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Motorhome owners' rights: activism

When motorhome rights issues are on the table, FMCA advocates cooperation between policymakers and RV owners to arrive at a fair solution.

Whether the issue is loss of parking rights, an unfair toll, an unfair tax or an unreasonable regulation, the following tips will be helpful when dealing with a governmental or regulating body.

1. Analyze the parties involved
In all cases, there are pros and cons to a proposal. Lately, RV owners often seem to be the prime target of negativism. They're on the defensive from those who are trying to restrict or take away their parking rights.

The motivation behind an RV-unfriendly proposal almost always stems from another citizen filing a complaint with the local authority because they feel that motorhome owners are infringing on their rights.

2. Study the law or regulation
To be effective in any campaign to to protect or restore parking rights, you must know the current and proposed law or regulation. This takes work, but most governments have Web sites, so it's possible to find information about these laws from the comfort of your own home.

Often, you can find the e-mail addresses of the persons involved by visiting the Web site of cities, counties, municipalities, townships, villages, planning boards, community associations.

3. Define your allies
Decide how to find and communicate with the people in the affected jurisdiction who are on your side. You may want to start your involvement by talking with friends, neighbors and fellow RVers. Keep your eyes and ears open, and don’t hesitate to approach someone who sounds motivated.

Find and form affiliations with other RV groups. Communicate with their leaders to develop methods of getting the work to the affected people.

FMCA members, RV dealers, RV manufacturers, campground operators and RV clubs can succeed at stopping or loosening restrictions placed on the use of their RVs. Especially when they band together.

4. Decide the best outcome possible
In any political activity, rarely is it possible to achieve the ideal solution (your ideal solution) all the time. Compromise is often required. Develop the wording that represents this position and be ready to use it in all communications.

5. Identify the decision makers
This is an important step so that you can conserve the resources you have for the campaign. This step requires information gathered by people who are close to the problem, such as a councilman, city manager, zoning board member or state legislator.

Also, identify FMCA members who can help because they live close to the complainant, or who have family or personal friends who do.

6. Identify your resources
Make a list of helpers and organizations. Create an expense budget.

7. Formulate a plan of attack
Different types of issues call for different types of activism. Compare the issue or situation to the message you want to send, and then determine the most effective modes for achieving your specific goal: e-mail, Internet, telephone, newspaper editorials, testifying at hearings, meeting with decision makers.

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