Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 25, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 4/27/10

In this edition:

*May Day
*Cinco de Mayo
*Garlic mustard and morels
*Take Back the Night
*ACLU Dinner
*NAMI Walk
*Crisis Center Pancake Breakfast
*Did You Know?

*May Day
In much of the world, May Day is a worker’s holiday. It used to be a holiday here, too, until an unreasonable fear of communism clouded our collective national judgment.

May Day used to commemorate the Haymarket Incident. For those of you unfamiliar, the following is lifted largely from Wikipedia:

The Haymarket affair occurred during the course of a three-day strike that involved common laborers, artisans, merchants, and immigrants. Following an incident in which police opened fire and killed four strikers at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Co. plant, a rally was called for the following day at Haymarket Square. The event remained peaceful, yet towards the end of the rally, as police moved in to disperse the event, an unknown assailant threw a bomb into the crowd of police. The bomb and resulting police riot left at least a dozen people dead, including seven policemen.

A sensational show trial ensued in which eight defendants were openly tried for their political beliefs, and not necessarily for any involvement in the bombing. The trial led to the eventual public hanging of four anarchists. In the following years, memory of the "Haymarket martyrs" was remembered with various May Day job actions and demonstrations.

So, on this May Day, I plan on tipping back a cold beverage in honor of the people who gave us the weekend!

*Cinco de Mayo
Another day worth celebrating arrives on May 5. Johnson County has seen an increase in new residents from Mexico, and along with them, a wonderful dose of Mexican culture.

I urge everyone to observe Cinco de Mayo. Have fun, but also think about the way we treat others, both individually and collectively. Are we living up to the Golden Rule?

*Garlic Mustard and Morels
I had my worst trip to the woods EVER recently! As I have written previously, I love to hunt morel mushrooms. I rarely have as much free time as I’d like to dedicate to such pursuits, but I did get out this past week. I was crushed by what I found.

The whole forest floor was choked by garlic mustard. The garlic mustard had been creeping into these spots over the past couple of years, so it did not surprise me to see it. I was surprised, however, by the ubiquity. I could hardly see the forest floor!

The environmental damage we are suffering and about to suffer at the hands of garlic mustard and other invasive species is unimaginable. It is bad, and getting exponentially worse.

There are steps we can take, but they will not be popular. First, pull it on your own property. (Cutting and mowing do not work, and may even serve to spread it further.) Secondly, volunteer with one of the many organized local “pulls”. Thirdly, we need more funding for conservation/park & rec departments targeted toward this problem. Finally, we need to fund science at the federal level so that experts can help us to avoid these types of problems in the future.

I suppose I can blame the garlic mustard for my lack of success at morel hunting, but I have fared poorly before. This is a brand new ballgame.

*Take Back the Night!
The annual Take Back the Night rally will be held Thursday, April 29th, at 7:00pm in Downtown Iowa City. Sponsored by the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP), Take Back the Night offers residents of Johnson County an opportunity to stand up against rape, and to say “not on my watch”. It is a powerful event, and I hope you can attend.

*ACLU Dinner
The ACLU of Iowa is holding its annual dinner Saturday, May 1 at the UI Athletic Club. This is the organization’s 75th anniversary, and the featured speaker is National ACLU President Anthony Romero. Tickets are still available, but you must RSVP right away! Check out the website at for more information.

*NAMI Walk
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) of Johnson County is holding its annual Walk for the Mind of America Saturday, May 8 at Lower City Park in Iowa City.

As a County Supervisor, I know how much money goes into mental health services. But money is not the key here. Money does not tell the stories. We all need to do more (yes, including paying higher taxes!) to support the families who are dealing with these issues.

I would encourage each person who reads this to speak with my friend June Judge. You will never think of mental health in the same way. Some day, I would like to help make June’s vision of a better and more caring mental health system a reality.

I have participated in every NAMI Walk so far, and I am looking for sponsors! Please let me know if you would be willing to sponsor me for this great cause!

*Crisis Center Pancake Breakfast
This annual must-do event is Saturday, May 1st from 8 AM-1 PM at Parkview Church. As usual, all funds go toward supporting the important work of the Crisis Center in Johnson County.

*DID YOU KNOW? There were 1801 sales of residential property in 2009; 838 in Iowa City and 963 in the rest of the county. (Source: Johnson County Assessor.)

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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