Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

Previous Posts


October 26, 2017

Sullivan’s Salvos     10/31/17

In this edition:

*Recert Elections
*Commercial Property Tax Backfill
*The Local Agenda
*Senator Corker and “Courage”
*Trust in Trump?
*Solar Award
*Did You Know?

*Recert Elections
         Republicans in the Iowa Legislature tried to kill organized labor last session. Instead, they awoke a sleeping giant!

         New laws required all public sector bargaining units to hold recertification elections. In this round of voting, 28,448 people voted to maintain their union affiliations, 624 people voted against it and 137 ballots were voided. That is a 98% approval rate!

         Keep up the great work, my sisters and brothers!

*Commercial Property Tax Backfill
         I was recently at a City Council Candidate forum hosted by the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce. One of the Chamber’s questions asked candidates how they would deal with the Iowa Legislature’s expressed interest in eliminating the Commercial Property Tax Backfill.

         You mean the Commercial Property Tax cut that went primarily to out of state businesses? You mean the Commercial Property Tax cut that took millions from local governments? You mean the Commercial Property Tax cut that dramatically shifted the cost of government to homeowners? You mean the Commercial Property Tax cut that you said would reduce rents, yet exactly the opposite has occurred?

         More importantly, you mean the Commercial Property Tax cut that you FORCEFULLY ADVOCATED FOR, over the objection of Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, and Johnson County? The Commercial Property Tax cut that, while you were gloating over its’ passage, you called, “too modest”?

         Is irony dead? Have you really forgotten your stance that quickly? I know the former Chamber President remembers, because I let her know in no uncertain terms how truly horrible this legislation was (is). You do not get to walk away from this. You need to own it. Please excuse me while I vomit.

*The Local Agenda
         I am very pleased that local governments are discussing important topics. But it was not that long ago that these topics were off limits.

         In 2010, we had some brief conversations about mental illness, homelessness, and how we address people in need. The Council then decided that the important thing was getting “those people” out of downtown. Now, 7 years later, everyone is in favor of a behavioral health/sobering/detox facility.

         In 2010, Iowa City could not afford to take steps toward sustainability. The Council then saw any requirements as untenable “burdens” on developers. Now, 7 years later, every Iowa City project is built with an eye to sustainability.

 In 2014, before the Core Four began running for office, we had some brief conversations about minimum wage. Cities refused to even discuss it. Now, 3 years later, everyone is disappointed the minimum wage was lowered by the Governor and Republicans in the Legislature.

         In 2014, before the Core Four began running for office, there was lip service paid to affordable housing. Now, 3 years later, over a million dollars is flowing into affordable housing projects.

         In 2014, we were happy to spend tax dollars helping rich people, but loathe to spend money on poor people. Now, 3 years later, we are questioning both sides of this equation.

My personal favorite – the Iowa City Council used to refuse to meet with the Board of Supervisors. Now we meet jointly a couple times per year in very productive fashion.

         Don’t get me wrong – I am REALLY happy with these changes! The Iowa City Council has made some great strides! Those of us who have been pushing on these and other issues have many reasons to be pleased.

My point is just ask yourself: how did these changes happen? I’ll give you a hint: elections matter!

*Senator Corker and “Courage”
         I am frustrated to hear media outlets talk about the “courage” demonstrated by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker as he trades barbs with President Trump.

         That is NOT courage! Corker, who has already announced his retirement, has nothing to lose. Courage requires some assumption of risk. That is not the case here.

This is why we need term limits at the Federal level. Imagine if 12 or so Senators were ALWAYS on the verge of retiring! We could have the most courageous Congress ever!

I suggest that we limit it to two 6-year terms in the US Senate, and three 4-year terms in the US House. (Switching from 2 to 4 year terms would lessen the constant campaigning that goes on in the House.) In theory, the same person might be able to serve 24 years, max.

Needless to say, I don’t expect this to happen anytime soon. Why? Because the same “courageous” bunch that inhabit the seats currently would have to enact it.

Meanwhile, spare me the fawning over Bob Corker. He never stood up for anything other than that which his funders wanted – until he decided to retire. That is not courage. Corker is a coward who now feels safe to throw sucker punches.

Trust in Trump?
Are you wondering why more Republican politicians refuse to follow Senator Corker’s lead and rebuke President Trump? If so, look no further than this recent poll:

A HuffPost/YouGov poll from last week turned up the following results:

Clinton voters who believe accusations against Weinstein: 77%. Against Trump: 83%.

Trump voters who believe accusations against Weinstein: 66%. Against Trump: 8%.

         We do not even recognize the same reality. I honestly do not know how to move forward when this is the case.

*Solar Award
Johnson County just received the Sol Smart Gold Award. This award recognizes County efforts related to solar use in the County’s unincorporated areas and solar used by the County itself; we were also recognized for leadership in adopting solar-friendly policies and creating efficient solar inspection and permitting processes.

         This is not only the only Gold award given in the State of Iowa, but the only Gold award to any County in the Midwest.

Johnson County now has over 330 KW projects powering County buildings, and last fiscal year there were 33 solar projects in unincorporated Johnson County.

*DID YOU KNOW?  People have stereotypes of labor unions, but they look much different in reality. 46% of all union members are women. 36% are people of color. 42% have a BA or greater education.

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.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

If you do NOT want the weekly E-mail, simply reply to this message, and type "unsubscribe" in the subject line.

If you know anyone else who might be interested, just forward this message. They can E-mail me at with "subscribe" in the subject line.

As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home