Halloween 2018 Newsletter
Newsletter intern: Akshay Manglik

On Mobile/Tablet, View in Landscape Mode


A Note From Rishi:
A tale of soul and soles...

City Happenings, Info, & News

Upcoming Events

Q&A with Councilmember Rishi Kumar 

Glimpses via Pictures

A Note From Rishi


Dear neighbor,

As we began our re-election campaign in late August, we had this aspiration to meet each and everyone of you. Why? It was about getting the pulse of Saratoga and engaging in a conversation with as many of you as I could at your doorstep. Some called it a pipe dream! It turned out to be *wonderful* listening opportunity, to converse about Saratoga. It is pretty clear - we all love Saratoga and want the best with so many wonderful ideas and aspirations for Saratoga.

Well, we did it! We have visited almost every Saratoga home that was possible. Over 140 friends and family from Saratoga and beyond, including my wife Seema and I, volunteered our weekends in walking, knocking and talking. The conversations we had has been such an educational experience... my soul has been enriched with that experience! The soles of my running shoes are proof - that I display like a medal to anyone who cares :-)

The hills were of course difficult to navigate, but many neighbors mentioned warmly that they had never seen any other candidate come by in decades. Here is the video “For 42 years, no one came” https://www.facebook.com/VoteRishi/videos/vl.285827905342017/239888063338721/?type=1

Simply stated, the reason we did what we did over the last four years on the city council is because of what we learned from the campaign trail of 2014….the dialogue builds the fortitude to NOT shy away from taking on the tough challenges.

During my first term as your councilmember, I reminded myself everyday that I serve your interest. I have purposefully focused my efforts with a citizen-centric vision, responsiveness and results-driven behavior to impact Saratoga’s toughest challenges, like rising crime and water rates.

Saratoga is indeed a special place where my wife Seema and I, along with our two sons, have enjoyed living for over 17 years with so many warm and friendly neighbors, idyllic setting for our families, “far away” from the madness of Silicon Valley. Saratoga has an amazing community spirit –  one big happy family.

I am very thankful to you for the privilege of serving Saratoga, and through my diligent service I will express my thanks in impactful ways.  I will continue to build upon the proven track record of good, honest, open and collaborative City governance; being an involved, committed, dedicated and vigilant advocate of every resident of Saratoga. Please know that I hold your faith and trust dearly.

I wish you all a very happy Halloween celebration with your loved ones.

Warm Regards,

Rishi Kumar || rishi@rishikumar.com || 408.805.5993


City Happenings, Info, & News

Pumpkins are keeping Saratoga safe

Pumpkins all over Saratoga are keeping an eye, getting involved with our active Neighborhood Safety Watch program :-)

Creative Genius Art credit for this above picture goes to Earla  from the Cumberland Drive Neighborhood Block Party

In certain spots, the pumpkins are participating in the election process. No one should be excluded from it :-)

Leaves falling...crime is dropping too


We are at ~45 burglaries in 2018 so far (not an official sheriff number) in comparison to a total of 69 in 2017 and 130 in 2016

Thanks to the leadership of so many Neighborhood Safety Watch leaders of Saratoga, we have done a great job of reducing crime in our city, but I highly recommend that you do enhance the safety of your home with simple deterrents listed here www.tinyurl.com/Top25SafetyTips

But car break-ins are on the uptick, so please stay alert. DO NOT leave any valuables visible in your car

NOTE: Scroll down to see burglary data from 2005-2017 and also comparison with other cities

***Visit the city of Saratoga safety page for information on the latest crime stats and Neighborhood Watch Programs http://saratoga.ca.us/stayingsafe

Home Burglaries in Saratoga as per West Valley Patrol’s official report:

Crime Coverage and Neighborhood Watch Coverage from Saratoga News








See the report from the DA’s office reproduced from this link


NOTE: The DAs office and our West Valley Patrol have slightly different calculation techniques to track crime. Year to year comparison should be made between data available from the specific agency only. Both numbers are accurate, but use a different calculation technique. Example DAs office counts attempted break-ins towards the total burglary count while West Valley Patrol discards attempted break-ins as part of their total.

No automatic alt text available.

No automatic alt text available.

New restaurant - Hero Ranch Kitchen in Saratoga

Hero Ranch Kitchen — the Hero is short for Heropoulos — serves dinner five nights a week, Wednesday through Sunday, from 5 to 10 p.m. Because of limited seating, advance reservations (24 hours’ notice or more) are recommended.

Read about it here

Details: 14583 Big Basin Way, Saratoga; www.theheroranchkitchen.com

Detectives Catch Vehicle Burglars

On October 9, West Valley Patrol detectives arrested three of the four suspects involved in a series of vehicle burglaries that occurred in September. These suspects are believed to be responsible for entering a dozen locked and unlocked vehicles in the 18000 block area of Montpere Way in the early morning hours of September 6. The suspects took garage door remotes from two vehicles and accessed the garage at each of those residences. The suspects took an assortment of property, including a bicycle, cash, paperwork, and work equipment.

The four suspects were identified through an extensive follow-up investigation of the September 6 crimes. During the investigation, detectives determined that these suspects were also responsible for numerous other crimes throughout the South Bay area, including carjacking, auto theft, and firearms possession. The suspects were also involved in multiple police pursuits, recklessly evading through public streets.

Detectives will continue their investigation of this crew, as they believe this crew to be responsible for numerous other burglaries in the City.

SCVWD Water Project Grants

Up to $100,000 available for innovative water conservation projects

The window is now open for applicants to apply for a portion of $100,000 in grant funding for testing new and innovative water conservation programs and technologies. The funding is part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program parcel tax, approved by voters in 2012.  The maximum grant amount is $50,000 and the minimum grant amount is $5,000.  Proposals are due on Dec. 7, 2018 and all projects must be completed by June 30, 2019.


The program provides funding to study and test new water conservation activities, with the goal of identifying promising water savings devices and strategies that can assist the water district in meeting its long-term goal of saving more than 32 billion gallons of water per year by 2030. Previous grant-funded projects include educational initiatives and research into new, replicable technologies that support water conservation.


Public, private, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Details on the application process are posted at https://goo.gl/ozx3Rd.


A pre-proposal workshop will be held at the water district at 5750 Almaden Expressway, Room B-108, in San José, from 10 a.m. to noon on Oct. 29, 2018.


Questions about this request for grant proposals should be directed to grants@valleywater.org.

Up to $200,000 available in mini-grants to support wildlife habitat restoration

Another grant window is open for applicants to apply for a portion of $200,000 in mini-grants, designed to provide seed funding to encourage broader and/or long-term community engagement in wildlife habitat restoration and watershed stewardship activities in Santa Clara County.  


Applicants can request up to $5,000 per project. At program staff's discretion, partial or full funding may be granted. No more than $5,000 will be awarded per project. Applications must demonstrate matching funds of at least 25% of the total project cost (monetary or in-kind).  Applications will be accepted throughout the year until all grant funds have been disbursed.  


Mini-grants will be awarded to restore wildlife habitats, and projects must be located in Santa Clara County and provide at least one of the following benefits:

  • Enhance creek and bay ecosystems
  • Improve fish passage and habitat
  • Increase community awareness and understanding of watershed stewardship


Public, private, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to apply. Details on the application process are posted at https://goo.gl/ozx3Rd.


The funding is part of the Safe, Clean Water and Natural Flood Protection Program parcel tax, approved by voters in 2012.


This grant cycle is the second round of funding for mini-grants. During the 15-year life of the Safe, Clean Water Program, the water district expects to distribute nearly $35 million in grants, partnerships and rebate programs, under several different funding categories. Each year, one or more grant programs will have a new funding cycle.


Questions about this request for grant proposals should be directed to grants@valleywater.org.

Assessment Growth Up in Assessor’s FY 18/19 Report

The Santa Clara County Assessor’s Office has released their 2018/19 Annual Report. The Assessor’s Annual Report provides a wealth of interesting and detailed statistics, charts, and narrative information, comparing geographic and historical data of all locally assessed property.

As this chart from the report shows, with Santa Clara County into the eighth year since the height of the 2009 recession, Saratoga’s annual assessment roll increased by another 6.52% over the prior year. Total roll growth grew by 7.34%

Major Road Improvements

Allendale Speed Tables Installed

Installation of the two speed tables on Allendale Avenue was completed on October 17. Striping and signage will be completed on October 18. The speed tables are located between Chester Avenue and Via Alto Court and between Montpere Way and Loquat Court. The Traffic Safety Commission approved installation of the speed tables in March 2015.

Grover House/Blue Rock Shoot Project Update

The redevelopment of Blue Rock Shoot and Grover House on Big Basin Way began this week. The contractors have built a covered pedestrian walkway in front of the property to maintain the walkway and provide a buffer from the work zone. Demolition work is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, October 23.

An informational flyer has been created and will be distributed to those interested in the project. Special thanks to Lauren Pettipiece for creating the flyer.

New Crosswalk Signs

Flashing lighted crosswalk signs will be installed at three locations in Saratoga upon the recommendation of the Traffic Safety Commission. These crosswalk signs display an irregular flashing pattern to help increase drivers’ awareness of pedestrians. Construction began last week, and installation at the intersection of Quito Road/McCoy Avenue will be completed by October 31. Installation at the intersections of Herriman Avenue/Lexington Court and Cox Avenue/Cumberland Drive will be completed by mid-November.

Great California Shakeout Drill

More than 264,000 people in Santa Clara County registered to participate in the Great California Shakeout on October 18 at 10:18 a.m. The Shakeout is a great reminder of the need to prepare for emergencies and disasters – especially earthquakes – and to let our City staff and community members know about helpful tools to make preparation easier and more effective. The time we invest in preparedness today will pay off tomorrow with greater peace of mind and protection of ourselves, family, friends, and property. Staff on the Safety Committee conducted the City’s evacuation drill at on Thursday, October 18 at 10:18 a.m.

2018 Pavement Management Program

The 2018 Pavement Management Program is underway and going well. Subcontractor J D Partners is finishing up the last of the curb, gutter, and driveway work, while O’Grady Construction has completed preliminary repairs to Mt. Eden Road and plans to start paving on Monday, October 8. Repaving work on Pierce Road will continue into next week as well. Please see the September issue of this newsletter to see a list of all the streets that are being paved

Building Permits

PG&E Tree Removal

In order to remain compliant with safety regulations, PG&E has needed to annually prune 22 silver dollar gum eucalyptus trees that grow under high voltage distribution and transmission power lines. The trees are located on the north side of Cox Avenue between Fredericksburg Drive and Glen Arbor Court. Some of the eucalyptus trees are circled in the included photo.

This year, PG&E will remove these trees rather than pruning them. Newcomb Tree Service will begin to remove the trees on November 5 and will coordinate traffic control with the Public Works Department. All other compatible vegetation will remain, such as the Hollywood junipers and other shrubs.

SVCE Green Prime Results

With the startup of Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE), the City Council considered whether City facilities would switch from the regular PG&E energy sources to the basic 50% renewable/50% carbon-free Green Start option, or to the more environmentally sustainable 100% renewable Green Prime option. The December 7, 2016 report to Council estimated a change to Green Start would save the City about .5 to 1% ($1,100) per year, whereas upgrading to the 100% renewable Green Prime option would cost the City about 4% ($8,500) more per year. The Council determined it was best to be environmentally proactive, and chose to go with the Green Prime option despite the higher cost.

As a follow-up, SVCE prepared an analysis for the City to assess whether the switch to the Green Prime 100% renewable electricity power sources was in line with expectations presented to the Council. As it turns out, Green Prime electricity cost only about $3,800 more than PG&E over the course of the 2017/18 Fiscal Year. In part, this lower than expected cost was due to PG&E’s 10% rate increase in March of 2018, whereas Green Prime rates stayed the same. For Fiscal Year 2018/19, the City’s 100% renewable Green Prime energy is now estimated to only be about 1% ($2,400) more expensive than PG&E.

California Computer Science Curriculum Updates

From the committee:

We are pleased to announce that the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) took action to begin the public review and comment period for the draft Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan (CSSIP). The public review and comment period is an opportunity for any interested individuals or organizations to provide comments and suggested edits to the IQC. Those comments and suggestions will inform the IQC’s actions at its January 24-25, 2019, meeting, at which it will consider recommending the draft CSSIPP to the State Board of Education for adoption in March 2019.

The draft Computer Science Strategic Implementation Plan and the survey are available on the CSSIP web page. We encourage you and your interested colleagues to provide us with feedback to make this an even more robust plan to guide computer science education in California.

NOTE: Councilmember Rishi Kumar is a panel member on CSSIP and has collaborated with this team to roll this out for California

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons Lighted Crosswalks – by Mainini Cabute

Public Works staff has been working with Saint Francis Electric to install the Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons lighted crosswalks. The three crosswalks will be located at the intersections of Quito Road/McCoy Avenue, Herriman Avenue/Lexington Court, and Cox Avenue/Cumberland. The intersection of Quito Road/McCoy Avenue will be the first priority.

Upcoming and Past Events

Witchy Walk-A-bout

Witchy Walk-A-Bout

October 27, 2018

2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Downtown Saratoga Village

Saratoga Tree Lighting!

The holiday season is nearly here, which means that the annual Saratoga Tree Lighting Ceremony is just around the corner! This year, the Tree Lighting will take place on Friday, November 23 at 5:30 p.m. in Blaney Plaza. As in previous years, the event will include a performance by the Marshall Lane Elementary School Mustang Chorale and the lighting of the Blaney Plaza holiday tree.

After the ceremony, attendees can enjoy the Saratoga Holiday Wine Stroll hosted by the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce, explore Village shops during extended shopping hours, delight in exceptional food and drinks at Village restaurants, listen to holiday music, and take a ride in a horse- drawn carriage.

Midterm Elections

Upcoming midterms elections on Tuesday, November 6th. Make sure to vote! It’s the lifeblood of our American democracy…

Santa Clara County CERT looking for volunteers

Santa Clara County is looking for sixty victim volunteers for our annual CERT exercise. Below is some information about what we would like the victims to do. Please help us create an excellent exercise for our Santa Clara County CERT members as Victim Volunteers.

Exercise scope: The CERT teams from across Santa Clara County will meet on Oct 27th at Moffett Field for a joint exercise. Any CERT who is a member of one of the Santa Clara County CERT organizations.

During the exercise, CERTs will:

* Practice responding to a major earthquake with extensive damage, injuries, and fatalities

* Practice search & rescue

* Practice triage and medical treatment

* Practice setting up an incident command post and using radios for communication.

What you will do: Victim volunteers really make the exercise. You will be given scenarios and placed in the old barracks for the CERT teams to find you TRIAGE and treat you based upon your scenario. You are encouraged to get into the roles as much as you wish. After you check in you will be given your scenarios and assignments.

When: There are two sessions and you may select either session or participate in both sessions. First session starts at 8:00am and the second starts at 11:50am both last about three hours.

What to bring: You will need to be at least 18 years old to gain access to the Federal site and will need to complete a waiver at check-in. Snacks and drinks will be provided. Dress appropriately for the weather, long pants, closed toe shoes and long sleeve shirt is recommended, prepare to get a little dirty, Identification is needed to get through the security gates at the base.

Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/santa-clara-county-cert-exercisevictims-oct-27-2018-moffett-field-tickets-50756210191?fbclid=IwAR0fd3LrlOVGOAXuQqEY0oARt643gg814YpdCzr-A2cKXTksOZ7u7TgmZ8A 

Q&A with Councilmember Kumar

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

Question: How can I deal with rats?

Visit www.RishiKumar.com/rats for details

Question: Where do my tax dollars go?

Question: Where can I look up city services?

Question: How to prevent car break ins?

If you have a teenage that drives, please ask them to NEVER ever leave their car unattended with their backpack/ laptop / musical instruments in the car, whether visible or not

Please warn your neighbors -- An uptick in car break-ins has been observed

Do not leave anything valuable in your car - do not leave garage door openers

Do not even leave anything valuable in the trunk - leaving laptops there is a VERY bad idea

Parking in Saratoga Village/ Quito Village/ Gateway / Argonaut/ Saratoga High / Redwood? Be very careful

They are targeting Saratoga High, 85 degrees etc. - spots that are popular teen hangout

Please review the safety tips at  http://tinyurl.com/top25safetytips You will find simple tips that are actionable.

If you are looking for product recommendations, visit here

And if you don’t have an active neighborhood watch program in your neighborhood, time to take the lead and start one today

I would love to see an active Neighborhood Safety Watch program in every neighborhood of Saratoga.

Glimpses - A Pictorial View

Conversations on the campaign trail

Neighborhood Block Parties

Our City hosts a Neighborhood Watch meeting




An endorsement letter published in the Letters section of San Jose Mercury News today https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/10/18/letter-51/