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Rewarding Bad Behavior? City Threatens Evictions, MH Residents Push Back

October 27th, 2016 Comments off
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A home at East End Mobile Home Park. Credit: Inside Nova.

A manufactured home community in Manassas, Virginia is facing a unique set of circumstances.

The city is ready to step in and solve a long running sewage problem at the community by purchasing it.

But only if the residents move off the property.

According to InsideNova, residents of the East End Mobile Home Park have been long subjected to spewing sewage into their yards, lots of promises to resolve the issue and inaction.

I’ve had sewage under my trailer [sic], underneath the porch,” said long time resident Jill Hurdle. “My mom couldn’t come out here and sit because it was worse than living with your face against a skunk’s butt…It’s frightening when you have so much toiletry coming at you. 

Hurdle told InsideNova that she’s been calling the city for years about problems with the sewer system.

But because Manassas doesn’t own the infrastructure, the city hasn’t been able to come in and make the necessary repairs, according to city spokeswoman Patty Prince.

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East End Residents attend a Manassas city meeting. Credit: Potomac Local.

In a review of public documents by InsideNova, the city has been pressuring attorneys representing property owner Helen Loretta Clarke to make the necessary repairs for at least seven years.

In one letter from July 2009, city deputy director of water and sewer Dominic Brancaccio told Clarke’s lawyer that the city discovered “many issues” by doing “smoke testing” on the system. Brancaccio noted that many of the problems in the community were in violation of city code, and threatened, “court action to correct these issues” if Clarke did not provide an action plan to fix them.

According to InsideNova, the two sides corresponded several times over the years, with the city frequently threatening action. But Clarke’s attorneys ultimately claimed that she lacked the funds to repair the sewer system and couldn’t get a loan for the process, leading to an impasse.

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Inside of the East End mobile home park. Credit: Inside Nova.

As Daily Business News readers are aware, delayed actions by some government agencies have caused issues at various places around the country, most recently in San Antonio, which we covered here.

Our system, for better or worse, is vulnerable to dragging things on because the state tries not to tread on people’s property rights,” said Manassas Vice Mayor Jonathan Way.

The City Takes “Action”

The city of Manassas worked out a deal to buy the property for an assessed value of $1.86 million and agreed to offer relocation assistance of up to $2,300 per household via its Department of Social Services.

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Jonathan Way. Credit: City of Manassas.

This action may cause unintended consequences.

Vice Mayor Way wishes the city had never waded into the dispute in the first place. He voted against the move to buy the land in April, claiming it “rewarded bad behavior” by the property owner.

I don’t mean to be hard-hearted, but the city didn’t create the situation. The landowner created the situation,” Way said.

The city doesn’t have a legal responsibility to relocate people. We made a gratuitous gesture, it was kind of small, and if that were supposed to cover everything, it would nowhere near be adequate. But the city isn’t trying to cover everything. It’s trying to be a helper, not a bail-outer, and the residents, if they have recourse, it’s against the landowner.

The department is limiting the aid it offers based on each household’s monthly gross income. This is a stipulation that state Sen. Jeremy McPike, (D-29th District) believes will hurt many of the “working families” in the park who make just enough money to miss out on those funds.

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Jeremy McPike. Credit: Twitter.

This also is going to potentially wreck their credit scores, so this really is a double whammy; you lose a home, and you take a hit to your credit,” McPike said.

We want to make sure that they explore what these options look like…with the goal of providing some means and mechanism to secure their financial viability without having to declare bankruptcy.

The city of Manassas is concerned for the welfare of its residents,” said city officials in a fact sheet on the matter. “Allowing the property owner time to close the property and providing some assistance to renters is evidence of that concern.

Yorceli Reyes, who recently moved to the community, felt that the plan the city had to buy the property and force 58 families to move was not ideal.

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East End Resident at meeting. Credit: WAPO.

We plan to move to a home, in six years, five years, but for right now, this is a good place,” Reyes said. “There’s no crime, like in other neighborhoods. It just isn’t fair.

Another Option

Local advocates may provide residents the ability to stay or get additional financial relief.

While Senator McPike told InsideNova that it’s unclear just what form that assistance might take, Lee Carter, a Democrat running to represent the area in the House of Delegates’ 50th District, said he managed to connect the residents with an attorney to help them explore legal options.

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Jonathan Francis. Credit: LinkedIn.

Jonathan Francis of the Dumfries-based Smith Francis Law Group has agreed to examine the issue free of charge, and is working with people in the park to see who might be interested in his representation on a pro-bono basis.

CASA, a Latino advocacy group, is also working with residents to offer resources and draw attention to the situation.

This includes the possibility of a cooperative to buy the property.

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CASA logo. Credit: CASA.

They’d be able to take ownership of where they live, and there’s a certain amount of pride and stability in that,” said Michelle LaRue, senior manager of CASA’s group’s health and human services programs. “And that’s the typical American dream, being able to own a little piece of property for your family.

Francis told InsideNova that if he were retained by any of the residents, he’d pursue action to reduce the rent they’re paying until they have to leave in February or even get some of their rent refunded. However, he said he doesn’t have the expertise to pursue a suit against the property owner or the city, and believes another attorney could step in for that process.

Thomas Simeone, an attorney specializing in personal injury and civil rights cases with the Washington, D.C.-based firm Simeone & Miller LLP, also believes that the residents may have a case to stay on Constitutional grounds.

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Thomas Simeone. Credit: First.

You could argue that ‘the government is trying to use a private party to avoid paying ‘just compensation’ under the Fifth Amendment,” said Simeone.

This is something that a court may need to resolve, which is something that could generate a settlement. Both sides would likely prefer to pay the residents to move than to pay the costs of a multi-year court case. Plus, the government or owner still has to deal with and pay for maintenance of the property, including the sewage issues, pending resolution of the case.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story as it develops. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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

 

Hillary & Hispanics, 1.4M Losing Obamacare, Assange’s Internet Cut, WAPO: Election Heating

October 18th, 2016 Comments off
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Julian Assange. Credit: Carl Court, Getty Images.

With 20 days left until the U.S. Presidential election, the U.S. Government has apparently arranged to cut Internet access to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

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Credit: Twitter.

 

USA Today Study

 

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Credit: Getty Images.

While hailing what they dub as the “Trump Effect” for a “marked increase” in Hispanic voter registrations, the facts indicate that Democratic and Hispanic groups just have not surged the numbers beyond the growth of the Hispanic population in general, according to a USA Today report, shared by NewsMax.

Voter registration is up 3.8 percent from 2012, which, can be explained by 2.9 percent population growth since 2012 and 10-percent growth among the Hispanic population since 2010, according to USA Today’s analysis among the 50 counties with the largest Hispanic populations in 10 swing states.

Hispanics now comprise 12 percent of the electorate, an increase from 10 percent in 2012, according to the study.

Republicans are ignoring this growing electorate, and these numbers show that Democrats are leaving a lot of votes on the table too,” Al Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum told USA Today.

But the pro-Clinton L. A. Times daily tracking poll suggests that the Trump campaign may be doing better with Hispanics than is generally reported.  Even with the LA Times subtly or directly attempting to influence their own poll with their coverage and graphics, their poll has nevertheless consistently shown Trump close, ahead and able to bounce back.

The details of their polling indicates a surprisingly strong support for the Trump/Pence campaign among Hispanics, as is reflected in the second tracking poll below.

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Credit, LA Times polling by racial groups. Click to see the image full size.

Over 1 Million to lose ObamaCare Coverage

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Credit: Newsmax.

People around the U.S. are finding out that their health insurance plans will disappear from ObamaCare next year. This will force many to find new coverage at a time when a number of insurers are looking to exit the program, thus shrinking options.

According to Newsmax, At least 1.4 million people in 32 states will lose the Obamacare plan they have.

Aetna Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and some state or regional insurers quitting the law’s markets for individual coverage largely cause this issue.

Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage begin next month. Fallout from the quitting insurers has emerged as the latest threat to the law, which is also a focal point in the U.S. presidential election.  Minnesota’s Democratic governor and former president Bill Clinton are among those who have recently blasted the failures of the program.

According to Bloomberg’s interviews with regulators and insurance customers, plans will be fewer and more expensive, and may not include the same doctors and hospitals.  That is the opposite of the results promised in ‘selling’ the program in Congress.  The Affordable Care Act – a.k.a. ObamaCare – has consistently been under-water in public polls, and was a rallying cry in mid-term election years that resulted in Republican control of first the House, and then the U.S. Senate.

Instead of growing in 2017, Obamacare could shrink, according the research by NewsMax. As of March 31, the law covered 11.1 million people; an Oct. 13 S&P Global Ratings report predicted that enrollment next year will range from an 8 percent decline to a 4 percent gain.

Bloomberg contacted officials in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and the 1.4 million-person estimate includes 32 states and only plans sold on the individual “exchange” markets.

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Credit: WhiteHouse.gov.

In Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Missouri, insurers have pulled out, but regulators couldn’t or wouldn’t say how many people are affected. Three states didn’t provide sufficient data.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said on Thursday that it will contact people losing their coverage and encourage them to sign up with new plans.

The law requires all Americans to have insurance or pay a fine.

As is true for the nation at large, anecdotal evidence indicates that most manufactured housing professionals are unhappy with the law’s negative impact on business, the rising costs and shrinking coverage of healthcare.

Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Clinton +4, But There’s More…

Credit: WAPO

Credit: WAPO

The poll, released on Sunday, shows Clinton up 47% to 43% in a four-way race, which is within the margin of error. Independent NewsMax sees this is a clear sign that Trump may be regaining his momentum, with 20 days remaining until Election Day.

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Among the Clinton Campaign revelations by WikiLeaks are comments that disparaged Latinos as ‘needy.’ A recent study demonstrated that 96% of campaign contributions by journalists, editors and those with reporting ties are giving money to the Clinton Campaign. Image credit, Fox News/Sean Hannity shown, which AdWeek noted has surpassed all other cable news shows in their most recent survey of cable news viewership.

Highlights From Sunday’s Report

The Daily Business News published a media first – the exclusive revelation of how Apple was using an update in their iPhone’s iOS10 update – a widget that was promoting anti-Trump news headlines, or pro-Clinton headlines.

Revelations by WikiLeaks, Including Those Impacting or with Implications for the MH Industry

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Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Pinterest.

What was widely under-reported last week was the release by WikiLeaks of what Bernie Sanders and his followers asked for repeatedly during his campaign for the Democratic nomination for the presidency.  Namely, the transcripts of Hillary Clinton’s speeches to Goldman Sachs and others on Wall Street, for which Secretary Clinton was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars per speech.

The full transcript of those three leaked speeches are found at the end of this report.

Tyler Durden, writing for Zero Hedge, provided one of the more in-depth looks at what the three leaked speeches, and what those documents reveal about Clinton’s true positions.

As MH industry professionals know, Dodd-Frank has been wildly unpopular with retailers, community operators – indeed virtual all who directly or indirectly benefit from the sale of more manufactured homes.

Some of the bullets from the thousands of emails released are shown in the blue graphics = produced by Fox News – found on this page.

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One of the many adverse consequences of the Dodd-Frank act has been the closure of hundreds of community banks and lenders.  MHLivingNews reported a number of MH industry operations that stopped lending, due to regulatory risks, one of those reports is linked here.

What WikiLeaks has spotlighted are a series of vulnerabilities in the Clinton Campaign. MHProNews publisher L. A. “Tony” Kovach has noted that, “Too big to fail” and “too big to jail” are becoming the new normal in U.S. politics in recent years, as opposed to the historic American rule-of-law.  The full election update from Sunday is linked here.

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Kovach notes that public polling shows that most view the political and economic playing field in America has tilted toward the largest companies and rich donors, both of which can afford the high cost of political access.  That leaves the vast majority of Americans and small-to-medium sized businesses out in the cold.

Editorially, without claiming to speak for any of our sponsors, MHProNews has taken the position that builder Trump’s policies are better for manufactured housing and better for the nation. MH industry associations are unlikely to formally support a candidate, because they will have to work with whomever the eventual winner is.

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Credit Fox News, Sean Hannity Show, note – all images on this page are shown under fair use guidelines.

Before and After the Final POTUS Debate, the Wild Card of WikiLeaks

The third and final presidential debate will be carried by the major news networks live, and is this Wednesday starting at 9 PM ET. Before and after the debate, the impact on the race of the steady drip, drip, drip of thousands of leaked Clinton Campaign emails is hard to predict.

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Credit – Fox News, Sean Hannity Show.

Republican strategist Karl Rove notes that polling suggests that some of the swing away from the Trump campaign could be recaptured, if the GOP candidate “stops talking about the sexual allegations against him” – as many of those have already been discredited, and instead “focus on the policy issues” that make Trump/Pence the clearly superior choice for minorities, men and women, indeed the nation as a whole.

The following are a partial list of reasons why Kovach observes the campaign positions publicly held by Hillary Clinton are worse for America, worse for home ownership in general – and in the view of MHProNews editorially – worse for manufactured housing in particular.

  • Clinton promises she will keep Dodd-Frank, while Trump promises to repeal Dodd-Frank, which he says is harming business and job creation.
  • Clinton promises to raise taxes and increase regulations, while Trump favors reduction of job-killing taxes and regulations.
  • Clinton will keep ObamaCare or perhaps go to a Canadian-style single payer system, while Trump is for repealing and replacing ObamaCare, which is failing before the nation’s eyes, and which even Bill Clinton has called “a crazy system.
  • Clinton has said she favors open-borders and free trade, while Trump proposes defending borders, U.S. workers and businesses.

Trump has now set a record for having the most small-donors in GOP history.  His rallies and polling demonstrate more enthusiasm for his America First movement than Clinton has in her smear Trump effort.

In a change election year, her policies would only continue what has already proven to be a failure for the nation.

Manufactured home residents are some 7% of the U.S. population.  In a tight election, the balance of power could lie with the industry’s professionals and our homeowners.

We Provide, You Decide. © ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

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