Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 26, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 10/30/12 In this edition: * Vote! *”Endorsement”? *Taxes in Johnson County *Seven Myths of Government Bashing, Part 5 *Did You Know? *Vote! If you have not voted yet, now is the time! Remember, Iowa law allows for Election Day registration! Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to vote between now and next Tuesday! *”Endorsement”? I recently received the “endorsement” of the Press Citizen in the race for Supervisor. I put the word “endorsement” in quotes, because it was just about the most backhanded endorsement one could receive. It was something akin to, “We disagree with these guys and would vote them out, but the challengers amazed us with their lack of knowledge.” On one level, I am fine with that; they are free to say whatever they wish. But I have two major complaints: First, the Press Citizen (among others) doesn’t even ask the right questions. It only serves to demonstrate how little the public understands about County government. In fairness, Supervisors have an obligation to educate the public. We are clearly failing miserably in this regard. My biggest complaint is that the Press Citizen (like virtually everyone else) thinks the three incumbent Supervisors are somehow one single candidate. The Press Citizen disagrees with us? How? We do not agree ourselves! When were all three of us unanimous? I know I love the opportunity to share my own thoughts on things; my guess is that my colleagues feel the same way. The public knows very little about anything the Supervisors do. What they do know, they learn from the media. And according to the media, we might as well be one man. Unfortunately, that view is quite flawed. Is this sour grapes on my part? I have to be honest - that undoubtedly plays a part. I try to bust my butt, and I feel as though people here actually benefit from my work. It would be nice to think that people agreed with my assessment. But you cannot go into politics hoping to be loved. If you do, you’ll end up very disappointed. I just wish I didn’t have to feel disappointed in the paper. I wish they would recognize us as individuals. *Taxes in Johnson County Taxes are high in Johnson County. Right? Uh, not so much. People love to hang onto the myth that Johnson County is a high tax county, but that simply is not the case. According to data from the Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC), Johnson County ranks: *36th in General Fund tax rate. 35 counties have higher tax rates, 63 have lower. *69th in Rural Fund tax rate. 68 counties have higher tax rates, 30 have lower. *44th in Combined tax rate. 43 counties have higher tax rates, 55 have lower. As you can see, Johnson County does not rank particularly high when it comes to tax rates. We are actually very close to the middle of the pack when compared to the rest of the counties in Iowa. Next time you hear someone say our county taxes are “highest in the state”, call them on their lie. I hear it a lot, and this misinformation needs to be challenged. *Seven Myths of Government Bashing A friend recently sent me a great piece by Gail Cohen entitled “Seven Myths of Government Bashing”. I like this piece so much that I have decided to divide it into seven parts and run it in Salvos. Today, Part 5: CLAIM: Small government is good government. ANSWER: Because of the desire to squeeze every dollar spent for maximum profit, businesses don’t function with a lot of common sense. In such a go-getter environment, a company is tempted to make-believe that their employees can actually live on 8 dollars per hour, or that by cutting health insurance, their employees will magically stay healthy and productive. A company is tempted to pretend that water runoff from animal waste will magically avoid the lettuce crops nearby, or that customers who purchase your pharmaceuticals will magically not notice the nasty side-effects that you’ve been hiding for years. It is fair to say that big companies cannot function with our best interests at heart; “our,” meaning the regular people who drive their cars and buy their products and work at their factories and offices. Therefore, some entity needs to watch for stuff, watch for the salmonella in the lettuce, the shoddy workmanship in the cars, the pollutants in the air, the side effects in the medications, and so forth. A person might live each day eating food that’s relatively free of poisons, living in a home constructed with safe materials, and believe that the world of commerce proceeds smoothly as if by magic. That’s not true. It’s because of “government.” This fact won’t be obvious until you become one of those sad statistics whose plane trip ended in tragedy, whose liver was ruined from unlabeled medication, whose shoreline is covered with oil. You see them on TV, and it’s easy to assume they’re just trying to squeeze money from a company that made an honest mistake. But when you find yourself in a similar situation, you realize how easy it is for big companies to get away with . . . well, murder. You realize is perfectly fair to expect government to protect us from these economic entities that have such control over our daily lives. Such “government” oversight is indeed necessary. Regulatory agencies should be well funded and staffed, empowered with the right technology and skills to do their job, and enough regulatory teeth to make their findings legally binding and enforceable. If regulation agencies are not “big,” then they are no match for the corporations they much watch over, who are getting bigger and more concentrated by the minute. Still, in America, we don’t like to interfere with a man and his right to make a dollar. We’re inclined to side with the bloke who made the machine, rather than the guy who wants to burden him down with “safety” this and “safety” that. What this means, then, is that the public supports regulations, but unfortunately, only toothless ones, regulations with huge loopholes. If politicians try to design regulations that honestly do the job, for example, force oil companies to install safety mechanisms so that oil spills can be contained, the companies complain of overregulation and start ragging on “government,” and usually get the support of the public. From there, it gets worse: these toothless, ineffective regulations give the public more reason to complain “government can’t do anything right.” Sometimes, it all seems like a game of cat and mouse, and it’s only after you’ve been screwed out of your life savings, lost your house, a limb, or a family member, or had your coastline polluted by oil, do you realize that it’s not a game at all. *DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County has a population density of 214 people per square mile, compared to the statewide average of 54 people per square mile. (Source: US Census Bureau.) 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


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Supervisors have an obligation to educate the public? Supervisors have an obligation to serve at the public's wish and to be educated by their constituents. What hubris!

November 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM  

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