I digrees. Matt seemed like a very nice young man and intelligent political operative - not unlike the character played by Michael J. Fox in Spin City or Rob Lowe in The West Wing.
Sometime later Matt was hired as Mayor Villaraigosa's spokesman. It seemed like a good idea at the time but considering everything he's been through - from Mirthala to toilets - one wonders if Matt wishes he could reconsider the decision.
The latest kerfuffle Matt was forced into involved the re-stating of his bosses boastful remarks about the LA Weekly, issued some months after the great Patrick Range McDonald story that made the case Mayor Villaraigosa spends about 11% of his time on actual city business. You may remember the Mayor got a little too big for his britches when he claimed to Rick Orlov of the Daily News that they were upset because they never got to see his private schedule - something that would actually be illegal. As PRM reported Matt had to come back and say the Mayor "misspoke." There was only one schedule and indeed The Weekly did have it - which means Patrick's calculations are correct.
So in the latest round Matt sat down with Patrick to parse the Mayor's statement to Orlov word for word. However it must have been a near impossible task because all Szabo could do was to continue to assert that “Mayor Villaraigosa works harder and longer than any other big-city mayor in America, and everyone in Los Angeles knows it.” Remember those two clauses because Pat deconstructs both of them.
Pat went to Fred Siegel, no, not the clothing store magnate, but professor of history at the Cooper Union for Science and Art in New York City, strongly. Siegel - a recognized expert on municipal affairs - finds Szabo's statement ridiciulous and descibles Villaraigosa as a “ceremonial mayor.” Siegel grants the title of "hardest working mayor" to Richard Daley of Chicago, Thomas Menino of Boston and Cory Booker of Newark, New Jersey. He probably doesn't know about South El Monte Mayor Blanca Figueroa who works so hard, statying in her office until 11:00 at night, that her City Council wants to take her keys away from her.
As far as "everyone" knowing and agreeing how hard the Mayor works, Patrick isn't sure about that one too. It appears that beside the usual suspects such as this blog and inflammatory talkradio host Doug McIntyre the story has been covered by decidely non-Villaraigosa haters such as Fishbowl LA and the LA Times. 150 readers commented on the Weekly's piece; most of which were highly critical of the Mayor.
If I was someone close to Szabo, I would perhaps direct him towards another job. Remember the first part of conquering it is admitting it.