So the big news from the election that everyone was watching yesterday is cause for celebration.
Oh, no, I don’t mean the Wisconsin recall. That’s awful. I mean the defeat of Proposition E in Oceanside, Calif.:
In election returns updated early Wednesday morning, Oceanside voters rejected an ordinance that would phase out rent control in the city’s 17 mobile-home parks. …
With 100 percent of precincts counted, Proposition E — the measure that would gradually eliminate rent control — was failing with 65 percent of the voters saying no and 35 percent voting yes. …
Mobile-home resident Chris Gow said she Tuesday night was “just ecstatic” over the vote on Proposition E.
“I’m really not sure why people are voting the way they are except that they’re tired of the way the three councilmen run this city,” said Gow, president of the Oceanside Manufactured Homeowners Alliance.
… “We’re sure that some other issue about mobile-home residency will come up again so we can’t let our guard down,” Gow said Tuesday. “From what I understand, [the council majority] have a check list and they’re just going down the list. We don’t know what’s next on that list, but we will be ready for them.”
Cool. Bravo, Oceanside.
The news is less good for manufactured-home owners here in my own state, where residents of the Riverdale Mobile Home Park in Jersey Shore, Pa., may be kicked off the land for — what else in Pa.? — construction of a fracking facility.
The residents, most of them middle-aged or elderly, were offered only token payments to help them relocate in an area where the influx of gas workers has already sent rents soaring. Although some did leave, others decided to fight back with the help of anti-fracking activists and Occupy Wall Street.
In Illinois, the city of Portage has figured out a new way to save money: eliminate trash collection for manufactured-home owners.
The City Council set off alarms at its last meeting when an ordinance was introduced that would immediately eliminate city garbage collection in mobile home parks.
And north of the border, it seems that landless low-income people get pushed around in Canada, too: “B.C. seniors devastated as homes face bulldozer.”
“This is a horrible, horrible situation to put people in,” said resident Barb Lewis. “None of us knew that when we bought in here — we had absolutely no idea.”
Karen Matty, a prominent developer in Abbotsford whose family owns the park with 100 homes on it, is offering tenants of Garden Village approximately $11,000 to vacate, so the 5.3 hectares can be redeveloped.
The seniors own their manufactured homes and rent the “pads” they sit on, for approximately $400 per month. Most of the homes are too old to be moved.
“Some residents have bought into this park within the past two years at a cost of $70,000 to $80,000 and had asked if the park is safe and will remain as a mobile home park, and they were told yes, this park will remain,” said 60-year-old resident Ron Leitch.
I don’t know if what Leitch describes there meets the legal definitions of fraud and theft, but the bottom line here is that some people are getting screwed out of tens of thousands of dollars, so even if it turns out to be legal, it’s still shameful.