Posts Tagged ‘new york times’

New York Times-David Leonhardt-“The Monopolization of America,” Manufactured Housing Slant

November 28th, 2018 Comments off



In one industry after another, big companies have become more dominant over the past 15 years, new data show.” reads the subheading for “The Monopolization of America” by David Leonhardt.


Like an onion, many political issues have layers within layers, and sometimes they make you want to cry. This is no exception,” said Richard D. Turnquist, in discussing an issue that will interrelate to our industry, through a topic linked below.

Manufactured housing is not alone as an industry or economic sector that is experiencing a growing level of consolidation or monopolization.

That said, in manufactured housing, it has been:

  • Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) that politely has laid out facts,
  • MHIdea that pointed their finger at the ‘powers that be’ monopolizing manufactured housing, and in the last few years,
  • MHProNews that have explored the facts and evidence.
  • Frank Rolfe was a critic of MHI on several issues, until he announced about a year ago that he would go silent on the subject.
  • Blogger, former community owner. and retired Marine Lt. Col. George F. Allen has vacillated for years on the subject, which rises or falls – some have observed – depending on who is paying him for what at a given time.

Doug Ryan, CFED, which is rebranding as Prosperity Now, photo credit, MHProNews.

Then there is Prosperity Now’s Director of Affordable Housing, Doug Ryan – for the non-profit formerly known as CFED – who thrashed as monopolistic Clayton Homes and their Berkshire Hathaway affiliated manufactured home lending units. More on Ryan later, but noting for now that he’s been vocal on abuses by Clayton, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), and 21st Mortgage Corp.

Then there is:

are just some of those who’ve very specifically targeted in some fashion Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, and Berkshire Hathaway related lenders as consolidating, monopolizing or behaving in a manner they’ve argued reflects how their “strategic moat” stratagem builds over time Clayton’s monopolistic control in manufactured housing.

Scott Galloway is among the voices with connections within the tech sector who has specifically called for a breakup of what he calls the Big Four, FANG companies.


Now, as Leonhardt explains, is the latest in a growing chorus on either side of the left-right divide that gives both history and facts about the trend of monopoly in America.

With that tee up, we will review the entire op-ed by Leonhardt, which the original is found at this link here. Then, we will unpack some manufactured housing related points.

Let’s dive into Leonhardt new column.

The popular telling of the Boston Tea Party gets something wrong. The colonists were not responding to a tax increase. They were responding to the Tea Act of 1773, which granted a tea monopoly in the colonies to the well-connected East India Company. Merchants based in the Americas would be shut out of the market.

Many colonists, already upset about taxation without representation and other indignities, were enraged. In response, dozens of them stormed three ships in Boston Harbor on the night of Dec. 16, 1773, and tossed chests of East India tea — “that worst of plagues, the detested tea,” as one pamphlet put it — into the water. 

A major spark for the American Revolution, then, was a protest against monopoly. 

A strong strain of anti-monopoly sentiment has run through our politics ever since. America was born as “a nation of farmers and small-town entrepreneurs,” the historian Richard Hofstadter once wrote, “anti-authoritarian, egalitarian and competitive.” Hostility to corporate bigness animated Thomas Jefferson and Teddy Roosevelt, as well as the labor movement, Granger movement, Progressive movement and more.  

Of course, monopolies and other corporate giants have fought back against these assaults on their power, and sometimes succeeded for years or decades at a time. It happened during the age of Rockefeller and Morgan. Over the past 40 years, it has happened again.

The federal government, under presidents of both parties, has largely surrendered to monopoly power. “The ‘anti’ in ‘antitrust’ has been discarded,” as the legal scholar Tim Wu puts it in his new book, “The Curse of Bigness.” Washington allows most megamergers to proceed either straight up or with only fig-leaf changes. The government has also done nothing to prevent the emergence of dominant new technology companies that mimic the old AT&T monopoly.  

This meekness has made possible the consolidation of one industry after another. For a long time, though, it’s been hard to figure out precisely how much consolidation. The available statistics just aren’t very good, which isn’t an accident. In 1981 — around the time that the Reagan administration was launching the modern pro-monopoly era — the Federal Trade Commission suspended a program that collected data on industry concentration. 

Fortunately, researchers in the private sector have recently begun filling in the gaps. On Monday, the Open Markets Institute — an anti-monopoly think tank — is releasing the first part of a data set showing the market share that the largest companies have in each industry. You can see the main theme in the charts here: Big companies are much more dominant than they were even 15 years ago. 

Dominance of Corporate Behemoths

The combined market share of the two largest companies in many industries has grown in recent years, often because of mergers.


By The New York Times | Source: IbisWorld and Open Markets Institute;
“Early 2000s” ranges from 2002 to 2007, depending on data availability.

Mergers are one big reason. Another is the power of so-called network effects — in which the growth of, say, Facebook makes more people want to use it. True, a few industries have become less concentrated, but they are exceptions. If anything, the chart here understates consolidation, because it doesn’t yet cover energy, telecommunications and some other areas. It also doesn’t cover local monopolies, such as hospitals that are dominant enough to drive up prices. 

The new corporate behemoths have been very good for their executives and largest shareholders — and bad for almost everyone else. Sooner or later, the companies tend to raise prices. They hold down wages, because where else are workers going to go? They use their resources to sway government policy. Many of our economic ills — like income stagnation and a decline in entrepreneurship — stem partly from corporate gigantism. 

So what are we going to do about it? It’s time for another political movement, one that borrows from the Boston Tea Partiers, Jefferson, T.R. and the other defenders of the economic little guy. 

The beginnings of this movement are now visible. Top Democrats believe that anti-monopolism can be a political winner for their party. It’s a way to address voters’ anxiety over high drug prices, digital privacy and more. “The control of business over certain segments of the economy,” says Senator Amy Klobuchur of Minnesota, a potential presidential candidate, “I think it will be a much bigger thing going into 2020.” 

Klobuchar has offered a good bill that would raise the legal standards for merger approval. But preventing future mergers won’t be enough. Eventually, the government will probably need to break up existing giants, as it did to the old AT&T and Standard Oil. One obvious candidate is Facebook, which has gobbled up Instagram, WhatsApp and other businesses.

And corporate bigness doesn’t need to be a partisan issue. Senator Mike Lee of Utah is among the Republicans who have expressed concern about it. Conservatives, after all, are supposed to care about the ideals that monopolies undermine — like market competition, economic dynamism and individual freedom. Ultimately, monopolies aren’t only an economic problem. They are also a political one. 

“We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few,” Louis Brandeis, the Supreme Court justice and anti-monopoly crusader, said a century ago, “but we can’t have both.”

More from Opinion on big business:

Opinion | Tim Wu: Be Afraid of Economic ‘Bigness.’ Be Very Afraid.Nov. 10, 2018

Opinion: Is Amazon Bad for America?Nov. 15, 2018

Opinion | David Leonhardt: The Charts That Show How Big Business Is WinningJune 17, 2018 

David Leonhardt is a former Washington bureau chief for the Times, and was the founding editor of The Upshot and head of The 2020 Project, on the future of the Times newsroom. He won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, for columns on the financial crisis. @DLeonhardt Facebook



The Slant from the Independent’s Resistance Tower in MHVille

What’s been uncovered by following the money trail, facts, tips, and evidence in manufactured housing could be summed up like this.

Warren Buffett’s “strategic moat” principle is arguably more than just waiting for some business or economic circumstances to provide him with ‘value’ or ‘bargain’ acquisitions in sectors that make sense to him and Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger.

  • Buffett has supported political candidates whose platforms promise more regulation that are harder for small companies than bigger ones.
  • Buffett’s Berkshire brands not only allowed negative news coverage to create negative headlines that spur headwinds. His own donations to non-profits like the Tides Foundation have funded the protestors, opposition groups, and even negative news on Clayton/et al.
  • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) is not the only non-profit that a Berkshire manufactured housing brands have opted to fund and dominate, arguably for their own benefit.

All of this has been documented, argued, and underscored using Warren Buffett’s, Tim Williams’, and Kevin Clayton’s own words.

See the reports, linked above and below.


The Impact of Monopolistic Moats on MHVille and America 

The cost to our nation is estimated at $2 trillion dollars in lost economic activity.

What the New York Times op-ed by Leonhardt does is provide is yet another reason why honorable and thoughtful professionals, business owners, investors, home owners, renters – and the homeless – could come together on.

End the monopolies.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

NOTICE: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two.

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Related Reports:

Center for Public Integrity – Stunning Clayton Homes-Warren Buffett-Berkshire Hathaway Manufactured Home Lending Truth Outs


Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

Brad Says POTUS Trump is Right: More than Facebook & Twitter, Google Threatens Democracy, Online Freedom

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

New York Times Review of “Mobile Homes”

November 27th, 2018 Comments off


NewYorkTimesReviewDarkStarPicturesTrailerMobileHomesVladimirDeFontenayImogenPottsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsIt is stating the obvious to observe that the news media, as well as the entertainment world, has an ability to influence the perceptions of readers, viewers, and listeners.


As the majority of front-line industry professionals, serious investors, owners, executives, and management know, tens of millions of our fellow Americans have false or mistaken perceptions about modern manufactured homes. That’s sadly true on both sides of the U.S. and Canadian borders.

One example of that misconception is that millions of Americans still call them “mobile homes,” even though here in the U.S., there have been no mobile homes built since June, 15, 1976. That is the date that the federal HUD Code for manufactured housing went into effect. All of those homes built on a frame to those federal standards on or since that date are properly known as “manufactured homes,” not “mobile homes.” 

The recent New York Times review of Mobile Homes says none of that, which is no surprise. Rather, their review focuses on the performance of Imogen Poots, who has a growing following for her blossoming acting career. 

Each film, every TV episode, or news report about post-federal code manufactured homes and pre-HUD Code mobile homes arguably offers a unique opportunity for the manufactured housing industry to address its perceptual challenges.




How so? Why? Because we should be defining and framing ourselves as an industry.  We can point to a potentially appealing way of life available to millions, says industry publisher and expert L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. Otherwise, professionals are allowing others to define our industry, your business, and profession.

When others are defining you, that can be to your detriment.

Rephrased, movies like Mobile Homes will shape perceptions, rightly or wrongly, about our part of the affordable housing industry, homeowners, community residents, and your business.  When more than 1 in 3 in the U.S. are renting, and some 85 percent of those want to own someday, shouldn’t defining or redefining the industry be a higher priority?





You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

Imogene Poots, Vladimir De Fontenay’s Video Look – “The American Dream,” “Mobile Homes”


The Daily Business News on MHProNews, as well as MHLivingNews have each previously done a review of the previews, prior to the formal release of the movie Mobile Homes. ICYMI, or want a refresher, those are linked above and below.  The MHLivingNews article is still getting good traffic, which is another part of the reason why it was done. But our goal was not to promote the movie, per se.  Rather, it was to get our industry’s professionals thinking about the film in terms of framing a narrative.


“2nd, 3rd, & 4th Chances,” the “American Dream,” “Mobile Homes” Movie, Video Trailer Reviews


When the New York Times review shown below was emailed to us, as important as that mainstream news media source is, we knew that it had to get some measure of additional coverage here on MHProNews.

Here’s what Ebiri wrote in the New York Times.



This still from the movie was part of the NYTimes review.

Imogen Poots’s turn as a troubled, unwed mother living on the margins in “Mobile Homes” presents a terrific showcase for her abilities: The tense dance of anguish, joy, panic and hope on her face is often riveting. If only Vladimir de Fontenay’s film could match the sheer expressive power of its actress.

Poots plays Ali, who with her 8-year-old son, Bone (Frank Oulton), and her scuzzy boyfriend, Evan (Callum Turner), works a variety of hustles to make ends meet, from selling fighting roosters to dealing dope. Their unmoored existence is matched by the drifting, elliptical style of the film — so much so that we’re not always sure exactly what’s happening onscreen.


A preview of the film.

Their circumstances often put Bone in danger, and after one particularly nasty near miss, Ali and her son find themselves crashing in a mobile home community that promises some basic safety and comfort. Robert (Callum Keith Rennie), the tough builder who oversees the homes, gives her a job and suggests that she may be able to stay there indefinitely. The meager pleasures of this new world seem light years away from the chaos of their former life.

Throughout, Poots keeps her character grounded in a state of wary anticipation: When she starts imagining a better future for herself, it’s clear that she is battling a lifetime of demons. But her wonderful performance is all too often stuck inside a fragmented, unclear narrative that confuses more than it evokes. This is an atmospheric, well-acted film that leaves us mostly cold.

Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes.



## End of NY Times Review ##


As a disclosure, we have not yet gone to the theater to see this film, and that’s been intentional.

We first wanted to see what, if anything, others in the factory-built home industry might say or do. We also wanted to see how the movie would be received by audiences and reviewers.

Movie rating platform, Rotten Tomatoes, gives the following snapshot of “Mobile Homes.”



As usual, our purpose in this report is nuanced. This movie has struggled at the box office. Is it an opportunity in disguise for our industry?


So, there you have a sense of what others are saying about this film. Bear in mind, that millions who won’t see the film, will nevertheless hear about it, or read reviews like those shown.

To pardon the play on videography’s words, our industry’s image is arguably being framed more by others than by our industry’s professionals.



Those others might see manufactured homes and communities as a place where people like this couple can end up. They may, to borrow from the NY Times review by Elibri, think of characters like Poots, as a “troubled, unwed mother living on the margins in “Mobile Homes

That’s not necessarily all bad.  But it isn’t glamorous either, is it?



What if properly prepared adults – say one out of every five living in a pre-HUD Code mobile home, or a post-HUD Code manufactured home – watched the Dark Star PicturesMobile Homes” movie? What if they sat down with a friend or family member who is renting to watch the video?  What if after watching it, they  discussed some of the themes, like second chances, and the American Dream? There are scores of ways that such a production might be useful to various interest groups.


Some may watch this flick, and wonder if they could get a fresh chance at life in a “mobile home.” The trio of Ali, her son, and boy friend “…works a variety of hustles to make ends meet, from selling fighting roosters to dealing dope. Their unmoored existence is matched by the drifting, elliptical style of the film…”

Naturally others will see reviews like the above, and it will further embed the vexing image of ‘hustlers and petty criminals’ who pick this as a way of life. As one reviewer above suggested, it could further engrain the notion of ‘poor white trailer trash.’  That sounds like a sad page out of a script from the Trailer Park Boys series on Netflix.

Every media account – good, bad, or meh – nevertheless offers our industry’s professionals an opportunity to help frame or reframe the narrative.

What if, anything, has your firm or association done to frame the narrative that the New York Times, Rotten Tomatoes, and others are projecting about the lifestyle choice of some 22 million Americans in the U.S?


2 Examples of How Engaging or Not, Framing or Not Framing a Message Matters in MHVille

2 recent mainstream news incidents reports, each linked below, reflect very different ways that two community owners reacted to problematic news about their respective businesses.


Jury Awards Millions to Residents in Suit Against Controversial Community Operator


Above, there is Kort and Scott, which has largely opted to allow others to frame their narrative. It is arguably costing them millions, based solely upon the jury’s verdict.




Then there is Caleb Walsh, who is mixing-it-up with local public officials and news media in a market he has properties.  Walsh, in contrast to larger Kort and Scott, is at least making an effort to frame the story that will shape how others perceive his business and efforts.  It remains to be seen what Walsh and his colleagues do longer term that could help or harm his investments, possibly for months or years to come.

Because thousands who read or view such news reports in local media will accept them at face value, how will it impact those businesses?


Public Official, ABC News, Manufactured Home Community Owner Clash Over Resident Concerns

You are either striving to define your business, or are allowing others define it for you. Every media narrative LATonyKovachMHLivingnewsMHProNewsPHotorepresents an opportunity in disguise. Media engagement is an opportunity that comes dressed in overalls, looks, and behaves much like work. Framing a narrative is like any other investment. You either invest the time, talent, and treasure needed, or you don’t. That in turn either costs you money, or makes you money,” said award-winning MH industry veteran and publisher, L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Pop culture – including movies, and ‘entertainment’ – such as Ready Player One, Trailer Park Boys, and Eight Mile are all part of the milieu that defines our industry to tens of millions.  Each of those listed in this paragraph are problematic.

Local news frames our profession’s image too.  But as our prior review on MHLivingNews noted, there is hope for reframing the message of the Mobile Homes movie for which Imogen Potts is getting several rave reviews.

Think about who reads movie reviews. Consider those who watch videos, and go to the movies.  Ponder those who read or view the news. What do you want people of means, influence, or possible buyers to think about your profession, or your specific business?

As the year 2018 winds down, and thousands of professionals have been – or are planning for 2019 – this is a good time to step back and ponder how you want to define, or redefine, your business in your market.  For more on that, see the related reports, further below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

“Ready Player One” Movie – Unsubtle Slam on Manufactured Housing?

Ford and Toyota Teach Manufactured Housing Professionals and Investors


“All the News That’s Fit to Print,” “Democracy Dies in Darkness,” Affordable Housing, MH Reality Checks

August 9th, 2018 Comments off



Wheat and chaff. Take the best information that a source provides, sift out the chaff, and voila! You have useful information.


The headline two quotes above are from the old tag line of the NYTimes, which brought the industry the sensationalistic “The Cold, Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U. The second is the new tag line from the Washington Post, which brought the industry this year another bittersweet report, that opened with the words, “A Once Obscure Office at HUD…”

The industry doesn’t need hyperbole to make its case. What it needs are reality checks, a healthy does of moxie, and the profit motive via honestly sold goods and services.


Click the above to learn more or register for the event, which is unrelated to the article.

Trade journalism is a sister to mainstream journalism, but with a significant difference. The thoughtful trade journalist is arguably trying to tell their industry’s story, in a way that advances the cause of the industry being covered. The trade journalist should know their industry, better than outsiders do.

The new featured articles for August, and latest reports are lnked below. It starts with the special Masthead, as shown.\

FEDs, MHI, Buffett’s Berkshire’s Clayton Homes Moat, Affordable Housing, and Billion$ in Manufactured Home Market Manipulation


Click the above to learn more, which is not connected to this report.


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

November 28th, 2017 Comments off

WhereManufacturedHousingJournalismMeetManufacturedHomeNotMobileHomeIndustryProNews_001There are some who due to habit, bias, ignorance, or other limiting factors simply don’t know or see the truth on a given issue.

That naturally applies to manufactured housing, and to journalism too.

Those who say that journalism is dead are exaggerating.

Far more accurate to say that journalism is made up of people. All people have areas of knowledge, ignorance, and biases.

There are also areas one may think they are informed about, but in fact, are misinformed on.

 That can include, but isn’t limited to:

  • modern manufactured homes,
  • journalism,
  • politics,
  • economics,
  • social, historic,
  • or other issues.

The corollaries are also true.

Some in manufactured housing distrust a given source, because something about them may not fit their world view. Some like CNN, others prefer Fox, etc. Each tends toward a bias.


Not only should journalists seek understanding and the truth, but so should investors, doctors, attorneys, scientists, business professionals, etc., etc. The facts and the truth matter, and are worth the effort.

Understanding requires considering the objective Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of good journalism, which includes using other perspectives.  Once something is properly understood, only then it can be properly communicated to others.


Manufactured Housing and Journalism

Given the incredible affordable housing crisis, there are many causes for the industry’s relatively low numbers.


Some of those causes are internal to the industry, other limiting factors are external.

What the precise mix of cause and effect are is a debatable point.

But what isn’t up for serious argument is that some factors are more harmful or limiting to the progress that can and should be made by the HUD Code manufactured home (MH) industry than other factors are.

Against that backdrop, there’s a rumor that Frank Rolfe has been ‘silenced’ on a variety of manufactured housing industry issues.


If so, that’s interesting. Because he recently wrote in MHR that he was no longer going to engage the media.  


Now, besides the self-evident contradiction (writing for media, while saying he will no longer address media), one might ask, if Rolfe is being silenced, why?  

If Rolfe is being silenced, then by whom?  What leverage would someone – or some group – have over the rising portfolio community owner, to get him to be silent? 

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

But if Rolfe has indeed decided to stop commenting to media on MH Issues – or has been stopped from commenting about the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), etc. – does the industry’s professionals really need to hear more than what Rolfe has already said, on the record, and/or on camera?

Rolfe has:

  • Blasted MHI and Nathan Smith for “hypocrisy,”


  • said MHI’s Preserving Access bill was a waste of time, and had no chance,

  • said MHI’s failure to engage the media was harmful to the industry,
  • stated that his statistics on community counts are correct, implying MHI’s are wrong.

Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds, George Allen, Manufactured Home Community Controversy Continues

  • …and so on, and so forth.
  • Rolfe has also said there are nice people at MHI. Of course. Who would dispute that? 
  • But if MHI is truly ‘the leader’ of the industry, who else shoulders the blame for the performance the graphic below highlights?

If MHI is the national leader, as they claim, how do they respond to the “who is responsible” for the current state of the industry question that is quietly posed by this chart produced by Ross Kinzler, then with the WHA? Note the rhetorical question is posed by MHProNews, not Kinzler.


Berkshire Hathaway Owned Brands, and Frank Rolfe

A highly placed source at 21st Mortgage told MHProNews,Yeah, we work with those guys,” meaning, Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds and their colleagues.

Frank and Dave have also plugged 21st, and Clayton Homes, too.

The ‘when and substance’ of the 21st/Frank & Dave conversation was not revealed.

Is it a stretch to think that an ask was made?

The MH Industry and Frank Rolfe

As MHProNews and MHLivingNews have previously reported – and is common for anyone with a higher profile – Rolfe has supporters and detractors in the community sector, and the industry in general.

Sensationalistic ‘Cold Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U’ New York Times article  by Gary Rivlin draws Manufactured Home Industry Ire, Desire and Fire

The so-called resident groups and some non-profits have also made Rolfe a brand they like to wield against the industry in their own media engagement.


The collage above is part of a fact check on Kevin Borden, who’s organization has targeted Rolfe and his comment. and related media coverage.

The quote attributed to Rolfe, that living in a manufactured home community is like a Waffle House where the customers are chained to their booths” is a club used by non-profits and resident groups against not only Rolfe’s organization, but the community sector in general.

That “infamous” quote – Rolfe’s words – used by the non-profits has also been cited by Time in their “Home of the Futurereport on manufactured homes earlier this year.  Time said, “It’s like owning a Waffle House where the customers are chained to the booths,” in the words of Frank Rolfe, who co-owns more than 250 parks across…” the U.S.

Tampa Bay in a 2014 report cited that same Rolfe quote, adding, “Even more enticing for investors: The supply of mobile home parks [sic] is largely static.”  The Tampa Bay article ran under the headline, “Mobile home park investors bet on older, poorer America,” which noted that “About 1.8 million Floridians today choose to live in a mobile home…”


To keep the number of SIC’s in this article to a minimum, it is only being used at this one point. Since there have been no mobile homes built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976, it’s not factually accurate to call most land-lease communities a “mobile home park.” A commonly misused term doesn’t make it the correct name. Media should learn and use the correct nomenclature, just as they would for people, products, and professions other than manufactured homes.  The article linked below goes through the proper use of terminology on several common factory-built housing industry issues.

Your Words Matter: Proper Terminology for Factory Built Homes

Rolfe Reacts to the Mainstream Media on his Own Waffle House Quote

On his own MHU blog, Rolfe said “Several media outlets have recently used my old quote that the mobile home park “is like a Waffle House where the customers are chained to their booths”. However, they have taken the quote completely out of context, and the truth takes the air out of their sensationalism, unfortunately for them.”

Rolfe states in that post that the it – the infamous Waffle House quote – “…was used to describe the incredibly consistent revenues of the mobile home park asset class.”

His MHU post then bullets these points.

  • But it really does cost a ridiculous amount of money to move a mobile home
  • But it costs a whole lot more to move a stick-built house
  • But that does not mean that you can’t sell your home if you want to move – just like traditional stick-built homes
  • So why would you move a mobile home?
  • So the “Waffle House” quote meant consistent revenue, not lack of freedom of choice…”

In fairness to Rolfe, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) engaged Dick Ernst to speak to PBS about their now infamous report on manufactured housing, and it was widely viewed that quotes from Ernst were not his strongest points made.

About Responding to PBS Newshours ‘Bad Bargain’ report by Stephen Fee

Whether it is Rolfe, MHI, or anyone else, certainly the case can be made that virtually all media picks what goes in, and what falls to the cutting room floor. That editorial selection process can slant a story from being accurate, to misleading, or worse.

Which is why MHProNews has for years provided link-backs to the entire statement made to our publication, so that thoughtful readers can dig deeper, if desired. An example is the Tim Williams quote above.

That MHProNews journalistic practice is

  • rather unique,
  • is being pioneered by us,
  • acts as a self-check/public check on our accuracy,
  • and thus encourages all involved in the process, knowing they will get what are often emailed comments accurately reported. No ‘gotcha’ journalism. Who else in MH trade media does as much?

The video Williams referred to about PBS is posted at the link below.

What PBS NewsHour Missed About Manufactured Home Living

If Rolfe has indeed ‘hung it up’ in speaking to other media than his own, hasn’t he as an MHI member already laid out the case against MHI’s shortcomings, in his own words?

Hasn’t Rolfe also – by word, deed, and experience – shown the rewards and pitfalls of engaging a media that often, as he said, seeks to sensationalize a story?  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, fact checks, commentary.)

Related to the Rolfe comments on MHI.

Note: Another related report is planned, and that link will be added below as an update.

(All third party image credits are as shown and are provided under fair use guidelines.)


L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY. Kovach has a proven history of respect for residents, homeowners and is pro-MH Industry. He’s the publisher of the industry’s two largest and most popular trade media, and

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Managing Member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC.
Publisher of and
host of the Inside MH storytelling video series.
Expert, consultant, and service provider to the MH industry.



4 and 0 – Special Elections and Manufactured Housing – Clayton, Connor, Hamilton

June 29th, 2017 Comments off

SpecialElectionGOPDemsSpecialElectionMHProNewsI don’t care whether you are a liberal, conservative, independent or something else – the bottom line with this year’s [2016 presidential] election was simply more of the same or something new, different or unique,” said Tim Connor, CSP.

Jim Clayton told MHProNews that “my thinking is increasingly optimistic and tends to align with those Republican leaders who are creatively saving-face while migrating back to the fold – and to PresidentDonald the Disruptor.”

But reading or watching much of the mainstream media makes it clear that many feel differently than Clayton’s founder or those who support the “Donald the Disruptor” agenda. #Resistance, insults to the president, his supporters and our industry from those like Keith Olbermann – reported here – have been headline news.

Georgia 6, MSM and MHVille

For several months, the mainstream media (MSM) covered the run-up to the Georgia 6th district special election.


Karen Handel and Jon Ossoff, photo credit, Britany Photos, provided under fair use guidelines.

Republican Karen Handel won Georgia’s special election on Tuesday, June 20th.  That win kept in the GOP 4-0 vs. Democrats in the post-inauguration special elections.  The race pitted Handel – who emerged from a crowed Republican field – to defeat a young, appealing-to-many Democrat, Jon Ossoff.

While manufactured housing is far from a homogenous group politically, informal surveys have suggested that the professionals in the industry tend to favor President Donald J. Trump’s agenda.

A New York Times survey pre-election in 2016 indicated that most “mobile home” [sic] residents also tended to favor Trump.

DefiningSICinJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-comBoth MHI and MHARR have officially welcomed the Trump Administration, notably on areas where regulatory roll backs, pro-growth business policies are being advocated and advanced.


GMHA – the View of Handel-Ossoff from GA 6th


Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

The New York Times and the DNC [Democratic National Committee] decided to take this election and show Trump was such a poor President that even a Moderate Democrat could win in a typically Republican suburban district north of Atlanta. Trump only carried the 6th District by 2% because this district has been slowly shifting toward the Dems for the last few years,” said Jay Hamilton, Executive Director for the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA), to MHProNews.

All the [pre-election] polls showed Ossoff winning by a few points,” said Hamiliton, “but as it [the race] tightened up, the polls never [properly] reflected the change.”

Hamilton pointed out that record sums were spent, most of it from out-of-state. He noted the appeal of Ossoff and that he had many of the qualities that might have won Democrat.  “They were millennial hunting,” he with Ossoff, he said, trying to get someone who sounded fiscally conservative but socially liberal.

The GMHA exec recalled that “Handel is a very vocal opponent to abortion due to her devout Christian faith,” adding – “she left as Vice President the Susan Koman Cancer Foundation in a stink because she was encouraging them to not fund Planned Parenthood…” Hamilton noted one of the key errors in the Democratic strategy.

The “DNC made a huge deal out of how important this election was to them. They should have kept that to themselves. [They] Kept bragging about Trump was going to hand this to them. This brought out all the Republican voters as well as the Dems who voted for Trump to vote against DNC.”

Hamilton detailed several tactical and strategic errors the Democrats made, including: “They ran a candidate who could not vote in his own district that he was running in. He lives two districts a way.  Bad, Bad, Bad move as [POTUS] Trump would say.”


Screen capture from GMHA website, shown under fair use guidelines.

What this leaves the DNC with is an 0-4 record, in some cases after having spent huge sums of money in a local race.  Early estimates for this GA6 contest indicate it was the most money ever spent on a congressional race.  Hamilton tells MHProNews to expect to see more of Ossoff in the future, as this is the kind of candidate the DNC is looking to win with.

NBC News’ Chuck Todd has said that while the president doesn’t have a clear majority, he does have a clear polarity of voters, describing his followers a the biggest thing out there in politics today.

Michael Bloomberg – who has considered an independent run for the White House and leans left – has stated that at this point, President Trump is well on his way toward re-election in 2020.

But the current GOP in the House and Senate may – or may not – fare as well, unless they get some key legislative items like a publicly acceptable repeal and replace ObamaCare, and tax reform done.

Democrats are still trailing in fund-raising, so given a mixed mood about the Congress, a plurality for the president and the DNC in disarray, the next 18 months are up for grabs. ##

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

SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News on

Trump’s Negative News Coverage Belies Public’s Positive Pesky Facts

May 23rd, 2017 Comments off

The President and First Lady visit Saudi Arabia. 300 billion in deals were completed during the visit. Credit: The White House.

While various narratives continue from talking heads and media pundits about President Donald Trump’s lack of progress, the numbers don’t lie.

As the Daily Business News covered in a feature story yesterday, while President Trump continues to make progress, including the lowest unemployment rate in decades, and the highest consumer, business confidence, and homebuilder confidence numbers in years, along with over $300 billion in deals with Saudi Arabia, what ELS Chairman Sam Zell colorfully called a “cacophony” of Deep State resistance has moved into high gear.

And that cacophony is shown in a new study from Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, which looked at the news coverage of the President over his first 100 days in office.

The study, based on an analysis of news reports in the print editions of The New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, the main newscasts of CBS, CNN, Fox News, and NBC, and three European news outlets – the Financial Times and BBC, and Germany’s ARD, show the power of media and the creation of echo chambers.


Credit: Harvard.

President Trump dominated media coverage in the outlets and programs that were studied, with the President being the topic of 41 percent of all news stories.

This is three times the amount of coverage received by previous presidents. He was also the featured speaker in nearly two-thirds of his coverage.

And with that coverage, which the President has received almost non-stop for most weeks of his presidency, without a single major topic where the coverage, on balance, was more positive than negative, setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president.


Those Pesky Facts…

New research from Gallup shows that Americans are less worried about eight specific financial issues than they were last year, with concerns about some issues falling to their lowest levels in a decade or more.


Credit: Gallup.

U.S. adults are most concerned about not having enough money for retirement and not being able to pay medical costs of a serious illness or accident, with 54 percent saying they are ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ worried about each. These two concerns have typically been the most worrisome issues for Americans since Gallup began asking about the collection of eight financial worries in 2001,” said Justin McCarthy, a Gallup analyst.


The Manufactured Housing Industry Speaks

With President Trump’s election in November, many in the manufactured housing industry saw tremendous value in a pro business, pro growth administration stepping into place.


Tim Connor, CSP. Credit: LinkedIn.

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,” said Tim Connor, CSP.

Eddie Hicks, a long time MH industry veteran and consultant shared his take.

M/H owners are certainly one of the ‘hidden majority’ who may have felt somewhat disenfranchised in recent years,” said Hicks.


D.J. Pendleton. Credit, MHProNews.

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 comin‘,” said Texas Manufactured Housing Association executive director DJ Pendleton.

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….” Said MHARR President & CEO Mark Weiss, JD.


L A ‘Tony’ Kovach, credit, MHVillage.

As well as the markets and new job creation are already responding to his initiatives, where could we be if there wasn’t a non-stop assault on our new president?” said MHProNews and MHLivingNews Publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach.

For more on President Trump’s progress, and challenges, click here. ##


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



RC Williams, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.


(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

Trump Administration Readies Budget Cuts, Familiar Name on List

February 23rd, 2017 Comments off

Credit: Media Matters.

As the Trump Administration prepares its first budget, a familiar name is on the chopping block.

Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps, the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), parent of National Public Radio (NPR), are all in the crosshairs for cuts.

According to the New York Times, Representative Mick Mulvaney, a spending hard-liner, is now in place as budget director and his office is ready to move ahead with a list of nine programs to eliminate, in an effort to reorder the government and increase spending on defense and infrastructure.

The total amount of annual savings from cutting these programs would be in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion, which would be comparatively small. However, Trump administration officials have said that they want to highlight the agencies in their coming budget proposal as examples of misuse of taxpayer dollars.

A balanced budget is fine,” said President Trump in an interview with Fox News.

But sometimes you have to fuel the well in order to really get the economy goingI want a balanced budget eventually. But I want to have a strong military.

Some feel that the targets on the Trump Administration list don’t make sense.

Steve Bell, a former staff director of the Senate Budget Committee who is now with the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the programs identified in the memo would be of little significance in the government’s financial picture.


Credit: 12 Bytes.

It’s sad in a way because those programs aren’t causing the deficit,” said Bell.

These programs don’t amount to a hill of beans.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, the CPB and NPR not only receive government funding, but also solicit donations from viewers and listeners. NPR recently produced a segment that cited UMH properties in Nashville, Tennessee, which not only included misinformation, but was also picked up by the Tennessean, which in turn contradicted a recent story they did on UMH, which highlighted how pleased residents were with their communities.


Credit: iMediaEthics.

With huge deficits and mounting debt, should U.S. taxpayers be funding any media,” said MHProNews and MHLivingNews Publisher L.A. “Tony” Kovach, commenting on a recent op-ed on the topic, “other than video feeds from CSPAN or social media posts by agencies that allow citizens to follow their government’s actions?

LATonyKovach-Louisville-2015-mhpronews-com-275x156Kovach continued, speaking to “agenda journalism (as opposed to legitimate editorializing, which should be in a different part of publication) is the recent case of NPR’s attack on private investor owned manufactured home communities. and dug into those issues, revealing facts that NPR simply ignored. When we contacted NPR for comments on clearly overlooked third-party information that ran counter to their narrative, their reply? That they stand by their reports, said Kovach.

Of the targets on the list, backers of the National Endowment for the Arts are very likely to put up a significant fight to survive.

The public wants to see agencies like the N.E.A. continue,” said Robert L. Lynch, head of Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit organization.

There is always a debate, but there has been agreement among Republicans and Democrats that funding for the arts is a good thing, and it has been kept in place.

But, Stephen Moore, a Heritage Foundation economist, says that “powerful constituencies” are behind many of the programs that are in the crosshairs.

Even so, he believes that since Republicans are now in control of the government, they need to make good the promise made to voters not only during the campaign, but over many years.

I think it’s an important endeavor to try to get rid of things that are unnecessary,said Moore.

The American public has a lot of contempt for how government is run in Washington, in no small part because there is so much waste.

The original NPR segment on UMH is linked here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

RC Williams, for Daily Business NewsMHProNews.

NYT – Rent to Own Houses Blur Lines, can harm Tenants Seeking Ownership

August 24th, 2016 Comments off

OwnerRenter-creditRealEstateSyracuse-postedDailyBusinessNews-MHProNews-The purported road-to-home ownership cloaked as “Rent to Own” is often found to be harmful and misleading, reports The New York Times.

Although housing prices have recovered from the financial collapse of 2008, borrowers with less than stellar credit reports and those seeking to finance lower priced properties are left to their own measures, the NYTimes says in a recent article.

Unfortunately numbers of tenants are falling victim to the blurred lines between home ownership and reworded rental contracts.

Vision Property Management, the Columbia, S.C. company targeted by the NYT investigation is an example, one of many throughout the nation.

By operating within legal loop holes and gray areas of the law, they are able to take advantage of what are described as unsuspecting tenants through their seller financed ‘Rent to Own’ deals.

These cases often end on a bad note, the NYTimes argues.  Families hoping for a chance at ownership may opt to live in non-inspected, ‘as-is’ houses in need of major repairs.

Since homes are eventually required to abide by the building code, the violations become the responsibility of the tenants, who are threatened with eviction notices if they fail to comply.

The NYTimes report stands in stark contrast with the manufactured housing industry’s affordable new home option, which in many markets, offers a viable alternative to the same demographic group that thinks they want rent to own, when in fact what the desire is ownership; their name on a mortgage, title or owning a home that is free and clear of debt.

The reason some non-profit organizations such as CFED initially find a lot of appeal with manufactured housing, is precisely because low-income households are able to obtain good homes at reasonable prices.

While rent-to-own in housing – and lending to lower credit scores – has been made more challenging by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, one of the unintended consequences is the loss of potentially viable options to many housing seekers who desire ownership, not rent receipts.

Examples of this was reported in depth last year in Renters Nation – The Dark Side of Dodd-Frank and its Impact on Affordable Housing.  ##

(Image Credit: realestate.syracuse)


Frank Griffin, Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Article submitted by Fank Griffin to Daily Business News – MHProNews.

MHI CEO Richard Jennison Defends H. R. 650

June 1st, 2015 Comments off

dick jennison  rvbusiness  creditIn response to an article by the editorial board of The New York Times in the May 20, 2015 edition which asserts that the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act (H. R. 650) would increase predatory lending to consumers of manufactured housing, and would give Clayton Homes 90 percent of the market (among other assertions), Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO Richard Jennison defends H. R. 650: “Today’s federal rules are hurting homeowners and prospective homeowners by deterring lenders from entering the manufactured home (mobile home) market. This results in fewer lenders and less competition, hurting consumers.

Noting it neither weakens consumer protections nor favors one company, Jennison says instead it favors American consumers of unsubsidized, affordable housing while continuing to afford protection against predatory lending. For the MHProNews story on how the current regulations harm consumers, click here. #

(Photo credit: Manufactured Housing Institute-Richard Jennison)

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comArticle submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News-MHProNews.

Frank Rolfes, knowing how to find Limelight, touts ways to purchase and run ‘mobile home parks’

December 10th, 2014 Comments off

manufactured-homes-com=credit-posted-daily-business-news-mhpronewsWhile there are those in the manufactured home community side of the industry that abhor the ‘t-word’ or having their properties called ‘a mobile home park,’ on the other end of the spectrum is Frank Rolfe.

First, give the man and his associates their due. Their total communities would place them around #10 among the larger community owners.

Rolfe finds his way into the news, through stories like the New York Times’ Cold Hard Lessons of Mobile Home U,’ which drew a flurry of commentary, for and against by industry pros. The article sparked a recent comment by Dana Hawkins-Simmons in the National Housing Institute’s (NHI) e-publication, Rooflinesseen here.

In a recent article, Rolfe sounded off in favor of the National Community Council (NCC) recent fall event in Chicago and the NCC’s Vice President, Jenny Hodge. He took that opportunity to ‘dis’ a rival – and unnamed – community owner and consultant, who once appeared routinely at MHI and NCC events, and has since been marginalized by those organizations.

Writing in the Journal of Mfd Housing, under the heading, “The end of B.S. – thank heavens,” Rofle asserts,What was notable at the event was the absence of many self-styled gurus who people used to listen to. They have been discarded as the industry has grown up and the professional owner/operators demand concrete qualifications of their experts.”

The “Mobile Home U” partner says that no one questioned him at the Chicago NCC event about his use of terminology. Indeed, with video footage of MHI’s current chairman using similar terminology, it might make it difficult for some industry members at an event with both present to do so.

Says Rolfe’s, “The industry is poised for a major shift for the good, and childish arguments have been cast aside to make way for more important adult topics and negotiations.” On this point, there is wide agreement.

Indeed, the industry is poised for a major shift, but the debate over the use of the ‘t-word’ or ‘mobile home’ terminology is far from over, as the new interview with Murex Properties and NCC Chairman Steve Adler suggests. In fact, the just-posted article on the “Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical” points to the heart of the impact of the very challenge that Rolfe claims is no longer an issue, namely image.

Dana Hawkins-Simmons and others such as NextStep CEO Stacey Epperson take an opposing view, believing what you call something matters to the public and thus to the industry.

Indeed, ELS Chairman Sam Zell famously said at last year’s NCC event, “Pencil head, it’s not a trailer park.”

Writing in NuWire, Rolfe outlined options for purchasing and financing a manufactured home community. Such articles are Rolfe’s way of getting and staying in the limelight, in order to attract a steady stream of attendees to “bus tours” of MHCs and “boot camps.” These draw potential investors, those who aren’t chasing the same locations the larger portfolio operators seek.

The Mobile Home U partner’s suggested ways to buy a community include,

  • Seller Financing
  • Bank Loans
  • Conduit
  • Master Lease with Option
  • Assignment

Give Frank Rolfe his due. Their operation grows, he has a swashbuckling style listeners find entertaining. Many of this boot camp graduates have gone on to varying degrees of success. He and his peers market, market, market.

The debate over proper use of terminology will rage on, with one wing showcasing a great image, and the other wing of the industry saying the public calls it a ‘trailer’ and ‘mobile home,’ why shouldn’t we?

But is the photo shown above what people imagine when you say the word “trailer” or “mobile home?”

Perhaps the 1.32 billion dollar sale of image-and-brand-building American Land Lease to Sun Communities might have settled that debate, but at least for now, that hasn’t resonated with enough people on the ‘mobile home’ terminology wing of the industry. ##

joseine-josie-thompson-writer-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com50x50-(Photo Credit: Manufactured Homes)

Article submitted by Josie Thompson to – Daily Business News – MHProNews.