Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 11, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 12/14/10

In this edition:

*More on Property Maintenance
*Flood Prevention
*Health Care Reform
*Did You Know?

The next big thing? Bookmarks, of course! For those of you that recall Herky on Parade, the next set of individually designed statues will be books.

An initiative of the UNESCO City of Literature, the books will be hitting the County next summer. Plan now to get one created for your business or organization!

For more information, see:

*More on Property Maintenance
As you probably know, last Thursday the Board took no action on the proposed Property Maintenance Ordinance. I think all of us realize that the proposed ordinance needs to be simplified and clarified at a minimum; there may be more substantive changes, too.

I have written extensively now on this issue, but it seems there are some things that need to be reemphasized.

First and foremost – it appears the Board members are in agreement as it relates to outbuildings (barns, sheds, bins, etc.). Board members simply are not interested in regulating these structures. I would estimate that fifty percent or more of the speakers at the public hearing raised this as a concern. The Board needs to clarify this, obviously. I hope we can focus future discussions away from these structures and on the issues at hand.

Secondly, State law does not allow an ordinance that specifically targets mobile homes. That has been struck down previously as discriminatory. Even if the law allowed for such an ordinance, it would not address every problem property. So a mobile home ordinance is a non-starter.

Thirdly, I do not believe an ordinance that tackles just rentals will be enough, either. While it might address many issues, some of the problematic homes in Regency are owner occupied, as are notorious houses on 120th Street and elsewhere.

Fourthly, it was suggested that farmhouses be exempted if the renter was an employee of the owner. I think this is a terrible idea, frankly. That sets up the possibility of the “company store”, where workers depend upon their employer for housing as well as a job. Historically, this inequity in power has not served America well. It is a recipe for disaster. One need only recall the problems Johnson County had with migrant workers in 2002 (before I served on the Board).

There are several other suggested changes that have merit and deserve thorough consideration. I am sure we will do this over the next few weeks!

Meanwhile, thanks to everyone who shared their thoughts through calls, E-mails, and at the public hearing. Your feedback is appreciated!

*Flood Prevention
The cost of flood restoration in Cedar Rapids = $40,000 for every man, woman, and child.

I was shocked when I heard this statistic. These types of numbers make it all the more amazing that people do not take more seriously the issues brought forth by State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids.

I really like Senator Hogg. He is smart, and willing to take on difficult issues. Must be the good Johnson County upbringing he got! (Hogg is a City High grad.)

*Health Care Reform
Now that Republicans have won control of the US House of Representatives, there are many calling for a repeal of the Health Care Reform Act, also known (usually derisively) as “Obamacare”.

So… let’s discuss the specifics of health care reform. Which of the following do you wish to see repealed?

*32 million more Americans get care
*Expands Medicaid eligibility
*Pre-existing conditions must be covered
*You cannot be removed from your plan unless fraud is committed
*Young adults can be covered under parents until age 26
*Removes lifetime limits on coverage
*Phases out annual limits on coverage
*Closes Medicare “donut hole”
*Reduces the Federal deficit

It will be very interesting to see what happens here. Fairly large majorities of Americans support these individual pieces of the health care reform bill. Will the GOP really choose to try and repeal these reforms?

There are a few less-popular changes to the tax code that were included as a part of healthcare reform. (I wrote about those in a previous Salvos.) I expect the GOP will at least go after these provisions, and I expect Obama will agree. That would likely give some GOP members cover; they could claim to have “repealed part of Obamacare.” I hope that is what actually occurs.

Observing the Democrats in Congress will be even more painful than watching the GOP. Will Democrats stand up for the popular planks listed above, or take the typical approach and cower in a corner somewhere? It is going to be fascinating to watch!

*DID YOU KNOW? Almost 6,000 US Armed Services personnel have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Estimates of civilian casualties in those countries range from 200,000 to over one million.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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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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