Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 14, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 5/12/09

We went through a trying time the past two weeks, as our computer quit working. That explains why there was no Salvos for a couple of weeks.

Thankfully, all the information from our hard drive was salvaged, and the repair was not too expensive.

It is a pretty scary proposition to lose your hard drive. For me, it means family photos, home movies, my calendar, all my music, hundreds of E-mail addresses, and much more. It certainly reemphasized the need to back things up more frequently!

If I needed a dose of humility, two weeks without Salvos provided it! While over 400 people receive Salvos on a weekly basis, less than ten asked where it was after missing two weeks!

The biggest news of the past couple weeks was the vote on the local option sales tax. Regardless of how you felt about the outcome, I hope every citizen appreciates the work of the Johnson County Auditor’s Office. They handled a complicated and contentious election extremely well. Kudos!

I stood by a couple weeks ago and watched as dozens of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters filed for marriage licenses. What a wonderful day! It felt good just being around so much love and happiness.

I challenge anyone to convince me how the Bible and/or the Iowa Constitution should be used as a blunt instrument to harm our fellow citizens. Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you…

There are so many bad things in our world today. Poverty, hunger, disease, unemployment, pain, death… why not embrace the little things that bring joy into our world?

In a related matter, you may have heard that some county governments have opined on the implementation of the Iowa Supreme Court decision in Varnum vs. Brien. Johnson County wrote a letter in support of following the law. Nine out of the ten countywide elected officials signed this letter.

Frankly, I wish the letter had been more strongly worded. Rather than, “we urge others to follow the law,” I would have preferred a letter that said, “we support full equality for all people.” But what we sent was better than nothing.

I was very disappointed in a recent Board action. We decided not to allow the third floor of the new Health and Human Services Building (HHS) to be used as a temporary location for the Homeless Overflow program.

Run by the Consultation of Religious Communities, the Homeless Overflow program provides overnight accommodations when Shelter House is full. Regrettably, Shelter House is full all winter – the Overflow provided 1,700 nights of shelter this past season.

Unfortunately, several churches will be unable to participate this upcoming winter. Plus, moving the cots and equipment from place to place is wearing out the volunteers. The new and expanded Shelter House will not be built in time. So the Consultation needs a location for one more winter. The HHS building is perfect – a big, empty space with restrooms, near downtown, where cots could just sit all day.

I have served as a driver several nights per year for approximately the past 4 years, so I have seen the Overflow firsthand. Volunteers stay awake and monitor every guest all night long. All guests have passed a breathalizer test. No one is allowed in, and once you leave, you may not return. Local churches have been doing this for years, and they have incurred no expenses. Problems have been very minimal. Johnson County had little to fear.

And consider… a program serving the homeless was asking to use the HEALTH and HUMAN SERVICES building! Am I the only one who sees the irony here? The HHS building may be managed by the Board of Supervisors, but it belongs to the public – even those with nowhere to stay.

The Board instructed our Facilities Manager to work with the Consultation to find an alternative location. I thought this was ironic, too, given the group with whom we were working – we basically said there is no room at the inn, but we may have a manger you can use.

DID YOU KNOW? Campsites are now open in Johnson County! Please check out the wonderful facilities provided for public use by the Conservation Board.

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.

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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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