On Monday October 3rd CoMO-LAC held a quarterly meeting in Oakridge Mobile Home Park in Sylmar.     Oakridge is a newer community of 600 spaces.  The majority of residents are under a 20 year lease, while 86 residents are still under rent control.  Residents are concerned that many have received 5% rent increases per year over the last two years.  There is confusion whether or not a particular space is under rent control. And there is confusion about a one year lease versus the 20 year leases and whether or not residents were even offered a one year lease.  We understand almost all residents signed the 20 year lease which calls for an annual rent increase of up to 5% (if the Consumer Price Index is less than 5%), and higher amounts should the Index be more than 5%.  In addition, residents face additional increases up to 10% in years 6,  11 and 16 at the option of the park.  About 100 residents attended the meeting and the park manager, GInny Harmon,    spoke about the 5% rent        increases and fielded resident’s questions.  Some residents did not believe they were offered a one year lease.  Others questioned passthroughs in the park.  Several were concerned that especially those on fixed incomes could not afford the ever higher rents.  Oakridge does currently have a cap on rents of $815.00; however this cap can be raised anytime the owner decides.  The second part of the meeting CoMO-LAC President Frank Wodley spoke briefly about CoMO-LAC, told     residents that CoMO-LAC is responsive to their needs and mobilehome owners must stick together.  Also that CoMO-LAC is primarily an educational tool whose goal is to educate members on their rights in mobilehome parks.    All residents who were not members received an application and handout describing CoMO-LAC.  Frank briefly explained that there are about 59 parks with 6,600 spaces in the City of Los Angeles under the Rent Stabilization Ordinance.  Annual rent increases are covered by the Ordinance and may vary from a low of 3% to a high of 8% depending on the Consumer Price Index.  For instance in 2005 the Index is 3.3% and the allowable increase is 3.0% (rounded to the nearest whole number).  514 Oakridge residents are not covered by the RSO.Unfortunately the meeting turned ugly.  The assistant manager suggested Frank was calling the manager a liar.   Another seemed to have researched Frank’s background, where he lived, what was happening in his park, etc. He questioned whether CoMO-LAC was actually a member of the Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce (he said he was a board member of the Chamber).   He insinuated  that Frank was involved in litigation with Chatsworth  Mobilehome Park   and     implied Frank was using CoMO-LAC money for his personal use to pay his            attorney’s fees.  Of course the answer to these attacks are simple-NO WAY JOSE!  CoMO-LAC is indeed a member of the Chatsworth Chamber of Commerce  and uses the Chamber meeting room at lease twice a month for       meetings. CoMO-LAC is a member in good standing with the Chamber.  Anyone questioning that can call the Chamber at 818-341-2428—talk with Ivy or Molly.    Also Frank was involved in litigation with the park    manager; however in 2003.  And of course CoMO-LAC was non-existent at that time, so Frank could hardly have been  using CoMO-LAC money for his defense.  After the meeting several residents approached Frank and apologized for the behavior of 2-3 residents.  And really what do these attacks show us.  That some are afraid of CoMO-LAC and want to bring it down by attacking its leader.  This is not the first time that an organization or active residents have been attacked in order to lessen its impact in the community.  We have heard of at least one GSMOL Chapter President leaving a park after neighbors filed restraining order actions against him.  He essentially gave up and left.  Being an “activist” is stressful and you are an obvious target.   Just ask Lucille Fried in Tradewinds in Rosamond.  Management just put out a flyer attacking her as a trouble maker when in fact she is doing a great job of identifying violations of the MRL in her park.  Lucy, keep up the good work.  We all benefit.  (Watch for updates on this article next month )