Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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February 16, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos 2/19/13 In this edition: *Ripples From Last Week *Who Pays? *CIA *Sutliff Bridge Authority Fundraiser *Did You Know? *Ripples From Last Week I got a fair amount of feedback on last week’s edition of Salvos. Lots of cheers, some jeers. Let’s discuss it some more. I had an employee of the City of Iowa City drop a subscription over what I wrote. That is not unusual. On two different occasions I have had Coralville Councilors drop subscriptions after I wrote about TIF. I had a couple Farm Bureau members drop after I wrote about an issue upon which we disagreed. I’m sure there are other cases. It is unfortunate, but it happens. I try to read opinions different than my own. Sometimes it is maddening, but sometimes it is healthy. Most importantly, when facts are at issue, it needs to get figured out. What are the facts? What is the reality? The public deserves policy based on facts. I believe the facts in this case are indisputable. While there are likely some County services for which it could be argued that Iowa City residents pay too much, there are also many where they pay too little. Here is another recent example. Two Iowa Citians were recently convicted of a murder that occurred in Iowa City. One man spent 26 months in the custody of Johnson County, at a cost of approximately $34,000. The other spent 40 months, running about $51,000. Each trial cost at least $25,000. That is at least $135,000. Neither of the perpetrators nor the victim spent any time in Coralville, let alone Hills. Yet people in those cities (and unincorporated areas) get to pay equally for the expenses of bringing these men to justice. Some people complain to me about this. They say, “Why should we pay for Iowa City’s criminals?” My response? We have a social compact. We are all in this together. We all pay for these things. In this case, Iowa City benefits by having taxpayers in other areas share the expenses. In other cases, Iowa City may lose a bit. My guess is that it evens out. If Tom Markus wants to upset this social compact, there will undoubtedly be consequences. It is a pretty darned big deal, and it should be treated as such. The public needs to know the facts. The public needs to pay attention. For some folks, the facts I offered did not matter. They were upset about my tone. I understand that. The letter was snarky, and frankly, I was pissed off. Should I have turned the other cheek and been more polite? Yes. It should be noted, however, that being polite has not served Johnson County particularly well. Cities have a tendency to trample upon County government. Many of these issues have persisted for years. Will getting angry work better? I can’t answer that. I can tell you it will not work worse! Iowa is a great place, but perhaps our biggest flaw as Iowans is our preference for avoiding conflict. I do not want elected officials who avoid conflict. I want elected officials who will speak truth to power. If they can do that and remain polite, more power to them. But I don’t want to trade polite for committed. Finally, one reader made the case for a consolidated government. I would be open to doing this, so long as there was a heavy emphasis on elected (rather than appointed) management. I see this as a real long shot, however. People have already carved out their parochial little areas. They do not want to cede any control. So, here we are. The facts are still the facts. I continue to believe we are all in this together. I hope you do, too. We’ll see what happens. *Who Pays? From my friends at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP): A new national report shows Iowa taxes — like those in most states — are much greater as a share of income from middle- and low-income families than from wealthy families. The report, Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States, by the Washington-based Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), shows the effect of sales taxes and property taxes on lower-income households tilts Iowa’s overall tax system so the poorest pay the highest percentage in taxes. I keep saying it – people want to keep denying it! Don’t take it from me – take it from the experts! To read more about this and other topics of interest to working Iowans, visit *CIA Ever think much about the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)? It seems to me that the CIA does its business without much public scrutiny, and that needs to change! If I were “King for a Day”, I would eliminate the CIA. Perhaps someone there could make the case that it needed to exist – hard to know, since those reasons are kept secret! Even if I could be convinced the CIA needed to exist, I know I would cut it back dramatically. Why? Several reasons: First, the CIA has moved toward becoming a paramilitary organization. They are now involved in activities that were previously only the purview of the US Military. They now have equipment (including heavy arms) that should only be under military control. Secondly, the CIA budget is HUGE, yet Americans have virtually no say over the money that is spent. The most recent amount is $80 BILLION dollars – and we do not get to know anything about what that $80 BILLION buys! Thirdly, the CIA is almost always wrong! Look at all the recent cases where our intelligence was completely wrong. From the Bay of Pigs to the Iranian Revolution, to the collapse of the USSR, to 9/11, to the Iraq War – they have been wrong almost every time it mattered. It would be much cheaper and just as effective to simply flip a coin. Finally, the American people deserve (and can handle) the truth. I do not buy the argument that we need to be protected through keeping secrets. It is time to open up! The CIA makes for a fun subject for moviemaking, but it is a pretty lousy way for the US to do business. I say let’s get rid of it! *Sutliff Bridge Authority Fundraiser The annual Sutliff Bridge Dance winter fundraiser will once again be held at the Solon American Legion on Saturday, February 23. Your $5 donation at the door goes towards future preservation of the Sutliff Bridge via the Endowment Fund with the Community Foundation of Johnson County. Music begins at 8 pm by DJ Joe Long. Doors open whenever you want to get there. The following items will be available: door prizes, 50/50 raffle, silent auction items, tshirts, hats, koozies, and sweatshirts. This is also a great opportunity to come out and help support the local American Legion Hall. The SBA has been having their winter event at the Legion since 1984. They always do a great job getting things set up for this big evening. Thank you to the Solon Legion staff for their help every year! *DID YOU KNOW? The CIA was created in 1947 by President Truman. 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...

Paragraphs, Rod, please! This is too hard to read without paragraphs.

February 21, 2013 at 6:27 AM  

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