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Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, and their annual shareholders meeting, are writ large on the calendar for investors.  The same can be said for professionals who are in or researching – or in – the manufactured home industry.

BestWarrenBuffettKevinClaytonClaytonHomesBerkshireHathawayAnnualMeetingCompetitiontheMoatVideoCollection

Clayton Homes – led by company founder Jim Clayton’s son, Kevin Clayton – become the largest producer of manufactured homes the year that Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett bought the company in 2003. It became the largest builder or HUD Code manufactured homes later that same year – 2003 – when Buffett’s Berkshire purchased Oakwood Homes, and rolled it into the Clayton ‘family of brands.’

Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates
compete in the annual newspaper toss
to a Clayton Homes front door at shareholders meeting.

That was one of an ongoing string of acquisitions since then, which in more recent years have included purchases of site-builders, as well as other factory producers.

Kevin Clayton talks about barracks for the military, tiny homes
annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.


 

Why did Buffett do all this?  Why has he endured the ‘drama’ that has gone along with Clayton Homes and manufactured housing?

Pay close attention to what you see, hear and read, and you’ll get it.  Short answer?  Listen to Buffett explain his own principles. Mr. Buffett wants a business that is easy to understand. He wants a business with “a moat.”  During an affordable housing crisis, what business is easier to understand than manufactured homes?

Short Warren Buffett On Clayton Homes
Allegations of Discrimination, CNBC

Two quick quotes, and then on to the rest of the videos.

I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing…All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it,” – Warren Buffett, per Wikiquotes.

Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management, and limited exposure to hard times.” Warren Buffett, in “About Investing.

Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes CEO
on military barracks, tiny houses more…Fox Business.

 

Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes Related Videos

For those in or new to manufactured housing, these videos offer a peek inside the world of Berkshire, and their dominance of manufactured home:

  • construction,
  • retail,
  • lending,
  • suppliers,
  • insurance and other financial services arena.
  • You’ll also get a peak into their move towards conventional housing, and they were already doing modular home construction.

Berkshire Hathaway’s
Clayton Homes Moving into New Conventional Housing Markets
– The Street

 

Warren Buffett’s “The Moat” Strategy – How to Dominate Competitors, in Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s Own Words

For those who are researching concerns over monopolies or alleged monopolistic practices – and how that had played out in manufactured housing – the videos below are must viewing.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman,
Competitive Advantages and “The Moat” per Buffett, Video Interview Clips
– MHLivingNews.com

 

For those looking for a deeper dive in reading and research on related topics, the links below provide arguably the most comprehensive research by an informed, pro-industry expert and witness to the evolution of the industry from its early days as trailer houses, to the mobile home era, and to industry since June 15, 1976, when it formally became HUD Code regulated manufactured housing.

 

The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight. That’s been a subtext for closing in on a decade on MHProNews.com as well as on our public focused sister site, ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, both of which also looks at modular, prefab, conventional, and pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

For first timers, to industry veterans, this is the number one site of its kind. Who says?  Besides third party traffic data, there’s the widespread praise for these twin platforms that has flowed for years from many pros, including from the founder of Clayton Homes, Jim Clayton, as well as from independents and others.  The video praised captured below is just a sampling of spoken and written praise.

 

 

While we are pro-industry, we are also pro-consumer, and are strong believers in free enterprise.

Kevin Clayton Interview, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway,
Clayton Homes CEO, Manufactured Homes, Affordable Housing News – MHProNews

Unlike much of the trade media in our industry, we do not shy away from controversial topics. So, for example, the question of the impact of alleged monopolistic practices by Buffett, Berkshire and Clayton Homes, or other charges against the company are among topics we’ve closely examined for years.

We hope you learn, and enjoy.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited

 

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

Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

 

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy 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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Happy MH Owners? Good Professional Actors? Overlooked, “Honorable People”

April 11th, 2018 No comments

ManufaturedHousingIndustryHappyHomeOwnersGoodProfessionalActorsHonorablePeopleMastheadCommentaryMHProNews550

Executive summary. To solve a problem, to tap an opportunity, one must discover the root causes and address those core issues.

 

There are numerous untold stories in the manufactured housing industry.  

The common stories read and seen in mainstream news tend to leave the uninformed with the impression that manufactured home owners got a raw deal and are routinely troubled by bad actors in this industry.

Bad actors and raw deals exist, but they are the exception to the rule.

 Kitchen-dining-living-room-kabco-tunica-show-32x70-manufactured-home-living-news-comMastheadMHProNews

 

Positive, Routinely Untold Manufactured Home Stories

The routinely untold story is that millions of manufactured home owners love their homes. The majority of people love their community, if the live in a land lease.

Manufactured homes can exist wide by side with conventional housing, and with the proper installation, strangers don’t even realize it.

We’ve interviewed owners of true mobile homes, that may be able to buy nothing more, and they love their home. We’ve interviewed millionaires who love their manufactured homes.  Then there are all those in between. We’ve also interviewed pros from small companies to the corporate giants.  The majority of all of these are just good, honorable people.

There is no doubt that there are so-called ‘bad actors’ among the ranks of those working in manufactured housing. But they exist in other professions too. They are the exception that demonstrates that most others in MHVille are honorable people, striving to make an honest living.

Thousands of the industry’s professionals were beat down badly following the slide from the industry’s most recent high in 1998.

That meant there was a need in 2009 to bring a positive energy back into manufactured housing.

TheManufacturedHomeIndustryItsTooGoodToBeTrueThatsAPhenonenonRonThomasSrRonaHomesPriorLouisvilleShowChairman

As RV MH Hall of Fame inductee Ron Thomas, Sr. said in those days, ‘we need a new baseline to measure from.’

Thomas, for those who know him, is a can do type. He looks for solutions. He’s an optimist.  He has joy in his heart, and a love for this industry.

From Entry Level to Elegant – Inside Look at the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

RonThomasSrManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Optimism and “can do” were necessary in the days when the industry canceled the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show in 2010 – the first time that occurred in its 5 decade run. 

What some today forget, is that in 2010, the show had been sliding backward for years. It was thought the show was dead, never to return.

We proudly played a part in the shows recovery and did so for many years. The kind messages of thanks from industry pros involved with the show are a reminder of what is real.

We too are manufactured home optimists. We too are believers in this MH Industry.

The industry is now years into its recovery. It is no longer about happy talk, as pleasant as that is.  It MUST be about reminder of our industry’s GREATNESS and POTENTIAL again. MH Pros and investors must recall or learn about our industry’s “Glory Days.”

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

It must also accept that most homeowners are happy about their home.

On ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, for years the effort has been to spotlight the good news about manufactured homes.

ManufacturedHomeLivingNewsHomePage4112018MastheadBlogMHProNews

The MHLivingNews home page on 4.11.2018 https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/

It was the industry’s first and still primary vehicle of its type for a reality based story.  There has always been promotion of individual businesses and communities. There has been some periodic efforts at image building in places, such as the Northwest Pride campaign, or events in California.

There are several state associations, retailers, or groups today that take homes to home shows, for crowds of everyday people to experience.

All of those are necessary and good.

But the statistics tell an MH realist that it isn’t enough. The following are a slam, they are reality checks.  Clayton produces slick videos.  Some have hundreds of thousands of views. Millions of views total, millions of contacts with possible consumers. Yet last year, Clayton only did a total of some 48,000 homes sold. 

The same is true at MHVillage, which has Dan, Darren, Dawn and company – very pleasant and intelligent people, all.  At Tunica, Darren Krolewski said publicly and privately the following.  They had some 25,000,000 unique visitors last year.  About $3 Billion in total home sales, of about 80,000 new and used homes. 

Impressive. 

NumberNewHousesSoldInUS1995to2016DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Just the FACT$

Or is it?  Doesn’t it hide facts that should trouble the industry?  80,000 sales means the average home sold was $37,500.  That’s typically a use home, relatively small numbers of new homes are being sold there. Divide 25,000,000 by 80,000 = 0.0032.  That means, less than 1/3 of 1 percent of visitors are pulling the trigger.

DarrenMHVillageMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsmHProNews_001

1/3 of 1 percent of MHVillage visitors are buying. The average sales price is $37,500, using Darren’s talking points. That means few new home sales, and low conversion rates. Don’t get me wrong, good for MHVillage. But objectively seen, it’s yet another warning sign for the industry. At the heart of this, our research shows the issue is educational…it’s the inaccurate perceptions. It’s image.

If you went into the CNBC Shark Tank with the industry’s statistical breakdown of low – 1/3 of 1 percent conversions of leads – those investor sharks would laugh the presenters out of the room.

There is clearly missing pieces to the industry’s recovery.

That’s reality. Two analogies.

  As an optimist who doesn’t quit, I don’t walk into the rain without an umbrella.

  You don’t listen to a doctor tell you that the tests reveal that you have cancer, and then hope it will go away.

The wise optimist is reality based, goal and solution oriented.

ExecutiveSummaryToSolveProblemTapOpportunityOneMustDiscoverRootCausesAddressCoreIssuesMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

 

Tony…the industry hasn’t done jack sh-t when it comes to image…”

The above was part of a longer message from a successful and well known retailer.  The industry veteran went on to say how glad he is that we are trying to do something about the image of the industry.

Without credibility, there is no story telling-worth it’s salt.

Even though mainstream media is often doubted and disliked, there are some reports that ring true for Americans.

Frank Rolfe admits to violating his own premise that the nomenclature about manufactured homes needs to change.

 

 

That said, Rolfe’s correct in saying that most Americans have no clue about manufactured homes today. Their image is based upon 8 Mile, or the Trailer Park Boys, or the local news reports.

That’s reality. Savvy, goal and solution oriented pros must deal with it.

 

 

The solution is both simple and nuanced.

  The truth must be presented.

  The falsehoods must be refuted.

  Where they exist, real problems must be addressed.

That isn’t done with one video, or one story. It’s not done by pretty pictures or even slick 3D productions. Don’t get me wrong! Those can help.

NewExistingHomeSalesDailyBusinessNewsMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Existing home sales have pushed beyond 5.5 million units a year. New conventional, site built sales are moving toward 600,000 single family homes.  That’s not counting multi-family housing construction. 

But so long as most people believe that manufactured homes are made out of cheap materials – or are as a regional news source said recently “wobbly boxes” – people will suspect that its lipstick on a pig.

That’s not negative. It’s reality.

When the Louisville Show turned to us for help with marketing their event, we delivered.

Others who have worked with us, know that we deliver.

There are voices in the industry who years ago worked to undermine what we are trying to do. You have to ask, why?

That was long before we began to spotlight internal industry issues. So you can’t say they retaliated for something. It was long after that began that those fact checks of internal industry claims began.  By the way, those fact check stories have helped spur certain organizations to act better; not well, but better. We’re proud of our part in that effort to advance the industry.

But the entire time, we’ve kept up the good news of manufactured housing reports on MHLivingNews.com.  MHProNews provides the facts industry pros must have to navigate reality, not fantasy land.

There is nothing else in MHVille like this dynamic duo.

That’s true in part because third party media interviews real people, and we as trade media let those people speak in an interview setting.

We’ve done the field tests. That works at the local level.  And the local level is what matters for the majority of industry professionals.

There is more to what we do than just interviews.

But the point is this. Those who undermine what we’ve done for years, are arguably undermining the industry’s more robust recovery.  The ones who praised us, did they stop and turn because we threatened some unstated plan to slow walk growth and recovery for independent businesses? 

 

 

Attacking the Industry

Attacking us, is an indirect attack on the interests of the majority of independents in MHVille.

But the heart of the Masthead message today is this. Without going to the root causes of what keeps qualified buyers from purchasing a manufactured home, there will only be slow growth and more of the same

When 8.3 million affordable housing units are needed in the U.S., there is no good reason for manufactured homes not to be selling far better.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-666x768

Modular Sellers? Smell the Coffee…

Modular sellers? Wake up. HUD code homes are still outselling MODs.  Both have their place. But so long as mod sellers sell against HUDs, that’s counterproductive too.  Most of the public doesn’t get it.  HUDs and MODs should work together.  By the way, I do think that the modular industry is arguably doing a better job than the HUD Code industry at education. But pros must understand, to the typical prospect, they are all coming out of a factory.

We have a great story, millions of them, actually. The factory built home industry has to grasp that rah rah was needed in 2009-2010, even in 2011.  But as the industry recovered its footing and self-confidence, the next phase became necessary.

One must do reality checks, and act based upon optimistic-realism. One needs a “can do” professional system that works.

Everything else is just a pipe dream. Can do, honest reality, is the ticket. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

Related Reports:

Media Bias, Ignorance, Manufactured Homes, Agenda Journalism, the Truth About “Fake News”

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

Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

 

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy 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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Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Industry News, Reality Check

April 4th, 2018 No comments

ClaytonHomesManufacturedHomeIndustryNewsRealityCheckMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

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?

TrailerParkGoogleNews442018ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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.

DarrenKrolewskiMHVillageDataComp=PostedMastheadBlogMHProNews

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.

ManufacturedHomeShipmentTrendsPercentageNewHomeStartsSkylineChampionPowerPointMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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…”

FrankRolfeNegativeArticlesOnIndustryNoCommentbyManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIRVHorizonsMobleHomeUniversityPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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/

TimWilliamsMediaRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews-500x277FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews600

 

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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Jennifer Hall, Doris Hydrick and Dennis Hill – Tunica Show Open Letter

March 24th, 2018 No comments

DennisHillJenniferHallDorisHydrickSCMHISouthCenteralManufacturedHousingInstitute2018TunicaShow

Jennifer Hall, Doris Hydrick and Dennis Hill @ SCMHI,
There’s only two full-scale professional trade shows in the manufactured home profession today. Louisville and your South Central Manufactured Housing Institute (SCMHI) event in Tunica.

At least two of you personally know the sources for our report on Keith Holdbrooks and Clayton Homes decision to scale back in 2017, and to not participate in 2018.

By holding the story linked above until after the event, I’m sure you understand how that protected the show for 2018, and maximized the event’s odds for success.

All three of you are deeply aware of what we’ll politely call the ‘industry’s politics.’  Too few are willing to speak out publicly about what many are discussing privately.

Namely, the various ways that Clayton Homes and Berkshire Hathaway owned companies are exercising their power in – and over? – the manufactured housing industry.

I have two way communications with those in MHI, MHARR and their members, including with 21st (among others), as well as with those who aren’t a member of either national trade group.

As you know, in 2018, the bulk of the homes on display in Tunica were from producing members of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), with fewer exhibitors from among Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) members.

 

Retirement…

As someone approaches retirement, several things can happen.

Especially if someone perceives that their livelihood is dependent on – or at a minimum, influenced by – a giant operation like Berkshire Hathaway owned brands such as:

  • Clayton Homes,
  • Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF),
  • 21st Mortgage Corp (21st),
  • Shaw, and the list goes on,

careful public positions are often taken.

Among the things that can happen for anyone – but perhaps particularly for those approaching retirement – is that fear and self-preservation motivations may set in.  We understand those realities.

There are states, certain executives have told me, where 50 to 70 percent of the floor dues paid to a state association come from Clayton Homes, or result from sales of other HUD Code manufactured homes sold by a Clayton retailer.

GoodBusinessStrongCastleMoatAroundItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Industry Trajectory

Since Kevin Clayton did that video interview, their market share went from 25 to some 50 percent of the industry’s new home production, per their own data and statements.  It does no one any good to ignore the obvious. As a show attendee insightfully said to me this week, “the trajectory of the industry” has been toward consolidation.

It’s not revealing our sources to say that at least 2 of you know the sources for our Holdbrooks/Clayton report.

It’s obvious that Clayton et al can exert “pressure,” be they in the Tunica Show, or not.

We’ve been told by industry members that some felt compelled to be in MHI, and some feel compelled to support certain events.  Other forms of pressure are applied to smaller operations.

 

Berkshire Hathaway, MHI and the Resistance

It’s high time for more MH professionals to do whatever they can to combat Berkshire Hathaway’s (BH) and their MHI mouthpiece threat to the independent operations in our industry at all levels.

You 3 don’t have to speak out publicly.

But you can take several private steps to insure the independence of the Tunica show going forward.

Otherwise, as various industry voices told MHProNews, BH is likely to do to the Tunica Show what they are said to have done to the North Carolina event.  Namely, “kill it.”

Let me tell you some of what this year’s Tunica event reinforced for me.  We know from website statistics what readership is like.  But we learned from the numbers of attendees who stepped up and commented, or thanked us, etc. that your crowd includes our audience in significant numbers.

And our audience includes the giants, but also those who overwhelmingly want to stay independent.

 

Thinking Out Loud

Thinking out loud. Don’t you think that giving aspects of the show to cronies of MHI is short sighted? You surely know how this works.  What a crony learns, they report back. When you put a crony on a platform, you may be sending a message to your attendees that is problematic.

You can send the industry, MHI and Warren Buffett’s brands a powerful signal.

You can show your support for those non-BH independents – retailers, communities, producers, and various product/service suppliers – without turning away the Berkshire brands.

But if I were you, I’d let those Berkshire brand companies politely understand that they don’t dictate to the SCMHI show.

 

What’s Coming?

We have reasons to believe that for a variety of market and legal reasons, in the next few years, Berkshire’s grip on manufactured housing could be broken (think about this point in terms of allegations such as class action, antitrust, tortious interference etc.).

Don’t make your final legacy that of a door mat. The French after they were conquered by the Nazis during WW II created a resistance. That resistance movement became critical for them to get back their freedom, just a few years later.

In hindsight, Buffett and Berkshire didn’t save” manufactured housing in 2003; they arguably set about to conquer the industry.

Directly and indirectly, through commission and omission, they and their Arlington-based association tool witnessed the destruction of thousands of independent businesses, including several producers of HUD Code manufactured homes. Many of those now defunct producers used to be built in the region that supplies your show.

ManufacturedHomeShipmentTrendsPercentageNewHomeStartsSkylineChampionPowerPointMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

MHI-21stMortgageKevinClaytonClaytonHomesManufacturedHoomeCorporationsPlantsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews_001

Jen, Doris and Dennis – please be courageous enough to resist BH and MHI any way that you can.

Be loyal enough to those independent industry colleagues you’ve met and known to resist the bullies whose various alleged practices reduced a once-great industry to its currently modest status.

I’ve said before, even as a 25-plus year manufactured housing veteran, it took time to begin to fully appreciate what was happening in the industry.

Looking back, it’s easy to point to ways they targeted us for elimination, years before we spotlighted first MHI, and the BH.

Dennis, you and others like you surely must realize that you’ve been targeted too. Sure, you can retire as planned, or you can go out with a flurry in a grand fashion.

No announcement needs to be made.

No challenge or gauntlet has to be tossed down.

But you owe it to thousands to join the #BHResistance, the #antitrust crowd.

If the SCMHI does so, I predict the 2019 show will be the best event ever.

Think about the trajectory.

When independent retailers die – or are killed off – it is no surprise when the factories that supplied those ‘dealers’ are killed off too. That’s the trend that the MHI chart above also demonstrates. As independent retailers grow fewer in number, so too there are fewer independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

 

Think about the allegations like those noted herein or linked, and the mounting evidence.

Think about charts like those above that reflects how those independents you’ve known for years were wronged by forces they may fully understood at the time.

Resistance is wisdom.

Resistance will bring its own rewards.

We chose not to be slaves of monopolistic forces.

We work and pray daily for the future of our great industry. May manufactured housing experience a rebirth that yields new glory days.

We encourage others to be a part of the kind of resistance that made America a free people. ## (Industry events, commentary, opinion, and analysis.)

PS: Readers should not presume that any of the three addressed, nor the provider of the photo at the top, are a source for information to MHProNews.

Related:

PSS: Manufactured housing isn’t the only industry that ‘consolidation’ is taking place in.  It may or may not work the same in other indusries, as it has in ours.  But across the left-right media and political spectrums, there are a growing number of voices calling to break up the monopolistic tech giants, and are sounding the alarm about giant players like Buffett’s Berkshire.  Ignore the warning signs at your own peril.

Tunica, Nashville Trade Shows and Manufactured Housing Glory Days

Manufactured Housing – “Giants vs. Independents” – Tunica Talk – “You’ve Got to See This”

Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, Photo Report, Day One

4 F’s and True Believers

(Third party images, cites are provided under fair use guidelines.)

ThereAreOnly2WaysToLearnOwnOthersExperiencesLATonyKovachManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-575x235By L. A. “Tony” Kovach,
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

 

What Tim Williams, Dick Jennison, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, et al, Taught Me About the Manufactured Housing Institute

February 11th, 2018 No comments

 TimWilliams21stMortgageMHIChairmanRichardDickJennisonPresidentCEORickRobinsonSVPGenCounselLesliGoochForCongressMHISVPMastheadDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. Warren Buffett doesn’t need to convince me or gain my agreement with him on that point.  On that and the value of history, Mr. Buffett and this Masthead writer would agree.

Buffett and we agree too on the value of research, reading, asking, listening, probing, and understanding.

For the record, people can disagree professionally, without disparagement.

We’ve said not one word against Clayton Homes’ products, nor against the vast majority of their people, nor against most of those in MHI’s membership, etc. In fact, professionals from those operations and 21st are among our sources. That should be obvious from the kinds of insights, quotes, etc. that we’ve produced over the last year or so.

We agree with the Urban Institute’s stated principle that evidence and the facts should guide research.

There must be good reasons why leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st, and MHI won’t engage us in a public, video-recorded discussion or debate forum. One of the reasons why they won’t do so was suggested in yesterday’s blockbuster Daily Business News report on the Urban Institute, linked below.

 

Was the Urban Institute Misled, Duped, or Part of a Manufactured Housing Industry Scam?

But another point to consider in why they won’t publicly discuss our concerns and allegations is this. Logically, if they were correct and we were honestly mistaken, they could prove it, right? Or logically, even if they know they were wrong, they could attempt to spin the truth, etc. But how do they argue against so many of their own facts, documents, track record, and their on-the-record statements, and quotes?  Isn’t that a compelling reason for them to duck, dodge, distract, and delay, instead of engaging?

21stMortgageCorpTimWillamsJune112009LetterBerkshireHathawayWarrenBuffettClaytonHomesManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-704x768 (1)

Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO

 

What They Said, Did, and Didn’t Do That Taught Me About the Realities of the Manufactured Housing Institute

Give MHI credit.  Their mixers are pleasurable.  You’re at some nice resort.  The networking has value.  All of that ‘social glue’ is arguably part of their way to keep people distracted from the sad reality that as a lobbying organization, MHI has failed to advance an agenda that helps the majority of the professionals in the industry.

We’re far from alone in believing that to be true.  State associations have now quit MHI for exactly that reason.

Maybe you have to be an ex-smoker to learn how to passionately oppose cigarettes. FYI, that’s an analogy, I’m not a smoker. Or with the same proceeding disclaimer, maybe one must be or know a former drug addict to realize just how horrible addictions can be.  As an ex-multiyear, MHI member, I’ve learned the hard, painful, and expensive lessons.

Media Should Re-Visit Dodd-Frank Reporting in Light of Congressional Testimony

 

One need not look too far back on MHProNews and MHLivingNews to realize that we supported MHI on several, but not all, issues.

Renters’ Nation: The Dark Side of Dodd-Frank and Its Impact on Affordable Housing

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

While still an MHI elected board member, MHProNews created this graphic. It summarized key admissions by Cordray. Why did MHI never use it?

How Did We Come to Be Members of MHI?

Years ago, MHI members convinced me that if our organization – MHProNews/MHLivingNews/consulting, et al – wanted to be a force for positive change in the manufactured home industry, we simply had to become members of MHI.  Those voices – however well-meaning they may have been – where they in hindsight mistaken?  Or perhaps unwittingly, did those voices lead us into an unsought, unexpected, and undesired – dark grace?

A current MHI member company president told me at Louisville that what MHI has been doing for years ‘has made no sense.’ He reminded me that ‘Tony, you [MHProNews] are challenging people’s paradigms.’ He said what we know: some don’t get it. But others, like him, do get it.

Others are in between.

If that company president had a choice, I’m not sure he would be an MHI member. Why do I say that? Because he thanked me for all that we are doing to spotlight what is actually going on in our industry. As in the case of many companies, he too reports to others…

That MHI member is not alone, others have personally told me similarly.  Clearly, there are MHI cheer leaders too.

RichardDickJennisonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCEOIndustryMHLivingNewsDailyBuisnessNewsMastheadBlogMHProNews

MHProNews and our sister operations spent thousands upon thousands of dollars supporting MHI efforts on Preserving Access. It was a waste – save this. It forced us to look deeper into what was really going on at MHI. The photo is a still from a video, and on that video, Jennison promised – promised dozens in that room that Preserving Access would be passed. It failed. In hindsight, given POTUS Barack Obama’s promise to veto the bill, what where they thinking?  Or was it there as a show of effort, while the industry consolidated in the hands of fewer and fewer big ccompanies?

 

With that backdrop, the truth is I had several industry voices telling me – literally from the day they met Dick Jennison – that they didn’t trust the man.  I freely admit to arguing against their view, Jennison seemed like a fine gent to me. But they in time were proven right. I was mistaken.  You may have heard the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  It was Jennison himself over time – by word, deed, and omission – that proved their points.

A different, high profile, MHI member president told me recently that he wished Jennison had never been hired.

But as noted, for some time – I liked Dick, mostly up to the point that:

Ø  women then working in the MHI office made a point of contacting and asking me to help them with a ‘hostile workplace’ issue, and they pointed specifically at Dick.

Ø  and up to the point when on camera, he began to argue for slow growth.

I was stunned at both of those bullets.

I think Tim Williams/21st would not deny in a court of law that I was stunned by Jennison’s on-camera statement, because I took it up with him personally not long after that occurred.  What association president worth their salt – working in an industry where most were then struggling for sales – would argue for slow growth?  Perhaps the most logical way to understand it, was covered in yesterday’s Daily Business News special report.

 

Nathan Smith

I liked Nathan Smith too, he’s an easy to like guy. To this day, Nathan is likeable! But how did it square with his electric personna of his that he didn’t lift a finger to even inquire about the allegations of those women in the MHI office, complaining about Dick Jennison?

In the #metoo era, in hindsight, doesn’t that looks bad?

Sexual Harassment-Not Just Hollywood, Media, Politicos-Manufactured Housing Workplace Claims, High Profile MH Cases Too?

 

Tim Williams, President & CEO of 21st Mortgage, Prior MHI Chairman

Tim Williams and I had several fine conversations over the course of many years. I quite liked the gent. I recall Jim Clayton telling me how smart Williams is.  I to this day, I would honestly agree. Tim Williams/21st is a very smart man. Judging from the kind words he gave MHProNews to publish, he liked us too.

TimWilliams21stMortgageCEOPresident-currentMHIChairman-onValueMHProNews-MHLivingNews-

 

But how did it square with Buffett’s claimed support for integrity, that Williams defended Jennison and Gooch, who had sent out a message to MHI members that was pure spin, deceptive half-truths, and not the full truth?  Why did he defend Jennison, when he arguably should have been removed his MHI president?

Or why would you reward Jennison with a raise and bonuses – a national association CEO – who year after year, failed to accomplish what the assocation said was their goal? Once more, perhaps the best way to understand that decision or those bonus/raise is covered in yesterday’s MHProNews special report.

 

Rick Robinson, SVP and General Counsel for MHI

Rick Robinson is a nice guy too. Rick is witty, clever, and a fine writer. But he was also apparently happy to look the other way when questionable things were happening at MHI.  Perhaps you can chalk it up to doing his job as an attorney for his client?

TonyIWillNotBeTakingQuestionsFromThePressRickRobinsonMHISVPGeneralCounselMastheadMHProNews

The topic was HUD, and Rick Robinson would not take questions from MHProNews, at the very time that the HUD issue was raging in MH industry circles. As a state executive told MHProNews, if they liked their position, why not get as much publicity as they possibly could?

 

These are just a sampling. These and other examples that could be cited took this writer from someone who was pro-MHI, to now, ‘you’ve got to be kidding me’ vantage point about that same organization.

 

Tim Williams in San Antonio

I didn’t need extra sources to tell me that Tim Williams stated in a room with a few dozen MHI members in it, the following. That neither Williams/21st, nor Vanderbilt (VMF), turned over data that the GSEs wanted to make DTS happen in a more robust fashion. Having sources is arguably often better than relying on yourself. But I heard Tim say as much with my own ears, and I was watching the then MHI chair saying it when he was only a few yards away from where I sat in the same meeting room.

It was a stunning set of statements.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

 

HUD and MHI

There came a point in time when I no longer needed sources to tell me that MHI was shadow boxing.  MHI was posturing that they wanted to modify HUD’s over-regulation. As noted above, having other sources – which we do – is often better.

That said, I personally asked numerous top-level MHI people face-to-face in San Antonio a variation on the following question. Where they going to support the removal of Pam Danner from her role at HUD?

Not one person in leadership would answer that face-to-face question!

LesliGoochforCongressManufacturedHousingInstituteMHISVPGovtAffairsRelationsManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMastheadDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Think about it. Lesli Gooch has been exactly as successful on getting the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act passed into law as she was at getting elected to Congress…. think about it, because it isn’t a put down. Those are the sad facts.

 

Lesli Gooch, MHI SVP

Lesli Gooch’s otherwise fine letter last summer about Regulatory Reform – re: those executive Presidential orders – missed what is arguably the key point. Gooch never mentioned removing Pam Danner at all.  That statement of her’s is now public record.

How is that possible?  These are intelligent people. I’ve never called them unintelligent.

So, they surely knew that logically, the head of HUD’s MH department had a lot of power, for good or ill. Not removing Danner could make everything else they claimed to be trying, useless.

That’s how shadow boxing works, isn’t it?  All show, no go?

When the most award-winning independent retailer in MHI history told us on-the-record that he supported Danner’s re-assignment – and Doug Gorman considers Danner a personal friend – how could MHI turn a blind eye to that, and so many others who raised concerns with MHI about Danner?

Cowards?

It was after returning from San Antonio that MHI sent me an unsigned letter, with no names on it, saying I’d been removed for membership because it came to our attention that I was trade media. ‘We have no such category for membership.’  What? Don’t they claim to represent ‘all aspects of factory-built housing?’  Doesn’t MHI have (and had) members who publish, not just us?  Hypocrisy?

It was pure farce.  A cowardly fiction.

LATonyKovachMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHCMD-com

Because my last MHI meeting badge – which we’ve kept as evidence – clearly reflected that we are both media and provide other industry services.

 

What These Talented People Taught Me

Talent can be used, or misused.

Rephrasing the above.  It was their own behavior, time after time, plus ongoing feedback from MHI members — including voices within the Clayton-21st circles – that began to compel me to rethink MHI.

Add to that MHI staff action, inaction, and years of failure that forced me one-step-at-a-time to realize what they in fact are doing to this great industry.

They don’t actually fight regulations, do they?  How could they claim otherwise, when in the DOE rule they are on the record as having advocated for them?

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Shifts on DOE Regulatory Rule, Report, Analysis

They don’t fight the CFPB, when their own Government Relations Vice President said that it Would Not get past then President Barack Obama’s veto – if it ever made it that far.  It never made it that far.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

It was prominent MHI member Frank Rolfe who told me that his congressman told him that it was a waste of time to try and pass the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.  Ouch.

 

 

We editorially disagree with Ishbel Dickens on rent control, and a number of other industry and communities’ issues.

MHCs and Rent Control – Cure or Cause for Affordable Housing Crisis?

Candidates, citizens talk rent control, manufactured home community issues at ice cream social

But Dickens told me she offered MHI a compromise – to modify the MLO Rule that harmed everyone – if MHI/21st/VMF would drop their desire for the higher points and fees stance. Others in MHI later confirmed what Dickens said. Her email, is below.

IshbelDickensPhotoNationalManufacturedHomeOwnersAssocNMHOALogoDailyBuisnessNewsMHproNews

No open minded, thinking professional can ignore so many things, without putting a head in the sand.

Remember, these are just a few examples, there is far, far more.

In my own defense, I was never MHI’s yes man. Tim Williams said as much. I thought them wrong on the DOE Rule, and we editorialized on that point. I thought them wrong on the MHI stance on the fire sprinkler issue, etc.  We supported what we could, and asked politely about what seemed to make no sense.

MHI’s 990 claims they want member input, but apparently they don’t mean it?

 

Some Members Have No Choice…

I get it that many MHI members have no choice.  They tell me that they are compelled by fear, and other forces to be MHI members.

As a long-time MHI guy warned me, “Tony, these guys have long knives.”

I heard that, we understand.  But nothing changes until it is challenged.  Besides, frankly, the more public the challenge, the safer you are likely to be, IMHO. Look at Andy Gallagher. He may have committed, in the eyes of some at MHI, a faux pas. But because it was public, Gallagher is still safe in his job.

Andy Gallagher, “Ousting” Pam Danner, MHI, Clayton’s RVP, WVHI – “Transparency”

But Gallagher and Ayotte made just the point that we did, only differently. Pam Danner must go.  They were waiting for some magic green light to say what MHARR, Bob Crawford, Doug Gorman, MHProNews, and numerous others had said for some time.

After months of MHARR, MHProNews, some states and businesses pushing for the change, now Danner – thankfully! – is gone from the job over the HUD Code manufactured housing program administrator’s role that she had held.

But Danner is not gone because of MHI!  Rather, Danner was removed in spite of months of foot dragging by MHI.

Shake Up at HUD Manufactured Housing Program May Stop Industry Overregulation, per MH State Association

Isn’t that what the record reflects?

Are they going to seriously point to their silly resolution in Congress, rather than the obvious ask of directly calling for the removal of Danner – plus add those same concerns, as examples of why Danner needed to go?

Why has MHI so routinely been the last one to take the correct stance?  Even their former chairman admitted that the assocation had made numerous past mistakes.  MHI failure to get it right is why one of the states – see link above or below – dropped out of MHI, and they explained their reason for withdrawing.

It’s a sad, but necessary indictment of the truth about their record. Years of failure for the majority of MHI members, but those years of failure pays off for those big companies looking to consolidate the industry’s smaller companies at bargain basement prices.

That’s why the letter from AZ is so important. One of their points was along those very lines.  They pointed to success by the RV industry battling regulations that MHI failed to accomplish.

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

Great point, isn’t it?

 

The End of the MHI Charade?

The

Ø  MHI charade,

Ø  or con job,

Ø  or whatever allegation or terminology one might want to use to describe it,

is not over.

 

But the MHI mask is falling off for many.

No doubt, some big companies benefit from MHI.  That’s why the organization still exists.  The big boys are happy with it.

Pragmatically, we know some who feel that they must stay, because they have no choice. But doesn’t that arguably make MHI more of a protection racket, than a normal trade association?

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

 

But every single small-to-mid-sized member is arguably feeding the hand that bites their own.

MHI is firmly in the Buffett-Clayton outlined moat that uses non-profits and foundations as part of their moat-building process.  Invest the time to hear Kevin Clayton say so in the video linked here, in his own words.

GoodBusinessStrongCastleMoatAroundItUntouchableWarrenBuffettQuoteMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

 

The MHI Berkshire Hathaway Challenge

In fairness, MHI only does what their masters allow them to do.

Let them publicly debate in Tunica, on a video recorded discussion they and we can video too.

DebateMastheadblodTonyKovachMHProNews

MHProNews.com/Pixabay.

Let them have a panel of their experts – whomever they want! We’ll bring a panel of industry pros, and our experts too.

Let their panel try to prove our panel wrong, on any of the claims or concerns voice here or elsewhere on this pro-industry trade media site.

WithoutDebateWithoutCritismNoAdminNoCoutnryCansucceedNoRepublicCanSurviveJohnFKennedyManufacturedHousingIndustryMastheadCommentaryMHProNews

 

Do you think they have the guts to do that? If they were in the correct, why wouldn’t they?

 

The MHI Mask

Their act of trying to mitigate regulations, when they routinely fail in that – that’s getting harder and harder for them to say with a straight face.  Their clever MHI mask is falling off, slowly but steadily. Their track record is sad, isn’t it?

We editorially applaud MHAZ and their colleagues in Nevada who had the wisdom and the guts to quit MHI.  Let me assure you, that wasn’t an easy choice for them to make.  I don’t have to ask that, its understood for anyone who understands the tragedy that has been taking place in this industry.

MHCommunitiesOfAZNealTHaneyPresidentWhyTheyQuitManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

As the Trump Administration slowly gains more control at HUD and elsewhere, expect MHI to lose credibility as a result.  That doesn’t mean they won’t have short term connections that still periodically pay off in D.C., for what Buffett called their Moat.

MH Lending, FEMA and False Profits (and False Prophets)

Circling back to the opening headline.

Tim Williams. MHI President and CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison. Rick Robinson, MHI Senior VP and General Counsel, SVP Lesli Gooch, and others – one-step-at-a-time – helped me to see what’s really going on.

There’s far more.

But let me draw towards wrapping up this analysis and commentary, with the following.

Like Frank Rolfe, it didn’t on its face make sense to me why MHI would so often not defend the industry from media missteps, nor celebrate good news when it came from someone besides themselves.

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

For years, as an MHI member, we promoted the good news of manufactured housing, in the most robust way in the industry’s history, on MHLivingNews.

Why didn’t MHI support those efforts?

We were members for years, why didn’t they routinely draw attention to the good news about manufactured housing we were promoting?

Even now, when we are clearly in different camps, why wouldn’t they call attention to important pro-industry news, like the two examples posted above?

Paraphrasing Rolfe’s parallel point, it made no sense…

FrankRolfeNegativeArticlesOnIndustryNoCommentbyManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIRVHorizonsMobleHomeUniversityPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

*** …unless one realizes that MHI for many years has worked with Clayton, 21st etc. to keep industry sales low. *** Why? Arguably, by keeping sales low, that allowed Warren Buffet Moat to consolidate more of the manufactured housing – into the Berkshire/Clayton/21st et al “Moat.”

It’s shrewd.

It’s long term.

It’s exactly in keeping with Mr. Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s own words.

We were never alone in being betrayed by MHI. That’s other stories, for another time. Because numerous others have been betrayed too.  I’ve listened to the stories of some, and they are often heartbreaking.

I can picture the faces of some who had that stunned ‘deer in the headlights’ look, as they described their professional plights and tragedies to me.

At the time that some told me, some of that I didn’t understand in its full significance. Now, in 20-20 hindsight, I do.

Later, as the truth slowly dawned upon us here at MHProNews, after all those voices and examples and more added up, it became clear that harming independent professionals by the thousands didn’t matter to these people.

Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Gives Written Responses – “Part of a Rigged, Corrupt System”

That in turn hurt millions of Americans, who may – if MHI had defended the industry every time the media or some researcher gets it wrong – have been living in a manufactured home happily for years.

Defining a Problem without Offering a Solution is Just Whining. So, What’s Next?

In no particular order of importance, the following should occur.

Given all that we now know, it is my sincere hope that for the sake of the industry, MHI be disbanded, as a hopelessly tarnished brand.  That won’t happen overnight. They were given many chances to change course and reform.  They declined that every time. So, given all of the above facts, evidence, concerns, failures, and allegations — how could that mess in Arlington, VA seriously be reformed?

It is my belief that MHI’s being disbanded may happen to them,

Ø  through legal actions, started by aggrieved members, and perhaps non-members too,

Ø  as part of anti-trust efforts, that they will likely be caught up in,

Ø  unless MHI disbands themselves, voluntarily, before-hand.

As we noted in yesterday’s report, people are innocent until proven guilty.  But an attorney we asked told us they see anti-trust action as a real possibility.  As we’ve done throughout, we must call all of these matters allegations, because that is what the suits tell us we should say.

But you as readers have the ability to discern fact from fiction, with common sense, and by looking at the facts.  Skimming these facts will never lead you to the correct conclusion. That’s Buffett’s biggest edge, he reads!  He invests the time!  Only for those who make a serious study, a half a day, a day, could do it.  Start with the videos and links, above and below.

Superficiality-is-the-curse-of-the-modernWorldMatthewKellyQuoteFancyInspirationBlogMHProNews720

Seek first understanding. Don’t skim. Don’t jump to conclusions.

I don’t believe MHI can survive the string of alleged abuses long-term. So, the industry needs to prepare another option for the post production sector. Thankfully, for producers, there is already the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

But all others need their own voice too, as MHARR has long advocated.

Others, like the AZ community owners’ association, are hunting for their own representation in D.C.

These are de facto votes of no-confidence in MHI.  Whatever modest role we may have played in exposing the MHI charade, we’re happy to have done, within the norms of remaining pro-manufactured housing industry.

Because we don’t believe the industry can achieve its great potential, until Berkshire Hathaway’s brands and their allies are at least put into check, and MHI is supplanted.

NewManufacturedHousing1trillion9PercentNew1percentExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

If any of the above is wrong, please. MHI, Clayton, 21st – show me where, and I’ll modify this post.

If any of this is wrong, then let Clayton-21st-MHI gather a panel, and let us gather a panel  We’ll debate it publicly in a third-party moderated forum, and video the entire discussion, so that the entire industry can see it. There is not a day go by that we don’t pray for them, pray for the honest liberation of this great manufactured home industry, and pray for you too.

ProblemSolutionTiredOfFightingGiantsInARiggedSystemMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews600x2345

iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com Put “News Tips” in the Subject Line.

What more needs to be said today?

AllTruthPassesThrough3StagesRidiculedViolentlyOpposedAcceptsSelfEvidentArthurSchopenhauerQuoteGalleryMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, fact checks, commentary.)

(Third party images and information are provided under fair use guidelines.)

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is an award winning manufactured housing industry veteran, and is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com and professional service provider to the factory-built housing industry.

Connect on LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, “The Secret” – The Rest of the Story

January 2nd, 2018 No comments

TerryDecioTimeMagazineCoverTheSecretTopSecretManufacturedHousingIndustryMastheadMHProNews575

I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house America.” – Terry Decio, Skyline Homes, to MHProNews.

What happened?

The Rest of the Story, 1…

Several of the brands that the industry knows today are not the same brand as they were a decade or more ago.

Palm Harbor. Fleetwood. Champion. The prior versions all went into bankruptcy, and later were reborn under a different structure.

But they are far from alone.

Literally thousands of manufactured home operations, including, but not limited to:

  • Retailers (dealers),
  • Land lease Communities (a.k.a manufactured home communities, “parks”)
  • Producers (builders of federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes, some build modular, park model, or other products too),
  • Lenders/Financial Services, and
  • a variety of other products, service, and component providers

have either gone out of business, or sold out to a larger/deeper pockets operation.

What happened?

 

Business Cycle, or…

Businesses start and fail every year. That happens for a range of reasons.

The question in manufactured housing ought to be this. Did numbers of the wave of thousands of failures/consolidations get an unethical/illegal shove to help them exit?

If so, how was that done?

 

The Rest of the Story, 2…

MHI’s SVP and General Counsel Rick Robinson publicly, and MHI in writing, have referred to our manufactured housing trade publications as news sources.

TonyIWillNotBeTakingQuestionsFromThePressRickRobinsonMHISVPGeneralCounselMastheadMHProNews

Trade media, as with all of the mainstream press, can include News, Analysis, and Commentary. On this Masthead, publisher’s blog, you find all three.

Claims, controversies, and allegations ought to be tested by reason and known facts.

We don’t publish capriciously, knowing that an error could be embarrassing. Still, readers should question, us and those we publish about.

Ask questions. Seek the truth. Such issues impact your business and bottom line.

We’re not a court of law, but fully expect to be called to testify under oath to a variety of matters that impact the manufactured home industry.

LegalGavelLawMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

While courts won’t compel testimony about confidential, protected sources, they can ask about the reports themselves. The day is coming, we believe, when that takes place.

There will no doubt be lists.

Who did what?  Who supported, or opposed, what? Why?

Where laws broken?

Were steps taken that create legal exposure or liability:

  • for the national association (MHI),
  • its members,
  • or those who control it?

 

What Happened to Manufactured Housing?

While there are a range of factors, we believe in what’s obvious. What facts and common-sense reveal. There’s no need for a complex conspiracy theory.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway took over Clayton Homes, Oakwood Homes, related lending, retail, and later other production, service, supplier businesses too.

Mr. Buffett’s a self-proclaimed, long-term thinker, and he likes “moats.”  Just consider what Buffett said, in his own words, and line that up with what’s happened in manufactured housing.

Warren Buffett, “the Moat,” Manufactured Housing, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, Vanderbilt, Wells Fargo, NAI…

 

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

The executive committee and dues structures of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) make it clear that Berkshire Hathaway owned units exercise great influence at MHI. That control is widely known, in and out of our industry.  It’s just that few in manufactured housing (MH) dare say plainly and publicly that MHI is Berkshire Hathaway’s mouthpiece.

MHI, on issue after issue, has led the industry into dead ends, or avoidable, and even problematic places.

Who says?

  • Their former chairman, Nathan Smith, in a video that’s been hiding in plain sight. He voluntarily said that MHI had failed in the past at being pro-active.  The beginning and end of this video that follows are perhaps the key takeaways from 2:16 seconds.

 

  • Their former Government Relations Vice President (Later SVP), in an on-the-record statement he sent to MHProNews.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

  • Their former president, before exiting, in a written statement that may be more interesting today then the day it was first published in the Journal.
    ChrisStinebertManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentCreditTheJournalManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsMHProNews

    While what Stinebert said is interesting, what may be more interesting is that he waited to exit MHI before he provided this list of concerns. Isn’t that a de facto admission that these issues – lending, image, education, etc. – are those that MHI failed to properly address? Click to download.

Then, there’s a range of comments by MHI members, researchers, attorneys, and others. Those statements, published on or off our sites, speak for themselves.

 

The Latest

MHProNews has learned from an informed source that MHI has executed non-disclosure agreements (NDA), allegedly with several MHI staffers.

What is MHI hiding?

Who are they hiding that information from?

MHI members?

MH Industry at large?

Public officials?

Are they trying to hide something that is scandal related, and/or something else?

Sexual Harassment-Not Just Hollywood, Media, Politicos-Manufactured Housing Workplace Claims, High Profile MH Cases Too?

Keep in mind, that MHI refused to release to this publication even items that sources tell us they are legally obligated to do so.  Items like their current and previous bylaws.

Why hide that, someone might ask?

With their bylaws in hand, one might be able to understand revealing issues.  For example, have their been prohibited conflicts of interest – that may have harmed other MHI members, and/or the industry at large?

Millions have been spent and years wasted pursuing the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

In hindsight, isn’t it obvious that it would never pass while Barack Obama was president? Didn’t MHI’s own VP said as much, years in advance? Again, see the link to MHI GR VP, Jason Boehlert, above.

We have documents from 21st Mortgage, signed by Tim Williams.  Mr. Williams was MHI’s chairman for years.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2

No one has claimed these 21st documents aren’t authentic.

In fact, we have dozens within Berkshire Hathaway owned units – including their top people – who we are reliably told have carefully reviewed those report, and the others in our periodic series of reports on MHI and Berkshire Hathaway.

We’ve given

  • MHI,
  • their executive committee,
  • and top people at Berkshire Hathaway owned brands the
  • chance to rebut, clarify, or refute our reports and analysis.  We’ve invited them to share statements on these issues that we’d publish.

Field Reports – Clayton to Continue Push for Industry Dominance

After years of MHI publishing or commenting with us, about a year ago, they largely stopped even answering questions.  Why?  Is it because their own words have so often pointed a finger against their own actions?

“Accurate, but Misleading” MHI Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Alert – ‘Weaponized New$,’ Fact Check$

Don’t be surprised if they publicly push back in 2018.

At some point, don’t they have to, to keep their consolidations going?

NewManufacturedHousing1trillion9PercentNew1percentExistingHomeSales2016CreditManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

For the 400 word executive summary, click the above.

MHI et al have already pushed back privately to our allegations and reports, in a variety of ways that we have documented for the appropriate time.

AllTruthPassesThrough3StagesRidiculedViolentlyOpposedAcceptsSelfEvidentArthurSchopenhauerQuoteGalleryMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

EveryoneIsEntitledTotheirOwnOpinionsButtheyAreNotEntitledTotheirOwnFactsDanielPatrickMoynihanMHLivingNews

What Happened, Part Three

We rely on industry inputs and insights. So, we don’t write or do videos out of thin air. We’re followed by businesses and professionals across the size and political spectrums, in part because we’ve got the “street cred,” as one executive put it.

MHI has significant influence over state associations.

So, MHI “housing alerts” or “MHI News” they send to their own members are also arguably “weaponized” to reflect whatever the insider groups want, and reach well beyond their own membership.

Duty To Serve, “Complete Waste of Time” per Tim Williams, CEO/21st Mortgage; POTUS Trump, Warren Buffett Insight$

As an MHI connected source told us last year the following bombshell. The big companies have figured out how to get what they want, by using MHI – and the smaller companies are helping pay for what the big firms desire.

We’ve observed that previously, ‘Feeding the hand that bites yours,’ but to hear it as an admission from an insider, that’s telling.

There are two prime sources of in manufactured housing that have proven willing to push back publicly on MHI and their methods.

  • MHARR, and
  • LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC (MHProNews.com/MHLivingNews.com) trade media.

MHARR vs. MHI on DOE Energy Rule, Pushback Pay$ Off?

MHARR and we are independent of one another.  That’s healthy and good.  We’ve at times taken editorial positions that were contrary to MHARR’s view.

Frankly, at times, we later discovered that MHARR was correct.

DutyToServeManufacturedHousingMMarkWeissJDPresidentMHARR-MHProNews-

There’s an affordable housing crisis that is raging, and growing.

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

It has often tragic, real world, consequences.

NLIHC CEO Responds on HUD’s Worst Case Housing Needs Report, MH Leader Reacts

Homelessness in America, and Factory-Built Housing

Manufactured housing has enhanced preemption, under federal law.

titleVI-manufactured-housing-improvement-act-2000-mhia-2000graphic-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronews-

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Manufactured-Housing-Improvement-Act-of-2000-posted-Daily-Business-News-MHProNews-com-.pdf

That enhanced preemption could allow manufactured home retailers to ease the affordable home crisis for potentially millions of Americans, without taxpayer dollars being needed.

Harper – Thank You Rev Donald Tye, Fighting for Enhanced Preemption of Manufactured Homes

Yet, MHI has often failed to push HUD on a variety of issues.  MHI’s been forced to pivot on a range of issues.

HUDCodeManufacturedHomeProgramShakeupDrainTheHUDSwampManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews525

You can fool some of the people some of the time

MartyLavinHUDCodeDeadlyDiscriminationCode-IndustryVoicesMHProNews-e1472170900504

Warren Buffett said it in his own words.  Mr. Buffett doesn’t expect people to learn the lessons of history.  He expects to build his moat.

WarrenBuffettQuotesPeverseEasyThingsDifficultChainsHabitLearnFromHistoryPeopleDontLearnFromHistoryManufacturedHousingMHI-MHProNews

He even publicly supported the candidates that gave the industry the very thing that Tim Williams, then MHI chairman, said they were working to undo.

Documented Conflict Between 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams, MHI Chair, and Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

What Happened?

Isn’t the truth hiding in plain sight?

Frank Rolfe is like the rest of humanity, right on some things, wrong on others.  One can safely bet that he’s 100 percent in favor of whatever he believes his and his partners interests to be.

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

Rolfe criticized several MHI initiatives and what he said where their failures to act.  Recently, Rolfe want silent.  Isn’t 21st Mortgage – owned by Berkshire Hathaway – one of the companies that advertise on his website.  Coincidence?

Frank Rolfe: Pressured into Silence? Manufactured Housing Industry, and Journalism

If every person we’ve accurately quoted suddenly changed their tune, one would have to ask the questions a journalist does, starting with, Why?  

There will be lists.

People will follow the money, and analyze it – within and outside of MH.

FollowTheMoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDoThanWhatTheySayMartyLavin6MillionYachtManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNew

MHProNews and others are and will be taking names, and organizations.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

With the Trump Administration signaling anti-trust (anti-monopoly) actions in the future, and with Democrats also pushing the anti-monopoly theme, will it be a surprise if hearings are held about manufactured housing?

President Raises the M-Word, “Monopoly,” Plus Manufactured Housing Industry Market Update$

Warren Buffett, per third parties, has a big concern once he passes; the break up of his empire.

Who Will Replace Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway? Expert Insights, Video & Manufactured Home Industry Outlook

You’re one of the best things we have going [in manufactured housing.]” – Terry Decio, to MHProNews/MHLivingNews.

There are those who realize that we’ve worked for years to get the truth out about the glories of manufactured housing, which includes the realities that there are millions of happy home owners.

Manufactured Home Owners – Satisfaction Survey Redux

But those positive efforts have occurred while MHI has either sat on its hands – or arguably worse – tried to undermine the very pro-industry growth steps we’ve spotlighted?

Extortion? RICO? Allegedly Illegal, and Dirty Side of Manufactured Housing, Exposed

Some love the meetings, and the MHI comradery at MHI meetings.  I enjoy those social and networking things too, so I get it.  But to some, they can’t get passed the  fact that they like certain people, and they therefor can’t imagine someone with ill intent taking advantage of them.

 

To those, let me suggest the lesson of detective character, Sherlock Holmes, that may help make sense of how the apparent outrages alleged are possible.

Give us a logical,  alternative explanation.  Do it on-the-record, please. Let’s debate MHI effectiveness and their behaviors in recent years, on the record via video for all to see, please.

WhenYouHaveEliminatedTheImpossibleWhateverRemainsHoweverImprobableMustBeTheTruthSHerlockHolmesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

you-can-fool-all-the-people-some-of-the-time-and-some-of-the-people-all-the-time-but-you-cannot-abraham-lincoln-quoteDailyBus

Did BH use MHI – past and present – and the power or regulatory burdens throttle an industry that was poised for serious growth?

ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Didn’t MHI have the ability to end some of that burden by negotiation, and fail to take that option?  Why?

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

How could Harvard have missed their projection for manufactured housing domination?

Are stressed, busy MH Professionals missing the truth hiding in plain sight of how MHI shifted since Berkshire Hathaway took control of their organization?

Appealing Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Marketing, Finance Booklet Reviewed

Could that shift have been through a Buffett-style moat-plan?

Alan Amy isn’t alone in this observation stated in this focused video.

The day will come when the constraints on manufactured housing could be lifted.  When enhanced preemption will be enforced.  When that day comes, what will be left among the manufactured housing independents that existed a decade ago?

AmericasFastestDyingBusinessMobileHomesManufacturedHomesAtlanticIBISWorldDailyBusinessNewsResearchDataReportsMHProNews

IBISWorldAtlanticManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsResearchReportsMHProNews

Manufactured homes were predicted by a Harvard researcher to dominate by the end of the first decade of the 21st century. What happened? Accident? Or a moat like plan, hiding in plain sight, executed by MHI?

Did they get an unethical, liable, or illegal push?

The Decio family had Art featured on the cover of Time Magazine decades ago, what happened since then?

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Keep in mind, while there are several sources for information, there are to my knowledge only – broadly speaking, two – which have been willing to seriously take on BH and MHI.

MHARR and ourselves.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) Finds Manufactured Home Industry Support for Reform bill

MHI took themselves out of the picture of routinely communicating with us, about a year ago, after an initial series of exposes and analysis we published on them.  Coincidence?

Why is it that state associations, or MHARR, are often more successful than MHI?

McCrory Lawsuit – “Significant Victory Against Zoning Discrimination” – Manufactured Homes

Associations are supposed to be a tool for businesses to work together to impact regulatory and other issues.

What would do you do when you discover that your national association has been working the interests of the majority of the industry’s independents?

Do you keep feeding the hand that bites yours?

In my days as a manufactured home retailer, we used to advertise on a station as the sponsor of famous Paul Harvey’s, “The Rest of the Story.”

You don’t know all of it, but do you have more than enough linked above to reveal the truth that is hiding in plain sight?

2018 will be a year to watch.

Expect some more revelations, that you may only find published here on MHProNews. ## (News in review, commentary, analysis).

Related Topical Update:

SkylineChampionHomeBuildersMergerPlanAnnouncedDailyBusinessNewsMastheadManufacturedHousingINdustryMHProNews

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/skyline-homes-and-champion-home-builders-to-merge/

 

TwitterFacebookLinkedInNew Year’s Resolution: On this 9th day of Christmas, a request.  This writer already has one of the largest LinkedIn followings in the manufactured home industry. But we’ve frankly not asked for Twitter, or Facebook followers. That changes, starting today. If you want to keep up with posts relevant to the industry, you can connect via the links below.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach/

https://twitter.com/LATonyKovach @LATonyKovach
https://www.facebook.com/tony.kovach.71

 

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ThereAreOnly2WaysToLearnOwnOthersExperiencesLATonyKovachManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

We agree with Warren Buffett on the value of the lessons of history, reading and research. Without those deep insights, the wool can be pulled over other people’s eyes.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Kovach is the award-winning managing-member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC,
parent to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Both are #1 in their categories.

Kovach is one of the most endorsed and recommended MH industry professionals in all of manufactured housing.

Darkness and Light; Faith, Freedom, and Manufactured Housing

December 20th, 2017 No comments

It’s Advent for Christians, and Hanukkah for Jews. At the “darkest” time of the year, when the days are the shortest, believers in America and around the world are celebrating – light.

 

DarknessLightFaithFreedomManufacturedHousingMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire,” says Wikipedia. It’s a reminder that political, economic, and religious oppression have long been part of the human experience.

Hanukkah is also a reminder that such oppression can be overthrown.

The weeks of Advent are a reminder that the celebrated Nativity of Jesus Christ is approaching.

Dec. 12, 2017 and continues through Wednesday, December 20, 2017. Chanukah is the Jewish eight-day, wintertime “festival of lights,” celebrated with a nightly menorah lighting, special prayers and fried foods,” says Chabad.

Not being a member of his Willow Creek church, nevertheless the author of the book that the Netflix movie, The Case for Christ was based upon tells an interesting story. It made me think of the one-time skeptic, author C.S. Lewis, who said that Jesus is not just some good Jewish rabbi; rather, Jesus is either Lord, liar, or lunatic.

The Rev. Donald Tyr Jr. and we have a similar yet differing understanding on maters of faith. But we have enough in common to have created the joint statement, linked below. People of good will can work through differences.

Patience, mutual respect, and sufficient time/energy can accomplish amazing things.

Some will celebrate this holiday season in great wealth. Others will be in great poverty. Yet ours is a world filled with the raw materials needed for the masses to prosper too. If we lack something, it is the need to return to realities. To basics truths, so that we are not deceived, nor deluded, into doing or ignoring something ignoble.

Darkness&LightMastheadBlogDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsAll honest work has dignity, said Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

King was right. But if he was living today, would King be thrown under the bus for sexual harassment? King was an amazingly dedicated, accomplished, and yet imperfect man. Do we now throw out the wheat with the chaff?  Does the contemporary baby get tossed with the dirty bathwater?

Flashback

My parents were Kennedy Democrats and Reagan Republicans. Each of those presidents cut taxes, and spurred economic growth. Each president is celebrated by many, yet each of those leaders had their own scandals.

We are all mortals, living in a mixture of darkness and light.

We all have several things about ourselves that we wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times, or as the top story on Fox News. Duh. Myself, and all others, are imperfect. But we have to a degree collectively allowed standards by which leaders are measured to be subject to agenda-media spin, or manipulation by powerful forces.

 Controversial Jesus

 Jesus, for those who’ve never dug deeply into the matter, was a controversial figure. His birth, life and death are better attested to than Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Plato, Aristotle, or any other figure from the ancient world.

 

For those two plus billion who believe Jesus came as the saving “light of the world,” His land and His fellow Jewish people were then subjects of Imperial Rome. Jesus raised no sword. But Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers. He did so with a whip made of chords, as the Bible tells us.  He called out Jewish and Gentile leaders for their hypocrisy.  They put him to a horrible death, hoping to end their fears and concerns over this itinerant Jewish preacher. 

Jesus’ opponents failed.

But In fairness, how would you or I have responded back then to the wild-looking, controversial personality of Jesus?

In time, those early followers of Jesus watched as the Roman Empire collapsed. His followers remade Europe in a more Christian image. But the ancient and medieval followers – not unlike King, Kennedy, or Reagan – were all imperfect. Broadly united for centuries, Christians began to split – and divided over and over again – beginning 500 years ago at the time of Martin Luther.

Flash Forward

It is ignorant to judge the past by the present.

It makes no sense to curse ones ancestors.

We are all struggling with darkness and light. The meaning of the name Israel is revealing, “one who wrestles with God” = Israel. Don’t we all wrestle with God?

Only the truth sets us free. That means that lies, and half-truths, are enslaving.

The sincere, honest professional – or journalist – spotlights the truth as he or she understands it at the time.

As understanding grows for a person – experience and wisdom hopefully matures – and one improves at their trade.

America was never perfect, but the founders had a good vision.  This Christmas, we celebrate at a time of growing prosperity.  We look to the south, and see Venezuelans sadly struggling for basics like food, after only a decade under socialism. Socialism and communism have always been deceptive half-truths, that lured millions into a kind of economic and political slavery.  Those who peddle it are ignorant, or have an agenda.

Neither Christians or Jews were anti-private property.

Christians, Jews, Muslims, and several other groups all agree that theft is a crime.

But theft – the taking of property or life by force, threat, deception, or any other injustice – can sadly be done by individuals, groups, or governments.

America will be free only to the degree that we realize the capital “T” Truth, and are willing to sacrifice and struggle for it. Since the Garden of Eden, freedom has never been free.

This Christmas – my hope, prayer, and gift to you, such as it is – would be that more people seek the truth, and attempt as best they can to live it. Who is this Jesus whose birth we celebrate almost 2000 years later? 

Who Rules?

For centuries, God’s ancient people had no king, God periodically selected leaders. In the Book of Samuel, from BibleHub, we read:

When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders… (1 Sam 8)…3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned aside after dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice. 4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”

But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you. 9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”

There was a litany of abuses and crimes that the prophet told the people would follow, if they chose a human king. Warned, the people still insisted. God respects our free will, so He gave them what they wanted.

On Christmas, we celebrate a new kind of king.  An infant King born in a stable, not a palace. One that the rulers tried to kill as a child.

biblical-world-blog-spot=credit-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-

Christmas Star over Bethlehem – birth of Christ, credit Biblical World blog spot.

God does what humans believe to be unlikely. Principles, not posturing.

God gave us freedom. We can put freedom to work, or we can abuse our freedom. We can protect, or neglect our freedom.

There are many forms of slavery; drugs, alcohol, certain forms of “entertainment,” or anything taken to excess that is not light. Sin is real, and it is the darkness of sin that harms and divides people. We all need salvation. Light and truth are for a time, resisted. We all wrestle with God. Thankfully, the Creator is merciful. Maybe we all should be more patient and merciful too?

AllTruthPassesThrough3StagesRidiculedViolentlyOpposedAcceptsSelfEvidentArthurSchopenhauerQuoteGalleryMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Manufactured Housing is a noble, but widely misunderstood profession. There are reasons why the industry’s acceptance has declined instead of advanced. A wise professional told me decades ago, that this is the time of year that professionals ought to ponder, study, and reflect.

Part of our solution – as a professional, business, industry, or as a nation – must be to rely upon and apply eternal truths.

Truth is as controversial today as it was 2000 years ago.

Study. Analyze. Ask questions. Seek the truth with an open mind.  Don’t prejudge, as you don’t want your profession or our homes to be misjudged either. “Do unto others, as you would have others do unto you,” said the infant king, after he grew to maturity. That humble king built homes, so perhaps we should look to him more for examples of what we too must do.

NothingIsChangedUntilItisChallenged-SoheylaKovachLATonyKovachTamasKovachDonaldTyeJr.575x238

Tony took the photo at the right.

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. May the coming New Year be merrier and brighter.

Christmas UPDATE:

Ladies – Love, Lunacy, Leadership, and those “Laddies”

(Inspirational, commentary, Merry Christmas.)

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.