Mobile Home OWNERS Need Our Help

Before I get to the my piece, please note the following fundraiser tonight for The Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition (Yes On V)…


  • TONIGHT, 9/24 at 7:00 The Humboldt Mobilehome Owners Coalition invites the public to a Yes On Measure V Mash-up at Redwood Raks in Arcata (8th & L Sts. in the Old Creamery Bldg). The event features a no-host bar serving beer and wine, trays of free finger foods, music, and screenings of some short films. Admission is $5.00– bring friends! Measure V preserves affordable housing in mobile home parks and prevents houselessness in Humboldt County.
    • For more information about Measure V go to: HumboldtMobileHome.org, or email  info@humboldtmobilehome.org, or call 707.845.5173.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get information through the convoluted neural networks in my skull.  I don’t think I’m alone in this, which is one of the reasons why I feel it’s important for someone like me to jot down some thoughts and notes in long-form on these intertubes to help others get what it took me days, weeks, months or years to get.

Case in point. I strongly support rent stabilization measures to maintain some semblance of affordable housing in mobilehome parks (I’ll be voting Yes on Measure V).  I didn’t put too much thought into it, but I hadn’t understood the name of the organization Hillary Mosher and others have created to help prevent the continued commodification of  mobilehome parks.  It was named the “Humboldt Mobilehome OWNERS Coalition”. (Capitalization mine for emphasis)

Well, finally from a friend came this reminder in an e-mail…

One point I think often gets missed is that these are mobile home owners who are renting the space, and can’t just pick up and move to another location. So they are a captive to the whims of the park owners. They aren’t renting the mobile home (at least most aren’t as far as I know), but are paying off a mortgage and in addition having to fork over space rent.

AH- HA!  Exactly.  Epiphany received and neural network re-aligned.  Thank you!

And it’s not like those running Measure V were hiding this information away.  If fact if you measure the Yes On V website the first 3 paragraphs of the main page say this…

Did you know that most of the people who live in mobilehome parks in Humboldt County own their own homes but pay rent every month for the land their homes sit on? Did you know that this “mobile” housing is so expensive to move that most mobilehomes are never moved once they are set in place?

This makes mobilehome owners “captive” renters, who are tied to the land by their biggest asset, often purchased after a lifetime of hard work. Mobilehome residents are seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and hard working families. Many of them are on fixed incomes. They will cut back on everything they can to keep paying mobilehome space rents, because their only asset ties them to the land.

So mobilehome OWNERS it is, and they are taking on the mobilehome PARK owners who, btw, are the ones who have received $135,000 to make turn normal everyday Humboldt voters into “citizens against rent control“.

And what does that $135,000 buy besides the obvious upcoming advertising onslaught?  More than likely the community organizer for hire Travis Sexton.  From Carrie Peyton Dahlberg’s blog post at the Yes On V site titled Who Is Travis Sexton…

Someone named Travis Sexton is a manager for Citizens Against Rent Control, the anti-V group, according to this morning’s (9/22/16) Times Standard. Is he the same Travis Sexton who wrote a paper on how to drum up community support for fracking?

Is he the same Travis Sexton who spent 10 years at The Saint Consulting Group, whose Facebook page talks about harnessing “grassroots” power to push through development decisions, and asks “are there really more stupid people or are they all just showing up at your public hearings?”

Is he the same Travis Sexton whose LinkedIn bio says he now runs Agrippa Strategy Group in the San Francisco Bay Area, the one that offers to run campaigns to win “community” support for political issues?

Does he live here, in our community? Does he vote here? Does he care about Humboldt at all — let alone care about our vulnerable neighbors in mobile home parks?

The voter rolls we have access to don’t show anyone named Travis Sexton as a registered voter in Humboldt County. But maybe he’s a great guy who just moved here, and only happens to have the same name as a publicist for fracking.

Those links to The Saint Consulting Group and their Facebook page are instructive.  Check them out if you have time.  My favorite aspect was this completely-not-stock-footage of what some person imagines a nasty NIMBY protest to look like.  Can you make out where the green screen would have been to put in that fake crowd behind the 11 actors who probably earned a nice day’s wages to make this photo?

nimby

Who knows, maybe this IS another Travis and Carrie and I will have a little egg on our faces, but it certainly doesn’t seem like it.  Here are his quotes from last Thursday’s Times Standard.

We’re two years behind in terms of getting the word out,” said Travis Sexton, a manager at the group, adding that there are plans to spend the money within the next few weeks.

Sexton said the measure would be unfair to mobile home park owners and only lead to legal action against the county. “Rent control measures have proven to be complicated, costly and unconstitutional,” he said, a sentiment he said was shared by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors when it nixed its own rent control ordinance four years ago, raising concerns over damaging competitiveness and discouraging landowners from offering additional forms of affordable housing, the Ukiah Daily Journal reported at the time.

This Travis Sexton surely knows what he is doing and he seems like the type of professional opinion-swayer that a well-funded organization could rent for their campaign.

All the more reason for all of us to stay informed and get active to maintain (return-to? create?) a Humboldt economy that will work for all of us – not just those that can make money off of their investments.

 

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4 thoughts on “Mobile Home OWNERS Need Our Help

  1. MOLA42 says:

    I think the ultimate objective is to turn us all into renters.

    After the housing crash and the “Great Recession” a lot of “starter” homes wound up in the hands of a few landlords; who now can afford to charge higher rents because we have no where else to go for shelter.

    I see what is happening in the Mobile Home Parks as a continuation of that trend: Drive the people who own their own homes out of the parks and then turn them into full rentals (since they can’t take their homes with them when they go). Thus, one of the last refuges of “affordable” housing turns into full rentals.

    If you want to buy a house of your own then you have to compete with the landlords who know how to turn at least a short term profit on the property. Thus, the inflated housing prices we pay to either buy or rent.

    These locally owned parks are not being bought up by out-of-the-area speculators out of any sense of community service. It’s simply an opportunity to make more money at the expense of the rest of us.

    This is how the Middle Class dies. This is how so many people wind up on the street.

    1. Yes. MOLA42, I have heard of at least one instance, in either southern CA or Silicon Valley or maybe both, where what you surmise will happen is already happening, i.e. the homeowners can’t afford the escalating ground rents, they end up leaving and then the park-owning corporation rents out all the homes at market rate, eg high, rents. There’s a reason these corporations are talking about what great investments the parks are.

  2. Uri Driscoll says:

    One of the other important issues here is that the people who own the home are not allowed to realize the full equity of their homes when they try to sell. The park owners raise rents to the point that a new home owner can only pay so much for the home thus the seller gets ripped off.
    The long term leases that are being suggested are generally not transferable and would not solve that problem.
    I listened to the guys trying to stop V at the taxpayers league. They are pros but I don’t think they will prevail.
    I would probably have a hard time supporting most rent control measures but this one where the home owners are just renting the space I am definitely in support of.

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