Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 23, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     6/28/16

In this edition:

*Happy Independence Day!
*An Apology…
*Celebration of Community Partners
*Did You Know?

*Happy Independence Day!
         Happy Birthday to the USA! 240 years old and going strong! I hope you and yours enjoy a great Independence Day!

         Looking for ways to celebrate? The Jazz Festival is in downtown Iowa City, and the 4th has parades in Coralville, Sharon Center, Oxford, and Hills.

*An Apology…
         I ran into local politico John Balmer the other day. For those of you that might not know, John is a local business owner, a former Mayor of Iowa City, and a man once known locally as “Mr. Republican” in Johnson County.

         John was disappointed in something I had written in a previous edition of Salvos. I wrote, “GOP stalwarts like John Dane, John Balmer, and the rest are trying to steal a Democratic Party Primary.”

         John objected – and rightfully so – to the idea that he was somehow “stealing” an election. Getting Republicans to register and vote as Democrats is perfectly legal, and the only way John can have any influence in a local election.

         It is also perfectly legal for John to recruit his fellow conservatives to run in Democratic primaries. I get frustrated by it, but it is legal (and smart) for him to do so if he can. He had an excellent candidate this time around; he often does.

         My point – inartfully made – was that Democrats should turn out, lest Republicans decide our primary for us. While I stand by that sentiment, it was wrong of me to insinuate that John had attempted to “steal” something. All of his actions were legal and logical. I apologize if I made it seem otherwise.

         The recent mass shooting in Orlando cut many ways. It laid bare our homophobia problem. It called into question the efficacy of the terrorist watch list. And it once again brought to the fore the issue of guns in America.

         According to Politifact: There have been 1,516,863 gun-related deaths since 1968, compared to 1,396,733 cumulative war deaths since the American Revolution. That’s 120,130 more gun deaths than war deaths -- about 9 percent more, or nearly four typical years worth of gun deaths. And that’s using the most generous scholarly estimate of Civil War deaths, the biggest component of American war deaths.

         Are we really OK with this? Do we really feel satisfied shrugging our shoulders and saying, “There is nothing we can do.” I, for one, am not OK with the status quo.

         I can read, so I understand full well that the Constitution says the Second Amendment, “shall not be infringed.” But it IS infringed. It has been infringed since the day it was written. Every part of the Bill of Rights has been infringed in some way. That is how our form of government – with the Judiciary a coequal branch – was designed to work.

         Allow me to cite some examples. Even back in the 1700s, prison inmates were not allowed to have arms. Why not? Because it would be stupid! Prisoners with arms would not work. So our founders did not allow it. They purposely infringed upon the Second Amendment.

         Then there is the issue of age. Should two year olds be able to own/operate guns without adult supervision? Of course not! But isn’t requiring adult supervision an infringement? Of course it is!

         How about the type of arms? That is not spelled out in the Constitution. Can every person reasonably expect to own a nuclear weapon? Of course not! But isn’t limiting nukes an infringement? Of course it is! (Noted liberal Antonin Scalia actually made this argument!)

         We infringe upon the Second Amendment already, and 99% of all Americans agree. Now we need to go a bit further, and infringe a bit more.

         Specifically, I support the following changes:

1.   Allow the Center for Disease Control and other scientific organizations to thoroughly study gun injuries and gun deaths.

2.   Require thorough background checks for all gun purchases – even between family members. Close EVERY loophole. (87% of NRA members agree!)

3.   People with histories of violence in their backgrounds do not get permits – period. Neither do people with histories of serious mental illness. Yes, there should be due process; but let’s do this! (75% of NRA members agree!)

4.   Ban sales to people on the terrorist watch list. Again, with due process. (74% of NRA members agree!)

5.   All guns should be registered with the federal government.

6.   Ban “cop-killer” ammunition and hollow point bullets.

7.   Repeal the protection from liability laws that currently cover gun manufacturers. This will undoubtedly push manufacturers to produce safer products.

Would these changes solve every problem? No. But just because you cannot solve every problem does not mean you do nothing! Would these laws be “infringements”? Yes. Would they save lives? Yes. Are they common sense? Yes.

*Celebration of Community Partners
On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors will host the event “Enhancing Quality of Life in Johnson County: A Celebration of Community Partners,” at the Johnson County Health and Human Services Building, 855 South Dubuque Street, Iowa City, in second floor conference room 203. A reception catered by Shelter House’s Culinary Starts program begins at 4:30 pm; a brief program will start at 5:00 pm.

The event is an opportunity for the Johnson County Board of Supervisors to recognize and thank community organizations that receive county funds. Those organizations’ staff, volunteers, boards of directors and individuals who have benefited from the programs are invited to attend. The public is also welcome.

For fiscal year 2017, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors allocated more than $2 million through various grant and fund allocation processes to more than three dozen community partners, including social services organizations, libraries, and economic development groups. In fiscal year 2017 the Board will also direct $600,000 to address critical affordable housing needs.

The Board of Supervisors has awarded additional funding to social service agencies to meet emergency needs and implement innovative programming.

Unlike many grant programs, county funding can be used by organizations for critical operating expenses, helping build financial stability. In addition, county funds can be used to leverage additional money from federal, state or private resources.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley opposes a ban on terrorist suspects buying guns. WTF, Chuck? Iowa Senator Joni Ernst said, ”gun control takes our attention away from our top threat – radical Islamic extremism.” Yet Muslims have killed less than 5,000 people in the US dating back to our country’s origin; Christians have killed over 1.5 million – mostly with guns. So is it really our “top threat”?

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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