Friday, June 22, 2018

Johnson County Minimum Wage is $10.27

Latest Johnson County minimum wage increase to take effect July 1

Johnson County, Iowa – The Johnson County Board of Supervisors reminds employers and employees that the fourth increase in Johnson County’s recommended minimum wage will take effect Sunday, July 1, 2018. The rate will increase to $10.27 per hour.

Though the wage increase is symbolic in nature and unenforceable under State law, the Supervisors approved the increase to remain in line with their vote in September 2015 to begin phased increases.

Additionally, the Board of Supervisors has created a multi-year, multi-step process to increase the base wage rate for all County employees, including part-time, seasonal and temporary employees, and interns. The base wage has been set at $14 an hour for fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018, and will increase to $15 an hour in FY2020

The State of Iowa’s minimum wage was increased to $7.25 per hour in 2008, ahead of the Federal increase to $7.25 in 2009, but has remained at $7.25 and is not indexed for inflation.On Sept. 10, 2015, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance (#09-10-15-01) establishing a Johnson County minimum wage. According to that ordinance, the minimum wage in Johnson County was raised in three steps – to $8.20 per hour on Nov. 1, 2015, to $9.15 per hour on May 1, 2016, and to $10.10 per hour on Jan. 1, 2017.

On March 30, 2017, Governor Terry Branstad signed legislation eliminating the ability of jurisdictions within the State of Iowa to set a minimum wage above the State minimum wage. Johnson County had a higher minimum wage than the State for 17 months, including three months when it was $10.10 per hour.

In December 2017, the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, which was composed of members of the public and residents of Johnson County, presented the findings of the report, “Jobs and wages in Johnson County before and after the minimum wage increase,” at a Board of Supervisors’ Informal Meeting. The Committee found that the minimum wage increase did not appear to hurt businesses, which was a suggested possible negative consequence. Additionally, the wage increase benefited low-wage workers, who saw a larger increase in their average weekly earnings.

More information on the minimum wage ordinance is available at

Questions about the ordinance may be directed to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors at 319-356-6000 or


New CAFO in Johnson County

I'm being contacted about a new 2,499 hog unit confinement going up SW of Iowa City. It is near a subdivision. This is one animal unit under the state Master Matrix, not that the master matrix is worth much. That means the smallest bit of local review of the project is not allowed.

If you want more attention paid to water and air quality, than how many animals can be confined in CAFOs, then please get out and question candidates and vote.

Johnson County's only true ability to control the location of CAFOs is by limiting them to state defined agriculture exempt farms. When you see people arguing that Johnson County should make small acres "Ag Exempt" it sounds good until you find out how many people want to put CAFOs on small parcels of land. Every issue has pros and cons. This one could have a lot of unintended consequences.

I believe in local control. I also believe Iowa has way too many CAFOs. I also believe Iowans think Iowa has too many CAFOs. Let's vote only for candidates that agree.


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Hunger in Johnson County is Rising

I attended the Hunger Banquet Thursday night benefiting the Crisis Center. This is a fundraiser where one is assigned an economic status and that household income is divided up to what you are able to afford for dinner. We were served everything from nothing to lobster and steak.

9% of us have a household income of $15,000-24,999. That group was served ramen noodles.

9% are $25,000-34,999. They were served a salad.

28% are $35,000-74,999. They were served a hamburger and fries and no greens.

33% are $75,000-199,999. They were served a salad, chicken and gravy and vegetables.

6% are $200,000 and up. They were served salad, vegetables, lobster and steak.

And in Johnson County 14% of us are food insecure and have no idea where their next meals will come from. They were served nothing and had to rely on their tablemates for food.

Over 19,000 Johnson County residents are food insecure. That's a bit less than the size of Coralville. That includes 4,000 children. That is about four of our elementary schools full of children without enough food, let alone healthy food.

The Crisis Center serves over 1,000 families a week and distributes 1.6 million pounds of food. The Crisis Center also does mobile pantries and school based pantries. They do emergency assists of cash for rent, utilities, etc. They do vouchers and cash for clothing, fuel, tools, boots and more to help people get started to work.

As some of us are grieving celebrities that have committed sucide in recent days, remember the Crisis Center is there for all kinds of crises. The Crisis Line, Crisis Chat, education and mobile crisis are important to our community. Mental health crisis does not discriminate on the basis of wealth and Crisis Center is there for all.

Last night they showed some very moving videos featuring the words of past clients. There were many tears in the room and acknowledgements that most of us had moments in our life or still do that one lost paycheck could put us there.

I was tired and distracted when I rushed into the event. I carried only my phone, keys and sunglasses. After hearing all this and knowing how important Crisis Center is to our area, I wanted to dig deeper in that moment. Without a wallet, credit card or checkbook, I was just going to leave. Then I remembered, I usually have emergency money in my phone case. I counted it and found $35. I recalled that the Crisis Center can turn a  $1 contribution into 4 pounds of food. I decided they needed 140 pounds of food more than I needed that emergency money.

I always love giving to the Crisis Center. They can make humanity better for our neighbors with $5 or $500. Everything helps.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Some thoughts about the Primary Election

Some thoughts about the Primary Election:

Thank you to Mike Carberry for his service to the people of Johnson County. The County has worked on a number of very exciting progressive projects and initiatives the past few years and Mike was a part of these accomplishments.
Congratulations to Pat Heiden. Pat has been running for Supervisor for several years and has established herself as a good team builder and big fundraiser. It is difficult to take on incumbents and her team worked very hard. Let's take that energy and turn out a record Democratic vote in November.

Mostly I thank Mike and Pat for a hard fought, but cordial campaign. The four forums were about issues and not personal and I appreciate the lack of drama and attacks. Mike and Pat had many wonderful campaign volunteers and supporters and I thank all of them for being so active and engaged.
I wouldn't be here without the support of my spouse, Robin Butler, and my mother, Linda Rettig. They hit over 4,100 doors and worked so hard at events. They never signed up or had the bug for politics or public office, but they have always helped me with my passion.

I thank all of my supporters and organized labor for believing in me and trusting me. I am overwhelmed by all the kindness I have received in the recent weeks.

To our dog, CJ. Thank you for putting up with us. Your #Dogs4Rettig spreading into every animal and kid 4 Rettig clearly made the difference. We promise to throw more balls and frisbees to make up for lost time.
Thanks to the Auditor Travis Weipert, his staff and all the election workers. I don't know how they pulled off an unprecedented election turnout without trouble, but thank you all.
I'm missing my Father, Robin's Mom and her Father tonight. I know they would have loved tonight. May they rest in peace.

Congratulations to everyone that ran for office in this Primary. It isn't easy to put yourself out there and run. If this wasn't your day, please don't go away. We need you and there will likely be other seats that need you.

"You won the Democratic Primary, Janelle, so now what are you going to do?" I'm not going to Disney World....I'm going to the World Series of Poker and play Event #21. Wish me good cards and the ability to stay awake.
Thank you all. I know we can make Johnson County a even more caring and wonderful place to live, work and play. We all need to rest and then get ready for a huge, liberal progressive victory in November. It won't be easy, but Iowa, the United States and actually the world need us.

#united for a #bluewave  because #electionsmatter

The polls are now open


I'm also
A feminist

I'm all about
Fiscal Responsibility

Johnson County, I would appreciate one of your up to two votes today for Johnson County Supervisor.

The polls are open until 9 pm.

I will be at Shakespeare's on 1st Ave, Iowa City starting at 8 pm. Please join #TeamTeal for some socializing.

You can find sample ballots and polling locations here:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Tuesday is Primary Day- Please Vote for Me

The polls are open Tuesday in Iowa from 7 am - 9 pm.

Some Johnson County polling places have moved around. Please check your polling place and go vote.

I would greatly appreciate your one of your up to two votes for Johnson County Supervisor.

Janelle Rettig Has One of My Votes

Janelle Rettig Has One of My Votes

I plan to vote for Janelle Rettig for Johnson County Supervisor, and I hope you will cast one of your two votes for Rettig.

These are my reasons: She is a fiscal conservative. Shortly after being elected supervisor she successfully advocated for establishing a Finance Department.  Working with the other supervisors and elected officials, she has helped Johnson County be in a fiscally sound position.

Rettig is a progressive liberal. She has helped lead on addressing human needs through support for the minimum wage, the community ID, human rights, affordable housing, solar, trails, the emergency management center, alternatives to jail and funding for human services. She was co-chair of the committee to win county approval of funding for the county Conservation Board, which will benefit residents for centuries to come.

And one of her unique attributes is she understands and practices the democratic progress. This was clearly demonstrated in her objection to the process recently used by the supervisors in the development and adoption of the County Strategic Plan. She studies the issues, she listens to the appointed boards and committees, and she seeks innovative solutions.

I have observed the operation of the supervisors for over 50 years. I believe it is important that Janelle Rettig be re-elected so she can continue to help move Johnson County forth as a livable and welcoming community for all persons.

— Bob Welsh, Iowa City

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Rettig has one of my votes

Early Voting Today at Auditor's Office

You can vote today.

You have up to two votes for Johnson County Supervisor. I would really appreciate one of them.

June 4  (Monday)
Johnson County Auditor’s Office
7:45am – 5:30pm

June 5 (Tuesday) Election Day!
Voting at your regular polling place 7:00am – 9:00pm

More election information can be found here:

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Johnson County: Rally to Re-Elect the Rebel for Our Cause

Johnson County: Rally to Re-Elect the Rebel for Our Cause

              Early voting has begun in Iowa as of May 7th and it has been said that all politics is local.  Well, Johnson County, that has never been more true than in 2018, this the year of the blue wave.  In anticipation of disenchantment & a swell of political momentum from Iowa Democrats, Johnson County is squarely in the crosshairs of Republican legislative targeting.  For this reason, I urge the rest of the county to rally around our Rebel Rettig!  Return her to our Board of Supervisors where she can continue to do what she has done so well for the past eight years…
              -Fight for a minimum wage to be increased to a livable wage
              -Develop & explore new opportunities for affordable housing
              -Make funding for mental health & disability a high priority!
              Janelle is committed to the hard work & the people who do it!  So, with so much on the line, the choice is clear.  I’ve made it & I know you can too.  In Johnson County we need to re-elect Janelle Rettig to hold the line on our Board of Supervisors.

Anthony Currin

Proud Teamster, Strong Democratic Activist and Party Member

Saturday, June 2, 2018

P-C backs Weiner, Rettig, Carberry in primary

P-C backs Weiner, Rettig, Carberry in primary

Johnson County Board of Supervisors

In the race for county supervisor, our vote for one candidate is a no-brainer:
Janelle Rettig deserves another term on the board.

Rettig is sharp, thoughtful, budget-minded, and she is acutely aware of the needs of all all Johnson County residents, urban and rural. She brings a different perspective to the board, admitting that she sometimes will play "devil's advocate" for the sake of questioning and exploring all sides of an issue.

Rettig is passionate about addressing the growing issue of poverty and food insecurity in Johnson County. It’s something people don’t see, she says, and it’s something we can’t ignore. She wants to make headway on affordable housing by finding ways to work with city governments to find solutions.She sees potential in a regional transit authority to address transportation issues and needed access to services.

She also knows the importance of establishing a future jail alternatives center in the county — something she wants to help see through to fruition as a board member.

Iowa City Press-Citizen: P-C backs Weiner, Rettig, Carberry in primary

Rettig and Carberry stand for inclusiveness

Rettig and Carberry stand for inclusiveness

We want to express our strong support for the re-election of Mike Carberry and Janelle Rettig to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors. They have stood up for the kind of inclusive community we want Iowa City and Johnson County to be. Their support for a living wage, for the protection of the environment, for the unqualified defense of the fundamental rights of our immigrant neighbors, and their willingness to challenge a state government that has sought to pre-empt the right of local governments to express the will of their citizens are initiatives that have made this county and this city a beacon of hope.  They have shown courage.  They have not equivocated.  They represent the kind of progressive spirit our community continues to need in these challenging times.

— Shel and Ann Stromquist, Iowa City

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Rettig and Carberry stand for inclusiveness

Janelle Rettig is Good for Johnson County

Janelle Rettig is Good for Johnson County 

I urge voters to re-elect Janelle Rettig to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors.  She has proven by her votes and actions that she is dedicated to the best quality of life for everyone.  From supporting a minimum wage that reflects worker's actual needs to working to improve the infrastructure so important for everyone from farmers to campers she has made Johnson County an attraction for families, students and business.  An impressive achievement, especially when the county has a balanced budget with a healthy reserve!

Please vote early for Janelle on June 5.

— Maureen C. Donnelly, Iowa City

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Janelle Rettig for Johnson County

Friday, June 1, 2018

JC Dems Volunteer at Free Lunch

It is always a good week when the Johnson County Democrats are volunteering at the Free Lunch Program.  The JC Dems cook and serve a good nutritious meal every other month on the first Friday. They have been doing this volunteer work for a number of years. They pass the hat at Central Committee meetings in order to buy chicken and other supplies. It costs about $200 and we serve up to 140-150 people.

There are two shifts of workers and it is always a good time. We solve a lot of world and political problems while cooking and cleaning. Today some of the regulars where away, so other regulars learned new skills and new volunteers stepped up. My Mom was in town and we put her to work at Free Lunch before she spent the afternoon doorknocking for me.

Kitchens can make me nervous because I am not the best cook, but there is always work for every skill set. My job is getting the dining and serving areas ready and starting the dishes. I like to work the 9:30 - 11:30 pre-lunch shift.

The Free Lunch program is a very important program as many people in need rely on this meal for their main food of the day. Free Lunch relies on a different volunteer group each day six days a week.

Free Lunch is located in The 1105 Project at 1105 S. Gilbert Court. One of my top things I am most proud of as a Supervisor was the selling of this building to the Crisis Center for $1. The 1105 Project is an example of the collaboration and success that can come from the County, Cities, non-profit agencies, United Way, the Community Foundation and a bunch of donors all working together for common goals and needs.

We need a caring and compassionate leader

We need a caring and compassionate leader.

I am writing to endorse Janelle Rettig for Johnson County supervisor re-election. I became more active in Johnson County politics over the last year-and-a-half, and Janelle was one of the first elected officials to really make me feel welcomed. She shows genuine care, concern, and interest in the lives of my daughter and me. I have seen this same compassion and interest shown through her work on the board, with the community at-large, and in her interactions at various charitable functions. I have been impressed with Janelle's research on issues, and she’s never afraid to stand for what she believes is right. Janelle has worked tirelessly on environmental issues, remedying human rights and equality disparities, balancing our budget, and mental health issues in Johnson County. Compassionate and caring politicians are a rarity, and it would be sad for us to lose this were Janelle not re-elected. Please join me in supporting Janelle Rettig on June 5.

— Danielle Benford, Coralville

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Janelle Rettig for supervisor

Workers have an advocate in Janelle Rettig

Iowa City Press-Citizen: Workers have an advocate in Janelle Rettig

Teamsters Local 238 has endorsed incumbent Janelle Rettig in her bid for re-election to the Johnson County Board of Supervisors in the Democratic Primary on June 5.

I've worked with Janelle Rettig for many years on a variety of issues.  Janelle has long been a stalwart supporter of workers in Johnson County.  I back Janelle because she backs working families.  She has stood side-by-side with workers from the beginning of her political career.  She was there at the beginning of the minimum wage fight and the Community ID campaign, and has remained a tireless fighter for those who need a voice.

Workers have a friend and advocate in Janelle. We need to vote for Janelle to make sure she can continue this work.

— Jesse Case, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 238, Iowa City