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Staying A Positive MH Course in sometimes Negative World

It could be called a study in contrasts. The wide range of comments from MH industry pros in recent days varied from the extreme of a fellow who termed our published response to PBS news takedown of MH and MHI as either misguided or have a self-serving agenda.” – to a far greater number of others who said it was “nice work,” “brilliant,” “necessary,” numerous “thank you for all you do” – or like the LinkedIn posted kudos below from an MH community owner.

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Image credit – LinkedIn.

If you’ve not yet seen it, here BOTH the PBS video and our response that all the above are all talking about, is linked here.

Some in HUDVille think Ignoring Bad News is the answer. Really?

What is the national association doing on this PBS takedown issue?

MHProNews has been told by informed sources that MHI has sent a strongly worded, 3 page letter to PBS. Hmm, ok. Now what? What are the next steps in the MHI plan to defending the industry’s reputation?

Are we really going to watch and accept – public silence – from MHI on key issues that arguably harms the image of the entire industry and MHI’s own avowed legislative agenda?

Surely we aren’t going to allow attacks on our financing or the value proposition created by the MHCs to go unanswered in the public square?

Right or wrong, won’t MHI’s public silence appear to others as a de facto ‘admission of guilt’ to all of the allegations that PBS made in their flawed ‘Bad Bargain’ story?

We certainly hope and pray that whoever is making that kind of ‘let’s not comment in public‘ decision at MHI will think twice. We have objetively done more and broader publishing for the industry and MHI in support of HR 650 and S 682 than they have, because we believe in the goals of the MHI backed bill as being good for consumers and for the industry.  We will continue to support it, but we also hereby call on MHI to support their own effort by standing up publicly against the public PBS stance.  

My time is valuable, how about yours? If you supported the MHI lead HR 650/S 682 effort, as we have and many others do – will you want to see it die at the hands of PBS or anyone else without a whimper?  What was all that effort for anyway?

Fort Worth, Texas this September 16-18 manufactured home sale
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As one MH Pro told MHProNews, Congress is acting in a broken fashion now. Getting things done in DC is not easy. But that just means we have to work smarter to get our legislation passed that will protect consumers home values, ability to purchase and MH Profesionals ability to sell more homes.  Our Opposition uses the media to their advantage! Won’t MH Pros learn to do the same?  We have the better story, because the TRUTH is on OUR SIDE!  But would you know that based solely on the public response coming out of Arlington to the PBS NewsHour report?  Image credit: tomtwomeyseries.

We must Play the Legislative, Lobbying Game to Win –
many MHPros are sick and TIRED of LOSING in DC.

This PBS takedown is either bane or blessing, depending on what the industry and its members do.  We either

PBS’ takedown story deliberatly makes MH look like – using PBS’ own words a “bad bargain,” what nonsense!  Should we allow the feds to spend billions of taxpayer dollars on subsidized housing, and then not support a free market solution that MH offers that benefits almost everyone in the mix?  

Our next planned report on the PBS story is pending, stay tuned for that one…

The difference between Seattle Times/BuzzFeed and PBS

One could better understand why MHI let Buffett and Clayton Homes defend themselves, as harmful as that is to the industry and its clear attack on MHI’s legislative efforts. The reason? The Seattle Times/BuzzFeed takedown piece was directly targeting Buffett and his MH companies.

But with the only organization in the PBS takedown story being named is MHI, doesn’t it stand against reason NOT to allow Carla Burr’s/et al comments via PBS to publicly go unrefuted by MHI? 

Please see the prior Masthead post where we clearly outline the obvious dollars-and-cents logic of why MHLivingNews and MHProNews have and will defend the integrity of the industry’s honest and ethical professionals against those who de facto harm reputable businesses within our industry who are serving the public well.

Note too that the PBS story arguably harms MH homeowners and prospective buyers. Whose agenda is PBS intentionally or coincidentally advancing? Why?  

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Image credit, PBS Newshour comments section. Comments at left with arrows, Masthead Blog, MHProNews.com.  Please note once more, you can see the transcript and the PBS NewsHours entire report and our fact-based refuting of their report, by clicking the image above, or here.

Let’s be clear, PBS started this assault. The initial responsibility is with them.

But MHI – or in their absence, other forward looking MH leaders – must act to defend the MH industry and our home owners. 

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One of the clear results of NOT responding to negative media, decade after decade, is the historic low new MH home shipment numbers – compared to other industry’s that are thriving today – see the facts, click here or the image above.

The MHLivingNews/MHProNews Agenda

Let me answer that critic we opened with. We do have an agenda. It’s not hidden, we’ve touted it for years. It’s simple yet profound. We want to improve the sense of pride, respect and great value that Manufactured Homes provides the public and MH home owners. We want to see MH thrive, not just survive.

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Our tag lines clearly state the MHProNews agenda.

We will positively promote that agenda! Do we think we’ll benefit – as do and will others! – from that effort? Of course. That’s what successful business do!

As I responded to the unnamed person who sent that comment, ‘We may agree to disagree on approaches.’ But the facts speak for themselves.  Not responding for decades to such attacks has harmed our industry’s public image. That costs everyone in MH real American money, the only difference is to what degree you, I or other are harmed by the attacks.

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Image credits – MHProNews.com.

What a seasoned MH Exec said

‘Tony, what other industry can you name that after 35 years is still talking about the exact same challenges they did decades before?’

Well said.

Back to Dick Jennison and MHI

I won’t publish Dick Jennison’s entire pre-story memo, but it concludes with an assurance to MHI members that:

RichardDickJennison-MHI-CEO-PostedMHProNews-comWe hope that the result of our participation will be a fair and balanced piece, and give MHI the opportunity for our voice to be heard on critical industry topics. We will be prepared to respond to any inaccuracies or unfair characterizations that may be included in the final segment.”

When you first read that about 10 days ago, did you think as I did, that MHI would respond publicly if PBS report was unfair to MH?  

As noted above, that alleged three page response to PBS is how our sources inside MHI tell us that they want to keep the written promise to association members, quoted above.

Once more, let’s emphasize that we hope that MHI will not stand on that private 3 page letter to PBS alone.

The takedown piece by PBS was public; and just as Clayton and Warren Buffett defended themselves publicly, so too should MHI defend our industry, good community operators and our lending publicly.

Public Comments From Frank Rolfe

Following similar reasoning used in our first-in-the-industry published lead in the Daily Business News flash report, it should be noted FrankRolfe-MobileHomeUniversity-postedmastheadblogMHProNews-that Frank Rolfe‘s published press release (see download, linked here) does the math too!

Rolfe and others clearly sees the need to defend MH Communities in public to the Public Broadcasting story. So why doesn’t MHI?

“We Provide, You Decide” © 2016.

Ok. That outlines the scenario at the moment. MHLivingNews and MHProNews have publicly responded. Frank Rolfe publicly responded. MHI has not, and says they will not beyond an unpublished three page letter they tell us they’ve sent to PBS’ Stephen Fee and company.

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Will we let others publicly set fire to the image of our industry, and not see the national association respond? The MHI logo – is their property, and is used here for editorial purposes only, under the fair use provisions of the copyright laws.

It’s YOUR industry. The PBS story impacts YOU, YOUR Career and YOUR business. Stephen Fee’s/ PBS’ unbalanced takedown story influences others in:

  • media,

  • public officials and

  • policy advocates or makers.

Directly or through others, PBS’ story harms our industry, and those investors and professionals in it, and will no doubt cause some would-be customers to otherwise not buy an MH or not live in an MHCommunity.

Before wrapping, my thanks to all of you who have thanked us for taking on PBS’ thinly vielded takedown piece.  We appreciate the encouragement and kind words, made possible by others who are doing rather than…

I’m stunned that MHI hasn’t already responded publicly to PBS, and our polite private nudges have not yet worked.  

So as an association member who champions their causes whenever possible, but quietly or publicly (as needed) questions them when their actions/inactions don’t make sense for the industry and its members, we are hereby going public.

Do you think MHI should just stay silent, or should they defend publicly the MH Industry, our lending and communities?

And you say? ##

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Standing Room Only seminars are scheduled for the 2016 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, including SuperCharged Marketing and Sales, Financing and MHC/Retail Lessons Learned. More details, linked here.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

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