“Evil lies close at hand.”
– Dale Ahlquist, author of
“The Complete Thinker:
The Marvelous Mind of G. K. Chesterton”
“Fear is ‘False Evidence Appearing Real.’”
– Smiley Blanton,
per Snaket Pai.
A pull quote from a longer message from a state association executive to MHProNews said the following.
“With all due respect we are not getting in between any battles involving you or anyone else and our national trade groups.”
There will be three different state association executives mentioned in this article. One will be named, two will not be named to protect their identities.
To begin to set the stage, it was a simple request from MHProNews to a state association executive that drew the response, “With all due respect [to MHProNews] we are not getting in between any battles involving you or anyone else and our national trade groups.” To explain the relevance of the reply, some questions are asked by journalists when the answer is known, but other questions are asked because the information is needed.
For a seasoned journalist or other thinkers, the reply – or lack of reply – may speak volumes.
The state association professional involved in the direct quote above may not have realized it, although they should have. MHProNews already had the information requested in our hands prior to our inquiry and request being made.
So, it was a question that said exec – by ducking it, or failing to answer – revealed much.
A simple ‘nothing burger’ request – a piece of data that could have been provided by numbers of others and had been previously given by that same state association source, suddenly turned into a stonewalling effort. The obvious question is why? Several messages back and forth, grew increasingly tense on the other side of the exchange. The reply by the executive quoted above was near the end of the string of message exchanges.
MHProNews asked, who or what were they afraid of? Had they been threatened? Fear on the part of that state exec was flatly denied.
But if that MHEC member party wasn’t afraid of something, why did they hesitate at all? Why hold back providing data-related information they had given before? Hold that notion plus that of fear, because we will return to it.
That one-line ‘pull quote’ from a state executive that denied any fear speaks volumes. For newcomers or veterans alike to grasp why that manufactured housing association exec may have been scared, based upon input from other state association executives to MHProNews, a review or first look at the report below – based upon tips from several state association executives – is useful.
Fear, Associations, and the MH Axis
What follows explains why some sort of fear was arguably involved – despite the denial – and it will be contrasted and linked to the ongoing events in manufactured housing that have hobbled the industry for years. Let’s note that another state executive was asked a similarly simple question. That second association executive replied promptly – off the record – with the request in an entirely useful way.
Several state execs – members of the Manufactured Housing Executive’s Council (MHEC) – while they may or may not always agree with MHProNews, are routine and dedicated readers here. Some might wish we went about our reports, fact-checks, and analysis differently – but many know that we are striving to protect independents, consumers, investors, and others of good will.
Fear on the part of numbers of state association executives is arguably hurting consumers, untold thousands of current owners of manufactured homes, manufactured housing professionals, investors, and the public interest as represented by government funded by taxpayers.
Here below is one of several possible pieces of evidence of that claim. For a few moments, ponder anew what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) said in their report linked below. The topics were different, but the commonality is fear on the part of certain execs to even appear to do something that isn’t in line with what the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis wants.
Zoning is an issue that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) claims to be dealing with. But if so, they have an odd way of showing their self-proclaimed clout. MHI more than any other manufactured home association on paper has the financial and membership ‘clout’ that would allow them to schedule a meeting with HUD Secretary Ben Carson and/or HUD’s Brian Montgomery. They could say face-to-face with those officials at HUD, ‘Why aren’t you enforcing the enhanced preemption provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000? Why the foot dragging?’
While several sources tell MHProNews that Brian Montgomery is known to be aware of the MHIA and it’s enhanced preemption, there is an open question if HUD Secretary Carson does.
The law is the law. In fairness to the Trump Administration, the Obama Administration – on more than one level – did not do as much as HUD Secretary Carson already has done for manufactured housing.
Two National Associations – Apparent Agreement?
On the issue of manufactured housing’s enhanced preemption, MHI and MHARR on paper have both asked for HUD to enforce the federal law. MHI connected member, and former Obama-era federal official Bill Matchneer, J.D., revealed much about HUD’s failure to enforce enhanced preemption, as his public comment quoted in the report below reflects.
So, on the one hand there is MHI, which claims to be doing something on zoning and federal enhanced preemption – and has a thin paper trail to document their stated posture. But reports like the one linked here and below suggest that their statements are mere placeholders for possible future use.
If an association executive has been in their role long enough, they personally know or have heard several tales of manufactured home retailers, communities, factories, suppliers, and others who have been put out of business or sold out at a discounted valuation.
State association executives deal with so many people and know certain kinds of information often better than numbers of their members. That is why state executives have the role that they do. Associations need their members while those members need the association to do their jobs. In theory, state executives and state trade groups are supposed to defend the interests of all members, not just a select few.
The reason that it matters is aptly summed up in this quote. See her full commentary in the link below her graphic quote.
The reason Enhanced Preemption matters was described by Bill Matchneer in the report at this link here. But it is also described by MHARR President and CEO Mark Weiss in this prior statement to MHProNews in this below.
The Lesson of Andy Gallagher
Andy Gallagher outed himself – insisted on it verbally and in writing – as the report related to the Pam Danner era at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP) reminds longtime readers. Newer readers and researchers should dig into that report.
Gallagher still has his job, even though he outed himself on more than one item. He lives in what might be called Clayton country in a state where Berkshire Hathaway owned brands carry significant weight on several levels.
Gallagher proves the point that being outed doesn’t mean his job was lost. Years have now ticked quietly by.
If Gallagher is doing the best things for independents in his state, fine, but if not, that raises questions.
But association executives and others driven by fear or some similar motives must stop and think.
- If there is something to be afraid of, why not fight back on whatever level one can? Why roll over and play dead?
- If there is nothing to be afraid of, why not answer for the MHProNews – the industry’s largest and most-read trade media – a question they would answer without thought or concern for the mainstream media?
No executive that we are aware of have lost a job due to answering a question, or even several questions. Thus that unresponsiveness is arguably FEAR – False Evidence Appearing Real. The failure of that executive to answer a simple question – coupled with the broad lack of response to MHARR on the zoning issue by numbers of executives – those are examples that speak volumes about the state of state associations in MHVille today.
Keep in mind what Gallagher outed himself about. Pam Danner, the former administrator at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP). She was issuing regulatory guidance that HUD Secretary Carson said in testimony on Capitol Hill was “ridiculous.” While MHARR fought Danner, MHI postured but did nada. Who said? How about the Washington Post?
So, Gallagher, finally cut loose on what dozens of executives and thousands of manufactured housing industry pros already knew and felt. It speaks volumes to researchers and federal or state officials that manufactured housing professionals are fearful of speaking out publicly on such issues. What good are free speech rights if people are afraid to use them?
That’s arguably criminal.
Federal Officials, Investors, Affordable Housing Advocates – Take Note
If fear exists in manufactured housing – and it demonstrably does – then that can be a form of extortion or duress under federal and/or state RICO laws.
If several state associations are afraid or unwilling to help MHARR fight zoning battles, then aren’t they arguably being derelict in their duties to their independent members?
MHARR made what they called a “no strings attached” offer to take a case as high as the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary. Why didn’t states associations all cooperate?
Four letters. Fear.
Fear of what? Retribution by MHI? By other ‘powers that be’ in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis?
What other explanation is there? Laziness? Execs don’t care? Those don’t hold water. Fear of losing their job, by contrast, does.
While many don’t go back to links to prior or related articles found in posts like this one, others do. There are older articles on MHProNews that get hundreds, sometimes thousands of hits a month. Indeed our ‘old’ MHProNews site’s content, included in the report below, demonstrably has many times more traffic than MHInsider or others in MHVille trade media get.
When someone follows the money trails and evidence, numerous nonprofits in manufactured housing have either been co-opted or weaponized.
MHProNews Analysis – Summing Up
That state exec’s statement quoted at the top is arguably an effort at an artful dodge. There was no threat of coming between that association and “either” national trade group, which means MHI and MHARR. It was a simple request for information, one that they would likely have simply and gladly provided to state, regional, or national media on an automatic basis.
The fact that a simple request – previously provided – wasn’t honored, the fact that so many states failed to respond to MHARR’s requests, speaks volumes about the true state of several trade associations in manufactured housing.
As Danny Ghorbani previously put it, the following applies.
That MHEC state executive has or will read this and others will too. In Knoxville or Arlington, some might laugh or smile and nod as they read this.
But some independents will read this and wonder, what are they paying dues for if their state association is a mere tool for Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, MHI, or some other brand in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis? Indeed, when the Retailers association, RILA, has written the FTC asking for their intervention, why haven’t the manufactured home industry’s post-production trade groups done the same?
When a resident community leader is calling on federal investigations, and MHARR has too, why aren’t more state execs doing the same, if they are afraid of their jobs? The sobering principle below applies to our industry, for those who grasp its meaning.
The Brian Montgomery whisper? He could be next, after HUD Secretary Carson departs. Stay tuned.
That’s a wrap on your third installment of “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
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