Cities must help displaced residents

Letters to the Editor
Published June 14, 2006

Re: Mobile home residents neglected and Pass measures to protect seniors, letters June 7.

On June 7, you published two letters concerning the imminent closing of Bay Pines Mobile Home Park that pleaded for action to protect residents of manufactured home communities and chided the business and government communities for lack of concern.

I'm writing to clarify that during the recently ended session of the Legislature, the Federation of Manufactured Home Owners of Florida (FMO) did its best to get a law passed that would have dramatically helped residents who are displaced by a community closing. The Florida Manufactured Housing Association's board of directors decided to support the FMO effort.

The bill would have required local governments to use their resources to provide financial compensation to displaced homeowners. After all, local government officials are the ones who agree to the land use changes that clear the way for redevelopment, and local government benefits from the resulting increase in property taxes. Yet, as of now, local government does not financially assist its citizens in the relocation process.

Unfortunately, the bill was fiercely opposed by - you guessed it -- lobbyists representing cities and counties. Community owners and residents already contribute financially to helping residents, but when local governments were offered an opportunity to join us and use some of their newfound money to help their constituents, they balked.

That opposition, along with the misguided efforts of a small group of homeowners who mistakenly believe they can stop the sale of all manufactured home communities, led lawmakers to drop the effort. As a result, residents (and community owners) missed an opportunity to provide affected homeowners with additional financial help.

Like it or not, the trend of some older manufactured home communities being redeveloped will continue. We urge local governments, who are facilitating this trend, and homeowners, who are affected by it, to support future attempts to help displaced residents.

Nelson Steiner, president, Florida Manufactured Housing Association, Tallahassee


A silly tale of hoops and hot dogs

Re: Seminole gives vendors cold shoulder, June 7.

I'm incensed, and I don't even hold a vendor's license. What nincompoop at Seminole City Hall let William Kinmonth, 63, jump through all the hoops to obtain his vendor's permit: forking out $249 for an annual state license, sitting through a food-handling course, and buying a Seminole occupational license, only to insult his integrity by kicking him off the very streets in Seminole necessary to earn his livelihood? Hello. The gentleman wants to hawk hot dogs, not Uzis, for crying out loud.

Vice Mayor Dan Hester purports that allowing hot dog sales would "open a Pandora's box" for purveyors of "velvet Elvis paintings and rugs." I agree. The rugs and Elvis can take a hike to the flea market. But, hot dogs?

It seems that Seminole City Hall is bent on squashing the entrepreneur spirit and independence of the average Joe, which has come to make America great.

Theresa R. Knapik, Largo