“Chainsaw Jack” Franks Blames Constituents for Introducing his Com Ed Clear Cut Bill

Not only was State Rep. Jack Franks spanked by the Chicago Tribune Sunday, but Chuck Sweeney, the political columnist for the Rockford Register-Star took negative notice of his Com Ed tree removal legislation, House Bill 3884.

The Rockford Regster-Star got “Chainsaw Jack” to blame his tree massacre bill on a constituent concerns for a four-day power outage after last summer’s storm.

After hostile reaction from those who consider quality of life quite an important reason for living in McHenry County, Franks has figured out his bill to allow chainsawing every tree within 20 feet of an electric line “too severe.”

That sounds like his reaction to the blowback from his co-sponsorship of the bill to allow red light cameras.

He even features a video on his web site on the issue.

It reminds me the “NOT ME”-themed cartoons of Family Circus.

Opposition came from municipal leaders, the McHenry County Defenders the Fleming Road Alliance and The Land Conservancy of McHenry County.

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County had this to say about “Chainsaw Jack” Franks’ bill- “From community character and property rights perspectives, this bill is a disaster. If passed, it has the potential to literally destroy the character of communities by giving the power companies the right to REMOVE trees that they deem a hazard — regardless of whether or not that tree might be a 200 year old oak that was there long before their company (or the state of Illinois) even existed.” “

The Environmental Defenders of McHenry County picked up on the email alert from Lisa Haderlein of The Land Conservancy of McHenry County and sent our one of their own, which you see in part below:

“There is a bill in the Illinois House that would give the electric utilities the authority to remove any trees that can grow taller than 25 feet and are growing within 20 feet of their lines.”

Haderlein characterized the bill as “the ComEd Clear Cut bill.”

Franks told Sweeney, ““I’m not happy with the way it was drafted, that’s why I didn’t call it for a vote,” said Franks.”


The outcry from your constituents and potential constituents had nothing to do with your rapid retreat, your backing and filling.

The Chicago Tribune used the same movie title in one of its editorial headlines about “Chainsaw Jack” Franks’ Com Ed clearcut bill.

The final two sentences in Sweeney’s column about his talk with “Chainsaw Jack” seems to refer to McHenry County Blog:

“Franks strongly objects to some bill opponents who are calling him ‘Chain Saw Jack.’

“’I don’t want to have clear-cutting going on,’ he said. ‘I live on a farm with a forest in back. No one can question my conservation credentials.’”

Well, maybe it’s not Franks’ “conservation credentials” that should be questioned.

Maybe it’s his judgment.

But, if the tool fits, maybe the nickname is appropriate.

What an argument for term limits and, lacking that, a Republican opponent who will knock on the door of every home with a tree within 20 feet of a power line and tell the owner, “‘Chainsaw Jack’ introduced a bill that wold have allowed Commonwealth Edison to chop down your tree without even telling you, let alone getting your permission.”


“Chainsaw Jack” Franks Blames Constituents for Introducing his Com Ed Clear Cut Bill — 6 Comments

  1. Kudos, Cal, for raising the heat on this issue!

    Amazing that he is blaming “constituents” for this bill?

    I did not realize the electric utilities were considered “constituents” (i.e. voters).

  2. Thank you for reporting on this proposed Bill that highlights how out of touch our Legislators

    Rep Franks put his name to this Bill with no thought for his constituents.

    All it appears he was thinking about was cosying up to big business and all the perks Legislators get from doing that.

    It is disgraceful that there is no Republican candidate running in the primary.

  3. I wish Jack would make better use of his chainsaw and apply it to the Illinois budget problems. But I guess that would, in turn, put a chainsaw to his corporate contributions.

  4. Jack Franks is out of touch for sure.

    Never in his office to talk to constituents.

    Thanks Cal for your wonderful site.

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