Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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August 15, 2009

Sullivan’s Salvos 8/18/09

Happy Birthday to my son BJ who turns 13 on August 22nd. BJ is a wonderful young man who makes me prouder with every passing day. It is hard to believe my youngest is now a teen!

The first day of school is coming soon to Johnson County! Clear Creek Amana begins (in a brand new facility) the 19th; ICCSD the 20th; Lone Tree the 24th, and Solon the 26th. Plus, the University of Iowa begins classes on the 24th.

Remember to drive a bit more carefully, expect a few more delays, and beware of pedestrians. We all need to readjust.

I love the sense of excitement that coincides with the start of every school year. Good luck to all the students and parents; have a great new year!

Race continues to be a topic of discussion in Johnson County. I know this can be an uncomfortable topic, but we ignore it at our peril.

As the father of three African American children, I have dealt with issues of race more than most, but less than many. I have found several ways in which the discussion can break down quickly. Below is my personal list of do’s and don’t’s:

* We all have our own biases. We need to acknowledge this.

*Try not to use absolutes such as “always” and “never”. If I am inclined to disagree with you anyway, that type of language simply assures me you are incorrect.

*People tend to fear things with which they are unfamiliar. This is a natural reaction. Exposure begets acceptance.

*A large part of the issue is not race, but class. We are not afraid of the black woman in the office next door, but we fear her unemployed cousin. Dr. King was speaking about this when he was assassinated.

*There are legitimate cultural differences. These may seem to be clearly right or wrong, but in either case they may require explanations.

*Honesty is appreciated. A person has a right to her own feelings, even if those feelings seem hard to understand.

*There is no excuse for racist language. If you use it, quit using it. If you hear others use it, say something.

*We must stop equating race and criminal behavior. We do not blame all counselors for the things a few counselors have done. Why should we blame all African Americans for the crimes of a few?

*Similarly, we must not equate Section 8 Housing and criminal behavior. Statistically, this simply does not hold up.

*It is easy to be critical. It is much more difficult to come up with constructive solutions. Work toward solutions.

Do you have opinions regarding a community dialogue on issues of race? If so, I would appreciate knowing what you think!

Congressman Dave Loebsack is holding a series of town hall meetings around Iowa’s Second District throughout the month of August, including one at the Iowa City Public Library at 10 AM on August 22nd. (To see the complete list, visit

Dave needs your help. There are groups who have been recruited to disrupt these meetings and shout down members of Congress as they discuss health care reform.

What can you do? Show up and voice your support for health care reform. Let Dave (and our Senators) know where you stand! (But please – do so respectfully!)

LIFE Skills, Inc. will be hosting its 4th Annual "Run for Your LIFE Skills" 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, August 29. The race will start at 9:00 am from Shelter #12 in Iowa City's Lower City Park. Registration is $15 for an adult (and child) or $12 per person with group registration (family/friends/co-workers). The registration fee includes: participation in the race, food, drink, T-Shirt, and entry for prize drawing. Please share the word and bring your family, friends and pets! For more info, E-mail [

DID YOU KNOW? The first courthouse built in Iowa City was a temporary two-story structure constructed of bricks. This courthouse burned to the ground in 1856. In 1857 this building was replaced by another courthouse, which was insured for $30,000. This brick building was used until 1899, when it was condemned.

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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