Cupertino’s Mayor Made a Joke About Building a Wall And Making San Jose Pay For It. Surrounding Cities Are Not Amused.
A tacky joke made by Cupertino Mayor Steven Scharf during his latest state of the city address is going over like fish in a workplace microwave.
In his address, Scharf — whose city is notorious for high home prices and NIMBYism — quipped about building a wall around Cupertino à la Donald Trump.
“You have heard about the wall along our southern border,” he said before pulling up a PowerPoint slide showing an artificial border drawn around the city. “This is the wall around Cupertino. We have a big problem with all these Teslas coming through our city from Saratoga and other people from other cities, so we came up with the proposal.”
“San Jose will mainly be paying for it,” he added in jest, “so it’s not coming out of our taxes. Saratoga will give a little bit too, since they are a big contributor to our traffic issue.”
It was just a joke. But it hasn’t been well received in light of the city’s housing policies.
“Cupertino is a city that, for the longest time, has fought new housing construction,” said Matt Regan, Senior Vice President of Housing Policy for the Bay Area Council Economic Institute (The Guardian). “They haven’t permitted a single permit for affordable housing in over three years. The city’s median home value right now is over $2.2m. Median rent value right now is $3,200 a month. They essentially already have built a wall around their city by making it so unaffordable to live in and refusing to build more housing.”
Regan continued: “Cupertino needs to carry its share of the load. Next to the Apple campus, Cupertino is refusing to build housing. This is the crux of the housing and jobs imbalance right here. It’s just one example of many, but it is probably the most egregious in our region.”
San Jose Councilman Lan Diep also shot back.
Congrats to Cupertino Mayor Steven Scharf for out-Trumping Trump on the night of the SOTU by declaring that Cupertino will build a wall and make San José pay for it. We are not amused. https://t.co/u68Pdp7GD9 via @Emily_DeRuy pic.twitter.com/Rfgwbs6Q0r— Lân Diệp (@LTDiep) February 6, 2019
As did the Bay Area Council.
Cupertino is a city of around 60,000, which is home to Apple headquarters. It is also ground zero in Northern California’s housing affordability crisis.
Mayor Scharf has not directly responded to the backlash, but supporters have said his words are being taken out of context. You can watch his full state of the city address here.