Stephen Ellison

Initiative Opponents in Cupertino Go to New Heights to Send Message

An election battle is brewing in Cupertino over a redevelopment initiative on the November ballot that will decide the fate of the former Vallco mall, and one side has resorted to an unusual tactic to drive home its message.

Opponents of Measure C say if the initiative passes in the city that houses Apple and several other high-tech companies, it would open the door to massive homes being built, some of which could reach four stories. On Monday, they raised a 45-foot-tall crane donning a "No on C" banner to illustrate the height of a four-story building.

"As an unintended consequence, Measure C, if passed, would allow homes to be built up to four stories and would impact communities of this town," said Bill Guthrie, of the Plumbers and Pipe Fitters Union.

Proponent Steven Scharf, a candidate for City Council, said, "That's just not true."

Scharf and other Measure C backers say opponents are misinterpreting the ballot language and trying to scare voters as Election Day approaches. The initiative, they say, calls for moderate controlled growth that would serve the best interests of the city and its residents.

"We would like to see a combination of entertainment, retail and housing," Scharf said, adding that the housing would not be rental homes.

Proponents say the initiative empowers voters to reject uncontrolled growth and preserve the quality of life for Cupertino residents.

Opponents say Measure C would block the revitalization of Vallco, leaving an empty "ghost mall" for years to come. A developer wants to build housing, office space and some retail, and the measure would block that project, opponents say.

A judge recently ruled that the ballot language for Measure C is false and misleading, and proponents are appealing that ruling.

Meanwhile, city code enforcement showed up Monday and told the "No on C" gathering it must take down the boom or face a fine of $100 for the first day, $250 for the second day and $500 for each day thereafter.

"The city is asking you at this time that it be removed," a code enforcement officer told the group.

"If we’re told that we have to take it down, we’ll abide by the law, of course, and take it down," Guthrie said.

On Monday evening, the boom remained up, and the group was cited.

Contact Us