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FHFA, GSEs and the Duty To Serve Manufactured Housing – Mark Weiss, JD – Viewpoint

December 14th, 2016 No comments

Chattel lending is crucial to the availability of affordable manufactured housing for American families, representing as much as 80% of consumer loans for the purchase of new manufactured homes.

Knowing this, Congress specifically included manufactured home chattel loans in the “Duty to Serve” provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

The total exclusion — thus far — of those loans from two proposed DTS implementation rules is, therefore, incomprehensible and has never been explained or justified in any credible way by either the GSEs or the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).

TenYearDelayDutyToServeGSEsManufacturedHousingMMarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformIndustryVoicesMHProNews-

The headline and graphics on this page are provided by MHProNews, and not the writer. Other viewpoints on this or other manufactured housing related topics are welcome. Image credit, MHProNews.

The nearly ten year delay in properly implementing this simple and straightforward congressional directive has harmed both consumers – who have been left hanging with no remedy — and the industry, which continues to suffer from unnaturally low production levels due to discrimination by the GSEs.

While a mandatory pilot program including chattel loans – combined with a specific commitment to transition to a full “going basis” securitization model within a short and finite timeframe — would potentially be a step forward, a chattel “pilot program” in itself would not fulfill the mandate of DTS. ##

M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-75x75-Mark Weiss, JD
President & CEO
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)
1331 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Suite 512
Washington, D.C. 20004

Congressman Steven Stivers, UMH Properties, Ohio Manufactured Home Association Meet

April 12th, 2016 No comments

Ohio Congressman Steve Stivers (co-sponsor HR 650) and John Ryan, (Ohio U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown) spent nearly two hours at Haydens Heights MH Community in Dublin, Ohio (UMH Properties, Inc.). The tour was arranged and led by Sam Landy, CEO of UMH Properties, Inc.  Joining Sam was Tim Williams, Executive Director, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, UMH’s Ohio team led by Bob Vanschuyver and Angela Smith, Jim Gallagher of Skyline Homes as well as others from UMH.

Sam led a tour of two homes in the community along with a discussion about the challenges of financing customers as a result of unintended restrictions from the Dodd/Frank Act.  Sam emphasized the current barriers to allowing MH sales people to discuss financing with potential customers. Of equal importance, the group provided detailed information to Congressman Stivers and Mr. Ryan involving the MH lifestyle, homeownership and/or rental costs as well as demographics of the MH homeowners. Tim Williams provided an Ohio perspective discussing among other items, the strong consumer installation program in Ohio and the Ohio market place in general. 

OHCongressmanSteveStiversJohnRyanSenatorSherrodBrownStaffUMHPropertiesOhioManufacturedHomeAssocSamLandyTimWilliamsBrettTaft595x446

Left to right, John P. Carney, Kristi McGovern, Angela Smith, John Ryan, Elmer Thomas, Joe Gilligan, Samuel A. Landy, Robert Van Schuyver, Tim Williams, Brett Taft

Williams said, “Sam and the UMH team have been a tremendous asset in Ohio for our industry image. The UMH example of professionalism and their significant investment of purchasing and upgrading 29 communities in Ohio in recent years has been a hallmark of excellence we are able to showcase in our state. I believe the two hour meeting/tour was of genuine and sincere interest to Congressman Stivers and John Ryan (Senator Brown). Both leaders also indicated any potential to move HR 650/S 682, would likely be as an amendment to larger legislation. ”

 tim-williams-ohio-manufactured-home-association-mhpronewsTim Williams
Executive Director
Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA)
244 Bradenton Avenue
Dublin, Ohio 43017
Office: 614-799-2340
Fax614-799-0616
Emailtwilliams@omha-usa.org
Website: welcomehomeohio.com 

Editor’s Note:

MHProNews commends such meetings with public officials, commends the efforts of all those named above, encourages others to do likewise and share their stories with industry readers here..

 

MH Industry’s Trade Shows – Lessons from Other Industry’s Trade Events

April 7th, 2016 No comments

Tony, In a follow up to our discussion, I wanted to review a few touch points we covered regarding the NADA Convention and Expo that could be useful to the manufactured housing industry and its trade shows.

There are many obvious differences between the NADA convention and the one in Tunica or Louisville, but the concept is essentially the same, “To provide value, education, business growth opportunities (best practices) and industry harmony – one unified front to effectively deal with the challenges facing the industry.”

These can be explained in simple terms:

Value

Creating value in a destination conference that gives both exhibitors and attendees a no-brainer decision to leave their business, invest in the cost of travel, hotels and out of office costs associated with the event, knowing they will get a return on their investment through education, best practices and the knowledge gained to improve their business and bottom line.

Education

Bringing in experts in various specific subject matters to provide the valuable knowledge needed to compete in our ever changing business climate. Even if they come from a different industry, many businesses face very similar challenges. Those who do not evolve in this world WILL be left behind.

Business Growth Opportunity (best practices)

Contacts, product exposure, and networking are all ways to learn about best practices. What works for some businesses may very well work for another. Exchanging ideas and communicating with thought leaders also provide education and information not covered in many sessions or seminars.

Industry Harmony

By creating this overall environment it becomes easier to convey the ever changing issues facing the industry today. This continued exposure and spread of this information will get more people pushing the wagon in the same direction supporting the strength in numbers theory which is proven.

By bringing this type of value to convention/conference events is will go a long way towards moving the needle on any fence sitters who may find other reasons to either not attend or just stay for a shorter time period. There is a goal to make the event a stronger draw than the need to get back to the office a day or two earlier. If you can provide that type of value, then attendees and exhibitors will all win.  

Following these concepts, we had strong growth for the convention linked below.

NADA-AutoConvention-creditNADAguides-PostedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-com-

Tony, I have provided a pretty strong blueprint to what I feel may be some of the solutions to help improve the good things that already happen at MH Industry trade shows, to build on the foundation that is already in place. As we discussed, having education each day – not just the afternoon before the show opened – could have been a magnet for dozens if not hundreds of pros to stay longer or come on day 2 or 3 of the event.

Below is a link to the agenda schedule coming at the NADA auto dealer’s event. The education list is a long one, but worth while to review and see what is being offered. I’m in no way saying that this is what the MH industry should cover, but it does show the depth and detail in what’s being presented to an industry that just had record breaking sales in 2015. If MH wants growth records broken too, getting the best possible trade show is a piece of the puzzle for making that happen. ##

http://www.nadaconvention.org/nada2016/Public/sessions.aspx?ID=7840&sortMenu=110003

LennySimsNADAguides-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-Lenny Sims
CBDO
National Appraisal Guides, Inc.
3186 “K” Airway Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Direct Line (714) 619-2062
Main Office (800) 966-6232 x235
Email lsims@nadaguides.com

(Editor’s Note: Every year, numerous comments are given to me person-to-person by exhibitors or attendees about the Tunica and Louisville Manufactured Housing Trade Show. Some are praise, some are suggestions to improve the show and its attendance. Lenny was happy to share his thoughts publicly.

We encourage others to share their thoughtful insights or views on manufactured housing trade shows, or any other aspect of the factory-built home industry. Email latonyk@gmail.com, with the subject line Industry Voices Guest Letter.)

SOR=Saving Our Republic-Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, John Kasich-It’s up to you, New York, New York

April 6th, 2016 No comments

SoheylaKovach-member-LifeStyleFactoryHomesLLC-MHLivingNewsMHProNews-50x50Part of what made America uniquely great was applying a then radical notion at this nation’s founding. A republic is a land of laws! – vs. a place of privilege, power, money or men. A republic is a country where people are equal under the law, which the people help craft and enforce. The blindfolded Lady Justice symbolically means -justice doesn’t see color, religion, sex, money or social status. What Lady Justice sees are the facts of a case; those are symbolically “weighed in the scales” by a jury and judge, and ideally, those weighed realities are equally and fairly applied to all.

RepublicDefinedCreditGoogle-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-

Republic – Things of the People – Of We the People. Image credit – screen capture from – Google’s defintions.

Regardless if you are a fan of Democrats or not is irrelevant to the following point. 

LadyJusticeCredit-LifeOfTheLaw-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-

Lady Justice is blindedfolded so that she doesn’t play favorites. The scales are supposed to weigh the truth of a matter, and judge according to the facts and fairness, as determined by a jury of the accused peer’s and a judge to preside. Lady Justice – credit – LifeOfTheLaw.org.

If former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is allowed to:

  • wink at national security and related laws, erase records and then lie about it,
  • or if President Obama can act as emperor and issue edicts that go around the Congress or courts, 
  • or if illegal immigration gets those illegal migrants the same rights as legal immigrants or natural born citizens do, 

then the grand vision of the just Republic we Americans pledge allegiance to would tragically be over.

And if the American Republic is allowed to die?  

Then only power, money and connections will rule the land. 

That’s what’s wrong now, and the above isn’t meant to limit the abuse to one party; both major parties have had members who’ve abused power and the system. Combine that problem with an all-too-often slanted – or ignorant? – MSM, and what you have are key elements of what’s harming our MH Industry, the millions we serve and 310 million others in the U.S.A..

Today, we have tens of millions of frustrated voters and citizens. We are at a historic tipping point. Liberty, Prosperity and Peace are all at stake in 2016. If the powers-that-be somehow cheat “We, the People” in this upcoming election, then at some stage, violence will regrettably erupt. 

ClintonCruzKasichSandersTrump-photocredit-CNN-postedMHProNews-com-

Hillary Clinton – l -Rafael ‘Ted’ Cruz – John Kasich – Bernie Sanders – Donald J. Trump – photo credit, CNN. Original article by Soheyla Kovach on this topic, linked here.

Freedom’s Safest Place…

Knowing that to be true, some in the government want to take away or marginalize the Second Amendment. Ironically, it’s clear from Chicago, Brussels or other cities that having tough gun control – disarming honest people – helps criminals and terrorists, while harming innocent citizens.  

The rich have their body guards, right? Don’t “We, The People” in a Republic, deserve the same right to protect ourselves?

The Founders of this grand nation answered that question YES, through the Second Amendment.

What Bill Clinton and Bernie Sanders Said…

While on the stump for his wife, Bill Clinton said in fairly open code recently what a disaster President Obama has been for the nation in domestic and foreign policy. The irony, of course, is that Bill’s comments could be seen as applying to anyone – such as Hillary – who publicly supported – then and now – President Obama’s policies.

Bernie Sanders understandably blasted Hillary Clinton for her;

  • many policy failures,
  • millions in super-PAC money she’s been given and
  • bad votes in the Senate.

Are the gloves coming off on the Democratic side of this presidential race?

The irony is that the Democratic positions today hardly resembles the thinking of the Democratic John F. Kennedy Administration of yesteryear. Be it policies Democrats or Republicans passed or funded, harmful positions noted below are reasons why blue collar Democrats and Independents are among the millions who have or would vote for Donald Trump. 

Mr. Trump wants to end:

  • high taxes and regulatory overreach,
  • end horrible, job killing trade deals which sucks higher-paying manufacturing and other jobs overseas,
  • bring back trillions of dollars kept offshore,
  • create millions of good, new jobs by protecting and growing U.S. Industry,
  • wants to temporarly halt immigration from lands where Muslim Jihadis may come from (a common-sense move, since terror attacks in Europe are linked to such unvetted immigrants),
  • wants the U.S. borders enforced, and
  • wants immigration and other laws to apply. Note this last point, in relation to this column’s opening! The Rule of Law! It’s those later points why the border agents, Arizon’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others stong on border control endorse Donald Trump.

Applying those bullet points (no Second Amendment pun intended) would naturally cause wages for working citizens and those here legally in the USA to rise. Why? Because the law of supply and demand would work for blue collar, working class and all other people legally in the U.S.. 

Short-sighted chamber types who wish there were no such thing as E-Verify should note that naturally rising wages means more buying power, and that motivating people yields good employees.

In the mid-to-long run, all Americans win, as once happened when the industrial and agrarian revolutions slowly moved America into a modern age that raised the standard of living for this nation’s people.

More jobs and more revenue would,

  • boost American business,
  • increase tax revenues flowing into the revenue department,
  • while unemployment and other social service/entitlement costs to government would drop as jobs and wages both grow, all naturally.

Economic growth could reduce the debt and improve our national infrastructure, which again would fuel more growth and opportunities.

Reversing corporate inversions, bringing back trillions of dollars parked overseas as Donald Trump has discussed, all of these are reasons to embrace this movement that seeks to reverse decades of failed policies passed or allowed to exist by the 2 major parties.

A Production and a Service Nation

We learned that the so-called service economy can be a mirage; a dead end. Service jobs that used to be done by Americans, like phone room or online computer tech support work, are now done offshore too.

With workforce participation at a multi-decades low, and 96 million Americans not in the official labor force, that’s a klaxon that only Donald Trump is routinely sounding the alarm on. 

The U.S.A. and its people must become producers again. We must protect our own people first, and without apology! Production and a good economy are needed for a strong military, which can defend us against any who mean Americans harm. 

Bumper Sticker Slogans vs. Prudent Policies

Part of the genius of the Trump Campaign to this stage of the primaries have been to energize people around common-sense concepts that resonate and fire them up. In a Twitterverse of bumper stickers and media sound bites, you better have shorthand that cuts to the chase! 

But you also can’t ignore those who want and need more details.  To win an election, ideally, you need both elements.

That’s the balance that Mr. Trump must seek;

  • lots of his proven rallies, with throngs of enthusiastic people, and
  • once or twice weekly policy speeches with TelePrompTers like he used at AIPAC, to allow him to give the policy meat-and-potatoes that will make him ‘presidential’ to others, and thus quiet the opposition trying to derail him now.

That one-two Populist-Presidential combo along with a growing number of sharp, intelligent and well spoken ‘faces’ from his campaign on TV – would send his approvals up, disapproval down and allow him to finish the race as a winner; so together we can Make America Great Again.  

Doubters should keep in mind that at about this time in his successful campaign, Ronald Reagan began a 35 point upswing in his favorability.  This is doable!

Neo-Cons vs. Common Sense Conservatism

There is a difference between so-called neo-cons, and the common-sense, America First policies Mr. Trump promotes. 

Senator Ted Cruz attacks Mr. Trump about his giving money to candidates in both parties. The Donald didn’t hide that fact; rather, he raised the topic himself and explained it’s the way the system works today. Knowing the game allows Mr. Trump to fix the problems that Cruz and other politicians in both parties thrive upon.

Campaign Contributions 

FYI, if you’re in business or know business people, odds are good you know they often do the same as Mr. Trump. Democratic business professionals we know give to Rs as well as Ds. Republican business people give to Ds as well as Rs. They give to each party’s candidates, for the reasons Mr. Trump explained. That’s the way things are now and have been operating for decades. You have to pay and play the game in order to get along and get things done for your business.

Cruz plays the DC and political game too, only differently. Cruz hopes pointing fingers at a rival will keep people from noticing his own deep establishment ties, his changing positions, related posturing and role-playing. 

It will take a Trump to bump: 

  • the current, flawed DC crony capitalism, 
  • stupid trade deals, or 
  • poor foreign and domestic policy stances to the curb, 

so the current mess can fall into the gutter where it all belongs. 

New York, right now, it’s up to You!

I said in my first column about the 2016 presidential election the reasons why either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders would be a disaster for America. In that article, written from my perspective as a European-educated Iranian woman turned American, I outlined 12 specifics why Donald Trump was the best choice, noting that I’d vote for any of the three remaining Republicans rather than see Hillary or Bernie win. 

JimHoftGatewayPundit=TwitterGatewayPundit=credits-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews

FYI, The Gateway Pundit  thoughtfully cited the first article at length, which contributed to over 2000 websites picking it up in a matter of days (thank you, Jim Hoft! :-).

Many asked me to write again, so I’m hereby answering those requests by spotlighting election issues that thinking people who love America and want us to be safer and greater again should consider and share.

The 3 Interesting Things to Know about Senator Ted Cruz:

1) Rafael “Ted” Cruz’s father fought with Castro before leaving Cuba; it was the elder Cruz’s sister that fought against the Communist regime there.  

2) Mr. Cruz placed second in the 2012 Texas Republican primary for that state’s second senate seat, behind then-Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. It was low voter turnout that helped Cruz get to a runoff, and low voter turnout that allowed him to beat Dewhurst in the runoff election. Would Cruz have won his senate seat in a state other than a red one like Texas?  Does anyone see a similarity to Cruz running second to Donald Trump, and hoping to outmaneuver his rival for delegates which the junior Texas Senator often couldn’t win when there where high pro-Trump voter turnouts? 

3) Ted’s wife Heidi’s ties to Goldman Sachs makes the junior senator from Texas anything but an outsider. He’s a debate champion, and a former prosecutor. Both facts means he knows how to rehearse lines, and deliver them well. But he’s clearly a game player, who postures at taking the high-road – first against Marco Rubio, and now against Donald Trump – all the while misrepresenting some of his opponents positions and avoiding admitting some of his own flip-flops on issues.  This is why Governor Kasich and Donald Trump have referred to him as “Lyin’ Ted Cruz.” 

Why Republicans lost in 2012, and in 2008

Republicans elites essentially picked John McCain in 2008, and Mitt Romney in 2012. My husband, son and I all went to see each of the three Republican candidates in person in 2012 in Illinois, and saw Governor Chris Christie stand-in for Mitt Romney at another Chicagoland campaign event.  Among those candidates, Governor Romney had by far the lowest turnout. We saw first-hand that Romney had the least enthusiastic crowds compared to: 

  • his surrogate Christie, 
  • or former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich,
  • or former Senator Rick Santorum.

How did the RINO-Romney win the nomination? Lots more money, the larger party apparatus and organization.

The Reality of the Vote

While millions cast a thoughtful ballot, millions of others cast one based upon fleeting impressions; and that later group’s votes count the same as anyone else’s. 

Fast-forward to the present. No one could have been more surprised to see Marco Rubio turn on a dime, and become an attack dog for the “Stop Trump” movement. It no doubt helped cause Senator Rubio a big loss in his home state.

The path for a Trump victory electorally before the Republican Party’s convention has narrowed. New York could make the difference. 

A vote for Kasich or Cruz in New York might as well be a vote for a Democrat. Donald Trump alone can put states like New York, New Jersey and other deep blue states into play come November.

Old Blue Eyes and the Donald

My husband and I met at a Frank Sinatra night event. Imagine hearing Old Blue Eyes singing, “It’s up to you, New York, New York.”

Voters in New York ought to rally around Donald Trump, and give him over 50% of the total votes in each congressional district. It would be wise for him to keep his daughter Ivanka and his wife Melania out on the campaign trail with him. He should heed the advice of friendlies, his family and pros like Newt Gingrich, who suggest Mr. Trump needs that weekly dose of presidential speaking now, while keeping up the rallies and doing the organizing needed to be prepared for the next legs of the campaign. 

This is the Time To Unite

Radio talk show host Mark Levin is no Donald Trump fan, but he recently remarked that come the general election, if Trump wins, the conservative movement must rally behind him.  The altnerative is for Hillary or Bernie to get to pick the next few Supreme Court Justices. That would be tragic, and is avoidable.

Quotes.net cites a statement that Donald Trump made after his Super Tuesday victories on March 2nd. 

I am a unifier – I know people are going to find that a little bit hard to believe, but believe me, I am a unifier, we’re going to be more inclusive,
I think we’re going to be more unified, and I think we’re going to be much bigger party and I think we’re going to win in November.

Falling in Love

When you study to become an American citizen, you want to go deeper than some of the politically correct, but historically-twisted academics who hold negative views of American history akin to what President Obama-does, as Dinesh D’Souza documented in his books and movies.

Indeed everyone who loves America ought to fall in love with this amazing nation’s history. Not because it’s perfect, but because America continued to advance the cause of political, religious and economic freedom that made this land Ronald Reagan’s“…shining city on a hill.”

Unity, Strength and Peace

Abraham Lincoln kept America together. Donald Trump correctly cited Lincoln as one of America’s greatest presidents. It regrettably took a war to hold the states united. Had Lincoln failed, the states could have faced what Europe did for over another century. Namely, off-and-on, hot-or-cold wars between nations, often about the size of America’s states. 

Unity is impotant.  Donald Trump is also right to talk about peace through strength.

People tend to follow the stronger and more charismatic leader, not the weak one. Neville Chamberlain’s weakness lead to the Second World War. Three of Barack Obama’s own former Secretaries of Defense have sounded the alarm about the risks caused by POTUS’ policies. To a history enthusiast, it’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s weakness overseas lead to more conflicts and loss of life in the Middle East, in Africa, Europe and here in the U.S.A. too.  

A House Divided Will not Stand 

In a reference to the Bible, Abraham Lincoln famously warned, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Republicans have to unite, and they need to unite with those Democrats and Independents who see the good that the Trump Train Movement could bring to America.

More than one pundit has opined that there would be a strong case for having Trump and Cruz join forces, and have cabinet positions for others who have run in this race. Perhaps including centrist Democrats, like Jim Webb, in such a unity plan would add to its appeal. Some have said Mr. Trump may release a list of possible Supreme Court nominees, and deal with the other questions that his opponents are trying to make hay over.

While that might be like a political dream team to some, the reality is that it is unlikely to happen unless the Establishment types – and those still in the race like Cruz and Kasich – are soundly beaten in New York.  Without a big NY victory, the ‘walk away power’ needed for an Art of the Deal move by Trump is lacking.

Mr. Trump needs to win the nomination outright. If it becomes clear he can, then Cruz, Kasich or others could well coalesce around him, and unite into a powerful force that will win in November.  Furthermore, it would have the expertise to move legislation in Congress in 2017, and reform federal agencies too.  A vote for Kasich or Cruz might as well be a vote for the status quo, or like casting a ballot for Hillary or Bernie.

So if you are in New York, please consider voting for Mr. Trump. If you have friends in New York, send the link of this column to them.

Unity is like dancing, it takes two. We need to have a movement that will truly work to restore the restraints of the Constitution on the federal government. Each piece of the puzzle is needed to make a picture come into focus.

If we each do our part, we can SOR – Save Our Republic.

Right now, its looking like New York could be a great opportunity. It’s Up To You, New York, New York! ##

SoheylaKovach-member-LifeStyleFactoryHomesLLC-MHLivingNewsMHProNews-50x50

Soheyla Kovach is a member of Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent firm to MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com.

Editor’s Note: 1  The original OpEd Soheyla wrote is the runaway hottest topic on the website – and thus the entire MH industry – with more ‘hit’s on this column as the next 50 articles combined.  Soheyla’s original column is linked here or below:

12 Reasons an Educated, Professional Iranian-American Woman Supports Donald Trump

Editor’s Note 2:  
Other thoughtful commentary of optional length on the election or other issues of industry interest are welcomed. As with any OpEd, the views expressed are solely those of the writer, and should not be construed as representing the views of any sponsor, person, other MH Industry group or organization.

Editor’s Updates. 4.10.2016. Not long after Soheyla’s OpEd was published, two noteworthy items have taken place.

1) Mark Levin reversed his statement from the previous day, cited by Soheyla above. What made him do so?  Will he switch again if faced with Hillary or Bernie becoming president?

2) The Boston Globe did a rarely used phony front page to attack Donald Trump, drew it’s related editorial to a conclusion by urging Republicans to derail Ted Cruz too, and suggested Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney in their place. Where is the Boston Globe’s hue and cry over the Democratic front runner being investigated by the FBI? That phony Boston Globe front page is linked here as a download,

3) The rise of alternative media, such as the DrudgeReport (which this editor follows daily, and recommends to others) signaled via Matt Drudge’s tweet on Saturday the phony front page to come.

MediaCampaignVsTrumpIntensifiesDrudgeReportGatewayPundit=credits=postedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-

Front page of Saturday’s Drudge Report, image credit, Drudge Report.

ThePeoplesCubeResponseToBostonGlobe=credit-PostedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-

This satirical front page was a response to the fake headlines front page the Boston Globe created. Image credit, ThePeoplesCube.com.

These incidents underscores the point that the opposition to Trump is amazingly high, but harkens back to the stiff opposition that Ronald Reagan faced from inside and outside of his party in 1980.  Reagan overcame high media opposition and Establishment Democrats and Republicans, reversed his unfavorablity in polls by about 35 points, as Soheyla noted above.  How stiff is the opposition to Mr. Trump?  Monday morning’s Drudge headlines speaks volumes.

DrudgeReport4-11-2016=credit-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-

DrugeReport top headlines 4.11.2016, image credit is a screen capture of the DrudgeReport, and these are presented here under Fair Use guidelines.

Louisville from the Eyes of a Newcomer

February 3rd, 2016 No comments

Our trip to Louisville, Kentucky for the Manufactured Housing Show was a bit of a whirlwind, with an early arrival and even later departure. (A massive winter storm forced organizers to cancel the final day of the show, so we took a late flight back the night before.)

I was asked to write about my trip to Louisville “from the eyes of a newcomer.” This was my first trade show and I should point out, the first time I had seen any manufactured homes, so I have nothing to compare it to. Perhaps naively, (but also as a reflection on how many outsiders view the industry) I was expecting more of the stereotypical box-like mobile home from the 70s and 80s. So you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to see row after row of beautifully crafted homes!

Maybe it had something to do with homes in an enclosed space, but they all seemed much bigger and more beautiful than I expected. I didn’t expect shutters, porches or open concept rooms. I didn’t expect large walk-in closets (The picture I took below is probably my favorite of the whole trip!) and whirlpool tubs. Even the single section homes seemed much larger than I expected. But other than the finishes and décor on the inside, it was difficult to tell the difference between manufacturers, which I suppose could be good or bad.

2016LouisvilleManufacturedHousingShowHomes-credit-WHA-postedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-com

I was surprised to see that one manufacturer, Clayton Homes, used a hi-tech approach to attract buyers. (See picture below) I would expect this at any other home show, but when you still have members who don’t even have computers, it was reassuring to see.

2016LouisvilleManufacturedHousingShowClaytonHomesDisplay-credit-WHA-postedIndustryVoices-MHProNews-com

As I imagined, I saw everything from the gentleman in a dapper suit to the gentleman in a cowboy hat and suspenders. But they were all very kind and welcoming. It was great to see those of you who stopped by the Wisconsin Housing Alliance booth! I look forward to next year’s show and to seeing more homes in person. ##

LaurieMercurioCommunicationsDirectorWisconsinHousingAllianceExDirTomorrowHomeFoundation-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-Laurie Mercurio
Communications Director, WI Housing Alliance
Executive Director, Tomorrow’s Home Foundation
258 Corporate Drive, Suite 200C
Madison, WI  53714

 

(Editor’s Note: Let’s welcome Laurie to the widely respected WHA and the MH Industry again. Additional content about the 2016 Louisville Show, are found at the articles linked below.) 

Louisville Hits a Home Run

Sights and Sounds – Videos – from the 2016 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

 

The Association Lament ­- A Commentary

January 26th, 2016 No comments

My first experience with MH associations came when my company, the MHB Group (formerly known as the Mobile Home Board), was involved in trying to create a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for manufactured housing. Our idea was to expand on the MLS we had run in Santa Clara Valley for almost 30 years into a national service. To that end we joined CMHI, WMA and MHI.

We dutifully attended meetings in California via WMA and CMHI. We penned articles for publications and made our case in regional meetings. We attended many MHI meetings over the course of 3+ years. We joined the MHI Resale Task Force and championed that cause to the best of our abilities. We penned articles for the Merchandiser on the topic. We shared our expertise and knowledge with the task force.

The end result was wasted money and effort.

When it came time to make some decision on a MLS we felt as though our information was readily valued and used but we were never allowed the opportunity to participate in any decision. In the end we were politically out maneuvered and essentially shut out of the process. To say that we were not happy was an understatement.

To say that we soured on association involvement is also an understatement.

From this limited experience we have an opinion or two to share.

It seems to me that to belong and participate in an association has an expectation attached to it. That expectation is that some positive result from our effort, time and money would accrue to us.

In our case that was not true. No one promised us anything nor did we have the right to a

guarantee.

However as a dues paying member we assumed our experience had value to the industry we are part of. That may have been the case for our industry but for us it did not.

A bigger downside was the cost of this activity. Traveling up and down California, traveling across the United States, having display booths at Expos and Conventions is expensive.

For our company, it ran into tens of thousands of dollars over three plus years. It is one thing to spend this kind of money to see a return. It is wholly another thing to spend this money and realize, after the fact, what a waste of time and capital it was. We will never participate with an association to this degree again. We may choose to join again locally, but we won’t extend ourselves like that again given the miserable ROI.

An equally important drawback in my view is the limited membership. During our time we always saw the same faces. No one new. Same people and companies, doing the same thing over the course of two or three days.

To grow an industry one needs to attract new blood. We were one such company but as you can tell we left the association world after a negative experience. How many others like us have had a similar experience?

Also having a limited, narrow membership base will get you narrow and limited input and outcomes. To me this means that our associations are attempting to achieve goals and outcomes for a selected few.

I don’t know about anyone else but my view has been that a trade association is looking out for an industry as a whole and not just the biggest dues paying members. Fool that I am.

Finally, where are the residents who pay rent every month (which makes the community business an attractive investment) in the scheme of things?

It would seem to me that we have a vested interest in their view and input. By their inclusion and participation we have an opportunity to better understand each other. There can be no harm in that right? How can it hurt us to hear from folks who love living in their community? Love their home? Have positive stories to tell?

Another issue is the same bemoaning and complaining about government.

I am not advocating that all government is bad (or for that matter good). Instead what I am saying is it gets boring and irritating to spend a great deal of money to attend a conference where meeting after meeting all you hear is how this agency or group is ignoring us or being too tough or they don’t understand.

This all may be true, but it was my expectation that these obstacles were all part of the game and had to be overcome. Also, we don’t have the best track record and to think that the problems of our past are in the past and forgotten seems foolish. Of course the people who regulate us and legislate us have long memories. That is the way of the world.

Connected to that was the constant request for money to fund lobbying. I understand why the request is there, but why on earth would I consider doing that when we seem to lack progress in moving forward our agenda.

Also what is happening with our dues? Shouldn’t some of those $$ we pay support the lobbying effort?

In any case sitting in meeting after meeting hearing how our voice goes unheard why would I give money to folks who seemingly can’t get the job done.

I do think that local and national trade associations are valuable. They can be agents of change. But to be an agent of change requires one thing ­ the willingness to change.

Every month on this website, I read about legislation we hope to bring to fruition or regulatory changes we hope to have enacted. Then lo and behold I read about the failure to achieve those goals.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Do we

need a new association? I don’t know. Do we need to rethink what our association is, who it

represents and how it functions? Yes!

Otherwise we will keep the wheel churning, doing the same thing, making the same complaint and getting the same outcome. In short we will get what we deserve.

Insanity. ##

ImageCreditMHBGroup-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-

Image credit – is a composite from the MHB Group website.

Boe Davis
Vice-President of Sales
MHB Group and Mobile Home Park Magazines
1240 C Mtn View Alviso Rd
Sunnyvale CA 94089

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

January 15th, 2016 No comments

Many of our friends in the industry, including my friend Tony at MHLivingNews, have questioned why MHI hasn’t made a strong rebuttal response to the PBS story.

There are good arguments that we should respond to every story, refute every statistic, and make our case to the public.  Certainly we can make the case that the PBS story was not fair and balanced reporting.  Just one example is the interview with Dick Ernst.  Dick spent several hours with PBS representing our industry as an official spokesman.  The reporter had about one hour of taped interview with Dick and used only 45 seconds of that interview.  

We can also make a case to counter the segment addressing manufactured home site rent increase.  No one from MHI was asked to comment on the segment and the allegation that consumers become trapped in their homes.  The reporter did not make any effort to understand the cost of operating a manufactured home community and why those costs must be passed on to the tenants, even though MHI provided ample evidence and information to assist the reporter in his research.  

The reporter did not attempt to compare site rent increases to apartment rent increases.  Just last week, the Wall Street Journal ran a Section C front page story about apartment rent increases.  The annual rate of rent increases has averaged 3.93% over the last 4 years.  This is a greater rate of increase than cited for lot rent in the PBS story where leader/actor Ms. Burr was complaining about her site rent increasing just over 3% per year.  

So why not respond with our good facts?

The PBS story ran on a date where everyone was busy with the holidays and very few people saw the story.  The last thing we want to do is bring more attention to a negative story about our industry.

The other problem with responding is the selective nature of what the press will print when you know they have an agenda.  If we submit the above paragraph where I acknowledge Ms. Burr’s site rent increases on average more than 3% per year, what do you think PBS will print?  The risk is that they leave out the comparison to apartment rents that increase nearly 4% per year and print our acknowledgment that manufactured housing community site rents increase over 3% per year as they repeat their assertion that manufactured homes depreciate and residents become trapped in their homes.  

I understand the argument that we must work harder to tell our story and emphasize the advantages of manufactured homes.  We have a good product and a good story to tell.  We don’t need to tell it to people with an agenda who will only tell half the story.  MHI has been focused on communicating positive messages about manufactured housing’s benefit. We are targeting media sources that will give us a fair hearing and policymakers in Washington.  This effort to drown out the negative media attention has been steadily increasing and we are pleased to have so many members willing to highlight the positive message of manufactured housing in this effort. We believe this is the right approach for the industry. Make no mistake, MHI issued a strong response to the PBS story by going straight to its producers.  This targeted approach has yielded the opportunity for MHI to receive fair airtime on that program at a future date, and we are currently exploring this opportunity.

Additionally, MHI President/CEO Dick Jennison is in the process of hiring a seasoned media relations professional.  This position was approved by the MHI Board for the position to begin in March 2016, but at the request of Dick Jennison, the MHI executive committee approved bring on this position as soon as the right person can be hired.  

It is the intent of MHI to broaden its public relations/communications focus to include positive consumer stories including testimonials on why people choose to live in and how they benefit from manufactured homes and living in our communities.##

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-currentManufacturedHousingInstituteChairman-IndustryVoices-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-Tim Williams
President/CEO 21st Mortgage Corp.
MHI Chairman

 

 

(Editor’s Note: the link to the PBS story in the first paragraph was not in Tim Williams letter as submitted, rather, that link was provided so that those not readers not familiar with the PBS story could be up-to-speed on the issues he raises. You can see PBS video and the transcript, complete with the MHLivingNews response, at this link here. 

Addtionally, please note that the headline submitted by Tim Williams read, Responding to PBS. Traditionally in media, it is the editor who selects headlines, and we modified his as shown to make clear the issue being addressed, and frankly, for better SEO on this important topic.

Other perspectives on this or other issues facing MH are encouraged.)

Marty Lavin’s Views on Seattle Times-BuzzFeed Clayton Homes VMF-21st Controversy

January 15th, 2016 No comments

Phew! After reading the Seattle Times news article on Clayton Homes and Vanderbilt Mortgage, I am reminded of a scene in the movie, “No Country for Old Men.” In it, the deputy after viewing a horrific scene, says to the sheriff, “That’s quite a mess ain’t it, sheriff?And he replies, “If it ain’t, it’ll do till the mess gets here.

I also read Clayton’s response to the article and that sheds some light on the matter.

As an example, anyone with rudimentary loan knowledge knows well that just because a person who is of color makes $100,000 per year and pays a greater interest rate than a white making $35,000 per year, that of itself is not racist per se. Lenders look at demonstrated ability and desire to meet loan commitments, which are not locked to income. The better the payment record, the lower the rate. That is what drives the interest rate once loan qualification is determined.

The article surely knows this as it is hinted upon, but it destroys the tenor of the piece about racism and unethical and unlawful behavior by Clayton, if revealed.

I do not know Warren Buffett other than what I learn in the media. I have generally been very positive on Buffett, though I am taken aback by his support for a president with obviously anti-capitalist actions and leanings. But then I am reminded Berkshire-Hathaway has many companies that could be brought to their knees by IRS probes, EPA investigations, and the like by an unfriendly president. Further, government can do things to you and for you. Above all, I think Buffett has not only been smart, successful, and ethical, he is also a pragmatic soul. You can’t do what he has done without being highly pragmatic, so I give him a pass on Obama support. 

Now as to Kevin Clayton, I personally know him, like him and hold him in high regard.

I have a very hard time seeing the Kevin I know supporting some of the racist actions described in the account. While there are too many incidents to overlook, I do not believe the people I know at Clayton/Vanderbilt would initiate or condone the racist behavior alleged in the article.

If for no other reason, the folks at leadership there are flinty-eyed businessmen, and they know that in today’s world a southern US company building and selling low-cost housing to many minorities and low income individuals will be rigorously regulated by government and the all-powerful non-profits. This is especially true when you are building and financing that old bugaboo, manufactured housing.

I do not sit in the Clayton/Vanderbilt board room. I have no “insider” take on this situation. My opinions hinge mostly on accounts in the media.

But I would offer this takeaway, were I to be asked. A company as large and important in its disliked industry as Clayton is, will be a target for strict compliance with every law and rule and if destruction can be brought about of the entity, so much the better. The rules being written by the CFPB and others are not only meant to regulate with ever moving targets, if it leads to business emasculation of the companies and the industry itself, few tears would be shed in DC and elsewhere. 

Some of the animus held against MH is deserved, and incidents as reported in the Seattle News story build on that animus. That is much of the tale here and the news account is prepared to report without revealing any details harmful to its tenor.

It does, however, leave unanswered the steps Clayton could take to create positive change in the organization. No matter how exaggerated the racist incidents regarding employees are in the news account, there certainly seems something is going on internally at Clayton/Vanderbilt. I’m not sure a mere denial is sufficient.

The employee to employee incidents of the type alleged must be ruthlessly quashed, little leeway given upon employee complaint, a quick internal investigation by experts at first complaint, and a quick decision based on the best information as to fault. Any superior allowing or contributing to such prohibited behavior gets one warning and fired upon the next, no matter who it is. This starts at the top and such behavior not only is illegal and wrong, it is poor business to allow it to happen, creating internal disharmony. It also leads to formal regulatory complaints no one wants to face.

Racist disrespect of customers or borrowers is even worse than employee to employee incidents. An employee has the option to leave a disrespectful business environment. A customer with a 20 year loan behind on their payments, struggling to meet them, needs to be handled firmly, but strictly within the law. Any collection supervisor allowing or suggesting disrespectful collection calls can not continue to allow such behavior from agents, and should it continue, warning and firing is the answer. Assuming Clayton is recording all calls with consumers, a sample listen-to of some calls daily will quickly reveal whether these allegations bear any truth.

Clayton is the wonder of the industry, wonderfully profitable in an industry little accustomed to such success. My 35 year familiarity with the organization has seen them as highly motivated, perhaps in the extreme, Kinda peeking out of the news account are people in an organization prepared to push the envelope to meet business goals or the keep their job, or even to avoid ridicule or censure.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in firm performance requirements for associates, with rewards for successful performance, dislike of failure, with training and guidance to correct poor performance, ended by firing for continued lack of success or effort. But one senses the pressure to succeed seems to be driving some people to violate company procedures to reach their goals, even though the associate probably knows it is acting improperly. That’s too much pressure.

With the animus directed at manufactured housing by the media, government, the non-profits and regulatory statutory edicts, its dangerous to tread too close to news accounts like this. This can lead to the drip-drip-drip of continued news accounts, more regulation, more charges and the severe impairment of a company. Who wants to get to work with a rabble of protestors marching in front of the Maryville office with “Clayton Loans Matter” signs? 

Now that the media is chasing Buffett for answers, my fear has been that he would be so hounded defending Clayton, that at some point the $500 million in annual profits might seem like insufficient returns. I’m not sure that will happen or that it would have negative consequences for the manufactured housing industry, but I fear it could. ##


MartyLavin-JD-Attorney-ExpertWitnessManufacturedHousing-IndustryVoices-MHProNewsMARTIN V (Marty) LAVIN
350 Main Street
BURLINGTON, VT 05401
att’y, consultant, & expert witness
only in factory built housing

(Editor’s Notes: The above was first submitted in late December, and excerpts were quoted in the MHLivingNews report, linked below.

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/lies-advocacy-journalism-and-statistics-seattle-timesbuzzfeed-attacks-warren-buffetts-clayton-homes-defends-charges-of-racism-and-discrimination-critical-analysis/

Some of the commentary by Marty Lavin that was not originally used – notably the notion that Warren Buffett might find the headache of manufactured housing too much to stomach, and then he may be inclined to spin them off from the Berkshire-Hathaway family of firms – was deemed in the editor’s judgment not necessary for the critique of Mike Baker and Daniel Wagner’s slanted report.

That said, since The Motley Fool has recently published an analysis that may be problematic in places, nevertheless it comes to a similar conclusion that Marty Lavin did days before. Namely, that $577 million in profits from Clayton Homes may not seem enough for Warren Buffett to want to retain MH firms in Berkshire-Hathaway.

MH Industry insiders may recall that Buffett spun off the MHC components of Clayton Homes after they purchased the vertically integrated company.

The Masthead Blog on MHProNews has drawn attention to MHI’s lack of response to the PBS NewsHour report, and to the Clayton Homes drama too. This was done after a source connected with MHI suggested to MHProNews that ‘five figures’ was spent by the association in the direct costs associated with the PBS NewsHour interview.

http://mhpronews.com/blogs/tonykovach/2016-louisville-show-previews-updates-on-media-clayton-homes-drama/

Note that top MHI staff, when asked by MHProNews about the amount of money spent on the reputation and media management consultants and the related PBS interview costs, declined to answer.

MHProNews again wishes to encourage MHI to speak out publicly on at least the PBS related negative media.

It should be noted that while many in the industry – from firms of all sizes and from state associations – are reluctant to speak out on these issues publicly, there has been a steady stream of private ‘thank you’ messages and calls to MHProNews and MHLivingNews for our leadership in presenting a more accurate and balanced view of The Seattle Times and PBS NewsHour takedown reports.

http://manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/what-pbs-newshour-missed-about-manufactured-home-living/

It should also be noted that Isbhel Dickens/NMHOA declined a public debate on the issues raised from the PBS NewsHour, and that Dickens linked the PBS and Seattle Times/BuzzFeed reports. The download of Dicken’s message, is found on the article linked here. It is insightful reading for a serious researcher on these issues, as it clearly suggests that this bad media blitz is all about the politics of HR 650/S 682.

Given that some Democrats are now calling on an investigation of Clayton Homes and their related lenders in the wake of this,

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/democratic-lawmakers-want-doj-to-investigate-clayton-homes-lenders-in-wake-of-seattle-timesbuzzfeed-report/

it seemed timely to revisit Marty’s original replies, posted above. Marty Lavin agreed.

MartyLavin-JD-Attorney-ExpertWitnessManufacturedHousing-postedMHProNews-com-_001

Thoughtful industry comments on this topic or others, is welcome.) FYI, the full-sized version of the recent photo with Marty – is at the right. Updated with these pics at Marty’s request, so others can see just how terrific he looks wrapped inside that grand ship he and his bride Pat/Ava share, berthed at upscale Miama Beach. ###

marty-lavin-jd-manufactured-home-community-owner-on-board-spy-sea-2-22-2104

Marty Lavin on board the rear deck of their custom 70′ Italian ship, the Spy Sea, Miama Beach, FL.

Reaping the Consequences from the Past…the Outcome is no surprise

December 17th, 2015 No comments

As you can imagine, I am hardly surprised (that MH failed to get S 682/HR 650) included in the Congressional Omnibus Appropriations bill, and failed to get chattel lending okayed by FHFA with the GSEs).

This industry ran roughshod over consumers for many years. Too many LLC (land lease community) owners acted as dictators. Millions of people losing their homes, and the litany continues.

The good the industry has achieved was insufficient to balance the past damage. As those in power watched these results, an ingrained animus arose which may well be resistant to be overcome, and it colors every decision regarding MH. That puts our supports at a constantly defensive position.

That does and will continue to dog the industry,  getting help from on high will be ever-difficult,  no matter how needed and logical. 
I’m not sure there is any easy cure to our dilemma, but staying the course on good product, superior consumer treatment, and building value can be the only logical course.

Politicians may help, but their help is uncertain and unreliable. As we saw with DTS (Duty to Serve, part of the HERA 2008 bill), passing a law hardly forces the matter to happen. Bureaucrats, commissions and boards are the true powers. They have not been with us. ##

marty-lavin-50-posted-mhpronews-com-industry-voices-blogMARTIN V. (Marty) LAVIN
att’y, consultant, and expert witness
3
50 Main Street
BURLINGTON, VT 05401

winter address: Nov-May
PO Box 545927
MIAMI BEACH, FL 33154

(Editor’s Note: the parenthetical statements abvoe are not in the original, but were edited in to make clear this expert’s statements, which are otherwise faithfully reflected as sent to us for publication. Headlines are typically supplied by the editor, as is the case in this OpEd too.  Please note that Marty Lavin, JD, took a strong, pro-HR 650/S 682 stand via video, see that, linked here.  Marty worked with one of the GSE’s for years, learn more about that in the same video previously linked.

Other comments on the failure to get Preserving Access included in the Congressional omnibus appropriations bill have come in, a sampling off the record comments, linked here, and on the record thoughts from Triad’s CEO, Don Glisson Jr, linked here.)

About Missing Passage of Preserving Access

December 16th, 2015 No comments

The word is out.  The MHI backed bill won’t be included in the omnibus appropriations package that will be passed soon. My view is that the Preserving Access  bill never had a prayer anyway, as President Obama would have vetoed it, as he has made it clear that he won’t allow ANY changes to Dodd-Frank.  That shows just how disconnected he and his administration are from the real world. Getting Congress to add it to the appropriations bill would have been nice window-dressing, but it was otherwise never going to see the light of day.

Personally, I am not surprised by FHFA excluding chattel. The GSEs clearly never wanted to do chattel loans, and even if they added chattel, I believe they would make it so restrictive that it wouldn’t amount to much volume. The industry wanted FHA Title I chattel opened back up several years ago, and when it finally did get reopened, it wasn’t much of a program and is barely used. IF the FHFA allows chattel, my prediction is it will end up like the FHA Title I program with limited use and limited benefit to the industry. 

On a side note, I have seen articles written about ‘back room’ meetings with finance company and industry leaders occurring with the FHFA. As the leader of the second largest lender in the industry, I have not been given any briefing about this if it happened, and I certainly wasn’t invited if the meetings did take place. But then again, I have not been consulted by anyone at MHI for several years on anything, so maybe I’m just out of the loop. 

And once again, I will state that not having MHI and MHARR working together on issues like these is a travesty, and the lack of a unified voice makes it easy for the bureaucrats in DC to turn their back on us. 

Why we can’t pool our efforts and resources and present a cohesive and defensible plan on no-brainer issues like these that benefit the ENTIRE industry is beyond me. 

DonGlissonJrCEOTriadFinancial-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-Don Glisson Jr.
Chief Executive Officer
Triad Financial Services, Inc.
4336 Pablo Oaks Court
Jacksonville, FL. 32224

 

(Editor’s Note: Extensive commentary on these issues is found in the interview, Another Cup of Coffee with...Don Glisson, Jr., linked here.)