Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a Democrat who was the first Hispanic mayor of California’s largest city. He said on November 8, 2019 that “Lack of housing, not enough supportive services, too many people mentally ill, drug addiction, opioids: all of those things play a part,” in an interview on Fox Business.
“I think we’re going to have to address a broken CQEA, the California Environmental Quality Act, which makes it so difficult to build housing,” Villaraigosa said. He added that the way to end the crisis is to build homes anywhere there is homelessness.
The housing crisis ought to be a nonpartisan issue. But the reality is that so much is getting politicized. When Villaraigosa said that building more housing were it is needed is stating the obvious, which at times requires courage. When he mentioned the “CQEA,” that’s a regulatory barrier that is driving up the cost of housing. That’s like a proverbial third-rail politically, so that too required boldness. What too few mention is that numbers who end up homeless don’t begin as addicts, but they may end up addicted.
That higher cost of housing caused by regulations or zoning have been frequently mentioned by builders and developers. As those factors drive up costs, of course the higher cost of housing in turn is becoming a barrier for millions, especially among those with lower financial means. It is no wonder that California has a significantly lower percentage of home ownership than the national average. The facts are what they are.
The realities of high rent, high housing cost, high homelessness, regulatory, NIMBY, and zoning – all of those are obvious points. But each has a political constituency attached to it. It is therefore not going to be resolved without upsetting a variety of interest groups.
Villaraigosa’s as a ‘rising star’ spoke at the 2016 Democratic Convention. So when he made the observations of more construction – building where needed – and regulatory barriers as factors, that ironically might have as easily have been said by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, M.D.
“The regulations [that deter more affordable housing] continue to grow, and you’ll never catch up [with demand],” Carson said to Fox Business on 12.10.2019. “You’re just chasing your tail.”
Secretary Carson stated the problem of homelessness in several California or other cities could easily cause an epidemic. Dr. Carson said the homelessness crisis in America is causing a health hazard on the streets because human waste and needles from drug use are lying around.
“Somehow we’ve gotten off base and started thinking that compassion is just to leave people out there and let them do whatever they want to do,” Carson said in that video interview posted on this page.
Carson stated that the Trump administration wants to have federal-, state- and local-level government cooperation when it comes to tackling the homelessness crisis, calling that “the ideal type of situation.”
In the right-of-center Fox Business video, Secretary Carson specifically mentioned the Innovative Housing Showcase (IHS) from early June, 2019.
Manufactured homes were among the solutions he said during that video needed to be considered. They were also featured at IHS, as the background to this HUD video reveals.
A search of interviews and news with Villaraigosa reveals he is opposed to President Donald J. Trump and supported President Barack Obama. As a loyal Democrat, those are no surprise. When he and now Governor Gavin Newsome squared off for the Democratic nomination to be California’s Chief Executive, they traded hard blows. But when it came to the general election, they closed ranks and Villaraigosa supported Newsome like they were dear friends.
That’s politics. It can and does happen in either major party.
Meanwhile, this week partisans fenced on Capitol Hill over a “political impeachment” of the 45th president. At this point, the language of the two articles of impeachment includes no accusation of bribery or of a ‘quid pro quo’ – as was being floated for weeks. Rather, a far vaguer allegation of “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are the drafted articles, said NPR. Abuse and obstruction are in the eye of the beholder in issues between co-equal branches of government.
Not long after the impeachment announcement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal with the White House to finalize the United States, Mexico and Canada (USMCA) trade deal. Each side is taking a victory lap. In politics, what the speaker did is known as stepping on your own message. While Speaker Pelosi likely has the votes to impeach, doing that may cost several of the 31 vulnerable Democrats who won seats in the 2018 midterms in districts that had been carried by President Trump in 2016.
There is some degree of a tug-of-war between but also inside each party over the impeachment topic. Congressional candidates in both major parties that are in swing districts or states ponder the potential fall out with voters of an impeachment vote. It’s like playing four-dimensional chess, to see which party will come out on top in 2020.
But meanwhile, the housing crisis, infrascture and other issues fester. It’s 2020 politics.
Obama, Trump Administrations, Affordable Housing and Manufactured Homes
Listening to Secretary Carson, one wonders if perhaps the Trump Administration is hoping to get local and state governments to buy into the notion of using more manufactured homes, along with other options like tiny houses or 3D printed homes, which were also mentioned in this same video.
Given decades of entrenched political and special interests, that’s going to require a fight.
That battle wasn’t seriously undertaken by former Presidents George W. Bush (R) or Barack H. Obama (D). President Bush witnessed firsthand in post-hurricane Florida how modern manufactured housing weathered the storms. While making note of that, what actually got done to advance the cause of manufactured homes use to alleviate housing needs? The Obama Administration was nibbling on the edges of the issue with the 2011 HUD PD&R about zoning barriers, or the principle of Affirmatively Affirming Fair Housing (AFFH). But neither acted as fearlessly as needed. Will the Trump Administration follow that pattern?
As has been previously noted by MHLivingNews, MHProNews or Value Penguin, there are examples of research spanning Democratic and Republican Administrations that support the need for more manufactured homes, as well as their economic value.
As the recent listening session for the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) revealed, there is a cost that could be measured at an estimated $2 trillion dollars how blacks are negatively impacted by the failure or problematic implementation of good aspects of existing laws.
The time for more research is long done. The bipartisan report linked from the text-image box below is one of numbers like it that could be cited. Former Mayor Villaraigosa and Secretary Carson in their own ways are saying similar things.
Why won’t lawmakers hold hearings to shed light on the special interests that are the real road blocks in these issues? Or why not just take the plunge make the case? The Innovative Housing Showcase set the stage.
As this next segment explains, there is a lack of will to state the reality that the federal government can override local zoning by using the enhanced preemption clause for manufactured homes. But that solution was made possible by the legislation signed by President William J. ‘Bill’ Clinton (D). That signature of the bill made the widely bipartisan Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 law.
Rephrased, each major party has the cover needed. The realities are clear. American homeowners can chose. They can have tents or cardboard boxes nearby, or they can have more manufactured homes that often look much like their own conventional houses. How hard a choice is that to make?
The demand for solutions, not talk, is self-evident.
When more realize that Warren Buffett arguably and often has his fingerprints on the bad news and the underlying causes of the image challenge of manufactured homes, the realities begin to come into focus.
Washington Insider Reveals Brutal Truth
During MHProNews’ recent trip to Washington, D.C. an insider on Capitol Hill told our publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach during a brass tacks discussion that there is a measure of political fear on the part of legislative and bureaucratic officials to enforce the “enhanced preemption” provision of federal law.
While that “enhanced preemption” provision is unknown to many, those that do know, per that informed source, are fearful of local political backlash. That statement was all the more stark, because that professional had interests in an area with significant numbers of manufactured homes. Rephrased, that public official’s statement bore the sense of pragmatic reality.
While the concern is understandable, it is also arguably a failure of political will. The MHIA and enhanced preemption are the law. If backlash is feared, that’s a public relations and educational issue. Since when is it okay to ignore a law for the sake of weak political will? How does that help tens of millions of renters, minorities, or over half-a-million homeless?
A ranking Republican said it was important to work with Democrats on the issue of enforcement of the MHIA and its enhanced preemption provision.
Our publisher not only agreed, but he spent as much time with Democratic as well as Republicans in D.C. discussions on the issues.
Among those showing significant courtesy was Houston’s Representative Al Green’s (TX-D) team. They made this fun photo possible.
More important, they and others indicated they would study the points raised in reports made in MHLivingNews and MHProNews.
Washington was once more the number 2 U.S. city for readership on MHProNews. There are several possible reasons for that interesting data point. But what we’ve heard from public officials is that they’ve found our research credible and insightful resources.
Another possible explanation? Who else in manufactured housing trade media are steadily raising such issues, instead of giving the powers that be within our industry that are adding to the mess over implementation of good laws cover?
There has been a tug of war over Enhanced Preemption before and since its passage. Democratic lawmakers signed a letter in 2003 asking HUD during the Bush 43 Administration why they weren’t fully enforcing the enhanced preemption aspects of the law?
The FHFA and NAR both said in 2018 that manufactured homes appreciated in value. Put differently, the evidence and logic all point to the need for more manufactured homes. The “enhanced preemption” provision of federal law makes it the speediest and most-studied solution to deploy.
But among the special interests lurking is an inadequately mentioned is a battle between billionaire Warren Buffett and President Donald J. Trump that long predated his 2016 candidacy. But evidence of Buffett’s ire toward Trump isn’t just from years ago, it is current and demonstrably sustained.
The National on February 24, 2019 is among the mainstream media that noted that “billionaire businessman Warren Buffett took aim at US President Donald Trump [in his annual letter] for claiming credit for the country’s economic growth.”
Buffett was a prominent backer of Secretary Hillary Clinton (D) for the Oval Office in the 2016 election cycle.
With sentiment against billionaires running higher in the left-wing of the Democratic Party, and antitrust sentiment rising in both major parties, this might be a good time for the Trump Administration to work with a bipartisan team of lawmakers and officials to make the full enforcement of the MHIA and DTS priorities.
But part of the issues are arguably inside HUD and the FHFA. For example, at HUD, Brian Montgomery, per several MHProNews sources, along with Teresa Payne and HUD’s Office of the General Counsel (OGC) are all sharing a level of responsibility for failure to act on a law that they know very well.
That raises troubling issues of possible collusion with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their powers that be, that include those with ties to Buffett and brands owned by Berkshire Hathaway. To learn more, see the related reports further below.
The bottom lines for this report are simple. Pragmatic voices on the left and right see some key items in similar ways. Regulations and access to more competitive financing are key issues. Laws already exist that make both of those in paper realities. There are credible allegations that MHI and brands associated with Buffett-led Berkshire are near the heart of these challenges, as they steadily monopolize the manufactured housing market through their strategic moat ploy.
It is time for people of good will to move to act in ways that rise above the tripwires in order to benefit not only those in need, but ironically much of the national interest as a whole.
When Democrats and Republicans can come together on the USMCA, why not on the proper implementation of existing laws like “enhanced preemption” and DTS? The political will should be mustered, because the lesson of the past reminds objective, pragmatic thinkers of the tragic consequences of allowing inequality to fester.
The will for antitrust action is growing in both parties.
There is an obvious plan to expose and oppose what’s alleged herein. This could all be summed up by enforce good existing laws in a fashion that benefits the majority, not the minority. Strategic, long-term thinkers and people of good will across the spectrum are getting involved. How about you?
That’s a wrap on this edition of the manufactured housing trade media’s #1 source for “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Sunday weekly headlines recap, news, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Click the image/text box below to access relevant, related information.
David Dworkin, National Housing Conference, Compared and Contrasted with Lesli Gooch, Manufactured Housing Institute on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Proposed Modifications to FHFA on Duty to Serve Finance Plans