When our parks try to take advantage of us, who is responsible to bail us out? Think about it.
The Times article shows how the good intentions of the L.A. Housing Department can get lost in politics and possible corruption. We should be following up—were some of these rent control violations really resolved? What were the violations? How serious were they? Obviously serious enough to file a complaint with the City Attorney’s office. They need to hear our VOICES!
Then we have the Keyeart’s story. This is not an isolated event! And these events are happening more often than ever. Of course we probably see only the tip of the iceberg! The Parks have all the cards—they misstate the laws to their own advantage— after all who would question what our managers say. They know if they can get a resident to move his mobile home, they can charge anything they want as space rent. And if the resident happens to sell to the park (at rock bottom prices), the park makes easy money bringing a new mobile home into the Park and selling it. Parks can put added pressure on sellers by giving them “more hoops to jump through.” Lists of repairs, time periods (and if they don’t comply, there goes their mobile home), not approving a residents buyer (although the buyer is qualified), giving a prospective buyer a HCD violations report for the particular space, etc.
Who do you think will help you when you go to sell your mobile home and the park tries to interfere? HCD, GSMOL, CoMO-LAC, CMRAA, WMA…? Of course we pay our taxes for the Ombudsman program run by HCD, but don’t ask them for help. HCD does not get involved in civil matters like interference of sales, bad managers, closed clubhouses, or other unfair business practices. Just call and ask them. Soon they will not even inspect our parks. Of course WMA, the park owner’s group, will “help” you. Just call the L.A. Housing Department about a problem—like a closed clubhouse, and they will refer you to David Evans, the representative of WMA. He is paid by Park owners and looks out for their interests! Do you think he will give you an unbiased answer to your problem? Yet, even after CoMO-LAC asked Anna Ortega of the Housing Department to replace David Evans as “ombudsman,” she emphatically said no! What does this say about our own Housing Department? Questions and problems of homeowners should be handled by a homeowner advocacy group like GSMOL or CoMO-LAC. But they don’t!
So what are we to do as mobile home owners? Stay under the park’s radar? Keep out of sight and out of trouble? Cozy up to management? In fact many do! Maybe that is the answer. But when it comes to money, I doubt it. In fact a neighbor who has been very cozy with management has just sold his double wide to the park for a rock bottom price. So alas, selling is always an option—just what park owners want. This increases their cash flow and the value of their property!
So who is responsible? Ultimately we all are, especially those living in parks where these unfair business practices take place. We must realize this situation will only get worse unless we organize. Organize in our parks. Organize in our county. Organize in our state. That is our only hope. Then communicate between parks, and between counties. Then let the park owners know we have many eyes and ears—we are watching and listening. And unfair business practices will not go unnoticed. They will be dealt with. We will involve our local officials. And we will go to the media or to court if we must. But we will not allow Parks to get away with these practices any longer.
So ask your friends and neighbors: What will it be? Remain unorganized and go it alone when you sell (and spend several thousand dollars if you have a problem). Or bite the bullet and spend $15.00 to join CoMO-LAC or GSMOL for $20.00. Last month we offered a complimentary newsletter coupon. FREE! The goal was to get YOU to give it to a friend or neighbor so THEY could read our Newsletter and be informed. Some members sent in the coupon with their own name and address; however the coupon was to attract new members. We want to help them and inform them. And we help ourselves at the same time by getting larger and stronger. We have written that CoMO-LAC is an organization for its members, BY ITS MEMBERS. What does that mean? It means that, if you can, please contribute to CoMO-LAC. Contribute your time or your money. What better way to volunteer than to help your friends and neighbors who are in need! And you help yourself at the same time.
So how can you help? CoMO-LAC needs help addressing envelopes, filing, keeping membership records, writing letters, etc. Computer skills are helpful but not necessary. We welcome your ideas. Ideas to get new members, and suggestions how CoMO-LAC can better serve you. Call Frank at 818-886-6479.
Remember Peter Finch’s famous line as Howard Beale in the movie “Network”: I’m mad as hell and won’t take it anymore! Here it is—brings back memories.
Howard Beale: I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a depression. Everybody’s out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel’s work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad – worse than bad. They’re crazy. It’s like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’ Well, I’m not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad.
Howard Beale: [shouting] You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, Goddamnit! My life has VALUE!’ So I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell ‘I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!’ I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Things have got to change. But first, you’ve gotta get mad!… You’ve got to say, ‘I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!’ Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the inflation and the oil crisis. But first get up out of your chairs, open the window, stick your head out, and yell, and say it: Howard Beale: [screaming at the top of his lungs] “I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!”
It may not be politically correct to write this Editorial, but unless we work together, we are lost. Give those free newsletter coupons to your friends and neighbors. Let’s build CoMO-LAC. We’re off to a great start and we can only get better. And we deserve and should demand that all groups, like GSMOL, CMRAA, CoMO-LAC work together for the welfare of all mobilehome owners in the State of California.
But we say that won’t happen to us. Well it just might! And who will be there for you?
But what can we accomplish?