Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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July 2, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     7/7/15

In this edition:

*SEATS History
*Talking When We Disagree
*Blues and BBQ
*Shaking My Head, Part 1
*Shaking My Head, Part 2
*Shaking My Head, Part 3
*I Know You Are, But What Am I?
*Did You Know?

*SEATS History
Johnson County SEATS Director Tom Brase recently shared this brief history of his department. I thought you might find it interesting.

East Central Iowa Transit was established in 1975 to provide demand-responsive, rural transit service in the counties of Benton, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington. In earlier years, transportation services, if available, were provided informally by human service agencies on behalf of their respective clients.

In 1973, Heritage Area Agency on Aging (HAAA) received a Federal Highway Administration demonstration grant to provide rural transportation services for elderly persons in a seven county area (Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Jones, Linn, and Washington counties). The service was named Senior Elderly Area Transportation Services (SEATS). Following the expiration of the grant in 1975, individual counties chose to make their own arrangements for providing transit services, and ultimately decided to coordinate a regional service know as East Central Iowa Transit.

The role of the transit service was also expanded to include general public riders. Since that time, ECICOG has served as the administrative agency and contracted with a provider in each county to operate service. Providers include: Benton County Transportation, Iowa County Transportation, Johnson County SEATS, Jones County JETS, Linn County LIFTS, and Washington County MiniBus.

In just the past decade, SEATS has provided almost 1.2 million rides. Thanks for the history lesson, Tom!

*Talking When We Disagree
         Recently I mentioned the ability to talk across ideological lines. I really cannot emphasize enough how important this is!

         I recently met a guy through work. This man had decided ahead of time that we couldn’t really spend any time talking, because I was a Supervisor in liberal Johnson County, and he was a Libertarian from Western Iowa.

         I just wouldn’t let him get away so easily. I learned that we both have children; his two are a bit younger than my three. I learned that we were both farm kids. We both love the Hawkeyes.

         Then the real topper – his wife is a breast cancer survivor. (My wife Melissa is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer.) As we parted ways, the guy was almost in tears, saying, “Let me know how I can help.”

         He is a good guy. I know that, now, because we spoke. I’d like to think I’m a good guy. I hope he feels that way now.

         My guess is that this gentleman and I would disagree on a lot of political issues. But now I think we could actually discuss these differences with mutual respect and understanding. And wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

*Blues and BBQ
         North Liberty is gearing up for a ninth year of live music, great food, family fun and great brews on Saturday, July 11 in Centennial Park. The purpose of North Liberty Blues & BBQ presented by South Slope Cooperative Communications is to bring the community together for a free, family-friendly event under the umbrella of live, Iowa blues music and remarkable food.

The festival is coordinated by the North Liberty Community Betterment Group with the goal of providing North Liberty residents and visitors an opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the area without spending money. The festival is paid for by local business sponsorships and donations.

         For more information, visit:

*Shaking My Head, Part 1
         I am aghast at the terrorist attacks on black churches throughout the south. At last count 7 black churches have been burned, while others have been vandalized.

         Let’s be very clear. If ISIL did this, we would cease all air travel, call out the National Guard, and every Presidential candidate except Sanders and Paul would demand that we bomb a couple Middle Eastern countries.

         But these acts of terrorism are not even called terrorism! The violence has barely been covered on the news. Why? Because the victims are black, and the perpetrators might be white.

         What type of country ARE we? We need to act! The whole thing just leaves me shaking my head.

*Shaking My Head, Part 2
         Pope Francis recently came out strongly in favor of addressing climate change. Catholic Presidential Candidate Rick Santorum says, “The Pope should stick to morality, and leave the science to the scientists.”

         OK… did you read the encyclical? THE MAIN POINT Pope Francis makes is that climate change IS a moral issue! So… no.

         Secondly, NOW Santorum wants to leave science to the scientists? OK, let’s do just that! Over 98% of all climate scientists agree that climate change is man made and needs to be addressed. So yes, Rick – let’s leave the science to the scientists!

         One last thing. Pope Francis IS a scientist! He has an advanced college degree in Chemistry!

         Shaking my head. Just – shaking my head.

*Shaking My Head, Part 3
         Americans are furious over the fact that our government has been spying on us without our permission.

         Michael Hayden, the man who headed up these programs, repeatedly lied to Congress while under oath. He lives freely in the US, enjoying his government pension. Hayden also works for the Chertoff Group, which gets all sorts of government security contracts.

Edward Snowden, the man who let us know what the government was doing, lives in exile. If he ever returns to the US, he will spend the rest of his life in jail.

         Does this make sense to you? Me, either. Once again, I’m shaking my head.

*I Know You Are, But What Am I?
         There is a disturbing trend amongst local governments. These governments are justifying their mistakes by saying, “It could be worse! We are better than our neighbor.”

         Let’s look at some other examples where this type of justification gets used:

         Sure, I slap my wife around a bit. But my neighbor really pounds his wife!

         Sure, I steal money from my employer. But my neighbor takes much more from his boss!

         Sure, I use cocaine and heroin on occasion. But my neighbor is a meth head!

         Is this really all the better we can do? We can only strive to be a little bit better than the guy next door?

         Personally, I think the public deserves better.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Because they offer fixed rate bus service, the cities of University Heights, Coralville, and Iowa City are required to provide paratransit services. All three cities do so through contracts with SEATS.

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

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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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