Millions of Americans are facing eviction if Congress fails to act. The numbers range from an estimated 7 million to over 20 million, depending on various sources that will be the subject of an planned review of those claims by MHProNews.
References to those concerns are part of a new article on Vice by Edward Ongweso Jr that cites Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Member Frank Rolfe’s infamous Waffle House quote.
Ongweso asserts that Silicon Valley tech guru project Kibbo has “a dream that one day you will rent everything from them” adding that “TechCrunch reports that a San Francisco-based startup called Kibbo is aiming “to upgrade the American trailer park, making it a network of intentional communities for the remote-working, previously urban professionals.””
RV parks and “mobile home lots” are both mentioned in the new Vice article.
Per Vice, “The Kibbo vision features exclusive RV parks that resemble co-living and co-working spaces with amenities, food, gyms, and recreational facilities. On its website, Kibo says that “less than the cost of living in a studio apartment” (a $1,000 per month membership plus a $1,000 per month to rent a vehicle) they’ll give you a Mercedes Sprinter, a “network of home bases across the West” from Los Angeles and the Bay Area to Big Sur and Black Rock Desert, “essential groceries and provisions,” and, most importantly, “an inclusive, adventurous community.” Underpinning all this seems to be the belief that working from home is the future of work.”
“Kibbo has Silicon Valley utopian urbanism in its DNA,” said Ongweso, who cites examples of tech gurus and giants like Google parent Alphabet and their somewhat similar concepts.
Ongweso says, “Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs, another company concerned with the “urban experience,” created Intersection by leading a group of investors to acquire and merge two separate companies (Control Group and Titan Outdoor). For the past few years, Sidewalk Labs has been trying to make Toronto’s waterfront into a “smart city” by digitizing urban life in ways indistinguishable from privatization and creating infrastructure that doubles as surveillance. And after years of fierce criticism and pushback from residents and civil liberties groups, the project was finally abandoned.”
“Kibbo co-founder Colin O’Donnell was the “chief innovation officer” of Intersection, which billed itself as an “urban experience company.” You may be familiar with at least one of its products, namely the “giant data-harvesting surveillance cameras,” stated Vice.
Rephrased, this brave new world is a blend of privacy lost to a corporate surveillance vision that puts George Orwell’s fictional musings in his famous tome 1984 to shame.
As Capital Research Center has phrased it, a common method of those who are twisting American society is “deception and misdirection.” Not many would give up their freedom if they were told they are submitting to tyranny. Far better to mask it in nobler sounding words.
As Colin O’Donnell said on Medium on 7.20.2020 in a self-praising “Why I founded Kibbo,” he used three words “Freedom and Community.” That oddly phrase stands in stark contrast with O’Donnell opening paragraph that calls his “Control Group” like this. “With Control Group, a digital/physical technology company we founded in New York, we had a vision that the Internet was coming into physical spaces, and when it came into cities, we could shape it into something we called a “Responsive City…” O’Donnell then went on to provide his view of how “Intersection we took this concept further with LinkNYC” and “Sidewalk Labs” built on that “vision,” which Vice writer Ongweso de facto exposed and ripped.
Ongweso goes on to connect the dots between the notions of corporate takeover of once independently owned mobile and manufactured home communities by consolidators like Rolfe and others that were cited by the Washington Post. That Washington Post article in turn referenced the Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP).
What Vice didn’t mention is that PESP co-member MHAction includes dark money funding from one Warren Buffett.
Kibbo’s O’Donnell told TechCrunch that “we’re making a bet that the future of cities is electric, autonomous, distributed, renewable and user-generated.”
The following paragraphs are complete the Vice report.
“Over the past few years, investors have been buying up mobile homes and trailer parks. For investors, such communities are seen as reliable streams of income with huge potential for staggering returns. The Washington Post reported that residents of communities bought up by investors are “reporting substantial rent increases, aggressive fees for small infractions and escalating evictions.” Frank Rolfe, one investor who owned thousands of mobile-home lots, referred to the income as “a Waffle House where the customers are chained to their booths.”
Kibbo’s vision seems like a more reliable way to make co-living/co-working profitable and realize the dream of WeWork’s disgraced co-founder and former CEO Adam Neumann: a twisted capitalist version of a commune. In a pandemic-stricken world, it’s no longer trendy office buildings on the menu, but trailer parks.”
MHProNews Analysis and Commentary in Brief
Given what’s occurred in hundreds of land-lease communities from coast-to-coast once corporate giants gobbled up once privately owned homesites, what could go wrong for hundreds of thousands of residents or the independent operations that once served them?
A new feudalism is increasingly visible in America. It is dressed up in high sounding promises that veil a loss of privacy, undermine or thwart home ownership, and make a few more powerful to the disadvantage of the many. The MHAction’s of the world claim to fight for those who are being threatened, but in fact upon closer inspection appear to take stances that fuel the trend instead of defend against the forces that pay for their existence.
There is no doubt that renting has certain advantages in specific scenarios. But renting everything has never been the American Dream. The ‘rent everything’ movement ought to be monitored as to how it plays out at MHI member companies like this one linked here.
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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.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.
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