AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m.The bill, AB 1542, was closely followed in Carson, where residents of two parks are battling condominium conversions. “I can’t believe it,” said John Goolsby, president of the Colony Cove Rental Committee. “I just don’t understand him going with the special interests and the park owners who are making sums of money.” Mobile home park residents generally own their homes but rent the land underneath it from the park owner. In most cities, the rents are strictly controlled by local ordinances. In the last 10 years, park owners have discovered they can get around rent control by subdividing their parks and selling off the spaces to those residents who want to buy them. Once the park is converted, local rent control no longer applies to those residents who choose to keep renting. “For many park owners it just seems criminal that cities are putting restrictions on the amount of rent we can require of residents,” said Catherine Borg, the lobbyist for the Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association (WMA). Conversion, she said, “is an exit strategy so they can sell their property.” The bill, by Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, would have kept local rent control after a condo conversion took place. It was strongly opposed by WMA – which put out a “red alert” to its membership about the bill – and supported by the state AARP, the League of California Cities, the Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League, and many cities including Carson and Los Angeles. Busloads of seniors from parks around the state went to the Capitol to demonstrate on behalf of the bill. Park residents also wrote and called the Governor’s Office. “There have been hundreds if not thousands of cards and letters that have gone into the Governor’s Office,” said Maurice Priest, the chief lobbyist for the GSMOL. In his veto message, the governor objected to the fact that local rent control ordinances protect all residents, regardless of income. Low-income mobile home residents are already protected under state law. “It is unclear what state interest is served by the extension of rent control for those who do not have an economic disadvantage,” Schwarzenegger said. WMA argues that subdivision gives residents an investment opportunity. By buying the parcels underneath their mobile homes, they can enjoy the subsequent appreciation in land values. Some parks have converted on the initiative of residents. But in cases where residents object, local officials have gone to battle on their behalf. In Carson, the city has passed a moratorium against condominium conversions and has rejected the proposed conversion of Carson Harbor Village Mobile Home Park. The park owner, James Goldstein, is preparing to sue to overturn both decisions. His attorney, Richard Close, said he hoped the governor’s veto would impel the city to reach a negotiated solution. “The cities will realize they need to comply with state law,” said Close, who also represents 23 other park owners who are attempting conversions. “The cities will encourage the residents to sit down and work out conversions that will benefit everyone.” Goldstein has battled Carson’s rent control laws for more than 20 years. Just this week, he applied for a $618 monthly rent increase at Colony Cove Mobile Estates, where the average rent is now about $430 a month. With rent control in place, the request is certain to be denied. But seniors worry that after the park is subdivided, the city will no longer be able to stand in the way. Priest said his group will seek to pass another bill to address residents’ concerns during the next legislative session. SB 900, which is similar to AB 1542, has passed the Senate and will be taken up in the Assembly in January. “It’ll take a year, year and a half, to start over and go the whole nine yards,” Goolsby said. “Gov. Schwarzenegger, I am so disappointed in you.” [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CARSON: Some fear the governor’s rejection will bring higher costs that will force them out of mobile homes. By Gene Maddaus STAFF WRITER Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill Friday to preserve rent control at subdivided mobile home parks, dashing hopes of park residents statewide who fear they will be forced from their homes by escalating rents.