Editor’s Note: This article was submitted to be published in the June 2004 Californian by then GSMOL Associate Manager, Frank Wodley. It was not published, even in edited form. We print it now as it shows the philosophy of CoMO-CAL – to have an “open” organization, one where members can actively participate, be heard and contribute.
It is our hope that GSMOL will become an open organization before it is too late. Be open to ideas and suggestions from members, publish BOD meetings in the CALIFORNIAN, and have VP’s conduct open meetings with members. Loosen your iron grip and allow “new blood” on the Board of Directors. Above all, do not shun those with “counter views” – perhaps GSMOL wouldn’t be in the mess it is today if George Smith and Milt Burdick had stayed!
Often we see articles in the Californian that focus on the denial and apathy of mobilehome owners. Do mobilehome owners realize the Devil’s at the doorstep? Do they even care? Those of us who volunteer for GSMOL know this Devil is REAL. We know our neighbors need us, if not today, then perhaps tomorrow. However, sometimes our neighbors say they don’t even want us! Are they too afraid or intimidated? More often than not park owners will try to get away with something, especially knowing tenants are weak and afraid. That’s why GSMOL volunteers give so much of time, energy and often money. Each local chapter is fighting their private battle. Often times alone! Unless there are “failure to maintain” issues, local chapters usually go it alone.
GSMOL wants all mobilehome owners to support us (GSMOL); perhaps even “save us (GSMOL)”. Often times we (GSMOL) blame others for our short-comings. However, is our focus in the right place? Perhaps we should try to save ourselves! Perhaps our focus (GSMOL) should be on US, not THEM. Perhaps every GSMOL member, every local board, every manager, and especially our President and Executive Board should take a STEP BACK and take a hard look at the GSMOL of today. Is there a secret plan to improve GSMOL that we don’t know about? Our leaders certainly are doing something – or are they? As a manager and chapter President I can see that many members and local chapters do not feel supported by GSMOL. Yes, we have representation in Sacramento and we all appreciate the legislation that helps us. But we need more than that and deserve more than that. The park owners tell people GSMOL can’t do anything for residents, why bother joining? In a way the park owners are right! Isn’t it about time GSMOL started winning these battles?
Getting our neighbors to join GSMOL would seem a “slam-dunk.” After all GSMOL provides lots of important information and lobbies for new legislation to protect the investments of mobilehome owners. We’ve been told at the 2004 GSMOL Convention that mobilehome owners in California are protected by more laws than any other state! GSMOL has representatives throughout the State of California giving important support to mobilehome owners. Just the 12 copies of the Californian justify the $20.00/year. So why on earth is it so difficult to get members? Don’t mobilehome owners know there is a definite “strength in numbers”. Maybe it’s the name GSMOL. Maybe it is the history of GSMOL. Maybe management and park owners have waged a better campaign to discourage our neighbors from joining. Whatever the problem, we need to quickly identify it and find a viable solution.
We have a wealth of talent among our membership. The more our members are involved, the healthier our organization will be. Let’s ask for their opinions, their observations, and their assistance. Let’s all be more open to them. Let’s set aside our egos and ask them to come to a GSMOL Executive Board meeting. Let’s listen to them and value their participation! Chapter Presidents should poll their members. Vice Presidents should poll their managers. And we all should write and email. But does our Board have the time? If no one else will step forward, I will. Send me your opinions, observations, ideas, complaints, etc. Send them to Frank Wodley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 21500 Lassen St. Space #31, Chatsworth, 91311. I’ll read them all and you will be heard at future Executive Board meetings in Garden Grove and elsewhere.
Let’s face it, the time has come for GSMOL to do something about its image and effectiveness. Let’s face it, GSMOL is struggling. More importantly mobilehome owners thru out the State of California are struggling and need our help. Isn’t enough that they must battle management and park owners. Why must they also battle GSMOL.