For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.
In older English, the word “want” could mean “for lack of.” Viewing the above proverbial wisdom through that lens is understood as follows, according to Wikipedia. The Masthead will further unpack this for those professionals and aficionados who are keen on our segment of the factory-built housing industry after the Wiki quotes.
“The proverb has come down in many variations over the centuries. It describes a situation in which a failure to anticipate or correct some initially small dysfunction leads by successively more critical stages to an egregious outcome. The rhyme’s implied small difference in initial conditions is the lack of a spare horseshoe nail, relative to a condition of its availability. At a more literal level, it expresses the importance of military logistics in warfare.
Related sayings are “A stitch, in time, saves nine” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure“. A somewhat similar idea is referred to in the metaphor known as the camel’s nose.” said Wikipedia.
For Lack of a Nail, Manufactured Home Independents Were Lost
Manufactured housing has lost many a message. That is proven by the troubling instances like the bullet’s below will note
- The Bryan City Council, which is just one of a growing number of cities, towns, or counties that have taken steps to limit or ban manufactured homes.
- HBO’s viral This Week Last Night with John Oliver video on “Mobile Homes.”
- Declining shipments of manufactured homes during an affordable housing crisis. Unbelievable, given that the Urban Institute and others have cited the improved quality of manufactured homes, but facts are what they are.
Each of those bullet’s reflect this vexing point. The powers that be either can’t or won’t stop/and or address these trends. That much ought to be obvious, and while debatable, those who would opt to defend the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis’ perspective on the controversy would easily lose. The 3 bullets above are just recent examples of why. Others examples are found in the related reports, further below the bylines, offers, and notices.
So that means, alternative approaches – not including the current methods being used – must be developed.
The independents and investors in our industry must not place every bet on one thing. There is an array of possible alternative strategies that have proven useful and must be adapted to or applied to this industry’s circumstances.
One point is simple. Make officials of the federal government do their jobs.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has primary jurisdiction under current federal law over manufactured housing. Under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, there is enhanced federal preemption for manufactured homes. HUD is the enforcement agency for that aspect of the law.
Some are talking about suing the City of Bryan, TX. The Masthead favors that option, on several different grounds, that could represent the interests (and thus separate causes of action) for individual groups.
But the Masthead also favor’s pressing the Feds into doing their jobs. One need not look beyond the border battle to realize that manufactured housing isn’t alone when it comes to the notion of enforcing existing laws. The border issues has festered for decades, under Democratic and Republican administrations. The same can be said about the proper implementation of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.
It was 2017 when the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform wrote the report linked via the text image box above. It is time to enforce the law on preemption. The linked report below reflects MHARR’s most recent step, in calling on HUD to do a formal study of the issue noted.
The first step with HUD – or anyone else – ought to be the direct ask to HUD. But other steps can be included.
- Elected congressional representatives and Senators can be asked to intervene.
- But also there is the Writ of Mandamus.
The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) knows about this option, because their general counsel, Rick Robinson, wrote a book the included that as the title and a subplot. Rephrased, MHI knows they could fight this in several levels, but for whatever reason(s) one cares to float, they have obviously not chosen to do so.
We have a source on the ground in Bryan, TX that told MHProNews that “To answer your question without commentary, no one employed by MHI was present.”
Meanwhile, manufactured home industry consolidation continues. It is the larger MHI members who are most often the beneficiaries of that consolidation. Coincidence? Is that a hidden benefit or motivation for those big boys who dominate the association to allow such headwinds – for now – so that they can further consolidate the industry? Later, once they’ve consolidated all that they think they can, will the powers that be magically dust off issues like enhanced preemption, and put them to work for their own enhanced profits?
Don’t forget the investigators question. Cui Bono? Who benefits? Who has the motivation to do – or not to do – x?
We think satirically of MHI as Buffett’s and the Big Boys Buffet. MHI is short for the Machiavellian Housing Institute. Day by day, they build the case against themselves, don’t they?
Meanwhile, the Buffett Moat and that of his de facto allies purportedly grows as an outcome of alleged market manipulation and association malfeasance. Or as one executive with long ties to MHI told MHProNews this past week, it is “association malpractice.” That source alleged to MHProNews that MHI had some 4 million dollars in reserves. Why aren’t they using some of those reserves to fight issues like the John Oliver viral video, or zoning issues, like Bryan, TX?
As one more example of purported “association malpractice.” Why is it that MHI creates supposedly useful research and hides it behind a login? Why does MHAction seem able to get more bad headlines than MHI can stir up good headlines? Why doesn’t MHI and do what MHAction and other who have created useful research have done? Namely, take that information, and beat the drums to make it know widely throughout the land?
Are they incompetent in Arlington? Or rather are cagily in pursuit of consolidation? Doesn’t either one leave us where the industry is right now? Let those queries hang and sink in, as we turn back to the main point.
The Writ – and Order
A Writ of Mandamus. Ask HUD politely, but if they don’t respond, then Make the Feds do their jobs via a writ of mandamus. Arguably, less costly than many others suits might be. That must be one of the parallels paths.
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost. Let’s not lose the nail that causes more manufactured home independents and prospective home owners to lose their part of the American Dream.
“We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.
Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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