertino, spending more than an hour posturing if the law would actually discriminate against housing families with children and decrease affordability, instead.
He also rejected assertions that Cupertino has any unhoused residents to prioritize.
“Just to correct the record, we don’t have a homeless problem,” Wang declared about Apple Inc.’s hometown, which counted 159 homeless individuals in 2019—a heavily scrutinized data point. “We had a manufactured homeless crisis sponsored by some individuals."
Wang, joined by Commissioner Muni Madhdhipatla, ultimately threw staff’s guidance out the meeting’s Zoom window, but they were outnumbered 3-2.
To be fair, the meeting was tame compared to Wang’s prior theatrics: threats to doxx residents, settlements to sexual harassment lawsuits and assertions that developers are “anarchists and YIMBY neoliberal fascists.”
As the Planning Commission’s recommendation heads to the City Council in October, Jean Bedord, Cupertino Matters’ publisher and editor, may have summed up the dystopian concerns emerging from the ordeal best: “Can Cupertino address the needs of the unhoused if its appointed officials sincerely believe it to be a hoax?”