Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 29, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/27/14

In this edition:

*RIP Tom Salm
*Phone Problems
*ICCSD, Part I
*Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)
*Safe Summer Kick Off Carnival
*Did You Know?

*RIP Tom Salm
         RIP Tom Salm. He did a fine job as Mayor of North Liberty, and was an all-around great guy.

People often forget that Salm arrived on the scene and basically rescued North Liberty from itself. The place went from 100% unbridled development, including some corruption, to a “holier-than-thou” regime. Things changed every day. Huge political fights went on. The place was ready to fall apart. Tom Salm came in, applied hard work, a calm demeanor, and common sense, and put things on track. He kept the growth going, but learned from the folks who put on the brakes. He made the right call almost all the time.

Tom Salm will be missed. My prayers go out to his family and friends, and to all the people of North Liberty.

*Phone Problems!
I recently had major phone problems, including the total loss of my calendar. If you had an appointment with me in the next month, please message me the details as I attempt to re-create my calendar. I apologize for any inconveniences. The wonders of technology…

*ICCSD, Part I
         It has been some time since I have written about the redistricting efforts at the ICCSD. So here I go, losing future votes…

         The whole redistricting/Diversity Policy issue reminds me exactly of Obamacare. We have serious problems. After years of neglect, we get elected officials who are finally willing to address the problems. The elected officials address the issues awkwardly. The opposition attacks the imperfect plan, but offer no suggestions for addressing our serious problems.

         We need not look to Washington, D.C. for bad politics. We have it on display right here!

         Don’t get me wrong – the redistricting/Diversity Policy process has left much to be desired. But doing nothing is no longer an option. If you oppose these efforts, it is incumbent upon you to come up with a workable plan.

I have had plenty of disagreements with ICCSD Board Member Tuyet Dorau (see the previous segment), but I want to applaud her motion at the last Board Meeting. Director Dorau moved that all Administrators in the ICCSD have a pay freeze next year.

The motion was defeated 4-3, which boggles my mind! When facing cuts, the people who earn the most should be asked to sacrifice along with kids who enjoy German, choir, and football.

A quick look at ICCSD salaries shows 44 Administrators earning at least $95,000 per year. If they get just a 2% raise next year, it would cost over $100,000. That is the equivalent of 1.5 classroom teachers. Which do you choose?

How could this motion fail? The Administrators should have proposed this in the first place. When they failed, it was incumbent upon the Board to demand it. They voted to comfort the comfortable. It is simply not OK.

A salary freeze for Administrators is a no-brainer. I'm really disappointed that this motion failed, and I appreciate that 3 Directors supported it.

         The City of Iowa City recently sent a letter to the ICCSD Board requesting that the ICCSD consider “walkability” as part of their criteria for redistricting.

         I’m not on the ICCSD Board. But if I were, I know EXACTLY what I’d say: “You pass inclusionary zoning, and we’ll include walkability standards.”

         You see, the School Board is attempting to clean up a mess created by past City Councils. Had Iowa City passed inclusionary zoning when it was on the table in ’94, we would not be in this situation. Iowa City could have passed it any other time in those twenty years. But every time, they caved to the developers. EVERY time. (In fairness, Coralville faces the same issues.)

         Iowa City should not be able to pretend it had no role. They CAUSED the tremendous disparity we see from one census tract to the next. It is unfair to put fixing things solely on the back of the ICCSD.

*Disproportionate Minority Contact (DMC)
         If you have never heard the term “Disproportionate Minority Contact” (DMC), you will be hearing it soon. Unfortunately, DMC is ubiquitous in Johnson County.

         What does DMC really mean? Johnson County is about 80% Caucasian, 6% African American, 6% Hispanic, and 6% Asian. So, in theory, if you have 100 people in jail, 80 should be white, 6 black, 6 Hispanic, and 6 Asian. In reality, we see African Americans making up over 30% of the jail population, with Hispanics over 15%. This is an example of Disproportionate Minority Contact.

         Unfortunately, we see DMC in many of our institutions. In the ICCSD, students of color are overrepresented in special ed and behavioral programs. Students of color are suspended and disciplined more frequently than their white peers, and are overrepresented at Tate High and the TREC program.

         In the world of children’s services, children of color are reported to DHS more frequently, and end up in foster care at a much higher rate than white peers. Once in the “system”, children of color have a harder time getting placed, and families of color have a harder time getting out.

         I already touched on the jail, but that is but one of the examples of DMC in the criminal justice system. People of color get stopped more by police, searched more by police, arrested more by police, and jailed more.

         Obviously, DMC is wrong. We know it is wrong. We are working to change things, but we are not doing nearly enough.

         You have an opportunity to learn more on Thursday, May 29 at 2pm at the Johnson County Health and Human Services Building. There the Johnson County DMC committee will report the results of DMC work in the juvenile justice system. The public will have an opportunity to ask questions and share concerns.

         DMC matters. And fixing it requires all of us. I hope you can join us on May 29!

*Safe Summer Kick Off Carnival
         The Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County (NCJC) is holding a Summer Kick Off Carnival Thursday, May 29 from 3-7pm at Wetherby Park in Iowa City.

         There will be food, drink, games, and prizes for the whole family! This is also an opportunity to learn about the summer programs that will be available in Johnson County this year.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Garner Elementary in North Liberty is named for Buford Garner, who served as Superintendent of the ICCSD from 1952-69. During that time, Coralville, North Liberty, University Heights, and Hills joined Iowa City to form the consolidated ICCSD.

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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