Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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June 30, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     7/5/16

In this edition:

*RIP Francine Jacobs
*Brexit – Here and Abroad
*Calling Out the Corridor Business Journal
*Bernie Sanders
*Did You Know?

*RIP Francine Jacobs
         Johnson County lost a labor leader recently with the passing of Francine Jacobs.

         You heard that right! Most folks knew Francine as a great mother, grandmother, aunt, and an all-around wonderful person. She was a caregiver to many, and should be remembered as such.

         But while many folks know Francine’s husband Tom Jacobs for his decades of service to organized labor and the Democratic Party, many of those same folks do not realize the important roles Francine filled in AFSCME, local labor organizations, and the local Democratic Party. She was a true blue activist and leader!

         It would be difficult to find a kinder, gentler, more caring, more giving, more selfless couple than Tom and Francine Jacobs. RIP, Francine!

*Brexit – Here and Abroad
         There was a very disturbing vote across the Atlantic – Great Britain voted to leave the European Union.

         The website Vox put this forward: A comment on the Financial Times website from a commenter named “Nicholas” said the following:

“A quick note on the first three tragedies. Firstly, it was the working classes who voted for us to leave because they were economically disregarded, and it is they who will suffer the most in the short term. They have merely swapped one distant and unreachable elite for another.
Secondly, the younger generation has lost the right to live and work in 27 other countries. We will never know the full extent of the lost opportunities, friendships, marriages and experiences we will be denied. Freedom of movement was taken away by our parents, uncles, and grandparents in a parting blow to a generation that was already drowning in the debts of our predecessors.
Thirdly and perhaps most significantly, we now live in a post-factual democracy. When the facts met the myths they were as useless as bullets bouncing off the bodies of aliens in a HG Wells novel. When Michael Gove said, ‘The British people are sick of experts,’ he was right. But can anybody tell me the last time a prevailing culture of anti-intellectualism has led to anything other than bigotry?”

         First, what an amazing piece of writing, especially for someone just commenting on a news site!

Secondly, I feel so sad for our British brothers and sisters. Fear and hate won out in a national election; I can think of few things sadder.

Finally, Americans should be afraid – very afraid. What just happened in Great Britain can DEFINITELY happen here! When people feel disaffected, they go one of three routes: they drop out, they vote Bernie, or they vote Trump. Our challenge is to convince the dropouts and the Bernies that we MUST not elect President Trump! The problem is, they got to this point because politics has not worked for them. We have a job in front of us!

*Calling Out the Corridor Business Journal
         There is a small local newspaper in Coralville called the Corridor Business Journal (CBJ). Don’t feel bad if you have not heard of it – Salvos has almost as many subscribers. The CBJ loves to take shots at the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. The main reason for their dislike of the Sups is that the CBJ believes politicians are too timid on the minimum wage.

         Confused? Didn’t Johnson County take bold action to raise the minimum wage? We certainly did. You see, the CBJ feels politicians should be pushing to ABOLISH the minimum wage! (If you do not believe me, check out the editorial their June 27-July 3 issue.)

         You heard me correctly – the CBJ believes businesses are weighed down by unnecessary regulations, including the minimum wage, and they want politicians to boldly call for its repeal.

         Are local conservative politicians too timid? Yeah, I think we would agree on that. Too many conservatives masquerade as Democrats in the hopes of getting elected in Johnson County. I’d rather they stayed proud conservatives; I think it would be better for both parties.

         To his credit, CBJ Publisher John Lohman ran for office once. He finished 6th out of 8 candidates in the 1997 At-Large Iowa City Council Primary. So he put his ideas out there. The public apparently didn’t care for Mr. Lohman’s ideas, as he only received 8% of the vote, almost twenty percentage points behind the fifth place finisher. (The top four advanced to the General Election.)

         But back to the issue of the minimum wage…The CBJ trots out the same tired arguments FDR heard when the first Federal minimum wage was passed in 1938. I find it comical that the CBJ thinks their discredited ideas amount to good economic policy when they have been so thoroughly rejected by mainstream economists.

         So, CBJ – here is a challenge: I hereby challenge CBJ Publisher John Lohman to a debate on the local economics of the minimum wage. Time and place are negotiable, but the debate must be recorded and unedited. (I called Mr. Lohman and discussed this challenge.)

         So, John… are you going to continue to sit behind your computer and call names, or are you willing to show some of the courage you claim elected officials are lacking?

*Bernie Sanders
         As you know, I was a Bernie guy. I’m proud of that – there are lots of problems out there that require progressive solutions. I am VERY proud to have been on the side of progressive solutions. I have fought for progressive policies my whole life; I’m not going to stop now.

         And in some ways, our side won! I have recently heard two candidates for federal office speak. Both talked about an increased minimum wage; more affordable college; and Wall Street reforms. The Sanders agenda has become the Democratic Party agenda! And it should! We can argue over details, but we  are now fighting for the right things.

That said, in my opinion, it is time for Bernie to call it quits. It was a great run, but it is time to begin working on behalf of our nominee. I was relieved to see Bernie endorse Secretary Clinton. I hope he goes even further in expressing his support for her, and urges his followers to do the same. Then he can get back to work pushing our politics toward the needs of the people.

*DID YOU KNOW?  Despite a minimum wage of $9.15/hour, Johnson County has the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 2.5%. That is a figure many economists refer to as “full employment”.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

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