Mobile home residents ready to fight

Letters to the Editor
Published July 27, 2005

Re: Diane Steinle's column on the plight of mobile home residents, July 20.

I want to thank you personally for spreading the word on our plight. I am the acting association president for Anchor North Bay Mobile Home Park in West Oldsmar. Our association name is ANB Mobile Homeowners Association Inc., established in 1996.

The people of Anchor North Bay are putting up the fight of a lifetime, not only for us, but for all the other mobile home owners throughout the state. This is not just a local issue, but a statewide one. We have invoked every agency from every level of government to slow down and attempt to stop developers from taking what is ours.

Leo Plenski (of Bay Pines Mobile Home Park in Seminole), myself and many others from around the state converged in Tallahassee before the Florida Senate adjourned this year. We support a bill that will give mobile home park tenants right of first refusal, whether a developer's offer to buy their park is solicited or unsolicited.

The bill was tabled. Representatives of the two Florida mobile home owners associations were at that meeting and voted against us. These are the two groups that many send their annual dues to to fight for our rights as mobile home owners.

Needless to say, Leo and all of us were up in arms and are now committed to forming a statewide association to replace those people and stop sending them money to do the job they do not do. Our new association will let the politicians know that we are all registered voters and will vote them out if they do not move to protect us all.

Our new association will be represented by the law firm of Merkle & Magri of Clearwater, which is representing ANB Mobile Homeowners Association Inc. in our suit against SAB Investors LLC, whose founder, Chris Sullivan, is the founder of Outback Steakhouse.

I can tell you one thing for sure: We are kicking their assets every which way but loose, and we are winning.

Again, thank you for your column, as every time a story is printed, it keeps our fight in the news.

-- Ray Brooks, ANB Mobile Homeowners Association Inc., West Oldsmar

Park sales are tip of the iceberg

Re: Diane Steinle's column.

I just want to let you know that it was nice to finally read an article in the paper about what is really happening to us mobile home owners in nonresident-owned parks.

Everyone needs to know what is happening so that more help is available to stop this. It certainly is a dark cloud that is hanging over the "Sunshine State."

It seems that Leo Plenski and Mike Rizzo of Seminole are championing the cause. Bless them. Elderly people, veterans and families are just being put out into the street. It is certainly the tip of the iceberg, and when the whole thing surfaces, which I feel it will, everyone will wonder how it went on so long with no help or no solutions.

Every little article helps. Thanks again.

-- Nina Lupini, St. Petersburg

Uprooting them is inhumane, immoral

As a citizen, taxpayer and resident of Pinellas County, I am appalled and saddened after reading the heart-wrenching letters from mobile home park residents.

Allowing the mobile home parks to be sold to greedy condominium developers is beyond my comprehension as a human being. Mobile home parks should be zoned specifically for that purpose alone. Upon any sale of a mobile home park, the new owner would have to keep it a park.

There are many other ways that developers can invest. Taking away one's shelter, particularly that of elderly, disabled and low-income residents, is not only inhumane but immoral. The Pinellas County commissioners need to open their eyes and take out Webster's and look up the word "humanity."

Pinellas County, shame on you!

-- Marilyn Murphy, Clearwater

Let's build more affordable housing

Re: Mobile home residents.

Low-income residents in Pinellas County are hurting as they see mobile home parks being sold or marketed for sale. Other housing alternatives are simply not affordable. And this avalanche of misfortune is happening speedily.

When it comes to the housing question for the poor and retirees, I think it is time for government to inject its presence.

How about building affordable housing with government input? Gold is God to a money-monger, but compassion is the principle of the righteous.

Let's erect housing that will provide security for nonaffluent citizenry.

-- Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg

Heart goes out to young Marine

Re: Group's fundraiser supports Marine, July 17.

This article tears at one's heart in three directions. First, we are grateful to the young man who has made the choice to serve his country and protect the freedoms that our fellow Americans enjoy in the United States.

Second, I can see that there are so many caring people who realize the inherent risks to this young Marine and want to do all they can to protect him from harm. Their love and support are evident by their actions to help him.

Third, and this is the hardest part, shame. Shame that our military would send our strongest, best trained young men and women to an area where all of the equipment that would protect them is not available, and available to every single enlisted military person. We need to invest in equipment that would protect all of our sons and daughters who are risking their lives for us.

When you watch your children being trained and meet their fellow enlisted personnel, they all become extended family members. Our prayers include asking for the safety of each one.

The children of our policymakers should enlist to ensure that resources that would be used to protect them would be available to every single military person.

Peaceful resolution can come by finding the cause of war. That is the ultimate prevention of destruction of the lives of those suffering the consequences of warfare.

-- Norene Dagly, St. Petersburg