What happens when a filthy rich Boy Scout tries to quadruple the size of his house in La Jolla while also running for president of the United States? Wackiness, natch! The New York Times is the latest outlet to check out Mitt Romney's plans to massively expand his house in La Jolla (which Richard Gere once rented) and, for the paper of record, they do some serious gossipmongering and dirt digging, getting the neighbors to say all kinds of bitchy things (although the neighborhood does seem to love the Secret Service). Here are the nastiest bits:
-- Man, take a day off, Mitt: "A young man in town recalled that Mr. Romney confronted him as he smoked marijuana and drank on the beach last summer, demanding that he stop. The issue appears to be a recurring nuisance for the Romneys. [A Democratic neighbor], who lives on the waterfront near Mr. Romney, said that a police officer had asked him, on a weekend when the candidate was in town, to report any pot smoking on the beach. The officer explained to him that “your neighbors have complained?He was pretty clear that it was the Romneys.”
-- A gay couple four doors up "meet regularly with other residents worried by the candidate’s renovation plans." When they "were asked by Mr. Romney’s architect to sign a document that stated they have no objections to his planned renovations, which would obscure a portion of their ocean view," they turned him down.
-- One half of another gay couple on the street "playfully proposed hanging a gay-pride flag from the Italian stone pine tree in his yard 'so that Romney’s motorcade has to drive under it.'"
-- "[A] widow grouses that her children's favorite dog-walking route has been disrupted."
-- The Democratic neighbor on Romney's renovation plans: "The only thing he wants small is government and taxes...He likes big houses, big families and big religion."
-- Back to one of the gay neighbors: “It’s odd that this is where Romney picked a place — it’s so progressive."
-- An anonymous neighbor: “There are plenty of other big houses they could have purchased?This is a quaint little one-way street."
-- Straight up: "Karen Webber, who lives several blocks away and dislikes the heightened security measures [said] 'If this were Obama?I’d probably be fine with it.'"
And just for a little balance:
-- Real estate agents think Romney living in the neighborhood "could raise home values by 10 percent."
-- One neighbor says that "Personally, I'm glad it's people who have a little bit of money and taste living there."
Meanwhile, "construction is not expected to begin anytime soon" and it's not even clear it ever will--neighbors are whispering that Romney is actually just going to buy "the bigger and grander estate of his longtime friend [meatpacking magnate John] Miller." The Romneys have spent the last two weekends in La Jolla.
· The Candidate Next Door [NYT]
· Details on the $55k Car Lift in Mitt Romney's New La Jolla House [Curbed LA]