The April 2022 election for the Kenosha County Board has seen a large number of candidates running against incumbents. One incumbent in particular, John Franco has a tough re-election bid ahead. His opponent, a political newcomer Jenn Bittner, is gaining a lot of support. Franco is the County Board member that represents District 13, the western neighborhoods in the City of Kenosha. Franco lives in the Horizons neighborhood and the neighborhood across from 104th Street is Whitecaps, the largest neighborhood in his district. Residents have been taking to Nextdoor, a social media app that was started in 2008, to criticize Franco. Many voters have attacked Franco’s leadership for a number of reasons, most importantly his non-action during the riots of 2020. For example, Franco refused to join the large group of board members that asked to call a special, emergency meeting to request more help. Franco refused to sign onto a county board letter addressed to State and Federal officials, asking for more law enforcement. Franco voted against an ordinance change that would have given Kenosha tax-payers more say on where sexually violent predators can live. Many residents started seeing these posts being removed – including this author. Each neighborhood has two “leads”, that is, “bosses” that determine which comments get removed and which members get banned. This author got banned 4 times for posting his disgust for City leadership last year seeing increase in homicides by 300%. The four leads for the Horizons and Whitecaps neighborhoods are all democrats. One of these leads is none other than John Franco himself. He shares his Nextdoor account with his wife, Jennifer. She makes posts on John’s behalf often. Jennifer is a board member for the Democratic party of Kenosha County. John Franco used to be its Chairman. He now shies away from the affiliation with the democratic party in public, but still attends most meetings. Franco uses Nextdoor to campaign, posting his political website and phone number. The other Horizons lead, Amanda Hodgson, lives in the neighborhood with her wife. She praises Franco regularly on the platform. She regularly makes posts about “systemic racism” and police brutality once posting “STOP KILLING PEOPLE YOU FUCKING TWATS”. She’s a huge fan of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and “social justice.” All of the posts in the Horizons Nextdoor are moderated by The Francos and their biggest fan. In Whitecaps, Sunil Chainani and Lesa Stephens-Vijesurier are the “leads”. When asked about moderation, Sunil lied to us and said he “had no control.” Lesa is more straight forward. “I’ll report you,” she often writes when someone doesn’t agree with her. Stephens-Vijesurier and Chainani similarly remove comments and posts that they don’t agree with. They removed a post, for example criticizing David Bogdala, the Alderman for this neighborhood for doing nothing during the riots like his close political ally Franco. Bogdala has run unopposed for 12 years. The leads have also removed news articles that were posted to alert neighbors of safety concerns. Just Like big Tech, a social media app that was created to help connect neighbors is being used to influence elections for special interests. We mailed letters to all four leads to ask tough questions and none of them chose to respond. If you like Franco, post away – if you are voting for his opponent and advocating for her, you just might see this message next time you log on….
County Executive Samantha Kerkman isn’t answering any questions about a very risky hire she maid a few months ago – Sherry Kruse. Kruse is the County’s new Veterans Benefits Representative. Before County Executive Samantha Kerkman hired her for the important role, she worked for the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County as its Assistant Superintendent. According to her personnel file, released by VACLC by means of a F.O.I.A. reques, she had been in extremely hot water