Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 15, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/20/14

In this edition:

*Congratulations, Lolo!
*Memorial Day
*Solon Volunteer Fire Breakfast
*Where Are These Liberals When I Need Them?
*Property Tax Rates
*Did You Know?

*Congratulations, Lolo!
         Congratulations to Loshika Embry on her graduation from City High this weekend. Loshika (also known as Lolo) has been living with us since the start of the school year.

It is not easy to just jump into a new family. Many kids do not deal with it well. I cannot imagine having to go live with people I had never met for my Senior year. It would be easy to feel sorry for oneself. Lolo has been a real trooper, and deserves a lot of credit for maintaining a good attitude.

Lolo has stayed plenty busy with basketball and track, plus GLOW Club and a few more activities. She has made the most of her time at City High.

         Lolo will be with us through the summer, then moves to Cedar Rapids to begin at Kirkwood in August. I am sure she will be successful! Congratulations, Lolo! We are proud of you!

*Memorial Day
         Monday, May 26 is Memorial Day. I hope you have a wonderful holiday, and I hope you spend at least a part of it remembering those who have served our Country. Happy Memorial Day to all!

*Solon Volunteer Fire Breakfast
The Solon Firefighters will host the 51st Annual Solon Firefighter's Breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, May 25 at the Solon Fire Station, 131 N. Iowa St.

The breakfast is all you can eat and the menu includes: pancakes, scrambled eggs, fried eggs, patty sausage, sliced ham, milk and coffee. Cost is free for preschool children, $4 for children 12 and younger and $6 for adults. For more information, call 624-2386.

*Where Are These Liberals When I Need Them?
         You already know where I stand in terms of the race for County Attorney. I support incumbent County Attorney Janet Lyness. I won’t belabor the point. But I have a sincere question for the folks who want Janet out of office.

         The question is: where have you been? The list of progressive changes I’d like to see is LONG!

         We need a huge investment in affordable housing. That is unlikely to happen currently. We need a real commitment to diversity. That is unlikely to happen currently. We need a bigger commitment to human services. That is unlikely to happen currently. We need a complete overhaul of the way we do economic development and municipal finance. That is unlikely to happen currently. We could be much more progressive in terms of the way we tax. That is unlikely to happen currently. We need a greater commitment to open government. That is unlikely to happen currently. We could change police priorities once and for all. That is unlikely to happen currently.

         If the group that supports Mr. Zimmerman really got focused, they could easily tip the balance in local races. In a typical year, 3,000 votes will get a person a seat on the Iowa City Council. 2,000 votes used to get you a seat on the ICCSD Board; it might require 3,000 now. 800 votes will usually get it done in Coralville. Only 500 votes are necessary in North Liberty.

         Let’s say you are concerned about racial disparity in the criminal justice system. Let’s say you want to change the way police deal with small amounts of pot. Does it make more sense to take on the most liberal County Attorney in Iowa, in a Democratic Party primary, or to try to win a couple Council seats?

         I am not trying to tell anyone to quit the current campaign. Each of us should follow our passions. I simply want to see this progressive activism carry over into more races.

         Many people bragged about the turnout in the last round of school elections. Almost broke their arms patting themselves on the back. You know what turnout was? 7% in Clear Creek Amana. 12% in the ICCSD. 19% in Solon. We are happy about this?

         And activism does not simply mean elections. Why is it that I am on the losing end of so many 3-2 votes? Why is it such a struggle to fund human services, to get better environmental policies, and to be generally more progressive?

         The Board of Supervisors has had three or four CRITICAL environmental votes in the past 2 years. And these votes are NOT the ones that the so-called “environmentalists” showed up for. We won a couple, and we lost a couple. But the environmental community was NOWHERE to be found! Where are these progressives when I need them?

         Why is it such a struggle? I can answer my own question. Because people don’t get involved. The big question is WHY? Why so much focus on County Attorney, and so little on everything else? Why can’t we connect the dots?

         We can do some very progressive things here, but only if people get involved when and where it matters.

*Property Tax Rates
         It is campaign season in Johnson County. That means you are going to hear many half-truths. For example, lots of people like to lie about property tax rates in Johnson County, claiming, “they are some of the highest in the country!”

         Wrong! Here are the facts - 43 Iowa Counties have higher property tax rates than Johnson County, ranking Johnson 44 out of the 99 counties. (Source: Iowa State Association of Counties.)

         Elections do not give people license to lie about the facts. When somebody tells you your property tax rates are high, I hope you will set them straight.

*DID YOU KNOW?  On May 30, 1868, President Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery -- which, until 1864, was Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's plantation.

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.

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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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