By Robert Haugh
Councilman Pat Kolstad served Santa Clara for 48 years. Last night, was his final meeting. Kolstad is moving to Washington state.
Kolstad was a police officer for 32 years and a councilman for 16. He joked that “being a cop was a lot more fun than being a councilman.”
Kolstad found himself in the minority on lots of votes in the last couple of years. That was mostly on issues where he fought for the 49ers. But even in defeat, he was always gracious. Kolstad continued to be gracious in his last meeting.
In his remarks, Kolstad said that Santa Clara is in great shape, especially financially. He thanked the city staff. Kolstad gave credit to City Manager Deanna Santana for righting the ship. He said she made staff changes to increase talent and productivity. “We have the best employees around,” he said. “There’s no comparison to the other cities.”
He also singled out Mayor Lisa Gillmor for praise. After former Mayor Jamie Matthews resigned suddenly in 2016, Kolstad said he approached Gillmor to lead the city. “You’d be a good mayor, Kolstad told Gillmor. “And I wasn’t disappointed,” he said.
Kolstad also praised his other colleagues. He even addressed the loud but small group of critics around town. “I’ve heard rumblings in the community though that things aren’t that good in City Hall,” Kolstad said. “Yes, they absolutely are.”
“I’ve heard and read that the council is in conflict, that the council is confrontational and fractured,” he said. But Kolstad said the council’s debates and disagreements are “a good thing.”
“I think as long as we do it civilly and politely, we have good results,” Kolstad said. “And I think this council does that.”
Last night, Kolstad received a table full of plaques and commendations from the council and other government leaders. His kudos were well deserved. We also applaud him for his stellar career and his lengthy service to the Mission City. Stay warm, Pat Kolstad. And come back and visit Santa Clara during the winters.
Reclaiming Our Downtown
The Council created a Downtown Precise Plan Community Task Force. Two Councilmembers who own property near downtown could not participate in the item. Gillmor left the room. Councilwoman Patty Mahan was absent from the entire meeting. She left the last council meeting early, too.
The Task Force will have these representatives:
- Santa Clara University Administration – Butch Coyle
- SCU Students – David Warne (Associated Student Government) and Soli Cayetano
- Old Quad Residents Association – Adam Thompson
- Reclaiming our Downtown – Dan Ondrasek
- Historical & Landmarks Commission – Ana Vargas-Smith
- Cultural Commission – Debra von Huene
- El Camino Advisory Committee – Matthew Reed
- Building Industry Association (BIA) Member – Architect Rob Mayer
City Finance Report
As Kolstad said, the City is in good shape. For Fiscal year 2017/18, the City increased revenues by $7.7 million and reduced expenses by $10 million. Reserves have been increased by 25 percent — from $223 million to $279 million. Wow. Santana summarized it in one sentence: “It is a fact that the City is spending less and saving more.” Kudos to City Staff and Council.
Gateway Crossings Development
The major development at Coleman and Brokaw will come back to the Council in February. Old Quad and Downtown residents want to improve the architecture and add more density to the project. Yup. They want more, not less density. It’s a great location for it. It’s not near existing neighborhoods. And it’s near Caltrain and a future BART station. Let’s hope they succeed.