In a saga that the Daily Business News has followed closely, the battle in Ohio to keep the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission (OMHC) alive and independent has drawn a well-known name into the fray… but, are they the pot calling the kettle black?
The saga began when the Ohio Fire Chief’s Association sent a letter to lawmakers at the end of March supporting a provision in the state budget to kill the commission. The Daily Business News covered the response from the commission in a story linked here.
Commentary from the association, and the state fire marshal, was inflammatory.
“30 people died in 1,208 manufactured home fires between 2012 and 2016,” said the letter from the Association.
“Ohioans are 4.2 times more likely to die in a manufactured home that caught fire than a one- or two-family home,” said state Fire Marshal Larry Flowers, who cited a four-year study of state data showing there are more fatal fires in manufactured homes in Ohio than in any other surrounding state.
This commentary was then followed up with a move from Governor John Kasich’s office, as the Governor’s Executive Budget legislation included a provision seeking to eliminate the OMHC and move its duties into the Department of Commerce.
On May 2nd, the Ohio House of Representatives passed Substitute HB 49, the “State of Ohio budget bill”, restoring the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission (OMHC), consistent with present law.
As the bill is being debated in the Senate, the Ohio Manufactured Home Association (OMHA), along with other organizations and manufactured home residents, have been proactively making their case.
They have also gained support from a familiar name – the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI.)
Engaged Or Just Late to the Party?
In a report from MHI, they addressed the situation in Ohio.
“A provision in Governor John Kasich’s budget sought to eliminate the Ohio Manufactured Homes Commission by burying its functions somewhere in the Buckeye bureaucracy. Following extensive hearings on the topic and hard work by OMHA, Ohio’s House of Representatives voted to remove the provision,” said the report.
“The Kasich Administration has now moved the battle to the Senate where they are attempting to have the provision reinserted. Sadly, Governor Kasich and his allies are resorting to half-truths, old stereotypes and outright lies in an attempt to get traction for their ill-advised position.”
The report then cited the actions of OMHA Executive Director Tim Williams during the process.
“The Kasich Administration is making up its own alternative facts to scare people into thinking there is a problem,” said Williams in a statement.
Then, MHI made a statement that’s sure to raise the ire of many in the industry.
“MHI lent its public relations support to help with local media as well as press releases with OMHA about the real facts.”
Real Facts? Pot, Meet Kettle
While MHI makes the claim of providing PR support about the real facts, industry outlets and advocacy organizations including MHARR, MHProNews and MHLivingNews have been actively engaged with OMHA since the beginning of the battle with Governor Kasich’s office.
This is a “real fact” that MHI fails to mention.
In an exclusive discussion with MHProNews on May 19th, OMHA Executive Tim Williams explained why the battle taking place in Ohio is important for the industry as a whole.
“When our homes and their superior building and fire safety are misrepresented it hurts our businesses and residents. We must always stand up for the truth about the affordability and superior fire safety of manufactured homes for our customers and industry,” said Williams.
“The truth always matters. We must never let others define us with false representations. We provide the most affordable, quality and safest homes of any sort today. The world needs to know that. Our opponents can have their opinions but they are never entitled to their own set of facts.”
For more on the battle in Ohio, click here.
MHProNews and MHLivingNews will continue to monitor this story, and lead the charge supporting the industry, wherever and whenever the need arises. ##
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Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.
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