Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 8, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     4/12/16

In this edition:

*Rose Oaks and Affordable Housing
*County Earth Week Activities
*Johnson County For All
*Uniting Democrats
*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
*Did You Know?

*Rose Oaks and Affordable Housing
We already HAD an affordable housing crisis. It just got worse. Rose Oaks (formerly Dolphin Point, formerly Lakeside) is renovating, and pretty much tearing down the entire complex. Hundreds of low-income people are not getting their leases renewed as a result. This leaves many families in search of affordable housing. Guess what? None exists. This exacerbates our crisis.

         I think it is particularly important to note that the crisis ALREADY EXISTED. People look at New Orleans after Katrina – why is it taking so long to rebuild? Because the crisis ALREADY EXISTED. Katrina only made it worse. This is the same phenomenon.

It is worth asking how we got here. Why do we have this crisis? Like many of our political questions, this boils down to two simple questions: Who benefits? Who pays?

To really answer these questions, we need to look at the big picture. Here are two critical facts that have a tremendous impact on our discussions of affordable

1.   40 years ago, the UI quit taking responsibility for housing its students, and left that to the private market. That can and should change.

         The UI should build about 4,000 more beds, and require all freshmen (and perhaps all sophomores) to live on campus. They should redo married student housing and make it affordable.

         The UI created our crisis. 40 years ago they washed their hands of housing, and let every slumlord in town become a millionaire developer. Many of those landlords then acted as though every person who needed rental housing had a wealthy Daddy in Naperville footing the bill. It was and is a cash machine, fueled by high-interest rate student loans. I think it is way past time for the UI to step up.

2.   Iowa City should have required inclusionary zoning 30 years ago. It should do so now.

I know the argument – “We can’t do it unless Coralville does it, too.” I have been around this area my whole life. Coralville is not going to do inclusionary zoning. They just aren’t. We can ask them to, and we should. But it is unlikely. So should Iowa City remain paralyzed, or do the right thing? I say do the right thing, and others may follow.

         Iowa City should have required inclusionary zoning 30 years ago, but every single Council said, “Let’s wait and give the developers time.” They had their time. They had 30 years. Adopt inclusionary zoning citywide. It is 30 years overdue.

It sounds as though the Council is talking about putting money toward helping displaced tenants to find new housing. I admire the city for stepping up to assist the people who are displaced. But think for a moment… where will that money come from? It is General Fund money, which comes from the property taxes you and I pay. So the developer gets to displace the residents, and we get to pay the tab. If we actually required INCLUSIONARY ZONING citywide, developers would have already paid for affordable housing.

         We have a crisis. I say address it at the roots. Demand that the UI step up, and pass inclusionary zoning citywide.

*County Earth Week Activities
Sustainability Staff and the Johnson County Green Team have the following events planned for Earth Week; we hope you can attend some of the public education events.

April 14: Board evening Formal Session – Proclamation to be received by one or more UI student group(s) involved in sustainability.

April 19: Kirkwood Community College ECO Fair – County Sustainability staff to host table about sustainability efforts by the County.

April 20: Energy Fair (Admin Building - Betty Sass Room) – 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Professor Therme (from UI), Alliant Energy, MidAmerican, I-RENEW, Iowa Energy Efficiency Association; LED light bulbs and other useful energy-saving items as prizes.

April 22: Ask-A-Farmer (HHS 203 B-C)—12:10 to 1p.m. Round-table with Shanti Sellz and a local Master Gardener; plants as prizes. We’ll take a mini-mobile version of the event to the Courthouse staff in the mid-afternoon.

April 23: Iowa Woodland Owners Association Spring Field Day, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Kate Giannini through NRCS) sessions on barn reuse, erosion, pond management, timber stands, plant ID, pest/pathogens. 4589 Kansas Ave SW.

*Johnson County For All
How Can We Make Johnson County Livable for All of Its Residents? Join an open, countywide conversation about how we can ensure the highest quality of life for all of our neighbors. Come discuss priorities, next steps, and community collaborations for greatest impact!

Saturday, April 16 from 11 AM -2PM in Room 203 of the Johnson County HHS Building, 855 South Dubuque Street in Iowa City.

Complimentary lunch catered by Shelter House’s Culinary Starts Program. Please RSVP and learn more at:

*Uniting Democrats
         There is much discussion nationally of the fractures within the Republican Party, and rightfully so. There is much less discussion of the fractures within the Democratic Party, which concern me just as much.

         The Millennial generation is the largest demographic cohort ever, much larger than the Baby Boom generation. Millennials are engaged voters, but they are NOT voting like older Dems. Fully 80% of the Democrats under 30 have voted for Bernie Sanders this election season.

Democrats – we had better wake up! If we do not listen to the wants and needs of the next generation, we are through. Their association with the Democratic Party is tenuous. The Party has done little for them, and they feel no allegiance.

         Clinton supporters – you are in the lead. That means the ball is in your court. What are you going to do in our moment of crisis? If you ignore this group, at this time, our Party is going to meet the end of its viable life.

         I’m happy to volunteer to help reach out to Millennials. I am the parent of several. But it will do no good unless they are really going to be heard.

*Democratic Party Hall of Fame
Save the date! The Johnson County Democratic Party is holding our Annual Hall of Fame Awards event on Saturday, May 7 at 7pm at Brown Deer Country Club in Coralville.

Please join us for coffee, desserts, and plenty of old war stories! A cash bar will be available. Parking is free.

The Hall of Fame inductees for 2016 are: Pauline Taylor, Beverly and Dog Jones, and Eileen and Peter Fisher. We hope you can join us in recognizing this remarkable group!

Tickets are available for a $25 suggested donation. People who cannot afford that amount should still feel welcome, but please call 354-7199 so we can get a count.

Sponsorships are available at the following levels:
$100         includes two tickets
$250         includes 4 tickets
$500         includes a whole table (8 tickets)

Checks can be mailed to:
Johnson County Democrats
PO Box 1773
Iowa City, IA 52244

If you have any questions, please contact Rod Sullivan at 354-7199 or We hope you will join us for a fun evening, and lend your voice to those who are honoring these very deserving people. We look forward to seeing you!

*DID YOU KNOW?  Studies show Millennials are much more interested in liberal social policies than previous generations. (Source: The Economist.)

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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