Jason Gibbs: Parks renters vs. owners: lose-lose debate


The June 13 Santa Clarita City Council meeting was expected to be long; lasting close to three hours, it did not disappoint.

While only about 30 minutes were spent discussing our annual city budget (I guess not too many people there were interested in how the city intends to spend nearly $200 million), 90 minutes were spent discussing the manufactured home rent adjustment procedures.

For some time now, city staff has been working on revising the municipal code to address a number of issues and concerns, including passing through capital improvements costs to tenants, space rent increases, and the method in which to appeal said increases.

By the end of the discussion, both residents and park representatives appeared dissatisfied and ignored. While many will hold the City Council and city staff responsible for the discourse, I believe they are working diligently toward a textbook compromise – one in which both sides will end up being equally disappointed.

Government entities believing they can morally and fairly resolve issues that should be left to both the market and individual choice – as well as the people who encourage such government intervention in hopes it will place them at an advantageous position with no regard to long-term consequences or the rights of others – are the real underlying issues.

One could see an example of this happening at the state level in SB 562, the Healthy California Act; which could also be called the “free health care for all” Act.

The plan for this bill, which was just shelved on Friday after winning approval in the state Senate, was in essence to have the state government pay all Californians’ health-care-related costs.

This would be the epitome of government intervention on the grounds of misguided moral and human rights beliefs. Ironically, even those who support such ideals balk at the cost of $400 billion a year, more than double the annual state budget – and they should!

It appears even they realized California does not have a mint to print the required funds, nor enough billionaires to tax into oblivion to pay for this boondoggle.

Yet, the state Senate approved SB 562. Apparently the means of paying for something is not as important as pushing an ill-conceived imaginary right.

If someone on the City Council wants to help park residents in a more direct manner, why don’t they make a motion to have the city just buy the mobile home parks?

With one side wanting to take full economic advantage of its property, and the other wanting to limit its annual expenses to continue living there, this simple solution would end the discourse.

Just as SB 562 would have, we can figure out the true cost impacts on the community later. Right now it’s about claiming the moral high ground.

Heck, if the owners won’t sell, just bring on imminent domain and use some real government force to impose such a change! The city would be able to institute rent control, have rent ceilings, and control all park-related issues.

Park residents would no longer worry about unexpected pass-through costs, unwanted capital improvements, or have a need to appeal any increases, as the city would handle all these affairs and put the residents first.

The perceived unjustness from private owners would be a thing of the past, leaving behind a government entity handling all aspects of daily mobile home park lives, and we all know nothing bad could ever come from that!

The only guarantee government intervention provides is a further distancing of the consumer from his or her product. If we returned to the belief and respect for our market system, which truly has given America her greatness, the owners and residents would be working closely together to create an atmosphere of respect, harmony and fruitfulness for both interests.

Instead, we see an ever-widening divide – and the continual demand for government ordinances, restrictions and intervention is only going to make things worse.


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