Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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September 4, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     9/8/15

In this edition:

*Minimum Wage Ordinance
*School Board Elections
*Kinnick and Rich People
*Did You Know?

         We once again have a bumper crop of apples! Anyone who is interested can email me and arrange a time to come over and pick your own.

*Minimum Wage Ordinance
         Just a reminder – the proposed Minimum Wage Ordinance has one more reading; Thursday, September 10th. While the first two votes were 5-0, I am not taking anything for granted.

Assuming it passes, the first $.95 increase goes into effect 11-1-15. But remember – cities can vote to lower the wage within their boundaries. Some cities appear ready to vote for a lower wage for its’ citizens.

DO NOT allow that to occur! Organize! Let the members of your City Council know that it is unacceptable for them to cut the wages of our hard working sisters and brothers!

*School Board Elections
         School Board elections are happening as we speak! It is a big deal in the ICCSD, as 5 of the 7 seats need to be filled.

         Candidates to fill the two-year term: Chris Liebig, Paul Roesler, Megan Schwalm.

         Candidates to fill four-year terms: LaTasha DeLoach, Todd Fanning, Shawn Eyestone, Lori Roetlin, Brianna Wills, Tom Yates, Phil Hemingway, Jason T. Lewis, Lucas Van Orden, Brian Richman.

         It wouldn’t be an election if I didn’t share my thoughts, right? Well, I am a proud member of the American Federation of Teachers Local 716, and the Iowa City Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (AKA City Fed). City Fed made endorsements in these races, and I agree with the results.

         City Fed used both a questionnaire and an interview process to determine how well candidates understood and supported labor issues: Economic inequality. The effects of poverty. Importance of equal opportunities. Collective bargaining. Respect for teachers. Respect for bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, para-educators, etc. Willingness to question the Administration. Benefits of using local vendors and local labor. Opposition to outsourcing. And more.

         When all was said and done, City Fed endorsed Megan Schwalm in the 2 year race, and Tom Yates, Phil Hemingway, and Jason T. Lewis in the 4 year. In addition, I endorse LaTasha DeLoach, a County employee who would do a fabulous job as a Board member.

         Does this mean the other candidates are bad? Not necessarily. It is a big group of candidates, and I feel it is a very good group. I look forward to working with whoever emerges from this election.

         But my choices, again, are Labor’s choices: Schwalm, Yates, Hemingway, Lewis (and DeLoach).

         The ICCSD is not the only District holding elections. In Solon, voters can elect 2 of 4 candidates: Adam Haluska (yes, the former Hawkeye basketball star), Dan Coons, Amber Marty, and Jim Hauer.

         Clear Creek Amana has one announced candidate for each opening, so that should be easy. Lone Tree has two candidates and three openings, so voters may coordinate one or more write in campaigns there.

         It is said often, but the message does not always sink in: these elections are important. School budgets are much larger than city or county budgets. This is where the bulk of your tax dollars are spent. And the money is spent on our most precious resource – our children. Be sure you elect good people to do this critical work!

*Kinnick and Rich People
         The college football season is starting, and my alma mater is having difficulty filling the stadium on Saturdays. This should come as no surprise.

         Look at the demographics. There simply are not enough healthy, wealthy people in our area to fill Kinnick Stadium. If you took the populations of Iowa’s 5 largest counties - Polk, Linn, Scott, Johnson, and Black Hawk Counties - you’d have 1.3 million people. Throw in the population of the closest 25 counties, and you can add another 500,000. That is 1.8 million people.

         Not all of those people like football, let alone the Hawkeyes. So we will be incredibly generous and say that 50% of all people DO want to take 5-7 hours every Saturday and go to games. Now we are down to 900,000 people.

         Take a look at personal income. Two tickets, parking, four meals, gas, perhaps a program – the cost to attend a game for two people can easily be over $200. Take that times 7 home games, and you are looking at $1500 per year. That means a family needs to set aside an extra $125 or more EVERY month just to support the Hawks. In other words, to easily afford season tickets, a person needs to be in the top 5% of income earners. (Remember – median income here is $58,000 for a family of four.)

Take 5% times our pool of 900,000 people. That equates to 45,000 people. Kinnick seats 75,000. Where do the other 30,000 come from? How do you get them into the stadium?

         Yes, you can continue to create “luxury boxes” to the extent that 1/3 to ½ of the stadium has paid extra to avoid the Hoi Polloi. But that can only go so far. The economics simply do not work.

         My advice to the UI? Create some opportunities for poor and middle-income folks to attend events. A butt in a seat is always better than an empty chair. And if you can make the changes necessary to attract Jane and Joe Six Pack? Treat them better than you treat fans currently.

         Hopefully you are adjusting to the “new look” Salvos that came about as a result of my adoption of the MailChimp technology. It has taken quite some time to come up with a font, font size, spacing, etc. that seems acceptable to most readers. I appreciate you bearing with me, because MailChimp has saved me a couple hours of work every week. I cannot tell you how nice that is!

         Meanwhile, I learned some interesting things about Salvos. I send to just a little over 400 email addresses every week. Yet only 45-50% of those 400+ addresses actually open the email.

         In some ways, I guess I find that number a bit disappointing. But I can take some solace in the fact that according to MailChimp, only 1% of political emails get opened!

*DID YOU KNOW?  UI Football season ticket sales are down 16% this year.

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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