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Posts Tagged ‘MHI’

America and Manufactured Housing – Lessons from Hold that Tucker Tiger!

June 17th, 2016 No comments

Recall or view the movie, Tucker. If you do, you’ll get a good sense of how government and big business can often collude to the detriment of all involved. 

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“Hold that Tiger!” Tucker Movie poster, credit LucasFilms and BGAutoBlog.

To be sure, big government and big business can and often are allies. After all, how can small businesses best both big brother and any given monopolist? 

Can it be done?

Yes, but no less an MH Industry figure than Jim Clayton lamented in interviews with MHProNews the negative impact of big federal regulations birthed by big government that harms small and start-up businesses.

Jim was spot on.  

The Tucker auto pioneered a number of features in American cars. The beauty of free enterprise is precisely that it keeps innovation and the American Dream alive.  The big Detroit automakers conspired with government officials to destroy Tucker, the man and his machine.

The more a government regulates and the more it taxes – the more it distorts and destroys the free market – it’s killing inspiration, jobs and innovation in its wake.

Because humanity is imperfect, there are needs for some level of law, regulation, etc.  But unchecked, government oppresses rather than protects or liberates people.

The Masthead  wants independent retailers, communities, producers and others in MH to prosper and thrive. When smaller businesses thrive, so will mid to large or big businesses. When firms of all sizes thrive, the coffers of the tax man fill in a natural rather than confiscatory or damaging ways. 

The legacy of the Obama years, properly understood, is the failure of big government. ObamaCare harmed the health care system. It was based on lies. It drove costs up, not down. It reduced access to quality healthcare. State ObamaCare Exchanges and independent businesses have suffered or have closed.  The misnamed ACA is dying of its own dead weight.

Ditto Homeland Insecurity. Open borders means more crime and more terrorism. These are facts. 

Dodd-Frank

IDontThinkThereWasEverMuchHighCostLendingInTheManufacturedHousingMarket-stillcreditCSPAN2-RichardCordrayCFPBdirector-Posted-MHLivingNews-com--310x165The CFPB is spending millions in ads to propagandize the American people into thinking it’s helping, when in fact it harms millions and is choking off business in its regulatory wake. They’re building their own palace in DC, creating thousands of federal jobs that destroy millions of private sector jobs.  We’ve documented that the CFPB’s director know what they’re doing to MH home owners and businesses, the logical takeaway is that they either don’t care or they have an agenda.

HUD is likewise harming MH consumers and businesses.

The Obama-Clinton foreign policy is a history of disasters. The latest revelation seems to be that ISIS was not just given space to grow, but also American support and arms to grow.  POTUS Bush no doubt had his problems. We shouldn’t have gone into Iraq. But compared to the hellish Clinton/Obama foreign policy, Bush’s policy looks almost saintly…

Big Government was what Americans rebelled against in 1776. 

 

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Credits WikiCommons and MHProNews.

 

Big business is fine, so long as it doesn’t get in bed with big government, and acts in ways that are detrimental to all.

Look at the revelations from Clinton Cash, their global pay-to-play influence peddling scam. Do you think that when the Obama’s leave 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, that there will be something similar awaiting them?  

Is there any good way to explain the long series of foreign and domestic policy failures for the working class, for minorities, for the middle class, our armed forces, our men in blue and first responders – anyone that isn’t at the top of their private pyramid?

The Donald is new to being in politics, as opposed to his playing politics to make his businesses work. Are there things that could be better? Yes. As an independent, I concur with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, who correctly said, the voters are asking for a political earthquake. 

The day may come when MHI, if it fails to altar its sad course, will see the rise of its own Trump-like political earthquake.  Just as Ds and Rs gave rise to Donald Trump, so too MHI may awaken some day to see that it’s been sowing the seeds of its own destruction

 

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I say this as a member, as one who has been thanked for our many contributions to their legislative efforts. I could link up the words of Tim Williams here, and many others prior to or since him. The Masthead cares enough to say, let’s change course.

Let’s address and solve the association’s problems, not sweep them under the rug.  That pile of dirt is growing, and costly.

 

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A leading MH state association exec’s mantra we love to share.

Because like it or not, when MHI fails to properly PEP, it has a harmful impact on way too many others in our industry.

 

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Most Industry members who have contacted MHProNews concur with the above. See for yourself. Click the link here or click image above to learn more. We Provide, You Decide ©.

 

The bottom line is that MHI needs to see that its path is harmful to itself and to others in MH. If the leadership is wise, they’ll politely exit those who have made a mess, AND bring in people who will bring in a new, better and more inclusive perspective.

Otherwise, the responsibilities of a new association rising, or MHI breaking apart grows. Because so long as MHI’s leaders are locked on this path, they’ll continue to get no results worth bragging about.

In fact, they’ll harm the industry. The only way the industry gains or regains the respect of those they deal with in DC is by cleaning their own house first.

In the mean time, we’ll cheer those who are part of the MH solution. To learn more about common sense progress being made, click here.

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The 4th of July is racing upon us. Somehow the whiz kids in Arlington VA failed to tap into the opportunity that the 40th Anniversary of MH provided. But its not too late. They can still do something…

…or not. Be it late or never, each path speaks volumes about the national MH association.

Are they part of the solution or part of the problem?  

MH is the Tucker of housing.  We ought to be thriving, and we can in positive, sustainable ways.  As we clean out a few internal issues and spotlight more of the great things we do, the more we’ll mine the gold that belongs to each true professional in the business. Hold that Tiger! ##

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Among the fun items found at C&E this year was lifesize cutouts of the 5 remaining D and R contenders for the Oval Office. By Tuesday night, that number had dropped to 3, with Cruz and Kasich bowing out after Donald Trump’s big win in Indiana that day.  Now its down to Hillary, The Donald and a pot smoking Libertarian…God Bless America!  The pick between those three is EASY. America First! MAGA!

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

Managing Member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.
Publisher of Industry leading MHLivingNews.com, MHProNews.com
and Inside MH video series.
MHI member, elected MHI Suppliers Division board member.
Consultant and service provider to the MH industry.

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

Publisher – MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com

It’s #1! Get our industry leading, free, Twice Weekly emailed news, tips updates (our emailed Newsletters look like this) – sign up free in seconds at MHProNews.com/Subscribe. 

MHI’s Richard “Dick” Jennison – 700% growth – selling 500,000 new Manufactured Homes annually – “We Can Get There”

March 13th, 2016 No comments

We’ve told you about this upcoming video. Its about ready to release. This episode of Inside MH features an array of Washington DC metro personas, as well as U.S. based MH Industry home owners and pros from border-to-border. Each says in their own words elements that need to be addressed to get us to the goal – which could yield, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison, a 700% increase in business.

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Still from Inside MH Road Show, a link to the video will be here – or by clicking on the image above – once the article and its video goes live. UPDATE: This video is now live, click here.

The affordable housing crisis, MH financing and CFPB regulations – their impact on sales, home buyers and home owners – are the focus of this video.

This new video will be live in about 24 hours on the MHLivingNews.com website. 

This video will directly challenge false and misleading claims made by Doug Ryan/CFED, Seattle Times/BuzzFeed, PBS NewsHour, OZY Media or others who have tried to stop the financing reforms that would boost manufactured home owners resale values and the sales of MH industry pros. 

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Inside MH The Road Show still from video where elements needed to achieve 500,000 new manufactured home sales, starting with financing changes, are found. This will be a useful video with regulators, policy makers, Congressional staffers and others in or out of MH. The new video will go live in about 24 hours. UPDATE.  This video is now live, at this link here.

What 500,000 annual new Manufactured Home sales means

First, no one – Dick Jennison included – is saying that this will happen overnight. Logistics alone would require that there be a ramp up period to achieve these kinds of sales levels.

Next, among the things the industry has painfully learned from the go-go 90s is that we can’t expect lenders to lend good money on poor or bad credit risks. Our MH industry’s lenders implemented safeguards too, making a repeat of the past unlikely.

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Our prior finance related video is linked here. That video and the new one to be posted soon will compliment each other.

What That Kind of New Home Sales Growth Could Mean to You and Your Operation

MH Communities. The estimated 400,000 vacant MHC homesites would rapidly dwindle, and the demand for new development of MHCs – or expansions of current ones where possible – would continue increase.

Retailers and selling MHCs. Imagine 700% growth over say a 3 to 4 year period of time. That could widely and dramatically boost the sales of retailers and those MHCs that sell homes. That boost would naturally flow to manufacturers, warranty, financial services, service, suppliers and associations.

Watch for the Update

Once the new video is live, we will update this post with a hot link to it. The image of Dick Jennison above will become a hot link.

What will make this video powerful is the wide cross section of people and pros, who are all saying common sense things that fit nicely together. This makes for a visually, emotionally and logically compelling case.

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Image credit, WikiCommons.

Your Cherished Civic Right

If you are in one of the primary states or areas coming up – such as Chicagoland (where we used to live, as the locals would say tongue in cheek)Vote Early, Vote Often.

If you aren’t one of the thousands who have already checked out this article on your other powerful vote, click here.

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This is why we sometimes call these ‘Standing Room Only’ or SRO seminars, panel discussions and workshops. Learn more about this year’s popular Tunica Show finance, marketing, sales and lessons learned from MHC and MH Retail pros, by clicking here. To see the line up of some of the speakers, click here.

Tunica Talks

Let’s close today on a programming note. The line up for the Tunica Seminars are taking shape. They boast some very well known and successful pros and companies. To learn more, click here.

We’ll be at the Tunica Show at Booth #74, and yours truly is presenting and moderating seminars on March 22nd. To learn more about the Tunica Show, click on Dennis Hill’s brochure and updates article here, or the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show website, linked here.

See you in Tunica? Those who seriously want to grow, will go. ##

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach will be moderating and presenting at the 2016 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show. To see website, click here or the image above. For details on business building finance, marketing, sales and practical tips seminar, panels and workshop, click here. Seminars are on March 22nd, the afternoon before the main show opens! Be there, we’ll be a booth #74 as well.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

MH Coup d’etat, Illegal Action, FHFA and More

January 22nd, 2016 No comments

Dictionary Reference defines Coup d’état definition as, “a sudden and decisive action in politics, especially one resulting in a change of government …”

We won’t say the dates, but what follows is a true MH story.

1) MH Coup d’etat

Once upon a time, a duo of MH personalities decided to overthrow the leadership in a certain state’s MH Association. In concert with a few allies, they ejected the group’s state exec. They replaced him with their own hand-picked executive. They proceeded to gain access to information that passes through the association chain, and to leverage that state’s position to their mutual benefit.

In short, once in power, they did what is common to any coup d’etat. They used positions of authority to their own advantage.

Some will admire that, while others will be turned off.  But the answer or lesson is, get and stay engaged.

2) Next…A ‘Third’ MH Party?

In U.S. Politics, a two major party political system (Democrats and Republicans) has been common for longer than living Americans remember. In the MH Associations world, there are two national groups, MHI and MHARR. There has been talk from time to time of creating a ‘third national association’ – and even a group that claims to be one – but that “COBA7” group does very little of what state association execs say is common to MH associations.

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Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American actor turned politician and served as the 40th President of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He lead the nation for economic mailaise and a troubled foreign policy to one of the strongest economic recoveries of the 20th century. Reagan bridge the political divides, bucking the elite in his party to become its nominee. Photo credit WikiCommons/Facebook.

The talk of a third national association grows, fueled in part by frustration with a lack of progress in DC, allegations of a lack of transparency from Arlington to members, and other factors.

If things grow worse, a lesson discussed among those who know about the “MH Coup d’etat” and are frustrated with MHI, is that planned, organized effort can succeed in gaining control of an organization. As Ronald Reagan famously told his followers who were pushing for a third party:

Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?” Ronald Reagan.

The Masthead isn’t predicting a revolt or a third association. Facts and analysis are not to be mistaken for advocacy.

We are stating – as a fact – that the level of frustration among operations from small to larger with MHI is growing.

Are there still MHI loyalists, who think that the association works just fine as it is? Of course there are. We hear from those across the spectrum of camps within MHI.

But that fact also underscores that the divides within MHI are real and they are growing.

As an observation, staff and elected leadership are wise to reassess what is taking place, lest the grumblings and talk turn into open revolt or a third association is forged.

Perhaps a listening or feedback system needs to be instituted to better insure that the interests of the majority are implemented?

3) Third…Illegal Action

Each of these bold, black subheadings are different topics – please don’t confuse or conflate the opening, Next or Third, etc..

There is another allegation – this one is of a violation of federal law – pointed at a group (not a company or corporation, and not a national association) in MH.

When their legally questionable action was brought to their attention, rather than comply with the legal requirements, the group stuck defiantly to their position. So much so, that they pointed to their stance in writing.  They first stuck to their posture before they were questioned, then again after the legal concerns were raised – and validity of those concerns were confirmed – by a federal attorney.

Amazing. And a highly avoidable Ouch…stay tuned.

4) MH Fireworks

MH has had more than its share of media fireworks of late. Apparently the potential lessons learned from biased mainstream media reporting did not deflect or resonate with those in charge of said group.

Links to our public rebuttals to those slanted media accounts about Clayton et al are here and PBS here. We’ve been thanked a lot for covering these issues in a way that will show serious researchers that MH has been the victim of slanted media attacks.

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Credit – screen capture of Google search circa 1:15 PM ET, 1.22.2016.

While MHProNews has added details in hand on topic 4, it seems prudent to sit on these at present, given the other drama facing the industry. We don’t need more problematic attention in MH, do we?  What we do need is jiu jitsu.

Some stories are better for MH when we hint at them. Other topics may go unreported, or are reported on later. Not to cover up, but rather to avoid making things worse. As a trade publisher, we seek the good of the MH industry and those we seek to serve.

Those involved should revisit their allegedly illegal actions, and change course.

5) Another, different topic – MHI grows…

In spite – or because? – of the new media driven headwinds in DC, MHI is loading up on new paid staffers. Stating the obvious, hiring talent in the DC metro isn’t cheap.

Tim Williams, MHI Chair confirmed for us the fact that a media relations person is being hunted.

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MHProNews and our sister operations are MHI members, and naturally want the organization and its team members to do well for the industry at large and for the membership. We welcome Thomas Heinemann to MHI. Image credit, Linkedin.

I met Thomas E Heinemann the new VP of Federal Government Affairs, who is reportedly working under Lesli Gooch at MHI.

How will this play out in the light of #2, above? Time will tell.  But one comment from an MHI member about the new hire that came in via email on this topic read as follows: “No one knew!  Staff found out because they moved people around in the office.  Some are now working remotely even though they live in the DC area.  The new hire was supposed to be top secret like the release of the prisoners in Iran.  What a joke.”  

Please see the comments at the end of #2, above.

6) Next…The FHFA GSE DTS controversy

Word some months ago was that MH chattel loans being included in Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) was going to be “a done deal.”

There are concerns how the private meeting between FHFA and MHI went. The question has been posed is, did something occur that made things go sideways?

We’d like to see the minutes of that meeting produced by the FHFA. As a signal of transparency, MHI could send them a memo – with said memo to be made public – asking and agreeing to the minutes of the FHFA/MHI meeting to be made public.

As Ronald Reagan famously said, “Trust but verify.”

7) Flash Report – Shifting Gears, Louisville

Today’s final topic – or teaser for more detailed reports to come – is going to be the 2016 Louisville Show.

The overall reports of the show were positive. There was no one we spoke to that said they regretted coming, quite the opposite. While some factors – weather perhaps? – kept one or two exhibitors from manning their paid-for booth, all others were front and center for the all-indoor show’s start.

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Brad and Cindy Simmons are one of the scores of family businesses that are raising their children to learn the MH industry.  Look for more photos in our upcoming February issue of MHProNews.

Final culling of attendance numbers are not yet in. “Zack,” who works the registration said that a number of badges went unclaimed. Total numbers – including no-shows were about what they totaled last year, according to those in the know.

All in all, given that old man winter is hitting hard the next few days, the show demonstrated it is now more resilient. Clients of our sister marketing operations reported good outcomes at Louisville. Others we spoke with said the same. Some said that despite the weather, it was one of the best show in years.

We’ll have more detailed reports as soon as the final numbers become available.

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Tim and Nissey Williams, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, with Tamas (pronounced “Tah Mash”) Kovach (pronounced CoVatch like a Watch with a V) at the 2016 Louisville Show.

Wrapping up, Looking ahead…

We will plan to be in DC in early February. We are going to Tunica too in March too.

Speaking of the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, we are going to confirm a significant, surprise development. We’ll be doing the education at Tunica the Tuesday before the opening of the main show, to allow maximum time with displayed homes and exhibitors.

Please watch for news and views on that and other topics from here on the Masthead blog, Daily Business News and elsewhere on MHProNews.com. ##

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Standing Room Only seminars are scheduled for the 2016 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, including SuperCharged Marketing and Sales, FInancing and MHC/Retail Lessons Learned. More details, linked here.

By L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Hardy, Doers, Determined, Success-Minded MHPros + MHARR, MHI & HUD’s Pam Danner, Manufactured Housing Program Administrator @ Louisville

January 18th, 2016 No comments

Other than being dead, hospitalized or tending to those in those scenarios, almost any excuse will do.

– Need to walk the dog.
– Hate the cold, snow.
– Need to fund that deal.
– That’s two days you could be selling, etc, etc..

The successful and success-seekers in MH – from the Midwest and well beyond – are bound to be at Louisville in droves.

About those with weather or other excuses…hey, I’m hanging my hat in Central Florida and the temperature difference between Louisville and home is about 50 degrees comparing the respective highs and lows for each place. Spits of snow last night, some white stuff in the forecast.

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Success minded pros know that it pays to be at Louisville for the show.

Cold weather didn’t stop us, we are already here. Hundred of others we know are too, with far more that will be coming. If you are a determined, goal, solution and success focused pro, you’ll be at Louisville for the 2016 Manufactured Housing Show too.

The Louisville MH Show is held indoors, at the impressive KEC, precisely with inclement weather in mind.

Those who go and shrug off the cold from the vehicle to the front door have a jump over others in their market.

Think it through, see the incredible wisdom of being here and be among those who grab their coats, gloves and make the trip.

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The Winners, Doers and Determined will be at Louisville 2016. Image credit, Weather.com forecast for L’ville.

For those who do, here are some things you can see and do, linked here.

Manufactured Housing Industry Progress – MHI, MHARR, State Associations and You

We have friends, colleagues and clients in both of the national associations, plus state associations, and MHEC too. Not all are in an association, that’s another topic for another time. With that tee-up to say, I’m not pointing fingers, we aren’t grinding an ax; nor saying who’s been right, wrong, etc.. Its about where we go from where we are today.

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On the Masthead blog, you’ll get the perspective, insider insights and commentary you may need to navigate ahead in MH. Image credit – collage of Industry Association logos by MHProNews, each logo is the property of their respective organization, and is used here under Fair Use guidelines.

Here’s the critical yet simple point for the advancement of our industry. If you review the history of the past few decades, you’ll see that the primary times the MH industry has advanced its agenda in DC is when MHI, MHARR and state associations are working in alignment. Think MHIA 2000 as the best example.

Think about all the troubling drama and overall slide hitting MH in the years since 2000. Yes, we are modestly rising for 6 years, but we can do better. Some of those issues are legislative and regulatory.  Can the powers that be get along and get it done, for the benefit of all?

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Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, a 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

This isn’t just my thought, others are saying privately the need for MHI, MHARR and the states to work more closely together. Publicly, Don Glisson Jr., prior MHI Chairman and CEO of Triad Financial Services – the MH Industry’s most enduring MH lender – gave strong voice to a similar viewpoint in a recent interview we did with him – revisit his thoughts, at this link here.

Don wisely wanted then and now to see the independent producers and those in MHI come to a good working relationship.

What Don says publicly, numerous others believe too. The sense from the Masthead is that MHARR has made its public stance warmer in the past year or so. I know some of the thinking in MHI circles.

The two national associations need to look at their respective goals, and see how they can create mutual victories while achieving what the industry needs in DC.

While MHARR’s and MHI’s respective offices are only a few miles apart in DC and Arlington, VA – there are heads for both organizations boards that will be present during Louisville and at Tunica. Will they take advantage of the opportunity?

HUD’s Pam Danner

HUD’s Pam Danner will be at the L’ville Show, because the MHCC meeting will be there. The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is one of those MHIA of 2000 mandated protections, intended to benefit all stakeholders.

Don’t be surprised if you see Pam on the show floor, walking some homes, etc.. But let’s focus on Danner’s planned talk to attendees.

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Pam Danner, addressing an MHI meeting. Danner will be at the L’ville Show, see details below.

I’ve listened to what I’ll call Pam’s stump speech at various state associations and national association meetings. Pam has gotten some things going at HUD. Others that ought to be pretty high on the agenda for MH and the Feds too, not so much.

For those going to the 2016 L’ville Show, keep in mind that Pam Danner will address attendees 11 AM ET on Thursday in a room next to the show office; that’s across the way from registration and the main entrance to the show floor. Attorney Danner will likely be taking questions after her address. So have your questions and concerns about HUD and related MH issues at hand, so you can share them during the Q&A.

We’ll be there too.

This will be my midweek blog post, done early, to draw attention to the above, and encourage attendees. We’ll do a post show report, as usual. Let’s catch up then. ##

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Team Kovach, (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced So Hey La), Tamas (pronounced Tah Mash) – aka The Youngest Exhibitor – and L. A. “Tony” Kovach (prounounced Co-Vatch like Watch) will be at Booth #215 during the Louisville Show. They’ll be taking turns there, along with Daily Business News writer, Matthew Silver and Inside MH videographer Charles Drake. Photo credit, from 83 Degress Media.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Staying A Positive MH Course in sometimes Negative World

January 10th, 2016 No comments

It could be called a study in contrasts. The wide range of comments from MH industry pros in recent days varied from the extreme of a fellow who termed our published response to PBS news takedown of MH and MHI as either misguided or have a self-serving agenda.” – to a far greater number of others who said it was “nice work,” “brilliant,” “necessary,” numerous “thank you for all you do” – or like the LinkedIn posted kudos below from an MH community owner.

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Image credit – LinkedIn.

If you’ve not yet seen it, here BOTH the PBS video and our response that all the above are all talking about, is linked here.

Some in HUDVille think Ignoring Bad News is the answer. Really?

What is the national association doing on this PBS takedown issue?

MHProNews has been told by informed sources that MHI has sent a strongly worded, 3 page letter to PBS. Hmm, ok. Now what? What are the next steps in the MHI plan to defending the industry’s reputation?

Are we really going to watch and accept – public silence – from MHI on key issues that arguably harms the image of the entire industry and MHI’s own avowed legislative agenda?

Surely we aren’t going to allow attacks on our financing or the value proposition created by the MHCs to go unanswered in the public square?

Right or wrong, won’t MHI’s public silence appear to others as a de facto ‘admission of guilt’ to all of the allegations that PBS made in their flawed ‘Bad Bargain’ story?

We certainly hope and pray that whoever is making that kind of ‘let’s not comment in public‘ decision at MHI will think twice. We have objetively done more and broader publishing for the industry and MHI in support of HR 650 and S 682 than they have, because we believe in the goals of the MHI backed bill as being good for consumers and for the industry.  We will continue to support it, but we also hereby call on MHI to support their own effort by standing up publicly against the public PBS stance.  

My time is valuable, how about yours? If you supported the MHI lead HR 650/S 682 effort, as we have and many others do – will you want to see it die at the hands of PBS or anyone else without a whimper?  What was all that effort for anyway?

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As one MH Pro told MHProNews, Congress is acting in a broken fashion now. Getting things done in DC is not easy. But that just means we have to work smarter to get our legislation passed that will protect consumers home values, ability to purchase and MH Profesionals ability to sell more homes.  Our Opposition uses the media to their advantage! Won’t MH Pros learn to do the same?  We have the better story, because the TRUTH is on OUR SIDE!  But would you know that based solely on the public response coming out of Arlington to the PBS NewsHour report?  Image credit: tomtwomeyseries.

We must Play the Legislative, Lobbying Game to Win –
many MHPros are sick and TIRED of LOSING in DC.

This PBS takedown is either bane or blessing, depending on what the industry and its members do.  We either

PBS’ takedown story deliberatly makes MH look like – using PBS’ own words a “bad bargain,” what nonsense!  Should we allow the feds to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on subsidized housing, and then not support a free market solution that MH offers that benefits almost everyone in the mix?  

Our next planned report on the PBS story is pending, stay tuned for that one…

The difference between Seattle Times/BuzzFeed and PBS

One could better understand why MHI let Buffett and Clayton Homes defend themselves, as harmful as that is to the industry and its clear attack on MHI’s legislative efforts. The reason? The Seattle Times/BuzzFeed takedown piece was directly targeting Buffett and his MH companies.

But with the only organization in the PBS takedown story being named is MHI, doesn’t it stand against reason NOT to allow Carla Burr’s/et al comments via PBS to publicly go unrefuted by MHI? 

Please see the prior Masthead post where we clearly outline the obvious dollars-and-cents logic of why MHLivingNews and MHProNews have and will defend the integrity of the industry’s honest and ethical professionals against those who de facto harm reputable businesses within our industry who are serving the public well.

Note too that the PBS story arguably harms MH homeowners and prospective buyers. Whose agenda is PBS intentionally or coincidentally advancing? Why?  

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Image credit, PBS Newshour comments section. Comments at left with arrows, Masthead Blog, MHProNews.com.  Please note once more, you can see the transcript and the PBS NewsHours entire report and our fact-based refuting of their report, by clicking the image above, or here.

Let’s be clear, PBS started this assault. The initial responsibility is with them.

But MHI – or in their absence, other forward looking MH leaders – must act to defend the MH industry and our home owners. 

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One of the clear results of NOT responding to negative media, decade after decade, is the historic low new MH home shipment numbers – compared to other industry’s that are thriving today – see the facts, click here or the image above.

The MHLivingNews/MHProNews Agenda

Let me answer that critic we opened with. We do have an agenda. It’s not hidden, we’ve touted it for years. It’s simple yet profound. We want to improve the sense of pride, respect and great value that Manufactured Homes provides the public and MH home owners. We want to see MH thrive, not just survive.

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Our tag lines clearly state the MHProNews agenda.

We will positively promote that agenda! Do we think we’ll benefit – as do and will others! – from that effort? Of course. That’s what successful business do!

As I responded to the unnamed person who sent that comment, ‘We may agree to disagree on approaches.’ But the facts speak for themselves.  Not responding for decades to such attacks has harmed our industry’s public image. That costs everyone in MH real American money, the only difference is to what degree you, I or other are harmed by the attacks.

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Image credits – MHProNews.com.

What a seasoned MH Exec said

‘Tony, what other industry can you name that after 35 years is still talking about the exact same challenges they did decades before?’

Well said.

Back to Dick Jennison and MHI

I won’t publish Dick Jennison’s entire pre-story memo, but it concludes with an assurance to MHI members that:

RichardDickJennison-MHI-CEO-PostedMHProNews-comWe hope that the result of our participation will be a fair and balanced piece, and give MHI the opportunity for our voice to be heard on critical industry topics. We will be prepared to respond to any inaccuracies or unfair characterizations that may be included in the final segment.”

When you first read that about 10 days ago, did you think as I did, that MHI would respond publicly if PBS report was unfair to MH?  

As noted above, that alleged three page response to PBS is how our sources inside MHI tell us that they want to keep the written promise to association members, quoted above.

Once more, let’s emphasize that we hope that MHI will not stand on that private 3 page letter to PBS alone.

The takedown piece by PBS was public; and just as Clayton and Warren Buffett defended themselves publicly, so too should MHI defend our industry, good community operators and our lending publicly.

Public Comments From Frank Rolfe

Following similar reasoning used in our first-in-the-industry published lead in the Daily Business News flash report, it should be noted FrankRolfe-MobileHomeUniversity-postedmastheadblogMHProNews-that Frank Rolfe‘s published press release (see download, linked here) does the math too!

Rolfe and others clearly sees the need to defend MH Communities in public to the Public Broadcasting story. So why doesn’t MHI?

“We Provide, You Decide” © 2016.

Ok. That outlines the scenario at the moment. MHLivingNews and MHProNews have publicly responded. Frank Rolfe publicly responded. MHI has not, and says they will not beyond an unpublished three page letter they tell us they’ve sent to PBS’ Stephen Fee and company.

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Will we let others publicly set fire to the image of our industry, and not see the national association respond? The MHI logo – is their property, and is used here for editorial purposes only, under the fair use provisions of the copyright laws.

It’s YOUR industry. The PBS story impacts YOU, YOUR Career and YOUR business. Stephen Fee’s/ PBS’ unbalanced takedown story influences others in:

  • media,

  • public officials and

  • policy advocates or makers.

Directly or through others, PBS’ story harms our industry, and those investors and professionals in it, and will no doubt cause some would-be customers to otherwise not buy an MH or not live in an MHCommunity.

Before wrapping, my thanks to all of you who have thanked us for taking on PBS’ thinly vielded takedown piece.  We appreciate the encouragement and kind words, made possible by others who are doing rather than…

I’m stunned that MHI hasn’t already responded publicly to PBS, and our polite private nudges have not yet worked.  

So as an association member who champions their causes whenever possible, but quietly or publicly (as needed) questions them when their actions/inactions don’t make sense for the industry and its members, we are hereby going public.

Do you think MHI should just stay silent, or should they defend publicly the MH Industry, our lending and communities?

And you say? ##

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Terrorists, Politics and Manufactured Housing

November 14th, 2015 No comments

The apparent Muslim terrorists who struck Paris are the visible consequence of a variety of festering factors.  Pre-attack anti-immigration sentiment has been rising in Europe and here in the U.S.. Don’t be surprised if that sentiment spikes in France and elsewhere after this terror event. Any who thinks the mass killings in the French capitol won’t effect politics here in the U.S. are missing elements of the big picture.

We naturally mourn those who suffered and died. In the midst of that, one must not become paralyzed. Like you, I recall the eerie lack of air traffic in the hours after our 9/11.  The economy took a hit then…and now?

Islamic extremists are not bound by the PC (politically correct) conventions of the West. Significant numbers of Muslims believe they’re called upon to subvert, conquer, convert or kill those who don’t follow their understanding of the ‘prophet Mohamed.’ 

For those who want to kill or rape, there is an attraction to their jihad on those levels, along side of any ‘religiously’ motivated thinking.

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Original image credit, WIkiCommons. Poster credit – MHProNews © 2015, all rights reserved.

History’s lessons are clear. Aggressors must be stopped. One doesn’t appease aggression, that only fosters the bully’s or a rouge regime’s attacks. If the Western response is to sit back and wait, the militant Islamists will keep coming. Beyond military/law enforcement type actions, we better become more committed to converting them as they are to conquer, kill and convert us.

Talk, pin pricks and drone strikes alone won’t stop the zealots. 

We’re an industry trade publication, not a world affairs corner. So let’s segue with a parallel from the tragic lessons of current events and past history and apply them to our industry and profession. 

MH’s 9/11

There are areas of life we can compromise in, and not suffer. You might like more salt and pepper, your spouse or other loved one likes less. No problem, acceptance or compromise are easily done among reasonable people.

By contrast, there are arenas that are literal life and death (eg: health, crime, terror); still others that are economically or politically limiting, crippling or that can become professional life and death. Just ask a coal miner if government mandates have impacted his work in the last few years. Ask those who wanted Keystone what they think about Big Brother’s stopping they’re plan, in favor of riskier rail transit of that same heavy oil.

So MH is not alone in being harmed by the policies of the federal government.  

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Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI.

The Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Dr. Lesli Gooch recently reminded an audience that the Duty to Serve (DTS) was passed as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA 2008). 7 years later, we now ‘hope’ that the reluctant GSEs will be prodded into supporting chattel lending, to fulfill their Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

For the next few moments, we’ll keep the following a generalization; this is not about DTS per se. This can easily include fire sprinklers, energy or other desired-by-others mandates.

In struggling for the rights of MH home owners, home buyers and professionals, we must not fail to see that you can compromise yourself into a corner. You don’t negotiate with jihadis, and some MH Pros say there is only so much negotiating you can do with public officials before you harm your own industry’s interests.

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The video interview with Marty Lavin, an important video to share with policy advocates, public officials, local media and of course MH Pros.

When the economic collapse of 2008 took place, Manufactured Housing took it on the chin for the 3rd time in a decade. The first bust that began after the peak of 1998, that one was on the industry’s own. But as Marty Lavin and others have said, the industry cleaned up that act. We didn’t need to wait for regulators to do it for us. The market punished, the industry responded. That’s how its supposed to work in the U.S.A..

The other two big hits on MH? A case can be made that federal policies harmed our industry in a variety of fashions.

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There are those who agree with the Masthead position that MH ought to be doing half-a-million a year in annual shipments. Why are we struggling along with sub-100,000 shipments?

But unlike America after 9/11, which galvanized the public in the wake of terror attacks; MHVille failed to truly pull together when we experienced our industry’s ‘9/11’ in 2008.  The result is reflected in facts shown in the chart above.

Without a vision, the people perish (cf: Prvbs 29:18).

The Proper Role of Government?

An essential role of government is defense of a nation. There is also the internal security against crime or threats from incidents such as fire. Water, sewer, trash and roads can be and is done privately, as many MHC owners know. But in a populous area, those utility and infrastructure items are commonly delegated to government. Legal and judicial processes are in the public authority’s domain. 

Talk to a strict Constitutional constructionist, and they’ll tell you that the federal government has long blown past its designated limits. Let’s stop and think!

We freeborn Americans are begging the CFPB – ‘our government’ – to give us a break. We’re asking Congress to force the CFPB’s hand by passing a law – The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which HR 650 passed last spring, and S 682 is currently attached to the appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate. The irony is that the Dodd-Frank Act already allows the CFPB to do on its own what HR 650/S 682 would compel it to do.

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Jess Maxcy, President, CMHI. Quoted in the Hill Blog, see this link for a strong case for passage of HR 650, S 682.

There should be outrage among MH pros and home owners alike on this issue. When enough outrage is vented to Congress and CFPB, then we will see the needed change. Period.

We’re close. Let’s not let it slip away, because this battle will be decided in the next few weeks.

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You can call your Congressmen or Senator via the contact information found on the link here, and ask them to support passage of HR 650 and S 682 as part of the current appropriations bill. Image credit, ContacttheCongress.org

Beyond the Current Issues – Root Causes

Yes, we ought to work for that bill’s passage, which the Masthead supports. But let’s also look beyond that to the root causes, so we don’t keep fighting these multi-year battles forever!

The reason the Founding Fathers divided the powers of the federal government – and left so many matters ‘to the state and to the People’ – was precisely to avoid the kind of government overreach we’re seeing today.

That overreach is done by officials who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from those they regulate, and fail to understand. That overreach by public officials can be so costly, that it restricts and kills off business.

So as a consequence, we are seeing more businesses of all kinds fail today than start up. Small business is normally the largest driver of employment. MH retailers, communities and even factories are by definition, among those small businesses.

Here we are in an affordable housing crisis, and the CFPB and their allies are making it hard for American’s most affordable form of green, appealing quality ownership to thrive to serve those market needs.

Do you see the domino effect of government getting too big, too powerful, and is often unaccountable for the impact of its actions?

What does it harm Richard Cordray in his palatial new CFPB offices, when his policies harm those MH home owners and businesses through the CFPB’s regulations?

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Richard Cordray, CFPB. American Thinker reported in 2014 that the cost per square foot to update the CFPB’s rented office space was $590 per square foot. How does that spending help consumer protection? Photo credit, Bloomberg News.

So-called liberals in fact are imposing their will on others! War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” What those slogans from George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 reminds us is that we are living in that Topsy-Turvey Big Brother world in America today.

Listening…

Lesli Gooch has said that MHI is there to listen. It’s there to be our national voice.

Okay, let’s take that at face value. The time is now for there to be a serious effort to pull together all the various elements of manufactured housing.

Sure, we want to see HR 650/S 682 pass and get signed into law. Yes, DTS would be nice to have – even if it only adds a similar number of loans annually as FHA Title I currently yields, as some experts are telling us to expect.

But if we are to become truly effective in DC and beyond, we must mobilize far more of the MH Pros and MH homeowners than we currently have been doing.

Further, there needs to be sensitivity to the interests of independents, such as the manufacturers represented by MHARR. The only times MH has truly advanced in DC is when MHI and MHARR have worked together.

M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.

M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.

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Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, a 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

Shouldn’t that be a historic lesson we should heed?

It is in that context that the wildly popular Another Cup of Coffee with… Don Glisson Jr. should be read. Don understands the vital need for bringing independents into the broader discussion. We and others applaud Don for speaking out on such important topics.  At the recent MHI/NCC event, we heard lots of positive feedback on that topic and others in our current November issue of MHProNews featured articles.

Root Causes and End Games

At the root of our industry’s problems are a few basics. Among them, these 3…

  • Government over-reach at all levels, that keep Americans from doing what we were once freely allowed to do. That suggests we should align ourselves with others who want to see government be leaner and less inclined to the crony capitalism that plays favorites and thus picks winners and losers in the marketplace.
  • MHEducation. I will point back to James McGee and Chet Murphree’s fine point (near the end of the video, linked here), that can be
    ron-thomas-sr-rv-mh-hall-of-fame-mmhf-chairman-mhpronews-

    Ron Thomas Sr., MMHF Chairman, RV MH Hall of Fame.

    summed up as education. MHPros and the public at large need different types of education, but that education is necessary. Ron Thomas Sr. said there is a hunger to know, especially among MH independents. That too is a call for MH Education. The government won’t do it, people like you and me must. We’re doing our part. Are you doing yours?

ChetMurphree-JamesMcGee-l-c-DeerValleyHomebuilders-LATonyKovach-r-creditMHLivingNews-com-

A recent educational video by MHLivingNews, is linked here.

  • Working for the common good. I’m not talking a Utopian, Pollyanna dream-world where we all get along perfectly. That’s not in the cards for a fallen humanity. But we are able to work with each other in respectful, common-sense and productive ways, and thus advance all segments of the MH Industry – naturally including the interests of some 8.8 million MH homes, and the 20+ million living in them.

There is talk of new structures at MHI, perhaps signaled in part by an effort to get more retailers and communities into the mix. Frankly, there is more change than that needed, and that too is being quietly discussed.

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See the position proposal, Reinventing HUDs Role…, linked here.

One of the strongest takeaways from the recent MHI National Communities Council (NCC) event in Chicago was made in the hallway by a seasoned industry veteran, who (paraphrasing) said, The interests of MH homeowners and businesses are naturally aligned. Those alignment needs to become ever more a reality.

When the phenomenal value proposition that MH represents is better understood and appreciated, our industry’s challenges will slowly melt away. Unlike the war on terror, our conflict can be bloodless. Ours is an effort to win minds and hearts over, to get people to act, instead of griping and moaning or being apathetic…

…on second thought, maybe our war isn’t completely different than the war in terror after all? We must win the military battles to stop aggressors, but we must also win over minds and hearts of those terrorists and other foes, or we’ll be fighting that war far beyond Paris for generations to come.

Let Freedom Ring! ##

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“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” Inscribed on the U.S. Liberty Bell, from Leviticus 25:10. Image credit, SodaHead.

(Editor’s note to regular readers: our plan to cover a Sam Zell related topic has been postponed, to do the timely article above.)

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L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Confronting MH’s Cold, Hard, Brutal Facts

November 5th, 2015 No comments

Facts are always better than dreams. Facts provide accurate perspective of your current reality. A leader absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts!”

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(Photo credit, WikiCommons. Poster Credit, MHProNews.com ©  .)

Mark Cundiff – Learning to Lead – provides a synthesis of what Jim Collins and his team of university-level researchers published in the acclaimed business-book, “Good to Great.”

Here’s part of what Cundiff shared:

Leadership does not begin with just a vision. It begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and act on the implications.

The real question is ‘How do you manage in such a way as to not demotivate people. And one of the single most demotivating actions you can do is to hold out false hopes, soon to be swept away by events.

Spending time and energy trying to ‘motivate’ people is a waste of time and effort. The right people will be motivated – the key is not to ‘de-motivate’ them. One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.

How do you create an environment where truth is heard?

Four basic practices so people can be heard

  1. Lead with questions not answers. To gain understanding, not as manipulation or as a way to blame or put down others.
  • What’s on your mind?
  • Can you help me understand?
  • What should we be worried about?
  1. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
  1. Conduct autopsies, without blame.

This should only be to search for understanding and learning.

Not just better information, but better information that cannot be ignored

  1. Build ‘red flag’ mechanisms.

Having unwavering faith while confronting brutal facts!

3 Categories of people who had suffered serious adversity

  • Those who became permanently dispirited by the event.
  • Those who got their life back to normal.
  • Those who used the experience as a defining event to make them stronger.

This is called the hardiness factor.

People act most while on the edge of a precipice.

The Stockdale Paradox

Leaders must never confuse having faith that you will prevail in the end (which you can never lose) with the discipline to conform.

Leaders must retain faith that you will prevail in the end AND at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.

The key elements of greatness are deceptively simple and straightforward. The good to great leaders were able to strip away much of the noise and clutter allowing the organization to just focus on the few key things that would have the greatest impact.”

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(Photo credit, FoxNews. Poster Credit, MHProNews.com ©.)

Reviewing Nettlesome November’s hot Association topic

There are – and always will be – those who fail to understand why truth matters.

Some truths are exhilarating, while others are painful.  When pain exists in the body, it’s a sign something’s wrong. Ignore the pain at your own risk.

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When pain is ignored in an organization or industry, that pain is ignored at the risk or cost of what otherwise could be great accomplishments.

All clients and thousands of regular readers of the Masthead and my other articles know, we are pro-MH in a big way.  MHProNews and MHLivingNews.com are living proof of our team’s strong desire to advance MH. We routinely spotlight Opportunities. We must also candidly share threats and challenges. That’s how you confront the cold, hard, brutal facts.

What the Jim Collins Good to Great principles noted above underscore is that solutions call for reality checks.

Back to Cundiff’s summary, three more thought provokers:

  • “Charismatic leaders can actually impede the confronting of the brutal facts due to the power of their personality casting a large shadow over the organization.
  • Once leaders allows themselves to become the primary reality people worry about rather than the actual reality being the primary reality, you have a recipe for mediocrity, or perhaps even worse.
  • In order to combat this tendency Winston Churchill created a Statistical Office, with the primary function of feeding him continuously and completely unfiltered the most brutal facts of reality.”

Some are upset when we spotlight reality, which we are doing this month by quoting others, real MHPros. The Jim Collins study demonstrates that not confronting reality is an error in thinking.  Or as RV MH Hall of Famer Jim Clayton put it, you have to have data – the cold, hard facts – in order to make good decisions.

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(Photo and poster credit MHProNews.com ©.)

You advance precisely by understanding – and then fixing – what is.

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Please answer this question: who in MH Trade Publishing has done the most in recent years to promote within the industry and to the general public a more positive understanding or vision of MH?  Or who has shared more pro-association articles, including those about MHI or MHARR?

Perspective. Reality Checks. We must tap into positive energy while confronting the negative energy that exists.  That’s how you get real POWER!

It is only be shining the light on the cold, hard facts that we’ll break out of mediocrity and rise to the greatness MH deserves.

You can see the read-hot, quote-laced Masthead blog and 10 linked articles on the association topic, along with the even hotter Don Glisson Jr exclusive interview among the 22 total new Featured Articles, linked here. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##

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(2 Programing Notes – A) There will be a fresh topic in this weekend’s Masthead Blog.  B) Click the image above for a message to Congress about HUD).

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By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.