Addressing Absurd Lies

I am so incredibly proud of the overwhelmingly positive campaign that we have run. In this election cycle, we have stayed clear of any attacks on character, and have largely avoided mentioning our opponents—period. But given that my fellow candidates Steven Scharf, Kitty Moore have decided to break our shared pledge to not engage in personal attacks, I feel that I must respond. We have major disinformation campaigns at the national level; there is no reason to import a culture of falsities and half-truths to Cupertino. Our voters are too smart to fall for such lies, and sincerely deserve better.

better cupertino and scharf have distributed this "100% fact checked" (they fact checked themselves) table that is full of lies. We cannot elect those who smear everyone outside of their political faction. this table is insulting to the intelligence of our voters.

1. I am not "controlled" by anyone

This is a borderline libelous statement. And one that candidates Steven Scharf and Kitty Moore have repeatedly stood by. They have provided zero evidence of this statement other than by repeating it over and over. I support projects on a case-by-case basis, and supported the Vallco tier two plan. I have taken ZERO dollars from developers, either directly or indirectly. I support the continuation of our affordable housing fees, which require developers to either build affordable housing or pay fees toward our community. I want to make sure that we have a broader tax base, so that we are taxing developers for our schools, instead of taxing ourselves through endless parcel taxes. 

The bottom line—saying that I have no autonomy, and that I am a puppet of developers, is bullying, outright false, and has no place in this election, nor this city.

2. I am pro-resident

According to this “100% fact-checked” table made by Better Cupertino and Mr. Scharf, I am not trusted by residents. In other instances, my opponents are quick to say they are the only “pro-resident” candidates.

 

This rhetoric is extremely dangerous and based on no evidence. Inevitably, when only two candidates are victorious, thousands and thousands will have voted for myself and others. What kind of message does it send to these voters that they supposedly don’t count? Obviously, every candidate is “resident-supported,” but the toxicity of this rhetoric says otherwise. I am a lifelong member of this community, and I would never do anything to harm my fellow neighbors.

I support diverse and more affordable forms of housing. I support mixed use, and having mid-density corridors (like Stevens Creek), coupled with reliable, fast transit. I also support allowing homeowners to tap more of their equity so we can all play a part in solving our housing challenge. That means making ADUs easier to build and legalizing gentle density increases, like duplexes, in areas that can support them. These species of housing provides naturally more affordable options for middle-income families. I don’t see any of these things as destroying our lovely community or being anti-resident. Many of us live right next to or near an ADU or a duplex and don’t even know it. Making a more inclusive and sustainable city is how one shows true compassion for residents, their families, and their future. I consider telling the truth, and subsequently implementing difficult solutions to be actions of someone who is truly pro-resident. 

 

3. I have substance and am not ashamed of having regional support

I have a thorough explanation of my views on the direction of Cupertino—see our website JR4Cupertino.com/planning and have written numerous published pieces in the past which outline my views on city politics. I don’t write 50 page policy briefs that say very little because I believe we need to make the issues accessible and value quality over quantity. I have extensive answers in multiple candidate forums for the League of Women Voters, the Silicon Valley Youth Climate Action, and the Cupertino Chamber of Commerce. 

Lately, voters are being told that we only have big name endorsements and no actual details. Indeed, I have the support of labor and its more than one-hundred thousand union workers, the business community, youth organizations, environmental organizations, and a large swath of local leaders. Certainly endorsements are not everything, but it’s concerning that my opponents have so little support from local leaders, given how long they have been involved in local politics. To solve our biggest crises of today, we absolutely need strong partnerships with other cities, school districts, the county, and the state. I am proud to have the support of the presidents of every school board in our city, various local state legislators, the President of the County Board of Supervisors, and more. I sought these because I understand that we need to forge partnerships because Cupertino cannot solve its problems alone.

The bottom line—limiting our city by only working with ourselves spells disaster for our future. Governance is an ecosystem—all of our decisions affect one another. We need to look at ourselves as part of a broader community, not an insulated bubble. We need leadership that doesn’t constantly fight everyone else—that would rather score cheap political points by attacking all of our city’s partners.



4. no, not everyone is a developer proxy

According to some of my opponents, taking union money is more or less the same thing as taking developer dollars. They have even gone as far to suggest that unions are “developer proxies.” This is incredibly insulting to the working class families who have fought for centuries to earn the right to form unions, and reduces the power of workers to being puppets for developers. Here’s the reality—unions are one of the MOST common groups to fight and argue with developers. They frequently disagree on issues of wages and benefits, and frequently file legal claims against developers. But according to my opposition, everyone and everything is a developer proxy.

5. i support affordable housing; my opponents obstruct it

The accusation that this is not true is perhaps the strangest statement of them all. Much of my campaign is focused on how we can get more inclusive housing options in Cupertino, and how we can meet the state-mandated housing goals that are soon to be enforced.

In contrast, Mayor Steven Scharf, as early as 2006 was fighting against hundreds of new homes at Vallco and what is now Main Street, as part of the “Just say ‘No!’ to Condo-tino! Campaign.” (Source: http://www.cupertinocares.org/node/137) He has since made sure that the Vallco site was downzoned, preventing the creation of sufficient housing. He voted to kill the Vallco Tier 2 plan, which had MORE housing and less office space–all after acknowledging that voters who had signed the referendum expected to get the chance to vote on it. He has spent countless hours and city money to lobby state legislators against housing bills that would have increased affordability in Cupertino and other cities. He wasted an untold sum in taxpayer dollars to essentially sue himself (as a city leader) over a ballot measure (to kill off housing at Vallco) long since defeated by Cupertino voters.

 
-Mayor Steven Scharf vocally opposing new housing as early as 2006

His fellow candidate, Kitty Moore, finds every conceivable reason to block housing. She argued that Vallco was a toxic waste dump, and therefore would not be conducive to development; this was disproved–in court. She was a premier litigant in the case against the Vallco project—a case in which the Hon. Helene Williams declared that Friends of Better Cupertino essentially had no case, bringing embarrassment to our city and its leadership. She also claimed that housing across from Cupertino High would need to include in it’s environmental review the potential sexual threat male tech workers would pose to high school girls: 

 

We need leaders who look for ways to move forward, rather than providing reasons we cannot. We need leaders who are willing to say yes, if reasonable conditions are met, rather than saying no to everything. 

6. getting banned from nextdoor does not mean nextdoor prefers me

No evidence again. These accusations need some substantial backing—not just that a random employee donated to my opponent.

7. i have never told my supporters to steal signs, nor do i hire anyone. our campaign is all volunteers.

I have never ever told my supporters to do this. Additionally, I get complaints from my supporters all the time that their signs have been stolen. I have yet to claim that it is my opponents’ faults. This is childish.