Patrick Thronson, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson’s ninth communication director, boasts the second-longest tenure of the often-vacated seat.
To what do you attribute your staying power?
I thrive on being able to help make a difference, on helping combat complacency, on the expertise and insights of the incredible people who work for city government and on writing a decent sentence.
You were a philosophy major at Harvard. Who is your favorite philosopher?
Theodor Adorno, who co-wrote one of the best books of the 20th century (Dialectic of Enlightenment) in Los Angeles, shortly after being forced to flee Germany in advance of the Holocaust. Reading Adorno is one of the best cures for smugness, a common and often persistent condition that afflicts both secular and religious people, on the right and the left.
What event has been your highlight working for Rocky?
Organizing the city’s response to the Trolley Square shooting—in particular, the Celebration of Community Support and Gratitude at Library Square—and directly assisting some of those affected by the tragedy.
What’s been the most stressful?
Dealing with Sean Hannity’s lies, showboating pronouncements and absurdly difficult staff in the run-up to his debate with the mayor likely required more Tums than are legally permitted for ingestion in the state of Utah. But, he called me “Patrick the Leaker” and treated me with regal disdain when I finally met him in person, so I guess it was worth it.
Serving as the mayor’s spokesman, you know the duties of the office. Could you be mayor?
Public office is a means, not an end. Knowledge of politics and the workings of government isn’t enough. … I’d have to have more experience and knowledge before I could decide why precisely I should run for mayor (as opposed merely to figuring out if I could pull it off).