Fracking - or how the Plutocrats decide our Future-Poison anyone??

Submitted by lmcshane on Sat, 01/19/2013 - 18:17.


Some of you may have missed the Plain Dealer's glowing review of fake-environmentalist Rich Cochran at the Western Reserve Land Conservancy (also home to REALNEO's favorite Cuyahoga County crook)--

The Land Bank allows rich folks to get title on properties cleansed.  That's all folks.

Crain's Cleveland is also hosting a Shale Summit with Rich Cochran as the key note speaker:


For Ed Fitzgerald, What you are reading in the comment section is just a part of the real problem in Cuyahoga County , The Non-Profit Sector is Mismanaged.  
Search "internecine matrix" , because you will never read about it in the Plain Dealer....


Harmony with the world will not be achieved by helping frackers. There will be hell to pay for that instead. At least you said you're concerned. Sure haven't been until now.  
No one is talking about civil discourse. That's granted. But it is amazing that it took that much pointed commentary to get you to wake up and realize that you're creating a monster out of what should be a Conservation group. What ARE your goals for WRLC? Cooperating with frackers, that's what you said above. Did you think that would not get people angry? And, having developers on your board who put parsley on the pig of a development and call it "conservation easements."  
Cooperating with frackers IS NOT DOING YOUR BEST, it's doing your worst. Why can you not understand that? What part of "this is wrong" do you not understand? Again, grow a spine.  
And shame on the PD for praising such nonsense as "Part-visionary, part-realist" What vision do you have? One of earthquakes and poison seeping into the lands we fought to preserve? Do you really think that the wealthy can keep their land free of the same poisons?...


Rich Cochran

With some concern I have read the comments associated with this story. It is interesting to observe that Frolik's story begins with "in an age of over-heated, I'm right, You're wrong, public discourse" and in the story he tries to celebrate a more civil and balanced discourse. And then there appear a series of over-heated comments. While the merits of my convictions are always subject to debate, I have to wonder why some people attribute such malintent to me and our organization. We are all doing our best to make the world a better place. I am sorry if we do not always do that in the manner that everyone believes to be right. We will continue to do our best, we will always consider new and challenging points of view, and we will grow and change as the world evolves with and around us. I hope that everyone who is interested will participate with us in this process in a constructive and harmonious manner. This is the ultimate lesson of nature; when we seek harmony with the world and with others we succeed, and when we fight we all suffer. Happy new year to all ... 



Garry Kanter

Please, refute any statements I have posted as being incorrect. 
Provide my statement in quotes, and point out my errors. 
You don't like my tone, that's one thing. You wanna call me a liar, that's another. 



I am of a mind to move that the original conservancy that I belonged to REMOVE ITSELF form WRLC IMMEDIATELY. I will see if this can happen. Including all it's lands. NO clue if it's legal, but boy am I fired up! Listen , folks, the ppl I know saved land FOR the people and it is STILL for the people, not the rich. That's why we did it. Not for this gas and oil -developer serving nonsense calling itself a "Conservancy"  
Granted, much good has been done by WRLC but they now are wandering on thin ice. ...






Rich Cochran! Please GROW A SPINE!!!!!!! SPINE was what CREATED WRLC, not giving in to gas and oil interests and developers who you dub "conservation minded" - what you called Mr Schneider of 1st Interstate. CONSERVATION MINDED? Are you insane????...



The DUTY of a Land Conservancy such as WRLC IS to oppose such horrors as fracking. To dub it a "an impending blizzard. You can't be for or against a blizzard; it is coming and you need to deal with it as best you can" is to give up before you have even tried. I choose to remain anonymous, but Mr Cochran, I am one who saw the formation of WRLC and am deeply entrenched at the root of the groups that founded it. Your decisions lately, with this, and with having Mr Schneider on the board, are questionable and tear at the heart of what WRLC should be. You are turning it into a Club for the Rich, not a tool for the People as it should be. Wake UP before it's too late. Shame on you and shame on WRLC if you do NOT oppose fracking as a matter of principle. What is WRONG with you? This horror literally will poison the ground BENEATH CONSERVED LANDS!!!! Excuse me while I go puke and mourn all the early work done by myself and other folks who ARE THE CORE OF WRLC. ...


Garry Kanter

Ya know, the "bigger picture" here, imho, is how "charitable" organizations have taken the place of the old-style country clubs. 
I don't know this group. Maybe only ever laid eye on one of their members, once.  
But it seems to me, that a bunch of swells, under the cover of "land conservancy" have built themselves a pretty nice "campus" in bucolic Moreland Hills. With tax deductible donations, and as a non-taxpaying entity. 
So the old, tax-inefficient country club that did some philanthropy evolved into groups like this, with 1%-er-friendly tax treatment. 
Same guys. Same properties. Same $ being spent with the same member/vendors. Same membership rules - you know... 
But new and improved!!! They get to do it, and pay less taxes!!! And anonymously!!...


Garry Kanter

Oh, and their the Knights In Shining Armor, to boot!...


Garry Kanter



Looks like Rich Cochran has his head screwed on correctly.  
"If you don't address the health of the urban environment, then this dynamic of sprawl without population growth is just going to continue. We have to look at land preservation and land use without regard to ZIP code."  
His statement is so true. Little thought (sometimes way too much talk) is put into urban growth and the quality of living for it's citizens....



Garry Kanter

Yes, that's a good sound bite.  
However, I find the words you quoted hypocritical in regards to the Oakwood property they showed no interest in. That's in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights, zip codes 44121 & 44118. 
And, I disagree that a tax exempt "land conservancy" should have their fatalist's POV about fracking. 
So, I can't agree about Mr. Cochran. 

User ID:



Rokkakis spent a decade battling the foreclosure crisis??? Really? That long? Didn't the foreclosure crisis start about 2007 peaking after that? And he left office when? A decade ago was 2002 if we're going by today's "...about a decade ago." Hey I'm all for giving credit where credit is due, but embellishing is not the stuff of Pulitizer Prize winners or even 7-day-a-week newspapers, is it?...



Garry Kanter

I don't know what Mr. Rokakis did or didn't do, but there *were* people at the local level who recognized the fraud that was taking place, well before the collapse. 
It wasn't all too long after the Alt-A "Liar's Loans" began, I believe at the end of Clinton 's term. 
So, 2007 isn't the right starting point, but a full decade would be a stretch....



Based on the statements of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's president, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's function is to reduce taxes for the wealthy, not to protect the environment. Mitchell Schneider's presence on the board is a sign of corruption and a clear statement that the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's primary goal is self-perpetuation, not concern for the environment.  
No one who cares about the environment should donate to them--neither individuals nor philanthropic organizations. WRLC's opportunistic stance on fracking speaks loud and clear that they are an "environmental" group that DOES NOT defend the environment. 
I will tell everyone I can not to donate to them. There are lots of alternatives if you want to conserve land in our area; support Trust for Public Land . At least they tried to save Oakwood.  

thomtoenail likes this.

Garry Kanter

Yeah, that fracking capitulation is jaw-dropping to me. Since the turn of the 19th century, *real* environmentalists fought as hard as they could, for as long as they could. Logging, oil, animals, water, you name it. To equate legislation as being as inevitable as a blizzard is off the chart. No environmentalist could believe that. For this group to state that in their annual report tells me *everything* I need to know about them. ...



The aforementioned concerns are a big problem with this group. It would be great if their motives were truly altruistic, however from studying their actions it appears that a lot of times they act in the interests of developers bankrolling their operation. Kind of defeats the purpose of a true conservancy group. We here living in the Heights are still mightily disappointed in how Oakwood played out....

3 Weeks Ago



I'm all for private conservancy groups using privately-collected money from donors to make their land purchases for conservationist goals; that's what America is all about.  
But when these conservancy organizations exist only to act as fronts for taxpayer-funded land grabs by government groups like the Ohio EPA, that's when the entire process turns frustrating.  
As an example, look at the pending $4.75M purchase and closing of the Aurora Golf Club to see how a 'conservancy group' provided a front for the Ohio EPA and a couple of misguided city council members to financially enrich its private citizen owner, using 'water conservation' as the nonsensical excuse in its predetermined evaluation report......



Garry Kanter

Oh, and check out the $6.5 MILLION new & restored digs mostly paid for by a single anonymous donation. 
5,000 sq ft restored, 11,000 sq ft new offices, all in Moreland Hills. Nice, but not so "urban", really. 
So, they act like a government agency, buying all this land, and making these huge decisions, but they don't have to disclose their sources of funding. This glaring lack of transparency can't lead to anything good, can it?...




Garry, it's difficult to understand your arguments here. 
If you take your own money and go on a land buying spree, do you have a responsibility to state publicly the reasons behind all of your purchases?  
Nope, you do not. 
As long as it's private money (or even corporate money) making the land purchases or upgrading conservancy offices, the group owes the public nothing in the way of reporting.  
Now if they are using taxpayer money for any of those purchases or upgrades, completely different story......



Garry Kanter

There's nothing to refute....



Thank you. I agree....


Garry Kanter

With the following attitude, Mr. Cochran should be Big Gas and Oil's best friend. 
A blizzard is a natural occurrence of the climate. Man made legislation is not.  
Based on the following statement, I would describe this entity as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Thanks for nothing.  
"People often ask us, 'Are you for or against hydro-fracking?' " Cochran and his board chair, John D. Leech, wrote in the conservancy's recently published annual report. "The reality is that in our part of Ohio that is like asking if you are for or against an impending blizzard. You can't be for or against a blizzard; it is coming and you need to deal with it as best you can." ...




Well actually if you rely upon snow to make a profit then I think you would be "for" a blizzard especially when typical snowfalls are lacking. Bad answer. Here's a better one: "When we see an opportunity to jump in bed with someone who benefits our reason for existence, then we jump by golly!"...



Garry Kanter

I guess the 154 acre Oakwood golf course in South Euclid and Cleveland Heights wasn't good enough for the WRLC to look out for. 
Maybe a board member/donor had competing interests? 

ThePhoenician likes this.



Garry Kanter

Yep, the Oakwood/Walmart developer is on the Board Of Trustees of the WRLC, and is included in the largest donor category in the annual report linked in the article.  
The WRLC had been engaged - prior to the developer/board member's purchase - and been asked by a local grass roots civic group to purchase the golf course property. The WRLC declined. I always disliked the odor of those two facts, know what I mean? 
I'm not exactly sure *whose* interests this group serves, but with their preposterous Hydraulic Fracturing comment, and the gross disinterest in Oakwood, they are not serving *my* interests at all.  
Sadly, this is all too common. A so-called "civic" group is actually serving the needs of a special interest group or government agency, always within the letter of their mission statements, but never within the spirit....




So let me get this straight: Cochran doesn't spend his conservancy's resources exactly how you think is important (in your back yard, no less) and somehow his group is suddenly 'fishy'. 
Want to serve *your* conservancy interests? Gather your own funding and build a support group and begin your altruistic mission immediately! No one is stopping you......


Garry Kanter

Let me ask you, where *exactly* does my "back yard" begin and end? 'Cause the Oakwood/Walmart developer and the South Euclid city council called us Cleveland Heights folks outside agitators, and worse. The SE council president is quoted in the Sun Papers telling us to crawl back under our rocks. Now, you're calling me a NIMBY. You got a rule book, or something, that clarifies these things? I ask all the time, but no one ever gives me the rules....



Garry Kanter

I need to make a correction: The board member I referred to is not in the largest, "Leaders", donor group, he's listed in the "Guardian" group. 
Although, there are two "anonymous" donors in the "Leaders" donor group. You never know, and I wouldn't be surprised. But we'll never know. And that's a problem.

WRLC is a front...fake philanthropy for the RICH...

SEE the playbook - in NYC like CLE - a town that LIKES to pride itself on their complete control of the media.


Based on the statements of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's president, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's function is to reduce taxes for the wealthy, not to protect the environment. Mitchell Schneider's presence on the board is a sign of corruption and a clear statement that the Western Reserve Land Conservancy's primary goal is self-perpetuation, not concern for the environment.  
No one who cares about the environment should donate to them--neither individuals nor philanthropic organizations. WRLC's opportunistic stance on fracking speaks loud and clear that they are an "environmental" group that DOES NOT defend the environment. 
I will tell everyone I can not to donate to them. There are lots of alternatives if you want to conserve land in our area; support Trust for Public Land . At least they tried to save Oakwood.  



Here's Rich Cochran's INSANE 2012 salary $326,616 and Jim Rokakis' KICKBACKS $128,500 - a friend just told me that Thieving Communities is pawning their "tree program" in the suburbs - PURE Bullshit... DON'T GIVE TO THIS FAKE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP!!!!


They are also pawning a "Tree Stewardship" program to CLE council folk and to heavy Dem suburbs like Parma, Brookpark and Brooklyn - TRAIN residents to PRUNE trees in public parks - I KID you not...  INSANE>>>  Watch your pocketbook - you are being FLEECED!


In case you doubted the "friends with benefits" connection between WRLC and Cuyahoga Land Bank - let me clarify:

Phillip Morris sings praise of fake messiah Rokakis-WRLC at behest of his editors:

My comment which will be deleted:


How convenient - first Treasurer Rokakis and Deputy Treasurer Frangos sell every low hanging fruit tax lien in East Cleveland and then WRLC comes in to swoop up all of those "land bank" properties for the right investors.  Keep protecting these two because Brent Larkin is a special friend of Jim Rokakis. One day, the feds will catch up and PD will look stupid again.


RE: YMCA property at 3881 West 25th St:

 I have several unanswered emails to Brian Cummins - ironically, he wants to pretend that he is transparent and a proponent of open govt. Not so - BTW - I archived this information:
Detroit Shoreway made close to a million dollars on the Templin low-income tax credit project. So, do the math on the PSH project and what they expect to get in return. Also - I sent this to Dane Reich : at 30.08 secs into this Ideastream interview - Akram Boutros admits he has fielded a request for a hotel and grocery store in the Metrohealth service area. Obviously, he did not follow the Ramsey-Cummins script because both of these crooks said there has been absolutely NO interest in a hotel or grocery store on W. 25th. So, who is lying?? I don't think the good doctor is lying - but he probably knows that WRLC that has former Old Brooklyn councilman Jim Rokakis on their special West 25th Corridor Thriving Communities payroll to the tune of $129K salary -and Rokakis is also pushing development on the Henninger property (former dump south of Big Creek) owned by guessed it WRLC - and guess who is on the board of WRLC and Metrohealth!! Mitch Schneider.

November 6, 2016 -comments posted to Freshwater Cleveland Spin piece

“I cannot tell you what’s next,” Rokakis says, “but ... if you do nothing – there is no 'what’s next' … If we [Thriving Communities] think we can add value, we step in and work on those projects.”

I can tell you what's next - the big flip on the vacant YMCA next to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Land Bank just accepted an industrial property from a property owner - the property at 3873 West 25th has not been in housing court and has been current on the taxes. The Land Bank will fraudulently use TARP Hardest Hit Funds or Cuyahoga County's $50 million dollar slush fund for demolition companies to demo the industrial building and the vacant YMCA building that was flipped and owed over 118K in back taxes allowed to accumulate while Brian Cummins was councilperson and Jim Rokakis was the County Treasurer. 

After the large demo contract is rigged with a Cuyahoga County favorite like Marous Construction, the Land Bank will transfer to Detroit Shoreway and or Cleveland Housing Network to proceed with the OHFA application for low-income tax credits. This application is sure to net a cool million dollars for Detroit Shoreway and construction contracts steered to Giban, Fodor and/or Panzica. What is the community left with? Prison cells for chronically homeless people next to the number one, year-round family tourist destination in Northeast Ohio.

As a community, we lose, forever, the potential to capitalize on trail connections to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The region loses a potential tax return on a highly commercial property site that is certainly more suited to a hotel development than a homeless warehouse.

BTW - CHN keeps building these cash cows - they were awarded the Emerald Alliance contract for another project this past spring The liberal bandwagon wants to chew me out over my lack of "compassion" for their efforts - well, the liberal bandwagon can put the housing next to their suburban homes (you'll note that these homeless warehouses are only in the City of Cleveland). Cleveland Housing Network is also the largest rental property owner in Northeast Ohio - and their properties look like this:

Laura McShane · 
No amount of spin can make Jim Rokakis a civic hero. He has decimated his own childhood Old Brooklyn neighborhood beyond recognition and has destroyed the tax base in Cuyahoga County - first as county treasurer and now, as the the shadow real estate player with the Cuyahoga Land Bank. Rokakis and Frangos legislated the sale of tax liens and were part of the original wave of property flippers during the 90s housing bubble. Frangos legislated- first the city land bank- and now the county land bank. The duo are protected by larger crooks like Forest City, Safeguard and the "investors" in low-income tax credits, like the worst land-lord in Northeast Ohio - the Cleveland Housing Network.

Blocked at PD - Use CHROME browser

I was alerted that the site doesn't show comments or allow comments with browser IE and Mozilla.  Try Chrome.  It worked for me :)


And, related-who is left at the PD anyway??  See: 


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