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.