Resident Association Endorses COMO-CAL
I am the founder and president of the 1441 Manufactured-Home Residents Association (MRA1441), which was formed to serve residents and improve our community. Our family moved into Rowland Heights Mobile Estates in July, 2012, after our home was foreclosed in 2011. By the time we moved in, we found residents were being discriminated against and oppressed by park management, and many of the elderly were complaining that living at Rowland Heights ME was like living in a jail.
Photo: Ken Meng (right) with Frank Wodley at Frank’s home in Chatsworth. In early 2013, MRA1441 was created. In May, we organized a protest, and at the end of the year, after much research and hard work, organized a meeting with the park owner. We represented over 175 residents. As a result, the park owner finally decided to replace their abusive management, did not raise the rent on residents for one year, fixed the roads, extended clubhouse hours, and made other improvements. By organizing residents, we overcame retaliation and profoundly learned that when vulnerable residents unite, they become powerful and are then able to protect their rights.
Residents in one park can only do so much, so we began reaching out to other mobilehome organizations. Although we did not receive effective help from GSMOL, we did connect with COMO-CAL after reading a copy of MH Life Magazine. We appreciated the Magazine for courageously standing up for residents, and pointing out problems in California mobilehome parks. Through much contact with Frank Wodley, we found him to be honest, enthusiastic, hard working, he disregards personal gains, and is a person who strives to do his best. At one time he was a manger with GSMOL, however he was concerned about the lack of enforcement and the direction of the organization. Therefore in 2004 he decided to form COMO-CAL and MH Life Magazine. The Magazine is the only publication telling the truth about advocacy and issues found in mobilehome parks. We clearly recognize that Frank Wodley’s efforts and selfless dedication are due only because of his desire to help a vulnerable group of residents receive just treatment.
COMO-CAL’s Regional Plan effectively helps residents, but only if residents support it. Individual park associations are the foundation of the Regional Plan. This organization motivates residents to stand up, through unity, to resolve specific problems found in their community. The Regional Plan also provides important resources: a legal fund to provide legal assistance and a Magazine to educate and inform. The “organization” fundamentally differs from that of GSMOL. If residents embrace this plan, we predict residents will have a tremendously effective tool for dealing with park owners and park managers.
As with MRA, COMO-CAL encourages residents of mobilehome parks to establish their own community resident organizations instead of only depending on protection by another organization or government agency. Similar to unions, it is the only way to protect a vulnerable group like the mobile home residents in California. By putting local residents in positions of power and providing transparency to the group, only people with a true desire to help their fellow mobilehome residents will join in the leadership of COMO-CAL as it provides no other incentive.
After reading this endorsement, I encourage you to organize at least a few residents in your park and join COMO-CAL. Even if it is only you for now, COMO-CAL can help inform and educate you and help you organize. You can adopt a name like Manufactured-Home Residents Association for your new group, i.e. a group that promotes the general welfare of residents in your park. And you can make it specific to your park by adopting your parks address, as the Rowland Heights group did (1441).
MRA1441 endorses COMO-CAL. California residents should organize and unite through COMO-CAL for the welfare of their future generations and the future of mobilehome residents. Even if you are a GSMOL member or officer, we suggest you embrace the Regional Plan if your true desire is to serve and help residents. The Plan means resources stay in regions where they will do the most good, and gets everyone working together, effectively and efficiently. It provides for Strength in Numbers!
–Ken Meng, President, 1441 Manufactured-Home Residents Association (MRA1441), Rowland Heights, CA. firstname.lastname@example.org. (626) 581-6580
Editor’s Note: I’m thrilled to be working with Ken Meng and MRA1441. Through much adversity (these folks are mainly Chinese speaking and are not fluent in English), they have accomplished so much. If you have a computer I suggest you visit their website (http://mra1441.org/).
Photo: Members of MRA1441. Photos can be accessed at https://www.flickr.com/photos/110013505@N07/. Each has is a wealth of information including letters from the park attorney and the unlawful detainer action. Next month we will publish more of their story, their demonstrations, confrontations with management, the lawsuit to evict Ken Meng, and how his 17 year old son Sam was instrumental in helping them win the lawsuit. Their determination and perseverance are to be commended. Congratulations Ken Meng, his family, and their residents association MRA1441!