Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 20, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 6/23/09

The Board had a three-hour long meeting on Thursday the 18th. Obviously, there are several things to discuss if you meet for three hours.

The unfortunate thing is, the odds are good none of you will ever know what was discussed. Unless you come in for a copy of the DVD, catch the video on government access, or go to the City Channel website, the details of the meeting will never be public.

Why? No media was there to cover it. So if you care about Sheriff’s services to Tiffin, services for seniors, domestic partner benefits, union contracts, Veteran’s Affairs, 120th Street through Shueyville, Medical Examiner fees, Mental Health Services, appointments to the Board of Health, or the chicken processing plant outside of Frytown, well… you are out of luck.

I understand these topics are not sexy. Maybe you really DON’T care. But this is the routine functioning of government. Citizens need to know. For well over a century, the people of Johnson County have depended upon the media to report the news. That is no longer happening. So now what?

Getting a job is now a different process than it was in 1980. In recognition of this, the Johnson County Livable Community for Successful Aging Initiative is sponsoring a workshop for job seekers aged 50 and older.

The workshop will be June 30 from 3-5 at the Coralville Public Library, and is open to anyone 50-plus. There is no fee, and light refreshments will be served.

Iowa Workforce Development, Kirkwood, Elder Services, and the Iowa City Area Development Group are partnering with Johnson County to make this workshop available.

An interesting tidbit of information from the University of Massachusetts: An investment of $1 billion in defense generates 8,555 jobs and $564 million in wages and benefits. The same $1 billion investment in education creates 17,687 jobs and $1.3 billion in wages and benefits.

Obviously, we need investments in both defense and education. But clearly moving some of our federal expenditures from defense to education would be a positive move for the US.

Speaking of government – it strikes me that we have very short memories. Take a step back with me, if you will - beginning in September of 2008, through November of ’08 and beyond.

The public was faced with two stark ideological choices: on one side, government is the problem. Government is too big, taxes are too high, and there are too many regulations. If we just get government out of the way, the invisible hand of the free market will take care of us all. People need to take care of themselves. Things are going along fine.

On the other side, government is a good thing. The government provides vital public services, and taxes support these efforts. Taxes are a small price to pay for the benefits of a strong public sector. The marketplace has failed the public at large, and regulating the market is the proper role of government. People need to take care of each other. Things desperately need to change.

Fast forward to June 2008. I still hear a lot from people who believe the former. Have we forgotten that the folks who believe the latter carried the day in November of ’08?

Granted, not every decision is as stark as the one I outlined above. There are nuances, compromises, and concessions.

Still, it seems to me that way too many elected officials at every level – City Councils to Boards of Supervisors to State Legislators to the US House to the POTUS – are forgetting what the people asked for.

So – remind them. Remind US. Stand up for what you believe, and vocalize it to the people who represent you.

In a similar vein, a friend sent me a very poignant piece on healthcare. Please check it out:

DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County cuts about 15,000 checks every year.

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

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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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