The Star-News

Cox name carries weight

Sat, Jul 13 2013 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

It can't be easy growing up a Cox. First there’s the name. Any middle school boy (or developmentally arrested middle-aged man) would have a field day giggling about the clever rhymes, puns and euphemisms they could fling at the schoolmate with that last name.

Compound the weight of that surname with the fact that one or both of the kid’s parents is a teacher and you have the makings of a youth filled with hurt feelings, bruised egos and tongues swollen from biting.

Then factor in that both parents are high profile elected officials — one the mayor of Chula Vista, the other a county supervisor —  and could you really blame the kids if they changed their name from Cox to say, Sszykboski?
But Elizabeth and Emily Cox are not children and if you were to ask them if they’d change their last name they’d probably tell you they are proud of what those who gave it to them have accomplished.

Nevertheless, there may be times when the baggage of being a Cox weighs heavy. Such as when the local daily does a story about Elizabeth Cox landing a job with a public agency on which both her parents – Supervisor Greg Cox and mayor Cheryl Cox — are board members.And that same agency bought a struggling toll road in the South County just months before Elizabeth was hired.

It’s not the first time Elizabeth’s career has been examined by the newspaper. It wasn’t too long ago the daily reported Elizabeth had worked for a company that received grants from her father’s office. Greg at the time said his daughter’s employment with the organizers of the San Diego Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon had nothing to do with the donation — one his office had been making for years.

And now both mom and dad say they had no hand in getting their daughter hired at SANDAG. In fact, when I wondered on Twitter months ago if it was “the” Elizabeth Cox of the South County Cox clan who was working at SANDAG, Mother Cox made sure to call me and state, directly and breathlessly, that she had nothing to do with getting her daughter the job.

Like all good parents, Greg and Cheryl want their kids to succeed (and given that dad co-signed a loan for his daughter’s home, he’s probably thrilled she has a great-paying gig).

But let’s face it. Being a Cox, while it might be an occasional pain, doesn’t hurt. Remember the axiom: It’s not what you know, but who. So while mom and dad may not have said “Hire Liz now,” the people who made the decision to bring her on board probably know who her parents were. And if you think about it, you have to wonder if that weighs on a person: Do people like me for me, or because of who my parents are?

C’mon, kid, why would you even ask?

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