Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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August 12, 2016

Sullivan’s Salvos     8/16/16

In this edition:

*RIP Dottie Ray
*Happy Birthday Melissa!
*Happy Birthday BJ!
*Lone Tree Fall Festival
*St. Peter’s Cosgrove Pork Day
*Johnson County Wins Award!
*Democratic Party “Activists”?
*Is Education the Answer?
*BJ Vs. Alzheimer’s
*Did You Know?

*RIP Dottie Ray
         Like pretty much everyone else in Johnson County, I was saddened to hear of the death of Dottie Ray. I had the opportunity to be a guest on Dottie’s show on three or four occasions, and I found her to be a charming and gracious host.

         More importantly, I found that we cared about many of the same things. While Dottie always came across as “proper”, she was a fierce and effective advocate for many progressive issues.

         RIP, Dottie!

*Happy Birthday, Melissa!
         My wife Melissa celebrates her birthday on August 17th. Those of you who know her know that I am a very lucky man!

         Happy Birthday, Honey! I love you!

*Happy Birthday BJ!
         Son BJ turns 20 on August 22. He is starting his second year of college at Kirkwood, while working two jobs. Happy Birthday, BJ! I love you!

*Lone Tree Fall Festival
         The Lone Tree Fall Festival is August 19 and 20 in Lone Tree. This event is a great opportunity to share some good times with the fine folks of Johnson County’s “panhandle”!

*St. Peter’s Cosgrove Pork Day
         I urge you to check out St. Peter’s Pork Day in Cosgrove on Sunday, August 21.

         Cosgrove is a small, unincorporated village about 8 miles west of Iowa City, and 7 miles south of Oxford. It is home to St. Peter’s Catholic Church, the Cosgrove Institute, and lots of cool people! I urge you to join them for fellowship, food, beer, and fun!

*Johnson County Wins Award!
Johnson County has received an Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting (PAFR) for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2015, from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). This is the first time Johnson County has submitted a PAFR for review.

In order to receive the prestigious Award for Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting, a government unit must publish a PAFR whose contents conform to program standards of creativity, presentation, understandability and reader appeal. Johnson County’s PAFR is available at, by clicking on the Board of Supervisors, News Releases and Publications.

The Board’s strategic plan continues to include goals to make thorough and accurate information about County finances available to the public. The Finance Department’s financial transparency portal makes financial and budget information available through the County’s website.

The GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving approximately 17,500 government finance professionals, with offices in Chicago, Illinois, and Washington, D.C.

*Democratic Party “Activists”?
It is easy to find a local “Democratic Party Activist”. Just peek at Facebook, and you will find hundreds of people who have opinions on the issues of the day. But does this make someone an activist?

How about being an elected official? Does that make a person a “Democratic Party Activist”? Are you a Democrat all the time, or only when you need the votes of Democrats?

Remember the June Supervisor Primary? There were lots of people making the case that you should listen to their opinions, because they had Democratic Party bona fides. Same goes for the July ICCSD special election.

Where have those people been since? We have had several meetings, a few fundraisers, a few parades, and the County Fair over the past 8 weeks, and these folks are nowhere to be found.

And unfortunately, that is typically the way it works. I show up when I want something from you, but I won’t lift a finger when you need something from me. It is sad, really, how often this goes on.

*Is Education the Answer?
         I write a lot about poverty and inequality. Often, people who read Salvos will write something in response. Almost without fail, they will emphasize the need for more education as a cure for economic inequality.

         I understand this notion. I am certainly pro-education. But statistics prove that education alone is NOT the answer to economic inequality. Here is why:

         The American workforce has never been better educated. The American workforce has never been more productive. Yet inequality has never been worse.

       In 1940, less than 50% of Americans finished high school. That number has gradually increased, and while there have been some ups and downs, the rate hit an all-time high of 82% in 2015.

         Similarly, the percentage of college grads was 4.6% in 1940. It was 7.7% in 1960, 17% in 1980, and 30% in 2010. (Source: US Census Bureau.)

         So – American workers ARE better educated. They are doing what they have been asked to do. They are getting better educated. They are upholding their end of the bargain; it is the corporations who have let us down.

         I understand why we are attracted to the myth that education is the key to all our problems. There are plenty of anecdotal instances of a poor kid using education to rise to the top. Larry Ellison, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton, and Barack and Michelle Obama are all examples of poor/middle class kids using education to better their position. It makes for a great rags-to-riches story. It also puts all the responsibility on the individual.

But any statistician will tell you – these high-profile stories are just anecdotes. These are just data points. For most people, education is hard to attain, especially an elite education. And even once you have gotten an education, it serves as no guarantee. Just look at my earlier statistics. The myth sounds good, and feels good – but it is a myth.

         We will not solve inequality by focusing on workers. They are doing what they need to do. We need to focus on the corporations that have done so much to keep our workers down.

*BJ Vs. Alzheimer’s
What: a fundraiser at Shorts Eastside
When: August 17th
Why: raise money to combat the 6th leading cause of death in the United States.

If you would like to donate but can't make the event please feel free to email me at or donate directly to my page:

Thank you for your support and with your help we can find a cure!

*DID YOU KNOW?  Johnson County Public Health brought in almost $1.6 million in grants in FY2015.

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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