How is CoMO-CAL Different From GSMOL?
We’ve been asked over and over—”Just what are the differences between CoMO-CAL and GSMOL?” Of course, one difference, we are the new kid on the block. GSMOL has been around 45 years, but that doesn’t guarantee they’re doing a good job today.
- CoMO-CAL works in the “trenches,” with individual park residents as well as park groups. We do not require a waiting period before we will help someone. In fact we often get calls from mobile home owners in distress who are not members and will chat with them “on the spot..” We know there is a growing need among mobile home owners for help. They have few, if any other resources for help.
- We are happy to get calls from mobile home owners. Why? Because we know they often need someone to talk to about issues and concerns. We use this experience to gain knowledge we share with our membership.
On the other hand, the GSMOL Garden Grove staff often are not happy when you call for assistance or information. Why? Because the two ladies staffing the office in Garden Grove were hired as office staff to handle membership and accounting. They are not mobile home owners and it is not their job to council GSMOL members who call them. That is the responsibility of the V.P.’s and Managers. Unfortunately half the state has NO V.P.; neither Zone C nor Zone D have an acting Vice President.
- GSMOL needs a certain number of members just to survive. Right now their membership is approximately 17,000. Anyone can do the math. 17,000 members at $20.00/year that means GSMOL’s income through membership dues is about $340,000. They also have other sources of income such as advertising, which does bring additional income, so we estimate their income at about $400,000 per year.
So where is the problem? GSMOL spends tens of thousands of dollars on three items: office staff (2.5 full time office staff plus the Californian editor), corporate council and lobbyist in Sacramento, and their monthly publication, the Californian. In fact, each category demands about $100,000 per year. That’s right, GSMOL staff is not volunteer, but paid! That leaves essentially nothing to support GSMOL’s volunteer network – those mobile home owners dedicated to helping others. GSMOL volunteers usually pay their expenses themselves!
GSMOL is in crisis because it can’t cut expenses more than it has without making major changes in it’s organizational structure. What would GSMOL be without a lobbyist? Or the office staff to run the organization? Or the Californian?
On the other hand, CoMO-CAL has no lobbyist. CoMO-CAL has no corporate council. We have no office staff and we have only spent a few hundred dollars for help with the newsletter. So right there our budget is about $200,000 less than that of GSMOL. Our members dues go directly to helping members and building the organization. THE VOICE costs abut $9.00 to print and mail per year.
That leaves about $6.00 for other uses and we have done much with that money. We have equiped our “office” with four printers, a top of the line computer, two audio recorders, one camcorder, a file, staplers, membership software, and much more. We have paid various fees to become incorporated. We have retained an attorney (we have had our two attorneys comment on Proposition 90 and other issues – we have also consulted them with members problems) and have a terrific website. In 2006 we mailed over 5,000 fliers around California alerting residents to Proposition 90. We have such as printing and mailing fliers out to parks without CoMO-CAL members.
- GSMOL is not a transparent organization. Members really know nothing of the organization, and unfortunately the great majority have not taken an active role. GSMOL leaders like it that way. In fact GSMOL has gone out of its way not to give information to the membership. Why? Because GSMOL has been losing members right and left. As a consequence, GSMOL is much less effective in Sacramento. If you attend a GSMOL Board of Directors meeting (and usually only a handful of members do), you are allowed to speak for three minutes. The Directors usually will not talk to you or comment.
CoMO-CAL on the other hand is a transparent organization. We have published our finances. Our membership knows where the money goes.
- GSMOL must increase their membership to survive. It is a necessity simply because the way the organization is set up.
CoMO-CAL doesn’t need more members. We can provide information and help to the members we have today just fine without adding one new member. And just ask our membership how we are doing. In fact, we did just that in the November 2006 THE VOICE (we printed a four page questionnaire and many returned it). And they said we are doing a good/excellent job – a breath of fresh air.
CoMO-CAL wants new members primarily for two reasons. Number One: We want to share THE VOICE, our website, and attorney/staff assistance with ALL mobile home owners across the state. Why? Because if everyone was educated and knowledgeable, the park owners and managers wouldn’t be so bold to take advantage of us! And Number Two: we want to grow our membership—to promote UNITY and TEAMWORK among mobile home owners across the state.
- You know from the last couple newsletters, we expect more of our members. We are constantly asking something from you, right? Fill out a questionnaire, send us information on lawsuits, information about happenings in their individual parks, etc. We need our members for that reason – not just for their $15.00/year. We have often said “our members are our eyes and ears.”
- We want you to be informed. We want you to have the information so they can make educated choices. We want you to know about other organizations. On the other hand, GSMOL does not publish information about other advocacy groups and usually feels other groups are “splinter groups” undermining GSMOL’s organization.
- CoMO-CAL makes an effort to alert mobile home owners that we exist. We have an ongoing program to mail fliers into parks without members. Why? Because we want to share with others. GSMOL, on the other hand, does not mail out fliers, although it has been suggested by concerned members many times. The GSMOL leadership always says GSMOL doesn’t have the money for such efforts.
We realize writing about another organization is a bit controversial, but you deserve to know the facts. We welcome Tim Sheahan, President of GSMOL, or any other GSMOL leader to respond to any of our articles about GSMOL. Perhaps our members who also belong to GSMOL will take a more active role in both organizations.