Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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December 23, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 12/27/11

In this edition:

*Happy Hanukah!
*Happy New Year!
*Lead or Get Out of the Way!
*Salvos Salutes!
*Did You Know?

*Happy Hanukah!
A very Happy Hanukah to all my Jewish friends and neighbors.

*Happy New Year!
I want to sincerely thank you for reading Salvos throughout the year. I hope 2012 is a great year for you and yours.

*Lead or Get Out of the Way!
Unfortunately, we live in a world where elected officials are praised for “getting along” rather than addressing the issues at hand. We celebrate “civility” at the expense of results.

Let’s stop all the excuses for doing NOTHING. Let’s have just a tiny bit of political courage for once.

If you are elected, you are elected to lead. Make a decision, right or wrong. If you refuse to decide, then step down and let somebody else take a shot.

Alright. That is off my chest. Almost. Damn it, public – hold these people accountable! They work for you. Demand better!

*Salvos Salutes!
2011 is coming to a close, and it is time for honoring a few select Johnson County residents with that most treasured of honors, the Salvos Salute. A few observations:

* This is the sixth annual set of awards, and there are always more people who deserve awards than there are awards to give. We live in a great County!

* The focus is on Johnson County. While it is certainly worth noting the heroism of someone like Sal Guinta, we have everyday heroes right here in Johnson County that deserve a shout out.

* There are some people out there that could win every year. I am trying to honor different folks, but repeat winners are not out of the question.

* Salvos Salutes do not have specific criteria, but you can bet that in general, most of the winners are courageous, advocate for peace and justice, have good ideas, speak truth to power, avoid hypocrisy, and look out for the less fortunate.

Without further adieu, your 2011 Salvos Salutes go to:

John Bacon: The Principal at City High has improved the attitude at that school, and is doing a great job of explaining that City High is a wonderful place. His enthusiasm is infectious, and he really cares. The ICCSD has screwed some things up in recent years, but hiring Mr. Bacon was a masterstroke!

Larry Wilson: Larry has always been a great community volunteer, including lots of volunteerism benefitting Johnson County. After retiring from the UI, Larry put his years of expertise toward the new Justice Center. I think the County is going to put forth a very good Justice Center proposal. When we do, Larry Wilson will deserve much of the credit.

Dorothy Whiston: The newly installed Pastor at First Baptist Church, Dorothy has led the Soul Friends Ministry for several years. That organization does a great job of ministering to families affected by the criminal justice system. Lately, Dorothy has done fantastic work addressing the systemic racism that exists here in Johnson County. This is an important but difficult topic, and Dorothy has tackled it courageously.

Gene Mohling: The Iowa State University Extension Office provides a myriad of service in Johnson County. From gardening to budgeting to childcare to raising hogs – if you need info, Extension is there. Leading the charge is Gene Mohling, who does a great job bringing the resources of ISU to the people of Johnson County.

Roger Lusala: The Mayor’s Youth Empowerment Program (MYEP) is booming! Some have pointedly asked – “Can MYEP really do all this and do it well?” If the Executive Director of the agency is any indication, then the answer is yes, they can! What’s more, the guy is a father to 5 daughters under 12! Go, Roger!

Gerald & Joan Morgan: From serving as Santa and Mrs. Claus, to organizing antique tractor rides, to running the Old Settlers events, to volunteering on the Conservation Board, to being President of the Farm Bureau, to serving as the “Mayor” of River Junction – Gerald and Joan Morgan donate more of their time and talents than almost anyone I know. They epitomize the volunteerism that runs so deep here in Johnson County.

Bill Greazel: The job of assessing property demands accuracy. Nobody does that better than Johnson County Assessor Bill Greazel, who is the best in Iowa, period! We should all learn to appreciate the excellent job done by Bill and his employees.

Jill Dodds: The newly elected member of the Coralville City Council ran a campaign promising to thoroughly review city finances. This is not an easy position to take, but it is a very necessary one. Jill is a courageous individual, and she will need deep reserves of courage as she challenges the status quo.

Zach Wahls: I do not know Zach Wahls, nor do I know his mothers. I just know that no one has made me more proud to say I am from Johnson County! Thanks, Zach, for putting us on the map in such a positive light! We are proud of you!

Ernie Found: It is hard to imagine a person enduring a more difficult year than Doctor Found endured in 2011. It is even harder to imagine someone persevering with more grace. Mr. Found, you are a shining example for the rest of us!

Iowa Policy Project: I have spoken in the past of my desire to make data-driven decisions. So where does good, objective data come from? It comes from the Iowa City-based Iowa Policy Project (IPP). I use the facts and statistics produced by IPP every single day in my job. A notable example is the recent IPP report on TIFs in Johnson County. Every taxpayer should read this report! Thanks, IPP!

Occupy Iowa City: The political, financial, legal, and other systems are rigged to favor the wealthiest 1% of Americans. To varying degrees, we all knew this. Yet the Occupy Movement has called attention to the needs of the 99% like no previous effort. What’s more, the local Occupiers have been polite, respectful, thoughtful, and smart. I have spent several hours talking to Occupy folks, and they fill me with hope for our future.

Congratulations to all the winners! You make Johnson County a great place to live! Keep it up in 2012!

*DID YOU KNOW? More vehicles are stolen on New Year’s Day than any other day of the year.

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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