David Vossbrink Retires after 40-Plus Years as Public Spokesman

David Vossbrink, the city of San Jose’s longtime airport and City Hall communications director, ended his four-decade career as public spokesman last week, celebrating the occasion at a mock press conference complete with a microphone-festooned podium and a newsreel-style farewell video from co-workers. Friends and colleagues described the 65-year-old Vossbrink as smart, fair and calm in the face of crisis, an assessment local reporters—always a surly bunch—would actually agree with. Nanci Klein, the city’s assistant director of economic development, called Vossbrink “serenity walking” and thanked him for teaching her to “answer the question you want to speak to, not the question you were asked.” (Can’t wait for that next discussion.) Former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, who hired Vossbrink from a PR post at the city of Sunnyvale, reminisced about their “interesting times” together, from scandal to milestones. The ex-mayor also noted that Vossbrink often talked him into calling journalists even when he didn’t want to. “David was that blue angel on my shoulder,” he said. Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone said Vossbrink’s honesty makes him an anachronism in “an age of alternative facts,” and lauded him as “one of the most thoughtful and gifted writers” in the communications game. Vossbrink said he lived by four principles throughout his career: tell the truth, represent what you respect, always return phone calls and never become the story. His wife, Audrey Wong, affirmed this ethos to scores of people gathered for the June 29 send-off party at Mosaic. “The David that you know is the David that I know,” she said. Her husband’s wisdom, she added, reflects “the Vossbrink family values” of reading, asking questions and looking things up. As the legion of PR and press flacks grows, while the ranks of dogged reporters and journalists continues to shrink, Vossbrink’s professionalism will be missed. As noted by San Jose’s Mayor Sam Liccardo, “Congratulations, you made it to your retirement without getting flustered.”

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7 Comments

  1. ” Answer the question you want to speak to rather than the question you were asked”, That’s like a fake reply to the fake news. Just what we expect from today’s politicians and entrenched bureaucrats. Congratulations, hope you can afford to live here on your meager pension Mr. Vossbrink !

  2. Considering how this city fared during his tenure, should Mr. Vossbrink care to write his memoirs I suggest the title be…

    And the Mouthpiece Droned On: The Enthralling Account of the Sinking of San Jose

    • > How unfortunate that SJI staff censors all opposing views in their public comment venue.

      SJI is a private media project and can publish or not publish whatever they damn well please.

      But at the end of the day, the lesson of history is that suppression of dissenting views is a losing proposition.

      Newsweek’s suppression of Monica Lewinsky created Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh. CNN (and other) suppression of all Hillary criticism created Donald Trump.

      My best stuff appears on other forums which, at the end of the day, means more clicks for other forums.

      In the world of internet media, more clicks are better.

  3. David Vossbrink definitely lived by his four principles throughout his career: tell the truth, represent what you respect, always return phone calls and never become the story. Very few people can actually say they lived by these principles like David did! Congratulation David Vossbrink for an outstanding career!

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