The newsroom is very excited to announce the launch of an unprecedented project coming to you this Sunday.

Over the past couple months, a dozen media organizations across the state, including the Montrose Daily Press, have worked hard to put together a package of stories that is likely to point to a problem our state is facing.

That problem is mobile home parks.

Once sold as a reasonable, affordable way to live, many mobile home parks across the state have strayed far from their originally intended vision. Many locally owned mom-and-pop trailer parks have sold to corporations spread over several states. And many owners of manufactured homes have found their living situations become more and more expensive.

Many people own their own trailer homes, but they don’t own the ground on which they sit. That means trailer park owners can charge lot fees and rent that become unreasonable to pay for some. Besides that, many people who live in trailer parks feel they don’t have many rights. In the case of the MDP story that will print Sunday, a woman found herself in a rent-to-own contract. Only after she had lived there a few weeks did she realize the property was uninhabitable.

She sought recourse through local governmental agencies, but there was seemingly nobody to help her.

This statewide project was facilitated by The Colorado Sun and the Associated Press, and dozens of journalists and editors across the state contributed. I said the project is unprecedented because, in my view, it is. The project shows the way journalism has changed.

Once, there was very little content sharing between media organizations — especially ones near the same markets. It’s a different story today, and we’ve all realized collaboration only makes our work stronger and our voices louder.

The newsroom’s hope is that you’ll read not only our story, but all the stories associated with the project.

The Colorado Sun has expressed interest in collaborations like this one in the future, and it could be a chance for newspapers and online publications across the state to continue collaborating and producing important journalistic work.

The National Popular Vote

It’s official — voters will decide. Recently, the secretary of state approved petitions collected across the state in response to a bill Gov. Jared Polis signed into effect earlier this year.

The bill — now law — joins Colorado in with a compact of states aimed at making the winner of the national popular vote the winner of the United States presidential election.

But, Coloradans spoke up. More than 183,000 of them, officially, signed petitions bringing the matter to the November ballot. So Colorado voters will decide whether to keep the state in the NPV compact or to stick with the Electoral College. Of course, the law wouldn’t actually be triggered into effect until enough states joined to combine for 270 Electoral College votes — the number needed to win the presidency.

Rose Pugliese, one of the organizers associated with the anti-NPV movement and a Mesa County commissioner, visited Montrose last week, where she spoke about the grassroots movement and the work ahead. The movement has now moved toward education — they want voters to keep the Colorado Electoral College intact. That’s nine votes toward the presidential election in total.

State Rep. Marc Catlin, who was at the Pizza and Politics event visited by Pugliese, told the Montrose Daily Press he’s glad there was a petition clause within the approved NPV bill.

“Having sat there and watched how this bill was passed, this was something that had to happen,” Catlin said. “People should have the opportunity to say what they think... (The bill) is something that I never even thought would happen.”

Others at the Pizza and Politics event were concerned about the state of the country as a whole.

“My main concern is how the American public is losing its focus on the Constitution,” Nikki Zwaschka said. “I’m a true constitutionalist, so I believe this is one more step toward losing our freedoms afforded to us by the founding fathers and the structure of how this country should operate.”

One thing is clear. The country — and the state — is split on how this country should operate. Spurred on, or maybe just magnified, by the 2016 presidential election, the national popular vote issue is anything but black and white. I guess we will just have to wait and see which side brings more people to the polls.

Justin Tubbs is the managing editor of the Montrose Daily Press. He can be reached at 970-252-7035 or by email at justint@montrosepress.com.

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