A Very Bad Day in Cupertino

Cupertino is a very small city that borders San Jose on the western edge of its larger neighbor. It is an elite community that prides itself on its excellent schools, ethnic diversity and its agrarian heritage. Its biggest claim to fame remains that it is the corporate headquarters to the wealthiest company in the world, Apple.

Most people outside the south bay have never heard of the place. About the only negative thing anybody said is that its governing body, the City Council, exhibits the professionalism of a kindergarten class at recess. But that is a blog post for another time.

Yet on Wednesday, Oct. 5, Cupertino became the epicenter of national news coverage for two dissimilar, but very negative events. The first was an outraged gunman who took out several of his coworkers at the Lehigh Plant in an early morning rampage. The second was the death of Steve Jobs, an icon who attended Homestead High School in the city and founded a company that has become the envy of the world.

The coincidence that these two sensational news events would happen on the same day to such a small city was shocking. All of a sudden, Cupertino was thrust into the national spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

The shooting made no sense at all. A seemingly benign individual who professed nonviolence and peace to others shoots and kills his coworkers for past slights perceived over a period of time. Cupertino is one of the safest places in the Bay Area. Violent crime is almost nonexistent.  The local paper, the Cupertino Courier, dutifully fills in the Sheriff’s report each week noting such crimes as jaywalker spotted on Stevens Creek and a cat was stuck in a tree. It is not a place where crime “happens.”

The Jobs death, though somewhat expected, was still a jolt. Apple is in Cupertino for the sole reason that Steve Jobs liked being in Cupertino. His last public appearance was before the aforementioned kindergarten class who must “approve” his last vision of a corporate campus.

Whether his passing changes that vision or whether the incompetents on the City Council can screw it up has yet to be determined. But Cupertino anxiously awaits word from Tim Cook that the future of Apple will remain in the small city.

In any case, the events of Oct. 5, 2011 will not long be forgotten for family and friends who lost loved ones that day. And for the world, Cupertino was page one for all the wrong reasons.

Rich Robinson is a principal in Robinson Communications, a political consulting firm.

Rich Robinson is an attorney and political consultant in Silicon Valley. Opinions are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside.


  1. Why do you want people to respond to this article. two sad events but they are both in the past and the people all need to move on!

      • Don’t worry Rich. If Apple moves away I’m sure your man Obamba will ‘create jobs’ by setting up some green companies (like Solyndra) to take their place.
        And if these green companies fail (like Solyndra), all the better!
        According to your gal, Nancy ‘Stretch’ Pelosi, there’s no better way to stimulate the economy than having laid off workers spending their unemployment checks.

        By the way Rich. Riveting article. Really compelling stuff. You ought to try writing a novel sometime. I’m sure it’d be a real page turner.

    • JMO – you got “Rich rolled”

      Rich rolled.  To post a misleading link with a subject that promises to be exciting or interesting.

  2. “A seemingly benign individual who professed nonviolence and peace to others shoots and kills his coworker…”

    While there have been some who have made this claim, there are several interviews where relatives and friends have admitted that he had a horrible temper, could be very violent, and that he owned many guns.  Perhaps a bit more homework would have been in order.  But then again, it is more titillating for the reading audience to make it seem like a big mystery, or an anomaly.  And, like others have said, water under the bridge, move on…

  3. Ethnic diversity in Cupertino? Best I can tell is is well on its way to becoming an ethnic monoculture. OK with me but hardly “ethnic diversity”. I mean there are still some old white people who haven’t sold out or died yet but otherwise Cupertino is becoming a suburb of Taipei.

    • Dear Mr. WillowGlenDad. I can’t let your uneducated, and thinly veiled bigotry slip by without setting the record straight.

      According to the 2010 census, Cupertino’s population of 58,546 includes 25,342 “white” people – many of whom moved here long after the apricots & prunes gave way to silicon chips; only 5,305 are 70-years and older, and not all of them are near-death “old white people.” Rather, that number includes many colors of the rainbow.

      Of the 22,462 from the so-called “Asian” census category, Chinese-Americans reportedly make up 28.4%, whilst 22.6% are Indo-Americans – an increase to the latter of 190% from the 2000 census.

      Now, dust off your map of the world, and notice that India and Pakistan are not located in “Taipei.”  In fact – they are 3 separate countries entirely. Imagine that…

      Therefore, Mr. WillowGlenDad, a “monoculture” we are not.  Cupertino has always been a wonderful place to live, but the fact that so many diverse groups are choosing to raise their families in this engaging community speaks for itself, now doesn’t it?