Long before there was broadcast, cable, or internet television, there was live theater. People who attended a performance knew they were going to see play acting. If the play-writer, performers, director, and props persons did their jobs well, the audience would be delighted. At some point, awards were created to recognize good acting, writing, directing, music, and so on.
There were also genres or types of performances. William Shakespeare was quite famous for mixing genres. He might take a drama, but add some comic scene. Or the reverse could be done; a comedy might include some serious and dramatic moments. That and more won Shakespeare acclaim that has lasted for centuries, until our own era.
In Washington, D.C. as well as closer to your hometown, politicians have learned much from the world of staged or video acting and performances. For example, they rehearse lines, and wait for the right moment to use it, knowing – hoping! – that it may end up as a pull-quote for written or video news.
If you, a corporate or association leader, a politician are funny or intelligent enough, knowing that people want to be both entertained, impressed, and informed gives you great advantages.
Dale Carnegie and others have given crash or other courses in “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Those principles of acting have blurred the lines between performances and real life. Don’t believe it? Ask the 45th President, who parlayed his real estate and other performances into a hit TV show, which in turn allowed a novice political candidate in 2015 to skip every other office in the land, run for the Top Job in the Oval Office at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C. and get it on his first try.
Now that’s entertainment.
With that reality-based historic, dramatic, and comedic set up, let’s turn to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Executive Vice President Lesli Gooch, Ph.D., and see what role she played the day after Halloween in the article by the fine folks based in Arlington, VA shown below. That MHI ‘report’ will be followed by our analysis of their article, which will then be capped off with our signature headlines for the week in review. As usual, all is being provided under fair use guidelines for news media.
Lights! Camera! Drum roll, please…
Before diving into our analysis, let’s note that social media has also become performance art for many. Selfies with someone famous is a fine form of preening. A selfie would have been been gauche not so long ago, but today it is almost expected. Senator Elizabeth Warren’s campaign has tapped into selfies big time, claiming to have done over 70,000 of them with people at her various events. Each of those selfies is like a political ad.
That’s not to diminish those who use social media, we use it too. Rather, it is to understand how that parallels with what MHI is arguably doing now and in recent years. Since when is a photo with a famous person or public officials equal to actual results expected by association members? In brief, it’s not. Just one of several proofs is year-over-year drops in new home shipments. Never forget key insider insights revealed by Kevin Clayton in the video posted near the end of the article linked here. It is Kevin – not us, our readers or our supporters in publishing – who said that Warren Buffett and Berkshire have access to top experts in an array of fields. Kevin is quite right. But that argument, like the photos of Gooch at the White House proves our points, not their head-fakes. Are we to seriously believe that with billions in cash on hand, with dozens of newspapers, with top experts, that Buffett, Berkshire, and Clayton are unable to grow our industry in a robust fashion?
It is precisely when they show how great their access is that what is missing in their narrative becomes all the more obvious.
What’s Missing from MHI and Gooch’s Performance?
First, let’s understand that Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison has been a purported prop on the MHI stage for years. Those who work with him at MHI have said for years that they are not impressed. But in the world of the “illusion of motion,’ the folks tied to Omaha and Knoxville can project MHI and CEO Jennison as a leader!
The question is, leader of what? Leadership that reveals what measurable track record? Leadership that benefits whom or which organizations?
Facts still matter. Which is why fact-checks and analysis are useful.
Another question is, has anyone who knows Jennison well bought the act?
Oops. While others ignore or try slight-of-hand to mask the facts with selfies and photo ops, we look beyond the stage-managed miasma here on MHProNews and on MHLivingNews.
In a matter of weeks, Jennison will be history at MHI. He has already and/or will sign another non-disclosure agreement (NDA), per a source, and in doing so, he will get a parting bonus. He will then exit stage left, and fall into the memory hole of MHI.
Bonus? Bonus for what?
About this Dick Jennison video, which Academy Award should that performance have earned him?
Jennison’s departure means someone must take his place in the role of President and CEO of MHI. But let’s give Dick some credit. At least for a time, he took the interviews. Lesli Gooch? Not so much. Perhaps she is not confident enough to face real questions, and give answers?
Rivals at MHI HQ…
Our sources tell us that there has been various rivalries of sorts at MHI. General Counsel Rick Robison and vice president is leaving in a matter of days. MHI Vice President and former National Communities Council (NCC) division leader Jenny Hodge has gone too. Patti Boerger in their communications and media relations role left the building, and she too is also history. The decks on the ship of MHI have been in flux.
A longtime insider source tells MHProNews that if Gooch gets the nod to be the next president, she wanted her own team. That same source said that Gooch and Robinson tolerated each other, but acted otherwise in public.
The chairs have been cleared. A new team is taking shape. Of course, it could all end up in a new, surprising announcement in a few weeks with some wonder candidate with great acting skills announced. But that too is part of the MHI Drama.
Who will it be? Lesli? Someone else?
But in the end, who cares? What did Gooch actually accomplish in these photo opportunity captured at the White House above? Is there an announcement that Gooch spoke with HUD Secretary Ben Carson face-to-face, or in front of the assembly of dignitaries at the White House to secure a pledge that enhanced preemption and the full implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) occurred? Will HUD now fully follow the law?
For newcomers, why that the MHIA or enhanced preemption matters are explained in brief by the quotes above and below.
Will HUD Now Follow the Law, After Gooch’s White House Visit?
Logically, no, or MHI would say so with great fanfare in their post-Halloween “Housing Alert” to their members. Lest anyone take this as a slam on the current administration, the prior one did no better. In fact, HUD Secretary Carson has done more in the 21st century than anyone in that role to promote manufactured homes. Which is precisely why Gooch should have taken that opportunity, in front of all of those officials and asked: will the MHIA 2000 and enhanced preemption be fully enforced? That question would have been worth its weight in gold.
Also unmentioned by MHI’s ‘housing alert’ is any other substantive accomplishment. Are new home shipments going to magically rise because Gooch got cleared by security for admission to a White House meeting? Can you spell gaslighting? Head fake?
Oops, those new home shipments have been declining nationally for over a year.
Note to MHI. Smart business professionals pay dues to get measurable results, not photo ops or selfies. Oh, and please. If you do a photo op, can you at least do it right?
From Inside the D.C. Beltway and Beyond
A longtime MHI connected source told MHProNews yesterday that such meetings and photo opportunities – like Gooch’s at 1600 – are always available in Washington or beyond for those who have or make the time. These meetings look good in photo ops. They can impress people that don’t go beyond the photo to ask the harder questions. That’s why they are done, for ‘low information,’ superficial, razzle-dazzle reasons.
MHI told the industry about a year ago about all that they have been doing to promote the industry. Their 2018 year in review is still boldly posted, available from a link on the home page. How often – or seldom – their video is viewed is part of the illusion. They didn’t post it on YouTube, perhaps because someone might laugh when they saw how little it was being watched?
Manufactured Housing has good laws already on the books. MHI’s job, if they were serious about it, would be to see to it that good laws are being enforced.
Instead, we get photo opportunities? Were is the Gooch selfie with Dr Carson? Are we saving that picture for later? Where is the selfie of Lesli Gooch with President Donald J. Trump, or Vice President Mike Pence?
Even if she had such selfies, in the absence of positive action, what does it actually mean? What good do such photo ops do for the industry, investors, or consumers?
Oops. Facts and evidence of true not faux advancement matters.
Access Matters, But
In the Omaha-Knoxville world, Berkshire Hathaway or a subsidiary like Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) or 21st Mortgage Corporation can get access to all kinds of meetings. As a stand-in, they can have an MHI staffer – in this instance, Lesli Gooch, go for them. It was all paid for in part by the dues of smaller firms that may think they are getting something done for manufactured housing.
Are independents at MHI are wasting their members dues, unless photo ops are what they want and are paying to get?
But in fact, what is occurring from the fine folks at MHI’s base in Arlington is purportedly live theatre, Washington-style Hollywood or Broadway play acting.
Ms. Gooch and all those who propped you up for this role, read carefully, please. The con game is up, even if you don’t know it. There are good reasons why we so carefully cross link our reports at MHProNews, because any serious researcher can at any time follow those links to details that tell a fuller, more accurate, and either funny or sad story depending on what side of the fence someone is coming from.
Keep in mind our site data clearly says federal researchers are doing exactly that, following the links.
Feds, investors, professionals, and others are checking the facts vs. the posturing and the claims here on MHProNews in record numbers. Doggedly following claims, seeing how those claims are actually done – or not – that is what ethical media, including facts and solution-focused trade media, should be doing.
There are private attorneys who tell us they are reading our reports here too. Fine.
- While MHI puts out and holds a private session on a ‘code of ethical conduct,’ those who gave that talk or made arrangements for it won’t answer questions about it. Why not?
- Why didn’t MHI intervene with Bryan, TX before they effectively banned manufactured homes?
- Or why didn’t MHI, with all of their access, get HUD Secretary Carson to announce the full and proper implementation of the MHIA 2000, or the enhanced preemption provision, which Bill Matchneer, J.D., said is a key provision of the law?
Newer or longtime readers, save time. Unless and until MHI announces something of substance with accompanying, verifiable proof, why not just play it safe? Why not presume that it’s Halloween for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their all the time? Why not presume that they are just play acting?
When you see a Clayton exec or MHI, or one of their surrogates or allies speak or write, pause. Just think back to that classic, witty Wendy’s commercial and ask, where is the beef?
Think Tom Cruise and ask, “Show me the Money?”
Investors, beware. Never forget the lessons of Cavco, which are about to turn one year old this week.
Hold onto your wallets.
Kabuki theater is over.
Want proof? See the headlines for the fact checks, analysis, and reports for the week that was, from 10.27.2019 to 11.3.2019. Oh, by the way, we’ve never lost our sense of humor here at MHProNews.
With no further adieu, we bid so long for now to aspiring actress Lesli Gooch the rest of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington cast of characters. We’ll announce the awards for best manufactured housing actress in a supporting role another time.
What’s New on MHLivingNews
What’s New from Washington, D.C. from MHARR
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
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 co-founder and 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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