Forum article written by Norm Kelly in the NC Times dated April 18
This should be called David vs. Goliath. But then again, when considering the odds against
mobile-home residents, maybe it should be called David vs. King Kong.
For those of you who watched the recent KOCT debate on vacancy decontrol, it was easy to
draw the conclusion that park owners can barely gather up enough cash to patch a pothole.
Well, guess what? This group of out-of-town owners now has a war chest of over $300,000
and growing. You can expect a blitz of propaganda in your mailbox any day now.
What about the park residents? You know, the old folks who are somehow taking advantage of
these mobile park businesses? They have accumulated about $26,000, primarily resulting from
fundraisers, doorbell-ringing, and small donations from the residents themselves. They are at
an 11:1 disadvantage.
Clearly, this exposes the myth that park owners are practically broke. And if indeed they are,
why don't they apply to the city's Manufactured Home Fair Practices Commission for a deserved
increase in space rates? None have, and for good reason.
In order to apply for an increase, the owners would have to reveal information regarding their
current operating profits or losses. And guess what that would display? Large profits, some as high
as 59 percent. It required a Superior Court decision just to discover that information.
Mobile-home parks are making plenty of money, and if they are not, there are existing systems
in place to assure that they do, assuming that the problem is not simple incompetence.
Another hidden issue is that these parks do not represent the "highest and best use" of the land
they occupy. That is another issue the owners would prefer to keep to themselves. The reason?
No one can require a park owner to run a mobile-home park. But here we have the pesky problem
of the 3,500 Oceanside citizens who occupy these parks.
Local and state law provides for compensation or relocation of these residents if a park is closed.
That is expensive. It is far more economical to enlist sleazy practices such as vacancy decontrol.
Of the California cities employing this vacancy decontrol, none have the radical version that Oceanside
envisions. All others have some kind of "cap" on rent increase upon sale of property, Most are in
the 10 percent range, but vary from 5 percent to 25 percent.
And once rented, the new occupant continues under rent control. Oceanside proposes unlimited
rent increases, and eliminates rent control for the new owner. Since the current ordinance is funded
by an assessment of park residents and park owners (not taxpayers), in just a few years, the entire
ordinance will simply collapse due to the diminishing numbers under rent control.
Those stating that a resident can stay under rent control for "as long as they live in their home" do not
understand the effects of the law they support, or are lying.
Can David prevail against King Kong? It's up to the voters on June 5.