The New York Times reports that the Romneys are pissing off their liberal California neighbors in the one-time right-wing beachside enclave of La Jolla. For one thing, the Romneys are super-sizing the house they bought four years ago — turning it into a McMansion complete with the infamous car elevator. For another, Romney, who has appointed himself leader of the national gay-hate movement, seems to have been unaware that he bought property in one of San Diego’s ritziest, gay-friendliest neighborhoods.
From the perspective of the California mindset, however, the worst offense of all is that Romney has appointed himself head narc on the beach in front of his house, a self-appointment that apparenlty entitles him to accost townsfolk and stop them from enjoying a joint or a beer at the ocean:
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. [Mark Quint, a Democrat who lives on the waterfront three houses away], 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,” Mr. Quint recalled. “He was pretty clear that it was the Romneys.”
In what appears to be related news, Joe Conanson at The National Memo reports that, when Romney was a student at Stanford University in California, he liked to dress up in a cop uniform and, using a flashing emergency light he affixed to the roof his car, would pull over unsuspecting motorists:
Said [fellow Stanford alum Robin] Madden in a recent interview, “He told us that he had gotten the uniform from his father,” George Romney, then the Governor of Michigan, whose security detail was staffed by uniformed troopers. “He told us that he was using it to pull over drivers on the road. He also had a red flashing light that he would attach to the top of his white Rambler.”
In Madden’s recollection, confirmed by his wife Susan, who also attended Stanford during those years, “we thought it was all pretty weird. We all thought, ‘Wow, that’s pretty creepy.’ And after that, we didn’t have much interaction with him,” although both Madden and Romney were prep school boys living in the same dorm, called Rinconada…
In “The Real Romney,” a biography published by Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman this year, another former friend recalled how Romney had “put a siren on top of his car and chased two of his friends who were driving around with their dates.” The two friends were in on the scheme, but the girls were not. There was beer in the car trunk, according to a prearranged plan. Mitt told his two counterparts to get out of their vehicle and into his car. Then they drove off, leaving the girls behind.
“It was a terrible thing to do,” said one of his accomplices, a Cranbrook classmate named Graham McDonald.
To some observers, Romney’s alleged masquerading as a cop to intimidate innocent drivers shows a character defect that is also revealed by other bullying incidents during his youth. When those incidents were disclosed in the Washington Post earlier this year, Romney issued an apology of sorts, stating that he had done “stupid” things and was sorry if he had harmed anyone.
While he may have believed that his cop antics were harmless, Romney may well have been breaking the law merely by donning a police uniform, committing a crime if he pretended to be a cop and a felony if he did so more than once. In both California and Michigan, any person convicted of fraudulently impersonating a police officer may be sentenced to up to one year in prison.