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Mobile Parks and Children

October 06, 1985

The melancholy status of Point Dume Mobile Home Park--and other adult parks--is sadly poetic. Those who make the rules (park owners) and those who endorse them (coach owners) are paying the price for actively perpetuating a pernicious yet legal form of discrimination--the exclusion of children from housing. Just as the city of Montgomery, Ala., discovered to its chagrin it couldn't run a bus system without black riders, so our society will discover that a mobile home park, a community, a city or a nation will wither without its young bubbling up to add life and vigor.

How ironic that market pressure rather than common sense is forcing some park owners to open their parks to families.

Children are troublesome and expensive, but a childless community is bleak, cold and stagnant.

As residents of Paradise Cove Park, which was several years ago converted by the owner to adults-only (families are no longer allowed to buy), we know that families are tripping over each other for the opportunity to purchase mobile homes in Malibu. But they are all doomed to disappointment. We cannot sell our four-bedroom coach to a young county lifeguard or fireman or teacher with a 2-year-old; we must sell to a single person, childless couple or older couple who meet the owner's stringent profile. What a waste! Oh, well. The potential buyers are certainly better off purchasing some real property in Thousand Oaks, as mobile homes are lousy investments, especially when you don't own the land under them. It's just that this area is such a beautiful healthy place to raise children.

Would young families get caught in the same escalating rent financial squeeze? Of course. But families, with roots in the community, children in the schools and hefty grocery bills at local markets, would present a formidable lobby.

If the residents of Point Dume Park can't find a fourth for bridge, they can amuse themselves reading the latest news of the Zipp case (the Zipps, a family with two young children, are fighting for the right to live in the park).

RON FORDE

TINA FISHER FORDE

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