Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 13, 2013

Sullivan’s Salvos     9/17/13

In this edition:

*School Election Results
*Air Conditioning in Schools
*ICCSD Public Speaker Policy
*Reasons For Votes
*Thank You, Sarah!
*Did You Know?

*School Election Results
         Voters have spoken, and PPEL and Kirkwood levies passed overwhelmingly. A few new faces will be joining our local school boards. Turnout was much better than normal (about 18% in Solon; 10% in the ICCSD; 7% in CCA; 5% in Lone Tree) but still awful!

         Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to all the candidates. Your willingness to step up deserves a round of applause!

*Air Conditioning in Schools
         Now that we know who won the election, I hope ALL voters in the ICCSD will pressure the Board to add air conditioning to EVERY classroom as soon as is practicable!

Frankly, I’m disgusted by parents who say, “I never had AC, and I turned out fine.” (I did not have AC, by the way.)

My dad was born in a house with no electricity, no running water, and a dirt floor. Thank goodness he didn't adopt the attitude, "It was good enough for me..."

         Times change. None of us had computers in school; that doesn't mean computers aren't important for schools today.

I happen to believe air conditioning will improve the environment, allowing for the focus to be on learning. (Studies show this to be the case.) It also allows for a future that may include a different school calendar.

         So – regardless of whom you voted for – contact the ICCSD and ask them to get busy on air conditioning!

*ICCSD Public Speaker Policy
         Continuing with the ICCSD, I have heard that the Board has instituted a policy of only allowing members of the public to speak at every other meeting.

         Seriously? Come on, ICCSD Board! You can do better! What kind of message does cutting off public discussion send? You appear petty.

Besides, you are getting the exact opposite effect; you are turning your most persistent critics into martyrs, heaped with public sympathy.

         Yes, elected bodies have no legal obligation to allow the public to speak. And yes, elected bodies may set limits on public speech. But this was a bad decision. You should repeal it.

*Reasons For Votes
         This ICCSD election had some interesting dynamics. Democratic Party leaders voting for people who are not Democrats. Union members voting against labor and for management. Incredibly orchestrated use of bullet voting in Coralville and North Liberty. People backing an elementary versus the high school that elementary feeds.

         So – how do I decide for whom I am going to vote? There are several factors. Those are, in order:

1.   Character
2.   Ideology
3.   Personality
4.   Other

Numbers one and two outweigh everything else several times over. I seldom get as far as factor #3.

Other considerations (race, gender, home town, etc.) rarely come into play for me, because they are much less important.

How about you? What makes you vote for or against a specific candidate?

*Thank You, Sarah!
         I would be remiss to let the school stuff pass without saying a heartfelt thanks to outgoing ICCSD Board Member Sarah Swisher.

         It seems that Sarah is a very polarizing figure. She used to be a “big shot” in Democratic Party circles – until she left a position of power. That freed up many of her so-called “friends” to abandon her. Which many have done more than once.

I’ll leave it at this – we have done many things since her election that were long overdue.

         Thank you, Sarah. Your work is appreciated!

         I mentioned Sarah Swisher earlier, and noted that she is “polarizing”. I’ll go a step further – there is a group of people out there that hates her. I’m sorry to say that, but I know it is true.

         I can empathize; there is a group of people that hates me, too. (Those groups probably overlap a lot.) It got me thinking… I wonder why there is so much hatred toward political figures in Johnson County?

         “Hate” is a strong word. I get that. But it is not too strong in this case. When someone calls or e-mails and says, “I hate you,” it seems pretty legit. There are people out there who would love to see me dead. Some have said as much. I’ve not had many actual threats, but I have been told by people that they wish me dead.

         What brings on this level of dislike? Support for human services? Support for the environment? Support for organized labor? Support for TIF reform? Support for Civil Rights?

         The hatred certainly seems to be policy-related. It can’t just be political party, because not all Democrats catch this same flack. I have colleagues who serve in the same position who do not get this response. (Others do.) All are Democrats. So it is not a matter of party.

It is really too bad, because I have many very good Republican friends. We agree on many things, and we can almost always compromise when we don’t. I wish the haters would try to work with me. It would be better for us all.

         Several years ago I was in Des Moines, and I heard a lobbyist sneering to a group of Legislators. He said, “Mary Mascher” in a way that would blow your mind. It was if the words “Mary” and “Mascher” were the two biggest epitaphs in the English language. I was surprised. I told Mary later, and she laughed. But the feeling behind his words stuck with me. I had hoped those feelings were limited to Des Moines. Clearly they are not.

         Similarly, I heard the hatred in the voices of the people in 1998 that could not accept that Johnson County would elect a lesbian to the office of County Recorder. Perhaps this is the best hope for the future – I don’t hear much vitriol hurled toward Recorder Painter any more.

I am a huge fan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I think he is one of the top 5 most important Presidents, and one of the top 5 best Presidents. Whatever you think of him, FDR was a lightning rod.

Referring to “powerful forces” that opposed his every effort, FDR once said, “They are unanimous in their hatred of me, and I welcome their hatred.”

         I guess I need to buck up and go the FDR route. But I wish things were different.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Knitting together two of today’s topics – Theodore Roosevelt Elementary in Iowa City and the “new” City High were both projects of FDR’s Public Works Administration.

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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