Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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February 14, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 2/17/09

My good friend Kirsten Running Marquardt recently asked me what it takes to warrant a mention in Salvos.

If you are a wonderful human being like Kirsten, all you need to do is ask! ☺

But I can turn this blatant shout out into something of meaning for other readers. Kirsten is one of many outstanding individuals who work for our Congressman Dave Loebsack. Many citizens feel that the Federal government is somehow inaccessible – in reality, Congressman Loebsack has a knowledgeable staff located right here who are ready, willing, and able to help.

Kirsten works in Linn County; Johnson County residents can get the same outstanding service by contacting the office at 125 S. Dubuque Street in Iowa City, or by calling them at 351-0789.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors will sponsor a year round county cleanup program for the calendar year 2009. This program offers a year round opportunity for rural residents to clean out their barn, garage or basement.

Participants will be provided with up to 2,000 lbs. of free disposal per household, per calendar year, with a minimum of 150 lbs. per trip. Only those residing in unincorporated Johnson County are eligible for this program. For more info, call Johnson County at 356-6000.

The annual Compeer Concert "Sound of Friendship" is coming up on Sat., Feb. 28, 7 pm, at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, 1300 Melrose Ave.

Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 at the door) and get you an evening of delightful music (Kol Shira, Dan Moore, the Pan American Steel Band) followed by a gourmet dessert hour with danceable music by Spontaneous Combustion (featuring Gene Spaziani on clarinet!). If you cannot attend the concert but would like to purchase a ticket, it can be donated to a client so she can attend the concert.

Compeer is a small non-profit based at the Community Mental Health Center whose only purpose is to match community volunteers for friendship activities with an adult receiving mental health treatment.

There are 15 consumers on the waiting list to be matched with a community friend, so if you know of anyone who might be interested in becoming a Compeer friend, please refer them to Karen Fox at 338-7884 x 245. Volunteers make a commitment to spend 4 hours per month with their friend in activities of mutual interest. An important goal of this program is to combat the social isolation often experienced by persons suffering with a mental illness.

This event brings in about 23% of total budget needs; all music, venue and desserts are donated so there is very little overhead, and your dollar goes directly to the program.

As you know, President Obama has suggested limiting to $500,000 the incomes of corporate CEOs who take TARP money from the government.

I find it ironic when I hear folks say that they feel for the CEOs. You see, I spent most of the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush era as a social worker. As you may recall, the last 28 years saw a huge demonization of individuals who accepted assistance from the government. Assistance from the government was “welfare”. Remember President Reagan’s “welfare queen”?

What I recall hearing at the time was – “You accept welfare; how dare you have color TV?” “You accept welfare; how dare you eat out?” “You accept welfare; how dare you buy nice clothes for your kids?” And so on, and so on, and so on. The message was clear to my clients – accept welfare, and society expects you to have zero luxuries. Accept welfare, and you deserve bread and water – nothing more.

Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for the poor, still requires recipients to have resources of less than $2000. The message, again, has always been clear: “You want government healthcare? You’d better be VERY poor!”

Ironically, now the people accepting welfare are the peers of (and donors to) Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush. And we are suddenly concerned about whether or not they can make it in New York City on $500,000 annually.

Guess what? NYC has 50,000 homeless people on any given night. I think our CEO friends can struggle by on $500K. Frankly, I’d like to see them get by with under $2000 in assets like the approximately 40 million Medicaid recipients.

I can hear it now: “But I know so-and-so who is with a big bank, and he and his family are great people.” I am sure they are. Most of the people with whom I used to work are great people, too. They were just poor. Most of the people reading this do not really know anyone who is truly poor. We know who a few people are, but we do not know them well.

Now the E-mails will come, accusing me of “class warfare”. Fine. But why wasn’t it “class warfare” when four Presidents and a lemming-like society did it to the poor people I served?

As Warren Buffet has pointed out previously, “Class warfare has been raging for a long time. And my class won.”

DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County’s free tax help program (You Earned It, Now Claim It!) helped complete over 660 returns in Johnson County in 2008 – a 100% increase from 2007.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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