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Posts Tagged ‘Manufactured Housing Institute’

Ignoring the Obvious, the Road to More Rewarding Manufactured Housing Future

September 22nd, 2017 No comments

Several dozen manufactured housing industry professionals witnessed first-hand when Rick Robinson – Sr. VP and General Counsel to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – after his ‘Washington briefing,’ said “Tony, I will not be taking questions from the press.”

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Rick Robinson failed to mention to meeting attendees that then MHI Chairman and 21st Mortgage President and CEO, Tim Williams and Vanderbilt Mortgage – both Berkshire Hathaway Companies – would not release data to the FHFA/GSEs that the Enterprises said was needed for a clear understanding and a possibly more robust entry into the manufactured housing lending space. To learn more about that, click here.

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Why would MHI’s Robinson avoid pro-industry media questions?

Why would Robinson take a question from the Washington Post, but not take one from MHProNews?

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Sources tell MHProNews that while MHI attempts to avoid the perception that they are responding to questions from MHProNews, MHARR or others in the industry, they are in fact responding – only without admitting doing so.

This smells of what the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. generically calls “two-faced,” and “dishonorable” behavior by those working on behalf of big, crony capitalist businesses against the interests of independent businesses – and how that impacts millions who are trapped in rentals and poverty as a result.

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Note, we have not yet asked Rev Tye to comment publicly on MHI and the Buffett/Berkshire Hathaway questions and concerns, but do the principles in the article linked here apply?

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See more, click the image above.

Is “Nice Guy” Robinson is Latest Example of MHI Game Playing?

Let’s be clear and balanced.  MHI has its defenders.  MHProNews gets off-the-record comments from those who are happy to defend MHI.  But to date, not one of them will debate the actual effectiveness of MHI on behalf of the industry it claims to represent.

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In fact, many no longer want to be quoted on-the-record as defending MHI — or specific MHI personalities.

By contrast, there’s been a growing number of voices who have asked or directly accused MHI and/or key companies that dominate the association of:

monopolistic behavior, hypocrisy, racism, deceptive behavior towards the bulk of their own members, routinely failing to achieve what MHI says they want, which it is alleged that if they succeed or not, de facto benefits Berkshire Hathaway connected companies,

We sent the attached message via email as a follow up to Rick Robinson, and MHI’s top staff and some “key” members. We will advise the industry if they will provide a response, or if they will continue to duck the concerns, allegations, and failures by the Arlington, VA based trade organization.

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Closing Note – Reform or Replace MHI?

While MHProNews and/or MHLivingNews can directly and indirectly raise issues and concerns, ultimately the individual members of the industry need to either reform or replace MHI as the industry’s “umbrella” trade group.

KennyLipschutzPoorJobOfLobbyinginMHIndustry-postedMastheadCommentaryMHProNews-comMHARR may or may not act at their November meeting to expand their membership beyond their current independent HUD Code producer structure.   That trade group has called for years for the post-production sector of the industry to create an organization that will truly represent their interests.

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Frank Rolfe, George Allen, Spencer Roane and others in the community sector have said in semi-private and public statements that MHI is failing in several respects.  While those professionals are not all friends, or see all things eye-to-eye, that unity of concern about MHI is noteworthy.

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At the same time, they and others have not yet proposed a public solution on how to either reform MHI, or to create an organization that will represent retailers, lenders, communities, and others.

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Our quoting Allen or anyone else isn’t meant to imply we agree with other things that a professional is saying.

There are many options.

But the bottom line is one that Ken Corbin de facto raised at the Deadwood event.  Some 10,000 independent retailers have vanished since the late 1990s.  Several independent producers have told MHProNews that one of the biggest slow-downs today for more sales growth is a lack of independent retailers.

While MHI is ‘ineffective,’ that is harming independent companies.

Meanwhile, MHI brags about how many emails they get to go to Congress?  Seriously?  Is that the best that Robinson, Gooch, or Jennison can point to – how many engage emails go to Congress?

Who wins, and who loses, because of MHI’s failure to achieve its stated goals?

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If MHI had a good answer to the industry’s concerns, wouldn’t they make it?

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Isn’t it obvious that they have no good answers, and thus will continue their duck, dodge, distract, detract and defame ways?

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Is it like a long time MHI member told MHProNews –  ‘The big companies have figured out how to get the smaller companies to pay for what they want.’ – is that the reality of MHI?

This writer is willing to debate MHI publicly on such issues.

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Commentary, analysis, news.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon--250x167

Photo taken while Tony was questioning regulators in NY.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Howard Walker, ELS Vice Chair, MHI Executive Committee, and Multi-Billion Dollar Industry Questions

July 31st, 2017 No comments

Subsidized housing is a way of tipping the scales against the free-market solution offered by HUD Code manufactured homes.

Not enforcing enhanced preemption established by law under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) is clear evidence of HUD failing to do its lawful duty. It’s one of several clear reasons to immediately replace Pam Danner, JD, as head of the HUD Code manufactured housing program.

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This image above appeared on the business website shown, and was modified to fit this page. When HUD’s own data proves that manufactured homes have their best quality ever, why is Danner pushing for more and costlier regulations? Click above for more details.

Any industry professional, company, or association that fails to support:

•      a change away from Pam Danner as head of the HUD Code manufactured housing program, or

•     who don’t want to investigate why Lois Starkey separated from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and now is at HUD’s MH Program office,

is logically either: 

•     apathetic,

•     misinformed,

•     naïve,

DougGormanHomeMartMHILogoAwardWinnerManufacturedHousingIndustryResearchDataReportsMHProNews

Click the collage graphic above to see Doug Gorman’s reasons for saying that Pam Danner, a personal friend of his, ought to be moved out of her current role at HUD.

•     or is hiding something.

 

The topic for today was specifically requested by an active and ranking MHI member.  That person and others in or out of that group’s body have requested something similar. A number of the questions/allegations/points of concern listed were made by MHI members.

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Questioning the organization and its impact on the industry – for good or ill – should not be construed as attacking individual member companies, or people.

Before diving into questions/concerns to ask yourself about MHI, let’s state a pair of fair and balanced facts.

A)      The vast majority of the people and operations involved in MHI are good folks, fine operations.

B) Industry gatherings, meetings and events are routinely pleasant, and offer various networking benefits.

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In the real world, things are rarely all darkness or light. Thus, the biblical admonition to separate ‘wheat from chaff.’

Discerning professionals, researchers, media, and investors must separate those A-B positive truths, from the questions below.

Note too that it’s possible to accomplish the A-B value noted above within MHI, or outside of it.

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Discernment – Ask Yourself These Questions About Allegations and Concerns Regarding MHI

In no particular order of importance:

1) Why hasn’t MHI informed its members on its position about Pam Danner, JD, and what’s behind the separation of Lois Starkey and Ton Heinemann?

2) Isn’t it obvious that if MHI wanted to see Danner removed, they would have already publicly come out and said so?

HowardWalkerJDViceChairEquityLifestylePropELS-ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoViceChair-postedMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryResearcMHProNews 

3) Why does MHI not defend the industry against false claims made by the mainstream media, or by activist anti-MH business groups?

4) Why didn’t Warren Buffett call then President Barack Obama, and ask him to have Richard Cordray support the changes sought in Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing? Wouldn’t that have saved MHI and the industry millions of dollars and untold hours of failed lobbying efforts?

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Several media outlets picked up on the story first broken on MHProNews about the dismissal of Vice Presidents Lois Starkey Tom Heinemann Manufactured Housing Institute MHI Dismissed

5) Why did key MHI member/companies de facto derail the Duty to Serve (DTS) process with FHFA and the GSEs, while the association claimed to be working for its robust enactment?

6) Why didn’t MHI ask FHFA or the GSEs to release the minutes of private meetings? What are they hiding?

7) Why did MHI first support the business and job killing positions it initially took on DOE regulations? Why did it only change positions after months of third party pressure on the DOE proposal they supported?

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8) Why has MHI allegedly misinformed its own members on a variety of issues?

9) Why won’t MHI release its own bylaws to its own members, or prospective members? Where’s the logic? What are they hiding?

10) Sam Zell is one of many who has noted that big companies are better able to sustain heavy regulations than smaller firms. Then isn’t it reasonable to presume that if MHI fails to get regulatory relief – for whatever reasons – that the end result is more smaller companies will be “consolidated” into larger ones?

11) Why has MHI not warned its members about the possible protests by anti-industry activist groups – that may disrupt the MHI annual meeting?

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12) Is your company feeding a hand that undermines your firm’s and the public’s best interests?

We Provide, You Decide.” © ##

(Note: Listen to what MHI member Dick Ernst says about controversy and MHProNews.com. Those principles Ersnt mentioned about digging into the issues that will head the industry in the right direction, applied then and now.)

 

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Photo taken while L. A. “Tony” Kovach was questioning MH regulators in NY.

(Image credits are as shown, and when they are from third parties, they are provided under fair use guidelines.)

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

 

 

 

Staff Shakeup! What’s Next – Good and Bad – at the Manufactured Housing Institute?

June 24th, 2017 No comments

Let’s begin with several examples of good news, before we get into the headline concerns.

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   A huge, new manufactured home community has broken ground, and is underway.  That upscale MHC project, linked here, joins Scott Robert’s and his team’s big MHC project, linked here.

   A new, independent HUD Code home manufacturing center has broken ground.  That Daily Business News story is linked here.

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   The industry continues at a double-digit growth rate. Some companies – which we are happy to say are clients/sponsors – are growing at an even more rapid rate than the industry at large is; we’ll point to 3 of many examples, from 3 different sectors – linked here, here, and here.

** These are all some of the many examples of good news to report. We report good news, along with challenge engagements – ** such as the Tornado Researchers at MSU making positive statements about manufactured homes ** – on a routine basis.

 

LakelandLedgerSolvingAffordabilityProblemTonyKovachManufacruredHOmesTornadoesWindstorms

 Good news in the mainstream media ought to be widely shared, right? Ideally, these things ought to be done in tandem with an association, as was the case in the story linked above.

We’ll talk about problematic items later below.  Let’s first tee that topic up, as follows.

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Success isn’t how many emails go to congressmen or senators. Success is getting the legislation you said you wanted, passed into law. Everything else is moot.

How is True Progress Measured?

All true progress requires a few basic things.

1) A willingness to admit that something can be better.

2) A willingness to change to make things better (buy in).

3) Ideally, a plan or operational theory (hypothesis).

4) A timeline (“Everyone needs deadlines.” – Walt Disney.)

5) Execution of the plan.

6) Objective, measurable benchmarks.

   Is the plan working? 

   If so, how well and at what costs?

   How is the ROI?

   Could the plan or execution be improved? 

   If ineffectual, can it become effective, or should it be scrapped?

In summary, professional progress requires – an open mind, a vision, objectivity, analysis, discernment, and adjustments as needed. Vince Lombardi said the goal of the winning team –  or person – is excellence.

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To rephrase, one must see reality as it is. Then the good, the mediocre, and the bad – plus:

   the honesty,

   integrity,

   willingness,

   and determined commitments needed to obtain a worthwhile goal. Those are some key elements in achieving positive change.

 

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Image by MHProNews.com

 

Failure to commit, or

   a lack of honesty,

   or any of the other needed elements, weakens or cripples a plan.

Positive, Negative, and Power

It is worth reviewing that to be effective as trade publishing – as media – one must be willing to look at positive and negative issues. Cheerleading is great and needed in an organization – including media?! – but mindless cheerleading is eventually exposed as empty.

Being solely negative is as problematic at achieving progress as being only positive. Realism and objectivity are needed.

As an engineer confirmed/reminded us recently, there is no power in electricity without both positive and negative electrons flowing.  The same is true in life, or for effective trade journalism. Power comes from looking at the good and the negative. It’s true for any profession.

If someone can’t look at – and deal with – the positive as well as negative, that person is in denial.

Stating the Obvious for clarity – the good, bad and in between happen continuously in life.

ElectricityRequiresPositiveNegativePolarityWithoutBothNoPowerLeadersMediaMustDealRealityPositiveNegativeToCreateEnergyChangeMHProNewsMHI’s Recent Shakeup

MHI supporters as well as critics have sounded off on the senior staff shake ups. If you’ve not read that story, please click the photo below or the link here.

We’ve heard from supporters of Lois Starkey. Even those who were not necessarily fans noted that there is no one at MHI at this time that understands the technical aspects of the HUD Code as well as Starkey does. To rephrase, MHI is now objectively weaker as a trade organization in her absence.

Who are they going to find/train to replace what Starkey did? Do they have work-around? Sure, but this incident speaks volumes on a variety of levels.

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A common statement heard is ‘why didn’t MHI make some kind of announcement?’

Perhaps the other is underscored by the Tom Heinemann side of this. While I spoke personally with all of the folks at MHI, perhaps the one I engaged with the least was Heinemann. Here’s what MHI put out about him when he was hired, less than 18 months ago.

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Now, this professional that MHI was so pleased to welcome, he’s now gone.

Objectively, if you were the next candidate looking at job opportunities in Washington’s metro, as a career-minded person, why would you pick MHI? Doesn’t a 6 year snapshot of MHI reveal a revolving door in-and-out of that organization? 

Reportedly, some left MHI on their own, unhappy. Others – allegedly including Tom and Lois – were shown the door. The average time there looks pretty thin, doesn’t it? Or is this, as some say — “The New MHI Way” — ??

Looking at Thayer Long’s Example

Thayer Long went on from MHI, and now is at NPES. This was sent to me this morning, and we created the collage.

 

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The text at the right are parts of a press release, sent to MHProNews. Thayer Long left MHI, is now at a new association. That new association is starting the kind of process that could make sense for MHI to do, please see the bullets in this article, down below. Thayer started fresh, why not others at MHI?

Reminder…

A well-known state association executive at an MHEC meeting – with dozens present in the room – turned to Long and succinctly said, “Thayer, with all due respect, you’re not getting the job done.”

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State and Community Executives are once more getting the positive attention and credit that their work so richly deserves. While national associations meet with DC based regulators, policy advocates, Congressional staff or members, its the state and community associations and their members who are the “boots on the ground” that makes it all happen.

Within weeks, Long was gone. He reportedly left on his own.  If you look at the collage with Thayer’s photo above, you’ll see that the outcome for him looks like a happy one.

We don’t wish anyone at MHI ill, but don’t some of them need to find a fresh start, for their own sake (like Thayer’s), and that of the association and the MH Industry? 

Look at MHI’s own stated agenda items, then look at their lack of achievement in the last almost 6 years.

MHI may have a few keepers. But after years of failure, don’t many on staff with the title of VP or CEO need to go?

They’ve burned through some 15 millions of dollars in 5 years – plus PAC money! – and have not gotten the job done.

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They’ve played games, and played favorites. But most important of all, they’ve not gotten the job done.

Cutting loose two VPs shortly before their own Washington, D.C. legislative fly in, what where they thinking??

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   On DTS

   On Preserving Access

   On HUD

   On media engagement,

   and more, they’ve had a train of bad or problematic positions, missed opportunities, and clear failures to achieve their own stated mission.

MHI’s own goals are their objective benchmarks. Billions are at stake. Isn’t it past due to clean up most of the house in Arlington?

Can MHI Even Get Industry Facts Right? Please??

This is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the Arlington, VA based umbrella association can’t get key facts right in their own reports on the industry to others. We’ll cover that issue soon.

As a prominent MHI member told me by phone recently, bankers want solid data (no, this wasn’t the DTS issue, but the same principle applies). MHI doesn’t get generate research often enough, and when they do, it’s often demonstrably wrong in enough places to cast doubt about their “research.”

They’re often demonstrably contradict their own previously published positions. No corrections. Just one set of facts that differ from others. No real explanations.

Hello? Think about know how that makes the industry’s umbrella association appear to third parties? Or how it makes members who support them look?

Frankly, we’d love to see a house cleaning before we have to publish those upcoming reports. We’d be willing to work with a new administration at MHI, so long as they want to ‘do right’ by the industry – including the thousands of independents.

Be it incompetence, or by design, or any other cause that can be imagined or alleged – their failures are harming thousands of independents, thus choking off ROBUST growth that would benefit nearly everyone.

TrillionDollarHousingMarketManufacturedHomesAreSolutionMastheadblogMHProNews 

That must change.

What’s Next at MHI?

This isn’t junior high school, and isn’t a popularity contest. We give and take critiques, and when they are well intentioned, they ought to be embraced.

For years, we tried to work within their system and behind the scenes.

That didn’t work, so we began to go public. Some at MHI allegedly were out to get us long before we did go public, and we could document that if/as needed.  This is about the industry, current and millions of potential customers, not me or any one person within MHLand.

Solutions?

A pro-MHI member asked/suggested this. Paraphrasing:

Tony, you need to give MHI leaders an off ramp. You need to put something on the table that will make sense to pro-MHI members, as well as others.’

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Ok, here it is.

1)        Do a phased house-cleaning, and bring in a one year to 18 month interim president. Someone from the MH industry, someone that is independent. No disrespect to larger companies, but not someone beholden to any of them.

2)        Give that interim president 60 days to make a report and plan to leadership, the association/members and to the industry at large.

3)        That plan should be a strategic vision for the industry, and for the comprehensive reform of MHI into an effective body that can work with MHARR, communities, retailers, public officials, potential home buyers and the hundreds – (thousands?!) – of potential allies among the non-profits, consumer groups, media, and the millions of home seekers.

4)        The interim CEO should not be an MHI employee. While I’d be thrilled to consult and work with such a person, to be clear, I’m not interested in nor lobbying for such a role. Do I have possible good fits? Yes, but I think the industry ought to develop a list of qualifiers for the interim role. Then, ask for applicants. May the best woman or man, win.

5)        There should also be an interim VP.  That person might be someone with significant association experience. Some are retired or near retirement, that may make a good fit for such an advisory role.

6)        Look at what MHI has done in the last decade. What’s good? Keep it or refine it. What’s failed or not worked? Learn from it and check it off the list for future use. Example, their ‘engage’ system is a good idea. While some love it, frankly with the Feds, the bottom line results are totally missing. It’s a good idea that needs to be revamped, under new leadership.

7)        Doesn’t everyone in communications, plus no less than one president and 2 to 3 more VPs need to go? It should be noted that allegedly every single VP at MHI has privately criticized MHI’s president, some politely. Some harshly. Those criticisms were either made directly to us – or to third parties – and we eventually hear about it.  That speaks volumes as to the need to radically reform MHI and its culture.

8)        The “MHI, we’re bigger so we must be the best” mindset has to go. They behave in ways contrary to their own interests, that of their own members, their state ‘affiliates,’ and certainly to the majority of the industry at large.

9)        Create an inclusive, vibrant vision, plan and mission to mainstream manufactured housing acceptance. Protect, educate, and promote that vision and mission.

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We will look at the GAPS Method in the near future, as one of the tools to analyze the road blocks to MH advancement.

The timing and departure of Starkey and Heinmann is sadly emblematic of MHI in recent years.

There is no reason to believe that MHI will improve, unless they first candidly admit their mistakes.

If MHI makes its admissions and amends to all those they’ve injured – and there are many – then I think a fresh start could be attempted. We’d be willing to engage in something that looked like the above.

Years before we took the positions we did, Dick Moore wanted to do a post-production association (MHIdea). MHARR has called for one for years. Among state execs, privately and publicly, there have been solutions floated.

George Allen – agree or disagree with him – has shown that hundreds could be organized.

MHARR senior advisor Danny Ghorbani has floated the idea of opening that group up to a broader membership. It would fall to their president and CEO, Mark Weiss, to make that happen.

Change Will Happen…

Something will give, count on it. People will only tolerate stuff so long.

We hope MHI decides to take the path of reform, or in time from among those noted or from a new source, watch as a rival rises that will leave them in the dust they alone created.

Let’s close by saying that MHI members are routinely good, nice people. We’ve all enjoyed a pleasant meeting or event. There are keeper elements at MHI. But there’s much to be reformed, or supplanted, right??

It’s up to every professional to take stock, and armed with the facts, to act.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

learntobegoodstorytellersdefineourselvesorotherswilldefineusoftendetrimentindustrypublicpolicymakers-latonykovach-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrymhpronewsBy L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Publisher | Consultant | Service Provider |
Award-Winning Industry Veteran |
863-213-4090
LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – dba
MHLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com

 

 

 

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BREAKING Bad – plus Critical Updates, Upgrades

May 4th, 2017 No comments

Before diving into Breaking Bad,” let’s start with the scheduling and programing updates.

The new version 3.0 of MHProNews.com is scheduled to go live – be unveiled – this weekend.  So, the new May issue of featured articles on our home page will be published circa mid-next week.

UnveilingNewWebsiteMHProNewsVer3.0MastheadBlogMHProNewsBy noon Eastern time Monday (+/-),  you should see the new, unveiled home page of MHProNews.

To do a massive switchover on a site as large as this one – thousands upon thousands of pages, of some of the industry’s best news, tips and views content – means the MHProNews site will – for a time – go down.

UnderConstructionNewMHProNewsWebsite

When the site comes back up, you’ll see a new home page – but don’t be surprised if there are numerous adjustments that have to be made.

While testing has been ongoing, I’d rather set an expectation for plenty of Cyber Dust – adjustments, corrections, glitches – which will be addressed as rapidly as possible.

If you see something please don’t hesitate to email – use iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com – and at least 3 of us will see those messages.  Please use a subject line like –> Cyber Dust on MHProNews.com.  Then, spell out specifically what you see, on what page.  Use a screen capture and arrows, if you have Jing or a tool like Jing by TechSmith.com.

If anything changes before the site goes dark, we’ll post an update on the Daily Business News and/or this blog.

Last thought on that before we dive into breaking bad.

It’s possible that the blogs may ‘come back up’ before the home page does.  When that happens, you can always go to the Daily Business News via this address:

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/

or this Masthead blog at:

http://MHProNews.com/blogs/tonykovach/

Kindly say a prayer that this goes as rapidly and smoothly as possible.  The new site will look different in many ways.

Once you get used to it, we think you’re gonna love it.

Breaking Bad

No, this Breaking Bad isn’t a cable show about a chemistry teacher that decides to cook meth to make more money. This ‘breaking bad’ is about getting to the heart of the problematic issues that keeps manufactured housing from doing several hundred thousand new home shipments a year.

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Breaking Bad cable show meme, credit – Vulture.

To rephrase, it’s about making the vast majority of businesses in this industry more money – via problem solving.

Let’s tease the latest allegations and look at the latest coming in from MHI insiders since yesterday.

Besides the various ways that pros say “Thank you!” among the amazing messages that have come in during the roughly last 24 hours, are new tips and insights on how the financing, lobbying and ‘games’ are allegedly being played at MHI.

Even today, MHI’s latest Housing Alert proved what the post below said is their pattern.

MHIHousingAlertManufacturedHousingFInanceReformBillsPassesPreservingAccessManufacturedHousingMastheadBlogMHProNews

Failure can be a great teacher, and there’s no shame in it, so long as lessons are learned. Have they been? “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Thanks, MHI senior staff, for making our point – again! – today! Kindly click the image below to see how Gooch, Jennison and company have proven, and how sources tell us it costs thousands of professionals a ton of money…

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You’ll get another report, perhaps as soon as next week.

This week (next 7 days), baring the unforeseen, we’ll do two, perhaps 3 new features on MHLivingNews, all designed to advance the industry’s overall cause.

One will seriously touch on MHI, but — all three will be important for the advancement of the MH industry.

Don’t Misunderstand 

While we have demonstrated – (and may get to the point that we’ll do even more details, on even bigger issues, than we already have) – that MHI senior people, surrogates, etc. are stepping up their efforts to duck, dodge, detract, distract, denigrate, and dissuade us through often behind-the-scenes hassles they strive to generate for us and/or our readers/sponsors, here are some reality checks.

ReformSupplantManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoTimeToChangeMHIpostedMastheadblogMHProNews647aOur goal is to spotlight and thus encourage the reform or supplanting of MHI. The powers-that-be at MHI get to pick which, by their behavior.

We sincerely believe that what we are exposing and working toward ending/changing would be better for all.

But once more, the powers-that-be must want to play nice, fair and square.

That said, while we prefer to make friends, as Abraham Lincoln encouraged, let’s remember honest Abe waged war to win when the hand-of-friendship was rejected.  As we’ve said before, it makes no sense to feed a hand that is biting yours.

No one has an audience like ours in MHVille. Oh, there are some sites with more total traffic – but not more professional traffic seeking precisely what we deliver.

“RELEVANT!”

Why does MHProNews dominate?  As one multi-location company owner told us, “Tony, what your team does is RELEVANT.”

Honest efforts at sharing reality has created credibility that others may – or may not – have.

That’s not saying we’re the only credible source, there are others. But for the most part, they don’t have our combination of audience, sources, and insights – and willingness to spotlight controversial issues via reality checks, rather than promote someone’s smoke-driven spin or agenda.

As I shared with some key supporters this morning – and hereby outline with you – the industry, investors, public officials, media, researchers and other professional enthusiasts – this is an industry of approximately 150,000 FTEs – full time equivalents.

Many of those FTEs are doing activities other than managing, owning or investing in business. Perhaps 10% to max 15% are the target audience of this kind of trade media (sorry, MHI spin-meisters – we may have blogs, but we are more than what Gooch likes to call a “blog!”  Proper terminology matters!).

Or as MHI’s Dick Jennison thoughtful said to a meeting room of industry pros, “MHProNews – Great Publication!”  Thanks again, Dick.

Guest Counter – and The Votes of You, the Professionals

When MHI/NCC’s Jenny Hodge spoke about transparency – as cited in the article and image shown – not many in our industry have a guest counter. How many are on the MHProNews site right now?  Go to the bottom of the home page, look below the left hand column, and you’ll know.

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Nathan Smith, MHI’s prior chair and leader at SSK Communities colorfully dubbed manufactured housing as a boutique industry. If the total audience potential is say 20,000 owners, executives, managers, and aficionados – then at 8:47 AM ET, we had 34.5% of the total potential readers on our site at that time. Astonishing!

MHI takes their shots behind the scenes, we at MHProNews invite them to respond publicly on our site – and have also invited MHI to debate publicly ISSUES that MATTER to the INDUSTRY and to MILLIONS of Consumers.

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Media, investors, public officials are also on our site. While the general public can also surf in, our statistics suggest that the readers are mostly professionals, because third party reports tell us that while the average news site gets 3.3 page views per visit, our average page views per visitor hovers around 8.5 page views each. Relevant. Trusted. Independent. The “Industry News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.” © MHProNews.com.

Trust is Earned

Because our audience matters, because we’ve documented – not just made claims – our audience trusts us.  Because our audience is the runaway largest of its kind, perhaps some at MHI feel that they must play their games, they may pretend to ignore us, but it’s anything but behind the scenes.

From emails that are forwarded or other reports made verbally, we know there are conversations afoot.

Billions a Year, Trillions in Opportunities

For those who want to keep it simple, we allege that MHI is choking off industry growth – to slow walk growth – for precisely the reasons that Jenny Hodge alluded to; it allows larger players to acquire -“consolidate” – smaller ones at reduced prices. Once they’ve swallowed their goal, watch how magically the industry will rebound then.

The 400 Word Executive Summary and a host of other reading is published to provide serious readers with plenty of food for thought.

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The proper approaches are worth millions to a location, and tens of billions (plus) to our industry. Let’s suggest that MHI has hired intelligent people to staff their Arlington office. Some there are no doubt good people. Others, sources tell us, are tasked with carrying out ‘the agenda’ – and its not the one publicized. But think! With the affordable housing crisis raging, are we to believe that Manufactured Housing can’t hit 25% or more of mainstream new construction sales?

But some of the best reports are yet to come.

Let us get through our cyber-dust.  We truly hope that MHI leaders will strive to mend what’s wrong, so that the majority of their members – and the vast majority of the industry – will benefit.

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But if that doesn’t happen, there are a variety of ways we can be a part of the solution.  We work for that daily.

Please check back after the cyber dust clears.  Do let us know your thoughts on issues that matter.  And while we make it plain that we don’t speak for sponsors, we thank them for making this platform possible.

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Honest Abe wanted peace, and was willing to extend the hand of friendship – a model we like. But one must also note that Lincoln fought to win a bitter war against those who made themselves enemies. A lesson for our times?

Together, Everyone Achieves More = TEAM.

Together, we advance.

Together, we’re Breaking the Bad – in favor of the Good.

For those who would be roadblocks, we’ll keep shining the light of truth. We’re confident it has, is and will ultimately make the difference. Because just as Lincoln played to win, but offered the hand of friendship – we strive to do the same too. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when by third parties, are shown under fair use guidelines.)

TonyKovach-MHProNews-com-

Tony at an educational session, “Standing Room Only.”

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
Managing Member
LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – dba

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

Connect on LinkedIn:

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

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Richard “Dick” Jennison, President, CEO Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to Tony Kovach, MHProNews.com

February 28th, 2017 No comments

In the wake of the death of my wife Soheyla’s father yesterday, key people at MHI allegedly arranged to have a sign of their sensitivity delivered via a message to me.

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See MHI’s Richard “Dick” Jennison’s thoughtful message via video, below.

We’ll plan to share that message thread with our readers in the next few days, so you and thousands of others can see for yourself how the fine folks at MHI spend their time, and spend the organization’s money.

Very Public Message from MHI’s current President, Richard “Dick” Jennison to Tony Kovach and MHProNews

Even before the email mentioned above today, Richard “Dick” Jennison, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), shared the following public comments, to Tony Kovach and MHProNews.com.  My thanks for his personal share.

My thanks to all who called and messaged my wife with their condolences.

More on the new March 2017 issue, which will go live this weekend. It will be packed with serious, and perhaps, a light-hearted item?
We Provide, You Decide.” © ##

(Image credits are as shown.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach caricature.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Frank Rolfe, Darren Krolewski, MHI and Media Engagement

February 5th, 2017 No comments

The Top Line – Media Engagement Matters to Your Operation’s Bottom Line. That’s why this issue matter$ to you.

In another exclusive report from the manufactured home industry’s largest and most trusted news source for professionals, MHProNews published extensive comments by Frank Rolfe, Darren Krolewski and others on the issue of MHI and Media Engagement.

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Screen capture from the Daily Business News, click here or above to see that read, red hot report.

Let’s begin a focused commentary by saying that every word published from every source in Matthew J. Silver’s hot article, entitled:

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

each quote spotlighted an important aspect to this issue. 

For keen readers of Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions, please note that while Rolfe was blasting MHI’s news media practices and Darren Krolewski was defending them, each made cogent points, and both had penetrating insights.

Let’s also stipulate that the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) challenges in working with the news media are not to be underestimated. Rolfe is 100% correct in saying (paraphrase) that a reporter can be hard charging. A journalist might be on the attack from the moment an interview begins.

Darren Krolewski is right in saying there is so much more bad news than good.

Krolewski observation begs the question. Should it be so?  

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The flip of Krolewski point out ought to be, this: isn’t there in fact more good news than bad? So isn’t the issue that the good news isn’t being shared enough?  We in MHLand should be loud and proud! Fact-based reports like the one above belie the pictures that NPR or MHAction present. Are there bad or problematic actors in the industry? Sure, and MHPros routinely condemn those who harm MH home owners and the industry’s image, see Industry Voices.

 

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Matthew Silver.

In Matthew Silver’s article, we did not use all of Rolfe’s words, nor all of Krolewski’s.

In every article, in most videos, there are things as a writer or editor that you must leave out, so that the report or video is digestible.

That said, unlike any mainstream news source you could point to, MHProNews will in the coming days publish Rolfe’s, Krolewski’s and others full on-the-record comments, within the scope of our editorial guidelines. Their words will appear on Industry Voices. There is a lot of posting to do on the popular Industry Voices blog, on a variety of topics. Those voices are your industry’s peers. So please do stay tuned.

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Image credit, Pinterest.

Let’s preview what Krolewski said that was not published yesterday, and the reason why, because it was demonstrably topspin. We’ll get to that after a brief background on how Krolewski and I met, because it is very relevant to this media engagement topic.

 Media Engagement — Background on meeting Darren Krolewski

First, Darren and I have known each other for about eleven years. I met him while doing a project with a sizable MHC operation; he and his dad – BJ Krol – came to do an evaluation of two regions for that community owner and a manufacturer working with them. One of the regions in BJ and Darren’s report was being managed by another person at that same company, the other regional supervisor was me. I still have the report, call me if you are curious to see/discuss it.

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Image credit as shown above.

Summary?  My team’s region was highly praised, and BTW, our smaller region outperformed two other larger, better funded regions combined.

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The bottom right magazine story is from the project that BJ Krol and his son Darren came to evaluate. The article on the left was published in the Chicago Sun Times Newsgroup – that was for a project with a different client. Each point to the value of media engagement. Proper, honest Media engagement pay$. But it requires a solid foundation first! The media doesn’t want fluff, they want interesting, ‘red meat.’

Part of that project was about my personal efforts at media engagement on behalf of that MHC. My team took a backsliding region, with a problematic reputation in the broader community and region. We turned it around in under a year (again, I have the records, and glowing references). The local news media sat up and took notice! Why?

Because about 8 years before Rolfe’s 2014 NYTimes article, we invited the media in.

The first big published story in the regional press read so well overall (see image at the left), that it might have looked to some like an advertorial.

But we paid nothing.  We promised nada. We wrote not a word of it, but we did share visual elements, which they gladly accepted and many of which they used.

That regional magazine’s report glowed. Why?

Because residents were happy, and what was a kind of grungy locale before, had became a neighborhood. It was how you turn 2 stars into 3.5 on a modest budget. That MH community became a really good place to live. Revenue, collections, sales all improved dramatically. There’s more than one comment on my LinkedIn profile, one from a local pro in that same market, who describes it in his own words.

Media engagement wasn’t the first thing, it was a middle step, after several other were taken.

I think Krolewski will back up the above, because he’s a good guy, and also because we have the

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Darren’s father, BJ Krol – wrote in his report, that the work we did with those communities and the media was “light years ahead” of others, and that it was ‘a breath of fresh air.’

documentation, some of which came from him and his father, BJ.

 

So when Frank Rolfe and his partners buy and improve a community, I get it! We applaud professionals like Rolfe, Lamb, UMH, ROCs or many others who invest and improve the communities they aquire.

That personal/professional experience is one of several reasons why we don’t body slam him on terminology, because overall, Rolfe’s doing a lot of good.

Do I wish – and think it’s to Rolfe’s and the industry’s best interests – that he’d adopt proper nomenclature? Absolutely. He and I have had that discussion, more than once. 😎

Back to Darren and his Comment we edited out

With that segue in place, here’s part of what was left out of Matthew Silver’s linked report:

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Darren Krolewski, MHVillage, DataComp.

As an MHI member I think that the organization is moving in a positive direction with bringing on a VP of Communications and some of the work that has been done in recent months to elevate the image of our industry.” – Darren KrolewskI.

Sorry, I respect and like Darren, but that was pure top-spin, so we left that out, while keeping his salient points. MHI is demonstrably not moving in a good direction on communications.  The problems Rolfe cited in Silver’s report began before, and continue after MHI’s new communications VP came on the scene.

Frank Rolfe is far from alone in saying what he has. It does MHI – and the industry at large – no good to praise them on something they’re not moving in a good direction on.

Let’s use an analogy.

Do you praise an employee or agent for the mistake they routinely repeat?

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Image credit is as shown above.

Tim Connor says you get more of the behavior that you reward. Of course!

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Image credit, Pinterest.

You can encourage someone – or a group – by giving them high fives for where it is merited. So, paraphrasing what Rolfe said, MHI has some nice people. All of us can be nice, all of us can do good. God doesn’t make junk. There is plenty of education, and talent available. There are keepers at MHI.

But when the same mistakes keep getting repeated, even after the VP of communications comes in, there’s a problem.

Displeasure of how MHI handles the media is a comment Rolfe says he hears from MH community owners, and we hear that from MHC and other industry pros too.  We hear it from MHI members, and others in the industry. We hear it from MHI ‘insiders’ too…

The anecdote Silver used about an MHI member laughing publicly at someone who questioned their handling of the NPR story was included in the story, because it speaks volumes.

Own and Correct and Error, When Possible

When I goofed last weekend, I owned it. That should apply to us all. There is none of us – poor, rich or in between – who can claim perfection. All of us can and should learn, from others, and from mistakes – our own goofs, or the errors of others.

Which brings us back to the importance of proper media engagement. The Masthead applauds Rolfe for sounding off on an important issue.

But let me applaud Matthew Silver’s important report for this gem. Let’s quote in brown that brief but potent section in MHProNews assignments editor Silver’s narrative.

 

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comThe Industry’s Irony…

What overly sensitive professionals may miss in industry-politics charged issues are what largely unites the industry.  Rolfe, Dare, Fath, Kelley, Krolewski and Kovach – all these and other voices not cited in this report want to see the industry grow.

So why aren’t critiques of MHI taken and given in that spirit of the search for a path for long-term, mutual growth?”

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Photo credit, MHProNews.

It’s long overdue for MHI to get over whatever it is that keeps them from listening and engaging – not only the media – but also with their own members. Going to MHI meetings are often like going to a lecture.  Why? Where’s the listening? Neither this Masthead writer nor others who critique MHI are saying ‘blow the association up.’  Todd Lamb’s quote in the Silver’s report was clearly meant to encourage them.

Should “MHI Task Forces” be peopled only by insiders who go along, to get along?  Has MHI asked Rolfe, myself or others who have actual results to point to, to be on a media engagement or educational task force?

I’ve not asked Frank, but I’d be surprised if he was invited in….

Accessible?

Let me draw towards a close with demonstrable examples. Under MHARR’s new president, they have become quite responsive to our questions. Many if not most state associations we ask for comments, ditto. We ask company presidents for comments. We routinely get them, often in short order.

Why not MHI?

Among the many powerful quotes and insight in Silver’s report is this gem from Frank…

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Frank Rolfe, photo credit, MHProNews.

When you refuse to talk,” says Rolfe, “it looks to the public like an admission of guilt, and when you refuse to promote your product it looks like you are embarrassed by it.”

We self critique, and as Krolewski and others well know, we as a pro-industry trade publisher listen to the critiques of others. Will key people at MHI listen?

The quote from Rolfe we closed on in Silver’s report, is what MHLivingNews and MHProNews have been doing for years.

Our work has been based on real world experiences. That project Darren and BJ witnessed wasn’t a one-off. We’ve done those kinds of positive things for years. So why doesn’t MHI want to learn about them from us, Rolfe or the many others in the industry who are trying to do it right, but may not be part of the ‘insiders club?’

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Image credit is as shown above.

Doesn’t MHI want to share those positive experiences with others, so the industry will grow?

We welcome working with anyone who is forward thinking, solution oriented and has good will. We aren’t waiting on MHI or anyone else, but we’d encourage them to be involved with us too.

We will be doing presentations in Tunica on March 17th on the issue of media engagement. Let me encourage MHI to have all of their top people there.  YOU should be there. Because what we’ve done with media engagement and communicating with and as media has produced bottom line results for the majority of those we’ve work with over the years.

The reason MHProNews and MHLivingNews exist is to engage professionals, the media, and the public as media. It’s profitable to engage the media, when it is done properly. Rolfe and others who successfully do media engagement can tell you, it’s not easy, but it pays off.

If you haven’t already see Silver’s red hot report, it is linked here. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

LATonyKovachPresentingIndustryMembers-MHProNews

While widely known for being the #1 B2B and B2C MH publisher, Tony is also the most endorsed marketing sales management pro in MH consulting, with years of successful experiences in retail and communities. Tony will be presenting at the Tunica MH Show on March 17th on media engagement.  Mark your calander, plan to attend. Stay tuned for details. 

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

 

 

 

“Leaked Documents” – Influencing the Manufactured Housing Industry Conversation

August 20th, 2016 No comments

In a perfect world, many federal programs that now exist would end, and the manufactured housing industry would see a tremendous growth as a result.

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That said, the maze of federal programs and bureaucracies that now exist – and tragically waste hundreds of billions of dollars a year – more realistically could be slowly wound down.

Until that happy day, when the playing field would be leveled because the federal finger isn’t tilting the advantage this way or that way, manufactured housing ought to do what it can to get its fair share of those programs. 

Wind all of those programs down that can be undone, and let MH benefit along the way; that’s not a contradictionit’s prudence.

That said, the Masthead  thinks the Section 8 program change signed into law by a coalition of industry and other industries support is – or can be – a temporary advance. We cover an MHI related update on that topic, linked here.  A prior report on that is found on MHLivingNews.com, click the image below.

To get a sense of the sheer scope of the potential, see this report linked here, found no place else in the MH Publishing world.
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2 ‘Leaked Documents’ and the DOE Regulatory issue

At some point, more in the MH industry will learn the general principle that more regulations are going to result in:

  • more pain,
  • more costs,
  • more lost options for consumers,
  • and more lost MH sales that would otherwise take place for industry pros,

absent said new regulation.  No is powerful.  The MH industry’s default position, until strong evidence suggests otherwise, ought to be NO when it comes to more federal (or other) regulations.

We won’t embarrass some in the industry today with so called ‘victories’ that were once cheered in the past that turned out to be disasters – efforts that some in the industry claims to have lobbied for – more regs that harmed MH instead of helped. So let’s turn outside of our MH ranks for the next few moments to understand this DOE issue.

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a competitor, in some ways, with MH.

So the NAHB priced-out study (see it as part of the download on the report, linked here) ought to be seen as a pure gift to MH, because NAHB tells industry members what the impact of even $1000 in new price hikes would be – tens of thousands of potential lost customers.

To rephrase, the NAHB priced-out report helps industry pros bypass the ‘partisan’ MHI vs. MHARR issue.

The NAHB’s bottom line is that higher costs will keep X thousands of potential buyers from making a purchase. The higher the price, the fewer can qualify.  It’s common sense, right?

So why has it taken so long to get to MHI to the point they are now taking another look at these DOE regs, which MHARR opposed from the outset?  Don’t get me wrong, better late than never!  But where was the pro-active thinking on this issue?

The Masthead isn’t taking sides on the following question,

  • is MHI rethinking this DOE issue (perhaps a bit late in the game),
  • or is this just a head-fake?

We don’t claim to have that answer, not yet anyway.

What we know from various parties – including the one that leaked two documents to us – is in this report, linked here. We’ll let industry pros read it and sort it all out for themselves.

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Image credits: each logo is the property of their respective organization.

 

Leaked! Confidential! 

Confidentially sent information and comments has allowed MHProNews to provide objective insights that are found no-place else in the MH Industry.

Pros in other industries, professions and civil servants share “inside baseball” insights, leak documents and so forth, with media – especially when no one in an organization is listening. Prior to MHProNews, there was simply no place available to send such information – the mainstream media for the most part just doesn’t care enough (yet, along with our sponsors, we’re working on that issue too). We’re it.

So that time-honored tradition of whispering to the media when no one else will listen has been picked up by MHProNews.

We love on the record comments and columns, but we also respect confidential sources. Each serves a unique and vital purpose.  Each is why thousands of pros, investors, researchers and public officials will logon today, thousands more tomorrow, and likely thousands will read this very column – and most certainly – Matthew Silver’s report linked above.

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Wordcloud credit, WordCloud blog. Secrets-Leaked, Confidential added by MHProNews.

Be a NewsMaker! As – We Provide, You Decide

There is a push from outside MH and within to get MH businesses to embrace this new DOE energy rule.

For reasons stated above, we’ve editorially opposed it. But for accuracy and balance, we do have industry friends and sources within MH who embrace this rule, but they are not yet ready to go on the record with their thinking.

So in all sincerity, our tagline applies: “We Provide, You Decide.”  ©

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Image credit – collage of Industry Association logos by MHProNews, each logo is the property of their respective organization, and is used here under Fair Use guidelines.

New tips are welcome at iReportMHNews@MHMSM.com. When you send documents and/or messages, please let us know if your comments are on or off the record.

Knowledge is potential power. If you or someone you know is kept from sharing some key insight, or if a harmful issue is being ignored, etc.; please feel free to share it as a news tip. We’ve had this document/leak and yet another news tip just recently, but there has been more over the years sent to us.

There are times that may be the only way that we as an industry will advance as rapidly as possible to achieve our true potential. Do what you can, and we will too.

Together, Everyone Achieves More (TEAM). ##

(Editor’s note: let’s pray for those tens of thousands of victims of flooding in Louisiana; we have been tracking that in reports on the Daily Business News, the most recent, linked here.)

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Photo taken during New York Housing Association meeting, Tony questioning regulators.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.