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Milestones – Taxpayers Will Bail Out the Mayor! – Opinion

You may recall the runaway railroad of the Gillmor council just a few years ago. Down was up, up was down and money was never a consideration (as long as it was City funds).

The decisions being made defied gravity, common sense or economic sanity. Now the City is paying the bill for these questionable former council actions.

Years before the stadium and the explosive growth on Santa Clara’s Northside, David Ebrahimi opened his landmark restaurant, simply known as David’s. It was here he hosted receptions, parties, public gatherings and private meetings, serving thousands of locals and visitors.


Ebrahimi spent years building his brand and reputation way out in North Santa Clara. The only nearby attractions were Santa Clara Golf Course and Great America.

Then Measure J was presented to Santa Clara and the York family visited dozens of neighborhoods in the City, answering questions and promoting a new stadium.

Voters approved the stadium on a 60/40 vote and a new era began.

With the stadium’s approval and construction beginning, David’s became an even more prominent and desirable meeting place.

Meanwhile, trouble was bubbling up on the golf course. A deal had been struck between Santa Clara and the Related Companies to lease the entire golf course and the course was eventually closed. The deal included the ground on which David’s restaurant sat.

Santa Clara Council asked David to move his facility to make way for the new Related development. After searching for more than a year, neither David nor the City could find a replacement location.

Exasperated, Gillmor’s council offered David $5,000 for his multi-million-dollar restaurant. He refused the offer. (Imagine that!)

Then the unexpected. Never had Santa Clara ever used the government prerogative of an eminent domain action to seize public property to benefit private development, until that moment. The City has filed many eminent domain actions but these typically are for utility easements.

They ousted David, offered him $5,000 and took his restaurant property. This was in 2016 and nothing has happened to his property since that day.

It is not a surprise to know that David has sued Santa Clara and will most likely be awarded millions which this City Council will have to pay. The case is scheduled to go to trial in May.

You can thank Mayor Lisa Gillmor for this fumbled financial failure.

David’s paid the City millions for its lease over the three-plus decades it was in business, in addition to the sales tax revenue it generated.

It is also interesting to note that Related Companies has moved a few tons of dirt on this 220-acre piece of ground. What have they paid?

To Lisa Gillmor’s reelection campaign? $250,000.

To the City of Santa Clara? Zip.


1 Comment
  1. GoodShipSantaClara 1 year ago

    This is a scandal and lack of neighborliness! Given that there’s been no development and apparently unlikely to be any for at least many more years, he should have been permitted to stay. Assuming this is the full story re the restaurant owner.

    And indeed, where is the Related Companies’ option renewal payment at the very least? Since the golf course is city land, why isn’t the city developing it in parcels with local developers capable of generating something of architectural interest and diversified risk? The city could be charging ground rents and getting tax money and making it easier to build affordable housing as part of a mixed use development.

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