Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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May 20, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     5/24/16

In this edition:

*Vote Sullivan!
*What is This Campaign About?
*Bathroom Politics
*Middle Class
*Don’t Mow the Ditch!
*Did You Know?

*Vote Sullivan for Supervisor!
         Like getting Salvos every week? If you want to keep them coming, you need to vote Sullivan for Supervisor on or before June 7! I would sincerely appreciate your vote!

*What is This Campaign About?
         This Supervisor campaign has, unfortunately, been light on substance. I wish we could have robust debates about where County Government should be going.

         We have all had the opportunity to tell you where we grew up. That is great, but it is not enough.

         One thing you can do: go to City Channel 4 ( and take a look at our forums. There have been five, and four can be found there: League of Women Voters, Task Force on Aging, Environmental groups, and Social and Economic Justice. The Farm Bureau also held a forum, but it was not recorded.

         What issues do you want to see discussed in the campaign for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors?

Personally, I want to discuss issues of justice: social, racial, economic, environmental, legal, criminal...I'm happy to engage my fellow candidates on these (or any other) issues.

*Bathroom Politics
         From the New York Times: “The Obama administration made its stance on transgender rights clear to public schools across the country, sending a letter telling districts to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity. The directive isn’t a law, but the threat of lawsuits or loss of federal aid is implicit. The move came at the end of a week that also saw the Justice Department and North Carolina sue one another over access to public restrooms.”

Hooray for President Obama and Attorney General Loretta Lynch! I am so pleased to see them standing strong behind our transgender sisters and brothers! Let’s face it – this is a small and relatively powerless community. That is why it is especially important to stand up with and for them!

         So what are the real world impacts of this decision? For virtually all of us, there will be no impacts whatsoever! Newsflash! Transgender folks have always used bathrooms! I can honestly say that I have no idea how many times I have shared a restroom with someone who was transgender. And if you are honest, you’ll admit that you have no idea, either.

         Let’s be very clear – there are ZERO cases of boys claiming to be transgender just to gain access to the girl’s locker room. Pretending you are transgender is not worth it. That is because the REAL issue is that transgender individuals are bullied and attacked at higher rates than any other group of people. If there is one group in need of extra protections, it is our transgender sisters and brothers.

         North Carolina Republicans should be ashamed. Picking on one of the most defenseless groups in our society. Thanks to President Obama for standing up to the bullies!

*Middle Class
         Is it tougher to make a go of it in today’s America? The answer is definitely YES!

A 2014 Bankrate survey found that only 38 percent of Americans could cover a $500 emergency-room visit or car repair with money they’d saved. A report published last year by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that 55 percent of households didn’t have enough liquid savings to replace a month’s worth of lost income.

Before you go blaming this on the “bad choices” made by Americans today, consider this: median net worth has declined steeply in the past generation—down 85.3 percent from 1983 to 2013 for the bottom income quintile, down 63.5 percent for the second-lowest quintile, and down 25.8 percent for the third, or middle, quintile.

         People are living on the edge because they simply are not making enough money! Income inequality – behind climate change, the foremost issue facing America today!

         We have seen this first hand with Foster Children. Most of us have a place we could stay for two weeks if need be. Most of us could get someone to let us use a printer. Many of us could get a ride if we needed one. Many of us could borrow a bit of money if necessary. Some of us have someone we could call to help change a tire. Some of us have a person that would bail us out of jail.

         For a whole bunch of Americans, this is not true. And when you lack these things, you lose jobs. Lose jobs, and you lose housing. And the downward spiral begins…We have created a society full of people living on the edge. It simply has to change!

*Don’t Mow the Ditch!
The County’s Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) program reminds residents that Iowa law prohibits the mowing of ditches along county secondary roads and state primary and interstate highways each year prior to July 15. The no-mow order allows time for hatching and development of ground-nesting birds and pollinators.

Johnson County Roadside Vegetation Manager Chris Henze said that in 2010, legislation changed the date from July 1 to July 15. “Studies have shown a significant increase in nesting success, with more nestlings ready to fledge, given this extra time,” Henze explained. The law also expanded the restrictions to include county roads, thereby protecting an additional 500,000 acres of vegetated right-of-way statewide.

“The two-week extension also allows refugia—a suitable habitat—for pollinators during these peak flowering times for many native plants,” Henze said.

Exceptions to the law allow for maintaining sightlines and for controlling weeds. Cutting for hay is not among the exceptions. The law reads:

Mowing roadside vegetation on the rights-of-way or medians on any primary highway, interstate highway, or secondary road prior to July 15 is prohibited, except as follows:
  • Within 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling
  • On rights-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city
  • To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation
  • To establish control of damaging insect populations, noxious weeds, and invasive plant species
  • For visibility and safety reasons
  • Within rest areas, weigh stations, and wayside parks
  • Within 50 feet of a drainage tile or tile intake
  • For access to a mailbox or for other accessibility purposes
  • On rights-of-way adjacent to agricultural demonstration or research plots

“In an agricultural state like Iowa, the law serves as a reminder to mow only the shoulder and leave the rest for the birds,” Henze said. “Aggressive mowing weakens vegetation along slopes, which allows erosion and soil loss. That can also create openings for weeds.”

Visit the Secondary Roads page at and click on Roadside Vegetation Management for more information on the County’s IRVM program.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Johnson County’s IRVM policy was awarded the 2011 Achievement Award for Roadside Vegetation Management for our Native Plant Community Policy. The award was presented at the annual conference of the National Association of Counties, a national organization representing county government with a membership of about 75 percent of US counties.

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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