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Briggs King takes letter writer to task

March 8, 2013

I think it’s important to set the record straight following a recent Cape Gazette opinion letter containing a number of half-truths about my position on manufactured housing issues.  It was particularly disheartening to learn that the author of the letter was not even in attendance at the Feb. 20 meeting where she criticized what I had to say.  That is why it is important to clarify the exact points talked about at the meeting to accurately reflect what we discussed.

The gathering to which she is referring was a Meet & Greet session with constituents of the 37th District. I hold these meetings on a regular basis and I appreciate the chance to meet with constituents so that they can share what’s on their mind.  While manufactured housing was part of the discussion that particular day, it certainly was not the only topic of concern among constituents during the 90-minute meeting.

To clarify what was said about manufactured housing, there were several points made in the opinion letter that are incorrect.  Regarding the percentage of the residents who live in manufactured housing, I was referring specifically to those homeowners in the 37th District.  In that case, it is accurate to say that 25 percent of 37th District residents live in manufactured homes.  At no point was I speaking for all manufactured homeowners in Delaware as I am sure there are more on average in some parts of the state and significantly fewer manufactured housing residents elsewhere.

In reference to the water and sewer complaints in some of these communities, again no specifics were given by me at the meeting because I was simply sharing with the group that I have received related complaints from residents outside my district.  I would have no reason to visit these areas or insert myself into another legislators' district matter.

For the author to state that I want to “raid the RTA [Relocation Trust Authority]” was also erroneous and disparaging to my true intentions. Once again, the author misrepresented my position at the expense of appearing well-informed. What is accurate, though, is my longstanding opinion and effort to address inefficiencies with the RTA to allow those manufactured homeowners who are really in need of financial help to get it. In fact, I will be sponsoring legislation this session to give the RTA the ability to set policies in order to provide rental assistance to manufactured homeowners.

Some other important measures that I plan to take the lead on in the General Assembly this year that I believe will assist the manufactured housing community include the following:

• Legislation ensuring that the roads in these communities exceed a certain minimum standard when it comes to the condition of the road.  No manufactured housing community in Delaware should be left with non-paved roads or poor road conditions.

• Legislation ensuring that homeowners receive a simple summary of their basic rights as a manufactured housing owner or tenant.  The one-page document would be similar to what is provided as part of the Delaware Uniform Common Interest Ownership Act, detailing certain disclosures including the right to cancel and the resale of units.

• Legislation creating an ombudsman program with the sole responsibility of investigating and mediating manufactured housing complaints and concerns.

I hope to have these bills, as well as a couple of other manufactured housing measures, introduced and filed for the public to review later this month once the legislature reconvenes after its budget break.

I thank those who took the time to attend the coffee meeting, including a local radio station reporter.  My next coffee meeting will be held at 8 a.m., Wednesday, March 13, at Georgetown Family Restaurant.  I encourage constituents to attend to participate in the discussion first-hand, instead of relying on erroneous hearsay.

Ruth Briggs King
State Representative, 37th District

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