Submitted by Jeff Buster on Wed, 12/31/2008 - 21:47.

In the Late Fall of 2003 Norm Roulet, at the invitation of Ed Morrison, introduced the REALNEO social media concept using the open source Drupal platform to a crowd at REI in the Peter B Lewis building at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. Until Norm’s introduction of Realneo, the REI forum had been (trying) to use wikis for their internet communication.

I happened to be in that audience, and I logged onto Realneo as user No. 53 - four years and four weeks ago.

I believe Realneo is fairly unique as a literary vehicle. Slowly, very slowly, Realneo has been getting its collective act together.


Over the four years I have been writing on realneo the site has always been a pretty fragile technological platform. But the social platform – the very loose association of volunteers interested in the realneo way - has been immensely strong. That strength has shown itself in a number of ways:

In all these four years there hasn’t been any need for, or use of, censorship of anyone’s material. Sure, Realneo has had spammers try to log in as users to post links to their commercial sites. A few of those folks get through every month or so and occasionally they have to be blocked.

Realneo has had only a user or two get into an on-line brawl with another user and leave Realneo.

Realneo has had only a user or two delete some of their own material (I think this is fine to do as long as no one has posted a comment to your material – once a comment has been posted to your material, your deleting your post imposes a rude waste of time on the commenter)

Realneo has had a constant stream of cogent material about politics, the environment, art, culture, finance, human interest, etc. During summer a few writers drop off the internet – and without any spoken queue – other writers come on line. It has amazed me that a well managed business – where there is an established hierarchical chain of command – probably doesn’t run as smoothly as realneo – where everyone - and no one - is responsible.

Realneo has had many, many friendships develop.

Realneo has, I believe, instilled a lot of pride and heightened the collective responsibility of many in our community by providing a respectful, convenient, free platform for them to air their ideas (and for them to relieve their frustration – frustration brought on by the silence of the conventional media about those ideas).

So, because of the dynamics outlined above, looking for, or controlling site content, has not been necessary and, consequently, has not been a time consuming problem.


Everything anyone posts goes to the top of the home page without moderation. Your typos won’t be corrected, your logic won’t be either. Get serious, be playfull, be creative, use your head and your heart when you write, and Google will find you here on Realneo. If you don’t like what is on the home page – then, as Norm says, “drive it down” by posting material you believe is more competent or important. (There has been a debate lately about whether events should go to the top of the home page. For now the consensus seems to be that events should hit the home page – but in the future they may go just to the calendar).


Realneo has operated as a de-facto cooperative from its inception, but without the legal framework of a cooperative . This fall several of us long time realneo’ers established Real.Coop as a registered State of Ohio not for profit cooperative. The top level domain real.coop has also been registered. We are not finished with the task of organizing the Real.coop yet. We need to establish our by-laws, a board, a transparent on-line accounting system for our finances, and make other business decisions.. The intention is that Realneo will eventually be one “chapter” (North East Ohio) of a larger Real.coop organization.

As an Ohio not-for-profit cooperative Real.coop will not be required to pay taxes. Right now Real.coop is funding the server costs for Realneo from donations received from a number of realneo writers. Most recently, the hat was passed at the Deweys pre-holiday face2face time. (thanks to all who attended and contributed). I believe that donations to Real.coop will eventually be determined by the IRS to be tax deductible (from the donor’s federal taxes) – but at this point the concept of an on- line educational/literary/communications/media cooperative is a new animal for the IRS. There are cooperatives which are both tax exempt and to which donations are federally tax deductible on the donor’s federal income tax. – like a fire prevention cooperative or certain domestic fraternal societies More research will be done in this area with the objective to develop Real.Coop as both a tax exempt educational/literary cooperative and a IRS 501 c of some kind.

If, sometime in the future, Realneo develops any income stream, that steam will first go to pay expenses, and then any surplus will be returned to the coop members. Members will be compensated in return for their content, and how that content was used by the public. Developing a fair method – which is in line with the cooperative philosophy – of compensating for digital content, is going to be a new and complex undertaking. There are already others thinking about this issue and even filing patent applications for METHOD AND SYSTEM FOR COMPENSATING ONLINE CONTENT CONTRIBUTORS AND EDITORS. (you can read the entire patent application on the USPatent website here)


About a month ago I got a call from a west side of Cleveland friend who told me that a fellow named Frank Giglio was about to have his house demolished by the City of Cleveland. I went over and met Frank on a Sunday, and wrote about his plight on Realneo. A week or two later a west side web site named Tremonter closed (thankfully, the archives of Tremonter are still live) , leaving many in the community - which had relied on the Tremonter - without their customary mode of communication.

During the ensuing weeks Realneo has fortunately been able to accommodate where Tremonter left off, and host many conversations about Frank Giglio and other dynamic issues in Tremont.

I noticed I was reading details of another part of Cleveland about which I was not that familiar. I was able to compare what was being discussed in Tremont with what was being discussed in other areas of Cleveland and North East Ohio. The new voices on realneo were providing another compass, another important and passionate perspective.


One of the big headaches with Realneo is keeping its drupal in tune. Besides the usual server freezes, there is the every two year or so version upgrades. And there are many plug-in soft ware modules to drupal – modules like calendar, image, book, etc etc but each module takes hands-on installation and test proofing.

There is also a set of modules which will allow organic groups – groups similar to the group which Jerleen1 has set up on Yahoo. Realneo does not presently have the organic group modules installed, and it will take some tech time to do so. Realneo has had its tech help generously donated over the last year and a half, and we are not in the position to request more of our webmaster’s time.


Not to distract from what Jerleen has set up on Yahoo, but rather to provide a more robust, flexible, interactive platform which is part of a larger North East Ohio cooperative, what if those of you Tremont people who might be interested in a realneo/Tremont organic group helped pay for the installation of the necessary modules. Another advantage of Realneo is here everyones’ content is owned by them – not by Yahoo. I think a couple of hours of tech time is necessary, and if there is interest, I will ask for a budget number.

If anyone wishes to follow up on the organic group idea, please feel free to send me a private email by hitting my contact link on Realneo, or continue the discussion in comments right here on Realneo. And/or we can set up another face2face meeting in Tremont soon.


Every organic group that is developed on Realneo will bring readers to the other material on realneo. This will make Realneo more like what a newspaper used to be. And then as print news continues to shrink, Realneo, with many organic groups, will pick up the slack.

That’s the HAPPY NEW YEAR dream anyway…

( categories: )

Happy New Year, 2009, to real NEO

Well stated. Except I don't dream, and life here is still a nightmare!

I believe and propose the push here should not be to self-fund the co-op to grow the platform but to make Cuyahoga County recognize real.coop and open source social computing as an economic development tool core to the future of the region, and open source social computing as a platform for workforce and economic development here.

I'm proposing we as a community invest development money toward that, instead of MedCons, and Strategic Investment Initiatives of the Cleveland Foundation. That will transform the region and the economy for the best.

The payback will be that we will take the County government open source, and save citizens much more than the $10 million to develop the workforce - how much does the County pay for IT now, paid to... well, haters? We'll certainly be finding out.

I'm going back to the County with a plan and budget for this, within the next week, so anyone who wants to work on a really big plan for open source social computing here should connect ASAP - email me - email Jeff B - post here - 2008 is dead - our old economy is dead - our old leaders are as good as dead - welcome to the year of the real NEO revolution.

I'm satisfied we have done excellent work as citizens and intellectuals, here on REALNEO, and that has made a huge difference in this region.  I personally value all the amazing relationships I have found here. I look forward to helping drive much more change and progress here in the exciting year ahead, with all of you. 

Happy New Year, 2009, to real NEO. 

Disrupt IT

My story

  I logged on 3 years 47 weeks ago as part of the Early Childhood Initiative--

Cuyahoga County's effort to Invest in Children.  

I was especially attracted to the Star Development proposal to bring intergenerational learning--schools, libraries, daycares, medical facilities, senior resources together in a collaborative community.  I thought Case was spearheading this effort.  Like all things Cleveland, it dissolved into committees and papershuffling. 

I forgot about RealNEO until I watched a news report on an urban shooting and went to bed oblivious to the reality--two friends murdered over noise.

So, I logged on to express my grief and outrage over an uncivil society.  I have been here, ever since--grateful to be able to record my day-to-day attempt to make sense of it all.

Please join this effort.

Masumi was my professor, mentor and friend...

...her murder left me stunned that our city couldn't have prevented her death by following up with the obviously dangerous, deranged individual who murdered her.

 3-4 weeks after her murder, there were repeated, violent muggings on Bridge Avenue. Several people were seriously injured (one hospitalized for days) and a friend of mine mugged on his way home from work. They were happening in broad daylight and went on for several weeks. One afternoon, before they finally caught the culprets, and at the time of day the muggings were occurring, I witnessed an officer issuing a ticket for my parked car (tags three days expired - I was waiting for payday to get a new tag and was not driving the car - we have no off-street parking). We lived just south of Lorain Ave. directly 3 blocks south of where the muggings were occurring. I mentioned this to the officer writing the ticket - inquired why he wasnt staking that spot stake out, but driving around giving out tickets.

Well, we all know the answer to that - its the shift of our paid forces from protection of citizens to generation of revenue, and it was quite obvious what the priorities of the 2nd district were then... 

Who set that policy for your toll booth operators?

I lived in Ohio City during that time. I didn't have any trouble with police there but I have had plenty of trouble with various types of tickets for missing a meter by a minute, or not being able to afford to get my license plates, etc.... they are signs of poverty and more people are in jail and in police trouble over poverty than anything else.

In America's most impoverished city, that means lots of people are in trouble with the law. 

In America's most politically disgraceful city, poverty means revenues to stupid leaders... and we have lots of them. 

I don't go downtown unless I absolutely must, because going downtown is too expoitative... a dead city of toll booths not worth the toll.  If there was ever a need to use meters to keep people moving, so new people can have the parking spaces, that time in Cleveland is gone. Meters are how we pay our bills here, and make parking lot operators (apolitical kingpins) rich.

So who sets the policies on what cops waste their time as toll booth operators and what cops do police work?

I would guess the council people... and the Ward I always find myself avoiding, to avoid toll booth police, is your Ward 13. 

AKA Cimpermania. 

Disrupt IT

a choice of revenue generation over safety for citizens

its thats simple. We arent the only city doing this - its a US phenomena, but it is still wrong.

Make sure you pay your parking tickets. If not they will tow and impound your car, triple the amount owed, and crush your car after two weeks if you cant come up with the money to bail it out. There will be no option for a hearing (unless you pay the amount in full into a cash bond). they wont donate the car to charity and you will still owe their made-up amount after they crush it. It doesnt matter that the car may blue book for four times the amount owed, they will crush it after two weeks. Another example of a taking without due process.

This is the great work of our city councilpeople, btw.... brilliant. one more thing to keep people loving Cleveland. Oh - and if your car happens to contain personal or valuable items, you will nOt be permitted to retrieve those items before the crushing.

I had a car crushed just that way

A 1972 Mecedes 280 (remember, Carnot). Pathetic - and when it was crushed it was sripped, so it was just plain robbery as well.

Stupid leadership drive stupid outcomes... and Cleveland is the stupid outcomes capital of the world.

Ride the stupid Waterfront Line, lately?

To the stupid museums stranded miles from our cultural district... over by the stupid Browns, in the world's stupidest stadium? 

Been through the stupid Flats Graveyard eminant domain demo zone, brought to you by stupid Developers Diversified, and our stupid Port Authority, and stupid people involved in city planning, and preserving our historic landmarks... ETC., ETC., ETC.

Not stupid? Then explain all your stupid outcomes, or show us some smart explanations and smart outcomes?

And don't blame The Economy, because you brought the worst economy in the nation on us! All management controllable - all the fault of our management. 

Disrupt IT

the pull of realneo

I joined the community in 2006, at first, posting events and a call for artists. I made about three experimental posts before I felt comfortable enough to move from commenting on the posts of others and on to launching my own post. I wrote "in just spring" about my redbud tree and garden. Norm quickly responded with this post: "consider this a scrapbook" - Norm Roulet. What a nice welcome.

I have learned the technology slowly. My Mom refused to let me study typing in high school; she said in effect, "I don't want you to ever have to be somebody's secretary". That dates me then, doesn't it? My Mom, who was a nurse and a staunch feminist (pre-ERA) wanted a more directorial/managerial postition for her daughter - it was the whole babyboomer, "be better than I am" rather than "be what you feel you need to be" trend. I also drank the dancing school koolaid and fell head over heels for dance. I was deterred from writing by long hours of preparation for a career in dance - many many hours in studios honing my fine and gross motor skills to communicate through dance using the body to speak. But since my path would lead to making it possible for others to dance, I had to learn to write. I wrote grants and press releases, cases for support, fundraising letters and eventually a newsletter and program notes for my dance work. I did this with legal pads and ballpoint pens. It wasn't until the late 80s that I sat with trepidation before a keyboard remembering my mother's stern words. Little did she know that her dreams for me had actually hampered my abilities to quickly produce on paper in typewritten form what I needed to get the job done. 

So the other day when Jeff Buster and I were working on a post regarding 6611 Euclid Avenue, he said, looking over my shoulder, "you're a hunt and peck typist". Yes, but I'm fast when I have something to say.

Despite my own halting first steps and technical challenges, REALNEO has provided me a venue to "get the stuff out" - my indignation about the county's plans to tear down the Breuer, to add taxes without a vote of the electorate, their plans to build a medical mart, ODOT's plans for highways and their taking of our history in their highway project's wake. I never wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper, but now I write my letters to the community here.

I have had a chance to post video of dance that I would like to see in our region (now that I am no longer producing dance here) - a wish list, if you will. I've posted my reviews of dance concerts seen here in NEO and elsewhere - works that I found intriguing. Just yesterday, with Jeff Schuler's help, I learned a new bit-o-tech and gathered realneo's dance related posts into a book. 

Through this community I have learned about the dangers of lead poisoning, I have learned, from other writers, about government and sustainability. I have connected to and learned about other neighborhoods in Cleveland - places I might never have even visited.  Of necessity, I have sharpened my research skills. And I learned from Ed Hauser about showing up in person.

I recall that first public meeting with Ed. Martha, Norm and I accompanied him to apply for landmark status for the Broadway Mills building - a beautiful structure in the way of ODOT's extravagant bridge building plans. A week earlier, I had received a call from Martha that we were to meet Norm, Ed and George Nemeth at the building by the eastern foot of the Lorain Carnegie Bridge; we were going to "see a building"; I should come get her post haste and we would drive down together. I recall walking around the area with Martha and the 3 gentlemen. We drove through the flats and had coffee at Cravings in Tremont. I sat and listened as Norm and Ed hatched a plan to landmark the building, throwing a wrench into ODOT's heinous plan to build two bridges with little public involvement (ahem - ODOT having ignored the many public meetings which had been held to discuss the bridge and the innerbelt project for years). I recall thinking that perhaps someone was reading these posts and thinking that if they got teeth, if we showed up, as Ed urged, with the proper documents, the issue might be swayed. A month hence I had joined on as a consulting party to ODOT's section 106 process and my oddessy with preservation had begun. From there it was Art House thanks to the posts by Laura McShane, and then, a community led worldwide effort to save the Breuer.

I have learned that I can be a citizen. I can expect that my bill of rights will be respected here.  At REALNEO, I feel I have learned far more about my community that I might have reading our daily newspaper (though I do peruse cleveland.com daily). REALNEO also provides an in person community. We do meet each other in various places in NEO.

I have encouraged others to write here when they have an opinion or news that is not reported elsewhere. I sat down with Roldo because, eventhough he is a professional journalist and publishes a regular column, I can't get enough of Roldo's insight. Can you? I met with metroparks muse and began to learn more about how our parks operate. I met and reported with Jeff Buster; I continue to be challenged by his bold ideas about the city and the region. I have ventured forth with Martha to more forums and public meetings than I can count. Sudhir has posted some of the most innovative economic and organizational development ideas I have ever considered. Evelyn Kiefer, Zebra Mussel, Kevin Cronin, John McGovern, Bill Callahan, Ed Morrison, MaryBeth Matthews, Betsey Merkel, Bill MacDermott, Jeff Schuler and Jenita McGowan, many event posters and now a host of Tremonters have enlivened and enriched the community with their postings. We've engaged in conversations with artists in the UK, travel guides in Tehran and inventors in Hong Kong. Philip Williams, Derek Arnold and Jeff Schuler have taught me inummerable things related to computers and web involvement.

For years, I struggled to find a place that would be open for arts and education, a way to integrate what art teaches, the artist's journeys - the "stuff" the arts shares for the public good. REALNEO is such a place. You can study Artistbelt to Rustbelt, you can entreprenuer meet-up yourself ad nauseum or you can use this tool to tell your story right now - artists and entreprenuers, as much as anyone, need to consider, to better grasp the state of our regional and global economy. It's served up daily here at Real Economics Action Links North East Ohio with a strong dose of art and innovation to boot. I encourage entreprenuers, arts professionals and concerned citizens to join the conversation.

I have found a new outlet for my activism (another one of those family learned behaviors) and an educated, supportive group of writers and thought leaders. I could not have asked for a more challenging and welcoming online and in person community.

Here my content stays - on facebook, it disappears as the days go on. Many of my comments at Brewed Fresh Daily disappeared evaporating like water on a warm day. Some blog sites require moderation. My content has been removed from sites in our region. On occasion, I find that my content on REALNEO has been picked up elsewhere or the number of "reads" of a post has mushroomed. Recently our activism on Breuer sparked a relationship with a preservationist in Atlanta. Google Analytics tells us that folks far and wide are reading the content here and not just the recent content, but histories of the goings on in our community and the world. It can only become a richer archive.

So I will volunteer more hours and more thought and some cash to REALNEO.

I encourage others to use this tool, to join the coop and tell your stories of the real North East Ohio and the real world. 

As evidenced above, you can share your dreams for the real North East Ohio, too.

Susan, I have so enjoyed

Susan, I have so enjoyed reading your posts.   Especially the story about the typing.  Sort of reminds me of myself.

When I was in high school - I took typing and shorthand - I was really good at both - but shorthand was a lot of work and a really lot of homework - my father (who was the meanest old man in the world) would catch me doing my homework and he would grab it and tear it up - I would have to go to school the next day with no homework - and, of course, without an explanation.  Because saying your daddy ripped up your paper was worse than saying the dog ate it.

When I graduated I had an incomplete in Shorthand because everyday you didn't have your homework, it was minus 3 points - shucks at the end of each grading period - even if I had perfect test scores - I was practically down to zero - but somehow - I still learned shorthand - and I never gave up my books - I still to this day have my highschool shorthand books - and I graduated a long long time ago. 

thanks jerleen

It is always nice to hear that my ramblings resonate with someone. It makes me feel like I'm not just typing into thin air. Ditto. I enjoy reading yours as well.

Oh and your story about shorthand...wow! I do wish I knew shorthand! (sorry about your dad...)

I graduated a long long time ago, too.

This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with typing or shorthand but I just awoke from a nap and something is nagging at my brain.  It has to do with Des' property and the search warrant that was posted along with the list of violations.  Since the doors were locked, the windows were screwed shut and we've pretty much ruled out that inspector Larkins actually got inside the house to do an actual inspection - since she can't produce any pictures and since I was told by Tyrone Johnson that there should have been pictures - now to my understanding and from what I heard O'Leary tell Des at the last housing committee meeting that she could file appeal -  which provides an extension of time - filing an appeal, if I'm not mistaken, means she admits to the violations - which, in turn, if inspector Larkins did not get inside the house, means she gets away with fraud.   Because if Des doesn't file an appeal the house could be demoed - because an inspector filed a false list of code violations.

In all reality, most people who want to save their property will file the appeals and as doing such - the inspectors do not have to prove that they gained access to the inside of the houses and so the list of violations (without pictures) goes unchallenged.  There's something wrong with that picture.

...selling a solution to a problem that it created

I believe what you people in Tremont are looking at is a class action racketeering lawsuit against some city of Cleveland and Foundation leadership for unlawful entry and theft of citizens' property in conspiracy to commit fraud, to divert public funds to private parties... their friends and family in industry and non-profit shell organizations.

I am especially concerned about the payment of inspectors. An intergovernmental organization I support, the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council (GCLAC), works closely with St. Luke's Foundation and a few others to eradicate lead poisoning here, by 2010, and that has been very positive for the region. We've pushed hard for more inspection and remediation of lead poisoning in homes where there is lead poisoning of children, to target funds toward the most socially conscious rehabilitation and demolition sites. I understand the Cleveland Foundation has paid $200,000 for more building inspectors for the City of Cleveland, supposedly to help address the lead poisoning crisis here.

What I see happening with inspections and demolitions in Tremont does not seem to consider the issue of lead poisoning at all. that seems to be a pattern.

As the Infrastructure and Sustainability co-chair of GCLAC, one of my charges is to increase awareness about lead poisoning among our community leadership. I've met Councilman Cimperman once, and used that opportunity to publicly challenge him to become informed about lead poisoning and become one of our region's champions against lead poisoning... to at least join GCLAC and our sub-committee.

Tremont has more lead contamination than most places on Earth, due to extensive historical use of lead in buildings there, and your close proximity to highways and busy roads (which deposited tons of lead in your neighborhood soil, when America put lead in gas). On top of that, you have more NEW lead contamination of your homes and soil (and food growing there) coming at you from industry in the Flats than just about anywhere I can imagine.

Cimperman should care about this more than any issue in Cleveland. He has been minimally responsive to my outreach to him, sending an assistant to a subcommittee meeting, but he has not shown any real leadership with GCLAC or this issue.

Perhaps through more lawsuits over lead poisoning in his neighborhood, he will become more enlightened.

I suggest, as part of your case against your unlawful inspections and demolitions, you assemble all the neighborhood lead poisoned babies and children you may identify. Go to any run down old house in your area with babies and children and ask the parents/guardians if their children have been lead tested and what was the result (if they have not been tested, by law they should be). Over 5 micrograms per deciliter is poisoned (although even lower levels of lead cause irreversible, permanent mental, neurological and other physical disabilities).

Are the funds being paid by Cleveland Foundation to the City of Cleveland or other agencies for lead poisoning prevention, but being used instead for increased red-lining inspections against poor people for rich neighbors, in an act of cultural cleansing and theft of citizens' rights and property for the gain of the rich... "protection" of their wealth? That would be racketeering.

Is money being diverted to the rich from important social uses, like protecting children from lead poisoning. That would be worse than racketeering.

Keep in mind, a few dollars spent by a Foundation (lobbyist, PAC, etc.) to corrupt government may result in 10-100X more public money following the bad money of the Foundation leaders.

For some reason, especially in NEO, we tend to think Foundation leaders and Foundations are innately "GOOD", which is absurd.

How and why do you think Foundations like the Cleveland Foundation are and were funded...?

Largely, for protecting financial interests of industry and their wealth from meeting their commitments to society... AKA, Philanthropy For The Rich.

In this unhealthy, lead poisoned community, the only reasons I can see for pushing for a rapid board-up of property in NEO, much less an emergency demolition, is to protect one of the 1,000s of children in Northeast Ohio lead poisoned each day because they are living in unhealthy homes.

Frank's demo cost taxpayers $6,000 minimum (standard figure thrown around by Cleveland officials)... with all the legal and other local government abuse of Frank, I'd put the cost to taxpayers for Cleveland persecution of Frank in the $10,000s...

It is revolting that we waste VERY SCARCE federal, state and local government property inspection, urban redevelopment and emergency demo money on the house of a property-tax-paying old man who could probably have lived out his entire life there not harming society or anyone but himself, when there are literally 100,000+ lead contaminated homes in the region poisoning children daily.

That is the greatest crime being committed in Tremont, that I see.

This is a city of stupid leadership... in most cases complicated by them being lead poisoned in life, themselves.

I would get together all people you may find who have been treated illegally, in similar ways to Frank and Deb, and take that class action to a lawyer. Find one with an interest in rich, stupid leaders who are racketeering... selling a solution to a problem that they created.

Main Entry: stu·pid
1 a: slow of mind : obtuse b: given to unintelligent decisions or acts : acting in an unintelligent or careless manner c: lacking intelligence or reason : brutish
2: dulled in feeling or sensation : torpid <still stupid from the sedative>
3: marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting : senseless <a stupid decision>
4 a: lacking interest or point <a stupid event> b: vexatious , exasperating <the stupid car won't start>

A racket is an illegal business, usually run as part of organized crime. Engaging in a racket is called racketeering.

Several forms of racket exist. The best-known is the protection racket, in which criminals demand money from businesses in exchange for the service of "protection" against crimes that the racketeers themselves instigate if unpaid. A second well known example is the numbers racket, a form of illegal lottery.

The term racket comes from the Italian word ricatto (blackmail) and is also used as a pejorative term for legitimate businesses. Typically, this usage is based on the example of the "protection racket" and indicates that the speaker believes that the business is making money by selling a solution to a problem that it created (or that it intentionally allows to continue to exist), specifically so that continuous purchases of the solution are always needed. Example: in a protection racket, a representative from the racket informs a storeowner that a fee of X dollars will be required every month for protection money, though the "protection" that is provided comes in the form of the racket itself not causing damage to the store or its employees.

The term was also used to describe the lavish parties thrown by gangs (circa 1850) located in the Five Points (New York City). Corrupt politicians sold tickets to these parties through coercion and threatening ultimatums. By extension, any noisy, overly boisterous or undesirably disruptive situation has become known by the same term, though in this case, the negative implication of illicit or illegal activity is usually not intended.

The term "racketeering" was coined by the Employers' Association of Chicago in June 1927 in a statement about the influence of organized crime in the Teamsters union.[1

Disrupt IT

that doesnt make sense

jerleen - are you sURe that filing an appeal means you admit to the violations? If so there's certainly a step missing in the process - the one where the city has to show their case. If this is true, this would be for the city council to retify, no? by adding a step in between condemnation and demo - like a hearing to verify the facts? Des, what does your lawyer say about this?

Maybe its time to call for a public meeting with Cimperman and make some demands? 

Norm, you wrote :::For some reason, especially in NEO, we tend to think Foundation leaders and Foundations are innately "GOOD", which is absurd.::: 

I can tell you, when I took two graduate level classes Into to Urban Planning and Neighborhood Planning, the most extensive part of the class involved talks given by local heads of these foundations and non-profits that we have mentioned. It left a very clear impression that to get anything done, you MUST go through these guys. So, its not surprising that we have pumped out a generation of urban planning cronies.

There's only one person who teaches these classes, Norm Krumholz, and although I like him personally (very much so) I'm beginning to wonder what other approaches to planning are out there that we dont know of. He wrote the book on equity planning (literally  - Equity Planning ) and worked as city planner for Cleveland through 3 or 4 mayors, but yet one does leave his classes with the very clear understanding of who makes things happen and a strong sense that to make anything happen, you must work with these people and do their bidding and hope they throw you a few crumbs of "equity". Its very depressing.

Does anyone know of any stories of success with equity planning (I know about Saul Alinsky) - but cities today active in getting social equity worked into their planning (obviously nOt Cleveland)?


Appeal Process

What we must really find out first, and perhaps Des can respond here is she appealing the Violation Notice, or is she appealing the 30-Day Condemnation Order. I think this is a big difference. With that said, in general a owner of a property has two routes to appeal. Appeal these violation notices/orders to the Board of Zoning Appeals. This is when you feel that the violation notice/order was not accurate, and you are disputing the facts of the violations or the process that they were legally written. Appeal these violation notices/orders to the Board of Building Standards. Generally what you are trying to accomplish is to get more time out of the City to respond to the violation notice/order. This Board is made up of building professionals. I have been to plenty of BOZA hearings for Variances, Appealing Violations and Appealing such things as permits for LA Copa. I have never seen the Zoning Board overturn a violation notice. So, going the BBS route is the best. But I recommend taking a attorney. Building and Housing is represented by David Cooper, Chief Building Official. They generally have the inspector present to testify and provide evidence to back up their notices. I have been to a few of these for what is now the Tap House. In all the cases pretty much the property owner acknowledged to the board that the violations do exist. I had also went for a area car shop. In both cases the applicant asked for more time to rectify the violations. Which the car shop was granted 60 days, and the tavern 180 days. Then the BBS remands the case back to the Building & Housing Department to monitor the progress or further actions. Let me tell you even 180 days comes and goes quickly to resolve violations when money is tight, and the economy is terrible. The Tavern ended up back in front of the BBS three times, and ended up in housing court. Again that's why I ask is she is appealing the violations, or condemnation. Because it is my opinion if its the violation notice, BBS will give time, and its a great way to legally tie the Building & Housing hands from further action. Now if they would demolish the structure while on appeal, well that would make a great lawsuit. This all goes back to why this happened in the first place, what is going on here is not Christian.

Thanks Henry for clarifying

Thanks Henry for clarifying that.  I guess I mucked it up.  I didn't mean to confuse or mis-state things.  In all reality tho - most people want and will do anything to keep their property from being demoed - which means in order for them to gain an extention of time they will acknowledge the violations - which still proves my point - no one got into Des' property, the inspector has no pictures and therefore the list of interior violations is a fraud and should be treated as such.  Even the judge should be "spanked" for allowing such matters to go on in his court.  If nobody ever calls the boards, building departments, etc., out on the rug regarding these matters, they're going to keep doing it and the suffering will go on.  If Judge Pianka was the right kind of fellow, he would throw all the cases out - every last one of them - teach em all a lesson for the learnin' and tell em when you get your act together - come back and see me. - I'm sure he would get voted back in next time around hands down - some other people might be goin' south but oh what the hell.

When the cases are appealed

When the cases are appealed to BBS or BOZA actually Judge Pianka has no athority over the cases, until in most cases the persons appealing with BBS fail to comply within the given timeframe then B&H tosses them in court (Further Action). That again is for violation notices only. I do not know how it works with Condemnation orders.

You know, there are some

You know, there are some days when a soul should just stay under the covers.  Today was one of those days for me.  I decided to venture out into the cold and make a quick run to Walmart's to pick up a thing or two and mind you I was in a decent frame of mental being when I happened to run into a few people from the Tremont area.

Hello's and such were exchanged and then the conversation turned to the current topics of housing violations, search warrants and the Tom Bell Lawsuit.  From there on it went down hill.  When somebody smartly relaid to me that a lot of folks were talkin' that certain John and Jane Does were bragging that the lawsuit was going to be dismissed immediately - I tried to pry loose a little more information as to why would this kind of bragging be going on and the reply I got was "what can you expect TWDC has their own magistrate on the board?"

I didn't have an answer for that one.  So I just paid for my s...t and came home.  Maybe that'll be my story for next month  in the Plain Press?

It is clear that I have much

It is clear that I have much to learn about the ins and outs of BBS and BOZA.  Guess there is no better time to get started than the present.  I am well aware, however, that Judge Pianka takes care of the violation notices.

Although, it is he who signs the search warrants when presented with the sworn affidavits - and when they are sworn to and on such flimsy evidence as the one Des' was granted, he should throw them out as well.


Cimperman needs to respond

Wouldn't it be best to do both? I just cant see that there is no place in the process to contest the citations by the inspector. BTW, I think we should not be too quick to judge Judge Pianka. I've had occasion to deal with him and I found him very empathetic and wanting to do the right thing. It very well could be he has had the wool pulled over his eyes.

At any rate - I still think we need to call Cimperman to meet on these matters. If there needs to be a step added to the process, as councilperson that is his responsibility. I think it is also smart to get his response to this on the record. 

Problem is the Foundations have been calling the shots

I've had good impressions of Judge Pianka as well. He seems to be a progressive thinker. And, after over four years involved with the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council, I have great impressions of 1,000s of people working here in government housing, health and social services, as well as in government management and leadership positions.

I cannot say I have met one person associated with a Foundation better qualified to determine how to do the jobs of government than the people I know in government.

Governemnt people are not determining which houses to demo - it is the Cleveland Foundation that chose them, through their Strategic Investment Initiative into five Cleveland target zones, to serve five groups of well connected stakeholder interests.

Follow the money - the list of people getting paid off out of all this is actually quite short.

Disrupt IT

Then the question becomes,

Then the question becomes, how do we go about bringing down the house of cards?  I've been trying to follow the 'yellow brick road' so to speak in back tracking the stepped up housing code situation and it's connection to the SII program.  No matter how many times I research the material, I come up with the same names - Now, if the Cleveland Foundation put the SII program in play that means that they also put the players in place - which means - the key players are either part of the foundation or are being paid off by the foundation?  Now, the next question is how do we get them out of our neighborhoods?  Is there hope for taking our neighborhoods back?  

In my view 'Simperman' is a lost cause.    

Tremont Strategic Investment

Tremont Strategic Investment Initiative We would like to thank all those involved in placing their mark on the creation of this plan. The following list of individuals and entities represents those that have donated their time to this planning process, served on the Steering Committee, signed in at the community meetings or filled out surveys. It is our sincere hope and desire that all those listed below will continue to be active participants in the creation of a stronger, better Tremont. Tremont West Development Corporation:Stephen Bloom Acting Executive Director Colleen Gilson Former Executive Director Michelle DavisScott Rosenstien Steering Committee:Sammy CataniaRosemary VinciKaren MossLynn McLaughlin MurraySandy Smith Jon Boylan Rebecca Riker Scott Nagy Phil PavariniChristine Krosel Megan Hundt John Briggs Park Works Anne Zoller Nora Romanoff Neighborhood Progress Inc.: Eric Hoddersen PresidentBobbi Reichtell Walter Wright City Architecture: Paul Volpe Matt SchmidtSaee Jagtap Cleveland Public Art: Greg Peckham Vince Reddy City of Cleveland: Mayor Frank Jackson Councilman Joe Cimperman Ward 13 Councilman Joe Santiago Ward – 14George Cantor Fred Collier The residents of Tremont that dedicated their time, opinions and ideas in the planning process. PAGE 28 Tremont SII Plan -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- New year...new news. Be the first to know what is making headlines.

Tremont StrategicInvestment

Tremont Strategic
Investment Initiative
We would like to thank all those involved in placing their mark on the creation of this plan. The following list of individuals and entities represents those that have donated their time to this planning process, served on the Steering Committee, signed in at the community meetings or filled out surveys. It is our sincere hope and desire that all those listed below will continue to be active participants in the creation of a stronger, better Tremont.
Tremont West Development Corporation:
Stephen Bloom Acting Executive Director
Colleen Gilson Former Executive Director
Michelle Davis
Scott Rosenstien--
Steering Committee:
Sammy Catania
Rosemary Vinci
Karen Moss
Lynn McLaughlin Murray
Sandy Smith
Jon Boylan
Rebecca Riker
Scott Nagy
Phil Pavarini
Christine Krosel
Megan Hundt
John Briggs--
Park Works
Anne Zoller
Nora Romanoff--
Neighborhood Progress Inc.:
Eric Hoddersen President
Bobbi Reichtell
Walter Wright--
City Architecture:
Paul Volpe
Matt Schmidt
Saee Jagtap--
Cleveland Public Art:
Greg Peckham
Vince Reddy--
City of Cleveland:
Mayor Frank Jackson
Councilman Joe Cimperman Ward 13
Councilman Joe Santiago Ward – 14
George Cantor
Fred Collier--
The residents of Tremont that dedicated
their time, opinions and ideas in the
planning process.--
PAGE 28 Tremont SII Plan


I'm not suggesting Cimperman would be of assistance

I'm suggesting we should get him "on the record" as to this issue. This is his ward and it involves city workers - his purview. his absolute silence on the issue is more than interesting. He'll also be coming up for re-election at some point, so it would be nice to hear his position.

Maybe the Plain Press coudl get him to comment on it?

Cummins posts to REALNEO and so should the other Council

There is no excuse for all the council members and other government officials not to post to realneo, in communication with citizens and performance of their citizen paid jobs... soon enough, I expect it to be a job requirement.

Disrupt IT


I didn't get a chance to read all the details of the posts in this string, yet... I skimmed.  I'm on vacation from working long hours a day, seven days a week... for the past four + straight years.

But, caught some questions on the appeal process.

It is not my understanding that filing the appeal means I admit to the citations... In fact, in my written statement, I challenged violations.

My understanding of the appeal process is a chance to me to go in front of a board and present my side of the situation.

(Reference the video taped housing meeting and you will see that this is not a given right...)

It is all so very confusing.

I did meet with O'Leary and he said he would rather see houses rehabilitated to house more Cleveland residents.

My appeal date is in late July.  If you look at my before and after pics of Phase I, I can't see how they board could say no...

But... we all know how these things go.

In the mean time, I'm tuned out for a much needed two day break before I'm ready to jump back in the fight.

I'll re-read in detail and respond further upon my return.

P.S. I have folks staying at my home and my tenants are on guard.. you know... just in case! 

Past tense

Brian Cummins has not issued any information to his constituents since this summer.  Brian, you are long overdue on explanations for your NRP machinations on Denison and, to be fair, any good accomplishments you care to announce. 

I posted the information on a new housing specialist appointment here and Tim posted it to Save our Land.  Residents have no idea what is happening in terms of reinventing the Brooklyn Centre Community Association into our de facto CDC.  There are too many unanswered questions regarding demolitions and your efforts to prevent foreclosures.  

The floor is open. 

PD Story on Cleveleland.com tonight

Deconstruction salvages abandoned Cleveland homes, and it's less costly

Posted by gsegall [at] plaind [dot] com January 03, 2009 18:25PM

Marvin Fong/The Plain DealerA crew from Urban Lumberjacks of Cleveland deconstructs a Glenville home.

A forklift on a boom reached into an open home to wriggle a wall back and forth. The wall finally came loose and clattered to the floor.

A little plaster broke away, but the most valuable parts -- the studs -- survived. And they were good old 2-by-4s, not the skimpy 1.5-by-3.5-inchers of today.

By raising roofs first, then plucking whole walls, crews dismantled two abandoned Glenville houses in a pilot project last month much more quickly and inexpensively than crews tore down two similar homes in Slavic Village last summer, working piece by piece, from the inside out.

The heightened speed could mean heightened profits for the practice of deconstruction -- salvaging many materials from the nation's doomed homes for second lives instead of demolishing them for nothing but landfills.

Marvin Fong/The Plain DealerGreg Wheeler helps to deconstruct a Glenville home, saving much of the wood for other houses or uses.

Crews save 2-by-4s, floorboards, bricks, copper pipes, glass blocks, pocket doors and more for construction, renovation or whole new uses, such as furniture or ornaments.

"Deconstruction is helping us rebuild the city in a responsible manner," said Chris Kious of Urban Lumberjacks of Cleveland, which handled the winter work with guidance from Dave Bennink of Bellingham, Wash., a veteran of some 500 deconstruction jobs.

The summer work took about 7½ weeks and cost about $75,000. The winter work took about 11 days and cost about $45,000.

City Hall and the Cleveland Foundation split the costs of both sessions. The city's tab was about the same as for normal demolitions.

Marvin Fong/The Plain DealerUrban Lumberjacks of Cleveland tears down a Glenville home chunk by chunk, saving studs, bricks and more for new uses.

As part of the project, the crews included former prisoners and other workers in need of new trades.

Kious estimates that the salvaged materials are worth $5,000. He'll give some to Habitat for Humanity and try to sell others.

Despite the recession, Kious says there's a market for many recyclables. He works with his previous business, A Piece of Cleveland, which makes furniture from decades-old wood. The wood typically came from more-mature trees, which have a stronger grain than the young trees used today.

Deconstruction isn't suitable for all demolitions of old homes. Many are too damaged by fire, water or termites. Others lack the right stuff from the start.

But Kious sees plenty of opportunity in a town known as the world capital of foreclosure. He hopes to keep shaving days and dollars from deconstructions to make them more profitable.

Damian Borkowski, Cleveland's demolition manager, said he needs to study Kious' results more carefully before committing to more deconstruction. Still, he said, "this is definitely a direction we want to go."

Re-posted from Cleveland.com and PD. Thank you


A $$$ Question (or two) For Mr. Jeff Buster

"As an Ohio not-for-profit cooperative Real.coop will not be required to pay taxes. Right now Real.coop is funding the server costs for Realneo from donations received from a number of realneo writers. Most recently, the hat was passed at the Deweys pre-holiday face2face time. (thanks to all who attended and contributed)."



I was just wondering, as I am a member of some other Co-ops...

How do I join?

What does it cost me to join?

What benefits do I get as a member, (other than the warm fuzzy feeling that I am helping "the cause".)?

What are my responsibilities as a member - just "dues", or do I need to spend time doing "Spam Weeding" or some such chore?

And if I wish to join up, what do I do, who do I contact, who do I make my money order out to, and where do I send it?

Thanks in advance.




I was just wondering, as I am a member of some other Co-ops... How do I join?

You join by becoming a “user” on realneo.   Since you are already a user, you are a member of  real.coop   The intent here is, like NPR, realNEO is a local branch of the real.coop.

What does it cost me to join?  

It costs nothing to join. To encourage participation – particularly for someone who might only have the interest to comment or post once or twice, there should be no up-front cost.

Although nothing has been decided yet, there may be a developing consensus that there will be some small charge for members in a second year, third year.   Until a consensus develops further, realneo will continue to operate on voluntary donations.

What benefits do I get as a member, (other than the warm fuzzy feeling that I am helping "the cause".)?

The benefits of being a realneo member go two ways:   Besides feeling “fuzzy”, you are free to post, comment, and read – (anyone can read whether they are member or non-member), you are free to be involved in the evolution of the site through your discussion, and when we have a vote, you may vote. You may use Realneo to communicate to anyone globally or locally – to make changes you believe are important.

The other direction benefit flows is to the community from you – the community has the opportunity to hear your ideas and to be educated by your experience – through your content you are a “reporter” for the community.

Presently Realneo has no paid staff or reporters.   The idea is to explore the feasibility of a content monetization program, in combination with some income producing idea (this could be google-type side bar ads, shop locally story/ads,  could be fundraising, could be providing a “marketplace” for urban produce on realneo, etc. etc)  that would at some time in the future provide a small amount of revenue to the co-op content providers

Just like an agricultural or other co-op – after the expenses are paid, any surplus can be returned to the user/members in proportion to their “business” with the co-op.   With a potato co-op, “business” is easy to define – the number of bags or tons of potatoes which each farmer puts through the co-op   determines that farmer’s share of any surplus revenue.

We need ideas about how to take content, and the public interest (hits, links, time on site) in that content, and develop a formula to compensate that user/content provider/reporter.   See comment about a patent in this regard in original "dream" post above.

What are my responsibilities as a member - just "dues", or do I need to spend time doing "Spam Weeding" or some such chore?

Right now there are no duties – other than to be civil and serious with your content – but in the future we should develop duties.  Perhaps you could go to your local library and give a one hour seminar helping engage others to the internet and to realneo.   What other ideas do you have?

And if I wish to join up, what do I do, who do I contact, who do I make my money order out to, and where do I send it?

You are already “joined up”.   If you would like to donate (which is much appreciated) you can use the paypal button on the home page of realneo, or mail a check to Real.Coop, P.O.Box 20046, Cleveland, Ohio 44120   Please indicate “for REALNEO” on the check.  Please keep in mind that Paypal takes a small cut for their service.   In contrast, with a check, the entire donation is received by Real.Coop.

Thanks in advance.

Thank you!

Jeff, Has there ever been

Jeff, Has there ever been any discussion about getting another  site started up something like Tremonter?  Has anyone talked to Adam Harvey about starting Tremonter back again?  Or perhap buying the site from him?  I'm really not hip to all this technology - so I basically don't have a clue - I don't see what the big deal was about Tremonter - as long as he had a disclaimer for not being responsible for what other people say - looks like he was in the clear.  I don't think any body was being slanderous - about politicians maybe?  shucks, I though mud-slingin' was allowed in that case.

Thanks Jeff

I will see if my piggy bank will let me put a "check in the mail" to you in the next couple of weeks.

This is a wonderful public forum that you/we have here, and I feel that I should contribute what I can reasonably afford to pay for being able to post here. I like to feel that I "pay my way" if I can afford to do so.

I also realize that there are those who cannot afford to contribute to this wonderful venture, and I think that it is wonderful that they can post here and have their important thoughts and views heard and read here, without charge.

Thank you!

The last thing I want to do

The last thing I want to do is speak for another person but I think it's pretty clear why Tremonter was shut down.  Two threads tell the tale.


On one of the last days a resident asked a simple question about a new business that was starting up in town and another resident (Aaron) answered with some pretty simple facts about the business.  In return, negative posts were made about his family.

  The second, which I just don't have the time  to find right now, was the posting of a children's story reading at the neighborhood bookstore.  It turned into some childish   screaming match about how the owners of the store were trying to poison the children with alcohol.  It was ridiculous. 

Now I am not sure what Adam's intentions were with the site but I always thought it was meant to be an exchange of ideas and information not a battlefield of attacks, accusations and threats.  Unfortunatley that it what it became in the past 6 months.  I must say I miss the site.  This site is nice, I find most of the posts to be educated and rational.  I think Tremonter spun out of control and lost the rational in the end.

RIP Tremonter- you will be missed.

Plain Dealer followed Tremonter

  And it is now following this site more closely.  I agree that Tremonter got too ugly and personal and I hope that we can avoid that here at RealNEO.  Posting questions and asking for answers should not be so difficult. 

Residents have a right to know how their money is being spent or misspent.  From my own experience living in Tremont, I can tell you that the witch hunt of Frank Giglio was immoral (I had my own taste of Tremont).  And there have been no answers forthcoming from Councilman Cimperman or TWDC to explain why demolitions have been carried out so aggressively on Fairfield Ave. and why the threat of random demolitions continues in Tremont and throughout NEO.  To what end?



Let me stand up and take

Let me stand up and take responsibility for the threads posted about the book store - again - everybody got up in arms about - my concerns - I felt that it was WRONG for a book store to use a childrens hour to promote his business - and I still do - that is my opinion - turn it around -it's a bar selling books.  There was a lot worse posted on Tremonter - shucks I posted some history facts about the good old days - about some good people I met - places I worked - about my siblings playing in the old gospel press building when they were little kids - about some stores I remember being in the neighborhood years ago - and that was deleted from Tremonter - Adam could have easily deleted the post about the book store - so let's call a spade a spade.  Folks - I'm the jackass that started all the hoopla about the bookstore - but I have seen a lot of misery caused by alcoholism - lives destroyed - families destroyed - most of it started at very young ages - and I just thought it sent the wrong message - when you can have a wonderful children's hour at the library.



You did no wrong speaking your mind.

Why do those birds have such delicate feathers?

That's the thing around

That's the thing around here, if you don't go along or agree with every little thing or think every little thing everybody wants to do is wonderful and great then you're a hater, you're negative or hateful.  They want to put a bar right in the middle of schools, churchs, backyards, and you don't agree, you're negative, you speak out for long-time homeowners who can't afford to live up to the "affordable" new condo chocking out the old homes, your being negative, you try to flush out some of the wrong doings within the leadership of our community and the political schemes right under our noses, you're hateful -

There was plenty of stuff posted on Tremonter that Adam could have deleted if he had wanted to - in the name of "personal" attacks and it had nothing to do with what you or I posted yet - he chose to delete some historical memories - kind of like nobody wanted the old days to be recalled. 

As long as they were making the comments, it was ok, but when somone called them on it , everybody got their knickers in a twist.

It's like we live in a Stepford community.