Perhaps I’m naïve. But it seems to me the bottom line, the ultimate goal of advocacy groups should be “helping mobilehome owners.” That means YOUR WELFARE is their GOAL, not their organization or leadership! Perhaps there are different ways to help, right? Of course. This could and should be a team effort. One group does one thing well, another something else.
CoMO-CAL is the only group that shares information with all groups. Our membership includes GSMOL members, GSMOL chapter presidents and GSMOL managers. Merle Pitman, the leader of Mobile Home Owner’s Coalition (MHOC) in Ojai, and Glen Bell, President of Neighborhood Friends, have been members for more than a year. CMRAA, their president and other leaders, have received THE VOICE and other information about us. We have met and given literature to Hank Hoysak, Chairman of the Central Coast Mobile/Manufactured Home Owners Alliance, and his board in Santa Maria.
I think you would agree THE VOICE is the most informative newsletter in the state, something that would benefit every mobilehome owner. Why then are the leaders of these organizations the only ones who subscribe? Don’t they want their membership to be informed also? Shouldn’t they be writing about CoMO-CAL’s THE VOICE in their newsletter or at their meetings? Or are these groups simply about ego, money and power?
Our philosophy is be informed. Today CMRAA and GSMOL put out quarterly newsletters, perhaps 8-12 pages. MHOF and Neighborhood Friends do not have a newsletter. Our philosophy is go ahead and belong to another advocacy group, but know about the group before you join. If you do not join CoMO-CAL, at least subscribe to THE VOICE. We will work out some kind of deal with you. We have provided a copy of THE VOICE to a large GSMOL chapter here in Los Angeles, and they printed it for their members. Cost: $5/member/year. Certainly a bargain to be informed.
Almost to a person, leaders of other advocacy groups do not communicate with CoMO-CAL. This includes the leadership of CMRAA, GSMOL, Neighborhood Friends, the Central Coast Alliance, MHOC and others.
We have reached out to other groups numerous times to brainstorm how we can work together, yet we are ignored. Alas, politics seems to be the rule among advocacy groups. Their goal: shield their members from information at any cost. Why? To maintain their little kingdoms and to keep their members for themselves. But at what cost? The cost of members being informed!
CoMO-CAL is the only advocacy group that writes about other groups. We ask mobilehome owners to take an active role in the organization they support, and not be blinded by the rhetoric or what the organization says it is doing. Do your homework!
I happen to have a lot of information about GSMOL because I did my homework over several years. I attended GSMOL board meetings, was a Convention Delegate in 2004 and 2006, a chapter president and Associate Manager.
I feel it imperative that GSMOL members take a hard look at their organization and question their leaders. Why is ROP, Inc., led by GSMOL lobbyist and corporate counsel Maurice Priest, once again buying a park against the wishes of the residents and without their knowledge? (See article on page 10) Why, after almost six years, has the Enforcement Legal Fund not had one positive result? Why won’t GSMOL leaders explain their support of ROP? After all, there are techniques for residents to purchase their park that are much more beneficial—why wouldn’t GSMOL share that information with their membership? Is this about “helping mobilehome owners” or about helping one person or a small group of people? Please think about it! And don’t just take my word on this, call others around the state like Rosemary Tomai, Jerry Lenhard, Don Hunter, the Clearlake people, Donald DeVore, and scores of others.
And remember, CoMO-CAL isn’t only about THE VOICE. Now THE WHISPER will reach thousands of mobilehome owners. They too will be informed about important issues and know they can join our growing family. Also we receive many calls from members and non-members alike asking for advice, attorney referrals, or other information. We turn NO ONE away. (We can thank you, our membership, for that.)
CoMO-CAL is also about brainstorming, thinking outside the box. We are about NEW IDEAS. Recently we published a letter to the editor by Ray Newman suggesting that cities might use their power of eminent domain to “take” mobilehome parks for affordable housing. The city has several options at that point—help residents purchase their park, or be a “moral” landlord.
“Helping mobilehome owners” is more than new legislation. We have more laws on the books to protect us here in California, but in my estimation these laws DO NOT protect us! Many park owners and managers BREAK THE LAW on a daily basis. Why? Because they know they can get away with it. The Mobilehome Residency Law (MRL) does not protect us, simple as that. And park owners like it that way. We owners are forced to retain an attorney and endure a lawsuit in order to try to protect our rights. Often the outcome does not reflect justice, but who has the most power and money.
Finally, it is about respect. Our goal is to give you factual, truthful information about ALL ISSUES that affect your lives today. We are family, and we fight for each other. Your dues allow us to help others who are out there alone, without anyone else to turn to. We have a growing list of good attorneys that are available. Please fill out the following survey—we want your input! Thanks!