Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rural Under-representation? Just the Opposite

On two fronts - the John Etheredge campaign and the petition for a supervisor district system - Johnson County Republicans are arguing that rural residents have been under-represented on the Board of Supervisors.

Like so much that Republicans say, that's so not true that in fact the exact opposite is true.

The myth got started because for a brief period of a couple years, between Janelle Rettig's appointment/election and Terrence Neuzil's move across town, they and Rod Sullivan lived close together on the east side of Iowa City.

But that was an anomaly, a coincidence. If anything, rural voters have historically been OVER-represented on the Board.

A look back over my 22 years living in Johnson County shows that now is the only occasion when three supervisors lived in Iowa City proper - even though the city averaged about 3/5 of the county population. Before Sullivan joined Neuzil on the Board after the 2004 election, there hadn't been more than ONE Iowa City resident Supervisor at a time.

And as recently as 2000, all five supervisors were rural residents.

Even the in-town addresses have rural ties. Terrence Neuzil's family has deep rural roots, and Rod Sullivan grew up on a century farm near Lisbon.

So if you're arguing for more rural representation, why fix what ain't broke? The group that's under-represented isn't rural voters and the government with historic under-representation isn't the Board of Supervisors. (Correct answer: the Iowa City Council, where no member of the 25,000+ student population has been elected since 1979.)

And as we'll see next, the Republican district plan would actually reduce rural representation.

Supervisor Residency 1991-present


Present
  • Pat Harney - rural, Newport
  • Terrence Neuzil - west side
  • Rod Sullivan - east side
  • Janelle Rettig - east side
  • Vacancy - both candidates rural
Oct. 2009-2012
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
  • Pat Harney - rural, Newport Township
  • Terrence Neuzil  - east/west side
  • Rod Sullivan - east side
  • Janelle Rettig - east side
2007-Sept. 2009
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
  • Pat Harney - rural, Newport Township
  • Terrence Neuzil  - east side
  • Rod Sullivan - east side
  • Larry Meyers  - rural, Newport Township
     
2005-2006
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
  • Mike Lehman   - rural, East Lucas
  • Pat Harney - rural, Newport Township
  • Terrence Neuzil  - east side
  • Rod Sullivan - east side
2001-2004
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
  • Mike Lehman - rural, East Lucas
  • Carol Thompson - rural, Penn Township
  • Pat Harney - rural, Newport
  • Terrence Neuzil  - east side
1999-2000
  • Charlie Duffy - rural Solon
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
  • Jonathan Jordahl - rural Tiffin
  • Mike Lehman - rural, East Lucas
  • Carol Thompson - rural, Penn Township

1997-1998
  • Charlie Duffy - rural Solon
  • Steve Lacina - rural, Scott Township
  • Joe Bolkcom  - east side
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
  • Jonathan Jordahl - rural Tiffin
1995-1996
  • Charlie Duffy - rural Solon
  • Steve Lacina - rural, Scott Township
  • Joe Bolkcom - east side
  • Don Sehr - rural Sharon Center
  • Sally Stutsman - rural Hills
March-December 1994
  • Charlie Duffy - rural Solon
  • Patricia Meade - rural, Penn Township
  • Steve Lacina - rural, Scott Township
  • Joe Bolkcom - east side
  • Don Sehr - rural Sharon Center
1993-January 1994
  • Betty Ockenfels - Hills
  • Charlie Duffy - rural Solon
  • Patricia Meade - rural, Penn Township
  • Steve Lacina - rural, Scott Township
  • Joe Bolkcom - east side
1991-1992
  • Betty Ockenfels - Hills
  • Dick Myers - rural, Penn Township, former Coralville mayor
  • Charlie Duffy - rural Solon
  • Patricia Meade - rural, Penn Township
  • Steve Lacina - rural, Scott Township

1 comment:

Sick of Spin said...

Your post is spin John, Newport Road, while technically rural, really isn't outside the circle of Iowa City politically. And you know darn well that the MAIN focus of Etheredge is smaller government and lower taxes, then to a lesser extent a better rural representation on the board, a valid argument to make. Regarding the JCRCC, they'll lose their petition bid (that's their M.O.), but the argument there too, is a valid one. There's nothing wrong with a district representation approach in county government.