Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 26, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos     4/30/13

In this edition:

*RIP Cletus Redlinger
*Thank You MidWest One!
*A Bad Idea…
*Earth Day Proclamation
*On Understanding Black…
*May Day
*Dems Hall of Fame
*Did You Know?

*RIP Cletus Redlinger
         Former Johnson County Treasurer Cletus Redlinger passed away Sunday April 21st at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City. Cletus served as Johnson County Treasurer from 1984-1998, and was employed in the Treasurer’s office from 1963 to 1998.

         I know many people in County government have warm memories of Cletus. I have heard many stories of his skill as a politician. He was obviously successful in government and politics. It just so happens that his son Andy is a buddy of mine. I can tell you this – if the measure of a man can be taken by looking at his children, then Cletus was indeed a very successful man!

         RIP, Cletus!

*Thank You MidWest One!
         I hope everyone noticed the recent development proposal from MidWest One Bank in Iowa City.

         As you probably know, MidWest One has been operating out of the old Sabin School building just south of downtown. They have proposed a mixed-use development for the location, containing 22 condos and the MidWest One Home Loan Center and drive up location. This would be the first new downtown office building since 1977.

The move to Sabin was actually the second time that MidWest One has sacrificed a building to help the Iowa City/University of Iowa community. Back in the 70s, Iowa State Bank gave up their drive through location to allow for Old Capitol Mall. 40 years later, they sacrificed their drive through to the UI School of Music.

         Having been headquartered in downtown Iowa City for many years, they wanted to stay. So MidWest One decided to kick start the process of expanding Iowa City’s downtown south of Burlington Street – into the Riverfront Crossings area.

         So, this is all good news, right? Oh, it gets better! Note this quote from MidWest One CEO Charlie Funk: “We realize other financial institutions have applied for TIF; we don’t really think we need to have TIF,” Funk told the Economic Development Committee. “We’re willing to pay our taxes and be a player in downtown Iowa City where our headquarters is.”

         BRAVO, MidWest One! Rather than take tax dollars intended for the schools and the County, MidWest One is going to pay its own way.

         I have written here on previous occasions that I am a proud customer of MidWest One. They are a local bank, they truly care about this community, and I think they do a great job. This is yet another example! Congrats, MidWest One!

*A Bad Idea…
         It seems as though there is always some bad news to offset any good. You just read the good news above on local use of TIF. The bad news on local government financing can be found here:

         In the link, Peter Fisher of the Iowa Policy Project (IPP) explains how HF641 (which passed 87-9) would allow cities to divert sales tax revenue and do whatever they want with it. Including handing it over to developers.

         Why? The State of Iowa has all kinds of needs that are underfunded: k-12, Regents, environmental protection, courts, social services… why give this revenue to cities? Now who will fund those state funded needs? Answer? No one!

         Thanks to Representatives Mascher and Lensing for being two of the nine that got this right. And thanks as always to IPP for being a great watchdog!

*Earth Day Proclamation
         Earth Day was last week. To recognize this fact, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed a proclamation. Unfortunately, that proclamation only passed 4-1.

         In my eight years on the Board, I think we’ve only had three proclamations that failed to get a 5-0 vote. Two have occurred in the past month.

I simply do not understand a vote against Earth Day. I like Earth Day. I voted for the proclamation.

*On Understanding Black…
         I have had a few folks recently who have claimed that I am a racist. Some (but not all) of these claims surround my support of a new Justice Center. A few folks claim I “do not understand” what it means to be black. (These folks are all educated white “liberals”, by the way.)

         These folks don’t really know me, of course. It is very easy to opine on topics about which you know NOTHING.

         Here is the thing: my three children are African American. So are many of our dozens of foster children. For the past 15 years, my family has been majority black. Every night when I kissed my children goodnight, I kissed black foreheads. When I said my prayers, I was praying for black people. I have been called names. I have cried with them and for them when they got called names. I have walked the walk.

         I cannot say that I “know” what it means to be African American in Johnson County, Iowa. I think one must actually live it to truly understand. That said, I will guarantee you I have a better idea than 99% of all white folks. I will guarantee you I have a better idea than my critics.

         What’s more, the critics have done nothing but criticize. I have been a part of several events and several groups that have tried to improve understanding between races. Never saw one of the critics there. Never will, either. Because they are all talk.

Racism is real. It exists in Johnson County. I’m guilty of it, to some degree. Because we all are. I’m just not as guilty as my ignorant accusers believe.

*May Day
         I celebrate May Day. You should, too! May Day continues to be a worldwide worker’s holiday; it used to be celebrated in the US, too, until McCarthyism. Workers earned the holiday then, and deserve it still today. So feel free – celebrate May Day!

*Dems Hall of Fame
         The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding its annual Hall of Fame event on Saturday, May 11 at 7pm at the Marriott in Coralville.

         Honorees this year are Anita Sehr, Maureen Donnelly, Joyce Carman, Rebecca Reiter, and the late Lori Bears. An amazing group of people who deserve your appreciation!

Tickets are a suggested donation of $25 apiece. Desserts and coffee are included, and a cash bar will be available.

         I hope you will join me on May 11 to help honor these 5 deserving volunteers.

*DID YOU KNOW?  The earliest May Day celebrations appeared in pre-Christian times, with the festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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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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