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I will Champion the Coast's Causes

  • I will find solutions for the coastal challenges of climate and coastal protection, failing electricity grid, erosion, sea-level rise, fire safety, fire insurance, a robust transportation system that includes fortification and an upgrade of Highway 92 with federal investment, and durable broadband.
  • I will push to municipalize PG&E. They have failed us with recurring power failures and cannot be trusted to invest into any infrastructure upgrade that the coast desperately needs. Likewise, I will push our telecom companies to invest and stabilize our broadband and cellular service.
  • I am appalled at the under-performing schools on the coast; I will push to enhance learning and improve standards to ensure the success of every child from our district.
  • Sign the petition to keep our landlines here. Landline is Lifelines for the coast given our recurring power and internet outages. Also, make sure to sign the petition to municipalize PG&E here

As a passionate environmentalist who loves visiting California’s beaches with my family, I’ll stop the ill-conceived high-density housing push directed at our coastal cities and beaches that have steamrolled development projects like the San Pedro Mountain and Pedro Point Field projects into your peaceful little town.

The Coastside is overdue for at least $100M of utility upgrades. PG&E made billions while you sat in the dark. We need to move utility infrastructure at least 50 feet away from the ocean, just like we did the pumping stations on Linda Mar Beach. But we know that PG&E is not going to invest into this. PG&E can’t be trusted to make the necessary infrastructure repairs necessary for a safe and stable system, so it’s time we turned PG&E into a public utility. I’ve seen elected leaders take thousands and thousands of dollars from PG&E and I know I will NEVER accept their money and that I will challenge them. Sign the petition at RishiKumar.com/PGE.

The energy, internet and phone that powers our homes, schools, and businesses are a vital part of the economy, and we need to ensure that we the people get precedence over PG&E’s profit. When the coast floods and we don't have electricity or cell service, it endangers a lot of seniors, and it makes telecommuting solutions impractical. Having the Coast shut down every December or January isn’t acceptable.

Our beaches, parks and coastlines must be protected and a smarter approach to preserving our coastal resources for our children is essential. Additionally, I will stop any oil drilling off the San Mateo County coast. I support the dark sky initiative that will reduce light pollution and decrease energy consumption.

I will push for no development projects at the Half Moon Bay airport - we need it available for senior emergency services. I will push for an immediate report and remediation regarding leaded fuel levels of the HMB Airport surrounding area.

I will dedicate myself to raising the standard of public schools on the coast - to improve both test results and opportunities. The pandemic has greatly impacted learning. I will work to ensure the success of every child from our coastal district.

I will move to curtail crime on the Coast- especially by bad actors who use Hwy 1 for the purpose. I have a track record for crime reduction, dropping burglaries in my city by 50%, a historic reduction that was bigger than any other San Mateo or Santa Clara County city that year.

As a Saratoga councilmember, we preserved 65 acres of open spaces and protected wildlife on an abandoned quarry with the opening of the new Quarry Park (picture below), with beautiful recreational trails meeting the Pacific Ocean, I also stopped a 300-room hotel mega development project on a hillside in a high fire hazard zone, that would have severely disrupted our wildlife, trees, and neighborhoods.

As your Congressional Representative, I’ll always fight for coastal communities. I’ve met thousands of our coastal community neighbors and I will always champion your causes. I will be honored to have your vote on March 5th, 2024.

Help me fight for you and the coast - make your contribution here

Project Protect Paradise

Pacifica's Rockaway Quarry Project

Five years ago Pacifica’s Quarry development failed by a 68% vote.

But, the Pacifica city council is considering a reclamation plan for the Pacifica Quarry - a total of 86.2 acres - submitted by Bayland Soil Pacifica LLC. Public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) closed on April 4th and may precede a housing development application. An approved quarry reclamation plan will allow the former quarry to be reclaimed as required by Title 9, Chapter 2 of the Pacifica Municipal Code.

Documents created by National Park Service and Caltrans have revealed the Rockaway Quarry may have been the site of a Native American village. See the explanation here.

Meeting with the coastal communities

What I learned at these meetings were that fire & emergency preparedness, as well as emergency communication, are two hot topics. I heard that insurance companies have canceled many homeowners' fire insurances in the area, given what happened at Paradise. That is a huge problem! In order to ensure that those who need Fire Insurance the most are protected, we must adopt a model similar to that of the CEA for Fire Insurance. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection ought to provide fire-insurance directly to consumers. This way, we maximize coverage and provide certainty to California families. The California FAIR Plan will insure any property, though many property owners prefer a private market alternative due to coverage options and cost support. I support ASSEMBLY BILL 2167 and SENATE BILL 292. Assembly Bill (AB) 2167 would make it easier for insurers to write more insurance policies, but both AB 2167 and SB 292 have died on the floor. We need to push these bills to be signed into law and expand on what we achieve. As your congressman, I will push for a State of California Fire Insurance, just like the earthquake plan our state offers today. We also need to establish an emergency communication plan to bring in urgent help during landslides, earthquakes, fire etc. Our neighbors just cannot be left in the lurch.

PG&E Power Shutoffs

Public safety power shutoffs have become a PR nightmare for PG&E while creating a huge question mark and concerns for residents. The blackouts have impacted lives adversely while the economic impact is staggering! Our citizens are also asking ‘What gusty wind?’ Is this an example of a monopoly and crony capitalism? We grant PG&E a monopoly status at the cost of being governed by the people. I believe they can be governed better!

I am concerned with the investor-owned utilities' profit mandates, their continued under-investment in their electric grid, and their reliance on old fossil fuel plants. The answer is to go with the public utility model and municipalization. It is time for a massive public takeover so that we can prioritize citizen benefit over profit.

As the current councilmember of Saratoga, California, I have proposed the municipalization of San Jose Water Company, which supplies water to a million Silicon Valley residents covering the cities of San Jose, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno, and Campbell. I have been pushing back on the numerous rate increase proposals of San Jose Water Company since January 2017 and we have already rejected, reduced, and suspended a total of 9 water rate increases.

PG&E’s failure to maintain their power lines, which contributes to the wildfires seen across the state, resulting in the power company’s decision to institute the blackouts. PG&E’s infrastructure has been deteriorating. The San Bruno explosion should have been a wake up call. The Paradise fire was a disaster. What is PG&E’s plan? Shifting the costs from utilities to communities in highly inequitable ways is not acceptable. They should develop a good maintenance plan by deploying some of the latest IOT monitoring systems in place. News reports of PG&E choosing to divert money from infrastructure initiatives to boost corporate profits and to pay executives even more is concerning to many. Sacramento quietly recertified PG&E as a "safe" company - despite officials making the utility company responsible for the wildfires. Even more egregious, California spent $9.6 million on private attorneys who wrote a law protecting PG&E’s profits. State records reveal the law firm had represented PG&E for years. As your congressman, I will always put the people first, protect you and ensure that our system works for you.

A comprehensive policy that encompasses improved living conditions, fair wages, workplace safety, worker education, healthcare and legal support

Rishi Kumar was at the “One Year Remembrance Anniversary” to commemorate the victims of the January 2023 Half Moon Bay shooting incident. “This was a tragedy that shook our community. And a tragedy that should NEVER occur again in our community. We have to continue addressing the challenges faced by farmworkers in Half Moon Bay and the county with a comprehensive policy that encompasses oversight, improved living conditions, fair wages, workplace safety, education, healthcare, and legal support.”

Safe and Affordable Housing: Accelerate and expand the development of safe, affordable housing for farmworkers and their families. This includes solicitation and the efficient utilization of public and private grant funding for the construction of new housing. The design should focus on sustainable and comfortable living spaces, ensuring access to basic amenities like insulation and clean running water.

Fair Wages: Implement strict enforcement of minimum wage laws, with regular audits of farm operations. Wages for farmworkers should be reviewed and adjusted to reflect the cost of living and labor intensity, and to end any form of exploitation.

Workplace Safety and Health Regulations: Strengthen the frequency and breadth of enforcement of workplace safety standards in collaboration with CAL/OSHA. The newly established San Mateo County’s Office of Labor Standard Enforcement should help. The high number of violations indicates a need for more rigorous monitoring, regular reporting to county supervisors and compliance with safety regulations. This includes regular inspections, worker safety training programs in English, Spanish, Mandarin, and Cantonese, and strict penalties for violations. Availability of on-site mobile medical clinics and psychological counseling for workers should also be provided.

Legal Framework for Farmworker Immigration: Advocate for a robust legal framework at the federal level to address the specific needs of farmworker immigration. This includes pathways for legal employment and protection from exploitation and abuse. Availability of on-site mobile legal clinics for workers with basic legal issues will also help these workers to thrive in their new community.

County Task Force and Compliance: Continue funding the county’s task force initiative, which ensures that farms are in compliance with local and state housing regulations. This task force should also focus on broader issues such as labor rights and worker welfare.

Community Engagement and Support: Launch community programs to support the integration of farmworkers into the local community, offering access to healthcare, education, and legal assistance. There should be tutoring services in Spanish and Mandarin for students and English language training for both adults and children. These programs should aim to bring farmworkers out of the shadows and into the community as respected and valued members.

Agricultural Industry Support: While ensuring the rights and welfare of farmworkers, we must continue to support the growth of San Mateo County’s $100 million agricultural sector. This includes providing financial incentives for farms that demonstrate exemplary compliance with labor and safety standards. To ensure a thriving farming industry, we have to understand the challenges imposed by fruits and vegetables import.

Oversight, Public Awareness, and Advocacy: Launch public awareness campaigns to highlight the contributions of farmworkers to the local economy. Advocate for policy changes at higher government levels to support farmworker welfare and closely track the impact of these policies.”

Through these measures, Rishi seeks to create a sustainable and ethical agricultural economy in Half Moon Bay that respects and supports its workforce, while contributing to the overall health and prosperity of San Mateo County.”

Other Priorities