Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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July 18, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     7/22/14

In this edition:

*Johnson County Fair
*Community Health Initiatives (Haiti)
*ADA Celebration
*Sixth Judicial – By The Numbers
*Lessons From Little Rock
*Best. Headline. Ever.
*Did You Know?

*Johnson County Fair
         The Johnson County Fair runs from Monday, July 21 through Thursday, July 24. This is a great opportunity for the whole family to take a step back toward our agricultural roots!

         I love the way the Johnson County Ag Association manages the County Fair. I am particularly fond of the fact that there is never an entry fee, and parking is free. In many counties, you would pay $10 to park and $5/head admission, if not more. That is $30 minimum for a family of four before you have even done anything!

         The Board of Supervisors started a “tradition” three years ago of holding our weekly Thursday meeting on the main stage at the Fair. While we have yet to draw a big crowd, it has been a fun change of pace.

Yes, it is typically hot out there. But that is why they sell ice cream! So, please stop out and enjoy the Fair. You’ll be glad you did!

For the full daily lineup of events, see:

*Community Health Initiatives (Haiti)
As many of you know, Melissa and I went to Haiti in April with a group called Community Health Initiatives (CHI). The work this group is doing is beyond description here. So we want to continue to help.

With that in mind, we would like to invite you all to this fundraiser. It just so happens that it is our anniversary the day before, so we would love to spend the night with old friends and CHI friends, all helping a great cause!

We'd be honored if you would join us! Details are below; you can buy tickets at Feel free to call Melissa or I with questions.

Saturday, August 2nd 6:00-10:00P (Dinner served at 6:30P)
2nd Floor Hotel Vetro.

Dinner, live music, silent auction and cash bar. $50 investment per ticket ($20 is tax deductible). Open to the public. Formal attire suggested

*ADA Celebration
         Johnson County is hosting its’ 24th Annual ADA Celebration on Saturday, July 26th from 11am-2pm on the Ped Mall in downtown Iowa City. A special keynote address will feature Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, the author of the Act. The festival will also feature art, games, and a variety of performances.

         ADA stands for Americans with Disabilities Act, and you see the impact of this law everywhere you turn. Whereas public buildings used to be off limits to people with mobility issues, public places are now largely accessible.

         It is interesting - President George Herbert Walker Bush considered the 1990 signing of the ADA as one of his greatest achievements. But in early 2013 the Senate failed to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, an international treaty that would have urged other countries to adopt similar laws. Obviously, much has changed in the GOP since 1990.

The ADA has been an incredible piece of civil rights legislation! Please join in the celebration!

*Sixth Judicial – By The Numbers
         I serve on the Board of Directors for the Sixth Judicial District. The Sixth provides probation, parole, work release, batterer’s education, victim services, and other services for Tama, Benton, Iowa, Linn, Johnson, and Jones Counties. The Board consists of one Supervisor from each county, plus law enforcement and judicial appointees.

         The Sixth Judicial District is a big operation, with offices in each county. In Johnson County, there are offices at the John Stratton Center in Coralville; Broadway Neighborhood Center; Kirkwood Avenue; and the Hope House in Coralville. District wide, there are just under 300 employees.

         Services are state funded, and employees receive checks from the State. They are covered by the State AFSCME contract. Yet debate remains as to whether they are State employees or not. The Sixth (and other Districts) are viewed as “semiautonomous”, which leads to many questions.

         Over time, the Sixth Judicial gained a reputation as a leader in innovative programming. The District has won numerous national awards for excellence – most recently Johnson County’s own Valerie Kemp being named the National Probation/Parole Officer of the Year.

I thought readers might find the following statistics interesting. These are “point in time” from late June of this year, so they are unlikely to be exactly the same now. That said, most of these figures are pretty average for each category:

         Johnson County has 67 parolees, 94 people on pretrial release, 372 people on probation, and 40 sex offenders. There were also 56 people living at the Hope House in Coralville.

         Have more questions about the Sixth Judicial District? Let me know!

*Lessons From Little Rock
My family and I just returned from a conference (and some vacation time) in the deep south. One of our stops was Central High in Little Rock, Arkansas. If you have never been there, go! The National Park Service has done a great job.

The events of 1954 were the closest the US has been to civil war since the Civil War. That time was critical in the history of our nation, and the museum captured it. It was an intensely moving experience.

Little Rock Central is still in operation, and is widely viewed as the top high school in Arkansas. The student body is now 48% white, 48% black, 2% Latino, and 2% Asian.

As I wept my way through the exhibits, my mind kept returning to our current situation in the ICCSD. Our issues are so small compared to what they faced. When challenged, folks in Little Rock chose the hard road and did the right thing. Do we have it within us to do the same?

*Best. Headline. Ever.
         I have served as a County Supervisor for ten years, but this is the first time something like this has EVER been written:

         While the headline made me smile, the issue at hand is quite unfortunate. Far too many people in our community are food insecure. And if we wish to actually address the issue, we must begin by ending our demonization of those who access SNAP (Food Stamps) and other public benefits.

         Thanks to Johnson County’s food panties for holding this important event!

*DID YOU KNOW?  From Wikipedia: Many members of the business community opposed the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Testifying before Congress, The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the costs of the ADA would be "enormous" and have "a disastrous impact on many small businesses struggling to survive." The National Federation of Independent Businesses, an organization that lobbies for small businesses, called the ADA "a disaster for small business." Pro-business conservative commentators joined in opposition, writing that the Americans with Disabilities Act was "an expensive headache to millions" that would not necessarily improve the lives of people with disabilities.

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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