Survey on Advocacy – Part I & II


Recently mobilehome owners took a Mobilehome Magazine survey about advocacy in California, specifically about GSMOL and Mobilehome Magazine. See May 2013 pages 14-18 for the results of that survey. Here are some the results of that survey:
Do you support more than one organization advocating for you? 98% Yes, 2% No
Do you believe one organization can do it all? 96% No, 4% Yes.
Do you believe an organization that advocates for you should welcome comments, suggestions and even criticism from any mobilehome owner? 98% Yes, 2% No
Should an organization respond to such comments, suggestions and criticism in writing in a timely manner? 91% Yes, 9% No.
Do you feel GSMOL and Mobilehome Magazine should work cooperatively to help each other improve. 93% Yes, 2% No
Should either GSMOL or Mobilehome Magazine be the “top-dog” ? 98% No, 2% Yes.

Letter to GSMOL

Shortly after the May 2013 Mobilehome Magazine was published, we wrote a letter to the GSMOL Board of Directors suggesting that GSMOL and Mobilehome Magazine work together. Here are two points from that letter. We asked the Board of Directors to:
Please read the Survey in the May 2013 MHMag and know what mobilehome owners want from GSMOL and from Mobilehome Magazine.
Mobilehome owners want GSMOL and MHMag working together, although we will always be independent. To that end, perhaps (we could) exchange articles in the Californian and MHMag. GSMOL could submit a one page, 600 word article about GSMOL and their current legislation. Likewise, I would like to submit a 600 word article about Mobilehome Magazine.
GSMOL needs to recognize Mobilehome Magazine as a force in California. Beginning July 2013, MHMag will be publishing over 15,000 magazines monthly. (GSMOL could be a contributor, especially with articles about their work in Sacramento). As a consequence, we reach more than all groups combined with important information to help them protect their investments and lifestyle.

GSMOL’s Response

We suggested that GSMOL and Mobilehome Magazine work together. We feel it is a win-win-win. Each organization wins because of additional exposure, and mobilehome owners win because they want both organizations working together. This was GSMOL’s response:
“GSMOL operates as a nonprofit organization, while your magazine is a for-profit enterprise. The Board believes it would be inappropriate for GSMOL, as a nonprofit organization, to promote or endorse your magazine. This could create real or apparent conflicts with GSMOL’s mission as a nonprofit organization.”
We also suggested, as a way to break the ice, that GSMOL prepare an article about themselves and their work in Sacramento and we would be happy to publish it in Mobilehome Magazine. Likewise, we would ask that GSMOL accept an article from Mobilehome Magazine about what we do and publish it in The Californian. This was their response:
As it stands today, GSMOL has complete editorial control over The Californian, while you have complete editorial control over Mobilehome Magazine. The GSMOL Board believes this status quo is appropriate. If our organization and your magazine has differing views on an issue, then each view can be expressed freely by each entity, without conflict regarding “what to publish (or not).”
“The GSMOL Board believes the MH owners of California will be best served if our organization and your magazine remain completely and clearly independent.”

Our Reaction to GSMOL’s Response

We felt GSMOL’s response made no sense. In fact, we wanted to continue the dialogue; however GSMOL has refused to communicate since their letter of May 13, 2013. Consequently we feel we have no option other than to publish this information for you to see and draw your own conclusions.

For-Profit vs Non-Profit

We feel their “for profit” status argument is a smoke screen. Anyone that reads their newsletter, The Californian, knows that they actively support a very successful, for profit organization, namely the attorney group Endemen, Lincoln, Turek and Heater. ELTH is the go-to attorney group for “failure to maintain lawsuits.” They make millions of dollars each year because of the hardships mobilehome owner experience as a direct result of park owners failing to maintain their parks. They are seen at every GSMOL convention and every GSMOL road show. The ELTH group writes articles in the Californian and displays a full page of their lawsuit history, i.e. a for profit organization promoted by GSMOL and one that writes articles in The Californian.
Editorial Control
At no time did Mobilehome Magazine suggest that GSMOL give us “editorial control” over The Californian, that would be idiotic! Nor did we suggest that the two organizations be anything but independent. We simply suggested exchanging articles – one about GSMOL in Mobilehome Magazine and another about Mobilehome Magazine in The Californian. GSMOL members deserve to know about us, and our readers deserve to know about GSMOL. Such an exchange of information would serve the mobilehome owner community and benefit both organizations. Certainly our request was simple and we feel their response makes no sense. It is apparent to us that there is another reason why GSMOL doesn’t want their members to know about us. That is sad!

Our Pledge to You

In May 2013, page 18 we wrote:
This survey leads to several conclusions, but the majority of residents taking the Surveys indicated they wanted those advocating for them to provide the best service possible, without competition and animosity. They want Advocates to:
Work together – brainstorm how this might best be accomplished.
Share information
Help each other improve and grow
Be open and transparent
Tell others about the other organization
Support each other.
Be responsive to their readers and members
Accept criticism as an opportunity to improve
And we at Mobilehome Magazine pledged to:
Work for the greater good of all mobilehome owners.
Help local advocates reach as many mobilehome owners in their local area as possible. This means working with local groups such as SCMMHHOA, SRMHOA, SCOMA, etc. We can provide all mobilehome owners in their area a quality, “free to all” publication. We just need them to furnish content and guarantee door to door distribution of the magazine.
Continue our advocacy work, i.e. help mobilehome owners with problems they face by accepting emails and written requests for help and publishing information about possible solutions in MHMag for all to see.
Work to make this a new day for advocacy in California. Never have the possibilities been so bright. Just think, everyone working together for the greater good. And a vehicle to inform and educate thousands around California, reaching more than ever before.
Work with GSMOL to better serve all mobilehome owners. We will promote GSMOL as the “go to” advocate for their work in Sacramento.
We will continue to make suggestions in an effort to improve both organizations, and improve our working relationship.

Our Hope

The 750,000 mobilehome owners should be the force behind any advocate, whether it be GSMOL or Mobilehome Magazine. Your welfare (your investment and lifestyle) is on the line, not ours. You should be the ones directing us , i.e. suggesting how you want us to serve you, not the other way around. Be active, take an interest and question what your advocates do. Demand transparency, and demand that advocates work together.
Mobilehome Magazine has had a long history of openness and being responsive to mobilehome owners. We often provide surveys to get your input. We want to hear from you. This is our policy today and in the future.

What Can You Do?

Our hope is that the GSMOL Board of Directors will begin an open dialogue with you, and with Mobilehome Magazine. Let’s get everything on the table. Let’s begin brainstorming. This can be a new day. Only then can we begin to work together, only then will we be able to improve our service to mobilehome owners and to show we are united against those park owners and managers who violate the law.

Be The Force

Be The Force! Let your advocates know what you want! You have a voice, use it. When you write, send your letter to both of us. It costs less than one dollar! Mobilehome magazine will publish your feedback in future editions.
You can write to GSMOL President Mary Jo Baretich at 6101 Ball Road, Suite 202, Cypress, CA. 90630 and to Mobilehome Magazine at P.O. Box 3774, Chatsworth, CA, 91313.