Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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March 24, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     3/29/16

In this edition:

*Sullivan for Supervisor Fundraiser!
*Community ID Anniversary
*City of Lit Humor Events
*United Way Celebration
*Abbe Open House
*Ted Cruz, Cuba, and Hypocrisy
*Did You Know?

*Sullivan for Supervisor Fundraiser!
We are having a Sullivan for Supervisor Fundraiser on Tuesday, March 29, from 5-7 P.M. at The Mill.

Please join us for pizza, beverages, and fun! Everyone is invited! Call 319-354-7199 or email for more information.

*Community ID Anniversary
         April marks the one-year anniversary of the adoption of a Community ID in Johnson County. There are over 800 people who have received IDs in this period.

         First, a bit of history – the impetus for this came from the Center for Worker Justice (CWJ), a remarkable local organization dedicated to securing fair treatment for immigrant workers.

         Like every other organization that has ever existed in Johnson County, the CWJ thought they should start with Iowa City and Coralville. Soon they realized that working with Johnson County might be a better avenue for getting this done.

         A committee was formed, consisting of CWJ members, local labor leaders, and three Johnson County officials: Recorder Kim Painter, Auditor Travis Weipert, and County Attorney Janet Lyness.

We also had an ace in the hole when it comes to going through this process. UI Law Professor Stella Burch Elias specializes in Immigration Law. More importantly, she was centrally involved in the successful effort to create a Community ID in New Haven, Connecticut. Having her involved ensured that Johnson County follows applicable federal laws, and prevented us from reinventing the wheel.

         The ID itself is a laminated card with a holographic image applied, the same size as a driver’s license. The cost to get an ID is $8 for adults, $4 for children.

         Why do we need a Community ID? I have a very personal story. After years of doing nothing, a few years ago, the Board of Supervisors finally began taking action against the criminals that own Regency Mobile Home Park. State law severely limits the ability of the Board to intervene, but there were dozens of credible reports of fraud coming from Regency.

         Johnson County detectives swooped in, gathered all the info they could, and began following up on leads. Then they ran into a stone wall. Most of the people they needed to speak with refused to talk to them. These folks saw law enforcement coming, and they went the other way – even when they were innocent victims!

         I spoke at length with the lead detective on the case, and he said that this avoidance of law enforcement was common. When I asked why, he said it all came back to a lack of ID.

         This illustrates the number one reason for instituting a Community ID – public safety. We need victims and witnesses to come forward in order to solve crimes and see to it that justice is served. The Community ID helps with this.

         There are many additional benefits: immigrants can open bank accounts and cash checks; cardholders can access municipal services such as the library, rec centers, etc.; it can serve as a second ID for employment purposes; it can serve as an ID for local schools; the list goes on and on.

         The Community ID is available to anyone who can provide the proper documentation. The bar is not as high as an Iowa Driver ID, but there are protections to ensure that the person is who they claim to be.

         Johnson County is home to thousands of immigrants. China, India, Korea, Mexico, Sudan, Senegal, Honduras… the people of Johnson County are increasingly diverse. We need to do a better job welcoming these folks to our community. They are our future! I am proud that the County recognized this, and took this important action!

*City of Lit Humor Events
The Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature has announced two events that celebrate Iowa storytelling and humor, both featuring “Iowa Nice Guy” Scott Siepker.

The first event, “Made in Iowa,” features Siepker, who will tell the humorous tale of why he has chosen to stay and create in Iowa. Siepker is best known as the star of a series of videos that extol the virtues of our state in blunt, often bawdy terms.  The event will be held Thursday, March 31, from 5:30-7 p.m. at the new Iowa City Brewlab, 505 E. Washington St. Tickets are $15, and are available at The Brew Lab will feature drink specials during the event.

The second event, “Story Hour: What’s So Funny?” will be emceed by Siepker and will feature original pieces that find humor in the workplace, performed by the authors . A special breakfast event, “What’s So Funny?” will be held Friday, April 1, from 7:30-9 a.m. at Brown Deer Golf Club, 1900 Country Club Dr., in Coralville.  Presenters include Robyn Hepker, Dave Parsons, and Megan Gogerty. Tickets are $30 and are available at

Story Hour is sponsored by Iowa River Products, Quality Care, Toyota of Iowa City, and the Community Foundation of Johnson County. Tickets for both fundraising events also can be purchased through the City of Literature office. Call (319) 887-6100 for more information.

*United Way Celebration
The United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties is holding its campaign celebration on Tuesday, April 5 at 4:30 PM at the Hotel Vetro in Iowa City.

         Melissa and I are longtime supporters of the United Way. We do a form of tithing – giving 10% of our combined gross income each year. Church gets a third, certain nonprofits get a third, and the United Way gets a third.

         It is a big commitment, but it is worth it! I urge you to do some giving of your own – our community needs your help!

*Abbe Open House
The Mid East Iowa Community Mental Health Center was recently merged into Abbe Community Mental Health. In addition to the new name, Abbe has a new home!

They will celebrate with an open house Thursday, March 31 from 4-6 PM at their new headquarters, 1039 Arthur Street in Iowa City. Please stop by and meet the folks who provide this vital community resource!

*Ted Cruz and Cuba
         Ted Cruz is a hypocrite. He is also shameless, so I suppose I should not be surprised by anything he says. My most recent beef with Mr. Cruz is over his criticism of President Obama’s decision to normalize relations with Cuba.

         Cruz claims that the President should make no moves toward Cuba until the Cuban people are free. Let’s explore this a bit:

         Cruz feels “free trade” is good for every country on earth – except Cuba. This includes both dictatorships and other Communist countries like China.

He specifically mentions Cuban prisoners, who are treated poorly and have no right to trial. Yet look across the SAME ISLAND to Guantanamo Bay. Cruz is fine with torture and no trials in those cases.

         Cruz believes Cubans should have greater religious freedom, yet he would deny that same right to Muslims in the US. Cruz does not like the fact that the Cuban government bans religion in the public square, yet he would force a single religion into the public square in the US.

         Cruz thinks Cubans should vote, yet he consistently opposes efforts to allow more Americans to vote. Cruz claims women are mistreated in Cuba, but he has never once voted to improve the lives of women in the US.

         Cruz actually had the gall to call for “economic justice” in Cuba, despite fighting every single attempt at economic justice the US Senate has discussed.

         I could go on, but you get the idea. Ted Cruz is a hypocrite. His stance on Cuba is just one more example of this.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Of Iowa’s 99 counties, 31 gained residents since 2010. Seven counties — Polk, Dallas, Johnson, Linn, Scott, Story and Dubuque — accounted for over 90 percent of the state’s population growth.

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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