February 2018 Newsletter
Newsletter intern: Akshay Manglik

On Mobile/Tablet, View in Landscape Mode

Contents

A Note From Rishi:
Great news: Online Permit Application and Payment option

Bad news/ Call to action: San Jose Water Company’s annual report just got published

Impressive work by our sheriff - tough Situation Diffused By Sheriff Leadership

City Happenings, Info, & News


Upcoming Events

Q&A with Councilmember Rishi Kumar 

A Note From Rishi


Dear friends,

Got some great news for you! And a water related call to action

This one took some time, but I am glad we have started beta testing. Our public sector entities have to be 'customer focused' and make it easier...this is a step in the right direction

Online Permit Application and Payment –

The City is beta testing new online forms that allow residents to submit and pay for a Tree Permit Application or a Noise Exception Permit Application through the City’s website. This online service allows residents to complete the application process at their convenience. Upon receipt of submission and payment, City staff will review the application and issue a permit if all required conditions for approval are met.
NOTE:The sound permits will NOT be an automatic approval but will based upon staff review

The City does not plan to do any outreach on these new online payment options until community members have had a chance to test out the new online service and share feedback so that any issues can be resolved before outreach occurs.

View the new online permit applications on www.saratoga.ca.us/trees and www.saratoga.ca.us/eventpermits.

Tough Situation Diffused By Sheriff Leadership

This is a breath of fresh air...we always read horror stories about heavy handed law enforcement. But how about this?

Kudos to our Sheriff leadership...Great job by being responsive as always, but also diffusing a Saratoga situation adroitly. They are doing an amazing job in making sure we reduce crime in Saratoga. Exemplary service to the community that every sheriff all across the United States can adopt and integrate

Sheriff press release “Last week, deputies diffused a hostile situation avoiding a tragic ending. A Saratoga resident reported seeing a man trying to break into his neighbor's house.

Deputies located the suspect inside a vehicle near the residence. Upon engaging with the individual, the man pulled out an 18-inch machete and held it to his neck. The individual was in the midst of a severe mental health crisis. Immediately, deputies backed away, making the situation safe for all involved parties.

The Sheriff's Office Crisis Negotiation Team was activated. Deputies pinned the individual’s vehicle, restricting its movement, using 4 patrol vehicles. Deputies engaged the suspect in dialogue for over two and a half hours, never pushing the situation to a critical moment. Eventually, the individual surrendered the weapon voluntarily and was taken into custody. We are thankful to the neighbors for their keen awareness, and for enduring the extensive law enforcement action. Also, we are thankful to all those who assisted in getting this individual the treatment he needs.”

SJWC 2017 annual report was published last week - WINDFALL!

San Jose Water Company has had a windfall $59.2M profit in 2017. SJWC 2017 Operating revenue was $389.2 million, in comparison to $339.7 million in 2016, an increase of $49.5 million, primarily attributable to $41.1 million in *cumulative rate changes*. So how about NO MORE RATE INCREASES!!!

Let us continue the pushback: on General Rate Case GRC Application A.18.04-001 - CPUC and ORA needs to hear from you

Please send the protest letters? Visit www.rishikumar.com/water for details Just copy and paste the contents of the word doc/google doc

The picture is stark:

- Revenue increase (2010 to 2017): 91% INCREASE

o Income (before Tax) increase (2010 to 2017): 220% INCREASE

o Income increase (2010 to 2017): 248% INCREASE

Please do not hesitate to reach out if I can be of assistance

City Happenings, Info, & News

New 4 way stop sign at 4th
Saratoga City Council just approved a 4-way stop sign at 4th and Big Basin Way in Saratoga Village, pedestrian safety being the main driver, based on the recommendation of the Traffic and Safety Commission. This was extensively discussed at the city council meeting of Feb 21st.
You can watch the video
here http://saratoga.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1019

Saratoga ranked 84th safest city in America

According to an analysis that ranked the top 100 safest cities in America, Saratoga notched the 84th rank, perhaps due to things like an almost 50% drop in the home burglary rate (130 to 69). Keep up the good work! For more info visit https://patch.com/california/saratoga/saratoga-84th-safest-city-america-analysis 

Scroll down to see - Drop in Crime

Pasta Armellino - A new Pasta restaurant in Saratoga

Saratoga’s executive chef Peter Armellino and the team at Saratoga’s Plumed Horse — who have held a Michelin star for a decade — are doing for a second act. Pasta Armellino  a casual restaurant with an artisan touch. Pasta Armellino will be open for dinner daily from 5 to 9 p.m., plus lunch on weekends, at 14560 Big Basin Way. Takeout will be available. 408-216-8838; www.pastaarmellino.com. Read about it here https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/02/saratogas-plumed-horse-opening-a-pasta-restaurant/

Saratoga has an ALPR Camera on a marked patrol vehicle

Great news!

Saratoga now has Automated License Plate Reader (ALPR) cameras deployed on a marked patrol vehicle. ALPRs will help alert our sheriff with stolen cars. The vehicle’s camera scans license plates and compares them to "stolen cars" databases in order to flag these stolen cars in our neighborhoods. This will help, as many cars casing our neighborhoods are typically stolen for the explicit purpose. This ALPR will he shared with other West Valley cities.

NOTE: Always report any suspicious activity by calling 911 or by calling the non-emergency # for our Sheriff 408 299-2311 // Emergency #408 299 3233. Add these numbers to your cell phone contact list

For similar safety updates join https://www.facebook.com/groups/safesaratoga

Community Event Grant Applications

The City is now accepting applications for the 2018/19 Community Event Grant Program to hold community events in Saratoga. Applications are due March 7, and events must be held between 7/2018-6/019. application, visit http://www.saratoga.ca.us/301/Community-Event-Grants 

Saratogans, Get CERT ready!

Saratoga CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) has leaders appointed for only 3 of our divisions. They are still looking for leaders (people and logistics) for the Downtown Division - if you are interested please contact Jeff via info@saratogacert.org.

Saratoga Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a key part of the City’s disaster response strategy. The Santa Clara County Fire Department offers multiple CERT training academies throughout the year where participants learn about personal preparedness, organizing resources, basic medical operations, basic search and rescue, fire extinguisher use, and basic damage assessment.

All training academies are open to those who live, work, or volunteer in Saratoga and the communities served by Santa Clara County Fire Department. The next academy will be held at Los Altos Hills Town Hall beginning March 5. Students must attend all seven sessions to receive a certificate of completion.

For more information on CERT and all upcoming academies,  contact Jeff via info@saratogacert.org. visit http://bit.ly/2gxf07l

Prospect Road Status

Construction on the Prospect Road Improvements Project began on December 11, 2017. This project will improve a 1.9-mile section of Prospect Road between Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road and Lawrence Expressway with safety, accessibility, and beautification enhancements. The entire community will be able to enjoy this transformation, whether you are driving, biking, walking, or taking public transportation.

Demolition work has started at some intersections, and a total of 14 catch basins will be installed because of the new curb line. Manholes have also started to be installed on the east side of the project. Over the next few weeks, contractors will be working on the west side of the project between Atrium Drive and Covina Court preparing to install concrete sidewalks and handicap ramps. They will also modify the median between Brookvale Drive and Covina Court to develop refuge lanes turning left onto Prospect Road from both Brookvale Drive and Covina Court.

Saratoga Community Garden Plots for Rent

For the first time in many years, there are two available plots at the Saratoga Community Garden, located on the north end of El Quito Park. The Community Garden is the perfect place for Saratoga residents who love to garden, but don’t have their own space to do so.

The rental fee for residents 55 years of age or older is $235 per year ($60 plot rental + $175 water usage), and the rental fee for residents under the age of 55 is $260 per year ($85 plot rental + $175 water usage).

Don’t miss this opportunity to join the gardening family and cultivate community, friendship, and your green thumb! For more information, contact Community Garden Administrator Nina Walker at 408.868.1259

Saratoga Native a New York Times bestselling author

Gregg Hurwitz, a Saratoga Native, is a New York Times bestselling author with his book Hellbent. Hurwitz is on tour in San Jose and Palo Alto. Read more https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/08/saratoga-native-now-a-new-york-times-bestselling-author

New Public Records Request Portal

The City of Saratoga has a new Public Records Request web portal to assist the community in submitting records requests. This tool will receive and track all public requests, streamlining the process for both the requestor and the responsive staff. Additionally, the public can view commonly requested records online. This tool is ready to be used and may be accessed at https://city-of-saratoga.nextrequest.com or from the City’s website at www.saratoga.ca.us/cityclerk.

Online Permit Application

Online Permit Application and Payment –

The City is beta testing new online forms that allow residents to submit and pay for a Tree Permit Application or a Noise Exception Permit Application through the City’s website. This online service allows residents to complete the application process at their convenience. Upon receipt of submission and payment, City staff will review the application and issue a permit if all required conditions for approval are met.

The City does not plan to do any outreach on these new online payment options until community members have had a chance to test out the new online service and share feedback so that any issues can be resolved before outreach occurs.

View the new online permit applications on www.saratoga.ca.us/trees and www.saratoga.ca.us/eventpermits.

Saratoga Creek Restoration

The Santa Clara Valley Water District has begun a multi-year project to restore a section of Saratoga Creek between Cox Avenue and Prospect Road. This effort is being coordinated with PG&E and permitted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Their goal is to phase out invasive, non-native species over several years, and plant native trees, shrubs, and ground covers.

The Water District will monitor and maintain the new plants once they have been installed and continue weed abatement and replacement planting over the next several years. Nine dead eucalyptus trees were recently removed as part of this project. This summer, young, non-native trees and shrubs will be removed, along with leaf litter and bark debris from trees, including the debris from eucalyptus trees. For additional information contact John Chapman at the Santa Clara Valley Water District at 408. 630.2645 or jchapman@valleywater.org.

Volunteer Opportunity: National River Cleanup

Do you regularly notice a creek, river, or lake that is plagued by litter in Santa Clara County? If so, we encourage you to be a site coordinator for the annual National River Cleanup Day on Saturday, May 19, 2018, from 9 a.m. to noon. Register by March 2: https://t.co/aGFkjoi6gK https://t.co/6pe3be6nvu

Volunteers wanted for Mineta Full Scale Exercise

Mineta San Jose International Airport is looking for adult volunteers to participate in their Full Scale Exercise on 21 March 2018 from 0800-1200. Red Cross was asked to recruit approximately 40 volunteers. You do not have to be a Red Cross volunteer. You may share the information with family, friends and coworkers, but they must be at least 18years old and sign a waiver. Information on who to contact is on the flyer. LAST DAY TO RSVP IS 7 MARCH - details at https://volunteerconnection.redcross.org/ama/orig/emails/155/963/2018-SJC-Full-Scale-Volunteer-Flyer.pdf 

Toga Girls are Champions

Yeah! These girls are champions. Saratoga hearts filling #TogaPride
 Saratoga ended the regular season with a 10-game winning streak to share the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League El Camino Division title with Lynbrook.

https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/02/21/saratoga-girls-basketball-team-achieves-league-co-title

Population housing needs

"Nearly all the cities and counties in California — 97.6 percent — are failing to approve the housing needed to keep pace with population growth and will be subject to a new law. Only 13 cities and counties, including Foster City, Hillsborough, San Anselmo and Beverly Hills, made the grade. Senate Bill 35, which Wiener carried last year, kicks in when cities or counties lag behind on annual progress reports"

Trio Busted with Mail Theft for Saratoga crime

Three individuals were arrested in Cupertino for theft of Saratogan mail. They were booked into the Santa Clara County Jail thanks to the work of our capable police force. Check out the Q&A section below for tips to safeguard your mail. More information here:

                

Voting to be easier in California

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced that, under an automatic registration bill, California will automatically register those who apply or renew a driver’s license or state ID after April 2. Read more at http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/commentary/sd-utbg-voting-california-padilla-20180201-story.html

In other news, Congressman Ro Khanna has co-sponsored a bill to open source voting software for more security and innovation.

Drop In Crime
Summary of crime data from 2014-2017
(compiled from here)

There has been a reduction in crime this year - this has been a success thanks to the collective effort of each of you, our neighborhood safety leaders, our Sheriff (who has done a stellar job capturing the bad guys), our city council and the public safety ad hoc committee. Neighborhood Safety Watch programs, neighborhood meetings and dialogue, discussing safety best practices to better protect Saratoga homes, identifying neighborhood leaders, launching neighborhood communication frameworks, neighborhood surveillance cameras, etc, all  have collectively made Saratoga safer. Let’s continue the effort!

Home Burglaries in Saratoga

2012-59

2013-72

2014-98

2015-125

2016-130

2017 - 69

Grand Theft in Saratoga

2014-32

2015-29

2016-24

2017-23

Robbery  in Saratoga

2014-1

2015-1

2016-6

2017-6

Commercial Burglary in Saratoga

2014-26

2015-24

2016-16

2017-19

Car Burglaries in Saratoga

2014-26

2015 -24

2016-16

2017-14

Auto Thefts in Saratoga in Saratoga

2014 -20

2015 - 20

2016 - 9

2017 - 18

Saratoga Identity Thefts, Forgeries. Fraud in Saratoga

2014-66 cases

2015- 103

2016- 107

2017 - 70

How does Saratoga compare with neighboring cities?

Upcoming and Past Events

Hakone Celebrates the Year of the Dog on March 4, 11AM -3pm

Welcome the Year of the Dog at Hakone’s 10th Annual Lunar New Year Festival on Sunday, March 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Hakone Estate and Gardens, 21000 Big Basin Way. The Festival will feature a lion dance, face mask changing act, children’s costume parade, face painting, food, musical and martial arts performances, and more!

Limited parking is available at Hakone Gardens, so a free shuttle will run from the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, 14460 Big Basin Way. Guests can attend the Festival for the cost of regular admission, $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. For more information, visit
 www.hakone.com

Saratoga Blossom Festival on March 24th

Saratoga’s next

Saratoga Personal Emergency Preparedness Class

Saratoga’s next Personal Emergency Preparedness class is from 9 a.m. to noon April 28 at the Joan Pisani Community Center, 19655 Allendale Ave.

Saratoga Safety Fair

Save the date for the first Saratoga Safety Fair hosted by the City of Saratoga and the Public Safety Task Force! Join us for this free event on May 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at West Valley College. You can get safety and crime prevention tips, meet safety professionals from the Sheriff’s Office and Fire Department, and check out safety-related products and services at the resource fair.

For more information, or to submit a Sponsorship Application to host a resource table, visit http://www.saratoga.ca.us/426/Saratoga-Safety-Fair 

Saratoga High School’s Annual BnB was a Big Hit


This ain’t Broadway….even better :-)

A Talent Competition in Saratoga

join the 4th annual Silicon Valley’s got Bollywood in Saratoga. Open to kids and adults between 5 and 105, performances are NOT restricted to Bollywood and OPEN for any Silicon Valley resident. Submit your audition videos today at siliconvalleybollywood.com or at http://tinyurl.com/SiliconValleyBollywood 

Like us at Facebook.com/SiliconValleyBollywood

**Join the Silicon Valley's got Bollywood annual competition in it's 4th year. Cash prizes total $1,000  

Venue : Saratoga Community Center (19655 Allendale Avenue, Saratoga CA)

Saturday, MARCH 24th, 2018

Time : 6:00pm to 10:30pm

Contestant tickets are available for purchase by invitation only after you are approved as a contestant

Early bird tickets are on sale here

The funds raised at this annual competition helps run free Saratoga weekly Sunday programs such as robotics, entrepreneurship/coding programs, bollywood fitness, yoga, hindi etc

Twelve rocking Bollywood Star couples from Saratoga  will be dancing to three super hit Bollywood tracks. They are all prepping for the big performance at Silicon Valley's got Bollywood special segment #BollywoodStarCouples dance on March 24th

Q&A with Councilmember Kumar

Visit www.RishiKumar.com/faq for the complete list

Question: How can I prevent mail theft?

ANSWER: There are many ways you can do so:

Question: Can I have other people work in my home that functions also as an office?

ANSWER: No person other than a resident of the dwelling shall be employed in the conduct of a home occupation.

---Excerpts from our code ----

5-40.010 - General regulations.

All home occupations shall comply with the following regulations:

(a) There shall be no stock-in-trade other than products manufactured on the premises.

(b) A home occupation shall be conducted within a dwelling by an occupant thereof, and shall be clearly incidental to the use of the structure as a dwelling.

(c) A home occupation shall not be conducted in an accessory structure and there shall be no storage of equipment or supplies in an accessory structure or outside the dwelling.

(d) There shall be no external alteration of the dwelling in which a home occupation is conducted.

(e) The existence of a home occupation shall not be apparent beyond the boundaries of the site.

(f) Medical offices for doctors, dentists, osteopaths, chiropractors and other practitioners of the healing arts are not permitted as home occupations in any A, R-1, HR, R-OS or R-M district.

(g) No person other than a resident of the dwelling shall be employed in the conduct of a home occupation.

(h) A home occupation shall not create any noise, odor, dust, fumes, vibration, smoke or radio or television interference beyond the boundaries of the site.

(i) Not more than one truck, of not more than one-half ton capacity, and no semi-trailers, incidental to a home occupation shall be kept on a site.

(j) A home occupation shall not create pedestrian, automobile or truck traffic significantly in excess of the normal amount in the district.

(k) There shall be no display of merchandise, products or other material or equipment for advertising purposes.

(l) Professional or administrative offices wherein clients or prospective clients are regularly met upon the premises shall not be permitted as home occupations in any A, R-1, HR, R-OS or R-M district. This prohibition shall not apply to the sale of dwelling units out of a temporary office established in a model home when properly authorized by a use permit.

Question: What are some simple tips for fire safety?

ANSWER:

#1 Notify authorities if you see people burning debris, playing with fireworks or driving off-road vehicles in dry, grassy areas or trees on power line.

#2 Develop an evacuation plan for family members. identify a meeting location outside your home and neighborhood

#3 Create a fire-safe zone around your home, where dead vegetation and other flammable materials have been removed

#4 have your address clearly visible from the street to help first responders

#5 Maintain two emergency kits, one at home and another in your car.

#6 Take videos and photos of everything for insurance purpose. Copies of insurance policies, wills, passports, drivers licenses and social security cards placed on the cloud

NOTE: If the home burns, it’s unlikely stuff stored in a fire safe will survive

For help developing a personal wildfire action plan, visit tinyurl.com/ReadySetGoPlan.

Question: What is Saratoga's Weed & Brush Abatement Program? How is it related to fire?

ANSWER:  In Saratoga, there are two programs that help prevent wildfire by reducing the amount of flammable vegetation and debris.

The first is the Weed Abatement Program managed by the City of Saratoga in partnership with the County of Santa Clara via contract. All properties in Saratoga are subject to this program. The second is the Brush Abatement Program/Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Preparedness Inspection managed by the Santa Clara County Fire Department. Only properties in the WUI area are affected.

There are a number of things you can do to make sure your home is fire safe and in compliance. Keep tree limbs at least 10 feet away from chimneys or stove pipes. Also, remove dead vegetation from landscaping, and clear leaves from roofs, eaves, and gutters.

The deadline to meet Weed Abatement requirements is April 15, and properties on the list will be inspected after that date. If properties are non-compliant, they may be subject to fees and other penalties. For more information and a full list of program requirements, visit

http://www.saratoga.ca.us/weed_brush

Question: How can I prepare for the cold spell?

ANSWER:

1. Dress warmly in layers to avoid hypothermia.

2. Bring pets and potted plants inside - cover outdoor plants.

3. Check on isolated or medically fragile family, friends and neighbors.

For Santa Clara County cold weather resources visit: http://bit.ly/Cold_Weather_Resources

Question: What is Saratoga Emergency Response Team?

Saratoga Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is a key part of the City’s disaster response strategy. The Santa Clara County Fire Department offers multiple CERT training academies throughout the year where participants learn about personal preparedness, organizing resources, basic medical operations, basic search and rescue, fire extinguisher use, and basic damage assessment.

All training academies are open to those who live, work, or volunteer in Saratoga and the communities served by Santa Clara County Fire Department. The next academy will be held at Los Altos Hills Town Hall beginning March 5. Students must attend all seven sessions to receive a certificate of completion.

For more information on CERT and all upcoming academies, visithttp://bit.ly/2gxf07l

Question: What is Saratoga’s Franchise fee that I see on my water bill and Comcast bill?

2017 franchise fees collected

Comcast - $ 370,238 (5%)

AT&T - $ 75,411 (5%)

SJWC - $266,522 (2%)

1957 Franchise Agreement between the City and SJWC which provides for a 2% franchise fee.  In 2017 the City received $266,522 in franchise fees from SJWC.

In 2006 the State took away cities authority to have separate video franchise agreements through the Digital Infrastructure and Video Competition Act of 2006 (DIVCA).  They also set the franchise fee rate at 5% for video services.   Franchise Fee is a general fund revenue source that is applied towards the general operations of the City.  I’ve attached an excerpt from the City’s FY 207/18 adopted budget which illustrates our general fund revenues by category. We are expecting to receive approximately $2.3 million in franchise fees this FY which represents approximately 11% of our general fund revenue.

 

Glimpses - A Pictorial View

 

Congresswoman Anna Eshoo has endorsed Councilmember Kumar for his 2018 re-election bid

A few Saratoga neighborhoods meeting the sheriff

A few Saratoga neighborhoods meeting the sheriff

Councilmember Kumar at a Neighborhood Safety Watch meeting

Councilman Kumar with Argonaut Elementary Lego Robotics Team who were invited to the council meeting to present their project on Hydro dynamics

Saratoga students from Harker School present their project to the city council

Councilmember Kumar with Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi


“Before GOOGLE we had GOOGLY” Councilman Kumar with famous cricketer Chandrashekhar

Councilman Kumar with Scripps National Spelling Bee champion

With California Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon and Assemblymember Ash Kalra. The two have endorsed Councilmember Kumar for his 2018 re-election bid

With California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and County Supervisor Cindy Chavez. Cindy has endorsed Councilmember Kumar for his 2018 re-election bid

Vice Mayor Magdalena Carrasco (San Jose) has endorsed Councilmember Kumar for his 2018 re-election bid

A Valentines Celebration

Supporting #Padman screening in Silicon Valley. A movie with a social cause and mission. The movie is also about innovation, the passion, the sweat and the toil that every Silicon Valley startup goes through

Saratoga High’s Bombay in the Bay

Assemblymember Evan Low and Assemblymember Mike GIpson


At the reception to welcome the Indian Ambassador to the United States His Excellency Navtej Sarna.

February Open Mic in Saratoga

 (a monthly tradition from 2010)

Beautiful sunset in Saratoga


Daffodils in Saratoga in early February? Already?

UTILITY BOX PROJECT

This one is coming up at Saratoga Avenue and Cox

Public Art! On  utility boxes at 7 locations throughout the City - painted by Saratoga artists as part of Paint the City: Utility Box Art Project.Visit http://www.saratoga.ca.us/278/Volunteer