While waiting for the luncheon session featuring Nancy Pelosi here at Netroots Nation (which I may or may not write about depending on what she has to say), I just ran across a Christian Science Monitor story by Jennifer Skalka Tulumello from the other day that I somehow missed. It is just impossible to resist:

Ann Romney, a first lady hopeful roughly a half year ago, stepped to a microphone this week in San Diego in a different kind of forum from the ones to which she grew accustomed during the 2012 presidential contest. She said nothing about the power of female voters or restoring faith in government. Instead, she had a bone to pick with city officials.

“My name is Ann Romney,” she said after slipping on a pair of black-framed reading glasses. “I’m here today to express concern with the city of San Diego’s noticing procedure for development projects.”

Ms. Romney, speaking at a fast clip and in a polite tone, is now a private citizen living in La Jolla, Calif., (a San Diego suburb) with her husband, the former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And so she exercised a right afforded to all those like her who live in the area – she used the nonagenda public comment portion of the city council meeting to address her elected officials. The issue, Romney explained, is that the permit process for the expansion of the Romneys’ luxury coastal property was slowed, “due to potential defects with the public notice.”

Yes, it’s the famous planned $12 million Romney abode with the four-car garage sporting its own elevator that became one of the many symbols of Mitt ‘n’ Ann’s unusual lifestyle during the 2012 presidential campaign. After much mocking publicity about the house, the Romneys put in on hold. Now they are impatient that a local government permitting process is delaying construction.

Ann Romney is certainly free like any citizen to exercise her right to speak at a city council meeting. And she didn’t echo the constant rhetoric from her husband’s late campaign about the terrible predations job-creators had to endure at the hands of Big Government. But the incident does provide a reminder that abstract complaints about “regulation” and “bureaucracy” and “red tape” often involve a clash of interests in which the poor private citizen sometimes isn’t all that poor.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.