Residents were upset when the Mountain View City Council voted to lease the first floor of the new downtown parking garage to Longs Drugs instead of Zanotto's family markets. Longs offered more rent money for the city and also a track record of financial stability that Zanotto's couldn't compete with. But people like their vanilla soy yogurt, and at one point went so far as to organize a "vigil" for the grocer.
But the city's argument looks even better after reading a profile on Zanotto's in Sunday's Mercury News, a typically positive piece which briefly mentions that the downtown San Jose store went out of business after the City of San Jose co-signed on a $1.65 million loan (no mention of how much of the debt San Jose had to cover).
Of course, this experience hasn't stopped San Jose from giving away money to lots of other private businesses, but at least somebody learned from its mistake.