Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 2, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/6/14

In this edition:

*Mother’s Day
*Supervisor Primary
*City-County Relations
*Free Medical Clinic Fundraiser
*Johnson County Democratic Party Hall of Fame
*Did You Know?

*Mother’s Day
         Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11. I want to wish a particularly Happy Mother’s Day to my own Mom, and to my wife Melissa Fath. One is a birth mom, one is an adoptive mom – both are amazing people who have touched many lives.

         I sometimes wish people could actually see how amazing Melissa is. We’ve had over 40 foster children over the years, and she has never missed a beat once. All that parenting, while at the same time doing full time cancer research. Melissa is truly incredible!

I hope all the moms out there have a wonderful day! You deserve it! Thanks for all you do!

*Supervisor Primary
         Voting is underway for the June 3rd Democratic Primary. One of the offices for which you can vote is County Supervisor, where 4 candidates are vying for two seats.

         I urge you to cast one of your votes for Janelle Rettig. I have worked alongside Janelle for 4 years, and we have accomplished some very good things during that time.

         I know the knocks on Janelle… and yes, she and I have had our disputes. We do not always agree in style and in substance. But I would argue that many of her critics simply don’t want to be confronted by the truth. Janelle does not pull punches. She calls things as she sees them.

         But don’t you WANT that? I hate to say this, but many elected officials could be replaced by potted plants. They don’t stand for anything. They do not reflect your values, and they will not fight for those values.

         I think we need to ask ourselves – do we want to be represented by someone who will just show up and smile, or do we want to be represented by someone who will do the hard things that matter? Do you want style or substance? I choose substance.

         You deserve a proven progressive voice. The people of Johnson County should not have to struggle to get the Board to do the right thing environmentally. We should not have to hold our breath every year waiting to see if human services will be cut from the budget. The people of Johnson County deserve open, transparent government.

         It is easy to talk about these things. Very few elected officials ACTUALLY DO IT! Courage is in short supply amongst most elected officials. When you see it, you should reward it.

         You have two fine choices for your second vote. I have known Mike Carberry for over 20 years. Mike is a committed environmentalist and a good guy who works hard. Lisa Green-Douglass is a longtime Democratic Party activist, a Spanish professor, a mental health advocate, and an active member of the Clear Creek Amana school family. I am convinced that both people can do a great job as a County Supervisor.

         Whatever you do, don’t sit this one out! Your vote counts! Please do your civic duty, and vote on or before June 3.

*City-County Relations
         Whenever you hear about city and county relations, you expect bad news. This is unfortunate, but it is the world that has been created by the Iowa Legislature. Under Iowa law, cities get many perks that counties do not enjoy. And some of those directly affect counties. For example, cities can simply take county land and/or taxes and make them their own.

         When counties complain, cities get angry. Entities rarely give up power or advantage willingly. County complaints about the status quo are viewed as threats by cities.

         On top of that, counties often feel like the red headed stepchildren of governments. Not only does the State of Iowa treat counties worse than cities, so do citizens, businesses, and nonprofits. County government is a mystery to most people. People “get” cities.

         So yes, tensions exist. But locally there are many examples of excellent city-county relationships. I would cite the relationship between North Liberty and Johnson County as a good illustration.

         It strikes me that our staffs get along, our electeds get along, and we have scores of joint projects that serve the public well.

         A few examples: Dubuque Street Trail; Mehaffey Bridge Road and Trail; 965 north; the big annexation east of town; a fully-formed fringe area agreement; updated road agreements; sharing of equipment; an improved SEATS contract; cooperation on housing issues; meetings to increase human services provision in the city; law enforcement cooperation; library expansion and increased library funding; Vision Iowa funding; innovations in voting; and regular meetings between the elected bodies.

         North Liberty and Johnson County are really clicking! There is a great deal of cooperation, and things are getting done. Why? I think the answer is pretty simple: we sat down and talked. Then our staffs talked some more.

         The meeting was not a big deal. We just met. Same way we have met with 9 out of the 11 cities in Johnson County. Meeting helps to improve relationships, and it helps to improve services to the public. It is not brain surgery.

         Sure, we are bound to have our disagreements in the future. But things are going well. It does not make the papers, but I thought you ought to know.

*Free Medical Clinic Fundraiser
         The Iowa City Free Medical Clinic is hosting “Friday After Clinic” on Friday, May 9 from 5:30-7:30pm at the UI College of Public Health Atrium.

         The event will have food, drink, a silent auction, and music by the Dick Watson Trio. Please call 337-4459 for more information.

*Johnson County Democratic Party Hall of Fame
The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding its Annual Hall of Fame Awards on Saturday, May 17 at 7pm at the Coralville Marriott.

Please join us for coffee, desserts, and plenty of old war stories! A cash bar will be available. Parking is available for a small fee on either end of the building.

The Hall of Fame inductees for 2014 are: Patrick Hughes, Joe Johnston, Carol Thompson, Dennis Ryan, David Osterberg, and Pat Cancilla. We hope you can join us in recognizing this remarkable group!

Tickets are available for a $25 suggested donation. People who cannot afford that amount should still feel welcome to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact Rod Sullivan at 354-7199 or

We hope you will join us for a fun evening, and lend your voice to those who are honoring these very deserving people. We look forward to seeing you!

*DID YOU KNOW?  In the vast majority of the world's languages, the word for "mother" begins with the letter M. This is likely a result of the sounds made while nursing.

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.

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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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