I urge all St. Helena voters to vote yes on Measure F. I do this as a regional manager for the Golden State Manufactured Home Owner's League, a 50-year old volunteer organization that works to support those living in manufactured home parks.
In 2016 I worked to pass a similar measure that was a citizen's initiative in my county of Humboldt. There are more than 100 municipalities throughout the state with manufactured home park space rent stabilization ordinances (SRSO) even though every time a community has tried to preserve affordability in parks, they face formidable opposition. This opposition is not just from the park owner, it comes from the WMA, an organization that works to maximize park owner profits, and that has a bottomless pocketbook to do so.
In my community, the WMA tried to malign the character of those campaigning for an SRSO by lying about them both in letters to the editor, and in paid ads in local print and television media. They tried to scare voters with more lies, saying that an SRSO is bad for seniors, and will cost governments millions of dollars. They did this here on giant billboards and even in commercials playing during the World Series! The WMA spent more than $100,000 on their smear campaign, but in the end, local voters saw it for what it was -- big money going to any lengths to preserve their ability to exploit those living in parks. Our voters passed our SRSO measure in a landslide.
And now St. Helena can do the same. When someone tells you that those living in parks don't want to limit how high the park owner can raise the lot fees, don't believe them! When someone tells you that the park will go to wrack and ruin, don't believe it!
Park residents will not allow their houses to deteriorate -- their homes represent their single greatest asset and they take pride in maintaining them. The WMA will try to snow you into believing that an SRSO is exactly the same as rent control on rental homes apartments and condos -- they are lying! It is apples and oranges.
In parks, people OWN their homes and are just renting a small plot of dirt. When the roof leaks, they pay the same as any other homeowner does for a new one. When the water heater blows, they can't call the park owner and tell them to fix it like an apartment dweller calls their landlord; the homeowner pays for all repairs, and they pay taxes in St. Helena. They pay property taxes, fire and police taxes, municipal bonds, and they pay the park owner's taxes too!
All an SRSO does is limit how many lot fee increases a park owner can require each year, and how high the increase can be. Measure F allows for a fair return on the park owner's investment. It's just that the park owner wants more than a fair return. He is demanding the right to exploit the park residents as much as he can because their homes are tied to the ground they sit on. One park owner put it this way: "Owning a mobile home park is like owning a restaurant where the customers are chained to the booths." (Frank Rolfe Mobile Home U). Vote yes on Measure F.
Hilary Mosher, Regional Manager, Zone One
Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League