Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 12, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     9/16/14

In this edition:

*Soul Fest
*United Way
*Calling All Environmentalists!
*Jackson County Shooting
*Iowa Workforce Development
*Democratic Party Fall BBQ
*Did You Know?

*Soul Fest
         The second annual Soul Fest is the weekend of the 19-21 in downtown Iowa City. And I am pumped!

         Last year’s inaugural event was a huge success, and this year looks to be just as good. For more info, see:

*United Way
The 2014-15 United Way campaign is underway. I mention it frequently, and I’ll say it again: I’m a huge supporter of the United Way!

         The United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties has been using a three-word call to action. It is simple, and I love it!

         Give. Advocate. Volunteer.

         Short, simple, and yet SO poignant! Far too many people do none of these three things. Others do one, or even two. But it is a three-legged stool. To truly affect change, we need to do all three.

         Give. Advocate. Volunteer.

*Calling All Environmentalists!
         One of my proudest accomplishments as a Supervisor is the passage of a Sensitive Areas Ordinance. Under our existing ordinance, whenever streams, wetlands, slopes, woodlands, prairies, and other environmentally sensitive areas are identified, they have to be protected. It has worked very well, and we have protected several areas because of it.

         Unfortunately, the ordinance has a loophole. It only applies to subdivisions of more than three lots. So we are seeing an inordinate number of applications for 3 lot subdivisions. When asked, Glen Meisner from MMS Consultants simply stated that they were doing 3 lot subdivisions because they were cheaper for their clients.

         Needless to say, I’d like to close this loophole. I’d like to see every application go through the process. (I might consider an exception for two lot farmstead splits.)

         The problem is, we have voted on this and I lost. Supervisor Rettig joined me in trying to close the loophole; Supervisors Neuzil, Harney, and Etheredge voted to keep the loophole in place.

         We just had another three-lot subdivision in a critical piece of habitat off Sugar Bottom Road. We really need to fix this. And time is of the essence. But I need your help.

         Please contact the three Supervisors who refuse to amend our Sensitive Areas Ordinance. Show up at a Board Meeting. Write a letter to the Editor. Let them know you support a change! This is important!

*Jackson County Shooting
         My prayers go out to everyone affected by the recent shooting at the Jackson County Board of Supervisors meeting.

         From the early reports, it appears Jackson County Supervisor Larry (Buck) Koos was unbelievably heroic, stepping in and tackling the shooter.

         I know Buck through our Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) meetings. I cannot say I know him very well, but he has always seemed like a good guy. I guess that was an understatement!

         This incident hits home. When you serve in elective office, you get used to angry constituents. There are people out there whose hatred of me runs deep. Very deep. I can hear the hatred seething in their voices. Would one of them do something similarly violent? I wish I could definitely tell you no, but I cannot be sure.

         I know that I am tired of those who stoke the fires – the talking heads like Glen Beck who warn that government is evil. They tell impressionable listeners that the jackbooted thugs of government are coming for your property, so stockpile an arsenal! Get them before they get you!

         Most people ignore this type of talk. But a select few take it to heart. And they act.

         Meanwhile, county buildings are public buildings. I do not want to see public access limited in some way. But I can understand why others in elective office might feel differently.

         We could station a Sheriff’s Deputy at every meeting. But we don’t have enough patrol deputies as it is. To bring someone on board just to monitor Board Meetings seems like a very expensive solution to something that may never be a problem.

         I just don’t have an answer for this. I really don’t.

*Iowa Workforce Development
         The Iowa Workforce Development office recently put out a report on our Region, which consists of Benton, Iowa, Linn, Johnson, Jones, Cedar, and Washington counties. (This mirrors the Kirkwood Community College region.)

         The report is good. There are many good things happening in our Region. I find it particularly interesting to see how Johnson County compared to our neighbors. Here are a few tidbits:

Johnson County experienced the biggest population growth at 2.0%.
Johnson County had the highest net in-migration at 6,433 residents.
Johnson County had the lowest median age at 29.3.
Johnson County had the shortest commute time at 17 minutes.
Johnson County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.3%.
Johnson County had the highest % with a Bachelor’s Degree at 52%.
Johnson County had the most job creation at 5.8%.
Johnson County had the highest average ACT score at 24.8.

         What does all this mean? I’d say it means Johnson County is a darn good place to live and work. It is interesting to see how Workforce Development tries to spin this report. Clearly, having the University of Iowa in our Region is manna from Heaven. Given that, how can the Regents and the Governor justify the attacks on the UI?

*Democratic Party Fall BBQ
         Save the date! The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding its annual Fall BBQ on Sunday, October 4th from 3-7pm at the Johnson County Fairgrounds.

         Special guest speakers include Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Tickets and more info are available at:

*DID YOU KNOW?  Just 146 counties contain half of the US population. The other 2,998 counties hold the other half.

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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