Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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August 4, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 8/7/12 In this edition: *Iowa State Fair *Heritage Farm *Campaign Finance *”Uncertainty” *Did You Know? *Iowa State Fair The Iowa State Fair runs August 9-19 this year. Despite the hot weather and over abundance of cheesy distractions, I love the State Fair! If you visit, be sure to look for the many Johnson County exhibits that qualified for the big event! I hope you get the opportunity to attend this year! *Heritage Farm Another neat thing happening at the State Fair this year – Johnson County is being recognized as the proprietor of a Heritage Farm! Heritage Farms are farms that have remained under the same family ownership for 150 years or more. Farm families that meet this standard are honored at the State Fair each year. I am extremely fortunate, having been involved in two of these ceremonies. Both my maternal grandmother’s and maternal grandfather’s Heritage Farms remain in our family. It was really cool to have the State of Iowa acknowledge these amazing feats! Johnson County’s farm began as the County Poor Farm – those no longer exist, obviously! Yet about 145 acres plus the Poor Farm buildings remain under Johnson County ownership after over 150 years. I wish I could be in Des Moines on the day of the ceremony. Meanwhile, congrats to the people of Johnson County – this is your farm! *Campaign Finance I recently got a bit of egg on my face, and was slapped with a $20 fine by the Iowa Campaign Ethics and Disclosure Board. During an election year, County candidates are required to file four separate reports (May, July, October, and the following January). These reports give a detailed look at every aspect of the campaign’s finances: how you spent your money, each person who gave you money, where they are from, how much they gave, etc. The reports are online in a searchable format. Compared to other states, Iowa has a fairly robust system of reporting for candidates for local offices– and that is great! I would even prefer to see campaign finances regulated to a greater degree than they already are. So what happened in my case? Apparently the filing deadline is now 4:30 pm – that law changed January 1 of 2011. We had been working on the assumption that it was still 11:59 pm. As things played out, my report was filed at 9:08pm on the 19th. So it was about 4 and a half hours late. Please understand – I totally understand that ignorance of the law is no excuse. I have no problem paying my $20 fine; I am guilty as charged. The check has already been sent. Still… there is a part of me that says, “Really?” Sheldon Adelson can give $100 million dollars to influence a national campaign, but I get a $20 fine for being a few hours late? Corporations can donate millions to PACs anonymously, but I get a $20 fine for being a few hours late? Political donors tend to receive tax and regulatory benefits that outweigh their contributions by 1,000 to 1, but I get a $20 fine for being a few hours late? Like I said, I am guilty as charged. I paid my fine. But it is hard for me to understand how these scenarios can coexist. *”Uncertainty” In discussions of the slow economic recovery, CEOs and Wall Street types often blame the slow recovery on “uncertainty”. This REALLY makes me angry! They claim that they cannot predict what will happen in a year from now. Well, I have news for them – they never could! Hurricanes, droughts, Pearl Harbor, 9/11… we cannot predict the future, and we never could. That excuse is crap! Obama has not raised tax rates on any American during his years in office. There have only been cuts. You don’t hear that much, do you? Yes, he is now talking about the need for more revenues. But can’t these captains of industry do a little math? If Romney and a bunch of Republicans win, you will pay far less. If Obama and lots of Democrats win, you could pay a bit more. Plan accordingly. We are forced to do this every year in Johnson County, and we have been successful. Our budget is due every year by March 15, even though the Legislature can spend until May changing all the rules. It is frustrating. It is UNCERTAIN. But we get by. In addition, I cannot stand the fact that these wealthy people talk about “uncertainty”. Here is one thing of which I am certain: EVERY person who earns a million dollars per year can lose his/her job tomorrow and still be rich! These folks do not know THING ONE about “uncertainty”! Try working 40 hours/week at $7.50/hour and no insurance nor sick leave with an unreliable car for which you cannot afford insurance. Every step you take is uncertain! The poorest 80% of Americans (about 240 million people!) own 15% of the wealth. The top 1% has about 36% of the wealth. For 80% of Americans, uncertainty is a way of life. Uncertainty means one thing for the wealthy, and something very different for the rest of us. Frankly, I’d like to work toward ending uncertainty for the 250 million or so Americans who really understand what uncertainty means! *DID YOU KNOW? Campaign reports may be viewed at: 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! ---Rod


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