The $12 million tear down
, Mitt Romney clarifies the size of his new beachfront vacation house
Still, I asked him, why give the media and political foes raw meat right now by filing for permits to tear down a La Jolla, Calif., beach house and quadruple its size? That was the wire story we had run the day before, and it was all over the Internet.
It’s not accurate, Romney said, simply. The application he made, two years ago, was to double the living space by turning one story into two. The “quadrupling’’ was a measurement of added nonliving space, including a basement and garage.
That sounds more reasonable, I said. Had he issued a statement to that effect?
He shrugged his shoulders with a “why bother?’’ look.
Since I'm sure a majority of our readers have never heard of the place before, La Jolla is a very wealthy beachfront enclave just north of San Diego. Think Beverly Hills, but overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The land is worth more than any individual house, and so like other places along the California coast, it's not uncommon for the wealthy to buy beachfront or ocean-view houses, even ones in excellent condition, simply to tear them down and build bigger or better ones on the property.
So what Romney's doing isn't terribly unusual, for the super-rich. I think it speaks volumes about how the lifestyles of the wealthy compare to the rest of us: how many people reading this could afford to buy a beachfront property in one of the most affluent enclaves in the county, tear it down, and build a new house twice as large or four times as large? Now imagine doing all that just for an (additional!) vacation house!
I am a bit happy to see Republicans being pedantic about math, however, even if it's only to argue what living space means. Sure, it's a quadrupling of space when you count things like garages, basements and the like, but please—that would be gauche! I assure you, that basement will only be used to store now-abandoned political opinions and the like: think of it less as "living space" and more "well-appointed issue crypt."
Meh, whatever. Romney has proven to have spotty political instincts at best, and reminding people that you're "unemployed" while buying a multimillion dollar house you're going to tear down to put your new beachside California vacation home seems a little awkward. If the rest of you unemployed people have to vacation in beachfront homes that are just a little to small for you, Mitt Romney feels your pa—well, no, no he doesn't.