July 2018 Newsletter
Newsletter intern: Michelle Lee

Click this or this

On Mobile/Tablet, View in Landscape Mode


  1. Saratoga City Council Agenda this Wednesday, August 1st

2 City Happenings, Info, & News

2. Q&A with Councilmember Kumar

        Please explain Sartoga’s Franchise Fee

        How can I volunteer with the city?

        How about my EWAS system?

        How do I get a permit for a neighborhood block party?

        How do I get a sound permit for a backyard party?

3 Glimpses - A Pictorial View, Happenings from June

  1. City Council Agenda - August 1st

CITY COUNCIL AGENDA  August 1st, 2018

5:00 pm - Closed Session,  Linda Callon Conference Room, City Hall

6:00pm - Joint meeting with Youth in Government Participants, Linda Callon Conference Room, City Hall

7:00 pm at Civic Theatre

2. City Happenings, Info, & News

Saratoga is Safer in 2018 - 31 Burglaries so far

Saratoga was break-in free for a few weeks. Didn't last :-(

A break-in occurred on Cabernet Drive, July 18th in Saratoga Woods Between 4:12 AM and 4:30 AM. Yes, while we sleep there are folks casing our neighborhoods. Watch this video to avoid a middle of the night break-inhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TEATNBdyjs

So what happened on Cabernet Drive? Unknown suspect(s) entered the garage of a residence in the 18000 block of Cabernet Drive through the main garage door, which was left open overnight, and took recently purchased clothing and shoes from the trunk of an unlocked vehicle inside the garage for a total loss of about $600.

An attempted break-in 7/7 At 3:44 AM, unknown suspect(s) rang the doorbell of a residence in the 18000 block of Westview Drive, and when the victim resident did not answer the door, the suspect(s) attempted to kick it in. The suspect(s) ran off to a waiting vehicle without gaining entry after the victim yelled at them.

There was also a burglary on Via Grande on July 25th between 9:05AM and 9:45AM


Saratoga is much safer in 2018 with 31 break-ins so far, compared to 130 in 2016. There hasa been aa 47% drop in burglaries from 2016 to 2017 - the biggest drop compared to any other Santa Clara County city (excluding Los Altos Hills)  YEAH!
But let us not relax when it comes to our safety.

Safety is about making safety best practices a daily habit.


Please stay alert! I observe so many homes still with a lack of safety deterrents, neither alarm systems, or surveillance cameras, fence gates not locked still  - that make them an easy target.

Should we depend on sheer luck or take some concrete steps to protect our home?


In the month of June, Saratoga was burglary free, but these Silicon Valley thieves are on the move. I suspect they are trying to find home owners that are on vacation. Give your home a lived-in look. Park cars on driveway, pick up your newspapers, and at dusk make sure lights of rooms that are front facing are on. I highly recommend having deterrents like a surveillance camera / ring.com type device at your front door. Our sheriff is very keen to have images of suspects casing neighborhoods. You can find product recommendations at my safety tips page www.RishiKumar.com/tips

Also, when you see suspicious behavior or activities that make you go hmmmm, please invite the sheriff to investigate by calling 911 - they are more than happy to.


Please, please apply some safety deterrents from here  http://tinyurl.com/top25tips or read this safety page. Our city safety page has good resources http://saratoga.ca.us/stayingsafe including the week by week break-out of crime.


2017 - 69

2016 - 130

2015 - 125

2014 - 98


** July (1)

7/23-7/29 - ??

7/16 - 7/22 - 1 burglary

7/9 - 7/15 - zero residential burglary

7/2 - 7/8 - zero residential burglary

** June (0)

6/25 -7/1 - zero residential burglary

6/18-6/24 - zero residential burglary

6/11-6/17 - zero residential burglary

6/4 - 6/10 - zero residential burglary

** May (3)

5/28-6/3 - zero residential burglary

5/21-5/27 - zero residential burglary

5/14-5/20 - zero residential burglary

5/7-5/13 - 3 residential burglaries

** April (3)

4/30-5/6 - zero residential burglary

4/23-4/29 - zero residential burglary

4/16-4/22 - zero residential burglary

4/9 - 4/15 - 1 residential burglary

4/2 - 4/8 - 2 residential burglaries

**March - (8 )

**February - (10 )

**January - (5)

Saratoga going online - Sound permits etc

Did you know you can get a tree permit, a sound permit by going online?

Here is the link https://www.saratoga.ca.us/304/Permits

Hosting a neighborhood block party? You can just submit the permit request online

Give it a try - no need to visit city hall.

We are also going to rollout building permit - simple ones  like getting a remodel for a car charging install - also online. Great News!

Paw-fficer Dutch - sniffing out crime

I met Dutch - just a playful kid, that is impacting crime

Download the Water App and protest the rate increases


San Jose Water is at it again - they have proposed a 0.83% rate increase with AL#524

We are making it easy for you to protest - here is an app for Android phones

On your Android phone go to https://tinyurl.com/WaterApp1, download the app and push a button to send your protest emails to CPUC

Apple phones IOS app coming soon...Push a button and let us protest

How can you track mail that was delivered by USPS, but did not receive? Stolen? Enroll in USPS Informed Delivery. Free service. Go to https://www.usps.com/manage/welcome.htm

Now you can preview images* of your mail and manage your incoming packages on one dashboard without entering tracking numbers. From the Informed Delivery® dashboard you can also sign up for text or email notifications, schedule delivery alerts, request redelivery, enter USPS Delivery Instructions™, and more.

*NOTE: Black and white (grayscale) images show the outside, front of letter-sized envelopes and mailpieces that are processed through USPS® automated equipment


Much needed...we are investing in water storage

$1B is coming to the Bay Area

$485 million to the Santa Clara Valley Water District

Pacheco Reservoir Expansion: $485 million. Total project cost: $969 million. The Santa Clara Valley Water District would expand a small reservoir on Pacheco Creek, at Pacheco Pass, increasing its size from 6,000 acre-feet to 140,000 acre-feet. The new dam would be 319 feet tall. The district would take water it now stores in nearby San Luis Reservoir and pipe it into the new reservoir, filling it during wet years.

$459 million to the Contra Costa Water District to raise the height of the dam at Los Vaqueros Reservoir in eastern Contra Costa County by 55 feet, increasing the lake’s size by about 70 percent. The new funding would pay roughly half the cost of each project.


Saratoga Neighborhood Watch Programs have enhanced our safety

Saratoga’s Neighborhood Watch program is being credited with a significant downturn in home break-ins as per a Saratoga News article - see the link below. Saratoga’s biggest crime problem is burglaries,” Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Lehmann said. “A few years ago we weren’t getting enough calls about suspicious people and vehicles, so the Neighborhood Watch program has had a real impact.”


Start a neighborhood watch program for your street today - contact Councilmember Rishi Kumar at rkumar@saratoga.ca.us

On Vacation? Home Safety - Call to Action!

If you are planning to be on vacation please apply some safety deterrents from here

This is the best time - a compelling event - that may compel you to take action.

Please do so! Also, review the safety tips at www.tinyurl.com/Top25Tips

Pick up product recommendations at www.RIshiKumar.com/tips

Please join the group to stay updated with the latest safety related happening


Deterrents while we sleep: I highly recommend that we stay relaxed -  we are a very safe community -  but also stay alert. Given what we have observed, please turn on alarm systems, lock your doors when you sleep, even keep a porch light and an inside light on through the night. Watch this video to avoid a middle of the night break-in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TEATNBdyjs

Top 25 Safety Tips flyer - see it here

Please ask your neighbors to stay alert, turn on alarm systems, lock their doors when they sleep. Even keep a porch light and an inside light on through the night.

Also, review the safety tips at www.tinyurl.com/Top25Tips


Here is another Saratoga success story

Excellent job not only by our sheriff, but also by a vigilant citizen - see press release below in blue by Santa County Sheriff’s office. This is exactly the reason why Saratoga has dropped crime by 47% - all these Neighborhood Safety Watch programs, informed, engaged and aware citizens is helping.

As always, call 911 if you observe anything suspicious - our sheriff is more than happy to  show up, and chase even false alerts. So continue calling them please. See something suspicious, Say something please.


We have made it increasingly difficult for Saratoga to be an easy target….not any more!

From Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office Saratoga Teamwork- An alert resident called-in observed suspicious behavior in their neighborhood early this AM. Suspects were driving around opening/breaking into mail boxes. Deputies responded and located a vehicle that appeared to have been quickly abandoned.

After a search of the area, Deputies found two suspects hiding in the bushes of a residential front yard.

Inside the vehicle was U.S. Mail belonging to several Saratoga residents, stolen packages, jewelry, & burglary tools. Both suspects were arrested and booked into the Main Jail. Neighbors watching out for one another makes our Community safer. #NeighborhoodWatch

Coyote Sighting in your neighborhood?

Here is an important safety tip from our county to avoid interaction with Coyotes


Coyotes are a part of a healthy ecosystem in Santa Clara County, but that can lead to sightings and interactions with people and domestic animals. With recent accounts of possible coyotes attacking small pets in Mountain View, we encourage you to follow a few recommendations and tips for avoiding coyote interactions before they happen.

To report a coyote sighting in your residential area, please go to sccvector.org or call the Santa Clara County Vector Control District at (408) 918-4770. In case of immediate danger involving any wild animal, call 911.   (Comments are not monitored by the Vector Control District so please do not report coyote sightings on this post.)

The below information provides guidance on how to properly maintain your property, protect your pets, and react if you encounter a coyote. Information is also available online: http://bit.ly/NeighborhoodCoyotes

Your Property

•        Trim and clear brush and dense vegetation from around your house and near the ground that could provide hiding places for coyotes and habitat for rats and mice.

•        Pick up fallen fruit, which attracts coyotes and their prey including rats, mice, and birds

•        Secure your garbage and recycle bin lids. Coyotes have a keen sense of smell. Strong garbage odors and food left outdoors are attractive to coyotes, as well as other wildlife.

•        6’ fencing, secured below ground level, including a 1 1/2 foot overhang slanted outward from the yard can help to prevent coyotes from scaling a fence or digging under it. Wooden stockade and chain link fencing are easily climbed by coyotes

•        Small children shouldn’t play outside unsupervised.

Walking your Pets

•        Keep your pets on a fixed-length leash when walking them. Retractable leashes allow dogs to travel an unsafe distance away from you.

•        Take note if your pets seem nervous and frightened when outside. They may have encountered or smelled a coyote nearby.

Your Pets at Home

•        Never leave pet food or water outside. Pet food and bird feeders directly attract coyotes and animals that coyotes eat.

•        Poultry or hobby livestock should be secured in sturdy cages or pens every night.

•        Pets should be brought in at night.

Make Coyotes Uncomfortable

•        Use loud noises to scare coyotes away (e.g., an air horn, a referee whistle, or shaking a can with marbles/coins inside). Tolerating their presence encourages coyotes (and other wildlife) to remain nearby and lose their fear of humans.

•        Install strategically placed motion detector lights outside to deter coyotes from your home. They tend to shy away from lighted areas.

•        Stray dogs or cats can compete for food with coyotes and may be eaten themselves. Call your local Animal Control to report abandoned animals.

If you have questions or comments, please call (408) 918-4770 or email vectorinfo@cep.sccgov.org.


An article from Mercury News warns us to beware of a mailer that offers an assessment and charge of $89 for a copy of the property owner’s deed. The assessment is free and the deed is available for $6 via the county. Please do not fall for the scam or enter a user id, password or pinSanta Clara County homeowners beware: a mailer offering to charge $89 for a copy of a property owner’s deed and assessment information is a scam, the county assessor’s office warned this week. In fact, assessment information is free and deeds set homeowners back only $6.It appears the fabricated notices were mailed by a private company that identifies itself as “Local Property Office.” The senders are attempting to pass off the pamphlets as an official government notice, Assessor Larry Stone said in a press statement this week.“Don’t be confused. Letters from the Assessor’s Office have the county seal and never demand payment,” Stone said.The official annual notification letters that provide each property’s 2018-2019 assessed value were mailed on June 29 to 490,146 property owners, according to the assessor’s office. The notice serves as the basis for the property tax bill that’s usually mailed in the fall.Anyone with questions about the assessed value on their notice is advised to use a free and interactive tool offered by the assessor’s office called “Opt-In Tool,” which allows property owners to review the sale of comparable properties the assessor uses to determine their assessment. The service also allows taxpayers to securely receive assessment notices and interact with the assessor’s office electronically.To access the data, a property owner must have a username and password, or the PIN listed in the annual assessment notice.Homeowners can find their assessment at no charge online at sccassessor.org while deed copies are available for $6 from the county recorder’s office.Homeowners with questions about the bogus mailers are encouraged to contact the assessor’s public service desk at https://www.sccassessor.org/index.php/about-us/about-our-accessor/email-the-assessor-s-office, by email at assessor@asr.sccgov.org, or by phone at 408-299-5500.

Read the link here https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/07/03/county-assessors-office-warns-of-scam-against-homeowners/

Eight Auto Burglaries in downtown Shopping District

There were 69 residential burglaries in 2017. In contrast, 130 home break-ins were reported in 2016 and 123 in 2015.

Eight auto burglaries are included in the 2018 statistics, most of which occurred in the downtown shopping and dining district. As a result, deputies on bikes will be patroling downtown this summer. But please do not leave anything visible in the car. Do NOT leave a laptop bag in the trunk or anywhere else in the car. Auto burglaries typically occur because they observe a box sitting inside the car of value - and it could just be an Amazon box of shampoo/ shaving cream. You don’t want to go through the aggravation of fixing a broken glass.

Saratoga Resident Finishes 4th Place Nationally

Proud of @CityofSaratoga resident Kyle Wang @SaratogaHigh student who finished 4th place nationally in extemporaneous speaking at the National Speech & Debate tournament at Fort Lauderdale. Proud moment for all of Saratoga

Point of Interest Markers in Saratoga - Check it out

Have you seen the two new Point of Interest markers on Saratoga Avenue? The Saratoga Heritage Preservation Commission had these markers installed near the corner of Saratoga Avenue and Park Place to commemorate two historically significant locations in Saratoga.

One marks the original site of the Blossom Festival, which was created in 1900 and was unique to Saratoga. ES Williams held the festival to give thanks for rain after several years of drought. The event was a great success with thousands flocking to see the orchards in bloom.

The second marker commemorates the Theatre of the Glade, a natural ampitheatre surrounded by redwoods behind the Saratoga Inn. Dorothea Johnston, the daughter of the Saratoga Inn’s owner, was a noted producer and actor who held plays in this ampitheatre that brought hundreds to Saratoga. She also launched the Hollywood careers of several local residents, including Olivia deHavilland and Joan Fontaine.

Image may contain: outdoor

Image may contain: outdoor


Here is an update with San Jose Water Company.

CPUC has issued an Order Instituting Investigation (OII) of the merger of SJWC with Connecticut Water - see email below

This is exactly what we had requested as part of our last protest campaign

Please continue to send your protest letter pushing back rate increases AL 523 and GRC 18-01-004 following directions at www.RIshiKumar.com/water 

Yes, it can be painful, we are stuck in "groundhog day” but it is working.

So please continue protesting and pushing back against rate increases

As per Mercury News - White Supremacist posters appear in Saratoga



CalPERS FY 2017/18 Return on Investments Report

CalPERS today reported a preliminary 8.6% net return on investments for the 12- month period that ended June 30, 2018. This is above the 7% return they use for actuarial calculations. With the return rate higher than the factor used in actuarial formulas, the UAL will be reduced as assets grow in value.

CalPERS Chief Investment Officer noted that, “This brings total fund performance to 8.1% for the five-year time period, 5.6% for the 10-year time period, and 6.1% for the 20-year time period. Over the past 30 years, the CalPERS fund has returned an average of 8.4 percent annually.”

Saratoga has a new Finance Manager

The City has successfully recruited Dennis Jaw as our new Finance Manager. Dennis currently works as the Finance Manager for the City of Half Moon Bay. Prior to this, he worked for the City of Huntington Beach. Dennis is a licensed Certified Public Accountant with the State of California and a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles with a degree in Economics and Psychology.

We are looking forward to having Dennis join the Finance and Administrative Department team! He will start with us on Monday, August 13.

Planning Commission Meeting - AT&T Microcell

At their meeting on July 11, the Planning Commission reviewed an application by AT&T to install 13 microcell sites on existing utility poles within the public road right-of- way at various locations on Big Basin Way, Congress Springs Road, and

Pierce Road. Exhibits provided by AT&T illustrated that the proposed microcells would expand wireless voice and data coverage in areas where existing coverage is either poor quality or nonexistent. Approximately 25 members of the public attended the public hearing and commented on aesthetic impacts, health concerns, and decreased property values related to cell sites. The Commission approved all but one of the microcell sites. The site on Pierce Road near the intersection of Saratoga-Sunnyvale Road was continued due to its aesthetic impacts on the area, and AT&T was asked to consider locating the microcell to another pole on Pierce Road

No automatic alt text available.

Guava Court Pedestrian Crossing at Railroad

On July 10, Public Works staff reached out to California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) staff to check on the status of the City’s CPUC pedestrian railroad crossing application. On April 3, CPUC had reached out and confirmed that the expiration date listed on the CEQA filing form was related specifically to the 30-day time frame to post notices. There has been no contact from CPUC since April. The CPUC Administrative Judge has until November 2018 to review and make a ruling on the application.

Big Basin Way Turnaround -- by John Cherbone

Construction of the Big Basin Way Turnaround is scheduled to begin in early August. George Bianchi Construction has been chosen as the contractor for this project. Work will include the installation of a small, “kidney bean” shaped island, and the installation of signage and striping. Staff anticipates the construction to cost around $20,000. The turnaround will be located at the west end of the Village in a paved area frequently used to make U-turns. Saratoga First #SaratogaFirst

Volume of Building Activity in Saratoga is among the highest

Village to Hakone Gardens Walkway Design -- by Emma Burkhalter

Village to Hakone Gardens Walkway Design – by Emma Burkhalter

Bellecci and Associates completed the design plans for the Village to Hakone Gardens Walkway and submitted them to Caltrans for approval early this week. The proposed walkway will run from the existing sidewalk terminus at the west end of the Village to the Hakone Gardens driveway on Congress Springs Road. This walkway is the first leg of a pedestrian path that will eventually connect the Village to Quarry Park. The plans are available to view in the Engineering Department.

2. Q&A with Councilmember Kumar

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

Qs: 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.

Qs: How can I volunteer for the City of Saratoga? FROM SARATOGA SOURCE

A: The City of Saratoga staff members enjoy working with youth and adult volunteers who help support a variety of City programs. Some volunteers donate time to ongoing administrative projects during business hours. Others join in one-day opportunities at events or activities that are held on evenings and weekends.

Some of the recent events volunteers were involved with include the State of the City, Safety Fair, Color Dash, Movie Nights, and the Paint the City Utility Box art project. In the fall and winter, volunteers also help to beautify and maintain Quarry Park trails or fill sandbags in preparation for winter rains.

If the City does not have an opportunity that matches your availability and interests, there are many other ways to get involved in the community. You can visit www.saratoga.ca.us/volunteer for information on opportunities with the City or www.volunteermatch.org to view opportunities with other organizations.

Qs. What are the rules pertaining to my old EWAS SYSTEM?

The big change we made with Saratoga Fire a few years back was to give residents a choice of system and the monitoring companies for an EWAS system.  Prior to that change residents were limited to the vendor provided by Saratoga Fire.  When an alarm system is required, County Fire makes the final determination if it meets all requirements. So from what I understand you can get another system and monitoring as long as County Fire blesses it

QS. How do I get an permit for a neighborhood block party

Just go  online?

Here is the link https://www.saratoga.ca.us/304/Permits

Hosting a neighborhood block party? You can just submit the permit request online

Give it a try - no need to visit city hall.

QS. How do I get a sound permit for a backyard party

Did you know you can get a tree permit, a sound permit by going online?

Here is the link https://www.saratoga.ca.us/304/Permits

Hosting a neighborhood block party? You can just submit the permit request online

Give it a try - no need to visit city hall.

We are also going to rollout building permit - simple ones  like getting a remodel for a car charging install - also online. Great News!

3. Glimpses - A Pictorial View

An action shot from the Mercury News site...Saratoga Car Show 2018. Thank you to the Saratogan who sent it to Councilmember Kumar

Speaking on the topic of Addiction, the Opioid challenge at the Quinlan Community Center. Great job by Project Healthy Minds in putting together a compelling agenda for this evening.


July 4th celebration in Saratoga

Image may contain: 3 peopleImage may contain: 1 person, smiling

. Honored to participate in Civic Leadership Forum sponsored by Ding Ding TV and CLUSA Speaking on “Being in the state of Zen, techniques on transforming our lives” inspiring the youth.

Yes, Councilmember Kumar has picked up nomination papers on July 16th for his November re-election bid

Have you seen this camera on Cumberland Drive, (close to Cox)?

Placed by the Congress Springs neighborhood after months of neighborhood collaboration

You can see the details of this project at www.RishiKumar.com/pilot

There are 5 neighborhoods that have placed cameras at the entrance/egress points of the neighborhood.

At the 34th Taiwanese & Chinese American Athletic Tournament in Cupertino.

Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people standing and people on stage

Very impressive Margam performance by Abinay Senthil. Abinaya can not only win the top spot in a pitch fest designing and coding robots, she can also dance with so much grace and expressions. Super talent! Congratulations proud parents Anuradha Raja and Senthil Pandurangan

No automatic alt text available.

Redrawing boundaries of Neighborhood Watch Programs of Saratoga.

Image may contain: 4 people, including Rishi Kumar, people smiling, people on stage and people standing

Celebrating and honoring Guru Smt Vishal Ramani and Shri Krupa Dance Company celebrating the 250th Arangetram @ McAfee. Recognizing Guru smt Vishal Ramani's 250th Arangetram, 41 years of empowering the youth of Silicon Valley, infusing talent, joy and the art of expressions, dance and music. Wow!

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing, suit and indoor

Alekhya Vadlakonda’s Carnatic Vocal Arangetram @ Deanza.

Summer in Saratoga

Vacation Time