Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

Previous Posts


June 26, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 6/29/10

In this edition:

*Happy Independence Day!
*Door Knocking in Hills
*Politics of the Founding Fathers
*Census Data
*Wheeling Through the Years
*Did You Know?

*Happy Independence Day!
I hope you all have a safe and wonderful 4th of July! Maybe we’ll see you at parades in Morse, Sharon Center, Hills, Oxford, or Coralville, or at the Jazz Fest in Iowa City!

*Door Knocking in Hills
I am joining State Senator Becky Schmitz and several other local folks for some door knocking. Senator Schmitz is in a very competitive race against former legislator Sandy Greiner.

Becky has served us well, and needs our help! Please join us Tuesday, June 29th at 5:30pm at the Hills Ball Park. It will take about 2 hours. Thanks in advance!

*Politics of the Founding Fathers
As I celebrate the birth of our country, I am going to celebrate the REALITY of our founding fathers rather than the myths we perpetuate today.

Contrary to what we hear from many Tea Partiers, our founding fathers do not fit neatly into current political subdivisions.

The founders were all male and white, and those who were gay were quiet about it. The folks who founded the US were overwhelmingly wealthy landowners, most of whom also owned slaves. They were willing to go to war over taxes. They were not too interested in upsetting that status quo.

On the other hand, ideas like freedom of speech, strict limits on police powers, universal public education, a separate and equal judicial branch, no cruel or unusual punishment, and no official state religion could be viewed as liberal. They were radical for the time. Heck, they are radical now!

Most importantly, it is important for us to understand that we are not doing ourselves any favors by trying to co-opt these men. They were imperfect men that led imperfect lives. They were at times hypocritical and inconsistent. They seldom all agreed. They certainly do not fit neatly into the political constructs of today.

Would Adams be a Republican? Would Jefferson be a Democrat? And what about the big fish, Washington? Everyone wants to claim him!

The bottom line is that we do not know. Speculation is just that – speculation. We all want the founding fathers on our side. Proving that they would be on our side is another matter altogether.

So, rather than fighting over this TOO, why not agree to share in the celebration of this day and these people? Perhaps we can set aside our differences for one day and agree to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our great nation!

*Census Data
You may have noticed that the new Census data is out for 2009. Johnson County is estimated to have almost 132,000 residents as of 2009, moving us ahead of Blackhawk County (129,000) into 4th place in Iowa.

It is interesting to look at Blackhawk and Johnson Counties side by side. Here are a few things that jump out at me:

1.) Blackhawk County did not lose residents, but it only grew by 1,000 people over the past decade. Meanwhile, Johnson County grew by about 21,000 people over the same period.

2.) Iowa City (69,000) and Waterloo (66,000) are the largest cities in the respective counties. But while Iowa City has grown 11% over the decade, Waterloo’s population has declined by about 3,000 people.

3.) Both counties are home to Regent’s universities, but the UI is about twice as large, and has many more graduate programs and graduate students.

4.) “Suburban” areas of both counties (Coralville, North Liberty, and Tiffin in Johnson County; Cedar Falls, Hudson, and Evansdale in Black Hawk) grew more than the largest cities.

5.) The Blackhawk County economy has traditionally depended upon John Deere and meatpacking for much of its employment. Neither industry supports workers the way they did in the 1950s and 60s.

6.) Johnson County benefits from the symbiotic relationship we share with Linn County. Thousands of folks work in one county but live in the other. Together, the laborshed is much larger than that of Blackhawk County.

So – we have growth. In general, that is good news. But growth has downsides, too – most of them related to the use of natural resources. The key for us moving forward is HOW will we grow? We need to be thinking in terms of preserving farmland and natural areas; creating urban densities; providing public transportation; and generally attempting to mitigate the downsides of growth.

*Wheeling Through the Years
“Wheeling Through the Years”, a documentary film featuring local activist Keith Ruff, will have its world premiere Thursday, July 1 at 5 PM at Access 2 Independence, 381 E. College in Iowa City.

The documentary takes a hard look at societal attitudes toward disabilities through the life of Keith Ruff.

I have known Keith for about 20 years now. He is a great guy, who has done his best to educate others on disability issues. I plan on attending – I hope you will, too.

*DID YOU KNOW? Buffalo County, South Dakota has the lowest per capita personal income of any US county at $12,558. (Source: NACO.)

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.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home