Governor Andrew Cuomo (NY-D) and President Donald J. Trump (GOP) are among those who have called the fight against the Wuhan Virus a war against an invisible enemy.
While the metaphor fits in some ways, an argument can be made that the enemies in this war are both visible and invisible. Meaning, it is an incomplete metaphor at best.
The war is being waged on several fronts, as the ‘hot and fresh’ new report linked below reflects. The report above presaged several of the emerging facts that are confirmed with new information reported below.
But every war is made up of a series of battles. There are victories and defeats in war. That includes tactical losses that might be taken in order to score a strategic win later.
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has not referenced any of those metaphors in their latest news update from Washington, D.C. But our MHProNews analysis after their statement will shed light on why those metaphors above and why the actions of MHARR are both important.
MAY 21, 2020
TO: MHARR MANUFACTURERS
MHARR STATE AFFILIATES
MHARR TECHNICAL REVIEW GROUP (TRG)
RE: FEDERAL GUIDANCE ADDS MH RETAILERS, TRANSPORTERS AND
INSTALLERS AS ESSENTIAL WORKERS AS SOUGHT BY MHARR
The most recent update to the federal government’s guidance on “essential” workers for purposes of COVID-19 “Stay-at-Home” orders, issued by the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on May 19, 2020 now specifically includes “workers … supporting the sale, transportation and installation of manufactured homes” (in addition to manufactured housing construction workers) (see, copy attached at p. 20) as requested by MHARR in April 3, 2020 correspondence to HUD Secretary Ben Carson and CISA Director Christopher Krebs.
Although previous CISA guidance could be construed as implicitly including post-production elements of the manufactured housing chain of sale and distribution as “essential” workforce components, as urged by others in the industry, that did not stop certain key states from forcing the closure of manufactured housing retail centers and related businesses. This led MHARR, in its April 3, 2020 communication, to state:
“While we construe [prior CISA] language – and believe that it was fully intended by CISA – to include both the production and sale of HUD Code manufactured homes to American consumers (as well as other necessary related functions, including the transportation and installation of HUD-regulated manufactured homes), the language of some state stay-at-home orders could, unfortunately, be interpreted as not including manufactured housing retail establishments within their definition of “essential” economic or infrastructure activity. Within the unique context of the manufactured housing industry, however, where independent retailers are an indispensable component of the chain of distribution between producers and consumers, it is essential both for American consumers of affordable housing and all other sectors of the HUD Code industry, that local-level manufactured housing retailers be permitted to remain open and fully-operational.”
With the now-specific inclusion of the various elements of the manufactured housing consumer sales and distribution system in the federal government’s over-arching COVID-19 guidance, there may be a better opportunity to advance the easing of remaining restrictions on such activity in certain states and/or localities.
MHARR will continue to closely monitor this situation, and take further steps as warranted.
cc: Other Interested HUD Code Industry Members
The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform [MHARR] is a Washington, D.C.-based national trade association representing the views and interests of independent producers of federally-regulated manufactured housing.
The CISA Guidance document provided by MHARR is linked here, and the relevant passage that cites manufactured housing retailers et al is found in bullet number 4 on page 20.
MHProNews Analysis and Commentary
That this is a ‘win’ for independents in manufactured housing should be self-evident. It is now up to state associations and/or independently owned operators to press this in those jurisdictions where it is an issue.
Where was the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on this issue? At what point in time will those who have ‘trusted’ MHI’s “leadership” realize that they have been sold a bill of goods?
Consider the words – above and below — and all from pro-MHI supporters. They make it clear – directly and by implication – that MHI was either AWOL – absent with out leave – from the battle and/or ineffective in their efforts. What other interpretation of the facts fits?
It was Tim Williams who provided a glowing statement about the importance of good, objective independent trade media in addition to the messages that come from trade associations.
Tim Williams from the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA) has apparently been on both sides of the issue regarding MHI and their self-proclaimed effectiveness, even if that wasn’t his intent.
That oblique prior point by Williams stands in sharp contrast to another Williams/OMHA statement made more recently.
People that use colorful language are often appreciated by journalists and other writers, because vivid verse spices up a report.
That said, far more important than mere ego, eye or ear tickling candy is the need for the meat and potatoes that don’t rot teeth or cause disease as rapidly as pure sweets do.
There is a war against the independents of manufactured housing. That purported war was quietly and subtlety declared in a video posted above the visual quote that follows. That video was virtually ignored by manufactured housing until this publication made it an issue several years ago. The views on this and reading of the linked report continues to mount.
Unpacking that video is the full text which are found on MHLivingNews at the link below the graphic. In fairness to OMHA’s Williams, it is increasingly more difficult to defend what has occurred since the Berkshire ‘invasion’ of manufactured housing. One need but look only at the words noted and the results since to see patterns of reality.
OMHA’s Williams arguably tone-deaf and bizarre comment about the greatness of the purportedly corrupt Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO Lesli Gooch ignored decades of history that Williams/OMHA is well aware of; after all, what does Gooch have to show that even comes close to the types of work done by MHARR or prior MHI leaders of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000 era?
Scorched earth is what is normally found in an actual war, as the featured image above reminds us on the eve of the Memorial Day weekend. So, that previous turn-of-a-phrase from OMHA’s Williams is an interesting choice of words. Williams knows how to turn a phrase, even if his arm – per sources – was twisted enough to get him to make that statement in the first place. But the bigger question is, will Williams in the post-COVID19 era enter into a virtual debate? Why wouldn’t MHI be willing to facilitate that event, since it is there performance that is in part a critical question? If Williams/OMHA and MHI are so confident, why wouldn’t they do virtually what Williams already offered?
Wars of liberation are as important as are conflicts to resist forces that aim at subjugation and conquest of the manufactured housing industry’s independents.
The facts make clear that the losses among independents has been sobering.
If MHI has updated that year by year chart, it has not yet been seen. But either way, their current statement reflects that there are only some 35 odd producers vs. the 62 that existed at the start of the Berkshire era or 100 corporations that existed in 199o.
In the war between conquest-minded consolidators and independents of all types – producers, retailers, communities, installers, transporters and all others involved in our HUD Code manufactured home industry – the oligarchs percentage wise must be objectively described as winning. But that doesn’t mean that some have given up the fight. Certainly MHARR keeps battling, and won this skirmish with a federal agency on a potentially useful topic. By contrast, Arlington, VA based MHI – which per sources likes to grab credit from time-to-time for work that MHARR has done – didn’t even mention this in their latest self-promotional missive that came out about 2 hours after MHARR’s release.
Yet, retail, installers and transporters are under the umbrella of a ‘all segments’ or ‘post-production’ trade group, not that of a producers focused trade organization. MHI says they represent all manufactured housing industry segments. Really? Beyond consolidators? If so, where was there effort on this time sensitive issue? By contrast, MHARR – a self-proclaimed producers trade group once more went above and beyond to deal with an issue that should have been in MHI’s back yard.
So much for OMHA’s Williams’ purportedly arm-twisted claim of how “superb” Gooch and MHI 2.0 are, unless he meant superb at fostering more consolidation or purported corruption. On that level of concerns over conflicts of interest and corruption, Williams might have a point.
That noted, there must be a longer term vision by several of manufactured housing’s independents. The visionaries who began MHARR in 1985 may not have imagined a time as dark as this, but they nevertheless prepared by forging MHARR in the first place as an independent producers counterweight to MHI.
That only underscores the longstanding position of MHARR that independent retailers, communities, transporters, installers and all those service, vendors and others who work with independents need their own trade group. NAMHCO made that decision, for communities.
That said, NAMHCO arguably made a strategic error in who they selected to represent them in Washington, D.C. Where was their logic in picking a former MHI staffer when MHI was the one they were breaking away from in the first place? Or why would NAMHCO team up with MHI after blasting them for their failures in the past? Those types of logical disconnects and purported blunders are sometimes only revealed with the passage of time.
Nevertheless, NAMHCO’s founders were correct in thinking that they needed a new trade group to represent independents. The balance of the manufactured home industry’s independents needs that too.
Manufactured housing has the laws on the books already that could create a renaissance for the industry. But that rising of the industry’s Phoenix from the arguable ashes of Berkshire era of MHVille history will only occur when more independents make the smart move while they can.
The links above and below the byline are relevant to the broader issues behind this topic. MHProNews will advise readers if Tim Williams/OMHA, or others at MHI will do what Andy Gedo nobly attempted.
There is a war on, Warren Buffett said so. There are people in China and America that have arguably attacked the American way of life. These are issues worthy of debate.
That’s a wrap on this installment of manufactured housing industry “News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
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