Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 3, 2012

Sullivan’s Salvos 11/6/12 In this edition: *Happy Birthday Rachel! *Election Day! *Responding to Sandy *National Adoption Month *”Good” vs. “Bad” Campaigns *Housing Trust Fund *Seven Myths of Government Bashing, Part 6 *Did You Know? *Happy Birthday Rachel! Happy Birthday to my oldest child Rachel, who turns 21 today! Normally, we would be celebrating with Rachel on her birthday. This year, she has agreed to wait until after Election Day. That is typical of Rachel, who is very kind, generous, and sweet. Happy Birthday, Honey! I love you! *Election Day! It is November 6, and that means Election Day. Vote if you have not already done so. If you have voted, go volunteer. And whether your candidates win or lose, remember that we are all fortunate to live in the greatest country on earth, where we have the right to vote! *Responding to Sandy One of my personal heroes here in Johnson County is Solon resident Tom Trump. I weathered the 2008 flood in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with Tom, who was a calm, collected, knowledgeable leader. Well, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Tom is headed out east to put his expertise to use. Good luck, Tom, and our prayers to all the people of the east coast! *National Adoption Month November has been named National Adoption Month and November 20th National Adoption Day. The need out there is tremendous. In Johnson County alone, there are between 100 and 150 kids in foster care every day. There are nowhere near enough foster and adoptive homes to meet the need. As many of you know, Melissa and I are the parents of three adopted children. We also continue to serve as foster parents. It has been a life full of tragedies and triumphs. It has not always been easy, but it has been indescribably fulfilling. Along with marrying my wife, it is the best decision I ever made. If you or someone you know is interested in foster care and/or adoption, please let me know. I am always happy to speak with prospective parents. *”Good” vs. “Bad” Campaigns Ever heard of someone who won an election yet ran a lousy campaign? Me, either! Since we are deep into the political season, I want to share one of my political pet peeves: I get really tired of all the Monday morning quarterbacking. If the candidate wins, she/he “ran a great campaign”. If she/he loses, the campaign was “terrible”. Sports analogies get overused in politics, but I think it is apt to use one here. Picture the game of golf. Sometimes you play very poorly, and can get beat by anyone. Sometimes you play poorly and your opponent plays even worse – then you win. Conversely, sometimes you play well and win. It is also possible to play your best and still get beat. This also happens in politics, though it is rarely acknowledged. Yes, sometimes the loser ran a poor campaign. But just as frequently, they ran a good campaign and still got beat. It happens. The “experts” who are commenting on these campaigns – local or national - hardly ever have any real firsthand knowledge. Their punditry is usually just hot air. Many locals will be complaining about the Romney or Obama campaigns – often, that is because they did not get the positions they wanted. Yes, there are campaigns that are well run, and there are some that aren’t. But I rarely hear anything other than fawning over winners and piling on losers. That is not analysis! *Housing Trust Fund I serve on the Board of Directors of the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County (HTFJC). We recently held our annual meeting – so I thought I would share some information about this wonderful organization. In FY12, the HTFJC awarded $365,800 toward low and moderate income housing in Johnson County. This funding went to Shelter House, Successful Living, the Housing Fellowship, and Habitat for Humanity, just to name a few of the local beneficiaries. In addition to much needed housing, the HTFJC funds projects that provide valuable work for local contractors. For more info on the HTFJC, see or call 358-0212. *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 6: CLAIM: Government is more secretive and less answerable to the people than business. 
 ANSWER: In reality, businesses routinely hide data that would be of great interest to the general public. Goldman Sachs claims that they had no obligation to reveal that they were betting against their own investors. During the recent financial meltdown, firms routinely cooked the books to hide their losses, claiming such deceptions were legal. Food companies claim they have the right to call their products “organic,” when they are anything but, and bottled water companies can legally lie about the source of their natural spring (city tap) water. Car companies will hide data about their unsafe vehicles until the resulting injuries and deaths can no longer be plausibly denied. Companies routinely hide the anticompetitive results of their mergers and acquisitions, and mask the deceitful means they use to drive competitors out of business. Businesses claim these rights because they don’t want to reveal trade secrets, or reveal their true financial health to competitors. In any event, right or wrong, big corporations believe they don’t have to reveal facts that might be harmful to their bottom line, regardless of the central roles their products play in our lives. Government, however, does have an obligation to be transparent, and when it refuses, we can fire officeholders who refuse to be accountable. Whistleblowers at government agencies are protected by law, and have at least some recourse when they are harassed for speaking up. Although government regulators lie as much as anyone, there are pathways for concerned citizens to get to the bottom of these deceptions. Raise similar charges against a large private company, and they can stonewall until the money runs out (forever). *DID YOU KNOW? The number of voters in Johnson County doubled between the 1972 and 2008 Presidential Elections, from 36,222 to 73,231. 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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