Traffic, schools and City Council

Angela Liu

These are the candidates for city council. Photo illustration by Angela Liu. Photo used with permission of specific candidates.

Six candidates are campaigning against each other for two open positions on Cupertino’s City Council. Although City Council members do not affect schools as profoundly as school board members, they still influence the schools in indirect ways, according to incumbent candidate Gilbert Wong. Here, we ask four candidates for their opinions on congested traffic and overcrowding at schools. We were unable to get in contact with candidates Homer Tong and Chris Zhang.

Rod Sinks believes he can make a difference by shifting building project policy. Picture used with permission of Rod Sinks.

Rod Sinks

Candidate Rod Sinks, a resident of Cupertino for 24 years, values education because he sees the school systems as forces that drive immigration into the city. He himself moved to Cupertino for the educational environment, and currently has two children enrolled at MVHS.

“This community is a credit to the whole city. It’s our — my — legacy as a parent [to support schools] because I’m paying for your education,” Sinks said. “What I encourage your readers to do is think about what they’re giving back.”

Sinks sees overcrowding as a problem that makes it hard to maintain a high quality of teaching. He believes that by reducing the rate of building residential housing, less people will move in and add to the problem of overcrowding at schools. Sinks would also like to revitalize the Vallco Shopping Mall into a more popular gathering area for youth, and also supports having up-to-date facilities for schools.

 

Marty Miller wants to increase awareness of lesser known library resources. Photo used with permission of Marty Miller.

Marty Miller

Like Sinks, Marty Miller moved to Cupertino in order to provide his children with a good education. Miller places more emphasis on the problem of traffic jams and the relatively low use of the Cupertino library’s additional, educational services. In order to alleviate morning traffic jams, he proposes busing systems, staggered school start times, and special drop-off areas.

Miller has plans for the Cupertino library, which he believes is not being used to its full potential. He states that useful resources, such as the writing lab and free homework help sessions, remain relatively unknown to many. By upping the awareness of the library’s resources through more advertising, Miller hopes to help Cupertino’s student body.

 

 

Incumbent candidate Gilbert Wong believes responsibility for schools is under the power of the Board of Trustees. Photo used with permission of Gilbert Wong.

Gilbert Wong

Incumbent candidate Gilbert Wong believes that the well-being of the city is connected to the quality of the school systems at Cupertino. He advocates well-rounded education for students that will ensure that their future professions as adults will be diverse. As for the traffic problem, Wong recommends promoting walking to school rather than driving.

He states that class sizes and school budget problems are the responsibility of the school Board of Trustees. From experience, Wong states that city council members do not have jurisdiction over school matters, and that the Board of Trustees has authority. Either way, Wong believes that the FUHSD is already a very good school district that needs only very minor corrections.

“The state of California shares the same curriculum, and there’s no difference in the textbooks used,” Wong said. “The difference comes down to the people here, and the culture.”

 

 

Donna Austin visiting MVHS, where her two daughters graduated from. She is a dedicated member of several communities. Photo by Angela Liu.

Donna Austin

A resident of Cupertino for 34 years and a retired teacher, candidate Donna Austin hopes to bring consensus and collaboration to the city council. An active member of several groups, such as the Stocklmeir task force and the Cupertino Library Foundation, Austin has experience in bringing the voice of the community to the city council halls.

“And I thought, I’m at City Council meetings a lot, [so] maybe I should run?” she said. “Also, Cupertino is made up of about 50.1 percent women, and there were no women running [in this election.]”

She hopes to collaborate with the public transit system in order to bus students to school, alleviating the traffic problem. Austin is also supports the creation of a legacy farm near Blackberry farm that will bring students, teachers and senior citizens together in an extracurricular agricultural class.