Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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October 17, 2014

Sullivan’s Salvos     10/21/14

In this edition:

*Iowa City Human Rights Awards
*Taxes and Credit Cards
*New Voter App
*Picking Your Battles
*Pat Meyer Vision Award
*Did You Know?

*Iowa City Human Rights Awards
         The Iowa City Human Rights Commission will recognize six people at its 31st Annual Awards Breakfast. The event is Oct. 29 at the Iowa Memorial Union. Breakfast will be available starting at 7:15 a.m. with the program starting promptly at 7:30 a.m. Tickets to the breakfast are $20 and can be purchased at the cashier's desk at City Hall. To purchase tickets by credit card, contact 319-356-5066. Tickets must be purchased by Oct. 24.

It is pretty personal this year, too. Almost every winner is a friend of mine! This year the commission will honor the following individuals and organizations:
Ginny Naso, United Action for Youth — Linda Severson Service Award
Diane Finnerty — Rick Graf Award
Dr. Christopher Buresh — International Award
Mike Quinlan — Isabel Turner Award
Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities — Bill Reagan Community Award
John Stimmel — Special Recognition Award

I love these awards. I am so proud to live in a community that embraces these ideals, and demonstrates it by holding this type of event.

What’s more, we need the Iowa City Human Right Commission now more than ever. My own personal experiences with racism in our community have shaken my faith a bit. It is good to see that people are willing to publicly state otherwise. It is helpful to know that most people in this community truly value human rights.

Thanks to the Commission for their important work, and congratulations to all the deserving winners!

*Taxes and Credit Cards
I recently had a friend use a credit card to pay her property taxes. Unfortunately, she received a bit of a shock when she saw the fee associated with that transaction. We have tried to come up with a better way, but cannot as of yet.

Here is the problem - credit card providers add a surcharge to every transaction. Typically, the business then passes that on to consumers, resulting in slightly higher prices. We accept this as the price we pay for the convenience of using cards.

So if we both go to the gas station, and you use a credit card for ten gallons while I pay cash for ten gallons, we pay the same price. In reality, I have subsidized your gas purchase. Because it cost the retailer a bit more to deal with the credit card in your case. Again, most of us just accept this.

When we have the same situation at the county, we are not allowed to spread the cost of using a credit card. So if you and I both go to pay $1500 in property taxes, and I pay cash, I have no fee. The county cannot increase my taxes a little bit to cover the expense of you using a card. So the county is forced to charge you the full cost of using the credit card.

That full cost gets expensive, as my friend found out. We'd really like to find a better way, because we TOTALLY agree that we should be making payment of property taxes as convenient as possible. We just haven't figured out how to do it yet. We'll keep trying, because we agree - this is something we should offer.

*New Voter App
The Johnson County Auditor’s Office announces a new smart phone app to help voters find their polling places and early voting locations. We believe Johnson County is first in the state to release a smart phone app with these functions.

To download and install the free Android app, search for “Go Vote Johnson County” in the Google Apps store.

Voters can choose whether they want to vote now (if a location is open) or on Election Day. The app will map directions from the voter’s present location or home address to the polling place or early voting site. The app works in English, Spanish and Arabic.

*Picking Your Battles
         I often hear people make the statement, “You have to pick your battles.” Heck, I sometimes offer that advice to others. But what do we really mean when we say this?

         I know there are people who will stand on a certain principle or principles no matter what. They will NEVER let it go.

         While this can be admired, it can also be harmful. What if maintaining a certain principle guaranteed your mother would die a painful death? Would you still stand strong?

         Yes, that example is quite severe. But “always” is a strong word! I deal with many people in my professional life who are forceful advocates for certain positions, but are not very effective. Why? Because they do not know when to pick their battles.

         In the immortal words of They Might Be Giants – “I can shake my tiny fist and swear I wasn’t wrong. But what’s the point in arguing when you’re all alone?”

         On the other hand, too many folks defer TOO often. I would argue that most folks do not pick ENOUGH battles! Far too many people fail to stand on principle far too often.

         Where is the happy medium? When should we pick our battles? The answer, as you might guess, is “it depends”.

         In the past two weeks, I have twice been charged with not knowing when to pick my battles. I have also twice been charged with not standing strong enough for the things in which I believe.

         I try to strike a balance. I don’t know if I’m doing it well or not. So – readers… what are your thoughts? Do we need more standing on principle, more negotiation and cooperation, or does it “depend”?How do you decide?

*Pat Meyer Vision Award
The Johnson County Coalition against Domestic Violence has chosen Joey Matousek as the winner of the 2014 Pat Meyer Vision Award.

The award is named after the woman who pioneered the first Domestic Violence Shelter in the state of Iowa and led the charge to protect victims. Joey is also a pioneer, the first agent to have a caseload specifically made up of Domestic Assault Offenders. She facilitates both the IDAP and Moving On curriculums.

Please join the Coalition in honoring Joey and her work to end Domestic Violence on October 23 at noon at the Iowa City Public Library. Congratulations again Joey, you are truly deserving of this honor!

*DID YOU KNOW?  5% of medical patients account for 50% of all health care expenditures.

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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