Newsletter of the South County Alliance of Manufactured-home Park Residents
Hi, GSMOL and SCAMPR Friends!
First, I would like to thank everyone who belongs to this email list for being a loyal reader, and I want to let you know that starting this month, we are going to send just one email per month, in the form of a newsletter. We will gather all our announcements and news reports into this one email instead of sending a bunch of separate emails. (We will continue to send the GSMOL Legislative Bulletins as they arrive, and any other announcements that need to get out quickly.)
Of course, putting all our stuff into one email means that it will be long, but I hope that we can be forgiven for that, because it means that SCAMPR is doing a lot of stuff! J
We will also offer a printed version of the newsletter, free of charge, for people who don’t have email. This will be available to any MH owner who wants it (regardless of whether their park belongs to SCAMPR). The newsletter will either be sent to them through postal mail or delivered by their SCAMPR representative. Let me know if you know of anyone who would like the printed version.
So welcome to the first issue of “SCAMPR Scuttlebutt”. We hope that this newsletter, along with GSMOL’s magazine The Californian, will help fulfill the first goal of SCAMPR’s three-part mission: to keep MH owners in our area INFORMED, help MH owners be PREPARED, and get MH owners ORGANIZED. I’ve divided up this newsletter into sections according to these goals.
1. KEEPING MH OWNERS INFORMED – Reports of past events, and announcements of things to come:
*****January SCAMPR Summit
We met on January 17 at San Vicente MHP, in the unincorporated area. There were ten Summit members representing seven parks: San Vicente, Rancho Santa Barbara, Blue Skies, and La Cumbre MHP from the unincorporated area, and University Village, Rancho Estates, and Wayside Village from Goleta.
The three new GSMOL-sponsored bills for the State Legislature were announced. One is involved with ensuring that MH owners have clear title to their homes. The second is similar to AB 2026 that we tried to pass last year, but which failed; and is about regulations involved with home sales. The third bill re-establishes a property tax deferment program for seniors and disabled persons which got suspended in 2009. Anyone who would like a summary of these, let me know and I will be glad to send it to you.
We focused on two main topics at this gathering: problems in 30-amp parks, and the Park Closure Ordinance for Goleta which is currently in progress. Our special guest was Ken Tatro, president of Monarch Associates, which is the HOA at Rancho Estates. He and SCAMPR Vice President Sharon Rose of University Village reported on the progress of this project… more on that later in the newsletter. We also talked about problems with management forbidding the distribution of flyers in the park.
*****Rancho Santa Barbara GSMOL Chapter Celebrates 50th Anniversary
On Tuesday, February 10, Rancho Santa Barbara’s GSMOL Chapter 49 had its 50th Anniversary celebration. It was a wonderful event… we had GSMOL State President Jean Crowder and Santa Barbara County Supervisor Janet Wolf as special guests, along with Annet Hurtado, Field Representative for Assemblymember Das Williams. Ron Faas from our North County sister group NSBMHT was intending to come but had to cancel at the last minute; but NSBMHT officers Jamie Rodriguez and Laura Selken were there in his stead.
We honored our long-time GSMOL members and past chapter officers, had several fine tributes to the late Jim Richard (see below for another way we plan to honor him), presented a new American flag which was a gift to our chapter, and enjoyed refreshments, memorabilia and fellowship.
*****Park Closure Ordinances in Progress in Goleta and Santa Barbara
Homeowner groups in these two cities are working with their City Councils on Park Closure Ordinances. For those who don’t know, a closure ordinance spells out the things that a park owner must do if he wants to close his park and put the land to some other use. A park closure, of course, means that all the residents lose their homes, because there is no place to move a home to even if our homes could be moved (which they can’t). So every closure ordinance needs a provision for each homeowner to receive the in-place market value of their home, so that they will be able to buy a manufactured home in another park.
Goleta’s ordinance will be written from scratch, based upon models from other cities and counties. The Goleta city attorney has said that they will consider the proposal in the spring. Once hearings begin, homeowners from Rancho Estates, Santa Barbara West, University Village and Wayside Village will be needed to attend the hearings and show support for the ordinance.
Santa Barbara already has a closure ordinance of sorts, but it doesn’t include ANY compensation for the residents’ homes, so we are working to amend it. A group of homeowners from the SB parks and I have met with Councilmember Bendy White and we are now in the process of sending a letter, signed by representatives of the three affected parks, to the Ordinance Committee of the City Council. Signatures from homeowners who live in Flamingo MHP, Holiday MHP and Santa Barbara Green Park are needed
*****Political Action Fund in Jim Richard’s name
When Jim Richard passed away in early December, we lost a person who had a great impact on MH owners in our area, particularly in the form of campaign work for elected officials who support us in the state and local governments. Some of us SCAMPR / GSMOL folks are planning to start a Political Action Fund in his name, to which people can contribute so that we can continue his work – especially the yard signs, bumper stickers, and flyers that he designed, which advertise a particular candidate as being the one who supports MH owners. At this time, we are working on a nice obituary to be published in the Independent. Although we are not yet set up as an official organization, we need donations to cover the cost of the obituary. If you would be interested in making a donation for the obituary, please send it to Martha Hassenplug, 333 Old Mill Rd. #67, Santa Barbara CA 93110. Make the check out to her. Any funds left over after the obituary is paid for will be used to start up the Political Action Fund.
*****Upcoming SCAMPR Summits
The March Summit will be at Blue Skies, with attorney Tom Griffin, GSMOL Zone B-1 Vice President Craig Hull, and Ron Faas of our sister alliance in North County, NSBMHT, meeting with us to discuss the Nomad Village court case and other County matters.
In April it is likely that we will be at University Village in Goleta and will focus mainly on the Goleta ordinance – although if we need to mobilize Goleta MH owners before then, we will still be able to do it through our network.
If anyone wants the dates and locations of these Summits, just reply and let me know, and I will notify you when we have confirmed our arrangements. Traditionally we meet on the third Saturday of the month, but this can change.
2. HELPING MH OWNERS BE PREPARED
*****Disaster Preparedness & Response Workshop
One of the ways we will further our goal of helping homeowners be PREPARED is to present a a Disaster Preparedness and Response Workshop in April. The location will be Rancho Santa Barbara.
RSB’s Disaster team leader Bev Swann will be the featured speaker, and we also want to have a panel of DPR Team leaders from other parks, so that they can also contribute ideas. Homeowners who attend will be encouraged to work out the basics of a plan for their park.
My recollection is that the following parks have an organized Disaster plan and team: Rancho Santa Barbara, San Vicente, Flamingo, Sandpiper, and I think at least one of the Goleta parks… WHO HAVE I MISSED? LET ME KNOW.
3. GETTING MH OWNERS ORGANIZED
In keeping with our mission of helping homeowners become ORGANIZED, we would like to set a goal for 2015 of working toward forming some kind of residents’ organization – a Homeowners’ Association or GSMOL Chapter – in each of our parks that doesn’t have one.
Attorneys keep telling us over and over that homeowners need to be organized. Having a HOA gives your residents the strength in numbers when dealing with the management, and a HOA is the first step toward buying your park. Having a GSMOL Chapter gives you better access to the resources of a big statewide advocacy organization. I could go on and on about the reasons to get organized! But there is also the reality check – getting homeowners organized is like herding cats.
We know that a lot of MH owners are apathetic, or intimidated by the management, or incredibly busy, or burned out, or divided by language and cultural differences, or don’t see the need for a residents’ organization if there are no battles to fight. Of these obstacles, apathy is the most important one to conquer. If people care enough, the other obstacles can often be overcome, especially if the people who care work together.
Now, we know that YOU are at least NOT apathetic, even if some of those other obstacles may apply, because you cared enough to sign up for this email list, which means that you are at least interested in being informed. And some of you also belong to GSMOL. So we will count you as one of the People Who Care.
OK. There are 202 of you on this email list, and there are also about 300 or so GSMOL members in our area who are not on the list, who are also presumed to be People Who Care. That’s about 500 People Who Care out of about 2600 MH households in 17 different parks in our part of SB County – almost 20%. (And that’s only the people we know about!) If that same percentage held true in a park, you’d have more than enough to start an organization! (Yes, I know that the distribution of those 500 throughout our parks is far from even! But I would bet that every park – even the ones in which neither GSMOL nor SCAMPR has any presence – has some People Who Care, or People Who Would Care If Anyone Bothered To Tell Them What Is Important To Care About.)
So don’t worry about the residents who are apathetic in your park – find the People Who Care! SCAMPR can help you do that, and we would be glad to come and meet with these folks in someone’s home and try to get the ball rolling.
And if you DO have an HOA or a GSMOL Chapter, keep supporting it! HOAs and Chapters have a way of being strong when there is a “cause” to fight for, but when things are going well, people lose interest and drop out. But it is important to keep organized, to be prepared for what’s coming down the road. Worst case scenario, it will be an earthquake or a court case. Best case scenario, it will be a plan for your residents to buy your park.
So, bottom line – what can YOU do?
· Stay informed. Even if you do nothing else, this helps.
· Support your park’s HOA and/or GSMOL Chapter, if you have either of these.
· Be on the lookout for the People Who Care in your park. You may need to make a few new friends. J
· Encourage people you know to either sign up for this email list or subscribe to the printed newsletter. This will expand and strengthen our “People Who Care” network and increase our ability to keep people informed
· Be the contact that helps us set up a Summit meeting in your park.
· If your park has no residents’ organization, invite a team from SCAMPR to meet with a group of residents in someone’s home.
Please contact me if you have questions, ideas, quibbles, or if you just want to keep us up to date on what’s going on in your park!
Anne Anderson, President of SCAMPR firstname.lastname@example.org
333 Old Mill Rd. #161, Santa Barbara, CA 93110
SCAMPR is an alliance of parks in southern Santa Barbara County, whose representatives gather at monthly Summit meetings to work together on solving common park problems and helping to coordinate community events and projects that benefit manufactured-home owners. We are affiliated with GSMOL and have some of the same leaders. Contact me to find out how your park can join.
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