Faessel kisses Robbins: Mike’s account of an awkward town hall.


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From Anaheim homeless advocate and anti-STR activist Mike Robbins:

Mobile Home Park Evictions Imminent

Steve Faessel’s Anaheim Town Hall Meeting Tuesday November 12, 2019

On this particular Tuesday night I was there to point out to the Anaheim residents attending the town hall the prejudiced, money-driven votes of Anaheim councilman Stephen Faessel and his failure to protect elderly residents of the Rancho LA Paz mobile home park.

Before the meeting started I confronted Steve over his irresponsible votes at the Anaheim city council, and I was conspicuously rude. He grabbed me, kissed me on the cheek, and said he loved me. I was struck dumb. Should I punch him, slap him, throw him to the ground or enact any manner of physical brutality? The same things, perhaps, we all want to do at one time or another – wreak havoc upon our elected officials!  Whether they kiss you or not.

For instance, I am at odds with the elected officials that take a lot of money for their election process like Faessel and vote exclusively in the interests of the billionaires that run Anaheim. However, money impacts elections as well as diverse decisions not just here but around the world.

These profit-driven political decisions usually affect only their bottom line. The state of California voted to protect renters in a tightening housing market by limiting rent increases in apartments but that does not go into effect until January 1, 2020 which leaves time for the owners to evict the tenants and raise the rents.  In this bid to protect renters at the state level they left out mobile homes.

Unscrupulous investors like John Saunders are coming in and buying up mobile home parks, increasing rents up to 80%.  Two votes by the Anaheim City Council strike a particular negative tone that goes beyond my imagination. The Anaheim council Mayor Harry Sidhu, Lucille Kring, Trevor O’neil and Stephen Faessel rejected rent control for mobile home parks and protection from eviction for apartment renters.

Palm Springs was a Mecca for mobile home parks in the 1950s. Per the city of Palm Springs historical site:

“Significant personages known to have lived at Horizon Trailer Village included singer and actress Lillian Roth. In 1957, Horizon Trailer Village was awarded a “Gold Star” by the Mobile Home Manufacturing Association, based on superior appearance and facilities, making it one of the top-rated parks in the nation.”

Made popular in the 1950s these kitschy homes were an inexpensive alternative to the big house on a lot of land that needed constant maintenance. The price was right and it included some amenities like a club house and pool.

Mobile homes today are occupied by many of the older generation. This is a less expensive alternative to a house with a little less maintenance without a yard to mow, trees and a dividing fence or wall. It still offers a separated residence but with close community support.”

Mobile Home Quandary or Quagmire?

Rancho La Paz Mobile Home Park in Anaheim was purchased by one unscrupulous billionaire John Saunders. He is raising the rent 19% this year, 19% next year and 10% for 5 years after that. This puts many of the residents on fixed incomes in a terrible bind.

Some elderly residents have ended up in the hospital and some even died from the stress.  It is coincidental that this is the mobile home park that has been targeted. My wife and I have driven through it for years after visiting one of our favorite restaurants that is located next door. We always enjoyed driving its meandering streets while admiring the individual styles of landscaping and decorating. Driving through it recently, however, one cannot help but notice the excessive number of homes with “for sale” signs having replaced the yard decorations.

We even thought that some day we might downsize to a nice quiet mobile home park like Rancho La Paz, well… ENLIGHTENMENT!

There are many mobile home parks exclusively for the older generation. In my visits to the aging park in Anaheim – Rancho La Paz – we even encountered some elderly that, not only can barely afford the rent now, but have little food.

Of course, we now do our best to extend our food service for the homeless and food insecure to the elderly in Rancho La Paz.  When we delivered food to Rancho La Paz an older woman in her night gown rushed out and said “I’m hungry!”

This aging mobile home park has a rec room with tile from the 1950s and a 19” tube TV for the residents to enjoy. The public restroom by the pool is a mess. The billionaire investor John Saunders sees this park as his money maker. A bunch of senior citizens stuck in mobile homes, their forever homes, which lack the money to pay rent and even buy food to eat.

This is the callous moneyed individuals and elected officials at their worse.

The people at Rancho La Paz represent a scenario playing out across the country and the people, you and me, need to stand up to protect them. And hopefully, if you get caught up in these inane politics, the kiss you receive is from someone you really love.

Michael J Robbins
For links to votes by the city council, news articles about the mobile home parks and more, write to:
Therealanaheim@gmail.com
We might not have a million dollars to put full color political flyers on your door but….


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"Admin" is just editors Vern Nelson, Greg Diamond, or Ryan Cantor sharing something that they mostly didn't write themselves, but think you should see. Before December 2010, "Admin" may have been former blog owner Art Pedroza.