Joe Six-Pack: Alive And Well In Carlsbad

by Richard J. Riehl on October 24, 2008

G3O 07572 Construction WorkerWe’re hearing a lot about Joe Six-Pack lately, the mythical resident of a mythical Main Street who politicians fall in love with each political season. Office seekers abandon their “ing’s” when they’re talkin’ about their plans for helpin’ folks who are just tryin’ to make a livin’. They love to have their pictures taken with Joe in his yellow hardhat. They seek him out in bowling alleys, delis and bars.

What makes Joe so popular? He’s become the living symbol of common sense wisdom. Politicians believe winning him over is the key to winning elections.

From their many letters to the editor and online chatter, Carlsbad’s Joe Six-Packs seem to be alive and well, but not very happy at the moment with the leadership in their local schools, regional hospital, and congressional district.

Superintendent John Roach says plans for Carlsbad’s new high school will need to be revised by the end of the year to prepare for the possibility of an additional $5.4 million in costs to address environmental concerns and to pay for the piece of the Cannon road extension that will cross school property.

Before Roach approved the plan for the new school and sent it off to voters to seek their approval, Joe Six-Pack could have advised him the cost of new construction in North County is almost always driven up by the need to mitigate threats to wildlife habitats. He might have also pointed out the dotted line on a Thomas Guide map showing the planned path of a new city road.

Joe’s beef with the local hospital’s leadership began with the sweetheart deal the Tri-City Medical Center Board offered their new CEO several years ago. It requires the hospital to adjust his pay each year to keep it in the top third of similar-size hospitals nationwide, regardless of his job performance. The hospital chief’s three failed attempts at getting voter approval to fund a vitally important hospital renovation project while he enjoyed salary increases amounting to $47,000 in two years will hardly pass Six-Pack’s smell test.

Over the last two years 50th district incumbent congressman Brian Bilbray has been so busy assuring his constituents he’s their champion illegal immigrant hunter, he’s now hoping they won’t notice the rest of his legislative record. Other than voting against an economic rescue plan that could save Joe Six-Pack from going homeless, Bilbray has spent most of his time co-sponsoring such bills as a resolution encouraging President Bush to proclaim 2008 “The National Year of the Bible,” and another supporting the goals of the Ten Commandments Commission. Will the power of prayer save Bilbray from Joe’s wrath on November 4?

Add these local examples of failed leadership to the scandals of Wall Street executives and you get an understanding of Joe’s skepticism.

On September 14 Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. Five days before that its CEO, Richard Fuld, assured investors in a conference call that the firm was doing just fine. Testifying before Congress three week’s later, he denied he defrauded shareholders. If Fuld truly believed the company was in good shape days before its collapse, Joe Six-pack would want to know why such incompetence had been rewarded with a $70 million yearly paycheck.

Roach’s shortsighted planning, the Tri-City Board’s poor judgment, Bilbray’s single-issue obsession, and Fuld’s dishonesty or incompetence are the kind of leadership failures that explain the popularity of someone like Sarah Palin, the candidate who claims bein’ a maverick and shakin’ things up as a representative of Joe Six-Pack trumps all other qualifications to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Carlsbad resident Richard J. Riehl is a freelance columnist. His e-mail address is

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

worried October 24, 2008 at 12:01 pm

Look no further than Carlsbadistan’s City Council race! Who do you love? The only one of the six candidates that seems honest is the college kid. I’m selfishly glad to have someone like her to vote for but have to agree with Logan Jenkins that she deserves better.

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