Santa Clara County Voter's Guide On Children's Issues

City of Cupertino

Steven M. Scharf

Previous Councils rejected new housing in areas with school under-enrollment. Hence some schools are closing, while others are overcrowded. For the next RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) I favor housing for families, at all incomes, where schools are under-enrolled. I’ll continue opposing anti-housing State legislation that hurts families.

  1. Taking into consideration the profound impact of COVID-19 and the expanded movement for racial justice and equity, what do you think are the top three issues affecting our children and families and how do you propose to address them?

    1. Covid-19 has disproportionately affected low-income families that live in crowded, multi-generational housing. It’s critical that the State address the affordable housing crisis that’s contributed to the pandemic; thus far the’ve refused to do so. Governor Newsom vetoed Senator Jim Beall’s 2019 affordable housing bill. In 2020, Beall’s bill didn’t make it out of committee due to the influence of special-interests.

    2. The disparity in K-12 educational quality must be addressed. This is key to addressing the diversity issue in our Universities. We must reject “optical diversity” which doesn’t address the root causes of the problem.

    3. We ask the police to do far too much. As funding has been cut for mental health services, housing, domestic violence services, & schools, the police have become the catch-all service provider. “Defunding” is the wrong narrative. We need to State & federal funding for these services so the police can return to their core mission of law enforcement.

  2. How will the priorities you addressed in the first question be reflected in the way that you approach the budget process?

    States, Cities, & School Districts are perpetually short of money due to a flawed tax structure. Commercial property owners aren’t paying their fair share of property taxes. Apartment complex owners are paying a single school parcel tax for hundreds of apartments, while charging market-rate rents. The federal tax cut favored the wealthiest corporations and individuals. Prop 15 partially addresses the property tax inequities. The Berkeley model of per-square-foot school taxes addresses parcel tax inequities. A new president would address the corporate and personal income tax inequities. At the local level, residents are tapped out and won’t vote for taxes that they see as inequitable.

  3. What steps will you take to address the high cost and lack of availability of quality child care and preschool programs in our communities, especially for low-income children and English language learners?

    Local Cities don’t have the financial resources to address this issue. We need state & federal funding for child care, an expansion of the Child Care Tax Credit, and assistance from the corporate world. This is a critical issue that all comes down to money.

  4. What steps will you take to improve inclusion and outcomes for children with special needs or with disabilities?

    We are funding an all-inclusive playground, not just for children with special needs, but for everyone to play together. We are also working on a housing project for adults with special needs whose parents are looking for a long-term housing solution for their children. We are in one of the wealthiest areas of the world and we can find the funding to serve this part of our population. We could help fund programs like "Best Buddies" which pairs high school students with special needs children. We should encourage parents of children with special needs to serve on City commissions and committees (and have already done this).

  5. Much of the student achievement gap has been linked to the "opportunity gap" that low-income children and children of color experience, including lack of access to healthy food, preschool, tutors and enrichment activities. If elected, what steps will you take to address this issue?

    We fund affordable housing & food banks. Our teenagers are a valuable resource for tutors for schoolchildren of all ages. The #1 thing we can do is to advocate for funding for inclusionary affordable housing to give low-income families greater opportunity and to increase diversity. Cities have been stymied in this effort by a) State Laws that prevent cities from mandating that additional affordable housing be included in new developments, and by b) anti-affordable housing special-interests that fund the campaigns of politicians that enact anti-affordable housing laws. Cupertino has joined with other cities, and affordable housing advocates statewide, to oppose these anti-housing laws.