Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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August 15, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     8/19/14

In this edition:

*Happy Birthday Loshika!
*Happy Birthday BJ!
*Back To School
*Tiffin Fest
*Cosgrove Pork Day
*Landlocked Film Festival
*More On LOST
*Did You Know?

*Happy Birthday Loshika!
         Our foster daughter Loshika turns 19 on August 20. Lolo has begun a new chapter of her life, as she starts her freshman year at Kirkwood on her birthday!

         Happy Birthday Lolo!

*Happy Birthday BJ!
         Our baby turns 18! I guess there are no more children in our house, as our son BJ turns 18 on August 22. He begins his senior year just a few days earlier.

         If you do not know BJ, you should. I’m very, very proud of him. He is a good human being. At the most basic level, that is really every parent’s biggest concern. Is the young person I’m raising going to grow up to be a good person? I am lucky, because I can say yes. Unequivocally, yes!

         Happy Birthday, BJ! I love you!

*Back To School
         I am feeling a bit melancholy of late. My son BJ is starting his senior year at City High. While it is great seeing him grow up to be a hard working, funny, charming, kind, and caring man, there is some sadness here, too.

         BJ is our youngest. So each event that takes place is a “last”. Last time registering for school. Last first day of school. Last senior photos. Last Back to School night. It has been a good ride, and it is sad to have this phase of life come to an end.

         That said, Melissa and I have plenty of things we can do. I am sure we will find a way to stay busy! Meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy this “victory lap”.

*Tiffin Fest
         One of eastern Iowa’s fastest growing communities is also home to one of eastern Iowa’s fastest growing festivals! The 7th Annual Tiffin Fest is this weekend, August 22-24.

         The people of Tiffin have really done a great job with this. The list of activities and events is remarkable! See it for yourself at:

*Cosgrove Pork Day
         If you find Tiffin a bit too large, but still want a small-town festival, check out St. Peter’s Pork Day in Cosgrove on Sunday, August 24.

         Cosgrove is a small, unincorporated village about 8 miles west of Iowa City, and 7 miles south of Oxford. It is home to St. Peter’s Catholic Church, the Cosgrove Institute, and lots of cool people! I urge you to join them for fellowship, food, beer, and fun!

*Landlocked Film Festival
         Iowa City’s very own film festival runs August 21-24 at several venues in downtown Iowa City.

         I LOVE the Landlocked Film Festival! I’ll be there when I can; I hope you’ll join me! For more information and a full schedule, see:

*More On LOST
         Johnson County had more discussion on the proposed local option sales tax (LOST). There were really three things at issue. Here is the scoop:

         1.) Coralville balked at putting 10% toward the proposed courthouse annex, so the Board decided to decouple those two items. Now no city will be asked to contribute 10%. I believe this is a very good thing; I always wanted the courthouse annex to succeed or fail on its own, independent from the LOST. I fear that these issues were becoming linked, and more importantly, getting confused. Confused voters tend to vote no.

         I understand that Coralville thought the county’s letter sounded like a threat. I agree. The whole thing was a mess. We would have been much better off never requesting anything in the first place.

         But methinks Coralville doth protest too much. I don’t think they really want a conversation about tax fairness or how municipalities use tax dollars. If they do, I’m game. Meanwhile, I hope we can just move on from this debacle.

         2.) The Board reaffirmed an earlier commitment as to how to use any LOST revenues, spending 90% on roads, and 10% on the courthouse. Supervisors Harney, Neuzil, and Etheredge favored this approach; Supervisor Rettig and myself called for a different allocation that included human services funding. (The papers portray us monolithically, as though being on the losing end of a 3-2 vote means you endorse the action that was undertaken.)

         3.) The Board decided to put the LOST on the ballot for ten years. Supervisors Harney, Neuzil, and Etheredge wanted a ten-year sunset. Supervisor Rettig is opposed to the LOST, and is therefore voting “no” on ten years.

I have a hybrid view – like Supervisor Rettig, I oppose the LOST, and I will be voting “no” in November. But I also see no reason to shaft the Iowa City Council. They asked for ten years; even though I disagree, I see no reason why the Board should stop them. (Again, the papers portray us monolithically, as though being on the losing end of a 3-2 vote means you endorse the action that was undertaken.)

         Don’t get me wrong; I HATE the way Iowa City did this. It was all backdoor with no public discussion whatsoever. It was forced down our throats. And we already had a courthouse annex on the ballot. Iowa City screwed the county on this. Plain and simple.

         I am going to work against the LOST, and I’ll be happy when it fails. Then perhaps the next time they want to do this, they will consult with the Board. Though I doubt it. Iowa City would never lower itself to work with the great unwashed in Johnson County. And a public meeting is out of the question.

         But it seems to me that the honorable way to defeat the LOST is at the ballot box, and not through a quirk in State law that allows counties to set the sunset date.

         It is ironic; State law favors cities over counties in almost every imaginable way. Cities can (and do) take county revenues, land – whatever they want, really. Counties are powerless to stop them. The counties are completely ignored at the Iowa Legislature. Then you have this one tiny quirk in State law that actually gives counties power over cities. I can see why my colleagues decided to try to use this leverage; it is the only leverage they have ever had!

         But two (or 40 million?) wrongs do not make a right. I just wish the cities of Coralville and Iowa City would sit down with Johnson County in a public meeting. Encourage the public and the press to attend. Why must I continue to make this plea, a decade after I began?

This whole thing stinks. How is that for a summation?

*DID YOU KNOW?  There are about 29,000 people under age 18 in Johnson County. (Source: US Census Bureau.)

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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