“It has been discovered that with a dull urban population, all formed under a mechanical system of State education, a suggestion or command, however senseless and unreasoned, will be obeyed if it be sufficiently repeated.”
– Hilaire Belloc, from An Essay on the Restoration of Property.
“The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.”
– Hilaire Belloc, per GoodReads.
“If we do not restore the Institution of Property we cannot escape restoring the Institution of Slavery; there is no third course.”
– Hilaire Belloc, from The Servile State.
Hilaire Beloc and G. K. Chesterton both believed there was a middle ground between socialism/communism and unfettered capitalism. Keep that in mind as you read the above and what follows. Ponder the fact that Beloc and Chesterton made such comments decades before the travails of our own age. How is that possible? Because there has long been a struggle between monopolists vs. the great masses of independent merchants, middle, and working classes.
Programming Notice: among our upcoming special reports, there one planned for early this business week is noteworthy. It will include a keen insight and commitments from a community-connected professional about an issue involving Frank Rolfe, his partners, and the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Other mainstream insights will be included.
Don’t miss it.
Preface. It’s Sunday morning before dawn as this report is being drafted. Today, there will be millions streaming into their places of worship from coast to coast. Additionally, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Baha’i, Sikh, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and numbers of other faiths will gather on their respective holy day. They will each worship in their own ways.
Christians – as their name implies – say they are followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a religious disruptor. Don’t believe it? Just read the 4 Gospels. They are short. A little time reading before and after work and in a day or two could do it. The Romans, Jewish leaders, and all others from wherever they came who encountered Jesus were divided about him.
Strong views often result in strong divisions.
For the impatient, one need not go beyond Jesus overturning the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple area to realize that business professionals, religious leaders, and tax collectors were among those who hated and/or were drawn by that charismatic but disruptive fellow from Bethlehem by way of Nazareth. Add to the angst incidents like the challenge to the dishonest money changers was the fact that Jesus’ miracles were cheered by some but jeered by others. Some claimed, as the Gospels recall, that Jesus performed those miracles through Satanic influence. Ouch, but there it is, read it for yourself in the Gospel accounts. Jesus is proof you can do good and get blamed for it.
Ponder that strong diversity of views as we dive into our headline topics further below.
Just beyond our featured report for today will be a brief commentary and the rest of our headlines for the week that was.
Resident Leader Publicly Rips Frank Rolfe and His Buddies
The headline and what follows are from the SOB website – SOB: Son of a Bos’n. The SOB sub-header proudly yet whimsically states, “There are three states of being… Alive, Dead or at Sea.” If you read other posts there, you will see that the fellow loves his manufactured home and community. But he detests and has grave concerns about what their future holds, due to the purportedly predatory behavior by professionals like Frank Rolfe, his partners, and others who often happen to be members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Typos and terminology errors are in the original.
Open letter to Poster Boy Frank Rolfe
You should be placed on a pedestal as the Poster Boy for the nation’s current Affordable Housing Crisis.
For decades this nation had an example of affordable housing that worked beautifully. Families would establish a business to invest in communities where others could rent a place to live in their manufactured homes.
The site rents brought in enough money to support operations, maintenance and provide the owners with a comfortable living. They were similar to non-profit organizations, except they were not subsidized by any government agency and paid their fair share of taxes to support the local communities. We are talking about 44,000 to 45,000 manufactured home communities, depending on the sources considered, where millions of people lived comfortable lives in an affordable environment.
Unfortunately, because those owners didn’t raise the rents in accordance with the standards of the secular world, the Mom & Pop communities became targets for legal looting. People like you and those who attend your training, began descending on any park offered for sale and pounce.
Gone are the days of the laissez-faire semi-nonprofit organizations that took the care and well-being of the residents into consideration. Similar to the world of those who live in apartments today, for the investors it is the return on the investment and meeting their imaginary “market rate” which became their only goals. And yes, the money started to roll in… (See: Homewreckers)
Really, you should stand up and look to the world and proclaim, “This was my idea!”
It was your idea to buy up the parks and efficiently increase the rates to drain all of the resources from the people who lived in those parks and throw them out for government agencies to support. Those people had only one major financial resource. Their homes. You undermined the value of those homes, took those homes from them through foreclosure and then fed them to the dogs.
Widows and widowers, disabled, veterans, and families who live in your communities are all fresh meat. Your parasitic organizations don’t care about the impact of Manufactured Home Community Rent Increases on the residents of their parks. Their goal is to capture as much of their financial blood as possible and then throw them out into the street for someone else to rescue.
You Should Be Proud.
You took a fully functional, non-subsidized form of affordable housing and found a way to make a profit by destroying it.
What a man! What an example for others to emulate!
Oh, yes! That’s right! You even established a school to teach others your process, to expand your chaos even further.
Today I saw a marketing letter from you saying that your progress to date has been insufficient.
“We have for years been writing about the reasons that mobile home park lot rents make no economic sense – they are at least 50% to 100% too low compared to market rents.”
A 50% to 100% rent increase for someone who is already paying over 50% of their income to rent dirt on your properties is insane! Only a sociopathic person, such as you, our Poster Boy for the Affordable Housing Crisis, could come up with such a vision.
The Hypocrisy of Ignorance
For someone who claims to know so much about Manufactured Home living, you sure like to pretend to be ignorant of the basic truths. In your letter you state;
“Austin has a metro population of 916,906 with a median home price of $369,000 and an average three-bedroom apartment rent of $1,897 per month.”
You are knowingly comparing apples to oranges.
Apartment rents are flat rates that cover all expenses related to living in that apartment. The roof leaks, call the landlord. The stove doesn’t work, call the landlord. The landlord covers all maintenance, taxes and often the utilities.
At a Manufactured Home Park, you are renting the dirt your home sits on. You pay the maintenance, taxes, utilities, insurance, and you even landscape the dirt – donating the value of that landscaping to the park owner. The owner maintains the infrastructure and not much else.
But, you know that. After all, you were the one that stated that mobile home park “is like a Waffle House where the customers are chained to their booths“. Even if they had tens of thousands of dollars to move their home, there are no new parks to move them to and you are working hard to ensure no new ones get built. Finally if they were actually able to sell their home at a decent price, given the affordable housing crisis, they would still have nowhere to go.
So, stand proud! You and your fellow parasites will continue to suck the financial blood out of your residents until they either die from the stress or are kicked out in the streets for society to support.
All Hail the Vampire King!
Robert E. Van Cleef
PS: Gal 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
Rolfe’s letter is linked here, it is what Van Cleef was reacting to in his letter above.
We don’t have to agree with every nuance from Robert ‘Bob’ Van Cleef to see the passion and reasoning behind the thrust of his arguments. As a disclaimer, this writer is slowly getting to know Bob. As with any two people, we see some things alike, others differently. We have no financial ties. There are things Soheyla or myself would have said differently, but that is not to imply a disagreement with the essence of his arguments. Indeed, it is to stress anew the notion that it takes billion of us humans to make the world go around. We all produce some wheat and chaff.
Bob’s mode of expression was colorful and authentic.
Millions have, are, and will stream into their places of worship. They will pray to God for whatever. We plan later today to be with several hundred of them at a local community.
There can be no true peace without real justice. Justice requires prudence, information, and at times, mercy. Something may be legal, but may not be ethical. What Van Cleef laments is what Senator Elizabeth Warren called “legalized looting.” Is that allegation the kind of attention our ‘white hat’ manufactured home industry’s honest professionals want?
Once more, the letter from Frank Rolfe and his partners that Bob Van Cleef refereed to his linked here as a download. Frank and Dave Reynolds have been invited to comment on recent reports, they will on this one too. They’ve declined several time before, though in fairness Rolfe once routinely replied and gave useful insights on topics like the one linked here. We respect their right to remain silent.
Matt Stoller from the Open Markets Institute said in a tweet a few weeks ago the following. It is a related insight in several respects, as will be seen below.
Stoller’s tweet included the video posted above, which has on this date has a about a quarter of a million views; that total dwarfs all of the video views that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) ever produced combined.
That’s reference by Carlson on what Senator Warren is right about should not to be taken as blanket endorsement of Senator Elizabeth Warren, nor of all of her policy proposals, which are often fraught with loopholes and risks. But it is to say – as Tucker Carlson, Greenwald and Stoller did – that Warren is raising issues, just as President Donald J. Trump does, in a disruptive fashion.
Each are cheered or jeered by their respective camps.
But what must occur is that “We the People” must get a sense beyond personalities. Discerning the wheat from the chaff is essential.
We have chaff too, so I’m not claiming in any form or fashion that we are holier than thou. Far from it. We need redemption the same as the next person. We benefit from the insights of others, which we in turn pass on after discernment to our growing audience of readers.
So it is imperfect people, you and we as imperfect professionals, that we ought to look with fresh eyes as to what is going wrong in the manufactured housing industry, along with what is right.
We must look at the various aspects of the issues in order to make good, honorable, sustainable decisions. The opportunities are amazing, but the dirt that has been kicked up obscures what is good. That’s but one possible takeaway from what Van Cleef has written above and in other posts, like the one linked here.
The powers that be in our industry and nation are often various levels of monopolists. As we started saying years ago, citing the quote below, there is a manipulation of money and information. That in turn manipulated political and legal issues.
Dependable information can lead to knowledge. A good moral compass is necessary, because no number of laws will make the bad good. Only when sufficient numbers say ‘enough is enough’ will we rise anew as an industry, and continue down the difficult path of progress as a nation.
The lady has the morning off, so I’m pitching in again. With no further adieu, let’s dive into the headlines for reports from the sources as shown in the week that was, 10.20 to 10.27.2019.
What’s New from Washington, D.C. from MHARR
What’s New on Manufactured Home Living News
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
As noted above, my better half has the morning of again this Sunday. So, I hope this recap has done the job in a reasonable fashion.
There is no one else in MHVille that even pretends to try to bridge the left-center-right gaps in scouring information and insights, sift those in the light of known facts, and then apply it to the circumstances of our industry. Perhaps that is why those across the political spectrum and from firms of all sizes are routinely on our websites? We don’t try to deceive others or ourselves – we have our detractors, as some of the reports above make clear.
You don’t shine a light on problems without expecting those upon whom the light is being shined to react in some form or fashion.
Not every story has a happy ending at first. But honest Abe Lincoln proved that a never quit attitude can ultimately succeed. As Winston Churchill put it – when the cause is just – never, never, never quit.
That’s all we wrote this week in our review of “News through the lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Sunday morning weekly headlines in review, news, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. See more below the byline, notices and sign up for our free x2 weekly emailed headline updates.) Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and was recognized with the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he also studied business management with a perfect 4.0 and made the Dean’s List. Tony has earned multiple awards in manufactured housing and in history. He’s a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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It is easy for some to get the mistaken impression that MHProNews has become obsessed with spotlighting only bad stuff occurring in and too the manufactured housing industry.