Single Gal and Santa Cruz

Because it’s summer and heat waves make me insane, I have been spending a lot of time in our lost-in-the-60s sister town to the south, Santa Cruz.  The more time I spend in the little-beach-town-that-could, the more I realize what we’re missing in San Jose.

First of all, it’s almost like stepping into a time warp every time I drive over Highway 17.  Life is slower, yet you wouldn’t know it because of the insane traffic you encounter going across town or trying to go anywhere on Highway 1.  Yes, they have the beaches, the water and the ambiance that we cannot match, but take one look at their downtown shopping district and it begs the question: “Why can’t we have that in San Jose?”

I think the main reason for making Santana Row fake and locating it in the middle of nowhere was fear of the homeless.  Well, it seems that the homeless and eccentrics live just fine amongst the locals in Santa Cruz at Pacific Garden Mall.  It doesn’t stop patrons from eating there and spending their hard-earned money—and they do have other malls and restaurants to choose from.  Is our tolerance not as high because we are not as liberal as those in Santa Cruz?  Because you are more likely to see someone roll a joint on the sidewalk in Santa Cruz, does that mean they are more tolerant of so-called “undesirables” in their main shopping district?

With a town as laid back and lost in time as Santa Cruz, how can they have managed to make more progress on retail and creating a shopping district that is organic and real than San Jose—a city that is nearly twenty times as large, with more money and more power? The fact that they have accomplished so much more, even though things move along at a snail’s pace there, should make us embarrassed we have done so little as a city compared to Santa Cruz. Who or what can change that?



    Nice post.  The problem with this city is our council and mayor don’t care for independently owned businesses.  They consider Starbucks to be a small business!  They see small businesses as a parking and development fees cash cow; and will never do anything to help the little guys.

    And organized labor (aka our council) is right in there with them.  They would rather have big developers and large big box chains receive the city and RDA money so they can force union labor on the developers and big box chains.

    So small business main street america we will never be!  And that is sad.

  2. Why?  Because Santa Cruz has a defined identity that its citizenry is content with and allows it to flourish.

    San Jose still hasn’t decided on an identity.  How can anything flourish under those conditions?

    I was a store manager in the Pavilion Shops for a couple of years.  Here’s a perfect example of why Pacific Garden Mall thrives and the Pavilion died.  The RDA brought in a top-notch mall developer (Melvin Simon and Associates) to run and develop the Pavilion.  And then the RDA stuck its finger in the pie, dictating the types of businesses it wanted in the Pavilion, instead of finding businesses that would flourish under the conditions.

    The RDA failed to give the general public enough valid reasons to come to the Pavilion and spend money.  Reasoning that “it’s on the VTA Light Rail” and “you paid for it with your tax money” were not enough to make people come and shop.

    Worse yet, the RDA duplicated too many Valley Fair retailers.  Valley Fair had just come through it’s first major rebirth when the Pavilion opened.  It was still the hot place to shop.  I can’t count the times people walked through the Pavilion saying “this is nice, this is nice, this is nice…want to go to Valley Fair after work?”

    The RDA tried to force market factors to work, while failing to deliver on the promise of downtown retail.  Santa Cruz allows market forces to run their course unfettered by meddling from government.  That’s how they’ve achieved a rich and diverse retail environment, not a forced and sterile (and now dead) retail environment.

  3. Pink,

    You’ve hit the nail on the head.  Santa Cruz “encourages” street artists and performers.  San Jose want to hire them and inject them into the public view.  How contrived is that?  We’ll never have a downtown we can call our own if we keep forcing elements into it instead of letting them develop.

  4. In San Jose, street artists and performers would be escorted out of the building by mall security.

    Seriously, I wish there were a shopping area in San Jose with lots of people walking about that had public sidewalks in front of the shops like Pacific Garden Mall.  I hate the sterile mall atmosphere where the most controversial thing you might see is a Democrat/Republican register to vote table.

  5. San Jose doesn’t have any idea how to build a vital retail center utilizing what makes San Jose truly unique.  Single Gal asks “Who or what can change that?”  I say it starts with San Joseans respecting their heritage, then demanding that our city leaders get out of the “Big Box” mentality.  The only way this will work is if the council and staff are threatened with losing their jobs if they don’t change their ways.  Today’s front page article in the Valley section of the Merc., titled “Historic Building’s Reprieve Upheld”, is a prime example.  Just like the Jose Theater, Montgomery Hotel and Fox Markovitz lawsuits, the city has been spanked in the courts by the Preservation Action Council for not following the law.  These blunders have cost San Joseans historic resources and millions of dollars.  Not learning from previous mistakes, the City only looks for ways to get around the intent of the law, rather than looking for ways to take advantage of a part of San Jose’s heritage and make our retail shopping experience more special.  Two court rulings against the City and Lowes Hardware have failed to educate them on the importance of preserving the historic IBM Building #25 and incorporating it into the retail complex.  Rather than doing the right thing by changing direction and designing a truly special retail center,  the council, planning director and city attorney have hired a consultant to write a new EIR that can get around the law.

  6. Single Gal:

    As a current resident of Santa Cruz, I can tell you that downtown here is light years ahead than anything found “over the hill” in San Jo’.  Where else would one find a “Moon Zoom” vintage clothing store or similar in downtown San Jose? 

    One other advantage downtown Santa Cruz has: its METRO/Greyhound bus transfer is in downtown, only a block from the shopping.  Contrast this to downtown “over the hill” which does not have any central bus (or rail) transfer point near any decent shopping.

    However, there’s a dark side to paradise, as #4 illustrated.  Recently, here was a multiple shooting on the western end of town with no known witnesses coming forward.  In addition, tons of drug dealers and gangs tend to hang around San Lorenzo Park, where a teenager from Washington state was stabbed after refusing to buy drugs.  In fact, this has proven to be amongst many reasons why a growing number of people are going to 41st Avenue in Capitola or Scotts Valley for their shopping needs.  I highly recommend reading the Santa Cruz Sentinel ( and especially its letters to the editor and “cops and courts” section, to get a wider view on what is commonly percieved as “paradise.”

    Need evidence on how “progressive” the Santa Cruz City Council is?  Read the last letter to the editor in today’s Santa Cruz Sentinel:

    If San Jose must copy one thing from Santa Cruz, it’s that its citizens need to be more politically involved in local issues. The current apathy plaguing San Jo’ is, thankfully, absent down here.  The attitude of “one meeting and quit” also does not exist here.

    Overall, Santa Cruz is a bit better and more livelier than the complacency and apathy found “over the hill.”  It’s why I chose to live here.  But even paradise has its dark side every so often…

  7. So, what has changed in Santa Cruz government the last five years or so?

    After Loma Prieta, it took 10 years to agree on what to do with/about The Cooper House and Pacific Garden Mall.  There were just a lot of big holes in the ground.

    And the Beach Flats open air whorehouse and drug arcade is still not cleaned up.

  8. Bigbox,

    To an extent you’re right.  But the city’s failure to attract a “big box” downtown has also been its downfall.

    In this era of whiz-bang you’ve got to have a marquee attraction to legitimize the major shopping experience.  They’re called “anchor tenants”.  The Pavilion failed to to secure an anchor tenant.  The Pavilion itself was not a sufficient “draw” to bring shoppers with money to patronize the local businesses that were developing there.  It requires a balance to make it all work.

    I don’t begrudge the city’s focus on major marquee retail names.  I do blame the city for creating an environment where they were unable to woo any to do business here.

  9. And the sad thing is, after all the court rulings, delays, and expenses, the historic building may still be reduced to a pile of rubble. We never learn.

  10. It is ironic that the two past presidents of The Preservation Action Council, the organization credited in #8 and the Mercury News today for holding the city accountable for not following landuse laws, are the same two indaviduals that left San Jose’s planning commission in protest over Ron Gonzales’s attempt to create a rubber stamp process in 2000.  You may have noticed the person that the mayor and council appointed to take their place, and still serves as a commissioner,  last week was also featured in the Mercury News.  Only in this case he was featured for not following landuse laws.

  11. #8—

    Regarding the IBM Research Center—as part of the prefestival events for the ZeroOne Festival that is happening downtown, they held tours to the IBM Reserach Center. That’s right—people from all over the WORLD are in town for this festival, which is hyping San Jose as the North American capital of arts & technology. We all know that the “Capital of Silicon Valley” tag is absolute nonsense, but isn’t it ironic that the only San Jose-based facility that had anything to do with the rise of Silicon Valley is targeted for destruction?? To the idiots who run this town: People from all over the world are here, getting turned on to your historical landmarks—exactly the ones you want to get rid of. And you claim to be the capital of Silicon Valley??

  12. Why should anyone care about the history of “The Capitol of Silicon Valley”?  No one cares about the history of “The Valley of Heart’s Delight”.  I’m ashamed to say I lived in this city for 20 years (off and on) and didn’t set foot in History Park until last spring.  But from the looks of things I wasn’t alone.  On a bright spring Saturday, my family was the only family taking in the history of old San Jose.  And what a shame that is.  We’ve got to find a way to get people to care about our past (and all its different chapters) so we can protect our future.

  13. #11 RIP
    Big name stores don’t have to go into generic big boxes.  We need to require chain stores to be creative if they want to do business in San Jose.  They need to think outside the box when they design their buildings.  In this case they should incorperate the historic IBM building into their design. Lowes needs to do all they can to attract people to this location. The fact is, they will not create many new sources of revenue for the city nor will they fill a void in the community.  OSH is located just up the street.  They will only cut into a market shared by OSH, Home Depot, Southern Lumber and other long established smaller locally owned stores.  If our city leaders had any business sence or vision, they would tell Lowes to respect our valuable historic resource or do business in an other town.  As for Lowes, they need to read studies proving that retail businesses do better when located in historic buildings vs new construction.  Lowes, a company who claims to be proud sponsors of “Restore America” need to do some splainin here in S.J.

  14. Sorry, y’all, but pretty much everybody is interested in nothing but price.

    Ask Don Wolfe, who had a great value-added retail computer store in Los Gatos that was run out of business by the likes of Fry’s…all based on price.

    Everything about the Fry’s experience is irritating, right down to the radio commercials they do with the guy with the obnoxious voice talking a mile a minute.  Most folks I talk to can’t stand the whole experience at Fry’s, but they go back anyway due to low price.  They put up with the incompetent staff, and the feeling that every customer there is believed to be a thief that needs to be checked. Oh, and try returning something that was recommended by the idiot on the floor, and that never works on your system. You’re treated like a felon. But hey, they dominate the market.

    And Mr. Fry thumbed his nose at everyone, including the County of Santa Clara, when he built his 18 hole golf course, under the guise of a still non-existent mathematics institute, without pulling a single permit.

    In retail these days, Big Box Rules!  Mediocrity sells, because most people are sheep,and will go where everyone else goes if the price is right.  Quality is reserved for the discerning, whose numbers shrink daily.

    How else can you explain the continued survival of the Spaghetti Factory in San Pedro Square?  It is absolutely the worst “Italian” food imaginable.  And the service sucks, too. Yet, it is the longest lasting restaurant in San Pedro Square, perhaps in all of San Jose.  Why?  Because it’s cheap!  You can take your kids there and get a marginal meal at a great low price.

    Places like Ross & Kohl’s proliferate, selling mediocre goods at a low price.  Price is KING. Then there’s WalMart.  Cheap goods, manufactured abroad, sold for a cheap price; making it the world’s largest retailer.  Anybody getting the message here?

    And local government loves them, because they generate huge sales tax revenue.

    Want to get the kind of ambience and service, and quality you would prefer?  Stop patronizing the panderers of mediocrity.

  15. What downtown Santa Cruz has that we don’t is a code of conduct that is enforced by police that actually get out of their cars and walk around and talk to the “undesirables” as opposed to San Jose which waits until someone calls them before they are a presence.
    The “undesirables” know how far they can go before they cross the line because they’re told were the line is.
    Notice people walking around without FEAR or the stench of urine.  All of these people can cohabitate so long as the “thug factor” is preyed upon rather preying upon others.

  16. Question for all of the supporters of the IBM building in the way of the Lowes. Is this building architecturally significant or is it just an ugly 1950s-looking building where something historic happened? If the latter, perhaps the building might not be worth saving. In New York City, where there are actually still buildings worth saving [and which refuses to rebuild two famous ones that were destroyed by Islamo-fascists.] there is a landmark protection law passed with good intentions after Penn Station was torn down. Unfortunately, someone’s always trying to say some ho-hum building is worth saving just because some famous person once took a dump there.

    Just because there are many nice old buildings doesn’t mean every old building should be saved. Why is this one so special?

    And I’ll agree completely that Frys sucks. I’ve gone in there twice in the last decade, to look at computers and TV’s respectively. After being underwhelmed both times I bought from Micron and Costco, respectively. If you’re going to go big box, you might as well do Costco because they give out free food samples.

  17. 17 – You certainly captured the “flavor” of Fry’s. That is exactly why I do not shop there—regardless of price. Generally, I can find just what I need via catalog or online at the same or better price. I invite everyone who gripes about Fry’s to do the same. Join me in not shopping at Fry’s and any other place staffed by incompetents and that treats me like a criminal instead of a consumer. For those of you who keep going there, you get just what you deserve.
    As for the Spaghetti Factory, I haven’t been there in over 20 years for the same reasons you mention. If people stop going to these places they will either have to improve their food and service or they will go out of business. Apparently folks would prefer to pay a low price and be mistreated like they are at Fry’s rather than demand better treatment and service. Not me.

  18. << a city that is nearly twenty times as large, with more money and more power? >>

    SG…  You may have answered your own question. 

    If Santa Cruz had the size, money and power of San Jose all vying for control of the vision, policy, planning, permits, image, etc. it might not be the Santa Cruz you find so eclectic and charming. 

    Toss in the politics, special interests and egos we’ve got in this city and who knows what Santa Cruz would look like….  Santana Row?

  19. I don’t think it is the homeless that folks are concerned about that prevents something like Santa Cruz from happening in SJ.  I just don’t think we have the characters to decorate the streets like they do in Santa Cruz.  Several weeks ago I took my kids there and they were fascinated by that guy in pink…all pink including a pink parasol, walking and moving up one side of the street and down the other, slowly, so slowly it took more than an hour for him to do his circuit.  We’re just too normal on this side of the mountains to ever appreciate the street musicians and dressers in our back yard.  Somehow SC is different for most of us.

  20. JMO, great job on #17 there, you hit all the marks spot on.

    Somebody further up mentioned Loma Prieta.  I think it’s pretty amazing that the mall recovered the way it did after the huge losses that the ‘89 quake caused and considering the big anchor department store Ford’s never re-opened.

    Here in SJ, we had our downtown destroyed by bureaucrats over at 1st & Mission and they’ve been making damned sure it won’t recover ever since the stupidity of urban renewal back in the 60’s.

    Comparing Santa Cruz to SJ is apples and oranges.  I liken SJ to the orange in this case, like the rat-eaten ones that have fallen from my tree and in the morning you find them on the ground with a hole in them, and they’re all empty inside.

  21. SG, how far are you suggesting we take this SC envy?  Surely you are not suggesting that San Jose follow Santa Crazed’s lead like lemmings and give up our nuclear weapons?

    The day SJ is declared nuclear free is the day I hit the road. 

    Give me nukes or Give me Milpitas!!

  22. Builder Bob, I agree that people aren’t going out of their way to shop at Lowe’s.  I hit the Sunnyvale store after hearing how nice it was compared to HD.  Well hello, it’s a brand new store and it’s nice and clean and everybody is on their best behavior.  I’m sure it will get the lived-in look like all the HD’s in short order.  But I must admit they offer an alternative to HD and OSH with their selection of products neither of those two carry.  For me it’s worth the drive if I know I can’t find the same thing at HD or OSH.

    Otherwise, I’m fine heading the few blocks to Ace Los Gatos Hardware, which in nearly all respects is as complete a store as any OSH, is a breeze to park at and get in and out of, and often has lower prices on the same merchandise.  And you trip over the help there, unlike having to go on a search for somebody who will give you the time of day as is the case at HD and sometimes even at OSH. 

    I once had a an extra key made for my car at Ace LG.  It worked in the door lock but not in the ignition.  I went back inside, a friendly and more managerial type guy ran the key through again and then stated that we should walk out to the car together and see if the key worked in the ignition.  It did, and I thanked him and drove off.  Try getting that kind of service even at OSH and you’ll come up short.  So unless it’s some real heavy duty stuff I need to buy in large quantities, Ace IS the place for me.

  23. # 9 San Jose has its on “Moon Zoom” on San Carlos Street – its a chain!

    JohnMichael O’Connor – So Santa Cruz has a gang problem. Think that we don’t? We just don’t admit it.

    The freaks in Santa Cruz are a little too freaky for my taste but you can’t argue with how nice Santa Cruz’s downtown has become. It is shocking and saddening for us. Shows how out of touch our city govt is. At least we are getting a Trader Joes – that is progress!

  24. Permit me to be blunt, but why in the everloving hell do people hereabouts keep trying to cram San Jose into some kind of image that it’s not?

    The reason Santana Row was placed where it was is that it was an appropriately-sized relatively flat parcel of land (former locations of Courtesy Chevrolet and T&C Village) that was already plumbed, already electrified, immediately adjacent to two freeways, and good to go for construction.  No parcel of land in Downtown came close to those attributes.  “Fear of bums” had exactly zero to do with the siting of the Row.

    Why is it that people keep advocating turning San Jose into some clone of SF or SCR or any other “big” city instead of appreciating San Jose for the many attributes it already has?

  25. #21 Lowes’ HAC
    Nice try, but get a clue. I can just see it now, a home owner is fixing a leaky sink in Almaden and he tells his wife “I’ll be back in two hours, I’m driving to Milpitas to save ten cents on a washer at Lowes.”  I have been a builder for the past thirty years in San Jose and I never once have heard one of my subs ever say they were going to Lowes to get materials.
    With the cost of gas and time, why would anyone ever drive past a Home Depot or OSH to go to a Lowes?  You speak as though Lowes is creating a whole new market, when in reality they will be only fighting for a piece of the already existing pie.  You say the corperate types have done hundreds of studies and know just what works.  Are these the same high priced execs and attorneys that got there butts kicked twice in court by a local yocal preservation group, that gets its funds from holding neighborhood garage sales?  After two years of delays, I suggest that Lowes get a new game plan.  They got off on the wrong foot with San Joseans.  Now they need to show some respect to San Jose’s unique heritage by sitting down and talking with the preservationists.  If you think that tens of millions of hardware dollars are going to Milpitas and East Palo Alto, then you must also believe that Lowes is losing hunreds of millions to Home Depot, OSH, and Southern by not having this store up and running.  We will soon be getting some new councilmembers and mayor.  Lowes better work fast.  Time is money!

  26. #18 Hugh
    I think that IBM #25 is architecturally significant, historically significant and is a very important building that merits being saved.  But then that is my subjective opinion.  On the other hand, the city which has a very rigid rating system, also sees it the same way along with two judges.  Points are given based on a variety of criterion. Style, designer,event and previous owners, just to name a few.  In no case is a building given points just because it is old.  A building has to be at least 50 years old however before can even be rated. A building needs to meet other criterion before it can qualify as a State or National Landmark.  In the case of IBM building#25 it is a no brainer.  It has qualified as a City,State and National Register Landmark, making it one of San Jose’s most important landmarks.  But then again we are dealing with San Jose’s City Council and Mayor.  Need I say more.  If you would like to learn more about historic preservation in San Jose, go to the City’s web site or PAC SJ’s at preservation . org.  If we work together we can make San Jose a very special place.

  27. #28:  I mentioned drug dealers and hookers, not a gang problem.  Gangs may be involved in the drug sales on beach Flats, but I don’t know that to be true.

    On several occasions Jim (I think that’s his first name) Canfield (owner of Beach Boardwalk) offered a redevelopment plan to the People’s Republic of Santa Cruz to revitalize the entire Beach Flats.  he was going to pay for a re-routing of roads and a brand new additional bridge across the San Lorenzo River.  He’s been turned down every time, all in the name of saving the delapidated rental housing mostly inhabited by mostly illegal immigrants who live there because it’s the only place they can afford.

    But the city fathers and mothers have no problem, it sems, with the crime that affects those residents as well as visitors to the area in the evenings.

    Santa Cruz has its good points; but the locals resent we flatlanders from the valley anyway.  It’s a different vibe from here, and that’s a good thing.  I enjoy a visit, especially a meal at Oswald; but mostly it’s a time warp place where the ‘60’s aren’t quite dead yet.

  28. Thank you, a post that hits home. If I am lucky enough to live back in “The ‘Jo,” I’ll be sure to tell my kids about driving over 17 in a snowstorm to get to class at UCSC – then they’ll know how lucky they have it!

  29. Builder Bob & Mark T

    The retail studies I noted are available from the trade group website link I included.  Lowe’s is differentiating itself from Home Depot by trying to be more appealing to female consumers and less experience DIY’ers with a cleaner more well-lit retail look than the warehouse type stores of HD, OSH, or Southern Lumber.  Their stores have a little more staff and their customer service is also better than HD but not quite as knowledgeable as OSH. 

    I would recommend you check with the City of Gilroy before you make your uninformed observations about no one shopping there because they’ve generated quite a bit of business and revenue.  Additionally, as I noted Lowes conductes internal surveys of their customers ZIP Codes as they leave the cash registers.  The economic facts about their viability and regional drawing power are real.  Bottom line they wouldn’t be locating here if they could not make money from the demographics of this market.

    As far as East Palo Alto, the store I was referencing as taking sales dollars from San Jose is IKEA—I guess you’ve heard of them before?  Their drawing power goes past Monterey and Salinas.  In 2002, SJ had its chance to get IKEA to build that store in North San Jose but couldn’t make the deal work. 

    As far as losers to the PAC-SJ get your facts straight.  Lowe’s is not responsible for the Environmental Impact Report preparation or the historic analysis it contained because they don’t have any authority to mess with the City’s CEQA doc’s.  That is the reponsibility of the SJ Planning Department staff. The City failed to identify the building as a resource until late in the process and only be-grudgingly did the historic analysis after the SJ Historic Commission got involved.  This information was relayed to me from one of the Commissioners.

    What really screwed the City is that, one of SJ’s own city planners developed a site layout design that demonstrated that both the Lowe’s prototype store and the historic building could fit on the same site with enough parking—thus rendering demolition of #25 unnessary.  Unfortunately, I believe the folks in Economic Development/RDA/and Gonzo’s office were somehow involved in pushing thru the flawed analysis by the Planning Department. 

    What’s really ironic is that Sunnyvale got major design concessions from Lowes because their exec’s had already made arrangements for its contractors to build a store in the South Bay and they really wanted to be in this market.

  30. #16 Builder Bob – Lowe’s proposal on the Hitachi (former IBM site).

    Retailers are a very fickle bunch and are very risk averse when it comes to opening new stores.  They have done hundreds of studies and know what works to make their businesses viable.  Visiting the preminent retailer website below.

    Their major requirements to locate a store are:
    1) What is the volume of potential customers? (i.e. what type of trafffic volume or foot traffic can they expect near the site)
    2) Can the existing and potential neighborhood demographics within a store’s market area support retail ? (i.e. how many roofs are nearby and do the residents have enough disposable income to buy)
    3) Can they use their “proto-type” model store that has a design layout with a proven track record ?

    The Hitachi parcel 25 site (Lowe’s) has sufficient traffic volume being near Blossom Hill Rd, Highway 85, Highway 101, Cottle Rd, and Moterrey Rd.  It’s proximity and easy access for the higher income neighborhoods of Blossom Valley, Almaden, Willow Glen, Silver Creek, Evergreen, and West Valley will ensure enough affluent customers with large amounts of disposable income will frequent the store.  Additionally, the SJ City Council recently approved rezoning over 300 acres of the Hitachi site to accommodate as many as 3,000 new housing units and an additional 450,000 sq. ft. of commercial space adjacent to the Lowe’s parcel.
    See link:

    Lowe’s is a store that draws regional customers.  Before the Sunnyvale Lowe’s was built, the Gilroy Lowe’s was drawing people from as far away as San Mateo.  Sunnyvale only got their Lowe’s store because SJ couldn’t deliver the necessary approvals and the retail had already signed up it Bay Area contractors.

    Right now SJ is losing tens of millions of sales and its associated share of sales tax dollars to other cities because it has been slow in approving new commercial developments to serve its own resident base.  The City has done retail “leakage” studies which show the tremendous amounts of revenue that is continually being lost to Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Gilroy and even little East Palo Alto.

    Also I just wanted to make a factual correction about the Don Wolfe computer retailer reference since I saw what happened first hand.  Los Gatos Councilmembers with their myopia would not allow Frye’s to locate in the same “Town” in an attempt to protect Don’s business.  In response, John Frye located his store on Hamilton Ave three exits down Highway 17 in adjacent Campbell.  Campbell got the sales tax revenue to fund its local resident services while most of the Town residents were oblivious and drove the extra two-miles.  Los Gatan’s didn’t care where they bought their computer and electronic equipment as long as the merchandise was current and the price was competitive.

    Lessons to be learned: 
    1) local cities cannot change larger consumer buying shifts/behavior patterns or stop the trends occuring in a particular industry with broader market forces at work.

    2) rather than spitting in the wind and trying to prevent inevitable change, cities have to be smart and nimble enough to positively manage its effects or risk losing out.


  32. So what’s the difference between the homeless and the boarded up store fronts in downtown SJ and the ones in SC?

    I wish you would stop bashing Santana Row and Valley Fair.  You must remember that every time that guy in the red Lamborghini pulls up in front of Hotel Valencia and orders overpriced cocktails and sushi, he is generating tax revenues.  These are tax revenues that will go into policing our streets, filling in the pot holes, fixing swimming pools, and all the stuff in the endless whinelist this blog accumulates everyday.  There’s nothing fake in that.

  33. #33
    Once again you have your facts wrong.  Are you payed by Lowes to spin for them?  You state “the Historic SJ Commission be- grudgingly got involved”  Will you please explain to me how they were be-grudgingly forced to get involved, and by whom.  Please also state what the vote was by the commission, when advocating for the preservation of the IBM Building #25, that qualifies as a city,state and national landmark.  Was there much decent among the commissioners?  Were you at the Council meeting when Lowes said that it was impossible to change their design?  They also testified that no other Lowes store had ever varied from their plan.  This was not the truth.  Now you say they changed their plans for Sunnyvale. This is not good for Lowes’ credibilty. They should have tried to be a good neighbor.  Were you there when the last judge (ruling on Lowes appeal) reemed Lowes a new*** hole?  He was highly critical about Lowes’ inflexibilty to work with the citizens of San Jose.  So far Lowes has looked like a selfish big bully, that has had their hat handed to them by a group of little old San Jose loving senior citizens.  The judge asked Lowes execs, “what do you want us to do, put a freeway through the middle of your store to make it easier for your shoppers?  I suggest you stop trying to blame the mayor, the courts, a planner, the landmarks commission, and PAC for Lowes failures.  The only one so far that has suffered is Lowes. Their refusal to work with the people of San Jose has cost their stockholders money.  Even if Lowes finds a way to get around the law and destroys our landmark, they along with the cummunity will end up the losers.  The smartest thing Lowes should do, is become a flexible, respectful member of our community and do all they can to preserve our heritage.
    The clock is ticking and time is money, rumor has it that this issue may be getting some national attention.  I’m off to Southern Lumber and OSH to get material for my crew.
    By the way, did you know they were both founded in San Jose?

  34. I know ZIP about this building; but from what I read regarding when it was built and what happened there, I find it difficult to believe that it has any architectural significance.

    So, is the movement to save it based upon what happened in it?  If so, why can’t it be moved elsewhere?  Does it’s particular spot on the land have any great significance?

    And back to my constant mantra—if there are people who think it has significance, why don’t THEY just buy it?