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Conditions in Anaheim Mobile Homes Appalling, Legislative Aide Says

TIMES STAFF WRITER

As a sign of the state’s increased interest in mobile home parks, a legislative aide toured an Anaheim park earlier this month and said she found conditions in the rented homes appalling.

“These are conditions that no person should have to live in,” said Carina Franck, a field representative for state Sen. Joe Dunn (D-Santa Ana).

Now the state Department of Housing and Community Development and the city of Anaheim have scheduled an inspection for Jan. 12.

Residents at Golden Skies Mobile Home Park complain about heaters that don’t work, holes in the walls, a leaking sewage line and accompanying stench, inoperable smoke detectors, leaking ceilings and empty spots in walls--missing windows that haven’t been replaced--that must be covered with plastic sheets and tiles.

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Residents said they have complained to the management with no success.

Fabiola Ramos said she has asked the management to fix the broken windows and inoperable air conditioning. "[They] say we’ll fix it in a week, and a week goes by and then a month goes by” and nothing gets done, Ramos said.

Mike Leffler, manager of Golden Skies, said residents themselves caused many of the problems and, in other instances, he was not told of needed repairs.

“How do I fix things if I don’t know what’s happening?” he asked.

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Dunn, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Mobile and Manufactured Housing, held a hearing earlier this month in Anaheim to highlight problems in mobile home parks. One of those who testified was Alma Ramirez, who lives at Golden Skies and who has been trying to bring attention to problems there.

Leffler said there are 118 mobile homes in the park. About 16 are rented from Golden Skies, and the rest are occupied by their owners, he said. Renters said they pay from $525 to $650 a month.

Just across the Santa Ana Freeway from Disneyland, Golden Skies is 50 years old, and some rented coaches date to the 1950s, said Patricia Griffith.

Franck visited Golden Skies with an aide to Assemblyman Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) and city code enforcement officers. As they visited the coaches, Franck said, a park security officer confronted the group and said it had no right to be there. Even after Correa’s aide identified himself, Franck said, the guard threatened to call police. The group continued with its tour.

No citations were issued on the visit.

There is confusion over who has responsibility for the inspections. Julie Seay, Anaheim’s building official, said her agency has responsibility for exterior inspections and the state is in charge of interiors.

But John Tennyson, consultant to the Senate committee, said that’s wrong. He said Anaheim is one of 88 cities in California that has agreed to inspect coach interiors.

Adrian Perez of the state Division of Housing and Community Development said he would meet with Anaheim building officials to clarify their responsibilities.

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Legislation that took effect in January 2000 requires that the exterior and common areas of every mobile home park in the state be inspected during the next seven years. Anaheim has inspected eight of its 34 parks, Seay said, but Golden Skies was not one of them.

Franck said code enforcement officers told her they had never received a complaint from residents at Golden Skies. “I personally believe many residents don’t understand the process,” she said. “Perhaps they don’t know about code enforcement.”

She said she wants to hold a meeting with Golden Skies residents and state and city inspectors to explain the procedure to them.

Building inspectors and code enforcement officers can issue citations requiring owners to make repairs. If the work is not completed, the complaint can be referred to prosecutors.

Despite the problems, Golden Skies residents said they don’t want to move. They say their relatives live there or they lack the deposit required to rent an apartment. Ramos said she wants to stay there because of the quiet. “It’s a haven,” she said.


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