Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 5, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     9/9/14

In this edition:

*RIP John Hayek
*Thanks, Sandy!
*Rock On, Ross!
*Good Luck Gregg!
*Opinion Piece
*Hawkeye Challenge
*Hawkeyes Vs. Mocking Jays
*Did You Know?

*RIP John Hayek
         Iowa City lost a treasure with the passing of local attorney John Hayek. I had the pleasure of working with John on a few projects, and he was really a gem. John was brilliant, kind, generous, and a real gentleman. My condolences to his family and friends.

*Thanks, Sandy!
         Congratulations to Sandy Pickup on her retirement from the Crisis Center. Sandy has served the neediest folks in our community for many years now – first at the Free Medical Center, and recently at the Crisis Center. I have long admired this pillar of our community.

         Sandy is an easy person to like. Unfortunately, due to her selflessness, she is also an easy person to take for granted. So please take a moment to thank Sandy for her years of service.

         Congrats and good luck, Sandy!

*Rock On, Ross!
         Former ICCSD Equity Director, Crisis Center Director, and Iowa City Mayor Ross Wilburn is leaving Iowa City for a job with the Iowa State Extension in Ames.

         This is a huge loss to our community. There were many times over the years where I disagreed with Ross. I often wanted him to be bolder and exert greater leadership.

         But that is not who Ross is. Ross is thoughtful, deliberative, and careful. He is also one of the most genuine, kind, decent, and honest people we have ever elected. I am sad to see him go on a personal level, but I’m also sad politically. I really thought Ross would make a great State Representative some day.

         Good luck, Ross. Stay true to the black and gold!

*Good Luck Gregg!
         I am often critical of the local press. That criticism is deserved, but not by everyone in every organization. The reporters I know are all overworked, underpaid, do not get the column inches they need, and are not given the resources they deserve.

         Gregg Hennigan from the Gazette is as good as any reporter with whom I have had the privilege of working. Unfortunately, Gregg is leaving journalism for the PR field.

         Thanks, Gregg, and good luck. You will be missed!

*Opinion Piece
         You may have read the opinion piece in the Press Citizen dated Saturday, August 30. In it, Mayor Matt Hayek and Councilor Susan Mims made several interesting points. I agreed with a couple; I strongly disagreed with others.

         But you will never hear a conversation on these (or any other) issues. Because they refuse to meet with the Board of Supervisors.

         Since we cannot discuss anything in public, I’ll make two points here: First, the title of the article is, “Iowa City Leaders Welcome Fact Based Discussion.” Ummm… no, they do not.

         Want a fact-based discussion? Allow the public to speak at a work session. Televise said work session. Take feedback from someone other than City staff. Hire an economist to decide these “facts”. Meet with another elected body. Do almost everything different than the way you currently do it.

         Where was the fact-based discussion on the last TIF? The Council ignored a petition signed by over 2000 citizens in that case.

         Come on. You don’t REALLY want a fact-based discussion. There is simply no evidence for that statement.

Secondly, in the piece, they say, “the City Council’s commitment to affordable housing should be apparent from the ballot language for the proposed Local Option Sales Tax.”

         That language fails to make anything “apparent”. Here are the facts – affordable housing is the number one problem facing Iowa City. It has hit crisis proportions. EVERY Councilor save one promised to improve the situation as a candidate. That is 6 votes, minimum.

         NONE of these Councilors, when asked directly, said, “I’ll increase affordable housing in Iowa City, but only if the LOST passes.” They simply promised to do it. And they should. And they don’t need a new tax to do it. They can simply require developers to do it. But they and other Councils have lacked the necessary political courage for over 30 years.

         I am not impressed by putting this item on the ballot. I’ll be impressed when they follow through.

*Hawkeye Challenge
         Johnson County is preparing for year 2 of our Hawkeye Challenge on Friday, September 12… the day before the Iowa-ISU football game.

         The Hawkeye Challenge started last year as good-natured ribbing between Treasurer Tom Kriz and Auditor Travis Weipert. Each claimed to be a bigger Hawkeye fan than the other.

         Soon this became which of their offices had more Hawkeye Pride. Then it spread countywide. So we held a competition between all the different departments.

         This was fun! From entering the Sheriff’s Office to the strains of “Back In Black”, to tailgating food at the Treasurer’s Office, to playing games at Social Services, employees took it to heart and made it really fun. Every office was decorated black and gold.

         The event was really perfect… the public still got served in a timely fashion, and most of them had a great deal of fun with it. I’m really glad Tom and Travis got this started!

         The only complaints we got were from the minority of the staff that roots for Iowa State. So this year, those folks can show their colors, too.

         If you get a chance, stop by the County offices on Friday the 12th, and judge the winners for yourself!

*Hawkeyes Vs. Mocking Jays
         I really enjoy the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. In her dystopian world, there is a wealthy Capital City, surrounded by twelve “Districts” in various states of poverty.

         As regular readers know, I am also a big fan of Hawkeye sports. As usual, I attended the Hawkeye’s opening game against UNI.

         And that is where it hit me. The gleaming Press Box at Kinnick. Down below, disheveled looking people picking up cans. The Press Box is the Capital City. They are afforded all sorts of rights and privileges that others are denied. Rules are different for them. Meanwhile, folks out in the Districts struggle. Their focus on their situation is diverted by “The Games” – in our case, Hawkeye sports.

         Attendance is down at Hawkeye games. People feel as though they are overcharged, over-policed, and just generally treated badly. They are tired of it, and ready for a change.

Could a revolution be coming? I dunno. I doubt it. But if so, I hope it hits our whole society and not just Hawkeye athletics.

May the odds be ever in your favor!

*DID YOU KNOW?  Mocking Jay Part One hits theaters November 21st!

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

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