I haven’t had the opportunity to see State Rep. Jack Franks turn up the heat in a debate for a long time, but tonight he had all four burners turned on high.
The problem was, the man he wanted to debate–McHenry County Board Chairman Ken Koehler–wasn’t on the stage.
His predecessor, who served as County Board Chairman six years, now-State Rep. Mike Tryon was.
And Tryon didn’t take the attacks lobed in Koehler’s direction personally.
The occasion was a debate sponsored by Patriots United on the County Executive form of government put on the ballot by Franks and his supporters. It was held at McHenry County College.
Franks main talking point was that property taxes would be lower under a County Executive form of government.
He repeated and repeated that pitch, even after Tryon pointed out that about 30% of the reason for our higher taxes are taxes levied because voters approved referendums for
- Valley Hi (the county nursing home)
- Veterans Assistance
- Mental Health
- Senior Services
“McHenry County has one of the smallest portions of your tax bill,” Tryon added. “Almost every unit of government raises its taxes as much as it can.”
More transparency was another benefit that Franks pitched to the audience. He repeatedly condemned the illegal secret meeting conducted by County Board members during the reapportionment fight.
Here’s a sample, “Do you really believe it was an accident when they knowingly [met to gerrymander County Board districts in violation of the] Open Meetings Act?”
Then, Franks added: “They laugh when they take the money to the bank.”
“I don’t see it increasing accountability. So many decisions will be made by the County Executive that are now decided in open committee meetings.”
In closing, Tryon challenged the transparency of the campaign to obtain passage.
Franks has just pointed out the supporters of the No County Czar campaign were insiders.
Tryon pointed out that that committee has filed a campaign disclosure report and read off the names of the contributors, which included himself.
Then he pointed to the “Vote Yes” signs which contain the identification “McHenry County Republicans for Lower Taxes.”
“This has started with no transparency,” Tryon said, pointing out he headed the McHenry County Republican Party and he had no idea who comprised the group.
“But these signs are showing up next to Representative Franks’.”
Two of the questions asked in advance by an audience member that went unanswered might have shed some light on the connection of Franks to the signs, the image of which appear on Franks-sponsored literature distributed at MCC:
“What are your affiliations with the people and special interest groups who are distributing yard signs and literature for ‘Vote Yes’ and ‘Vote No’?
“If Mr. Franks says he has no affiliation with the ‘Vote Yes’ signs, why is the artwork on your leaflet (see Franks’ distributor identification at bottom left of the leaflet image) the same as that on the sign?”
One question that was answered was whether Jack Franks would run for the office, if the referendum passes.
He defanged that issue by declaring,
“I will neither seek nor accept the nomination for this office.”
Tryon, however, did not rule out a candidacy.
“It would be kind of appealing to come back to McHenry County and [run a good government]. I can’t tell you I wouldn’t run. I would have a real concern if the wrong person emerges as a candidate.”
“I’d vote for you, Mike. I think you’d do a good job,” Franks replied.
= = = = =
Other takes on the meeting: