Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 26, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/30/10

In this edition:

*Some Fixes for Congress
*Proposed Housing Ordinance
*Buy Local!
*Holidays in River Junction
*Shelter House Ribbon Cutting
*FasTrac Banquet
*Homeless Children’s Trust Xmas Party
*Did You Know?

*Some Fixes for Congress
I wrote recently that I believe Congress is broken. Polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans agree with me.

So what to do about it? Below are some changes to the way in which Congress does business that might appeal to all Americans- left, right, and center.

1.) A Constitutional Amendment limiting money in politics: Since the US Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, we have no option but to amend the Constitution. Either that, or accept the end of democracy.

2.) A Constitutional Amendment instituting term limits for the US Senate and House: I suggest 4 terms in the House and two in the Senate. That means one individual could serve 20 years – which is plenty! Unencumbered by the need to run for reelection, perhaps Congresspeople will be more likely to demonstrate political courage and do the right thing.

3.) Ending the “Secret Hold”: If Senators wish to place a hold, they should be required to do so personally and publically!

4.) Requiring Senators to actually filibuster: If Senators feel something should be delayed, they should be required to stand up and personally explain their reasoning to the American people!

The following fixes are not specifically for Congress, but would help our Democracy tremendously:

1.) Elimination of the Electoral College: Most Americans are under the misperception that we directly elect our President. Not so!

2.) The Federal Communications Committee (FCC) should require broadcast radio and television stations to offer free (but limited) air time to federal candidates: This would dramatically lessen the need for campaign money.

Obviously, none of these changes can be accomplished easily. The politicians benefit from the status quo, so they have few incentives to change. Corporations also benefit from the status quo, so they have few incentives to change.

It will take a huge grassroots movement on the part of the people, and I’m not sure most Americans have the time and energy. Worse yet, far too many do not care enough to fix what is broken.

So – what are your thoughts? Do you like these ideas? Do you have others? Please let me know, and I’ll share some feedback!

*Proposed Housing Ordinance
You may recall that Johnson County has been considering an ordinance designed to require minimum housing standards. After much research and debate, a proposed ordinance is ready for the public.

The proposed ordinance institutes safety standards for all residences in unincorporated Johnson County. If the ordinance passes, standards for structural integrity, electrical, plumbing, heating, etc. will become law. Homes and businesses must comply, but farm outbuildings are exempt. (Farmhouses would be covered.)

Unfortunately, a few people are spreading falsehoods throughout the rural community. I have heard that this ordinance “will cost every rural resident thousands of dollars”, and that “County personnel can break down your door.” Obviously, both those ideas are absurd. Anyone who bothered to check the facts would understand that these ideas are foolishness. But rumors are apparently more fun than facts.

The Board will be having a public hearing regarding a new Housing Ordinance on Thursday, December 9 at 5:30 PM. The text of the proposed ordinance is available on the County webpage - please check it out!

*Buy Local!
The Holiday shopping season is here. Please do your best to buy locally. Nothing does more to help our local economy. If you do not find what you want at first, just ask. The biggest benefit to buying locally is the superior service!

You can make the holidays happier for everyone by buying locally.

*Holidays in River Junction
Toys, trees, tractors, and treats are all part of the Holiday Open House in River Junction on December 5. The Morgan family will open their home from 2-8 PM, featuring their extensive Christmas collection. There are antiques, over 40 decorated trees, guest speakers, and, of course – Santa!

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. All proceeds benefit the Johnson County Historical Society. For more info, contact the JCHS at 351-5738.

*Shelter House Ribbon Cutting
A ribbon cutting for the new Shelter House facility will be held December 2 at 9 AM. The new facility, located at Southgate Avenue, almost triples the number of beds, while also adding greatly improved security, kitchen, laundry, and office spaces.

As I have written here many times before, I have long volunteered as a driver for the Homeless Shelter Overflow. It is wonderful to know that all those folks now have a bed at the Shelter House. Congratulations to everyone who made this possible!

*FasTrac Banquet
The FasTrac program is holding its 3rd annual banquet Friday, December 3rd from 6-9 PM at the Sheraton Hotel. Tickets are $25, and all proceeds go toward providing college visits for local students. For more info, contact Henri Harper at 341-0060.

*Homeless Children’s Trust Xmas Party
The Homeless Children’s Trust Christmas Party is on December 4th at the Moose Club in Iowa City. The party begins at 8:30am and will end around 1:00pm. Lunch will be served at 11:30am.

We will entertain approximately 175 needy youngsters from Johnson County. It should be a really fun day with music, clowns, the hokey pokey, and crafts.

*DID YOU KNOW? The Johnson County Ambulance service averages about 20 calls per day.

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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