The following was part of the “Prop. 98 is an attack on real people” campaign against Prop 98. What it does not state is that Donna Matthews has been a GSMOL Assistant Manager serving residents in the Inland Empire for over 20 years.
Donna is my hero. She helped me when we wrote the recommendations report for the GSMOL Board of Directors and strongly believed we need more enforcement of the MRL to protect mobilehome owners. We have continued our friendship and correspond regularly.
“What people don’t realize is that both the mobile home parks owners and mobile home owners have an investment. Without rent control it will be one investor taking advantage of another investor. We won’t have the bargaining power or the money that the owners will have. The landlords will raise the rents as high as they want. The rents will be so high and nobody will be able to rent the space. We would lose the value in our homes. If we lose our only nest-egg, where will we go?” — Donna Matthews, 83, Calimesa
Donna lives in Plantation on the Lake mobile home park in Calimesa, Riverside County and is facing an eviction threat over a disputed trash bill. Donna’s original agreement specified that a garbage bin and trash pick up would be provided as a part of her rent. Out of nowhere, 22 years later, Donna received a bill for $73.80 claiming she was two months behind on her trash bill. But Donna has never paid rent late and the trash fee was part of her rent. The landlord gave Donna 10 days to pay the fee or leave the park. Under protest Donna paid the fee, but her landlord is still trying to evict her through the court process.
So why is CoMO-CAL writing about Donna? Just to make a point. Here is a lady dedicated to helping others. A lady who has worked with the Mobilehome Residency Law for many years. A lady who is perhaps the longest standing manager for GSMOL. Yet, she may lose her home!
On June 30, 2008 Donna, her attorney, and a small group of friends attended her court hearing. The judge, his mind made up, decided she paid the trash fee on time; however he ruled that her eviction notice will stand. She has until August 7, 2008 to sell her home and leave. The decision was beyond belief, and of course her attorney is going to appeal. But what happens if the appeal is not in time or against her – she could well lose her home. And on top of that, Donna has to pay court costs and costs for the park attorney.
If this can happen to Donna, it could happen to any one of us. In my estimation, this is nothing short of “senior abuse.” Of course the park has been after Donna because she is an advocate for us.
This should be a “wake-up” call to all of us. We need to change the law, we need to organize, and we need to unite. If not, we could be the ones losing our homes. We sincerely hope this turns out okay for Donna and her family.