Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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August 9, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 8/11/09

Happy Birthday on the 17th to my wonderful wife, Dr. Melissa Fath. I have said it before and I’ll say it again… I’m a lucky man!

The Lone Tree Fall Festival is this Friday and Saturday. Stop by and take in all the Tree has to offer! For more info, see:

There is a full field (eight!) of candidates for the three available seats on the Iowa City Community School Board of Directors. I urge everyone to learn all they can about each of these candidates, and to be sure to vote on or before September 8.

To start, check out the Johnson County Auditor’s website at

I recently attended an informational session that attempted to quantify the “Diversity Climate” of the Corridor region. The Diversity Focus group commissioned Vernon Research Group out of CR to survey hundreds of residents in Linn & Johnson Counties.

While Johnson County received good overall ratings, African Americans viewed things as being worse than their Caucasian counterparts.

I think this is particularly noteworthy given the role race seems to be playing in our collective daily narrative. I do not recall a time when so many people were discussing race in this community.

I wish I could do more to influence the tone of these discussions; please join me in doing all you can to address this challenging topic. And for more info on Diversity Focus and the results of the Diversity Climate, see

A recent newspaper article mentioned the fact that 3-4 high rises proposed for Iowa City have been delayed. The article then went on to explain how the City would be attempting to figure out what it could do to make the high rises happen.

Must we really go down this road again? This is not the proper role of government. If local banks will not lend the money, why should the City?

I get sick of this “public-private partnership” BS. Yes, there are instances where such partnerships can and do work. But more often than not, we get fiascos as a result.

We tend to forget about the ORIGINAL public-private partnership… the private sector pays taxes. The public sector then provides public services. I would like to see more emphasis on this traditional partnership rather than each little scheme.

We are too often guilty – at the local, state, and national level- of giving in to the trend to socialize the costs of a project, then privatize the profits.

If cities MUST use incentives of all kinds, at least use them wisely. Incentives are pointless when it comes to retail and office space. They simply do not pay. If cities only used incentives when basic sector employers are involved… then we might have something!

If you do not believe me, ask the Iowa City Area Development Group (ICAD). There is a reason they only work with basic sector employers.

And I thought we had guidelines that require x number jobs, paying above certain wage, with benefits? How does a high rise meet those criteria?

Johnson County could create some industrial/research parks. It would not be that expensive, and then we would not need to worry about TIFs. Johnson County has not done so, because that would be sprawl. The County has been a team player; maybe it is time to begin competing rather than cooperating.

I have an idea. Let’s have our developers compete in the private marketplace. Let’s have our cities provide outstanding public services. I’ll bet that if we focus on that, things will work out just fine.

DID YOU KNOW? There are several County roads under construction, including 965, Oak Crest Hill Road, and Black Diamond Road, just to name a few. All County road closures are listed on the County website.

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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