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'An End to Their Seaside Life'

February 23, 1986

The victimization of people like Helen Smith ("An End to Their Seaside Life," Feb. 15) who live in mobile homes on property that has grown in value over the years, would not be possible without the continued discrimination against mobile-home owners by the uninformed.

According to the story written by Amalia Duarte, developers searching for larger profits are the focal point in this sad case in which homeowners are told they have two alternatives--either move the homes to an undesireable area or sell their homes to the developer at cost less depreciation of 4.7% per year.

The culprits here are not merely the Huntington Beach City Council, which passed the ordinance leading to this outrageous situation in which Orange County homeowners are forced into selling their homes, nor the developers who seek to make increasing profits on their land, regardless of what happens to the people who live on it.

No, the unfairness also must include all of the people who have discriminated against mobile homes and their owners since World War II days when mobile homes were called into service to house factory workers needed for the defense industry. That discrimination is visible today, even in Duarte's article, in which mobile homes are called trailers and even coaches. No wonder people think that it's reasonable to offer a "cost plus depreciation" amount for these homes. They think they are dealing with vehicles.

The Huntington Beach Co., which the article says has committed $1 million to relocation efforts, is eating its cake and having it too. Not only are these developers providing a substandard site for relocation--near a fertilizer factory and a heliport--but they will charge the homeowners rent for the new space as well. One wonders what their feasibility studies would have looked like had they either offered the homeowners replacement value for the homes or a residential area to put them in.

But they couldn't do it without all of the people who haven't taken the time to find out that these homeowners are not simply living in trailers that are pulled down the highway, but in homes. They couldn't do it without city councils that encourage the placement of mobile homes next to dumps and manure factories. And they couldn't do it without reporters who consistently confuse trailers with mobile homes.


Buena Park

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