Pat Kolstad Retires Gracefully

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 CommissionAna Vargas-Smith
  • Cultural CommissionDebra von Huene
  • El Camino Advisory CommitteeMatthew 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.



  1. I agree Anthony, thank you with your comments. And a huge thank you to Mayor Gillmor this week, thank you!

    I was at the November Planning Commission with public comments. And I emailed the Council this week with the same comments, and attended the Council meeting. The City needs to create a plan for the south side of the city –our city infrastructure now before we begin to build. It has been over 50 years since this has been done. This is more than just our new downtown. This is:

    Roads, traffic, parking, example, how to get to Kaiser from Coleman? We should focus on this total area now first and carefully see how each area can better communicate with the other. We failed to do this on the west side of town ECR and Lawrence. I am suffering with the traffic and parking.

    This is ideal timing now with our balanced budget announcement from the City Manager.

    Task Force — yes this is terrific news. And I do not want to be a nay-sayer in this because we worked hard to get this. We are beginning the process for a Downtown, yet again. Looking at both sides this is what happened in the failed downtown’s. We still selected the Quad-centered – more members, 6, three from the Quad, three from SCU. And the same faces that are continued volunteers with the city (ECR).

    How do we recruit other citizens in Santa Clara from other parts of our districts? Do other residents outside the Quad know about the downtown coming? Does northside know about the downtown plan?

    Congratulations to Raj and Karen on their Council seats. I look forward to Raj and Karen insights too. Thank you (in advance) with this.

    Please note my disclosure: Yes, I am grateful that my name was provided and mentioned to be a part of this and not chosen. I am not angry because I know my opportunity is coming to support with a different focus. I am citing research and data.

    Let’s get solutions for the city infrastructure and improvements now on the south side.

  2. I have to say I was very impressed with Mayor Gillmor last night, we may have many disagreements but I am very happy that she and council stopped the Gateway Crossings Project. There was a lot of concerns I had on planning commission for the project. As a commission we voted on it with recommendations and it passed unanimously, yet afterwards is when I began to realize how inconsistent the project was… I was stewing on it and upon my further research I was alarmed and worried council would not listen to recommendations or we will get a poorly made project passed. For about two weeks I wanted to have it reconsidered, I had major dental work or I would have been there last night. I am glad Adam Thompson, Rob Meyer, and more spoke on it. So glad, more time for this project to be a gem.
    That whole corridor from central expressway/ De la cruz to Coleman and gateway crossings is perfect for the high density rather than the el Camino, close to transit too.
    I also hope council considers an underpass to connect the two cities by putting brokaw/Benton through. I have some renderings I would love Mayor and council to see because this is a gateway to our city and connect our city. Mayor Gillmor said it last night that I said during the planning commission, no one knows this is part of Santa Clara… well this is our chance to shine and make something wonderful.
    Plus we need more traffic studies because it’s a disaster on Coleman Ave between 2pm-8pm
    Kudos to council for standing up and turning this down after I felt bad for my approval to move forward, I was wrong.

    Lastly, thank you for your service Pat Kolstad I wish you the best on your endeavors.

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