Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 29, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/1/11

In this edition:

*Council Elections
*Remembering November 1, 1991
*The Commons
*Did You Know?

*Council Elections
Cities in Johnson County are holding their elections on Tuesday the 8th. Make no mistake – these elections are important!

Sorry to say, but in many of these elections I do not know the candidates. I urge you to look up the candidates on the Auditor’s webpage:
( and learn what you can about the candidates in your town.

Of course, it just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t weigh in on a few races. In Coralville, I support Mitch Gross and Jill Dodds for council. Mitch is smart, caring, kind, reasonable, and hard working. The people of Coralville are lucky to have him. We have had our differences, but I feel as though Mitch has always listened to my concerns.

I have had the opportunity to serve with Jill on the local Empowerment Board, which deals with issues of childcare. I came to respect her not because we agreed all the time, but because of the way in which we were able to disagree on a couple important issues. I think Jill will do a fantastic job in elected office.

In the Iowa City at-large race, I support Matt Hayek and Raj Patel. That list of adjectives I threw out regarding Mitch Gross? Ditto for Hayek. In this case as with the last, I have had my share of disagreements with his stances on certain issues. But I know Matt makes his decisions for the right reasons, and not for personal gain. He is a stand up guy and a damn good mayor.

I have only gotten to know Raj over the past few months, but he impresses me. He is smart and works hard. It is amazing to me that Iowa City has gone 30 years without a student on the council. The problem has typically been that the student candidates were not up to the task. Not so this time - Raj Patel can do the job.

In University Heights, the election is really about one thing only – the proposed development at One University Place. I have good friends on both sides of the issue, though a few more on the “smaller, slower” development side. I hope this issue gets resolved once and for all, because University Heights has much to discuss!

A few more quick plugs: Jim Throgmorton in Iowa City, Merle Hill in Hills, the incumbents in North Liberty, Mary Sue Jiras in Oxford, Mary Gudenkauf in Swisher, and Mike Ryan in Tiffin. I cannot comment on their opposition, but I can promise that these folks will serve their cities well.

There are other good candidates out there – including friends of mine – but that is all we have time for today. There are definitely good candidates out there that I failed to mention. There are lousy ones, too. Do your homework, and make your choices wisely.

Thanks to all the candidates who threw their hats into the ring. I respect people who walk the talk and stand for office.

I hope you all will take advantage of this opportunity, and get out to vote!

*Remembering November 1st, 1991
Twenty years ago today, a UI post-graduate student named Gang Liu killed four faculty members, a student, and himself.

Faculty members Christoph Goertz, Dwight Nicholson, Robert Smith, T. Anne Cleary, and Linhua Shan were all slain. Student Miya Rodolfo-Sioson was shot and survived but was left paralyzed from the neck down.

If you ask longtime residents of Johnson County, most can tell you where they were that fateful day. (I was working my second job - a Friday night shift in a Systems Unlimited group home.)

I wish I could say that in the decades that passed, something good had come from this horror. Frankly, I simply do not see it. Even bigger mass killings have occurred on other campuses across the nation. Our mental health system is no better, and our gun laws are even worse. The killings make no more sense today than they did twenty years ago.

I hope you will take a moment to reflect upon one of the saddest days in Johnson County history, and pray for the many survivors whose lives were touched by the people we lost that day.

*The Commons
“The commons is a new way to express a very old idea—that some forms of wealth belong to all of us, and that these community resources must be actively protected and managed for the good of all. The commons are the things that we inherit and create jointly, and that will (hopefully) last for generations to come. The commons consists of gifts of nature such as air, oceans and wildlife as well as shared social creations such as libraries, public spaces, scientific research and creative works.” (

Please join us on November 8–9, as Jay Walljasper, author of the recent book All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons (New Press, 2010), visits Iowa City to share ideas about the commons.

PUBLIC EVENTS - Free, no registration required. For questions or more information, email


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 3:30–4:30 P.M. – PUBLIC RECEPTION FOR JAY WALLJASPER, M. C. Ginsberg: Objects of Art.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 7:00 P.M.–8:30 P.M. – “THE COMMONS AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT IN IOWA CITY,” panel discussion, Robert A. Lee Rec Center. In addition to Jay Walljasper, panelists will include Jeff Davidson (City of Iowa City), Carson Eggland (The James Gang), Kurt Friese (Devotay Restaurant), Mark Ginsberg (M. C. Ginsberg: Objects of Art), Fred Meyer (Backyard Abundance), Katie Roche (Englert Theatre), and Christine Scheetz (United Way).

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 7:00 P.M. - READING, JAY WALLJASPER, Prairie Lights Bookstore.

Jay Walljasper chronicles stories from around the world that point us toward a greener, more equitable and more enjoyable future. His focus goes beyond what's in the headlines to chronicle the surprising real life of communities today. Jay is editor of and a senior fellow at Project for Public Spaces, a New York-based organization that helps citizens enliven their communities by improving public places.

Walljasper is also a contributing editor of National Geographic Traveler, reporting on sustainable tourism initiatives, and is an associate of the Citistates Group, a public affairs consortium focusing on metropolitan regions. Walljasper's experience includes being editorial director and editor of Utne Reader, executive editor of Ode magazine, and a travel editor at Better Homes & Gardens.

*DID YOU KNOW? Despite over 30,000 students living there, Iowa City has not elected a student to the City Council since David Perret in 1979.

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.

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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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