Paul’s plans and motives in running for City Council re-election
When City Council candidate Darcy Paul moved to Cupertino 13 years ago, he felt strongly about contributing to the community. This sparked his decision to run for City Council in 2009 and 2014, eventually being elected in 2014. According to Paul, his four years of experience in the City Council and his current role as mayor provide him with valuable insight into how the council functions. For instance, he notes that he now has a comprehensive understanding of the city’s jurisdictions, contacts in each agency or the financial systems. With a familiar grasp of this knowledge, Paul feels that he’ll be able to enact effective change during a second term.
“Some of our pending items, whether they’re really big or somewhat more minor, could use the benefit of people that have longer terms,” Paul said. “A lot of it was learning curve for me in these initial four years. The second [term] is know the people, know the issues [and] I think there are a lot more possibilities for someone who has taken a dedicated approach in that first term to take that forward in the second term.”
Previously, Paul served on the Santa Clara County Library District Joint Powers Authority Board, which governs the county’s library system, and worked on expanding the Cupertino Library’s hours. According to Paul, the library plays a significant role in Cupertino, especially in regards to how it fits in with the community’s values. In the same vein, one project he plans to push for is the improvement and expansion of library space, specifically to provide more space for community use, meetings or library programs.
“If you put your community resources behind promoting [library programs], you can imagine how that can become a real hub of community activity, things that are very popular to attend,” Paul said. “What I’d really like to see is our delivery of a space within the library itself that will allow for more of [these] community type [library programs] because I think the appetite is definitely there for usage of that space and I think that it could be really well utilized.”
Paul recognizes another area for improvement within Cupertino that he plans to work on if re-elected — the mass transit systems. He believes the first step is to establish infrastructure that will connect Cupertino to other mass transit systems by joining Cupertino to Diridon Station in San Jose, which is the nearest transit center for the South Bay. The Amtrak trains and the BTA bus system connect to Diridon Station, and according to Paul, prospective mass transit systems — including Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), high speed rail and connection to the San Jose International Airport — will likely feed to Diridon Station as well. Since Diridon Station is a “hub” for mass transit, Paul emphasizes the benefits that could come from connecting Cupertino to the station.
“Being where we are, we are geographically as well as functionally in the heart of the strongest economic engine that we have in this country,” Paul said. “It makes sense for us as a community to connect to a transit center.”
Paul also sees merit in using new transportation technology in Cupertino, such as bus rapid transit and light rail. Light rail, which uses rapid trams or streetcars that run on tracks, and bus rapid transit, which entails bus-only lanes on the road and traffic light signalization that prioritizes buses, would both allow for faster travel times.
“If you’re looking at modern technologies, we should really be embracing the ones that put us on the cutting edge of transit,” Paul said. “One thing that we sit in is a very unique kind of placement, socially — people pay attention to what we’re doing, especially when it comes to technological issues. And so if we’re willing to make that push and have those conversations, then there is daylight.”
According to Paul, his plans regarding mass transit can also address the housing affordability crisis in Cupertino, believing that these transportation systems can provide more convenience for those traveling between work and home, as well as connect Cupertino to other areas with more affordability and availability of housing.
“Here in the Bay, we’re bound geographically, and that actually defines some of our limitations in terms of the housing,” Paul said. “In order to get to the wider swaths of land, you have to navigate mountains essentially, so if we could build out really effective and truly fast mass transit, then I think we have a pretty good shot of solving this housing crisis in a much more permanent fashion.”
If re-elected, Paul’s approach to effecting these changes emphasizes communication and conversation with community members. After getting a grasp of public sentiment and feedback, Paul places value on ensuring that this input is used and translated into the process of decision making.
“Just making sure that you’re doing something with that input, you’re actually processing it and getting a sense of where the community balance is,” Paul said. “What we’re systemically about is a conversation, an open conversation that by its very nature has quite a bit of pushback because you’re trying to synergize various perspectives into a decision making process, but it’s really not the decision making that’s the important part. It’s the process.”
Through the process of synergizing these different perspectives, Paul hopes to identify and uphold the systemic values of the community, which he believes he’ll be able to do through a second term in City Council.
“I’m really trying to make democracy work within a demographic that is very eclectic, very diverse, it’s well educated, very intelligent, it’s driven and it’s very focused on students in education, in addition to the cutting edge tech issues and all the other parts that make up a community,” Paul said. “It’s much more important to identify systemic values and uphold those. It’s a matter of thinking about this from an underlying systematic and analytical perspective — that’s why I’m running.”