Your park owner cannot prevent you from canvassing door to door in your mobilehome park, leaving literature door to door in your mobilehome park and displaying campaign signs on your moboilehome or in your lot that educate your fellow mobilehome owners on the need to vote No on Prop. 98 and Yes on Prop. 99 to save mobilehome rent control.
To All Mobilehome Park Homeowners’ Associations and Mobilehome Owners:
As you may have heard, both the landlords’/ park owners’ proposition to outlaw mobilehome and other rent controls (Proposition 98) and the Coalition and mobilehome owners’ proposition to save mobilehome rent control (Proposition 99) are now on the June 3, 2008-primary ballot. They are the only statewide propositions that will be on that ballot. To be completely safe, mobilehome owners need to make sure that Proposition 98 is soundly defeated. So your main message has to be NO ON PROPOSITION 98. However, as a backup strategy, if Proposition 98 passes but Proposition 99 also passes, Proposition 99 has a “poison pill” written into it that will nullify the anti-mobilehome rent control provisions of Proposition 98. So, all mobilehome owners’ mantra for the next two months must be NO ON PROP 98 & YES ON PROP. 99.
Fortunately, under California law, Civil Code section 798.51, a provision of the California Mobile Home Residency Law (the MRL), your park owner must permit you to canvas your fellow homeowners in your park, distribute literature to them and put signs on your mobilehome or on your space that educates them to vote No on 98 and Yes on 99. Your park owner cannot prevent you from undertaking these educational and get out the vote activities in your mobilehome park.
There is also good news. A new survey of California likely voters released March 26 by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) found that 41% of likely voters would vote “No” on Proposition 98, while only 37% would vote Yes. On the other hand, by a two-to-one margin (53-27), voters were inclined to support Prop. 99.
Although this poll is encouraging, it does not mean that you can just sit back and we will win. Far from it, we need to begin massive educational and get out the vote effort in mobilehome parks now for several reasons.
First, mobilehome park owners and landlords are going to soon be spending millions of dollars to try to trick the voters and turn those poll numbers around. We expect that they will spend Fifthteen million dollars or more on a deceptive television campaign that will falsely portray Proposition 98 as an eminent domain abuse initiative while hiding its true purpose of eliminating rent control and other laws that protect mobilehome owners.
Second, the June 3rd. – Primary is California’s second primary this year, being a junior partner to California’s March – presidential primary. This means that voter turnout is going to be low which historically means a higher conservative voter turnout which will be more favorable to the park owners’ Proposition 98 and it also makes voter polls somewhat unreliable.
Third, since the park owners are likely to file a legal challenge against the “poison pill” provision of Proposition 99 (i.e., the provision in Proposition 99 that would nullify the anti-mobilehome rent control provisions of Proposition 98 if they both pass and Proposition 99 gets more votes than 98) if both propositions pass, then to be completely safe we must make sure that Proposition 98 is soundly defeated by getting more no votes and yes votes, and only rely on Proposition 99’s poison pill as a backup. Remember the PPIC shows that voters are rejecting Proposition 98 by only 5 % points of 41 % t 37%, which is far too close of a margin for comfort.
To complicate matters, it is expected that almost half of the voters who will cast their votes in the June 3, 2008 – primary, will do so by mail-in absentee ballots during the month of May. This means that we do not have much time to reach those voters and that we must do much of our work before the end of the first week in May.
THREE THINGS THAT YOUR PARK OWNER CANNOT PREVENT YOU FROM UNDERTAKING IN YOUR MOBILEHOME PARK TO SAVE MOBILEHOME RENT CONTROL:
Mobilehome owners can turn the low voter turnout and early voting problems around if you make sure that every person living in a mobilehome park in California, and their friends and family living outside of mobilehome parks, are aware of Proposition 98 and Proposition 99 and that they get out and vote. Listed below, are activities that your park owner cannot prevent you from undertaking in your mobilehome park to educate your fellow mobilehome owners about the need to vote No on Prop. 98 and Yes on Prop. 99 to save mobilehome rent control.
STEP 1: EDUCATION CANVAS FOR EARLY VOTERS: .
To make sure that the half of the voters in mobilehome parks who are expected to vote early by mail are aware of Prop 98 and 99 and vote, volunteers from your park should go to door to door in your park and explain to your fellow homeowners how they will lose their rent control if they do not get out and vote no on Prop. 98 and yes on Prop. 99. Remember, under Civil Code section 798.51(a)(3) your park owner cannot stop you from going door to door in your park to canvass your fellow homeowners on 98 and 99, including that it allows you to leave literature at their homes even when they are not home.
You should undertake your door to door education campaign in your park early during the month of April and try to reach everyone no later than before the end of the first week in May to make sure that they are educated before they get their absentee ballots (absentee ballots will be sent out during the first week in May). Attached to this e-mail, is a flyer that the No on 98 – Yes on 99 Coalition produced for mobilehome owners (as a MS Word document) that you can use when you go door to door. If you do not have the resources to print these flyers on your own, then please contact my office and we can make arrangements for the Coalition to get you as many copies of this flyer as you need (However, if you can afford to print them yourself the that will save the No on 98/Yes on 99 Coalition money to spend on other crucial campaign activities).
You can also download additional flyers that explain how Proposition 98 will hurt other renters, destroy California’s environmental and land use laws, and prevent needed water projects as Adobe files by using the following link to the Download Section of the Coalition’s Website:
When you go door to door in your park, keep track of who you talk to so you can reach people who are not home on a return visit but also leave them a flyer and information on how they can contact you to help. Also, you should get voter registration forms from your local county register of voters so you can register any mobilehome owners to vote who are not currently registered. Fortunately, because of the recent presidential primary, many mobilehome owners are already registered to vote.
Windows signs can also be downloaded from the Coalition’s above website link or you can make your own. When you go door to door in your park you should have these signs with you and you should ask people to display them on their mobilehomes. You should have the goal of getting everyone in your mobilehome park to put a No on 98 and Yes on 99 Windows sign in their window. You can use one of the Coalition’s downloadable small window signs or make signs yourself. Remember, under Civil Code section 798.51(e) your park owner cannot stop you displaying such signs in your mobilehome park. They can be as large as 6 square feet and you are permitted to display them in your mobilehome’s windows, on the outside of your mobilehome or anywhere on your mobilehome lot (i.e., even a 6 foot square yard sign on your lot). Your park owner cannot prevent you from displaying your signs for a period of 90 days prior to the June 3, 2008 – primary election until 15 days afterward.
STEP 2: FRIENDS AND FAMILY PLEDGE CAMPAIGN: .
There are almost one million residents in mobilehome parks in California. Although, many of them will become educated on this issue and vote, others will not since there are many parks without active homeowners associations. Our side simply does not have the millions of dollars that it would take to reach all of those mobilehome owners so we need to find other ways to make up for this deficit.
Mobilehome owners at one mobilehome park came up with a plan to make up for this deficit and to multiply the power of mobilehome owners tenfold. It is called the friends and family of mobilehome owners campaign. It is a pretty simple campaign. It works like this: when you go door to door in your park, in addition to asking all of the fellow mobilehome owners to vote, also ask them to fill out a Friends and Family pledge sheet (or several pledge sheets) in which they list ten voting age members of their family and friends who live outside of their mobilehome parks who they pledge to personally contact to tell them about the No on Prop. 98 & Yes on Prop. 99 Campaign and how they will lose their mobilehome if Proposition 98 is not defeated. A Friends and Family pledge sheet is attached to this e-mail (as an Adobe PDF file) that you can use for this purpose. Encourage people to fill out more than one family and friends pledge sheet if they are willing to do so. They fill in the pledge sheet(s) and keep it. They then contact the friends and family voters that they have listed and check them off on their pledge sheet(s) and then they give you the sheet when they are done.
STEP 3: GET OUT THE VOTE ON JUNE 3, 2008: .
Make sure the second half of the voters in your mobilehome park who are expected to go to the polls to vote on June 3, 2008, are educated on Prop. 98 & Prop. 99 and that they go out and vote. Hopefully, you will have already educated them about 98 and 99 in your door to door early voter education canvass in April and during the first week in May, so they should already be aware of the importance of their votes.
However, you will also need to remind them to vote and make sure that they do so on June 3, 2008. This can be done by many methods some examples of which are below:
- No on 98 Yes on 99 Window Signs. No on 98 Yes on 99 Window Signs are available from the above link to the Coalition’s website and these can be downloaded and printed out and put in everyone’s window in your mobilehome park to remind everyone to vote.
- Get out the vote Phone Trees and E-mail Trees. Set up a phone tree in your Park to have teams of volunteers call everyone on June 2nd. and 3rd. to remind them to vote and to make sure that they do so. You can also do this with e-mail reminders if you have their e-mail addresses but a follow-up personal contact through a phone call is always best.
- No on 98/ Yes on 99: Save Rent Control – Get Out The Vote Door Hangers. No on 98/ Yes on 99: Save Rent Control – get out the vote door hangers will be made available that should be put on every mobilehome owners’ door handle in your mobilehome park during the night of June 2nd. or the early morning of June 3rd. that reminds them to vote. Stickers can be put on these door hangers that give them the address of their polling place.
The above activities are only a few of the protected activities that you should undertake in your mobilehome park, and outside of your park, to make sure of that everyone votes to save their mobilehomes on June 3, 2008 and by absentee ballot during the month of May. What is important to remember is to use some method that reaches everyone in your mobilehome park because you cannot take it for granted that they will know about Prop 98 and 99 and that they will remember to vote.
Remember, under the MRL, at Civil Code section 798.51, your mobilehome park owner cannot prevent you from undertaking the outreach activities in your mobilehome park that are necessary to educate your fellow mobilehome owners to vote No on 99 and Yes on 98 and to get them to go out and vote. If your park owner attempts to interfere with those rights, then Civil Code section 798.52 provides you with a special proceeding to obtain an injunction against them to prohibit them from interfering with your campaign activities. Moreover, if they force you to take them to court, and you prevail, you will then be entitled to recover your attorney’s fees from them under Civil Code section 798.85 and a penalty of up to $2,000.00 for each willful violation of the above provisions of the MRL that prohibit them from interfering with your right to campaign to your fellow mobilehome owners.
If your park owner attempts to interfere with any the above activities in your mobilehome park, you are welcome to contact my office for guidance and possible assistance.
Law Office of William J. Constantine
303 Potrero, Building #29, Suite 104
Santa Cruz, California 95060
Fax: (831) 480-5934