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“Economic Racism.” Angry Residents, Students, Civic Leaders Fight Plan to Ban Affordable Manufactured Homes, Industry Professionals Sound Off

April 9th, 2019 Comments off

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The proposed action by the City of Bryan is an unvarnished and discriminatory attack against lower and moderate-income citizens who rely on manufactured homes as affordable, non-subsidized housing.  The proposal is seriously misguided at best, as noted by Tony Kovach and Lance Inderman, and stands in direct conflict with the legitimate goals and objectives of federal law, which supports the unfettered availability of manufactured housing for ALL Americans.  The City would be well-advised to be extremely cautious about taking any such ill-advised step.”

 

Mark Weiss, JD,

President & CEO

Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

 

 

The local NBC affiliate, KAGS news video, posted below, tee’s up for newcomers to this topic the painful and politically charged controversy.

 

 

Attorney and MHARR leader Mark Weiss’ words about the importance of not overstepping the federal government’s authority under the provision of “enhanced preemptiontakes on a new meaning and urgency when read in the light of the written statements of the residents of Bryan, TX.

 

 

KBTX 3 from Bryan provided the video above which likewise helps frame the events unfolding there.  One civic leader who called the Daily Business News on MHProNews yesterday said that the city’s planning and zoning (P&Z) and some municipal officials were “lying to the people” of Bryan about the proposed plan to ban inherently affordable manufactured homes.  While he didn’t elaborate, long-time MHProNews readers are aware of cases in various parts of the country where special interests encouraged local leaders to help them profit from thinly-veiled or hidden agendas.

 

Frustrated, Angry, Pleading Residents of Bryan Sound-Off to Protect Their Right to Affordable Manufactured Homes

What follows are a series of quotes from letters and messages by residents to city officials in Bryan.  They were provided by a civic leader to the Daily Business News on MHProNews, and each comment is in response to their municipality’s planned ban on manufactured housing in areas of the city that are currently allowed.

Among those residents of Bryan, Texas protesting a planned ban on manufactured homes is a former American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) member. The AICP is a designation from the American Planning Association’s professional institute.

Robin Rabinowitz wrote to the City of Bryan to say the following.

 

RobinRabinowitzBryanCollegeStationTX-CityPlannerMasterUrbanPlanningAICPManufacturedHomeBan

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Dimple Susebery wrote to say she is “…totally against…” the proposed ban.  Another frustrated resident and local businessman made his case as follows.

 

HowardHillManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerBryanTXProposedBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Ms. G. Wade wrote the city, with a gut-wrenching plea that finished with, “...please take the time to think of the people who will end up with nothing.”

 

MsGWadeCastleHeightsBryanTXProposedMobileManufacturedHomeBanPeopleWillEndUpWithNothingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

 

I’m a black male,” said Jonathan Jackson in his typed message to municipal officials. Jackson said, “…we pay taxes, what’s up with our rights…” Jackson said he doesn’t earn a lot of money, who are you [i.e.: city officials] to tell us we can’t buy a mobile home?

 

JonathanJacksonBryanMobileManufacturedHomeBanPlanBlackMaleWhoAreYouToTellUsWeCantGetMobileHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Charles Nelson and Hendrix Nelson said it was a right and a need for some to choose the affordable manufactured housing option.

 

CharlesNelsonHendrixNelsonBryanmobilemanufacturedhomebanDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Missy King, President of the Bryan-College Station Regional Association of Realtors, said that the city would be diminishing the supply of affordable housing if this plan is passed. King said that there were numerous unintended consequences such a move could yield.

 

BryanCollegeStationMissyKingProposedMobileManufacturedHomeBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

A self-described investor in manufactured homes – who’s letter had the typed name “Mark Smith” – was essentially alone in arguing for the ban among the messages provided to MHProNews.  Smith’s comments are apparently self-serving ones, as he says he is only for manufactured homes being placed in manufactured home communities – which a local source said he owns at least one. Smith’s letter says not even new manufactured homes should be allowed on the hundreds of sites in the city presently vacant, lots where federally preemptive HUD Code manufactured homes would be welcomed under current law if this city ordinance is defeated.  His message can be read along with all others provided to MHProNews, at this link here.

Robert Patten in an apparent email to city officials said, “We pay for it [our property, our manufactured home], we should always own it. I’m for the American way. God bless the USA.”

RobertPattenWePayForItThisIsUSAGodBlessUSABryanTXMObileManufacturedHomeBanDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

In another message, Patten wrote city officials to say he felt that their constitutionally protected rights were being violated by the city’s planned policy.  That raises a point that too few ponder, because public officials must take an oath of office, that routinely includes the pledge to uphold the U.S. Constitution.

 

RobertPattenConstitutionalArgumentPropertyRightsBryanTXPlanBanMobileManufacturedHOmesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

Elaine Washington blasted the city fathers for not building very good conventional housing, while defending her family’s right to own a manufactured home on their own land.

 

ElaineWashingtonBryanTXMobileManufacturedHomebanOppositionDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

To see a larger size version of this document, click here.

 

 

Economic Racism?

A local source that looked at records of those who owned a HUD Code manufactured home or pre-HUD Code mobile home in Bryan said that well over half appeared to be a minority, based upon their surnames.

Several members of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) sounded off to MHProNews off the record. Lance Inderman, as Mark Weiss’ quote above indicated, sounded off on-the-record to the City of Bryan, as well as to the various nonprofits, media, and other public officials to whom Kovach’s letter was emailed.

 

Inderman wrote, “To Bryan City Officials and All Others in this thread.

I’m a former long time serving board member and chairman of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA) and a partner in Jessup Manufactured Housing and Platinum Cottages who both build manufactured homes here in Texas. We have a retailer who sells our homes in Bryan, so we are definitely an interested party.

That disclaimer noted, as a lover of free enterprise and limited government, I would largely concur with what Tony has written. 

Thank you, 

Lance Inderman.”

 

Inderman is part of the self-proclaimed “MH Militia.”  A photo of the “militia” below was taken in Tunica, MS recently at the industry trade show there.

 

LanceIndermanDonnieBrewerIndermanFamilyMobileHomeMilitiaMHMilitaMemberPhotoTunicaMS3272019MHProNews600

 

 

Letter Cited MHARR, Federal, NAR, Other Sources

As Weiss’ comments indicated, MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach sent a detailed letter to Bryan’s mayor, city attorney, and city council members. The 10-page document addressed to Bryan was sent via email, and included CCs and BCCs to several:

 

  • nonprofits,
  • manufactured home industry members from firms of all sizes,
  • industry associations that ought to be involved,
  • federal and state officials,
  • along with mainstream media,
  • attorneys, and others.

 

The letters, messages and pull-quotes from Bryan residents shown above were sent to MHProNews by a Bryan civic leader who heard about Kovach’s letter.

Apparent Hispanic, African American, and Anglo ethnic group members were among those the weighed in via email and/or by phone to MHProNews about their frustrations there.

Among those who called or emailed MHProNews, some took the time to express their thanks to Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach for their help in battling for the rights of the city’s residents.

Some of those who contacted this trade media platform indicated they had heard about the 10-page letter from Kovach to the City of Bryan that Weiss and Inderman referenced, but had not yet seen it. They asked for copies to be emailed to them.

A Hispanic caller said he planned to be at the council meeting Tuesday night, and he wanted that 10-page letter for potential use with city officials. Tony Kovach stated in his email to that resident the following:

 

If you look carefully at the attached, it debunks their economic arguments, and also makes the legal cases for why what the City of Bryan is doing is – IMHO – illegal.  It violates federal law.”

 

That document from Kovach is linked here. It is laced with third-party and legal references.  It explains why what some city leaders in Bryan hope to achieve could backfire, as Seattle and other cities that didn’t protect affordable homes and manufactured housing had painfully discovered.

ICYMI, or have not yet seen the sobering story “Seattle is Dying,” that viral video and related report can be accessed at the hot-linked text-image box below.  In a nutshell, a lack of affordable housing was forcing growing numbers into tents, cars, or cardboard boxes. Residential and commercial properties had their sidewalks lined up with those homeless. Despair, drugs, addiction, and crime are among the vicious cycle of tragic outcomes of not having sufficient numbers and price-points affordable homes.

 

 

Beyond referencing the point that city leaders were essentially deciding between conventional homes sitting side-by-side with either manufactured homes or tents and boxes of the homeless, Tony Kovach also made two legal arguments based upon federal law. One cited “enhanced preemption,” and linked a report on the federal preemption topic from the MHARR website.

Another legal argument made in the letter to Bryan was the principle of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH).

Among the off-the-record discussions by phone and via messages from sources in Texas were statements that to the effect that if the city leaders in Bryan errantly pass their proposed manufactured home ban, that legal action should follow. Indeed, some of the linked non-profits already have a track record of such suits, successful ones.

 

Bryan City Officials

While Bryan’s city officials have not formally acknowledged they have the 10-page document from Kovach, a similar shorter summary was faxed by MHProNews to various city officials days ago, and fax confirmations noted that those transmissions were received. Furthermore, some of those who called or emailed MHProNews said that they learned about the Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach emails from city sources.

So, there is no plausible doubt that the City of Bryan has the messages from Weiss, Inderman, and Kovach.

The Kovach letter to Bryan city officials noted that a student activist group he addressed in a separate memo – the Young Dems of BCS – are also busily trying to stop the ban against manufactured homes. See more about the Young Dems in the downloadable item linked here.

 

Bryan City Council Meets Tonight

Sources on the ground in Bryan tell MHProNews that they will report back on what occurs Tuesday night at the council meeting. Stay tuned.

As thousands of regular MHProNews readers know, prior outreaches to two other cities in recent months that included MHARR’s Mark Weiss and Tony Kovach resulted in both of those cities saying they were stopping their planned restrictions on manufactured homes. One city formally thanked MHProNews and MHARR for their input.

See those examples of successfully halted scenarios in the related reports, below the byline, offers, and notices.

The front-lines for the vexing zoning wars in the U.S. today are centered in Bryan, TX. That’s this morning’s edition of “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing.” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

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Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage

Rumble over Anti-MH Law-State Association, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and MHARR

Money, Minorities, Manufactured Homes – Foiling the American Dream of Affordable Housing

 

“Time to Enforce the Law on Federal Preemption”

HUD Study, Analysis of Zoning Discrimination Against Manufactured Housing Sought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Financial Choice Act, with MHI Bill, Heading to Floor Vote, Outlook, Analysis

June 8th, 2017 Comments off

JebHensarlingGOPFinancialServicesTheHillDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe Financial Choice Act, what some are calling version 2.0, passed out of the House Financial Services Committee in May on a partisan line vote, 34-26.

Financial Choice is back in the news, as the full House takes up the measure.

A Google search on Financial Choice Act 2017 brings up tens of millions of results.  Depending on the media outlet you pick, the news or editorializing paints the bill to be either grand, or a horror, for businesses and consumers.

Partisan Politics, 2017

The Hill reports Maxine Waters, ranking Democrat from CA saying, “The ‘Wrong Choice’ Act is a vehicle for Donald Trump’s agenda to get rid of financial regulation and help out Wall Street. It’s a deeply misguided measure that would bring harm to consumers, investors and our whole economy. The bill is rotten to the core.

By contrast, House Speaker Paul Ryan, (R-WI) said at a press conference Wednesday, “This legislation comes to the rescue of Main Street America.”  Ryan called the bill “the crown jewel” of the GOP deregulatory agenda. “The Financial CHOICE Act makes it possible for small businesses across this country to stop struggling and to start hiring.”

MHI’s Attached Bill to Financial Choice

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) celebrated several weeks ago that their Preserving Access bill was attached to the act, and thus passage of the act would mean passing their bill.

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Lesli Gooch. Credit: MHI.

MHI’s Lesli Gooch’s May 4 email to members said in part, “MHI’s efforts to pass the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act are multi-pronged. The association is seeking opportunities to move the legislation through the regular legislative process and is also seeking opportunities to attach the language to other legislative vehicles that are moving. MHI’s goal is to ensure the needed changes contained in the bill to make financing available for manufactured housing are passed into law as soon as possible. Inclusion of the language in the Financial CHOICE Act is a critical milestone, and an example of MHI’s comprehensive strategy.”

What’s missing from their self-proclaimed “compressive strategy,” as regular Daily Business News readers know was the opportunity to sign onto the PHH vs. CFPB case with an amicus brief.  When MHProNews specifically raised the strategy for an amicus brief with MHI, how could that option have been overlooked?

The “10,000 grassroots contacts” MHI’s Gooch crows about, where is that heading?

The Preserving Access bill (version 4.0 – 2017’s version is dubbed HR 1699), is sponsored by Garland ‘Andy’ Barr, Republican from Kentucky’s 6th Congressional district.  Barr has spoken as a true believer in manufactured homes, and one of his speeches in favor of manufactured homes is covered in a video and article, linked here.

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Gooch notes in the message to MHI members that: “Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, is bipartisan legislation introduced by Reps. Barr (R-KY), Sinema (D-AZ), Poliquin (R-ME), Sewell (D-AL), Kustoff (R-TN), and Rice (D-NY). The companion bill for the Senate is expected to be introduced soon.”

What is it that their allegedly weaponized messages to members fails to mention, again?

Uh, Oh…

The challenge with the Financial Choice Act – even from the perspective of supporters – remains the same as was previously reported on the Daily Business News about Preserving Access.  The odds of passage of the HR 1699 bill, per GovTrack is 1%, which today cites Skopos Labs as their source for their estimate.

GovTrackPresveringAccessManufacturedHousingActHR1699ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What about the Financial Choice Act’s odds of passage?

GovTrack reports those odds are better, but are still a weak 14% chance of being enacted, again per Skopos Labs.

Hr10FinancialChoiceAct2017ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

So while the Financial Choice Act is expected to pass in the House, what are the odds in the Senate?

MHIGotCloutWheresTheBeefMHProNewsThe Collingswood Group, what sources tell us is a DC think tank and lobbying shop, state they expect the Financial Choice Act – and thus MHI’s rider attached to it – to pass the House.  But the bad news is that Collingswood likewise expects the bill to die in the Senate too, just as GovTrack reports.

Will MHI alert their dozens of industry members, getting ready to fly into Washington, DC to hear about all that MHI is doing on this front, about those facts?  Or will they instead send out a “Housing Alert,” once the bill passes the House – touting that “success” as they’ve done previously?

Do MHI members deserve the truth, the whole truth, or are they guilty of what they accused Ohio Governor John Kasich of, telling only half truths, or worse?  Do the principles MHI applied to the governor, apply to themselves?

By-Bye Baby…

While MHI has made their primary focus the passage of Preserving Access,  the $15 million dollars spent over the past 5 years – not counting PAC dollars – certainly went to places like salaries (of which Jennison, Gooch and her predecessor have made about $2.5 million in compensation over the past 5 years, per data MHI filed via form 990).

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Lance Inderman, credit, MHProNews.

Industry success and veteran, Lance Inderman, prior chairman of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association (TMHA), told MHProNews that:

It’s my personal opinion that we have incrementally given up every bit of financial freedom we had. Dodd Frank was a big increment, along with ObamaCare. I’m of the opinion that giving up key parts of the reform to get a “win” for posterity makes no sense.”

Inderman elaborated by saying, “We need to keep educating the populace and Congress on the facts that we [in manufactured housing] compete on a different price point, and therefore a different finance scale with their multi million dollar ocean front homes, paid for by their donors.”

Bob Crawford, multiple award winning retailer of historic Dick Moore Housing, told MHProNews that, state associations “do a great job.” But Crawford told MHProNews that he gives MHI at best “a 5 out of 10“ in their effectiveness.

As one source with deep ties to MHI told MHProNews,MHI is acting like a secret society, with only the inner circle fully informed, and most other members trusting them, following in good faith, or unable to effectively protest or even question leadership.”

Award winning industry veteran, L.A . “Tony Kovach asks, “Why does MHI’s tight band at the top allegedly want only their side of the story told to the industry? Why have they threatened MHProNews with legal action for providing documents given to us – in many cases, by their members – or for reporting to the industry on issues such as DTS, Preserving Access, pending DOE energy standards, and others?”

A link to a comparison between MHI and MHARR their self-stated mission and budgets, per their 990s, is found here.

A link to an analysis of Richard “Dick” Jennison and Lesli Gooch’s compensation, is found here.

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Marty Lavin, JD.

As dozens of MHI members prepare to fly into Washington, D.C. to listen to lectures by MHI staff on all they are doing, consider the words of MHI award winner, Marty Lavin.

Lavin has often said, “follow the money,” and “pay more attention to what people do” …and accomplish… “than to what people say.” ##

Related topics:

 

Judgment Day for CFPB

Source – Manufactured Housing Institute Violated Law, Conflict of Interest?

Faked, Weaponized News Harms Manufactured Housing Homeowners, Professionals?

Richard Jennison, Lesli Gooch, Worth Millions to MHI Industry

Hot New, Different, Regulatory Topic that MHI is Missing a Key Point On (HUD, Pam Danner), linked here.

(Image credits are as shown above, and when they are the property of third parties, are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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