important issues of the day

Mitt Romney’s Modest ‘Manse’ Now Has a Car Elevator, Lobbyist

so many friends to play with

Mitt Romney’s small cottage in La Jolla is in the process of renovation, and the aggrandizing of this piece of real estate is such an important issue for the future of this nation that there is actually a guy assigned to lobby the house to the San Diego government. How do you lobby a house? Perhaps this involves wearing a button with a picture of the house on it? Carrying a model version of the house to show all the government workers how lovely life can be when you start from, well, something, work hard and “earn” every phone call your father ever made to his friends? Anyway, also, the “manse,” as one Romney campaign person once called it, apparently thinking “manse” is a prissy way of saying “very small castle,” (manse: a large stately house; a mansion, for any teens reading), will also have a car elevator, because many of Romney’s friends are elevator company owners, and his only real friends are cars.

The chateau shall be 11,000 square feet. Its basement alone, which is delicately referred to as its “non-living area,” shall be bigger than the original house was (3,000 square feet). WHAT WILL HAPPEN DOWN THERE? We are sorry if this leads to you imagining Mitt Romney sweaty or having fun, but it’s probably for an ice skating rink, olympic-size pool, gym and garage for 93,894 cars. Recall L.A. Dodgers owner Jamie McCourt’s house(seseses). They are kind of the same, these two. Here’s the thing: ramps? What is so wrong with a ramp? True, Batman would never have a ramp.

Anyway, this guy, Matthew Peterson, has been employed by Romney in the position of Castle Lobbyist since 2008, and part of the reason is things like car elevators, and disturbing the peace, and forklifts and possibly moat-building and a full-scale replica of the gardens at Versailles. Peterson’s job is to politely harass four government people: “the project manager responsible for the planned construction, an assistant city attorney and two engineers.” Some people claim this is all quite “normal,” when you are doing a renovation of this scale. See, any time you have a lot of money, you get to waste the government’s time and resources with your personal problems and aspirations. It’s the American Dream. Romney is living it. What are you doing?

Related video

And what is “this scale,” you ask? Why, here is a baseball field, speaking of baseball, which is a mere 8,100 square feet, so:

for scale, your house is the pitcher's mound

[Think Progress]

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About the author

Liz is a writer. She has written for this site, evidently, and also The Awl, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Economist and others. She is the author of a short story collection, Cover Story.

View all articles by Liz Colville

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166 comments

  1. HelmutNewton

    It's the hot new thing among the 1%: lobbyists for everything. Lobbyists for your house(es), for your car(s), for your yacht(s), for your mistress(es), for your pet(s)…..Ooops! Mittens didn't splurge for the dog lobbyist, but still, you get the idea.

  2. Maman

    Who needs 3,000 square feet of "non-living" space? What are planning to do with that space? Hatch new Mormons? Hide the Angel Moroni's golden plates?

      1. dubyatf

        Well, it seems pretty obvious, doesn't it? It's where he and his Mormon pals will baptize the non-living.

  3. Lascauxcaveman

    I thought Romney was a former Bain Capital man?

    How hard could it be to execute a hostile takeover of a small company like the La Jolla City Council? He could do it on his lunch break. That'd get him all the zoning variances he'd need. He could even re-write local taxation ordinances to get everyone else to pay for it.

    Mitt, when are you going to start acting like you belong in the 1%?

    1. Geminisunmars

      He is probably way ahead of you. This aforementioned *Lobbyist* is just there to call in the orders.

    2. Negropolis

      La Jolla is actually a neighborhood within the City of San Diego, but you'd never know it as independent as the place thinks it is.

  4. BaldarTFlagass

    How do you lobby a house? Take it out to a Home Depot or Lowe's and buy it a drink and a paint job.

  5. Exhausted66

    "How do you lobby a house?"

    If I remember correctly, you roll up the plans, stick 'em in a tube and hope Greg Brady doesn't let 'em slide out of the tube while he's biking across town.

  6. Mumbletypeg

    It's like McCain with his "I don't know how many" mansions. The wonk headline applies here as well: build 'em "Just For Something To Do" [implied: With More Money Than You Know How To Handle.]

    1. MadBrahms

      This is also one of Mitt'sthree homes, not including a humble ski cottage in Park City, UT that he's selling for a bargain 5.25 million.

      "I've always felt connected to blue collar workers, to masons and carpenters and construction workers. I've hired thousands of them."

  7. dyedwool

    Seamus the Dog is gonna have a BLAST going up and down on the car elevator all the live long day.

    1. anniegetyerfun

      YES. Seriously, I was just thinking that Dubya probably had/has as much money as Romney, but either Dubya had less conspicuous ways of spending it, or the fact that his face was so inbred-looking (and that he couldn't really string together more than a few words at a time), made people forget that he was such a blue blood. Mitt, though, just SMELLS rich.

      1. prommie

        Actually, Dubya wasn't all that well off, I think he managed to grift about $10 or $15 million from the owners of the Rangers, that was the bribe for using his influence to get the stadium built, and that was pretty much all he had before he became governor. He probably had a trust, too, but nothing huge. He truly was the idiot loser of the family.

      2. CivicHoliday

        He'll only be taken seriously when he has to clear the brush away from his mansion and pick up his own dog's shit. But since he has "people" for that, he will never be taken seriously by the vast majority of voters. Yay!

  8. bumfug

    Back in the '80s Jay Leno had a beautiful house in the Hollywood Hills and one day he said he was in the middle of moving. I asked why he'd leave that house and he said it was because he'd found a place in Beverly Hills with a 2-story garage and a car elevator. All I could think was, damn I'd like to have that kind of dough.

      1. bumfug

        He definitely worked his butt off – he was legendary for doing over 300 shows a year, all over the country, mostly one-nighters. It's fashionable to put him down nowadays as some sort of hack but the reality is he was one of the best club comics in the country, had great material and a terrific rapport with the crowds. He earned everything he got.

        1. Negropolis

          To this day, I hear, he does stand-up on the weekends.

          That said, his stage stuff is still far safer than Dave's, and I will never forgive him for what he did to Conan. That's when I gave up on the guy, forever. His work ethic can not be matched, but neither can he greed and gracelessness, it seems.

  9. anniegetyerfun

    Well, to be fair, it is difficult to drive two Cadillacs up the stairs at the same time.

  10. sewollef

    Car elevators? Ha!…. in my day we were lucky to drive a late-model, mid-size sedan and park it on the street.

    Except for Monday's when it was alternate side parking — damn you New York.

    Who does this Romney chap think he is, eh?

  11. FakaktaSouth

    Man they are so rich AND Mormon – sounds like they have an extra Republican-style wife – what the hell DOES Ann do?? She should be incredibly good at lobbying for bigger houses, more cars, and saying things to working folks like, look I know HE's an asshole, but how much money will it take to get our way? I think I've figured out what Callista's gonna do after she recovers from her impending cancer/divorce.

    1. prommie

      Rich Mormon, what a fucking waste that is. Whats the use of being rich if not for the gold-diggers/hookers and blow?

      1. FakaktaSouth

        What about all the fancy panties, champagne and for god's sake Excedrin perfection for the hangovers these people are missing out on? I just don't understand it. Their kinks must be amaaaaaaazing. Or horribly boring?

    2. prommie

      BTW, here is my favorite mormon joke; there is a saying up in the Mormon-infested areas, "Never take just one Mormon hunting (or camping) with you. He'll drink all your beer." (If you take two, neither will drink, you see, being afraid of being told on).

    3. Negropolis

      Ann's the daughter of money, too. Her father was even a mayor here in Michigan for a time. She was also first a Congregationalist as a child, and then an Episcopalian. I hear that her parents couldn't even attend her wedding because it was a Mormon ceremony.

        1. SorosBot

          And my local libertarian douchebag told me we have slavery in America, because we have to pay taxes, which are apparently the exact same thing.

  12. MissTaken

    I hate it when I just get my Cadillac #1 in the car elevator and then Cadillac #2 drives right up and pushes the button right before the elevator door closes. Ugh, so frustrating!

    1. sewollef

      I hate it when the car elevator is on the 10th floor when you arrive and it stops at every floor on the way down, when you're desperate to pee and wash your hands from all that grime and fraternizing with the plebs outside of your parking tower.

      I hate that.

  13. savethispatient

    Is Romney a secret Presbyterian? I thought a Manse is a Scots term for where the Minister of the Kirk lives. Is the Mormonism thing just a cover?!

    1. Wile E. Quixote

      Romney is open to converting to Presbyterianism and/or Scientology if it will help his poll numbers.

  14. edgydrifter

    His dog carriers will have a separate garage and elevator, connected to the primary climate-controlled auto condo and day spa structure by monorail, naturally.

  15. OneYieldRegular

    "See, my friends, I'm remodeling our little house on a scale fundamental to the American way of life, on baseball itself. We will also be installing hot dog and Mom's apple pie vending machines in the non-living area, and will be buying a fleet of Chevrolets for the garage. And some dare to accuse of us of not respecting the American dream! Show me another candidate with such commitment to the things that have made our country great."

  16. Goonemeritus

    If I was his spouse I would want at least that kind of square footage to hide in. I would also demand a fainting room and walk in liquor cabinet. Add in Mitt’s requirements to house the catalog of his political positions over time and 10,000 sqft might be a little cramped

  17. Hera Sent Me

    3000 square feet of "non-living space"?

    So that's where those golden plates Joseph Smith found are going to wind up.

    And there will still be enough room to park one of Xenu's DC-8 spaceships.

  18. slithytoves

    The chateau shall be 11,000 square feet. Its basement alone, which is delicately referred to as its “non-living area,” shall be bigger than the original house was (3,000 square feet).

    The chateau I am currently in the process of buying has 1,100 square feet and the basement will be reserved for laundry, treadmill, an old set of golf clubs, and a litterbox. I am so fucking excited! I've made it people!

  19. Baconzgood

    Unrelated to this post

    I took off on Friday to spend some time beating my kids (they know what they did!) and they fired Department Director Dale. Since Baconz was off the same day that Department Director Dale was let loose everyone thinks that I know somthing that they don't. I've been telling whoever asks somthing different. "Some thing about hanging around elementary schools too much", "Embezzlement", "remember my intern….well there is a sexual harassment suit pending against him and he took an extended sabbatical". I sure hope they don't want me to take over his position. I wouldn't have time to snark.

      1. Baconzgood

        Does it involve a cock in my mouth. Because apparently that's what I have to do NOT to have his job. It's way too much work for less pay.

        1. Barb

          By the way, if you beat your children I hope you did as everyone else does and take them to WalMart to do it.

    1. Man0nTheStreet

      When your soon-to-be-underlings in the department gingerly, obliquely ask you what you know about the purging/"disappearing" of Official NonPerson "Dale", just flash them a sinister Cheney-grin and tell them only that your Security Clearance is significantly higher now…

  20. anniegetyerfun

    Well, Batman might not have had a ramp, but Ironman did. Ironman was arguably a better inventor.

  21. JackDempsey1

    meh—–
    I'd rather live at Target Field.
    The food is better, it's got an acceptable big screen, and Kirby Puckett is buried under 2nd base. And the sister wives can get plenty of fresh air.

    1. Weallscream

      Yeah, and you can get a drink there. I doubt that there will be anything available at the Mittmansion.

  22. Jerri

    See, extreme conservative base? Romney's just like you! The only difference is his car elevator is an actual car elevator, where as yours is a set of cinderblocks on your brown lawn. He is relatable!

  23. SorosBot

    So wait, Mittens is building a giant underground lair beneath his mansion? OK, I think if he loses he's planning on switching his career to be a full-time supervillan. Is the castle going to have a moat patrolled by sharks with laser beams on their heads too?

  24. SheriffJoeBiden

    My first instinct was: "Dumb Mittens, this makes you look like an ass." But then my cynicism kicked in and I realized he's just going to "successfully" respond to any questions about this with the same old "I am a successful man, since when does America hate success grumble sneer" routine and proceed to lose the election for myriad other reasons.

  25. sbj1964

    Mitt Wilard Romeney in the words of Mel Brooks"It's good to be the King". Even if it's the King of Flip floppers.

  26. LiberalMantra

    Am sure his re-baptized "supporters" will give him the signatures/ballots needed for representing Mittneyworld.

  27. bikerlaureate

    Liz, I have to think all of the libtard teen readers appreciate the helpful definitions. Keep up the good America-hating work.

    1. Doktor StrangeZoom

      I like this fun new meme (meme: an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture)

    2. MadBrahms

      I too appreciate that (P?)SAT words like "manse" are now defined for us, but where was our word count? How is a busy teen to know if they can fit reading your articles in to their schedule of constant sinning and Glee watching? (Sinning: acts which contravene God's plan for us, like talking to liberals or holding hands before marriage)

  28. Spurning Beer

    So Mr. Mansy-Pants has a car elevator in his renovated California Crib. BFD.

    The General Lee could reach the second story with just a dirt ramp 50 yards away, and it had a Confederate Flag painted on top.

  29. Chet Kincaid

    The 3,000 sq.ft. of non-living space is for Mitt to upgrade his crystal meth manufacturing facilities. What, you bought that he made his billions off bankrupting old pencil factories?! Come on! This whole Mormon-politician-perpetually-running-for-office thing is the perfect cover if you want to move mega-weight. What did you think the family was doing with its Mexican connections, importing poblano peppers? (That's just one of his "legitimate" shell companies.) This is why nobody has ever actually seen or met "Oppenheimer."

  30. Terry

    " Its basement alone, which is delicately referred to as its “non-living area,” shall be bigger than the original house was (3,000 square feet). WHAT WILL HAPPEN DOWN THERE?"

    Baptisms for long deceased Jewish people?

  31. coolhandnuke

    "Singing bye bye Mitts American Pie drove his Chevy to his elevator but his elevator died."

    1. Fukui-sanYesOta

      Depending on the gender of the noun "chat", it could be loosely translated as "pussy juice"

  32. MissTaken

    50 bucks for a pic of Newt, $100,000 motorhome for a dog, and car elevators. It's officially Richie Bitchie Douchie Day on Wonkette!

    1. SorosBot

      Well I guess it's better than another "all your ovaries are our property" day. No if only I could siphon off some of those riches.

  33. BarackMyWorld

    Its like he realizes he is going to lose and is building his dream White House out of spite.

  34. Guppy

    Why, here is a baseball field, speaking of baseball, which is a mere 8,100 square feet, so

    8100 ft^2 = (90 ft)^2 = that's just the area of the diamond.

    Mayhap you're overexaggerating a bit with that picture?

  35. randcoolcatdaddy

    "Excuse me, but is this your floor? And, by the way, do you have any Grey Poupon?"

  36. Callyson

    Romney hired San Diego attorney and registered lobbyist Matthew Peterson, paying him $21,500 since 2008.
    That's pretty cheap for the person who thinks $300K is "not very much money."

  37. Jus_Wonderin

    Okay. I have misplaced my ticket and I neglected to make note of what level I parked on. And the sun is setting. And I only have a KitKat bar in my coat pocket.

    1. sewollef

      Metallic silver Cadillac Escodido LTD, with those super-cool, fluorescent blue running lights, right?

      I remember exactly where you were parked.

      You're in the Itchy lot. Turn sharp right when you reach Scratchy, third row across, 10th down, and you're there.

      You're welcome!

  38. LagunaB

    The thing is, there are cliffs all along the beaches/ coves in La Jolla, except for Boomer Beach and *no one* lives there. Just good for body surfing. And the cliffs aren't real stable, which is why there are so many building codes. Also, too, prop 13. But hey, Mittens, you want to build there, go for it. Don't be surprised if it slides into the sea one rainy winter.

  39. prommie

    So Mr. Fancy-pants has a manse, huh? Well fuck him, I have a goddam demesne, and I took title with livery of motherfucking seisin, and all the fucking rights thereunto appurtaining, fuck yah, beeyotches.

  40. hagajim

    Who cares. I know this may be off topic, but I'm pretty certain (as I believe we all were) that SCOTUS is going to gun down the health care law….hopefully Mittens, Santorum and every other GOP fuck, get sick, lose their health insurance and die….the end.

  41. kissawookiee

    the 3,000 sq ft non-living area is the traditional Romney add-on that lets family members register to vote in states other than the ones they live in, because they just love democracy that much.

  42. V572 Hogan Gidley

    I walk by Mitt's McMansion every Saturday and Sunday, and sure enough last weekend they prohibited parking for a coupla blocks in all directions, and there were rented mo-homes and sinister black SUVs all around. In fact one of the rented mo-homes got "burglarized" when Mittens' minions ventured into scary downtown San Diego to go out for dinner.
    http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/mar/26/romney

    La Jolla residents are famously contentious and litigious about infinitesimal property line disputes. The local planning review board loves to tinker with everybody's designs, right down to fenestration and color, and the scale of Mittens' project will also require lengthy review by the CA Coastal Commission, a bunch of state-appointed hippies and surfers charged with preventing exactly this sort of abuse. So it's not surprising he's lined up legal and lobbying support.

    Here's the house on Zillow:
    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/311-Dunemere-Dr

    And here it is on the Googly-maps:
    http://g.co/maps/6yunw

  43. QwertyToo

    3000 square feet of “non-living area”?

    Looks like we know where Mitt is going to hide his kiddie porn dungeon.

    1. Jukesgrrl

      No, she doesn't FEEL rich. That's how enormous her belief in her own inadequacy is. Cindy McCain, on the other hand, hasn't felt inadequate since she was named Rodeo Queen of Arizona in 1968.

  44. owhatever

    Timing might have been better on the car elevator thing, but a good vulture capitalist does what the hell he wants.

  45. barto

    Hope there's clearance in the elevator for the doggie carrier – that would be truly tragic…

  46. meatpuppet2

    He requested extra clearance for the dog cage strapped to the top.

    I'm here all week, don't forget to tip your waitress.

  47. Designer_Rants

    Does anyone wonder how practical a basement is 200 feet from the ocean? I suppose this that's where the "2 engineers" come in. They're gonna make that baby fly! (or walk like an AT-AT).

  48. George Spelvin

    (1) A basement for a La Jolla beach house?

    (2) A nit, Liz, but 8,100 square feet would be about the size of the infield. (You knew that already, I'm sure).

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