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Life, Liberty, Property – Supreme Court – and Manufactured Housing

June 28th, 2018 No comments

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1776 to 2018 and beyond. The issues of Life, Liberty and Property were as important when Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence as they are today, or will be tomorrow. And it very much matters to our industry, investors, and related professions.

 

When Sam Zell said they discovered that at Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) that they had partners they didn’t expect, he was alluding to the forces of government, often driven by voters.

When you boil down what’s happened – and is happening – in our factory crafted home industry, outside forces impact your ability: 

   to invest,

  where you can place a home,

  what the image of our MH products and communities are,

and so on.

Furthermore, forces within our industry can and arguably have gamed or rigged the system in ways that unduly favors the large vs. the small. That in turn can disrupt the economy, politics, and jobs in a variety of ways.

Into this milieu is the not-entirely-surprising announcement of Justice Anthony “Tony” Kennedy’s retirement from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). That retirement has arguably just supercharged the upcoming 2018 midterms.

Salena Zito Tweet Wakeup on Recent High Court Rulings, Touts the “Great Revolt,” SCOTUS Kennedy Shakeup

From issues regarding monopoly, to private property rights, and more, manufactured housing is likely to be in front of the high court in the next 24-48 months. So the replacement of retiring Justice Tony Kennedy ought to loom large in MHVille.

But it’s also huge on hot-button issues like abortion. The political left is gearing up for that fight as we write. The right-to-life forces will too.

 

Having witnessed the appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS), and watching President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence repeat the themes of “promises made, promises kept,” and “we will enforce the law” – like it or not – there are numerous reasons to believe those claims.

That means supporters and detractors alike are going to gear up for the midterms. No hype, but this may become the most consequential midterm elections in our lifetime.

In North Dakota last night, the President of the United States (POTUS) Donald Trump laid out his case for taking Heidi Hiedcamp’s Democratically held seat, and turning it over to a member of the GOP. He and VP Mike Pence will likely repeat this in battleground states from sea to shining sea, between now and Election Day in November. 

 

 

Life, Liberty and Property

Life, Liberty and Property” were the core rights to be protected, in the initial draft of the Declaration. In the revision to the Declaration of Independence, which was signed on July 4,1776, Thomas Jefferson changed “Property” to read “the Pursuit of Happiness.” Both versions are timeless in their meaning. 

A millennial and self-proclaimed socialist – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wins in New York –Tuesday over 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York’s 14th congressional district.  Crowley was the number two House Democrat, a stunning primary upset.

 

MHProNews has been reporting for over a year the growing trend of openly socialist Democrats running for office, and how millennials are closely divided on the topic of free enterprise (“capitalism” is the normal phrase used in public opinion polling) and socialism.

“Political Necrophilia,” Tragedy in SloMo, Southern Economic Political Lessons for Looming U.S. Midterms

A nation divided must learn how to engage the other side on thorny issues without threats of intimidation or violence.  

A nation in need of affordable housing must be engaged by manufactured home professionals in ways that make sense to clear majorities.

These are challenging, but exciting times.

 

The View from MHVille…

It’s gratifying to first hear and later read from industry professionals, “Tony, if MHProNews is writing about it, I want to know about it.” We’ve made several tactical adjustments over the years, and did again last year by moving into a transparent statement that every Daily Business News item is a mix of reporting, analysis, and commentary.

We have an editorial viewpoint, informed and shaped by experiences influenced by professional readers who call, message, and write. We are mindful that voices and policy makers inside and outside of our industry are on our pages daily by the thousands. The CFPB formally cited MHLivingNews as a source. The Congressional record includes a document that first appeared on MHProNews. Popular Value Penguin published an op-ed that includes both of our pro-industry publications.  

What happens in MH trade publishing here matters.

Every day in the evening market report, we do what no one else in the history of the industry’s trade media has ever done. We share headline bullets from CNN, and headline bullets from Fox Business.  We’ve done that for years. That’s fair and balanced.  An example is linked below.

Warren Buffett Strikes Deal with Lee to Manage Berkshire Units, plus MH Market Updates

Those who scan those left-right headlines in our market report every evening get more news in 2 minutes than watching an hour of news at night on TV or your device.  We save time, and yield more insights.  

Those who check the evening market report data each business day are miles ahead of their peers who don’t do the same. Those who read our featured topic for the day get insights on issues that move America, and thus will move the markets, or impact business and investments.

 

The Dow to 30,000?

Barring a catastrophic event, the Dow could hit 29,000 to 30,000 by 2020. Yes, even with all of the trade war talk, that’s a realistic outcome.  You read it here first. Why? Read the evening market report every night for a month, and you’ll see why we believe that’s coming. 

The president draws each of his rally events to a close with a call for unity of the nation. He cites the reasons during his talks why blacks, Hispanics, women, workers, investors, and others should support his efforts. He does counter-punch, but he also puts out olive branches. He is controversial, but just accept it and watch. His opponents claim he is petty and vindictive. Really? Ask Nikki Hailey, Marco Rubio, or Mitt Romney – who opposed him. Yet, he’s called on them, and supported them.

POTUS Trump is arguably among the most accomplished people to ever occupy the White House. He’s lancing numerous festering boils, as my better half might say, using a medical analogy. It will be ugly, until it is over.

Life, Liberty and Property – the Pursuit of Happiness. Can the Republic find healing after what will be a bruising midterm? Let’s close with an excerpt from Psalm 79.

Psalm 79

R/ (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.

 

Remember not against us the iniquities of the past;

may your compassion quickly come to us,

for we are brought very low. R/

 

Help us, O God our Savior,

because of the glory of your name;

Deliver us and pardon our sins

for your name’s sake. R/ ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

 

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

 

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

 

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

June 19th, 2018 No comments

Only3OptionsTheElephantIntheRoomManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A) In manufactured housing production, the elephant in the room is Clayton Homes. They are owned by Berkshire Hathaway, which also owns the 2 largest industry lenders, 21st Mortgage and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF). Berkshire also owns a large stake in the industry’s third largest single family manufactured home loan lender, Wells Fargo.

There are only three (3) options on the following topic. The Berkshire owned manufactured housing brands either:

1)     know very specifically what must happen to grow manufactured housing sales up to the industry’s sustainable potential, which some estimate to be between half a million and a million HUD Code manufactured homes (MH) annually.

2)     The Berkshire brands in MH don’t know what must occur to grow the industry to reach its potential.

3)     Some point on the spectrum between numbers 1 and 2 above.

That’s about 150 words. The rest are details and commentary.

 

B) Arguably, any of the 3 positions above ought to be alarming to the vast majority of the industry’s independents. Why?

The case has be made by voices inside and outside of MHVille, that the Warren Buffett led Berkshire brands in MHVille dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

While he’s been silent in recent months, MH Communities pro Frank Rolfe was among the industry’s professionals who blasted MHI and their “hypocrisy” and failed “leadership” in defense or promotion of the MHIndustry.

Marty Lavin, a MHI award-winner, said on-the-record that MHI only works for the interests of the big boys.” Lavin added that MHI only work for the interests of smaller companies if they happen to align with the interests of “the big boys.”

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was cited by the Washington Post (WaPo) as having been the driving force for the removal of Pam Danner at HUD. MHI‘s EVP Lesli Gooch specifically told WaPo they took no part in removing Danner. Why not?

We could outline other examples, on the Duty to Serve (DTS), DOE and the energy rule, or how Pam Danner got her job in the first place. MHI has been on the wrong side of numerous issues, plus the execution on other important issues.

The bottom line is that MHI’s track record are seen by several professionals as problematic, save for the consolidation of smaller companies into the hands of larger ones. That’s about 275 words. The rest are details and commentary.

 

C) So in about 400 words above, a case has been outlined. Logic and evidence-based concerns, plus common-sense reveals why the Berkshire brands and MHI arguably should not be trusted by the vast majority of MHVille independents. The rest are details and commentary.  We’ll invite them again to debate this publicly via video.  If we were wrong, why don’t they take us up on that invite and prove us wrong?

 

D) State communities associations have broken away from MHI. They are in the process of formalizing the launch of an independent manufactured home national communities association.

Those MH Communities have split because they lost confidence in MHI representing their interests. The rest are details and commentary.

 

E) Smoking Gun 3 documented and outlined how 21st Mortgage questionably pulled-back on lending to MH Independents in 2009. Hundreds of retailers folded afterwards.

As a result, a number of HUD Code manufactured home producers either failed, or were absorbed by Clayton.  Some where absorbed by Cavco, which is led by a former Clayton division president. Skyline Champion recently combined. Now 80 percent of the industry’s production is in the hands of those three vertically integrated firms.

The rest are details and commentary.

 

F) Manufactured housing is increasingly being recognized as the affordable housing solution that is hiding in plain sight. MHLivingNews touted that theme years ago. Others in media have been picking up on that very theme. Coincidence?

There is a need for 8.3 million affordable housing units in America today. It can only be provided cost-effectively by some form of factory building. HUD Code manufactured homes are the most affordable solution today.

 

G) Even though Clayton and MHI each have marketing and PR people, they have routinely allowed bad news stories that unjustly harm the industry’s image to go unaddressed. They have done so for years. 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, the prior MHI Chairman, admitted on-the-record that the case could be made that every unfair story about MH should get addressed. Frank Rolfe has said similarly.

The above is about 700 words total to say that MHI and Berkshire may not cause every bad news story in MHVille, but they fail to address the majority of them.

The upshot? Limited new home sales and more Consolidation. See what award-winning Alan Amy said about that in the video.

 

H) The MH Communities sector recognized their need for independent representation. Retailers and others in the post production sector arguably need representation do too. MHARR is clearly representing the interests of the industry’s independent producers, as WaPo, the SBA, George Washington University and other third-party sources reflect.

 

I) Is there any reason why the Berkshire brands couldn’t repeat what they did in 2009? Shouldn’t every independent operator realize that they have a symbolic target on their head?

The rest are details and commentary.

 

J) Thanks to our supporters, we planned ahead years ago by creating the industry’s first and premier pro-industry educational platform with MHLivingNews.com.

MHProNews was a key part of the rebirth of the Louisville Show, as everyone in show management at the time said on camera and/or in writing.

We’ve proven our ability to get into mainstream media, such as Washington D.C.’s The Hill. Or consider often-referenced by others in media, Value Penguin, which ranks among the top 2 percent of all websites in America. Value Penguin dwarfs anything in MHVille for traffic.

 

K) We and those that support our efforts know what must be done to remove the shackles that have hobbled manufactured housing for years. Information and understanding are the First Phase.

Armed with evidence and reason, we are at the cusp of starting Phase 2.

The details and next steps will follow in the days ahead. Stay tuned, and sign up for our industry leading emailed headline news updates. From the biggest names in MHVille, to the mom-and pops, and thousands in between, we continue to lead the industry in readership. The reasons include insights like those above.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

Facebook, Manufactured Housing, and American Drama

June 12th, 2018 No comments
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What do you see?

Facebook has a neat feature that reminds you of some post from the past. This morning, that Facebook feature reminded me of a post about MHVille that was from two years ago.

 

We’ve begun to use the phrase – “wheat and chaff” – more often to describe the point that people and sources of information must be discerned. Keep the good, toss what’s not useful or is incorrect.

It’s hardly a new thought. Wheat and chaff are an ancient piece of Biblical wisdom.

When we put together the story early this morning about the outcome of the presidential summit, it was the result of hours of input from a variety of sources. It is an example of wheat and chaff in action.

Perhaps 10 (+/-) sources were checked, before we drilled down what we thought was the meaty items for industry pros and investors to know.

Then, we provided the context of what it matters to manufactured housing. “That news through the lens of factory-built housing,” ©; one of our tag lines that describes what MHProNews uniquely does for the manufactured and modular home industry professionals and investors. 

It’s about American drama at its finest. Check out that report, linked below, compare it to anything else that might be used for an MH Industry pro, and please tell us what you think. 

 

Facebook, Wheat and Chaff 

I recall how Triad Financial President Don Glisson, Jr. gave us a backhanded compliment that we treasure. He said he thought we were crazy when we launched what we call today, MHProNews.  The launch was in mid-October 2009, and was near the industry’s lowest point ever in new home shipments.

Now, approaching a decade later, we as an industry are clearly not heading to extinction, as some then believed could happen.

When asked by the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) to help bring back the Louisville Snow, we jumped in with both feet. The pay was very modest, considering all that had to be done.  But we did it, and the show was a success, the first one in years. 

Tim Williams from Ohio’s association was one of several who praised our work in writing.

TimWilliamsOhioManufacturedHomesAssocExecDirectorRecommendationTonyKovachMHProNewsLouisvilleManufacturedHousingShowPromotion

One of over 1000 endorsements and recommendations, most were given without being requested. We thank each sender for that honor.  

Facebook has wheat and chaff. Pretty much everything and everyone does, starting right here.

We are pro-free enterprise. We cheer all honest and ethical forms of success. We stress honesty, and ethics, because some professions are built on the suffering of others.  From illicit drug pushers, to pimps, pornographers, thieves, racketeering, coyotes, and so on, there are illicit businesses that generate tens of billions annually.  We don’t cheer those at all.  

But if we are fair and objective, even the darkest parts of human nature reveal truths worth learning.

We must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

 

Breaking Up

Count us among those who hope and pray that the Feds break up Facebook, Google, Amazon, and other monopolistic U.S. giants. Think back, if you are old enough, to the breakup of the telecoms. AT&T was charged under antitrust laws. 

Based on Judge Harold Green’s Modified Final Judgement of 1982, AT&T on January 1 1984 became a long-distance company, while seven regional Bell Operating Companies (RBOCs) took control of the nation’s local phone networks,” says the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

 

Some say that the monopoly over the phone business delayed the development of cell phone technologies by a decade.

It is just one of several reasons why corporate giants must be held in check and/or broken up.

To me, it isn’t just about price, which is an arguably flawed standard that antitrust regulators often use.  How many businesses has Walmart and Amazon wiped out? How many jobs has that cost the nation? Would we have seen the shift to buying so much product from China, had Walmart not become so big?  

They too should be broken up under antitrust law.  As NY Stern Professor Scott Galloway has argued, it is how you bring oxygen back into the marketplace for startups and investors.  That’s were jobs are created, instead of destroyed.

England, we’ve read, has a supposed standard of 25 percent market-share as the threshold for anti-monopoly (anti-trust) action. That might be still be a bit too high. Once a firm hits 20 percent of a given market, there are inevitable impacts on consumers, businesses, innovation, the economy, politics, etc.  

Wheat and chaff. We must learn from whatever is good, and toss out whatever isn’t. The prism of the Ten Commandments – which clearly respects private property – ought to be the standard, timeless measure of behavior. 

What Facebook reminded me of this morning is that it has been about two years since I got a tip from a then-fellow Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member. That member pointed me to a CSPAN video about Richard Cordray and Senator Joe Donnelly. When I watched it, I got what that other MHI member as telling me.  

MHI had distorted the exchange, saying only what was good for their narrative, while ignoring what was problematic for their stated agenda.  

It seemed deliberately deceptive. It came from MHI VP Lesli Gooch, but our sources then said that MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison had to okay it.  

It’s was at best a half-truth, designed to mislead members. As a member myself, I was outraged. We can call these things allegations, because that is what the legal guys say it should be termed. But if you look at the CSPAN video we watched, and then look at what MHI then said… 

Logically, if top MHI staff would deceive members about that, what else have or would they attempt to trick their own dues paying members about?  

They had to be held accountable. I called publicly For Jennison’s dismissal along with that of Lesli Gooch. 

It wasn’t the first or the last news tip. 

Please, we’d rather get a news tip 4 times, than not at all. Don’t presume we have something. We know the generalities, but not always the specifics. Help us, help you help the industry get the most accurate reports by sending association emails, documents, and your own insights. Our default is that we treat comments as off the record, unless you and we specifically agree to make it on the record. 

One step at a time, we’ve seen how MHI has weaponized reports. It was tricky, because no one else in the industry had directly named names and cited examples of what was happening, and who was authorizing it, the way we did. 

That incident from 2 years ago led to a series of events and reports that has arguably contributed to what has brought us to the point we are in reporting in MHVille today.  

Today, we can look back and see MHI, and their debatably Berkshire Hathaway puppet masters as they are. We give them a routine opportunities to comment before, during or after a Daily Business News story. We accurately quote from their own documents. We’ve offered to discuss or debate publicly via video, so all the industry can see. 

They duck, dodge, detract, distract, and defame in response, don’t they? Doesn’t all of that speak volumes?  If the truth was on their side, why don’t they just clear the air? 

It’s been about 1 1/3 years since they have directly responded publicly. We suspended our industry famous Cup of Coffee series for a time, because it was too politically charged for many. We plan to bring that feature back, because more of the industry’s members are beginning to see — that what we’ve been reporting sadly makes sense. 

It’s time to use antitrust laws to break up Berkshire Hathaway, not just Clayton Homes and their lending, retail, and others unit arms. 

MHI must be investigated and/or perhaps sued.  They’ve arguably misrepresented to the industry what they are and what they do. 

MHI award winner Marty Lavin is sadly correct. MHI works only for the interests of “the big boys.” They work for the smaller companies only if their interests align with that of the big boys.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

The rationale and evidence seems to be that smaller companies are there as a meal for the big boys that want to gobble up smaller firms for a cheap price.

The smaller firms are there to also help pay for what the big boys want. Paraphrasing what another member said, ‘the big companies figured out how to use MHI to help get the smaller companies to pay for what the big companies want.’

Manipulation is often an ugly thing. 

No one wants to believe that they were conned.  It’s not fun to have to report about such problems, but it must be done, for the sake of all those who are debatably being victimized.

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

These are serious allegations. but there’s also serious evidence. There are several federal investigations already underway, because where there is smoke, there is often fire.

 

For manufactured housing industry professional and investors to thrive and achieve their full potential, the industry must recognize reality.

Then, each company must decide how best to deal with reality. It’s an American drama that you and hundreds of thousands of others are caught up in, like it or not. More on that drama and its solutions in the days ahead. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

S 2155, Manufactured Housing,“Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act” Back Story

May 22nd, 2018 No comments

S2155ManufacturedHousingEconomicGrowthRegulatoryReliefConsumerProtectionActBackStoryMastheadMHProNews

S. 2155 is poised to pass the House today.  It’s styled “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act.”

 

Should the bill pass – and Skopos Labs/GovTrack say there is a 56 percent chance of enactment – then the following is what you can expect from the Arlington, VA based national manufactured housing association and their surrogates.

Based upon her promises, this bill would not have been signed by Hillary Clinton. So MHI – which put two pro-Clinton speakers on their Chicago stage days before the 2016 election – has no room to crow. Rather, they should be grateful to those in the industry who promoted a president who would sign such a measure.

There is a 100 percent chance of celebration and back slapping by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  I don’t blame them, it’s natural.

But there’s a back story.  MHI don’t want the focus to be on the back story.

Indeed, as a matter of record, repeal of the onerous MLO rule is one MHProNews has supported for years.

In spite of what some consumer groups claim, the MLO repeal provision only levels the playing field for manufactured home retailers and communities. It allows them to do what real estate agents can already do. We supported both legs of the original bill, so logically, we supported each one too.

S2155ManufactuerdHousingINdustryMastheadAnalysisMHProNews

Whatever happens on this bill, there is going to be overhang from progressives, unless the case – especially for manufactured housing – is properly made as to why this bill was positive for consumers and industry alike.

 

“Tony, What’s the Beef?”

We’ve had some pros – skimmers, not readers – who’ve asked why we don’t support the bill. We have supported the measure, and did for years.

Our “beef” – as one writer put it – has been that MHI spiked this MLO-only deal years ago.

If the MLO rule is OK now, why wasn’t it OK then?

Mark my words.  MHI wanted to do this, because they and their puppet masters were desperate to be able to claim a victory on anything of substance.

Mark my words. MHI and their puppet masters are feeling the heat.

MSM = Mainstream Media

Once more, the mainstream media (MSM) has numerous reports and commentaries coming out just before the House vote.  They are slamming the measure, slamming Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway’s MHI association mouthpiece.

Part of the point is that even when they ‘succeed:’

  • the manufactured housing industry must remember this could have been done years ago, as the Daily Business News exclusively reported.
  • Clayton and their Berkshire lending brands were winning either way. They benefited if S 2155 and/or Preserving Access passed or not. This is a nuanced but critical point to understand, long after 2155 is forgotten. An MHI insider first told me about that insight, and then another did. It was MHI types that explained that the big companies benefit regardless if MHI backed bills pass, or not.  Burn that one into your mind, it frankly took me time to get it. But once that sank in, it became an eye-popping insight.

 

Look at this MHI Pattern

LesliGoochforCongressManufacturedHousingInstituteMHISVPGovtAffairsRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMastheadDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Lesli Gooch, blast from her past…

MHI’s EVP Lesli Gooch proudly told the Washington Post they did not weigh in on the removal of Pam Danner.

Recall, that MHI was on the wrong side of the DOE energy rule, until pressure from this publication, MHARR, the SBA and others made them switch course.

We could go on and on like the above. But the bottom line is simple, and tragic.

Independents who are paying dues to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) are arguably paying to feed the hand that bites and fails them.

There are reasons why state associations and others have dropped their MHI membership.

 

Pulling the Head Out…

head-in-sand-wikicommons-dilbert=credit-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-

Some don’t want to hear what they might consider to be ‘bad’ or ‘negative’ news. Reality is.  Hiding a head in the sand has never solved a problem. Image Credit WikiCommons, Dilbert.

There are some MHI loyalists who think we’re just sore because MHI gave us the boot. Hardly, that’s reversed.  MHI gave us the boot because they didn’t know how to deal with all the myriad of revelations we were publishing about their ‘alleged’ favoritism, failures, and flaws.

All of that has cost the industry, IMHO, billions of dollars a year in new home sales.  That in turn has cost manufactured home owners, billions of dollars in higher resale values.

It is time for more in the industry to dig deeply.

It is time to pull the head out of the sand, and look.

As a closing thought, please note that not everything about MHI, not everything about Berkshire Hathaway draws our concerns. We strive to be objective.

The best example is from Monday.  Please check that article out.  We give credit where it is due, period. We are evidence, reason, and fact-based. We are pro-industry.  We’re not against big-business.  We are against big business that behaves in monopolistic, crony capitalists, or otherwise behave in unethical ways.

See the first take on MHARR’s related report, linked above.  Enough said for today. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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UPDATE 6:27 PM ET.  As expected the bill has passed. Let’s see how the prediction above plays out.  Details of the passage are found at the link below.

Related Reports:

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

 

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.

 

Anti-MH Industry MHAction Protesters Have Struck Manufactured Housing Again, and Again

May 12th, 2018 No comments

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In the aftermath of last year’s Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) annual meeting, an MHI advocate metaphorically taunted MHProNews for our reporting on looming protests of their meeting.

That skeptic isn’t doubting the forecast of MHAction protests any more.

MHAction initially targeted the MHI annual event in Orlando last year.  But a combination of disruptive factors – including a hurricane and MHProNews coverage of the predicted protests by the activist group -resulted in a change of the activist group’s plans.

Since then, as the Daily Business News has reported, MHAction has protested a Frank Rolfe event and HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s recent speech at the MHI Congress and Expo.

MHAction had only pivoted from Orlando.  There have been, and are, other MHAction efforts underway besides these two noted today.

There is a cost to getting people to a protest like these. That bus used by MHAction wasn’t free. There’s a price for MHAction’s staff.  There are expenses to organize friendly or receptive media outlets to provide coverage for their negative-coverage seeking behavior.

An MHI member told MHProNews after the attempts at disrupting Secretary Carson’s address at the Paris Hotel in Vegas that the protestors were “ineffective.”  “Secretary Carson easily turned them into a punch line,” that member told me.

While the come back from the stage by Dr. Carson was quick, the video below reveals that disruption at MHI’s event nevertheless took place.

It is one more example of a challenge that is bubbling up periodically, and which is drawing problematic media coverage for not just MHI, but for the industry they represent. The MHAction protest was mentioned by the Washington Post in their story about HUD.  This particular protest in Vegas last April at the MHI meeting has been mentioned or covered at some length by a number of progressive media outlets.

It is one more item that requires an effective response from MHI.  Even with the repeated forewarning MHProNews provided, which MHI never thanked us for, they seemed ill prepared to deal with MHAction at their Congress and Expo. You can see for yourself.

 

What will these media seeking MHAction protestors do next?

How will it impact the image of the vast majority of the industry’s ethical manufactured housing businesses?

Watch for an upcoming report on MHAction. To learn more about prior reports about this activist group, see those Related Reports linked below. To sign up for MHProNews’ industry-leading emailed headline news, click the link below.  It’s all part of the industry’s most popular, independent, and trusted trade media news.  MH Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

Frank Rolfe, MHU/RV Horizons Protest by MHAction; Nathan Smith/SSK/MHI Flashbacks?

Meet the Faces, Groups Behind Anti-MH Industry Activists, Protesters

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click this link. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

 

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Publisher and industry consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

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Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Industry News, Reality Check

April 4th, 2018 No comments

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Clayton Homes made the news several times in recent days. As a heads up to readers, this mentions legislation, but that isn’t the headline topic. The example that follows exemplifies a reality check that will tee up an “Aha! Moment” for many.

The subjects Clayton Homes has been included in mainstream media reports included such topics as their support for the amendment proposed to S. 2155. That amendment is based upon the Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) rule proposal found in the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. That’s fine.

The point? What’s the Reality Check? 

  • Clayton Homes,
  • Berkshire Hathaway,
  • Warren Buffett and his family like son Howard,
  • can get into the news virtually any time they want to do so.

That said, why doesn’t Clayton routinely go after each and every example of mistakes made in the mainstream media about manufactured homes?

2018-04-04_1725ClaytonHomesInManufacturedHousingIndustryNewsMastheadCommentaryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLet’s rephrase for total clarity.

    Berkshire Hathaway owns a press release service.

   Berkshire Hathaway owns numerous media outlets.

   As one of the nation’s largest home builders, Clayton could correct each and every example of mistaken reports in the media.

   Clayton has their own communications and marketing people.

   The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) also have public relations (media) professionals.  For years, the MHI executive committee has included 2 of the 4 seats held by Berkshire Hathaway, plus years of Tim Williams, President and CEO of 21st Mortgage as MHI Chairman.  The other 2 of 4 the executive committee seats had ties to Berkshire Hathaway too.

Clayton, MHI and Berkshire Hathaway can comment on – or correct the record on – any misleading, mistaken, bad terminology – – anything! – – associated with the industry.

Will anyone seriously question that claim?   Please, send me a response that explains this topic in some other logical fashion.

Given that premise, that Clayton/MHI could correct any or every flawed media report, how about this question. Why don’t they do so?

For over a year, we’ve done a periodic test. It’s this.  We’ve contacted mainstream media about a problematic news report about manufactured housing that they ran. We ask, has Clayton, MHI or others in the industry contacted you about this? In essentially every case, the answer has been “no.” One example was in Clayton’s home state.  The routine answer was, no, they’ve not reached out at all. (The exception was the Urban Institute, where Clayton and MHI were promised anonymity, per informed sources at UI – see that, linked as a resource below.)

Why does Clayton and MHI allow poor terminology about manufactured homes to continue to go unaddressed? For example, why do they allow the media to call a manufactured home community a “trailer park?” [sic].  Why do they allow any bad information to go unaddressed?

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These are just some ‘trailer park’ [SIC} news stories this week. This happens week after week, year after year. Given that no one I’ve ever met aspired to be ‘trailer trash,’ can you see why this terrible terminology needs to be tackled? Where is Clayton and MHI on this or other negative media related issues?

 

In interview and discussions with home owners and professionals, concerns about being stigmatized by the term “trailer trash” ranks high. It’s a reason millennials have given for not even considering a “mobile homes” – manufactured homes – as an option (see related reports, linked below).

Image and misleading information directly or indirectly costs the industry hundreds of thousands of new home sales per year.  That’s billions in sales a year.

Why doesn’t Clayton and MHI go aggressively after that improper media reporting and terminology issue? Not with more lame advertorials, which industry statistics prove beyond a doubt failed to move the needle for the industry.

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Darren Krolewski, Co-President at MHVillage, DataComp.

I asked Darren Krolewski during the Tunica Show why the millions who watch a classy Clayton video, or who visit Clayton’s or MH Village’s websites aren’t buying more homes?  Krolewski said publicly and privately, he doesn’t have a good answer.

We do. A big factor can be summed up with improper information and image. Pretty pictures and videos alone will not fix this. What will? We know this from experience in the field with clients.

Correcting the record, time after time, lifts the industry’s shoppers from interest to buyers.

Now I happen to believe that Warren Buffett, and Kevin Clayton are intelligent people. Tim Williams said it himself. There’s a good case to be made for correcting the record each and every time.

So why don’t they???

 

The 64 Billion Dollar Question

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, famous for the Sherlock Holmes detective stories, famously observed that when you eliminate the possibilities, whatever remains must be the truth.

Kevin Clayton said over 6 years ago that they were “ready” then to do an image/public relations campaign.

They can get in the news when they want to do so. Why don’t they fix this?

As a state association executive told me today, MHI has a full time media person that could make that routine outreach whenever negative, inaccurate news hits. 

Then why don’t they do so?  Here’s the answer to that, the plausible premise…the Reality Check

  • Warren Buffett said he likes a bargain.
  • Buffett also commands his company presidents to expand their “moat” year after year.
  • By keeping the industry’s image problematic, it obviously keeps new manufactured home sales at a lower level than it would otherwise be
  • That in turn arguably hurts every other business of every size engaged in manufactured housing in America.  That means that other factories, retailers, etc. can be purchased cheaper than they otherwise would be.  
  • It also means that their market share can grow, until the day comes that they take their foot off the brake peddle.

Isn’t this stating the obvious? That’s the reality check. They can get in the news.  They can correct poor reporting, every time, if they wanted to do so.

Clayton and MHI are not responsible for every piece of bad news that hits the media each and every week. But they are 100 percent able – and thus, responsible – for not doing all that they can to fix bad reports when they occur.

Those MHI “image” videos and advertorials are clearly ineffective. The only thing those videos and advertorials do is give them a fig leaf when they are questioned about the topic of image, media engagement, marketing, public relations, and education.

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The facts don’t lie. MHI has admitted at times that the industry is still performing at historically low levels. Why? Isn’t poor public perception, fueled by problematic and flawed media reports part of the problem? Then why doesn’t Clayton and MHI address each and every flawed report? Former MHI Chair Tim Williams admitted that it is a valid approach. Then whey not do it?

Their failure to do so is part of what keeps the industry suppressed. It logically keeps the prices paid for buying the factories and retail centers of others lower than they otherwise would be.

We can call this an allegation that manufactured housing is struggling due to the apparent failure of Clayton, Berkshire Hathaway and MHI to act.

Or we could say the obvious. They have the resources. They know the need. Tim Williams admitted the logic of correcting the record in writing to MHProNews.

The level of acceptance of manufactured housing is directly tied to this issue. Others like financing also have Clayton, Berkshire and MHI finger prints on them as to why they are unresolved (see related reports for details).

Don’t they obviously the MH Industry to remain small, until they’ve consolidated enough that they take their foot off the brake peddle? Isn’t that the reality check for today?  The truth that’s hiding in plain sight? “We Provide, You Decide.” (C) ## 

Related Comments, Quotes and Reports:

“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”

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Since these comments and others, 21st Mortgage has reportedly been paying Rolfe for promotions, and Rolfe has stopped making these kinds of public critiques of MHI, Berkshire Hathaway or Clayton Homes.  http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/frank-rolfe-blasts-mhi-for-poor-media-engagement-industry-reactions/

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Warren Buffett Success Secret$, Video Interview Including “The Moat”

Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

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award-winning consulting, publisher, web, video, recruiting, sales training, business development service provider.

MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Office 863-213-4090 |

Connect on LinkedIn:
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Manufactured Housing’s Professional Crucifixion

March 30th, 2018 No comments

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Let’s be crystal clear at the outset.

 

Only One can claim to have been betrayed by a close comrade, arrested, found guilty at three separate rigged trials, beaten, brutally whipped/scourged, mocked, marched off on public streets, crucified, died, and was buried in a borrowed grave for our sins on a Friday that’s paradoxically called Good. 

 

Only One can claim to have undergone all of that, and then rise from the dead. And if experts who’ve long studied the Shroud of Turin and the Sudarium of Oviedo are correct, that One left strong evidence that’s inspired billions of souls throughout the centuries ever since. 

Respectful of our weak yet free will that He died for, Jesus of Nazareth beckons us to look anew, and apply what happened almost 2000 years ago to our own time, and our own circumstances.

Let’s do so, and apply that Way to our often troubled profession.

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Manufactured Housing’s Crucifixion

Take up your cross, and follow Me,” Jesus said. Surely at first blush, those words ranks as the worst sounding invitation of all time.

So why did so many in that era take those striking words literally?  When thousands were likewise sentenced to their own cruel deaths by Roman authorities, and by the politicos and hired thugs of their time?

The fact that hundreds of Hebrew Scriptural references seem to fit Jesus’ life so well, isn’t enough for many among the masses. That’s no slam, it’s simple reality. Perhaps understandably so, because like Peter, even Jesus’ followers routinely deny Him, and turn away…

…only to return more humbly again. 

After all, we are sinners.  It’s the one thing that Saul – who originally persecuted believers, and who became the Paul that preached what he had first disdained – said we have in common.

Through the lens of Good Friday, let’s look at Manufactured Housing’s own crucifixion.

Day by day, our industry is mocked in the media. Manufactured homes are a political football that’s kicked and passed around, fumbled, sold out for thirty pieces of silver, and often frustrated by forces seemingly larger than the 22 million now being served.

No wonder it’s ignored by so many, when it commonly goes under false names like “trailer house,” or dated terms like “mobile home,” even though no new mobile homes have been shipped in the U.S. since the first manufactured homes were built on June 15, 1976.

At Christmas, believers heard and read that Jesus was born in a stable, exiled outside of town. It was the social outcasts of that era – the shepherds – who heard the herald angels sing; not the rich, famous, or powerful.

While some brave souls with millions in net worth own manufactured homes, many more shun them, just because of the unfair rep.

And that’s just fine for scores of locals and so called leaders scattered across our land.  Is it better to have half a million homeless? Is it better to have tens of millions locked in poverty? Why not consider the obvious solution? The one hiding in plain sight?

Better – some wrongly believe – to waste billions a year on programs for rentals that can never solve the growing American housing crisis…

…or so the deeds of the short sighted, ignorant, lazy, greedy or corrupt would have millions think.  Never doubt that forces favoring and profiting from subsidized rental housing resists the obvious solution of manufactured homes.

Last week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson – world renowned for his achievements in medicine – was mocked by some in politics and the media too.

Like the president, vice president, cabinet, administration and the American people they serve, they too are all being sold out at every opportunity.  Sometimes that betrayal is by those who are supposedly in their own party, and among their supporters.

No wonder so many of us won’t take the label of Democrat or Republican. Like Judas Iscariot, the news often gives more attention to the behavior of the wicked, than to the behavior of the those trying to do good.  Spotlight some embarrassing incident, no matter how long ago, or regardless of how irrelevant to the important job at hand.

Secretary Carson, teed up by a question from Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC), talked about how “Amazing” today’s manufactured homes are.

Carson called many of the regulations of manufactured homes “ridiculous.”  You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to see the truth that what you build indoors in a production center will cost you less than the same thing built outdoors on scattered locations. Save time, buy materials in bulk, cut wasted and stolen items down, save labor, and you’ll save money. 

That’s why Secretary Carson could honestly say that manufactured homes often look like and rival conventional housing, and cost less. Per the U.S. Census Bureau, they are about half the cost per square foot as site building.

There’s an important part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis, as Carson himself observed.

So why aren’t manufactured homes embraced?

One might as well ask, why don’t all embrace the cross of Christ? 

 

Manufactured Housing’s Judas

We will link up below the betrayal of manufactured homes by people, who like Judas, sold the industry out so that they could play the corrupt game in the temple that the money changers did in Jesus’ time.

But those corrupt industry folks, who are building “a moat” to enrich the few to the harm to the many, have been killing off competitors by an abuse of economic and political power.  Like Pilate or his brutal soldiers, they have various kinds of blood on their hands.

Some historians claim Pilate converted later in his life. Some say, some of Pilate’s soldiers and executioners did too. If it’s possible then, it is possible now too.

It took the most grueling and unjust death of all time to bring about the conversion of so many souls over the ages. It took Dieced – the killing of the God who become Man – to win victory over Satan. That’s what made this Friday, Good.

We can’t be surprised if we too have a unique cross to take up too.

On the other side of the darkness of Good Friday, comes the bright sunrise of Easter Sunday.

Manufactured housing has been crucified for years.  It was buried in certain ways by some, including those who falsely claim to be the industry’s allies. Pilate and the authorities spread lies to cover their tracks after they killed the Christ, too.

Might our misunderstood and maligned profession – given Secretary Carson’s and the Trump Administration’s leadership, and enough people of good will across the left-right political divide – support as needed our industry’s much needed rebirth?

Will the needs of the many outweigh in time the blindness and greed of the few? 

If enough do the politically incorrect in our time, then Senator Tillis’ and Dr. Carson’s insights will prove to be wise. In turn, millions more will be served, and can lead a better life.

But never forget, it was corrupt men who sold out Jesus. It was those guilty of sinful avarice, the ignorant, the lazy, the paid assassins, that killed the Savior. And the crowd watched. Some stunningly cheered, “Crucify him!” ## (Masthead op-ed, news, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Research:

Affordable Housing Focus Group

Documented Results from Manufactured Housing Industry Leadership

Elvis & Priscilla Presley Honeymooned in this Mobile Home

Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

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Tony took the photo at the right.

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award-winning consulting, publisher, web, video, recruiting, sales training, business development service provider.

MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Office 863-213-4090 |

Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

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