Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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November 6, 2015

Sullivan’s Salvos     11/10/15

In this edition:

*Election Results
*The “Slate”
*Veteran’s Day
*Homeless Children’s Trust Xmas Party
*Did You Know?

*Election Results
         The 2015 elections are in the book, and the results are all over the place!

         Write ins appear to have won Mayoral contests in Oxford and University Heights. University Heights has a one-vote margin and gets a recount. Two years after a heavily funded challenge and record turnout, Coralville incumbents are unopposed. Progressive candidates swept every race in Iowa City for the first time in… well, ever.

         Congratulations to all the winners, and thanks to everyone who ran. I could attempt to express my appreciation for the candidates, but I could never say it as well as the following quote from Teddy Roosevelt:

         “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

*The “Slate”
         I found it interesting to see how many folks were up in arms over the fact that the Iowa City Council election turned into two slates. I heard the word “slate” mentioned as though it were a pejorative that could not be said amongst polite company!

         Laughably, as soon as folks finished criticizing one slate, they urged you to vote for the other. Apparently this irony is lost upon people who write letters to the editor.

         What, exactly, is wrong with slates in the minds of voters? Well, obviously not too much, as slates won in both the School Board and City Council races. Plus many of us identify as Democrats or Republicans, and vote a slate almost every time we go to the polls. Yet a minority of voters vociferously oppose the idea of slates. I have some theories:

         First, there is this idea that you are being “told how to vote”. Ummm…. Yes. Yes you are. That is the purpose of any and all political advertisement – to persuade you to vote for a certain person or issue. Municipal elections are notoriously low-information elections. Voters are seeking cues. Slates offer those cues.

         Secondly, I think some of the resentment goes back to the League of Women Voters and the “good government” changes that began in the early 1900s. There were large organizations like Tammany Hall in New York City in which political bosses controlled everything. They put forth slates, and people dutifully voted those slates. Johnson County has long had a powerful League chapter, and many of the members have been there a long, long time. It is entirely possible that the legacy of the people who had fought the “anti-slate” fights of the early part of the 20th century still resides with them.

         There have been attempts at slates before, and they have been less successful. Why is this? I believe a slate requires several ingredients to work:

1.) The members of the slate must agree as to the key issues in the election. In the ICCSD School Board election, you heard “accountability” and “save Hoover”. In the recent Council election, you heard “accountability” and “listening to everyone, not just developers”. Being a group of “outsiders” helps. Whether you agree with these issues or not, the slates were coalesced around them.

2.) A chain is only as strong as its’ weakest link, and a slate is only as strong as its’ weakest candidate. Tim Conroy was clearly hurt by his association with Michelle Payne. On the other side, each candidate brought different constituents to the mix.

3.) The candidates in the slate have to support each other. If you begin to go your own way, you lose the strength of the coalition. And we live in an individualistic country, where going your own way is championed. The “Core Four” stuck together.

Will recent successes lead to more slates? It might. I still believe future success will be dependent upon slates being able to follow the above rules.

*Veteran’s Day
         Happy Veteran’s Day on November 11. Thanks to all the men and women who have served our country. I appreciate your service, and wish you peace.

         Veterans For Peace Chapter #161 is sponsoring an Armistice Day Observance to be held on Wednesday, November 11th at the Clinton St. entrance to Old Capitol, Iowa City. Gather @ 10:45AM. Bells will be rung @ 11:00 AM, as they were rung around the world at the end of WWI in 1918 and on each November 11th for decades thereafter. Armistice Day is a day to promote peace and to remember the victims of war, both veterans and civilians. The event will feature Veterans for Peace from throughout the state of Iowa. The event is free, and the public is welcome.

*Homeless Children’s Trust Xmas Party
The 2015 Homeless Children’s Trust Christmas Shopping & Party is coming up on December 5, and many donations are needed by Wednesday, December 2nd.

         Among the items needed: Toys (ages 0-17); Stuffed Animals; Caps, Gloves, Mittens, and Scarves; Puzzles, Books and Games (ages 0-17); and toiletry items for teenagers.

You can drop items off at: Hills Banks in Coralville and on S. Gilbert St; Big K Mart, Senior Center, GEICO Insurance; KXIC, all Core Fitness locations, and all HACAP Service Centers.


*DID YOU KNOW?  November is National Adoption Month.

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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