Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

Previous Posts


July 24, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     7/28/15

In this edition:

*Happy Anniversary!
*Johnson County Fair
*Minimum Wage
*Safety on Newport Road
*Young People In Politics
*Did You Know?

*Happy Anniversary!
         August 1st is my anniversary. You do not need to say it – I KNOW I am a very lucky man! Thanks, Melissa, for everything. You continue to amaze me, even after all these years! Happy Anniversary, Honey!

*Johnson County Fair
         The Johnson County Fair runs from Monday, July 27 through Thursday, July 30 at the County Fairgrounds just south of Iowa City. 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 makes this possible with an annual contribution of $95,000. We feel it is an investment worth making.

         The Board of Supervisors started a “tradition” four 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.

         Another “tradition” is a thank you breakfast to all our Board and Commission members, held just prior to that Thursday Board Meeting at the ISU Extension Building. This event has been going three years, and I must say, I enjoy it!

         The schedule this year features a bit more music (from great local bands!) along with the standard fair demonstrations. It really is a great lineup, with something for everyone.

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:

*Minimum Wage
         As you may have seen, the Board is moving forward with an ordinance to increase the minimum wage. I’ll have a whole Salvos dedicated to this topic next week.

*Safety on Newport Road
         Opponents to anything on Newport Road were recently quoted as saying that Newport Road was “unsafe”.

         I think it is irresponsible to claim that a road is “unsafe” when that claim is completely unsubstantiated by any data whatsoever.

         I have written many times that I prefer that our decisions be data-driven whenever possible. We have a great deal of data on our roads – accident rates, injury rates, fatality rates, and more.

         So what does the data actually say about Newport Road? The DOT keeps very good records on crash data. From 2004 to 2014, a period of eleven years, Newport Road had 38 crashes. In 4 of the 38 crashes, a driver was cited for DUI. 4 times winter weather conditions were cited. There were no fatalities, 2 major injuries, and 5 minor injuries.

         This average of 3 accidents per year puts Newport Road nowhere NEAR the top ten most dangerous roads in Johnson County. It barely cracks the top twenty!

         The “Nothing on Newport” crowd will tell you that some accidents have gone unreported. That, too, is completely anecdotal. While it is possible some folks have not reported accidents, there is no evidence that such behavior occurs MORE frequently on Newport Road than anywhere else.

         Sure, 38 crashes in 11 years is 38 too many. But so long as humans operate machines, you will have operator errors. And if we say that Newport is too “unsafe” for more traffic… well, pretty much all of Johnson County is too “unsafe” for traffic.

         A couple of the folks who feel Newport Road is “unsafe” are doing a large development on the west side of Tiffin. Compare the crash and injury data for that stretch of road to Newport… the figures will shock you! Yet they build on, apparently without concern for the relative safety of the people who drive that stretch of road.

         As you can see, the data does not in any way back up the claim that Newport Road is “unsafe”. That is just hyperbole.

         Such comments are unfair to our Secondary Roads Department, who work incredibly hard, long hours in rough conditions, all the while with safety as their number one priority.

         Such comments are unfair to our Sheriff’s Office, which works 24/7/365 with the sole purpose of keeping our residents safe.

         Things DO happen. There are rare occasions where one of our roadways DOES become temporarily unsafe. And when that occurs, Secondary Roads and/or the Sheriff’s Office close the road IMMEDIATELY.

         When the Sheriff’s Office and/or Secondary Roads has determined that a road is TRULY unsafe, I can GUARANTEE you that it will remain closed until it is either repaired or closed. Period. We WILL NOT allow traffic on an unsafe road. Period.

         I am not interested in joking around with this. Safety is serious business. We cannot be cavalier about it – this is life and death!

Here is how strongly I feel about this issue of safety: prove to me that I have ignored a road situation that was unsafe, and I’ll resign my office. The people of Johnson County deserve to be safe. I am willing to stake my whole professional career on it.

         Words matter, especially when we are talking about safety.

*Young People In Politics
I did not attend the recent speech Hillary Clinton gave in Iowa City. From what I hear, though, she said something with which I heartily agree – Democrats need to do a better job getting young people involved in politics!

         The Democratic Party does a great job of getting young people to vote. But that’s it. Young people need not apply for any roles other than voter or low-paid campaign staff.

This has been an issue of mine since I was young myself. I have tried for decades to get the powers that be (statewide, countywide, citywide) to work on identifying, engaging, and recruiting young people into the party and into elected office. But I cannot get anyone to help. Then when I take it upon myself to recruit, my efforts are not supported. I bring a new face to a party event, and people are automatically suspicious rather than welcoming.

Attorney General Tom Miller and Treasurer Mike Fitzgerald have both served in office since I was in high school – and I am going to be 50! Statewide offices are not easy to come by. It would have been wonderful if these folks had done some work grooming their successors. Perhaps Miller did that, to some extent, last year when he brought former House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy into his office. Too bad he didn’t do that 20 years ago.

In Linn County, State Senator Wally Horn is not running for reelection… after ONLY 50 years! Really – what was he going to accomplish in year 49 that he couldn’t get done in the first 45? Meanwhile, how many young Democrats went off in a different direction over that time?

         The same thing occurs locally. We make no effort at candidate recruitment, and then we wonder why we lack candidates when we need them! And when we DO get lucky and a young Democrat self-identifies, we do a lousy job at mentorship.

         This is an area in which Republicans are SO much better than Democrats that it almost defies description. Look at all the young stars of the Iowa GOP, most of whom already hold important positions.

         It is going to be a long, hard trek for Iowa Democrats. A whole generation has been ignored. And we have created our own difficulties.

*DID YOU KNOW?  The first Johnson County Fairgrounds was located at what is now City High in Iowa City. The curving streets in the neighborhood (Wilson and Morningside) were actually the racetrack at the fairgrounds, and were simply paved over to create the streets.

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.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home