Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 27, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 6/30/09

Happy Independence Day! I will be at a niece’s wedding, so the usual routine of parades is not in the cards this year.

No matter how you spend your July 4th, please give a little thought toward Jefferson, Madison, and the folks who got this great country started.

As I celebrate America this week, I am going to raise a toast to something that has made America great – the middle class. Then I am going to raise a toast to the folks that brought you the middle class – organized labor.

I am frustrated by the criticism I hear directed toward organized labor. Let me ask… how well has management fared the past couple decades? Do we really want more of, from, by, and for corporate boards and CEOs? How well has that worked, anyway?

Has the private sector managed our banking and credit system well? Mortgages? Health care? The environment? You know the answers. Corporatism has helped the wealthiest among us, and hurt everyone else. There is nothing to argue.

I hear it all the time: “I’m in favor of unions, but…” This is a cop out. Too many people want to have it both ways. When push comes to shove, there is really only one question that needs to be answered: Which side are you on?

I have been writing Salvos weekly for 388 weeks now. One thing I have neglected to do over that whole period of time is put in a plug for my friend John Deeth.

I do not read too many blogs regularly, but one I have been enjoying for several years is the John Deeth Blog.

Deeth is a keen observer of local politics, and even if you disagree with his political leanings (decidedly left of center), you will undoubtedly find things of interest. Plus, John is just a darn good writer!

I highly recommend you check it out at:

There has been a great deal of talk regarding the Senior Center lately; I thought I’d add my two cents.

While I am not a senior, I have spent countless hours speaking to folks who are, including dozens of Senior Center users. I think there are a few points that should be very clear:

1. Seniors are not of one mind. There is no “senior viewpoint” toward the Senior Center. Some love it, some do not. Some want segregated programs, some want intergenerational programs. Viewpoints are many and varied.

2. We need better info from both seniors who use the Senior Center and seniors that don’t. Programs and funding should reflect this info, at least to some degree.

3. There is no reason to call for the demise of the Senior Center. That would be foolish. There ARE good reasons to change some things. Budgets are tight; everything deserves an equal review. How can one justify NO look at the Senior Center when everything else is cut? People pretend they want bold leadership from elected officials – until they disagree with that bold action!

4. Making changes does not necessarily mean a reduction in staff (though that should be on the table). It does not mean a change in the Senior Center Commission. It simply means thinking outside the box.

5. The Senior Center facilities are CLEARLY underutilized. Putting the Senior Center under Parks and Rec would allow for a bigger-picture view, and more cost effective usage of city facilities. In tight budget times, we need this. There are evenings that groups have nowhere to meet, while the Senior Center sits empty. We should fix this.

6. Many of the programs and services that take place at the Senior Center are NOT Senior Center programs… including Senior Dining, RSVP, and many others.

7. In tight budget times, we need to discuss whether or not limited funding for senior services should be directed toward healthy 60-year-olds, less-well 90-year-olds, or some combination.

8. Similarly, we need to discuss whether or not limited funding should be directed toward home care, congregate settings, or some combination. If congregate, one site, or several?

9. There are no easy answers. But doing the same things will not improve the situation. All parties need to be open to suggestions.

There are lots of brilliant seniors out there. I say we get a group of seniors with a mix of viewpoints, and put them to work on improving the services we provide to our seniors!

DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County hires over 900 poll workers annually.

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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