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November 8, 2016 — California General Election

City of CupertinoCandidate for City Council

Photo of Rod G. Sinks

Rod G. Sinks

7,677 votes (21.06%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Keep schools strong - if and as we choose to grow, make sure they are better off than before
  • Bring new mobility options - protected bikeways across Cupertino, new transit option on highways 85 and 280 corridors, and improved interchanges and well maintained streets.
  • Improve our environment by bringing competition to PG&E with cheaper, carbon-free electricity to residents & businesses next year; Improve human health as one of 2 reps of our county's 15 cities on the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board.



Profession:Incumbent; Tech Executive
Councilmember, City of Cupertino — Elected position (2011–current)


Stanford University BS, Electrical Engineering (1982)
Stanford University MS, Eliectrical Engineering (1982)
Grinnell College BS, Physics (1981)

Community Activities

Board Member, Cupertino Rotary Club (2015–current)
Robots Mentor and Judge, FIRST Robotics (2013–current)
Scoutmaster, BSA Troop 37 (2009–2014)
Assistant Scoutmaster, BSA Troop 37 (2005–2009)
YMCA Adventure Guides Father-Daughter program leader, Northwest YMCA (2002–2003)


Rod Sinks was elected to the Cupertino City Council in November 2011 and he served as Mayor in 2015.

He champions issues including education, economy, transportation and environment.


Rod is a 28-year Cupertino resident, served the community as a Scoutmaster and YMCA Adventure Guides Leader for many years, and currently serves on the Cupertino Rotary Club Board and as a mentor and judge for FIRST robotics. Rod moved to Cupertino in 1987; he and his wife Britta are proud parents of Mark and Kristina who received a great education in Cupertino schools and are now in college.

Rod earned a BA in Physics from Grinnell College and BS and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He helped lead two high tech start-ups from infancy to successful businesses in engineering management roles.


Rod’s City Assignments


Audit Committee


Fiscal Strategic Committee


Council Liaison to local school districts


Rod’s Regional Assignments


Cities Association of Santa Clara County

-Leaders from 15 cities working together to solve regional issues

-Executive board member


VTA State Route 85 Corridor Policy Advisory Board

-Founded in 2015 as an outgrowth of the organization and advocacy of Rod with other mayors to improve regional transit

-Elected by peers as Founding Chair of the Board


-Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority

-Founded in 2015 spearheaded by three Mayors including bringing competition to PG&E across 11 cities with less expensive, carbon-free electricity in 2017

-Elected by peers as Founding Chair of the Board


Santa Clara County Recycling & Waste Reduction Commission

-Working to reuse, reduce and recycle waste, and promote compositing


Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD)

-Fighting for cleaner air through regulation, grants and education

-Rod also serves on BAAQMDs Advisory Council, and its Stationary Source, Climate Change and Public Engagement Committees


Minimum Wage Advisory Team  

-Collaborated with Business and Labor leaders to oversee countywide minimum wage study and employer survey


Tax Equity Allocation Committee

-Successfully lobbied the State Legislature and Governor to return $1.4 million annually from the State General Fund to Cupertino, restoring our fair share of property tax revenue



Read more and see videos on effective transit, testimonials from regional leaders, youth interns and more at I hope my work during my first term and what we have left to accomplish the next four years earn your vote. I'm number #3 on the ballot. Thank you for voting!

Who supports this candidate?

Organizations (5)

  • Sierra Club
  • League of Conservation Voters
  • Santa Clara County Democratic Party
  • Cupertino Chamber of Commerce
  • South Bay Labor Council

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy



Support and Protect our Outstanding Schools

Rod has recognized that our schools are the prime attraction to those moving to Cupertino, but are remarkably funded at nearly the lowest levels of any schools in the State. The State requires us to build a certain amount of new housing, which we certainly need, but a law called SB50 does not allow us to consider school impacts in our land use decisions. Some development projects put more burden on schools than they bring in funding. That’s why Rod has been a primary advocate on the Council for our new system which brings developers to the table to voluntarily offer benefits, for example, to schools, in exchange for building office space or hotel rooms. Our General Plan has a cap with numerical allocation for both of these, and when we amended our General Plan last year, we did not replenish those allocations. Starting this year, developers submitting new project applications for either office or hotel are not entitled by right to build. Some have suggested that this system of community benefits will cause the Council to approve projects that the community does not want. But in the first review under the new system in February, Rod led the Council in turning down two projects: a hotel of 100+ feet near the existing Cupertino Inn on DeAnza Blvd just north of 280, and a mixed use project with office and hotel at the Oaks.  What is the end goal? Schools need money to pay for facilities and teachers.  Rod wants to make sure that schools are made more than whole by new development in the City, but he also believes that no amount of community benefits can turn a bad project into a good one.

Rod has also looked for opportunities to bring more housing for teachers. At a starting salary of $60,000, new teachers struggle to afford living here. Last year, the City Council approved some of the highest Housing Impact Fees in the South Bay across all types of commercial development to fund below-market-rate (BMR) housing. In the recent approval of the Hamptons, Rod argued that we allocate the new BMR housing to moderate income earners, which is a good match for teachers in the early phase of their careers, or who are breadwinners for single income households.

Bring Traffic Relief and New Mobility Options


For 40 years, Cupertino was promised a transit system in the unused median of SR85 but funding went to other county priorities. In 2015, Rod organized other mayors on the corridor to successfully negotiate $350 for transit on SR85, and another $248 million for improved interchanges and roads in Cupertino. He co-founded and chairs the State Route 85 Policy Advisory Board and also co-authored a video on effective traffic relief.

In 2015, during Rod’s year as Mayor, Cupertino compiled accident reports showing the location of more than 100 bike accidents in the prior five years. Eager to make immediate safety improvements, Rod took up the US Mayor’s Challenge.  The City added 3 miles of green bike lanes, 5 miles of bike buffers, and 138 sharrows, and was one of 3 cities recognized nationwide as most improved. The City also initiated work on an ambitious new bike plan featuring physically protected bikeways, which the Council adopted in June 2016 with a $2 million initial investment. Rod also helped establish a new Safe Routes to School program modeled after Palo Alto to encourage more students to walk and bike to school and to the library, resulting in healthier kids and less car traffic. The Council also acted to ban freight trucks on roadways in front of schools when students arrive and depart.

Improve Our Environment – Fight Climate Change

Rod is founding chair of the new SCVEA, which recently adopted a plan to bring competition to PG&E with carbon-free electricity to residents & businesses in 11 in 2017.

In 2015, Rod teamed up with the mayors of Mountain View and Sunnyvale to drive the establishment of Community Choice Energy (CCE) in Silicon Valley. All three mayors noted that CCE was the biggest single step they could take in the fight to reverse climate change, as identified in their cities' Climate Action Plans.

Rod led the Cupertino Council to approve the City's Climate Action Plan in January 2015 as well as funding in the 2015-16 budget to move forward a regional study and business case analysis for CCE. On December 1, 2015, the Cupertino Council was the first city to join the newly established Silicon Valley Clean Energy Authority (SVCEA), and Rod traveled to many of the other cities to help bring them aboard. He also carried the message to high schools and colleges.

Improve Our Environment – Improve Air Quality

Rod has a longstanding interest in improving air quality to reduce risk to human health, and won appointment to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board (BAAQMD) as a representative of Santa Clara County to fight for cleaner air. He also serves on BAAQMDs Advisory Council, and its Stationary Source, Climate Change, and Public Engagement Committees.


The Lehigh quarry and cement plant is the largest stationary source of air pollution in Cupertino, and one of the most significant in the Bay Area. BAAQMD placed new regulation on the plant in 2013, which has reduced mercury emissions by 82%, NOx by 22%, and HCl by 75%, despite a 50% increase in production. Rod has pushed for the expedient development of rules to further improve air quality while balancing economic impact. BAAQMD is now working on new regulations to reduce health impacts from all stationary sources in the Bay Area, including Lehigh. Rod has received praise from other members of the BAAQMD board for his thoughtful study and insights. He was picked to be the Board's sole ex-officio representative to the Advisory Council, a group of the world's leading scientific experts offering recommendations to the Board.

Videos (5)

— October 10, 2016 City of Cupertino, co-authored by Rod Sinks and Stanford Consulting Professor Stefan Heck

An entertaining 10 minute video that does the math on traffic to get us beyond gridlock.

— October 10, 2016 City of Cupertino
Published on Aug 4, 2015

This forum on innovative transit, sponsored by the City of Cupertino, features presentations and discussions with five thoughtful leaders in the field of transportation including the Hon. Rod Diridon, Sr. of the Mineta Transportation Institute; Dan Whisenhunt and Ryan Kauffman from Apple, Inc.; Stefan Heck from the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University; Jason Dowlatabadi, a member of Uber's Policy Research team; and Cupertino Mayor Rod Sinks. Recorded August 3, 2015 at the Cupertino Community Hall. (2 hrs. 5 min.)

— October 10, 2016 City of Cupertino

Want to see the entire city council skydiving? And see more great aerial views of our city? Check out this entertaining and informational State of the City speech.

— October 10, 2016 Rod Sinks 2016 Campaign


Pat Showalter, Mayor, City of Mountain View
Rob Rennie, Council Member, City of Los Gatos
Ro Khanna, Candidate for Congress, California 17th District
Chappie Jones, Council Member, City of San Jose
Hung Wei, President, FUHSD Board of Trustees

— October 10, 2016 Rod Sinks 2016 Campaign

Great opportunity for youth to learn about and get direct experience in local politics.

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