Saturday, October 22, 2011

Huntington Beach: Council majority right on mobile homes

October 19, 2011

Despite the blustering of Mayor Joe Carchio and council members Don Hansen and Matthew Harper, the City Council voted to preserve the current configuration of the Mobile Home Advisory Board (MHAB) at the Oct. 3 council meeting ("Council maintains board," Oct. 6). Perhaps it was the presence of Julie Paule from the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Assn. (WMA), a front group for mobile home park owners, that inspired such political theater.

The WMA and Manufactured Housing Educational Trust (MHET), another park owner front group, have plied campaign contributions and support upon the opponents of the MHAB (especially Harper) for some time, so maybe these council members were giving their political benefactors their money's worth. Paule brazenly called for the dissolution of the MHAB in public comments. Overall, it was an embarrassing display of special-interest pressure to deny civic communication and representation to thousands of citizens in the city's 18 mobile home parks.

Kudos to council members Devin Dwyer and Keith Bohr for joining mobile home resident supporters Connie Boardman and Joe Shaw in saving the MHAB. It must have been doubly embarrassing to Dwyer and Bohr to see their erstwhile council majority colleagues go off the deep end like this. This, after the same council minority (Carchio, Hansen, Harper) lost a vote to prevent an environmental impact report from going forward to do something about the single-use plastic bag pollution problem.

The MHAB vote clearly showed which council members supported community interests and which ones remain totally beholden to their outside special-interest contributors. It is hoped that future meetings shaping the role and future of the MHAB will be more constructive in their deliberations.

Tim Geddes

Huntington Beach

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