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Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You

May 13th, 2019 No comments

 RopeADopePreservingAccessManufacturedHousingActMomDadYouMastheadLATonyKovachMHProNews

 

There may be no one analogy that is entirely precise enough to make the point that the promoters of the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act purportedly hoped to accomplish with their bill. All analogies limp at some point, but those disclosures made, let’s begin with the ‘rope and dope metaphor’ from boxing.

 

Per Google and Bing:

 

rope-a-dope

/ˈrōpəˌdōp/

nounINFORMAL•US

  1. a boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading an opponent to throw tiring ineffective punches.

 

RopeADopeWikiGoogleMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNewsLATonyKovach

 

It is fair to say that most if not all of us have been wrong or misled about several things or people at various times in our lives. To make the point relevant in manufactured housing, let me hereby point the finger at my own chest, by hereby admitting to being misled myself.

In 2015 and before, this writer in word and deed supported and encouraged others to support the Preserving Access bill. While the bill was technically correct – a point that will be made further below – in hindsight, Preserving Access was doomed from the start.

In retrospection, the bill was arguably part of a hoax perpetrated on manufactured housing independent retailers, community owners, lenders, and others who supplied or provided professional services to the manufactured housing industry’s businesses. We’ll briefly make the case that the goal was to wear out marginal players, to cause them to sell out their business interests for less than the intrinsic value of their operation, and/or to fail entirely.

Rephrased, Preserving Access fostered consolidation and reduced values.  To see a current left-right snapshot of that issue more broadly, consider the Daily Business News on MHProNews report posted earlier today.  Senator Booker is one of several voices, on both sides of the two major party aisle, that has pointed to consolidation and monopolistic concerns.

 

Senator Cory Booker – ‘We Need a President…to Enforce Antitrust Laws,’ Digging Warren, POTUS Trump

 

In teeing up the notion that Preserving Access was a hoax, that’s not to say that it was a grand conspiracy involving scores of people.  That’s not necessary, as will likewise be revealed further into this fact-check and analysis. Literally a mere handful of professionals could have arguably pulled this ploy off.  The precise numbers and names – who knew what, and when – are for legal investigators to determine.

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Code of Ethical Conduct encourages several useful principles.

  • SPJ says that media are to be candid about errors made by journalists,
  • another is to hold the powerful to account.
  • This column aims to do both, and more.
  • Because not only where myself and thousands of others in our industry apparently fooled, the evidence and logic reveal that the rope-a-dope nature of the Preserving Access hoax has morphed and is ongoing.  Rephrased, this isn’t one and done.  It’s an ongoing ‘enterprise.’

 

SPJSocietyProfessionalJournalistsCodeofConductMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryMHProNews

 

We are among the billions who believe that we are given our talents and gifts from above.  There are both a healthy and unhealthy kinds of pride. Not many would say this writer lacks intelligence, so it wounds pride to to admit that I was as fooled as thousands of others were by the Preserving Access ploy. As the managing member for the parent company of this – the single largest audience in all of manufactured housing professional trade media – I’m hereby saying I’m sorry for falling into the rope-a-dope trap.

At the same time, to maintain integrity and credibility, one must lay out the facts that are known, as the realities become evident.

 

HowardWalkerJDViceChairEquityLifestylePropELS-ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoViceChair-postedMastheadManufacturedHomeIndustryResearcMHProNews

 

That said, it is important to explain how it occurred, why the lessons from Preserving Access still matters, and the steps useful in avoiding the ongoing usefulness of the ‘Rope-a-Dope’ to a powerful few.

Rephrased, what took place with Preserving Access arguably continues, only under a different banner.  It could happen over and over, so it must be understood, exposed, and appropriate corrective measures taken to stop it from occurring again. Furthermore, those who’ve deployed this stratagem should be held to account. With that prologue, let’s look deeper.

 

Examples of Who Were Harmed by the ‘Rope-a-Dope’

In one of numerous state or national association meetings over the years arranged to promote Preserving Access, I vividly recall a man who had been successful for decades in the manufactured home land-lease community business.  He was standing in the doorway to the association conference meeting room, returning from a break between sessions.  He wasn’t a young man; rather, he was an industry ‘veteran.’

That long-successful professional had a deer-in-the-headlights look to him.

  • He indicated that he cared for treated his residents fairly and that they were happy.
  • That used to be part of the recipe for success in any business in America. Identify and serve a need, develop happy customers, and let them tell others, so your business can grow.

But that perplexed gentleman who owned that land-lease manufactured home community, in a fairly short period of time, watched as the business-model for his enterprise – along with tens of thousands of other manufactured home communities like his – was significantly transformed.  There was a loss of thousands of independent retailers.  There were fewer lending options. New regulations from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and others.  Lower net-inflation/adjusted revenues was the rule for thousands of independent retailers and communities.

There were no easy fixes in sight.

That community owner was tired.

Another professional community owner that comes to mind, whom I knew better.  He too fought the regulatory fights, attended the association meetings, made the move into selling homes in his communities. His firm got the new licenses, and did most of the things his state and the national umbrella association told him that he should do.  But he too finally wore out, and he too sold out.  He likewise grew tired of battles that for decades before previously didn’t exist.

It was just those sorts of once-successful professionals – and thousands of others like them in retail, communities, production, or you-name-it in manufactured housing – that the rope-a-dope tactic was purportedly deployed to knee cap. Consider the thousands of communities that have changed hands in recent years, as smaller operators sold out to larger ones. Wear the little man out with regulations, a lack of access to financing, or by putting out of business the retailers and factories that once supplied them.

 

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America

 

ICYMI, or need a reminder, the reports linked above and below in the hot-linked text-image boxes provide a sense of how many firms and how much this rope-a-dope tactic harmed independents.

 

Manufactured Home Community Case Study, UMH Properties, Lessons for Independent Community Owners, Investors

 

In pondering the scheme, in hindsight, here was the obvious goal.  The aim was arguably to slowly consolidate an increasing number of manufactured housing’s independently-owned operations into the hands of a few ‘big boy’ players — or drive the independents out-of-business altogether. Wear them out, and then sucker-punch them.  Only the knock-out blow might come in the form of a smile, friendly handshakes, and a check at a closing table.  The victims may have been paid, often thanked by their buyers, and it may not be until this moment that some who fit into this scenario will realize just how much they and others were ripped off.

That a small sense of the Rope-a-Dope in action in manufactured housing.

That was years before MHI award-winner Marty Lavin told MHProNews the following in 2018.

 

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Elements of How Its Done

That outlined, let’s step back a bit more.  Because there are subtle psychological forces at play that can harmfully be duplicated.  Thus, this must be exposed, or the dirty tricks and related errors will continue.

With politics, associations, a church or charity, if you get someone to:

  • Give time, even if it is only a little,
  • Give money, even if it isn’t much,
  • Take a stand, even if only briefly,
  • Go to a meeting, and enjoy pleasant networking or conversations with peers,

and you are subtly training them to do that again-and-again.  Why are we seeing political campaigns ask for as little as $3? It is for the reasons those bullets outlined.

Big boy companies operating in the manufactured housing segment of the affordable housing marketplace are purportedly using trade associations to do the same.  It’s tragic, but one can make the case that trade groups are working against the interests of their own dues payers.  Needless to say, if professionals understood that to be so, they would not normally do that of their own free will.

 

Congressional Efforts

That said, this writer made the correct technical arguments on issues framed by Preserving Access. I personally spoke to congressional staff and politicos from both major parties, as well as the public at large. My Congress blog post on the closely followed in Washington, D.C. The Hill website on the topic of Preserving Access was praised by Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams 21st Mortgage Corp President, CEO and then Manufactured Housing Institute Chairman, and scores of others, as the linked post below reflects.

 

https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/economy-budget/248665-regulations-for-manufactured-home-loans

 

Perhaps Kevin and Tim laughed their heads off.  But time will tell who gets the last laugh.

Beyond admitting to being duped, and explaining how this ploy operated, this is an example of why on MHProNews is using the maxim, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me.”

It is not my intent to be fooled again.  To the extent possible, we hope to utilize MHProNews and MHLivingNews to prevent as many others as possible from being fooled, while holding those who did the hoodwinking accountable. Because now having confessed my error in falling for the rope-a-dope ploy, the focus must now pivot to holding the responsible parties to account.

If there was a scheme:

  • how did it occur and operate?
  • Who benefited from the maneuver?
  • Who was harmed?

We’ll aim at addressing each of those questions plus more herein.

 

 

How Rigging Preserving Access Was Accomplished

The system in MHVille was arguably rigged so that the Preserving Access bill would never pass at all. The truth was hiding in plain sight, and not enough of us understood that at the time. Let me stress that while some of the key players were clearly Democratic supporters, this was a bipartisan manipulation. As an independent, if I were a member of either party, I’d be incensed. Once more, let’s hold those who did the manipulating to account, rather than fall for the red-herring trick of blaming the messenger or whistleblowers.

Here are the factual elements of the rope-a-dope at work in Preserving Access.

 

  • Warren Buffett was a prominent supporter of 2008 candidate – and later the 2012 re-election campaign of – former President Barack Obama.
  • Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway has several of the largest brands in manufactured housing, including Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), a big stake in Wells Fargo, and ownership or stakes in several others.
  • Buffett’s brands arguably dominate the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) along with dozens of state associations, through dues, board positions, select allies, and other forms of influence.
  • Buffett – often though so-called “dark money” channels – has been a financial donor, has ties to, and/or is influential with organizations that opposed Preserving Access in word or deed. See the report with evidence and details, linked here.

The article linked below outlines the numerous voices in MHVille that raised concerns that point to specific players and their surrogates.

 

Joe Stegmayer, George F. Allen, Manufactured Housing Institute Slogans, Slump, Slurs, Solutions

 

On the one hand, Buffett and others supported those who passed Dodd-Frank, which had onerous regulations harmful to the interests of manufactured home retailers and consumers too. That’s is why it was technically correct to support the bill, for an example, see one of several reports we published that explained why and how consumers and independents were being harmed linked here.

But as another report at that time also reflected, zoning/placement were as big or an even bigger issue.  Failure to deal with that placement/zoning issue is another element in the current downturn, per the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

 

GaryAdamekFayetteCountryHomesQuotesZoningPlacementDoddFrankPreservingAccessCFPB

 

CFPB regulations harmed the industry’s independents and consumers alike, but as the above suggests, it was one of several issues that impacted the industry. Preserving Access was fueled by MHI’s leaders in a way that it was sucking up the oxygen of the bulk of the industry’s lobbying efforts.

That said, with Barack Obama pledging a veto of any change in Dodd-Frank, the hope of passing Preserving Access law was near zero.  Who said? MHI’s own SVP of government relations.

 

JasonBoehlertPhotoManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHISVPGovtAffairsQuotePreservingAccess

It was the truth hiding in plain sight. 

 

The Truth Hiding…

The panel discussion I established for the Tunica Show, where the video below was captured and later produced, was part of my evolving awakening to the farce that Preserving Access was.

In citing Frank Rolfe, it should not be construed that I’m endorsing the controversial practices of he and/or his partners. There is wheat and chaff in us all, and I firmly believe in the principle of finding the wheat and separating it from the chaff. Rolfe may arguably be wrong on several things, but on Preserving Access, he was proven to be quite correct.

Thus, Rolfe’s commentary on Preserving Access in 2016 was and still is useful.

So too were the insights shared by Bob Crawford, the President of famous Dick Moore Housing, one of the oldest and highest performing retailers in all of manufactured housing history.  Dick Moore’s business has a fine A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating. He has owned retail centers and land-lease manufactured home communities, which some errantly call ‘mobile home parks.’ With that introduction, here’s the video.

 

 

 

MHI’s Chairman Tim Williams, per state association sources, exercised raw power over numbers of state executives in mobilizing them to support Preserving Access. See the report, linked below. Williams pushed state executives into supporting the 21st/Clayton and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) promoted legislation, even though many execs had concerns about its viability.

 

 

For several years, millions of dollars were spent in the effort to supposedly get Preserving Access passed. Meanwhile, problems of local zoning, issues at HUD, or other concerns festered. As manufactured housing industry success story Gary Adamek and others put it, zoning was a far more vexing issue.  Adamek wasn’t alone.

 

 

JayHamiltonZoningPlacementAffordableHousingCrisisManufacturedHomesGaManufacturedHousingAssocPhotoMHProNews

 

Despite the assurances of Nathan Smith, MHI’s prior Chairman to Williams, that the industry – often a euphemism for MHI – would be more pro-active instead of reactive, MHI in hindsight emphasized Preserving Access so much, that other issues arguably slipped.  It was as if MHI could only chew gum but couldn’t walk or talk on other pressing or festering issues.

 

 

The point is that Buffett and a few key people had arguably rigged the system in a way Preserving Access would never pass. Yet MHI continued to pursue it.

That disconnect should have been obvious to MHI.  Indeed, as was noted above, it was MHI’s  SVP in charge of government-relations Jason Boehlert said as much in 2012. Yet for four more years, MHI pursued a hopeless bill?

That begs the question, why did MHI continue to pursue a plan that was a dead end?

Seen through the lens of rope-a-dope, a plausible picture emerges.  It was done to foster the consolidation of more businesses into fewer hands, and/or drive more competitors out of business.

That concern raises other problematic issues, such as this.  Is MHI’s leadership so corrupted that the Arlington, VA based trade group has and continues to deceived hundreds of their own members?  As the evidence began to reveal itself, what to do?

 

Mom and Dad

It’s Mother’s Day as I’m drafting this article. My mother and father were both intelligent, well educated, informed people. They survived the Nazi occupation of Hungary.  They lived in the shadow of Soviet Russia for years before that tumultuous time.  When the Soviet Union’s brutal armies were pressing into Eastern Europe near the end of World War II, my parents abandoned virtually everything, took their children, and fled West to the Allied lines. They endured harrowing experiences in that trek. They finally made it to an American controlled zone. They spent years in a Displaced Persons, or DP Camp, educating others. After years of waiting after they applied to come to America, they were sponsored into the U.S., where I became the first of my parents 7 children to be born in the USA.

Two of my siblings didn’t survive the war, what my parents went through was that bad. That speaks volumes, as does what follows.

My parents faced life and death decisions. They did what they could under difficult circumstances in an enemy occupied land. Intelligent, motivated – yet they still learned only later how official deceptions – such as how the war was going for the Nazis – were just that, lies. Propaganda. Hold that thought.

When they came to the U.S., the civil rights movement was on. My parents were known supporters of civil rights for all. Later, when pro-communist speakers came to campus, they went to publicly dispute the false communist claims.

My father was a university professor.  Years after the war, he returned to Europe and was the first Ph.D. to earn his doctoral degree in philosophy “summa cum laude” – with highest honors – in the five century history of the respected University of Cologne.  My parents sacrificed as a couple so my father could return to Europe to earn that degree, and thereby make a better life for his family, while teaching others too.

During the Nazi occupation, my father had a minor governmental position. Reflecting on WWII and the Nazi occupation, several points he and my mother shared stand out. One, while Christians, they secretly helped feed hungry Jews during the Nazi occupation, at their own peril. Two, my parents said that while they knew the population was being propagandized, it wasn’t until after the war that they realized how extensive the Nazi propaganda was. 

The point is that even highly intelligent people can be deceived, but once a deception is grasped, the moral thing to do is right the wrong as best as one’s station in life allows.  They also demonstrated that you do the best you can, based on what you know and can do.

We each learn from a variety of things. Ultimately, in the natural order – meaning apart from Divine intervention – learning comes down to just two prime sources. We learn from the experiences of others, and we learn from our own experiences.

Books, articles, teaching, videos, discussions, or other forms of learning are the related experiences of others.  The simplest child can teach us something, if we are open to it, while one learns from the most profound wisdom of the greatest minds of all time.

Looking back to 2016 and that Tunica Manufactured Housing Show panel discussion, Frank Rolfe – however controversial he may be, and however much I disagree with some of his terminology, etc. – taught me something valuable. Bob Crawford did too.

Tim Williams and MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison taught me as well, albeit in an oblique fashion.  In hindsight, Williams and Jennison revealed parts of the game in manufactured housing has been played.  At the time, it made no sense, in hindsight – with the rope-a-dope in mind – the ploy and what it was used have become quite clear.

Manipulating others becomes easier, given certain dynamics. Get a group going in a certain direction, and momentum makes it easier to keep them going that way. Busy independent business people don’t have time to dig under the surface. That’s why they pay a trade organization.

Independents trusting MHI or other weaponized trade groups has purportedly been part of the rope-a-dope scheme.  There is in hindsight, as Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, an ‘Illusion of Motion.’ That illusion of activity – that MHI claims is to improve the industry – is enough to fool busy professionals that trusted the Arlington, VA based MHI trade group, while their members are focused on their business.

 

 

“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

Not only for this writer, but for others in manufactured housing, the evidence of in hindsight of deception by leaders connected to MHI began to crop up. One big clue was an email from MHI to its own members, shown below in its entirety. A source in MHI’s organization told me that the “Housing Alert” – shown below under fair use guidelines – were only giving part of the story about a Senate hearing on Preserving Access between Senator Joe Donnelly and the CFPB Director Richard Cordray. Rephrased, that source claimed MHI was at best giving their members a half-truth.  Going to the CSPAN video, that MHI source proved correct.

 

HousingAlertManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoOnCapitolHillMHIAdvancesManufacturedHousingFinanceReformMHProNewsFactCheck

 

We produced the following video – shown a few paragraphs below – during that time-frame.  But frankly, the full meaning of what occurred only become clear in the rear view mirror, years after these events referenced by MHI’s message.

Let’s note, Senator Donnelly or Director Cordray may have been oblivious to what was occurring. MHI no doubt provided Donnelly with certain questions, they indicated as much at the time. Nevertheless, Donnelly or Cordray could well have been obvious to the fact that each were playing a part in a costly and harmful drama.  If Donnelly and Cordray were figures in a staged play, they should desire a federal investigation into these events as much as tens of thousands of industry professionals should want it.

MHI’s Senior Vice President Lesli Gooch, Ph.D. sent that message, as the email above indicates.  It was obviously with MHI President Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison’s okay. As such MHI “Housing Alerts” were sent to their own members.  Because affiliated state associations would resend MHI messages, this kind of ‘alert’ was distributed to thousands of others in manufactured housing.  The quotes used by MHI were accurate, but they were a half-truth.  It was arguably meant to deceive, as their own headline indicates:

On Capitol HillMHI Advances Manufactured Housing Finance Reform.”

There was no advance of Preserving Access. Barring Barack Obama and the U.S. Senate acting against their stated positions, no advance was possible.  The bill never, ever passed into law.  How could it?

MHI’s omissions changed the entire tenor of the Cordray-Donnelly Senate hearing discussion. That’s arguably why that MHI source sent us the tip at that time; that insider source wanted us to know that MHI was telling a half-truth that had so much spin, that it was arguably a lie.

Once more, at that moment in time, I still didn’t get it that Preserving Access was a rope-a-dope head fake. But I knew that morally, it was wrong to deceive their own members. The why behind the deception took time to uncover.

So, about 3 years ago – based on what looked like clear evidence of deception of their own members – this writer publicly called for the resignation or termination of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison and Lesli Gooch, Ph.D.  Not knowing more at the point in time, there was nothing more that could be done.

 

RichardDickJennisonLesliGoochManufacturedHousingInstittueMHI-postedMHProNews-

This report was in 2016, and the evidence kept mounting.

http://MHProNews.com/industry-news/hot/why-richard-dick-jennison-and-lesli-gooch-at-mhi-should-resign-or-go

 

That said, their deceptions made me look deeper, and ask, why wasn’t MHI using the best arguments with the CFPB and Richard Cordray?

Still supporting the logic of the bill, while opposing the tactics being used, our operation paid for the following production.

 

 

 

As this writer acknowledged in a Clayton Homes related report, linked here, our videographer wasn’t the greatest. That’s my bad, for not doing a better review of that person’s claimed credentials. That said, the videos he produced are useful. Perhaps videos and articles we produced at the time are more useful today in hindsight, then they were at that time.

Our graphics and videos have improved since.  But at a minimum, what we produced should have inspired MHI to do something similar and better.  They had the budget and they had the responsibility for advancing their own agenda.

With those disclaimers and logical points, we made this summary of statements made by CFPB Director Cordray to Senator Donnelley (D-IN).  Those pull quotes were and are revealing.  Because not only were Gooch and Jennison failing to be honest about the breadth of discussion at that Senate hearing, but MHI was also failing to use their best arguments.  Why didn’t they take Cordray’s own logic, and show him why Preserving Access could and should be done by Cordray by agreement?  After all, Cordray had that authority to change CFPB regulations himself.

 

RichardCordrayCFPB-ManufacturedHousingRegulationsCSPANstill-InsideMHvideoPostedMHProNews-com-

A prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney builds a case with one fact laid next to another. That’s what this article is doing, laying facts out, and showing how they relate to this issue.

 

Rephrased, if MHI’s leadership were serious about getting their bill passed – or the actual intent of the measure was to get Cordray to relent and place the same regulations  into effect – then why didn’t they do some similar or better efforts to what we provided our readers and viewers?

Or even easier for them, why didn’t MHI actively support and promote our efforts to help them pass their measure – given that we were MHI members, and that we were promoting what they say they wanted?

Bear in mind, that MHI’s then chairman praised this writer, and our publications.  He did so precisely in the context of thanking us for our support of Preserving Access. The disconnects with MHI’s actions where all over, but it they only became clear in hindsight.

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

Do you see how the logic and evidence that MHI leaders were shadow boxing, playing rope-a-dope, mounts in the enhanced clarity of the rear-view mirror?

 

 

What Then MHI Chairman Tim Williams Did

As the linked report documents, MHProNews and I personally had called Jennison and Gooch out for their deception publicly. Tim Williams response?  Williams backed them after their apparent deception was revealed.

At a subsequent MHI meeting, Williams held a vote of confidence, which given ‘how gold rules‘ of course passed, in favor of Jennison.

These events took place in the view of thousands of readers, and dozens of MHI member event attendees.  Bear in mind that Williams, Jennison, and others had long praised our work.  Of course, for a time, we were useful to them.  Ouch, if so, but there it is. However one looks at it, what looks bad is that the perpetrators of these deeds were arguably part of a purported fraud.

Yes, not just deception, but fraud is a plausible argument.

FraudLegalDefinitionManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Yes, this article is laying out evidence that supports a possible case for fraud committed by specific Berkshire Hathaway and MHI leaders.

 

Given that MHI’s efforts were ‘ongoing,’ used ‘the wires’ – i.e.: the internet, and the U.S. mails too, that can all be elements of RICO.  “Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) is a U.S. federal statute which provides criminal penalties and civil action for any act performed as a part of an ongoing criminal organization,” per US Legal.

 

IllegalLegaRICOWireMailFraudManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Yes, this article is laying out evidence that supports a possible case for RICO by specific Berkshire Hathaway and MHI leaders.

 

 

Once more, at that time, RICO or fraud were not on my mind.  But in hindsight, there is an argument to be made that those who’ve participated in this alleged fraud could be subject to federal, state, and civil actions.

That noted, let’s flash back again.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuoteMastheadMHProNews

Quote from an MHI member, business executive. We do have our typos…

The Williams ‘vote of confidence’ and related fueled my interest in peeling back the layers of the onion.

I won’t go into much more, other than to say that there were numerous voices inside and outside of MHI that helped me arrive at the point that I am today.  At the time, I was so behind Preserving Access, that I pressed MHARR to support the bill.  They calmly told me that if anyone called, they said they were for the goal of the measure, meaning more access to more lending.  But MHARR’s leaders apparently had a better sense that the bill was going nowhere, no matter how many meetings MHI held, or how many emails they sent out to the industry.

That noted, let’s pivot to a related point to the issue of consolidation.

For example, a source provided MHProNews with documents in 2017 that reflected an apparent violation of antitrust law, aimed at eliminating independent retailers and others they did business with.  Put differently, this was a more active move vs. the more passive ‘rope-a-dope’ ply.  The evidence provided us involved letters from 21st Mortgage’s Tim Williams.  That caused us to research what Kevin Clayton at Clayton Homes, and Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway said during that same timeframe.  The documents, direct quotes, and video linked below are perhaps the definitive report on that topic to date.

 

 

We’ve asked Clayton, 21st, and MHI leaders to respond to these concerns several times. Silence.  They’ve not confirmed or denied the allegations of market rigging done in a fashion that is arguably a violation of antitrust laws.  If they rigged the market in bold ways, why not in more subtle ones?

 

What Does This Mean For Investors and Manufactured Housing Professionals?

What Does This Evidence Mean for Affordable Housing Advocates?

First, this pattern of behavior took place over a period of years.

Second, while experts on the topic are useful, the elements of the case are laid out from this report.

Third, while we believe the evidence and its elements are compelling, the accused are deemed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, or by a plea/settlement.  These are allegations at this point, although they are arguably logical points with solid evidence and patterns of activity provided herein.

Fourth, this arguably impacts virtually every independent business, not to mention, home owners, workers, investors, home seekers, and tax payers.  The economic harm is in the billions annually.

Fifth, initially, some of these players – for example, Richard Jennison or Lesli Gooch – could well have been mere pawns initially. They may at first only have been following orders. But as certainly, as we published various fact-checks, analysis, and research, it becomes harder for them to argue that they lacked knowledge. That’s problematic for them, if legal action occurs, unless they use their insights to flip against those who pulled their strings and ordered various actions.  It should be stressed that sources at MHI have already provided MHProNews with useful information that helped unpeel layers of the onion.

Sixth, several state association executives arguably have a similar problem at Jennison and Gooch have.  Some of those executives publicly praised our work, and they praised that letter to the Hill that this author published. Once more, similar to Jennison, some state executives may have begun as mere pawns. But with MHI staff or state association staff, there is evidence that they are routine readers.  Their own emails to others will reflect their knowledge.  Failure to report a crime can lead to a charge of being an accomplice after the fact.  It should be noted that state execs are among our sources for tips.  When the time comes, we can testify on behalf of those that did what they could to battle the corruption, through their news tips.

 

SubmitNewsTipsManufacturedHomeProNewsMHProNewsLogoMastheadMHProNews

Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email mailto:iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com.  Put “MHProNews Comments” or “News Tip” in the subject line.

 

Seventh, while legislators often support bills and make speeches in favor of legislation that they know will go nowhere, that is arguably different than being part of a fraudulent scheme.  For 2020 and other motivations, legislators and other advocates may be motivated to do what is right with respect to the Rope-a-Dope and related schemes to consolidate manufactured housing into ever fewer hands.

Eighth, as some linked articles reveal, there may likewise be connections between non-profits that benefited from Warren Buffett’s largess – directly or obliquely – that these same numbered points apply to from a legal perspective. One may begin innocently as a mere tool or pawn in a fraud.  But as realization hits, there are legal and more reasons for them to step forward.

Ninth, advocates and unelected public officials also have a role in acting as they digest this.

Certainly, once an allegation is made, evidence is presented, and reason is applied, a reader can and should double- check the claims.  We don’t ask that any of this be taken on blind faith. I’ve routinely invited key people in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis to debunk or explain away previous reports, some of which are linked in this one.  In the past two years, they’ve largely been mute directly.  Indirectly, they’ve arguably taken several steps, including hiring an outside attorney for MHI to threaten this writer and our publication. If we were mistaken, why didn’t they simply point out our fact error or any misstep in reasoning?  Instead, MHI used threats and other tactics.

 

Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You

 

This writer has already taken certain steps with state and federal officials, and will plan to take others. So while this is a mea culpa, it is more.

Tenth, one or more individuals in this circle have purportedly misused the mails in an effort to threaten and/or embarrass this writer via a form of extortion. They perhaps didn’t realize  that every such step only confirmed that we were on the right track. As our team or myself have said before, sure, there are some things that would be embarrassing for me, but it could be explained in 60 seconds.  There’s a keen difference between an embarrassing moment, vs. fraudulent or criminal activity.

Why would someone engage in such a fraud and use the ‘rope-a-dope?’

Let’s let Warren Buffett help us explain the answer to that question.

 

How Warren Buffett Sheds Light On This Issue

Hindsight isn’t always 20/20. But Buffett, whom I disagree with numerous points of his purported business or other (lack of) ethical practices, has nevertheless said some things that were useful to me in understanding what occurred and why.

Paraphrasing the Oracle of Omaha:

 

  • The rear-view mirror is clearer than the windshield.
  • The lesson of history is that most don’t learn the lesson of history.
  • If you take a long view of an investment in an industry, you can do more than those who only take the short view.
  • Buffett stresses that he only invested in industries that make good sense. That was confirmation of the value proposition of manufactured housing.
  • Reputation is important.

 

But oddly, Clayton and their related lenders have behaved in ways that arguably stoked problematic reputational issues. ICYMI, or to see the connections, please check out the related report, linked below.

 

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – Investor Lessons Learned

 

In hindsight, looking at the evidence, the case can be made that Buffett had the goal of monopolizing a big part of the industry.

Buffett did so by manipulation of access to financing and capital. This is a realm where the advocacy of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) was useful to me and others in the industry.  The Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac became law in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA), a measure MHARR successfully backed.

But a decade later it is still not being fully or properly implemented. What can that lack of implementation be traced back to? MHARR has argued that fingers point to GSE foot dragging, Berkshire Hathaway lender’s that de facto foiled its earlier implementation, and MHI working to re-direct DTS to an untested and more expensive so-called ‘new class of homes’ built under the HUD Code.

 

Buffett and his fellows in MHVille, in hindsight, has been both revealing and concealing.

What’s arguably occurred is often done in plain sight.  If someone had checked the records as we have, they could have come to the same or similar conclusions. Buffett’s merry band of leaders in MHVille have purportedly played rope-a-dope for years. Thus, the ongoing nature of this matter, which is why RICO – IMHO – can and should be applied.

Cutting off lending to thousands of retailers who didn’t buy Clayton products harmed many, causing numbers to fail. That in turn tipped some factories out of business or caused them to sell out later at a discount.  It also harmed independently owned manufactured home communities, that for decades counted on retailers to fill their vacant sites.  So much changed after the events in this linked report.

More recently, Buffett’s money apparently funded the underlying research used by Oliver’s video, linked here.

These are arguably slow-motion methods of getting ‘undervalued acquisitions,’ and do so in a manner that could easily elude federal antitrust regulators and/or their victims.

The linked reports are crucial for grasping the evidence of how this purported plot has been carried out. Let me stress that initially, only a few would have had to know. But as our reporting has unpeeled the layers, plausible deniability has slowly escaped their various tools and pawns, as those individuals have gained understanding of the elements of the ploy.

Ronald Reagan said his 80 percent friends are not 20 percent enemies. That’s an important principle in manufactured housing for those NOT in on the rope-a-dope.  There have been useful tips from past and present MHI staff and members, MHARR leaders and their members, independents, or others who have since broken with MHI as the rope-a-dope became clearer to them.  I’d like to think we’ve been helping each other against the threat of still more costly market manipulation.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has arguably done the industry a big favor in his recent statement. See that, linked below. Ask yourself, why doesn’t MHI have the entire speech on their website? Once more, just before publishing this, we’ve verified that this isn’t on their website.  Are they that lazy and incompetent? I’d say, no.  So, is there something else – like the illusion of motion and the rope-a-dope – at work at MHI?

 

 

Dr. Ben Carson Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Manufactured Housing Conference Remarks New Orleans, Louisiana, Hyatt Regency Hotel, May 7, 2019

 

Imagine a candidate pondering replacing MHI president Dick Jennison, other than say Lesli Gooch.  Imagine that a candidate uncovers a report like this. Who would want to go work for an organization that one of their own prior presidents effectively dissed as he exited?  Who would want to fill the role of an allegedly corrupt organization?

  • There is evidence that supports the reality that MHI has been shadow boxing as well playing rope-a-dope.
  • Buffett has demonstrably been funding opposition to manufactured housing interests, including Preserving Access.
  • The industry’s members were getting purported propaganda, spin, and weaponized half-truths directly from MHI and indirectly from state associations.
  • More recently, weaponized information has come from a new publication launched that largely is a purported MHI propaganda tool, aptly named MHInsider. Berkshire brands and others who are benefiting from consolidation are among their sponsors. MHInsider isn’t alone, consider the head fakes from purported pawn and rewarded surrogate, George F. Allen. For still more, see the below.

 

B2B Statistics, Trends 2019 – April 2019 Snapshot of Manufactured Home Professional Readers

 

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017MastheadManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

20 years ago, manufactured homes outsold RVs by about 3 to 2. Today, RVs outsell manufactured homes by some 5 to 1. Manufactured homes are normally purchased for full time living, many RVs are for recreational or part time living. Many RVs – which are towable as well as motorized – can be higher than a manufactured home. The cost per square foot for a manufactured home is routinely lower.

 

 

How Manufactured Housing Has Been Manipulated and Stunted During an Affordable Housing Crisis

There are at least 4 principles that have been at work.

  • The power to tax is the power to undermine value and potentially to destroy a business or industry.
  • The power to regulate is the power to destroy.
  • The power to manipulate, limit, or cut off capital and financing is the power to undermine or destroy a business’ value.
  • Last for now, but not least. The ability to artificially generate opposition in media, politically, and otherwise can limit, undermine, and destroy a business’ value or potential.

Buffett’s donations can be traced to a nonprofit called MHAction. MHAction was part of a group of three nonprofits that did a white paper on problematic business practices by manufactured housing brands that provided key material in Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral and errantly named “Mobile Homes” video. That video attacks Buffett’s own companies.

But so too did the Center for Integrity, whose journalist co-authored the first Seattle Times attack on Clayton, their lenders, and de facto the Preserving Access bill. Buffett’s money found its way to that nonprofit too. See the third-party research, linked here or above.

So, there is an ongoing pattern of activity. This is why we believe that their is a case for RICO, fraud, as well as antitrust.

 

 

Summary

We are left with a picture of Buffett and his key henchmen in MHVille apparently playing rope-a-dope with the industry. Initially, only a few people had to be involved in the sense of being ‘in the know.’ Later, plausible deniability arguably faded for certain people, say MHI key staff, as our reports on the issues became more focused.

There’s more evidence to unpack in related reports linked from this one. But the essential points are undisputed at this point by Clayton, 21st, VMF, MHI, and that MHI outside attorney – all of whom have been directly asked and asked again to respond to the evidence, concerns, and allegations.  They have the right to remain silent.

Perhaps they have no good response to the evidence?

Freedom isn’t free. My parents taught me that me that in word and deed. You resist and fight back any way you can, based upon your circumstances in life.

Economic freedom is as important as free speech, free assembly, the right to vote, and so on.

Antitrust, RICO, and other federal or state corrupt practices investigations must be made and done as publicly as possible so as to deter others from such ploys.

Millions of lives have arguably been impacted, using Secretary Carson’s logic. Tens to hundreds of billions of dollars a year are arguably being lost in our industry, with a ripple effect in the country that makes the total economic harm far worse.

Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act  – under this premise – was a head fake, and the record is now being set straight. My apologies for not seeing it earlier. Now, help us help you be sharing this with others, and then acting accordingly.

That’s a lot to digest. But by laying it out, step-by-step, dotting i’s and crossing t’s, and linking the evidence, it provides those looking in and those within the industry to follow the evidence.  That is the start of fixing what has artificially suppressed manufactured housing. See the related reports below.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, commentary, fact-checks, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – 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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Related References:

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Ross Kinzler Confirms Allegations, MHEC Peer Claims “Association Malpractice;” Member Backstab, MHI Failure Concerns

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Continues, May Updates

 

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector

Independent National Manufactured Housing Post-Production Association Takes Major Step

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warren Buffett and other Manufactured Housing Industry Voices – Post-Election on Trump Victory

November 11th, 2016 No comments
tim-connor-mhmsm-com

Tim Connor, CSP.

I don’t care whether you are a liberal, conservative, independent or something else – the bottom line with this year’s election was simply more of the same or something new, different or unique…”

Tim Connor, CSP – part of a longer statement to MHProNews that is linked here.

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The promise of a smooth transition is up to the good will and actions of all involved. President Obama on the right, President Elect Donald Trump, on the left, no political puns are intended.

eddiehicksmanufacturedhousingindustryconsultant-postedmastheadblogmhpronewsM/H owners are certainly one of the “hidden majority” who may have felt somewhat disenfranchised in recent years.”

Eddie Hicks, long-time manufactured housing industry veteran and consultant.

It’s the dawning of a new day. After the shock and elation or disappointment wash over us, and we all have taken a collective deep breath, we can begin looking to the future. And in that future I think it is safe to say that changes, well, they are a come’in…

For any who might not yet be aware, in addition to President-Elect Trump heading to the White House, both the House and Senate will now be controlled by a Republican majority. All three branches of government are in Republican control. What will this mean? It simply means that there is little in the way of the Republican policy agenda.”

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DJ Pendleton.

DJ Pendleton, Texas Manufactured Housing Association.

TRUMP VICTORY A BOOST FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND CONSUMERS

With a personal background in business, rather than government, Mr. Trump – during the just-ended campaign – has been a consistent critic of innovation-stifling and job-killing overregulation and regulators who ignore or rationalize the far-reaching negative impacts of such regulations on the health of the economy, smaller businesses and consumers….”

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M. Mark Weiss.

Mark Weiss, Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), part of a longer and more detailed analysis to MHProNews, linked here.

 

Warren Buffett – on Trump’s victory and impact on the markets

The Masthead  noted some months ago that Mr. Buffett said similarly, meaning, that he felt the nation would do well under a Trump presidency as well as under the Democratic nominee.

From Donald J. Trump to the Manufactured Housing Industry…

As part of an extended pre-election message sent to MHProNews by now-President Elect, Donald J. Trump, the candidate said the following:

Every day I wake up determined to deliver a better life for the people all across this nation that have been ignored, neglected and abandoned.

I have visited the laid-off factory workers, and the communities crushed by our horrible and unfair trade deals. These are the forgotten men and women of our country. People who work hard but no longer have a voice.

presidentelectdonaldjtrump-creditspectator-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrycommentary-mhpronews

President Elect, Donald J. Trump, photo credit, Spectator.

I have embraced crying mothers who have lost their children because our politicians put their personal agendas before the national good.”

I have no patience for injustice, no tolerance for government incompetence, no sympathy for leaders who fail their citizens…”

The full Donald J. Trump statement as published by MHProNews is linked here.

Will President-Elect Trump do What He Promised?

President Elect Trump’s transition team is led by former Cincinnati Mayor Kenneth Blackwell. Here is what Blackwell had to say about the Trump campaign’s plan for the first 100 days of the Trump Administration.

uselectionmapon11-10-2016-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrycommentarymastheadblogmhpronews-595

U.S. vote-count in red that went for Donald J. Trump in 2016, totals shown are as of 11.10.2016.  Popular vote 60.5 million, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, 60.1 million as of 11.11.2016.  Note: campaigns today are based upon winning the electoral college. If they were being done based upon popular vote, the strategies, campaigns and vote counts would naturally be different. 

The Post-Election Democratic View from MHVille

MHProNews has reached out to specific Democrats within the MH industry, and others who supported candidates besides Donald J. Trump and Mike Pence as his VP. We plan to bring you any comments by Democrats or others shared in the days ahead. We also encourage others who were pro-Trump to sound off via:

iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com

…please submit with Industry Voices in the subject line, if you want your comments published. Off the record comments are also welcome too.

Disclosures

To say that this was a contentious election is to understate the realities that we all witnessed in the last 16 months.

Recall that just 2 days before the election, at this link here which cited that in an unscientific poll of manufactured housing industry pros, that broad ‘under the radar’ support for Donald Trump, and opposed to Hillary Clinton, was noted.

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-

Soheyla Kovach, MHProNews co-founder.

MHProNews, periodically provided news, commentary and statements that supported the Trump candidacy, including this column that was republished by the Trump campaign by Soheyla Kovach, linked here on the Trump website.

We have consistently stated that our views do not necessarily represent the views of our sponsors, and have been clear that our support is based upon stated policies and principles. More on that later.

Your Masthead scribe has taken some push-back from certain people during this past year on a variety of fronts, the election being one of them.

joemanchin-d-wv-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrycommentarymastheadblogmhpronews

Senator Joe Manchin’s comments are proof that there are fair minded people in all political parties, some of whom are willing to call-out those who cross a line. It should be noted that Manchin is rumored to be considering becoming a Republican.

That noted:

  • We at MHProNews have and continue to get a steady stream of input from industry professionals across the spectrum, many of whom are not able to speak on-the-record due to their organization’s rules or posture.
  • That input comes from our clients and sponsors (in operations small-to-large), from readers and ‘insiders,’ so it is ‘connected’ to what the grass-roots realities of our industry are, not just some whim, wish or some party’s agenda,
  • We routinely use a principled approach, that has and will continue over time to serve the manufactured housing industry’s interests well.
  • The factory-built home industry needs a ‘fearless’ voice that will call it as we see it, no matter which way some think that the industry’s or the nation’s political winds are blowing.

joemanchin-d-wv-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrycommentarymastheadblogmhpronews-2

America and manufactured housing have suffered under an over-regulated, over taxed economy. Democratic President John F. Kennedy and Republican President Ronald Reagan both worked to lower taxes and the regulatory burden, and saw a surge in revenue, better jobs and economic growth as a result.

While respecting the rights of one and all to take whatever political or policy view they wish, we have and will continue to advocate for what we believe has historically been proven to work.

joemanchin-d-wv-postedmanufacturedhousingindustrycommentarymastheadblogmhpronews-3

Bets for the Future?

If:

  • Democrats do what President Obama and Secretary Clinton promised, to support President Trump and work for his success, and
  • If Donald J. Trump gets the same 2 years of doing what he has proposed legislatively that Barack H. Obama was given by his party, then
  • let’s watch and see how well the nation is doing when the 2018 mid-terms come up.


If Alan Amy is right, and Dodd-Frank is repealed,
watch for a boom in 2017 and beyond in MH.

My bet? Barring some unforeseen sneak attack by an enemy, or similar upheaval or disaster, look for:

  • the economy will be moving ahead far better,
  • millions of Americans will see their circumstances improving economically and
  • a range of issues that the president-elect has promised to address will be advanced in ways that will insure a Republican victory in 2018.

And manufactured housing industry professionals, investors and business owners will be doing far better than any time since the 2008 collapse.

As a closing note, one we’ve shared before, that 2008 collapse was started by Clinton Administration policies that were supported by Democrats and some Republicans, but that other Republicans warned were going to upset the financial system.

Democrats fought against the reforms sought that are noted in the video above, changes that might have averted the economic collapse.  It is revisionist history and political spin to say anything different.

Lower taxes, less and smarter regulations are pro-growth, and historically will work to grow the economy for the benefit of millions.

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President John F. Kennedy’s official portrait, credit, Wikipedia. Collage credit, MHProNews.com.

What national and state associations have been fighting to change for many years now, may get advanced in rapid order in 2017, thanks to President-Elect Trump and a Republican majority, so long as they all keep their promises and Democrats support their efforts where they can.

Happy Veterans Day, and a salute to them all our those in law enforcement who protect our nation and streets.

Let’s catch up mid-week, and please stay tuned to the red-hot Daily Business News.  As an FYI, our readership is soaring in the last two months, many thanks to our team, writers, sponsors, readers and all for making that happen. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

DonaldTrumpLATonyKovach-MHI2016CongressExpo-ManufacturedHousingIndustryNews-MHProNews

The next POTUS….at Congress and Expo in Las Vegas, L. A. “Tony Kovach, right, leading MH publisher and consultant.

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Superior September 2016, How Manufactured Housing Can Do It Better

September 6th, 2016 No comments

We as an industry have the superior solution, and while we’re collectively growing nicely, manufactured housing is still just a fraction of its former production levels.

manufactured-housing-mobile-home-shipments-graph-chart-calculatedrisk-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-1-575x349

Manufactured housing peaked in 1998, and has been on a mostly sustained slide since. The rise since 2009’s low point has been good, but we are still just a shadow of our former glory. Image credit, Calculated Risk.

ICYMI (in case you missed it), that relatively low level of production is both a threat and an opportunity in disguise.

Reality Checks

Divisions have always been a part of America. From the days of the colonists – or even before them when the native tribes who traveled the great mountains, rivers and plains of Asia, crossed  the straights from what today is Russia into Alaska, and then fanned out across what would become America – divisions have existed. 

 

native_american_tribesmap-credit-emersonkent-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNews-

Divisions have been a part of our heritage. Native American tribes were often rivals. The colonists were not all for the Revolution against England. Is it any wonder there are divisions today too? Note the tribal map is superimposed upon our modern states, which did not exist when they first roamed this vast land. Image credit – Emerson Kent.

Manufactured housing, modular and prefab systems-building is no different. Divisions exist.  It’s part of being human, we lack perfection, we find ourselves at odds with others; by choice, accident or coincidence.

MHI-MHARR-MHEC-DC-MHProNews-collage-copyright2016WeProvideYouDecide

We’ve reviewed before that it is when the national associations are working together in concert with state and community associations that the most progress has been made. UImage 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.

How do we make what divides us into something that nurtures and becomes our strength?

Insanity

Blind eyes won’t do it. What won’t fix divisions or help those fissures to strengthen us is to practice denial or insanity.

We’ve all heard or said that the popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things in the same ways, and yet expect a different result.

Let’s be honest. Yet at various times, haven’t MH Pros done just that…right?  We have all traveled that rut time and again, on issue after issue.

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Habits, processes and systems are necessary to acheive success. At the same time, a habit can also become a rut, a trap. We must routinely challenge ourselves – and each other – by asking, is this the best that we can do on issue X today? Photo credit, WikiCommons. Poster by MHProNews.

Be it your face or mine in the mirror, we ought to admit that what was once a grove has at times lead to bring stuck in a rut.  That rut has become a trap which slows our progress, or keeps us from going higher and faster. That rut may even mimic an open ended grave.

Illusions…

MontgomeryWardsKodakVintage1947eBay-postedMastheadBlogMHProNews

As Commodore’s Bob Bender, a former Kodak executive noted in our interview with him, there are times when channels become ruts that can trap a person, firm or an industry. Montgomery Wards was once a great retailer, now they are in the dust bin of history. Ditto Eastman Kodak. Photo credit, eBay.

Being years into our industry’s recovery from the bottom of 2009 is good, but it also has its threats. For those of us who survived or now seemingly thrive in America 2016, that self-congratulatory pat on the back for surviving should not lead us to a false sense of success.

We can and must do better. There are too many threats that could still limit or even crush manufactured housing.  Don’t believe it? Just ask a coal miner, or someone who once worked for a giant operation like Kodak or Montgomery Wards.

Bad Media? Good Reporting?

There are often more than two sides to a story, so that thin edge of the coin can become an important insight.

When one fails to properly share each side of a tale, that story is lacking.  When the realities are twisted, that report then morphs into a kind of ghost story or fairy tale.

What is “Good Media?”

MarlaCarterABC13NewsStill2-posted-DailyBusinessNews-MHProNews-470x338

In this new issue, we showcase examples of manufactured housing pros who spoke out on the record against biased or incomplete media reports. When the industry makes responding to such attacks routine and effective, we’ll see manufactured housing acceptance, respect grow and sales soar. Hundreds of mainstream media sites picked up our media release on media bias against MH. See article linked below for this topic and others like it.

Good media does more than the basics of – who, what, when, where and why – of Journalism.

Good media reveals the tensions!  Good media reflects what is real, and may hint at or spell out the possible resolutions!

Tensions. Accountability. Reality checks. Good story telling. Resolutions. Each and all are needed to advance.

Skills, insights and resources like yours and your operation are needed to complete a picture.

NRDC-ACEEE-DOE-ManufacturedHome-MHHousing-EnergyControversy-DailyBusinessNews-MHProNews-

Better late to the dance than to not come at all. Some in MH questioned and resisted early and often what others more recently have realized could harm our industry. What ought to be a positive for MH, has been shown by third parties as negatives about manufactured housing. The engagement of professionals with good trade media and clear-eyed association leaders is the best way to advance the industry on all the issues facing MH. The collage and response article above hit hundreds of mainstream media sights, to help set the record straight about the fact that MH already saves energy, and the options already exist for more energy savings. Image credits on the article, linked below.

That insight then requires expertise. It requires objectively.  It requires a willingness to dig in by each of those who are touched.

Until we shine the proper light on what’s right, and yet don’t avoid what’s wrong, we have not hit the right balance.

We should make you feel hopeful and good, while challenging you too. If we have never stepped on a toe, odds are you or we or both missed something.

Revealing tensions and reflecting various perspectives well is important.

The blind can only grope their way ahead.

Those blinded by habit, hubris or any of the weaknesses that divides humanity are stuck at the speed of groping.

The jet fuel that could power us ahead is to take the limiting dark and/or rose colored glasses off.

We must believe that we can do it, so a kind of positive attitude is necessary.

But we must also be real. Denying the cliffs along the roads we all travel is as bad as being paralyzed by fear.

Balance and tension alike makes for good journalism.

By being true first to each other, we can then as trade journalists better engage the mainstream media, the public, officials and policy types.

Showing reality, and then dealing with it – that is what makes us stronger.

Manufactured housing is a superior solution. Other forms of factory building each have their vital roles too.

Industry Voices, Real News, Thoughtful Interviews and Reports

ToddLamb-ShouldFaceCriminalCharges-HypocrisyGovtLocalGovt-postedIndustryVoices-MHProNews--

Industry pros like Lamb, association and other leaders are among those who have boldly spoken out on issues that impact manufactured housing nationally. We will only advance to the extent that we tackle the issues that hold our industry back.  For the article that drew Lamb’s comment, scroll down to the Featured Articles for Superior Septemember.

We bring you Superior September 2016’s featured articles and reports, each of which includes industry voices like those you know. People like those you work with, or who are and have been walking in shoes like yours.

We can’t fix the world in a single story, issue or report. America’s story isn’t finished, neither is the story of MH.

But day by day, shining hopeful light on issues that matter – on issues which either hold us back or are moving us ahead – these are how we make manufactured and other forms of industrialized housing great in America.

We are in this industry are the future, we must believe that to be true. We must jump or navigate each hurdle, until we arrive at a point that we have the respect and the rewards which comes from doing it right.

With no further adieu, we bring you with the sincere thanks to all who make this and every issue happen, the Superior September 2016 featured articles and reports. MHProNews – “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use.” ©
Another 2016 Manufactured Housing Legal Update – Where Business & Law Intersect

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

MarcLifesetJDMcGlincheyStaffordmanufacturedhousinglaw-postedManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-50x50by Marc Lifeset, JD
McGlinchey Stafford is proud to provide the Manufactured Housing Update to the manufactured housing industry. 

Read more…

 

Comparing Mid-America Apartment Communities vs. Sun Communities, Head-to-Head Analysis

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

By Joe Dyton

Joe_Dyton_DailyBusinessNews-MHProNews55x55CML News recently took a deep dive into a head-to-head comparison between Memphis, TN-based Mid-America Communities, Inc. (NYSE: MAA) and Southfield, MI-based Sun Communities, Inc. (NYSE: SUI).

Read more…

 

Two Faces of Manufactured Home Community Closures – Urban Institute’s Preservation Approach Vs. Little Farm Trailer Park Outcome

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by Joe Dyton
Joe_Dyton_DailyBusinessNews-MHProNews55x55
Affordable housing options are becoming less plentiful around the country, but according to Urban Institute researchers, there are ways to sidestep what has become an outright crisis.

Read more…

 

Management Group Increases Holdings in Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS)

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by Frank Griffin

FrankGriffinDailyBusinessNewDBNwriterMHProNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryNews55x55Schroder Investment Management Group acquired an additional $2,017,000 worth of Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) shares for the quarter ending July 30th, 2016.
Read more…

 

Say No Socialist Driven Economy, Praise for Revolution PreFab Homes

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by Jay Hamilton

jay-hamiltonTony, I have no plans to vote for a Socialism Driven Economy.

Read more…

 

Carlyle Group (CG) Urged To Invest Multi-Billion$ In “Dry Powder,” says Bloomberg’s Tan

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
tony- kovach
The Carlyle Group (CG) is reportedly one of the top 100 largest manufactured home community operators in the U.S..  Its big hedge fund business is said to be heading for the exit, according to SeekingAlpha and Bidness.

Read more…

 

UMH Properties Closes on 2 Manufactured Home Communities, more Closings Pending

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
tony- kovach
Freehold NJ based UMH Properties, Inc. (NYSE: UMH) announced that it has closed on the acquisition of two communities located in Ohio for a total purchase price of $2,954,000.

Read more…

 

Man Shot in “Trailer Park” (sic) says ABC TV’s Marla Carter, MH Pros React

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
tony- kovach
Tragedy and violence occurs in neighborhoods across America.

Read more…

 

MHC Pro/Owner – “Highly Conflicted” over Manufactured Home Community Closures

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by Marty Lavin, JD
marty-lavin-jd-manufacturedhomefinanceexpert-DailyBusinessNews-mhpronews
Tony, I am highly conflicted by the closing and eviction of the El Portal MH community.

Read more…

 

MH Community Owner’s Reaction to Baytown, TX “trashy mobile home park” story

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

by Richard Nodel
RichardNodel-owner-NodelParks-manufacturedhomecommunities-posted-IndustryVoices-manufacturedhousingindustrynewsMHProNews-com-55x55
I become incensed when I see examples of the absolute worse type of landlord.

Read more…

 

Zoning, Opening up Urban Infill and Making Sure Citizens who want Manufactured Homes are Heard

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

EdSchaferGovtAffairsManufacturedHousingInstituteSouthCarolina-postedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-65x65by Ed Schafer
For the last three or four years, the South Carolina association’s focus is to move beyond killing bad zoning proposals and working to reopen areas that have been closed to manufactured homes for many years.

Read more…

 

Discrimination, Zoning and Disparate Impact on Manufactured Homes, Owners, Prospects

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-by Mark Weiss
The discriminatory exclusion of manufactured homes by local governments is a major problem for the industry and consumers.

Read more…

 

Business Impact – Left, Right Agree – President Obama’s mark is on powerful U.S. Appeals Courts

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

tony- kovachby L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
Elizabeth Wydra is the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, which Wikipedia describes as a conservative judicial group.

Read more…

 

Cavco’s Joe Stegmayer, Directors Insider Trades – & CVCO Portfolio Holder Updates

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

   by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
tony- kovach
Cavco Industries director Jack Hanna has filed a Form 4, according to a report byStreetInsider, see that as a download, linked here.

Read more…

 

Controversial Analysis – NRDC, ACEEE and proposed DOE Manufactured Home Energy Standards for Manufactured Homes – Helpful or Harmful?

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach
tony- kovach
Controversy about the proposed U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) standards for manufactured housing has followed the flurry of commentary from various special-interest and non-profit groups, covered by recent news media reports.

Read more…

 

Demand for Manufactured Homes in Louisiana Flood Zone Rising, Factories Gear Up for FEMA, Residents

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

tony- kovachby L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach
For two days, rain tortured the heart of bayou country, dumping 24 inches in less than 48 hours on southern Louisiana, says a report in the DigitalJournal.

Read more…

 

Discrimination, Injustice against manufactured housing – a Call for Action by Industry Professionals

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

by Todd Lamb
ToddGLambLambInvestments1postedIndustryVoices_ManufacturedHomeCommunities-MHIndustry-MHProNews-55x55
Tony, I agree with the Daily Business News article and the comments from other manufactured home industry professionals regarding Councilman David McCartney in Baytown.

Read more…

 

HUD Code Manufactured Housing, “The Discrimination Code”

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

marty-lavin-jd-manufacturedhomefinanceexpert-DailyBusinessNews-mhpronewsby Marty Lavin, JD
Tony, you are so right on the HUD Code has become a deadly “discrimination code,” especially as it applies to manufactured home financing.

Read more…

 

A Cup of Coffee with… Otis Orsburn, Hybrid Prefab Homes

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Hybrid Prefab Homes and where your organization is based).

My name is Otis Orsburn, President of Hybrid Prefab Homes based in Santa Rosa, California.

Read more…

A Cup of Coffee with…Mark Weiss, President & CEO of MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform)

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and where your organization is based).

Mark Weiss, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

Read more

Responding to Negative News About a trashy Baytown “Mobile Home Park”

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

KarleRaddeSouthernComfortHomesBryanTX-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-60x63by Karl Radde
Stories like this are the kind of thing that generally helps cast such a negative light on our industry.

Read more…

 

The Importance and Value of Independent MH Trade Publications

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-daily-business-news-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-by Tim Williams
MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com are both good communications resources for the Manufactured Housing Industry.

Read more…

 

Building A Good Reputation Is Hard!

MARKETING

by Wayne Coakley
WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-
Well, maybe not so hard. Surprisingly, building a good reputation is pretty easy if you built your business around trust from the get-go.

Read more…

 

AMHA Announces 3 New Videos Designed to Promote Manufactured Housing, Dispel Myths

MARKETING

by J. D. Harper

JDHarpercreditLinkedIn-postedMastheadMHProNews-

The Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association (AMHA) has completed a series of short videos aimed at addressing and dispelling myths, misconceptions and stereotypes about today’s manufactured housing.

Read more…

 

Happiness Happens

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

by Tim Connor, CSP
tim-connor-mhmsm-com
I am sure you have heard, or maybe even used the term, SH _ T Happens: well how about – Happiness Happens?

Read more…

 

ZigOn Preachers

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

by Zig Ziglar
zig-ziglar
The typical American believes that those men and women who fill the pulpits in the churches work a few hours on the weekend and probably spend some time visiting, preparing and counseling during the week. In short, they have it pretty easy.

Read more…

American August in MHVille 2016

August 4th, 2016 No comments

In business and all other aspects of life, honest words and good deeds matter. The Ten Commandments include prohibitions not to lie, steal or cheat. In Acts, the Apostle Peter dramatically shows believers that reality as they witness a man and his wife die, one by one – for the error of deliberately misleading and deceiving.

So what does hell hold for the unrepentant politician who does these things?

AmericanAugustMHVilleDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews2016

There are honest mistakes, a slip of the tongue, poor choices of words, political fly-paper traps – and then there’s deliberate falsehoods and deception. As part of our American August in MHVille line up, my bride Soheyla uses words, thought-provoking images, satire and videos that take apart Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. A European university educated woman shares why Hill and Bill should not go back to the White House.

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If you know it, share it.

I’m biased, but I think it’s well done. You look, and tell me, please. “We Provide, You Decide.” ©. As always, other thoughtful viewpoints are welcome.

Her already read-hot thought piece is linked below, along with over 20 more new featured articles. You’ll see why heavy readership by your peers and MH Enthusiasts set a NEW RECORD in July – per Webalizer – and that pace has already spilled over into August. Thank you!

Those reads Include a new Cup of Coffee with… a seasoned yet rising star at a historic MH operation. See that interview below.

We unveil the fact that the Trump family organization is in the factory-built housing business. Can you imagine what that could mean for our industry?! To quote the father of the potential first family, “That could be HUGE!” Two articles on that are linked below that you won’t find anywhere else in the MHIndustryNewsLand.

MHI-MHARR-MHEC-DC-MHProNews-collage-copyright2016WeProvideYouDecide

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

We have info and articles from MHARR and MHI. Be sure to check ’em out.

We have an article by a new expert writer to MHProNews on an interesting wrinkle in Dodd-Frank.

Matthew Silver shares his skills as he unpacks a Seeking Alpha report on investing in MH Communities (MHCs). In another article, Matthew also spotlights an honor received by Chris Nicely, CEO of Next Step Network.

MHRE shares facts and figures on two new properties, one an MHC another for RVs. See links below.

DataComp shares a new MHCommunities report.  MH Community pros and investors may find it timely.

Scott Roberts of Roberts Resorts shares insights on zoning for news MHCs, in connection with a hot report found here. You’ll find Scott’s comments linked below.

We have a new-to-you inspirational article by Zig Ziglar (thanks to his editor generously sharing with us!).

We have a thought provoker by Tim Connor; we’re glad he’s doing better, but not yet out-of-the-woods.  Savor his column…

You’ll find legal and Fair Housing focused articles, business to business, business to consumer articles by Soheyla and myself, and some political commentary from moi on why free enterprise matters, and why socialism always fails.  Let’s understand and defend our free enterprise system and the American Republic.

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We set a new record in July 2016!  Thanks to all our readers, contributors, writers, sponsors and team members that made it possible. 15 Minutes a Day on MHProNews and the same on MHLivingNews.com – free resources for the Public and Professionals – these provides fuel and resources for industry image, education and thus growth.

All that and more are linked below.

My thanks to the growing number on LinkedIn who took the time to share kind words on the 7th anniversary since we began the plans and work that became MHProNews.

That said, we launched Volume 1, issue 1 in mid-October 2009.  So it took about 2 months to plan, organize, build and launch what became the MHProNews.com website. The start of our 8th year in publishing will be in October, and we hope to have some fireworks for you and the entire MH factory built housing industry then.

With no further adieu, let’s dive into the featured articles and reports for August 2016 – at the single hottest place in all of MH News, Tips and View You Can Use ©.

FEATURED ARTICLES AND REPORTS – AUGUST 2016 VOL. 7 NO. 11

2016 JLT Market Reports Now Available for Major Markets in Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey and Louisiana

by Darren Krolewski

darren-krolewski-vp-mhvillage-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-55x55Datacomp, publisher of JLT Market Reports, is pleased to announce that our comprehensive manufactured home community rent and occupancy reports are now available for major markets in Colorado, Delaware, New Jersey and Louisiana:

Read more…

A Cup of Coffee with…Bob Bender, The Commodore Corporation

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Commodore Homes and where your company is based).

Read more…

2016 Manufactured Housing Legal Update – McGlinchey Stafford – Where Business & Law Intersect

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThey’ve been listed as “SuperLawyers.”

Read more…

TSA Portfolio | 889 Sites | Michigan

by Christopher Nortley

ChristopherNortlyMHREinc=postedMHProNews-comy50x50-MHRE Inc. is pleased to present the TSA MHC Portfolio, consisting of 3 communities in the following locations: Creekside Estates – Wyoming MI, Camelot Manor – Mt. Morris MI, and Saginaw Community Villas – Saginaw MI.

Read more…

The Fix, Cons, Racism, Media, RINOs, Democrats, Clintons vs. Donald Trump

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-by Soheyla Kovach

Liars lie and deceivers deceive. Con-artists and spin-artist political hacks have much in common.

Read more…

DOE Public Meeting On MH Energy Rule Further Exposes Multiple Fallacies

by Mark Weiss

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), as announced in the June 17, 2016 Federal Register publication of its proposed rule for manufactured housing energy standards, held a public meeting regarding that rule at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. on July 13, 2016.

Read more…

Getting Zoning Approvals for New Manufactured Home Communities

by Scott Roberts

ScottRobertsRobertsResorts-postedMHProNews-50x50Tony, I am not sure if you or the industry are going to like what I have to say.

 

Read more…

When MHI Does It Right, We Showcase That Too – Fair Housing

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThere are a few voices – notably those supporting very specific missteps by MHI staffers that harm the industry – that have advanced a theory that MHProNews has turned against the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Read more…

EPA Set To Publish Final Composite Wood Formaldehyde Rule

by Mark Weiss

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-As expected (see, June 13, 2016 MHARR Memorandum on publication of the “Spring 2016 Federal Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda”), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in a News Release issued on July 28, 2016,

Read more…

What you must know about Dodd-Frank Construction Loan Documentation Collection & Retention

by Maria DeAngelis-Vesey

Maria_DeAngelis-VeseyCEOEagleOne_Financial-postedonMHProNews-com-55x65Dodd-Frank has 141 separate guidelines that refer to or pertain to the Manufactured Home (MH) and the Modular Housing (Factory-Built Homes) Industry.

Read more…

You don’t solve a problem without recognizing the truth

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThe following is a thought provoking quote, “You don’t solve a problem without recognizing the truth.” – Sean Hannity.

Read more…

Building Integration Photo Voltaic (BIPV) in HUD Code Manufactured Housing

by Steven Lefler

steve-lefler-vp-modular-lifestyles-newport-pacific-manufactured-homes-mhpronews-com-50x50= (1)The media has many articles on the scarcity of affordable housing in California. Many apartments have minimum vacancy and exorbitant rents.

Read more…

Ultimately Big Government Socialism Always Fails

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachUntil we get down to the root issues, we’ll keep hitting the same brick walls. Let’s consider the following facts. Cuba’s socialist economy is stuck in the past, impoverished by their system.

Read more…

Wild Frontier RV Park | 106 Sites | Ocala, Florida

 by Christopher Nortley

ChristopherNortlyMHREinc=postedMHProNews-comy50x50-Wild Frontier is a 4-star RV Community located in Ocala, Florida.

Read more…

Revolution Homes – 1.1 Million Global PreFabs?! – Trump’s Are In Factory Built Housing

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachA couple of years ago, faithful readers may recall that MHProNews ran an article about the possibility that the Trump organization was in or getting into the factory built housing industry.

Read more…

NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program Teaches Leadership

by Matthew J Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1Chris Nicely, CEO of Next Step Network, a nonprofit supporter of affordable housing based in Louisville, KY, is one of 50 national leaders to have been chosen to participate in NeighborWorks Achieving Excellence Program, conducted at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard university.

Read more…

No Washington Insiders in a Trump Administration, says Eric Trump

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThe Hill and Newsmax are among those media operations who are reporting to MHProNews that presidential candidate Donald Trump’s son, Eric Trump is saying: A Trump administration won’t have a cabinet stacked with “Washington insiders.

Read more…

Investing in Manufactured Home Communities – Negative Perceptions, but the Industry Grows, says SeekingAlpha

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comThe glitz and glamor that attach to an ownership interest in businesses such as hotels, a race track or a small chain of upscale restaurants suddenly tarnishes for some when the investment being considered is manufactured home communities (MHCs).

Read more…

The NFIB Healthcare Playbook

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThe National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) is perhaps the largest and best known trade association for the independent business person.

Read more…

Being the Best is an Advantage and MH Synergy

by Soheyla Kovach

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-Being the best at something matters.

Read more…

Loneliness

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comThere is a significant difference between being lonely and being alone.

Read more…

ZigOn Teaching By Example

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarThis little poem crossed my desk recently and it exposed a great truth:

Read more…

December to Remember – Manufactured Housing News, Tips and Views 2015

December 3rd, 2015 No comments

If you’ve been in manufactured housing:

  • at least 5 years, and

  • have been to at least 3 MH professional events/association meetings/shows a year,

then odds are excellent that you know first hand how diverse our industry is:

  • politically,

  • by Industry segments (MH Retailers, MH Communities, MH Producers, Lenders, Installers, Transporters, Suppliers – plus sometimes stark differences within each of those segments!)

  • in size, business plans and approaches within each industry segments,

and any other measure of diversity (religion, ethnic, gender, familial status, etc.) you want to mention.

knowledge-shared-is-knowledge-multipled-masthead-mhpronews-

So it’s no surprise when you see a diversity of Featured Articles in this power-packed December to Remember 2015 issue of MHProNews.com. Here are examples of what you’ll find in this month’s featured articles. In no particular order of importance…

  1. 3 featured articles focused on the thoughts of ELS/EGI Chairman, Sam Zell, with our thanks to his friendly and efficient contact at ELS.

2) What some will see as the near ‘polar opposite’ of ELS, an exclusive video interview with Paul Bradley ROC USA (by the way, while their politics or other views might differ, both are savvy professionals, executing their respective plans). If you are thinking about exiting (selling) your MHC, this is timely viewing you’ll not want to miss.

3) MHI and MHARR featured articles (second month running).

4) A gathering of samples of praise for our independent trade publishing – again, across a wide spectrum – including kudos from “competitors” in their respective niche’s too.

5) Wayne Coakley’s strategies on managing your online MH reputation.

6) Spotlighting a new, rising start in MH in our exclusive – A Cup of Coffee with…Lindsey Bostick.

7) Another insightful column from the Fair Housing Lady, attorney Nadeen Green.

8) 21st Mortgage’s Lance Hull’s latest column, reporting on an update that should perk even more activity for their popular CASH Program – must reading for MHC pros.

9) Bob Vahsholtz unique take on the Image Problem (which is but one example that proves in part Tim Williams’ point – see #4 above – that not every comment or article on our site is something I necessarily agree with…but I’m still happy to share them).

10) Inspirational, thought provoking columns from our good friend Tim Connor, CSP – and from a cherished legend, Zig Ziglar, RIP.

11) Barry Cole’s update on the Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination challenge for the RV MH Hall of Fame.

  1. An inside look at something new for the 2016 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show – complete with a new video.

13) The Wisdom of Dr. Thomas Sowell. Want to bring common sense to a political or economic discussion? A few words from Dr. Sowell will often do the trick! Each quote a tweetable gem!

14) Exclusive comments to MHProNews and a downloadable report by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, on terrorism in the U.S. (eerily timely, given the tragic San Bernardino apparent terror attack). Let me take a moment and say that almost any business of any size today needs to consider their preventative steps in case of an active shooter incident. Please plan and prepare now, and mitigate or avoid problems later.

All told, we have 18 new Featured Articles in our December to Remember issue.

Bonus! Free Christmas Gift that Keeps on Giving! You can sign yourself or a team member(s) up in seconds for the industry’s leading emailed news updates.  Go to MHProNews.com/subscribe and give the free gift of priceless insights – the Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use ©  – that keeps on giving. 

subscribeMHProNews-com-

From our family to yours, let me hereby wish you a good Advent, our Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah and to all a Merry Christmas.

SoheylaTamasTonyKovachFamily-MastheadMHProNews-com-

Team Kovach = (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced So Hey La), video drone assistant – Tamas (pronounced Tah Mash) and L. A. Tony Kovach (prounounced Co-Vatch like Watch). Matthew Silver, Jan Hollingsworth and Charles Drake plus many volunters and sponsors who join together – all to bring you the Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. © Photo above, from 83 Degress Media.

With no further adieu, please dive into this month’s fabulous Featured Articles, also found via the MHProNews home page under the Daily Business News module.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 2, 2015

Alphabetically by Category

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• Snow Removal, Community Rules and Fair Housing…really?

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-mhpronews-comMany manufactured housing communities are in warm and sunny climes or in areas where a few snowflakes are all that you will see; although when they fall, even those few snowflakes can be a source of great panic, requiring residents to stampede to the grocery stores for bread and milk.

Read more…

 

FINANCING

• Act NOW for Enhanced Manufactured Home Lending

by Lesli Gooch, Ph.D.

LesliGooch-PhD-MHIvicePresident-GovernmentRelations-postedMHProNews50x50-The federal government is currently operating under a “Continuing Resolution,” which passed in October and runs through December 11th.

Read more…

 

 

• Getting More Affordable Housing for Manufactured Home Communities

by Lance Hull

LanceHull21stMortgageCorporationPostedMHProNews-com-55x55.jpgIn 2012, 21st Mortgage launched the Communities Affordable Spec Home (CASH) Program to expand affordable housing finance options to home buyers purchasing homes for placement in land-leased communities.

Read more…

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Sunshine Homes and where your company is based).

My name is Lindsey Bostick. I work at Sunshine Homes, which is located in Red Bay, AL.

Read more…

 

• Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination – RV MH Hall of Fame

by Barry Cole

BarryCole-mhHallofFame-55x55Great News! The manufactured housing (MH) segment of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation has received pledges totaling $622,314 toward the $1 Million Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Campaign.

Read more…

 

• World Economy Operating on Slow – Sam Zell Video

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachInvestment legend Sam Zell is Chairman of manufactured home communities leader, ELS – as well as a host of other investments. Mr. Zell is featured in this recent video interview.

Read more…

 

• Sam Zell’s Investment Fundamentals – Performance

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachEquity Lifestyles (ELS) has long been a leader in the manufactured home community business.

Read more…

 

• Can Factories or other Businesses be targets for ISIS or other Jihadi Groups? Insights on Terrorism from Expert, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D. 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachIn the wake of recent attacks in Paris and Mali on civilian targets, reasonable professionals may ask, what is the possible threat to U.S. businesses and the MH industry?

Read more…

 

• The Wisdom of Dr. Thomas Sowell

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachProven, sound principles should trump posturing. Common sense needs to become more common again.

Read more…

 

• Something New to See at the Louisville MH Show! Or in many markets…near you? 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachAs a successful MH Retailer – who sold the sales center but still does manufactured home consulting for firms of all sizes – I know first hand things savvy retailers want.

Read more…

 

• Why Should Exiting Manufactured Home Community Owners Consider Going Resident Ownership? Inside MH Video Interview with Paul Bradley, ROC USA

by Soheyla Kovach

s-kThere are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Manufactured Home Communities (MHCs – aka ‘mobile home parks’) that are on the market or could be for sale soon.

Read more…

 

• ‘Politicians, President Lies’ – Dodd-Frank, China and Contrarian Investment Insights from Sam Zell 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, NABE and EGI

tony- kovachDiane Swonk introduced investment mogul Sam Zell to the living gathering reported by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) with an explanation that Mr. Zell speaks with very little filter.

Read more…

 

• The Importance and Value of Independent MH Trade Publications

by MH Industry Voices

MH-IV-manufacturedhousing-industryvoices-symbol-mhpronews-What follows is a sampling of comments by professionals and manufactured housing (MH) industry members, who have specifically commented on the importance and value of independent, online MH trade publications.

Read more…

 

• The Image Problem— Stage Three

by Bob Vahsholtz

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.

Read more…

 

• MHARR Calls On FEMA To Terminate “ROGUE” Contract – Exposes Effort to Expand Role of Monitoring Contractor

by M. Mark Weiss, JD

 

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-For the second time in less than a year, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

Read more…

MARKETING

 

 

•How Marketing Your 5 Star MH Reputation Leads to More Sales

by Wayne Coakley

WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-I’m hopeful you are aware of the importance of online reviews for your manufactured home business.

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PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

 

• 3 Tips – Expectations, the Present, Differences

by Tim Connor, CSP

 

tim-connor-mhmsm-comAbsorb and apply these three tips this week.

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• ZigOn: A Special Christmas Message

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarIt’s Christmas, Not a “Holiday Season.”

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Crisis

September 26th, 2015 No comments

We’re in a nation and world living in critical times. Ensconced in the cocoon of our big screens, tablets, smart watches, phones and social distractions, images of millions of refugees from the Middle East may seem as surreal as a Dali painting.

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Salvador Dali used many styles of art over the years, among them a surrealistic expression that was designed to make people think. Image Credit = Asia Forest Gallery.

The moorings of our nation’s constitution were slipped years ago. We awakened to a president who proclaims he’ll act with a pen and phone. The Supreme Court claims authority to redefine marriage against the will of the majority, thousands of years of history and the normal tenants of judicial interpretation.

The House Speaker has stepped down the day after a historical address of Congress by Pope Francis. Having blown past 18 trillion dollars, the House and Senate faces a new debt ceiling. The budget – or more likely, a CR – must still be passed. The southern border remains a porous political football. And Clayton Homes builds a 3D printed solar concept house in conjunction with ORNL.

For good and ill, there is simply too much for millions of people to track and follow, much less digest and truly understand.

The Renter’s Nation is not the American Dream of yore. No wonder people are getting stoned on pot 20x stronger than when Jeb Bush smoked it 40 years ago.

Heroin is killing hundreds in cities and small towns across the nation. Reports reveal that Mexican cartel coyotes are leading illegals across the border, using the young and adults as mules to carry drugs to America’s streets.  That leads to more crime. Ann Coulter shrilled her message as she shills her book ¡Adios, America!

The Donald Trumpets the immigration issue too.  Dr. Ben Carson takes the NBC bait and opines on not voting for a hypothetical Muslim for president.  Bernie Sanders and as yet unannounced VP Joe Biden virtually equal the once ‘invincible’ Hillary Clinton in polling. A billionaire Democratic donor joins the growing chorus on the political left calling for more DNC debates, as H-> is apparently caught in the latest misstatement about those private-and-public emails on a personal, unsecured server.

Of course Black Lives Matter, but why did Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley feel the need to apologize that all lives matter, regardless of race, color or creed?  Cops are executed on city streets, as crime and murders are rising in major metros.

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As unrest spreads in the cities, will more start moving to the Exurbs?  Matthew Silver’s report on a study Rural Living – Returning to Exurban America we published already says as much.

National and Global Turmoil

Russia has jet fighters now in Syria, armed with air-to-air missiles. Vladimir Putin says they will  prop-up the Assad regime, which President Barak Obama once vowed must end. The Russians have buzzed our borders with long-range bombers for months. ChiComs recently sent warships near Alaska, they too have buzzed our warplanes, as they build a military base in islands in the South China Seas shipping lanes, sending fear across the Western Pacific rim.  While their regime is promising to reduce the dirtiest global emissions on the planet, via surrogates they hack our computers. The Chinese are stealing our technology and jobs, while manipulating their currency to prop up their sliding stock markets.

Few even mention that Putin’s Russia stole Crimea from the Ukraine, while the civil war they’ve fostered aims to reclaim that entire land. ISIS made even Turkey so nervous, they’re now toe-in-the-water on the conflicts that are deluging Europe with the most refugees since WWII. Russia and Iran are ever more openly cooperating with each other. The NATO alliance is being tested as never before.

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Yet, the pen and phone wielding POTUS will reward Tehran with nearly $150 billion in a deal that makes no sense to some 2/3rds of all Americans, an agreement many Gulf States and Israel strongly or quietly oppose. We spent trillions in war in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia rewards us by depressing oil prices to harm U.S. oil producers.  No wonder most Americans are frustrated with DC politics and American policies, foreign and domestic.  

No wonder underdogs and outsiders in both major parties are getting such a good look vis-à-vis the insiders and establishment candidates.

We need a combination of Solomon and Braveheart for our next president. We need solution oriented citizen-officials in Congress, and SCOTUS justices that want to enforce the law, not create or protect laws that violate the separation of powers and the original federal/state balance of authority.

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See the latest in this ongoing story about DOJ and MH, linked here. While this case is troubling, there are rumors that some are stoking Justice to take other actions against MH that if true look much more like a CFPB style over-reach.   When will we pull together to say, enough is enough? 

Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing, S 682, On Hold…

With all the battles in the Congress looming, our MH bill, S 682 is on hold; part of a larger bill possibly poised for fall Senate passage.  The Marty Lavin video interview on that topic is doing well.

Manufactured Home Personal Property Loans – Are They Predatory?

Are CFPB Regulations Helping or Harming Consumers and Home Owners?

Yes, our MH lenders and the MH industry are harmed by CFPB regulations.

But a lender told me privately – that while negatively impacted – arguably far more harmed than MH lenders are the 4 estimated million living in

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An important, in- depth video to see and share with policy advocates, public officials, local media and of course MH Pros.

1.7 million pre-HUD code mobile homes and post-HUD Code Manufactured Homes valued under $20,000. Independent MH businesses, the lender suggested, are more harmed by the CFPB regulations too. What happened to limited federal government?  What’s happened to leaving most matters to the states?

Yes, HR 650 is thankfully passed by a healthy margin. But publicly today, who beyond our twin publications and a relative few in MH are crying out for those millions?

MH Industry Threats at Home and Abroad

Never forget that China claims to be shipping MODs for housing to dozens of nations. Don’t think for a second that they, Japan, or a firm like IKEA couldn’t turn our domestic factory-built home industry upside down within a year if they made that commitment.

Yes, the world’s a mess. We can’t ignore it, nor should we ignore our business and consumers.  This is why we’ve pushed, pleaded and prodded that MH must rise to its potential, or remain vulnerable.

MH Enemies, Friends and Mainstream TV Ads

There is an odd dance of sorts taking place between industry players, from bases such as Arlington and Indy. An industry insider told me the following, off the record:

Isn’t it amazing how many thousands of peoples’ lives in this industry have been upended

by the unwillingness of so few people to get along?

Now, a retired vet who was unofficially (allegedly) declared persona-non-grata about 2 years ago, this year finds 3 representatives of that same group at his event of a few weeks ago. What message does that send to others who want to be part of the solution for the industry? What message does that send to those who want to stir the pot, but so far, have not?

Another retired (really?) leader is said to hope to knit together a coalition of a loose business alliance to challenge the association status quo, seen as being lead by MHI.  In conjunction with that new national association plan, there is talk of their creating a national campaign for MH.

StrawberryMansionBridge-HABS2 credit Wikimedia Commons posted on MHProNews.com

The time to bridge the gaps is long overdue in MH. Frankly, even those deemed ‘trouble makers’ bring ideas to the table that are worthy of exploration. There needs to be a healthy discussion, followed by action. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck at low levels of production, when the marketplace realities suggest that we should be roaring ahead with much higher new home shipment levels. Peace through strength. Photo credit – WikiCommons.

It’s ironic how on multiple fronts, one group is walking right into another’s apparent snare, while dancing with the very one who is part of the alleged plot against their interests.

It’s been suggested by a well-placed source that one side is thinking, keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” How ironic! The other side is thinking the same thing.  Both want to manipulate and use the other.

Far better to settle the issues, if possible. If that’s not possible, then do what ever is fair and just for the many.  We as an industry will advance when the common good and the various talents and skills the many have are brought to the table, thus bridging the various gaps and yielding profitable solutions.

Meanwhile, across town, Mark Weiss at MHARR is giving a wide berth to all of that infighting and plotting, as he focuses on issues he believes will benefit independent producers.

That “New National Association” and Their “Marketing Plan”

The plotter’s for a new association plan for a national campaign – which is certainly worthy of being done.  But do they know what professionally producing a 30 second spot for mainstream TV costs, per the Wall Street Journal?

An average :30 commercial generally costs between $300-500k, depending on how many locations, how many days you’re shooting, how much on-camera talent, and myriad other factors. Costs start to skyrocket when you add celebrities, license music instead of scoring it, heavy special effects, and so on.”

Please note. That’s not the cost of running the ads! That’s just the cost of producing one prime-time quality commerical.

That’s one of many reasons why for years MHProNews has pushed for an alternative strategy that is local market based, but yields national coverage. A plan that reflects industry realities. But that’s another Masthead post for another time. Suffice it to say for now that $2 million for 2 years could yield another $4 billion annually per year in new MH sales at retail.

Lumaxart Graphic by Scott Maxwell

Industry pros are better together, to borrow the ROC tag line. Luxmark graphic by Scott Maxwell.

Yes, we’re making progress.  Yes, its slow.  Again, egos and agendas are part of what is holding the many back. Supporting common sense might mean that some would be embarrassed.

So the struggle goes on here to thread the needle of exposing threats and opportunities alike.

People say things they don’t truly understand, based upon ego, envy, and other errors.  The off-the-record quotable quote above bears repeating:

Isn’t it amazing how many thousands of peoples’ lives in this industry

have been upended by the unwillingness of so few people to get along?

The National and MH Crossroads

Let’s step outside ourselves and use a very recent, non-MH analogy.

America is the land of the free, and the home of the brave. So Pope Francis quoted the great American hymn as part of his fascinating address to Congress. The left embraces him on issues like climate change and immigration, and the right on issues such as being pro-Life and Religious liberty. I wonder if either political camp realizes they aren’t fully or truly listening?

The papal words are quite capable of being understood – for example – not as a call to open borders; nor does he lay out a program on climate. Pope Francis praised business and the creation of jobs in English; does that sound like a socialist?

One forgets – or many didn’t know – that Argentina has lived an extreme form of crony capitalism, not something akin to America’s free enterprise system. Tyrannical power and greed are among what the Pope decries, aren’t those part of what Jesus also taught?

The current pope is a Jesuit – meaning, highly educated.  He is seeking to thread needles. He wants peace, not this unnamed Third World War being waged in Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia where Russia and China team up with jihadis, Iran’s and North Korea’s killer regimes to foment anti-Western terror and destabilization. He says we should care for the environment, but did you hear him say we need cap and trade?  So he states a goal or principle, not how we should put a principle into action.  He said we should be just and welcoming to foreigners, not that we must ignore our own laws (which were enacted with justice to legal immigrants and U.S. nationals in mind).

Seen in the light of Judeo-Christian and much of the American tradition, does the pontiff’s full address (linked here) read anything like what either the left or right wing media portrays it to be?

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Tim Willams spoke of our industry as a fraternity, meaning, as a brotherhood. Are we routinely acting in a fraternal manner?

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Image credit – KY Olsen, Flickr Creative Commons. 

I share this as an example to say, we must learn to listen and truly respect each other. We should try to get to the heart of issues, instead of talking past each other and hearing only what we want to see, read or hear.

Confronting people with the Truth

The truth can be uncomfortable. Our Industry’s leaders need to seek the common good. We need to work for the success of our home owners, and that in turn will benefit virtually all of us.

Those who want to carve a fiefdom or an empire at the expense of the many may find themselves challenged and suffering the same fate that Kodak or Montgomery Wards did.  We are entitled to our own opinions. But we should care enough about our collective interests to subordinate ourselves to a reasonable degree of enlightened mutual self-interest.

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Triad Financial Services Chairman, Don Glisson, Jr. called for solutions, not gripes, and working between groups like MHARR and MHI, for the common good.

We need that fraternity that Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage spoke about, linked here.

We need to re-read the call to action that Triad Financial’s Don Glisson Jr issued to MHI, MHARR and all – to be goal and solution oriented, not just gripe oriented…see his wisdom again, linked here.

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15 minutes daily here and on MHProNews and on MHLivingNews saves time, becaue you get a syntheysis of news tips and views that pros can use. Investing the time – and giving support when possible – yields a proven path for MH professional and MH industry advancement.

One of my favorite quotes which we strive to apply to MH daily is this:

You can get everything out of life that you want, when you help enough other people get out of life what they want. – Zig Ziglar 

The world is in crisis. President Kennedy reminds us from his grave in Arlington that the 2 characters that spell crisis in Chinese also means opportunity.

 

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As a closing segue/promo, please take a look at our latest video on a model home named The Kennedy, linked here. And if you’ve not yet seen the Marty Lavin video interview, grab a favorite beverage and click here. ##

 

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

 

Finance, Fire Safety, Fines and the Future

November 30th, 2014 No comments

Besides the rapidly approaching Louisville Show, all of our other duties, etc., we are swamped with the upcoming new December issue! The December 2014 featured articles will be live on the home page by close of business December 1, 2014.

As always, here on the Masthead,  you’ll find a handy, full run-down on the new issue in a start-of-the-month blog post. You can circle back here for that after the new issue is live.

Historic?

For the next few moments, let me give you what media and news calls ‘the tease.’ The word historic is often over-used.  But once the new December issue is live, please make some mental notes. There will be topics in it that when you look back in a few weeks, months (or maybe, even in a few years…) you will find yourself agreeing are historic for manufactured housing.

In the strictest sense, we cover housing history on a day-by-day basis here at MHProNews. The Daily Business News  readership continues to rise, as does our readership overall.  Webalizer’s report on MHProNews  documented the fact that visits by professionals like you continue to grow year-over-year. When you are reading here, you are far from alone! You’re in the good company of other owners, executives, managers, investors and public officials, plus the educators and non-profits that do their research on MH here too.

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Please take a look at our newest feature on the Daily Business News (DBN). The Sunday Morning Weekly Recap. We produced this based upon reader input for an easy place to scan DBN headlines for the stories most important to busy professionals.

In the last 3 weeks, we’ve seen close to 100 news stories in the DBNs, all of which relate directly or indirectly to your business.

For example,

MHProNews knew about all three of the above staff changes before they were announced, as officials with each organization know we knew. We wanted to respect their making their own announcements. There is some news you run with when you first hear it, others that you wait on. More on that in the new December issue!

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Sunday Morning – 3 weekly ‘headline news’ recaps!

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/sunday-morning-recap-for-week-november-23-29-2014/

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/sunday-morning-manufactured-housing-daily-business-news-weekly-recap-11-16-22-2014/

http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/sunday-morning-manufactured-housing-daily-business-news-weekly-recap-11-9-15-2014/

FYI – in one of the recaps above, you’ll find a story on fines and the CFPB, one that MH pros should know about.

That is where we will wrap this up today, by pointing you to the most robust summaries of the news that impacts housing and thus manufactured housing. If you haven’t already checked out the 3 weekly news recaps, they’re each linked above. In the matter of minutes, you can scan nearly 100 headlines that impact our housing world!

Thanks for checking in, and for making the Masthead a top read blog too. ##

(Image credits: Shutterstock/MHProNews)

la-tony-kovachby L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach