Kam Razavi The clock strikes eleven PM and the Loft Bar and Bistro owner Kam Razavi’s night has just begun. In the heart of Downtown San Jose, people begin to lineup down the street hoping they will get into the club without any hassle. Kam Razavi greets people at the door and decides who will be let in, to make sure the restaurant/ nightclub lives up to its exceptional standards. If you walk by the Loft after six on most days of the week you will see Kam, communicating with the customers, he is always laughing and greeting people. I’ve known Kam since I was a little kid, and he has always given me the warmest welcome. After greeting me he then offers if I want anything, and he isn’t only like this around me. I’ve seen him obtain very close relationships with his customers over the years at The Loft Bar and Bistro, or at his other restaurant named Capers. He’s a great peoples person and this is what makes him successful in what he does.
Located in what used to be called one of safest cities in the US, Downtown San Jose has taken a turn for the worse. With the crime rate drastically raising it makes me wonder, will this city get any better or continue on its downward spiral, and is there anything we can do? These are questions Kam Razavi knows all the answers to, he has seen it all, and continually communicates with the local police. Kam has to deal with the crime in San Jose day to day because of this nightclub he owns. His job has become more vigorous because of the troublemaking crowd that has recently been attracted to the downtown. Kams answers in my interview with him were very precise and he knew all the facts that weren’t as broadly publicized. He doesn’t feel like the future is bright for Downtown San Jose unless actions are put in place fast. These actions that he believes should be put in place are expressed in the passage to continue.
On January 18, 2009 Kam witnessed the unbelievable. I didn’t feel obligated to ask Kam about this life changing incident so my dad, Dave McLoughlin who is part owners with Kam in the Loft explained the trauma he had to go through. On this Sunday night at 1am in the morning when Kam was monitoring the club outside, he saw two guys arguing. Dave said, “there were a bunch of people yelling and fighting outside the restaurant, and Kam attempted to break it up but the people kept fighting.” Kam called the police who quickly came to the situation to break it up, but when the cops told the man to put his hands up and not move he reached for his pocket.
A policemans quick instinct came into play, while the man was doing this, so the cop whipped out his gun and fired a shot right to the mans head. Kam was standing at the front of the Loft Bar and Bistro when this took place, and saw everything happen. Right after the man was shot his wife started screaming so the police tased her to calm her down. Dave said, “seeing a man get shot in the head right in front of Kam really put a toll on to him.” Kam later had to go to multiple court cases, and live with that severe image of a man being shot in the head. This is not something you would typically see going on outside this club at night, but it shows how petrifying the downtown can be.
but it shows how petrifying the downtown can be. Kam respects the police a lot because they’ve looked out for him in times like these, so he isn’t against them in any way. In 2008 Forbes magazine listed Downtown San Jose as the seventh safest city in the U.S. When I asked Kam why this changed he responded saying, “its because of the cutback on the police department, they’ve gone from almost 1400-1500 officers to 1050, and a city of this size population should have a minimum of 1700 officers” This was shocking San Jose has 6050 less officers then the minimum required. Surprisingly Kam doesn’t think Downtown San Jose is as bad as people think it is,
he just believes it has a bad reputation. “I think the media gives the downtown a bad image. They only report the bad stuff they never report a good night, or a.. lets say ok last weekend we had Frank Corlindo whos a pretty good comedian. We had a great comedian last week also, but its never talked about in the media, instead its about a stabbing or shooting.” Kam knows that the downtown isn’t a safe place, but he feels as if the only information you hear coming from San Jose is negative stuff. Yes, I do believe this could be true, maybe the portrayal of the downtown the media makes isn’t as bad as they say. Is the hype over the downtown being a “bad place” smaller than they make it out to be? Kam mentioned two great comedians that performed at the Improv and they weren’t publicized at all.
The media does have a huge effect on the downtown, and I bet it affects the type of people going downtown late at night. San Jose was once a great family orientated area, from Christmas in the Park, to ice skating, to venuing the Grand Prix, its a shame to think that these privileges could go away. Kam said, “Christmas in the park is a great event to bring nicer people to the downtown with their kids.” This event attracts
many people to the downtown annually, and it undoubtedly impacts the Lofts business. Due to the raising crime rate and very little money in the police they are thinking about canceling the traditional Christmas in the Park. A local news source said they might get rid of this event due to a lot of thuggish behavior from last year and the cost of police overtime to pay for it is high. Its a shame to see a great experience like this go away
because of the little amount of money going towards the police department. Kam said,“this all changed because of the shortage of money. Their trying to cut back 5-10% of their pay. Their trying to take away some of the cops retirement money also a cop that has been working almost thirty years and has accumulated almost 100,000 dollars and is ready to retire. Now their saying thats not going to happen instead their not going to get all that money so the cops are very mad. There were bad deals made 20-30 years ago with the police. Unions are good but they killed this country.
Too much union protect has been very bad. Its a very good idea but it has been abused.” As Kam mentioned many unions were made with the police department, and he thinks these unions are what hurt San Jose, and the rest of America. When talking to Him about this I could see how helpless he felt towards the Police Department. He recognizes how much they protect him and his business, and has a great relationship with a few of the cops. am specifically told me not to be against the police when writing this essay, he said there’s very little they can do with the amount of officers they have to
work with. The San Jose Police Department used to be one of the most respected police departments in the U.S. they were very strict and were paid a lot. Kam said, “this used to be one of the toughest police departments to get a job in. To get a job with the San Jose PD was very impressive, and it was very good pay. Now a days their trying to get jobs in other cities. This all changed because of the shortage of money. Their trying to cut back 5-10% of their pay.” The cops obviously aren’t happy about this, and its making an impact on the quality of their work.