Staedler: Consideration for the death of Rick Doyle
In this file photo, former San Jose Vice Mayor Cindy Chavez, left, listens as City Attorney Rick Doyle speaks to her at a City Council meeting on June 28, 2006. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

San Jose lost a public service giant Aug. 23.

Rick Doyle, after retiring just weeks prior, passed away at age 65 following a battle with cancer.  As we reported, Rick advised three mayors, 38 councilmembers and six city managers. The praise he received in various publications is well deserved.

I had the privilege of interacting with him during my time with the Redevelopment Agency. His calm, thoughtful, good-spirited strength resonated from his core. His passing really hit me hard. I respected him, and the way he did his job, beyond words.

A word I think of when I think of the City Attorney’s office is “consideration.” Tom Murtha and Janet Kern, lawyers in the City Attorney’s office at the time assigned to Redevelopment Agency work, would use that word often.

At the Redevelopment Agency we were tasked with the job of eliminating blight throughout the city. That work would have to meet two thresholds (amongst a litany of others). One was: Is it a gift of public funds? The other: There has to be consideration.

For example, if the agency would provide a façade improvement grant, the property owner would have to record a covenant against the property to maintain the cleanliness of the property as consideration for the grant.

In too numerous meetings to name, we would hear the question, “What is the consideration that the agency is receiving in return for the agency funds for this project?”

That leads me to ask what consideration does a public service giant such as Rick warrant from San Jose? I would offer this recommendation to our esteemed mayor, City Council and city manager: Let’s name the council chambers after Rick.

I would like to know that future generations of city staff can see his name and learn about what excellence in public service means.

I don’t believe this meets the level of consideration that Rick deserved for his service to the city but this is all I can come up with at this time.

If funding for this item becomes an issue, I would be more than happy to go door to door or — or as we experience with COVID-19 — Zoom to Zoom, to raise the money for this endeavor. I fully understand the city is dealing with other issues but this is a small amount of consideration for a giant of a public servant for San Jose.

Onward and upward.

San José Spotlight columnist Bob Staedler is a principal at Silicon Valley Synergy, a San Jose-based land use and development consulting firm. His columns appear every first Monday of the month. Contact Bob at [email protected] or follow @BobStaedler on Twitter.

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