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In 1961, the family moved to Orange County, where his father and mother owned and operated 116 apartment units in several buildings near Disneyland. He graduated from Anaheim High School in 1963 and went on to get a degree from Cal State Fullerton. He was a high-school teacher of English, German, and Latin, as well as drama, technical theater, and video production before retiring. (Doug’s great grandfather, Miles Park Romney, also had a flair for drama, and was at one time president of the St. George Dramatic Association. It has been reported that he performed in plays at the St George Social Hall, a converted wine cellar.)

Besides Palm Springs, Doug has lived in San Diego — “I go to San Diego to get away from the desert heat” — owning a unit at 3200 Sixth Avenue, the iconic mid-century condominium complex across the street from Balboa Park. The four-story building was designed in 1959 by noted architect Henry H. Hester and was built by Colonel Irving Salomon, the father of former city councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer.

Doug says he’s never met his cousin Mitt, but as a child was introduced to Mitt’s father George when he was head of American Motors in the 1950s. Doug’s family went to pick up a new Rambler from the factory, where George Romney, chairman and president of the company, personally handed them the keys.

One other thing: Doug Romney is gay.

“If I sound bitter, I don’t mean to,” he says, not sounding bitter. “I left the church about 35 years ago, and I don’t have much contact with my family.” He goes on to explain that he is no longer a practicing Mormon because he doesn’t see much point in hiding his sexual identity in order to attend a church that has long condemned homosexuality.

His decision was reinforced, he says, by the campaign for Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage in California. The Mormon Church was a key proponent of the ban, leaning heavily on its members to furnish cash for the multimillion-dollar TV-advertising campaign and waging its own fierce public-relations battle on the measure’s behalf.

“Proposition Hate,” says Doug Romney, who once sang in the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus during his time here. He sounds slightly bitter at the first mention of the measure, the legality of which is likely to be ultimately considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. The church’s hardline position has been repeatedly endorsed by Mitt Romney, who this year has made opposition to gay marriage a key plank of the Republican Party’s presidential platform.

“I personally am outraged that the Mormon Church, headquartered in Salt Lake City, spent millions of dollars to defeat marriage equality in this state.”

Although no longer a Mormon, Romney says he still adheres to some of the church’s moral and ethical values. “I have tried to live my life with honesty and integrity, values that I was taught there.” He adds, “As a teenager, I went into the basement of the temple and was baptized for the dead dozens of times. I also know that I am sealed to my parents to be reunited in the afterlife.”

Notes Romney, “I have heard that archaeological research has revealed no conflict with the events described in the Book of Mormon.”

Clyde

In October 1986, Clyde Romney was running for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors.

A Los Angeles Times reporter wrote: “Romney, a burly man with a receding hairline and a disarming smile, is described by those who know him well as a man of integrity, high morals, compassion and honesty.”

His political foes weren’t as charitable. “A snake-oil salesman who will say anything to anybody at any time to get a vote,” one told the Times writer. “He’s a nice guy; he’s got a beautiful family, but you can be a nice guy and have a beautiful family and still be a political snake-in-the-grass.”

Some of the antagonism was laid to the fact that Romney was new to the North County’s fifth district, having moved in from just across the line immediately before he declared his candidacy. Republican opponents complained that he was also a newcomer to their party. He’d been a lifelong Democrat but switched his registration in 1983, when he became chief of staff to GOP Congressman Ron Packard, a fellow Mormon whose popularity was not easily transferred to Romney, despite Packard’s repeated endorsements.

Clyde Romney (left) campaigning for a seat on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in 1986.

A dentist who attended Brigham Young University, Packard had pulled off a remarkable 1982 congressional upset as a write-in candidate, soundly beating fellow Republican Johnnie Crean, a high-living, well-financed mobile-home scion from Corona. In the June primary, Crean edged Packard by 92 votes.

Many credited Packard’s victory to the legions of smiling Mormons who flooded the district, armed with apparently inexhaustible supplies of door hangers and golf pencils to remind voters to write Packard’s name in on the ballot. It was only the third time in American history that a congressional seat had thus been won.

Roy “Pat” Archer, the Democrat in the contest, claimed dirty tricks were employed against him, asserting: “There were more than 1600 felonies committed in this race.” That December, the Palomar College political-science professor told an Associated Press reporter, “there were about 1500 defacements (of voting booklets) and another 100 or so other things, like poll workers [who were] soliciting people to vote for Packard not taking pencils out of voting booths that had ‘Write-in Ron Packard’ on them, and allowing Packard supporters to campaign within 50 feet of polling booths.” But the Democrat’s complaints came to naught.

Romney, who served almost five years as bishop of the church’s Palomar Ward, Escondido South Stake — a position of high trust and honor also held by Mitt Romney in his own home ward of Boston — often bragged that his drive and organization of the county’s Saints had made the difference for Packard. His boasting stirred resentment among other members of the congressman’s inner circle. One anonymous critic told the Times that Romney was “pushy and domineering,” adding, “The first thing I saw of him, he was taking over a meeting when in fact he was a stranger.”

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Comments

MillyStrodtman Oct. 24, 2012 @ 11 p.m.

Bob Filner is our only choice for Mayor of San Diego in 2012. When you live in the Largest Military Town in America, you need experienced leadership. Many in the Military Community do not think Carl DeMaio could do a good enough job running a City like ours San Diego, CA. This City has had ineffective leadership for so many years leaving our City in shambles. Bob Filner has the knowledge and the proven ability to restore San Diego to its former glory. DeMaio has no way to handle this much responsibility at this point in his career. DeMaio says he will stand up to the downtown interest and this is simply not true. DeMaio talks about closing some of our Military Bases which would leave our Nation more vulnerable in the future. Bob Filner will take care of Americas Veteran’s and ensure our Nations Security for many years to come. Bob Filner is our only choice for Mayor of San Diego, 2012.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 25, 2012 @ 8:20 a.m.

Stop spamming the place with your copy and paste propaganda.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 27, 2012 @ 3:43 p.m.

Ouchie-Filner may not recover...I cannot recall what happened with that, but will bet $10K Filkner was never charged.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 25, 2012 @ 8:20 p.m.

Yea, Milly, this is not the way to convince folks to vote for Bob Filner. This is where we get to talk about those crackpot Mormons.

Very wealthy crackpots, but total looney-tunes just the same. The one thing I do like about the Mormon religion is that it got rolling as the result of a conversation Joe Smith had with an angel named Moroni. Check it out-- an Italian angel! Who would have guessed? Anything that gets the Italians top billing is cool with me. And now I understand what the deal was with those plates that Smith and Moroni passed back and forth: Pizza! Had to be.

The other thing I like about Mormons is that they build temples that look like Disneyland. I cannot understand how people who have such incredible architectural ideas, can be so delusional about everything else.

And then there's the polygamy thing. Oh yea. I hear you, brothers. The more the merrier...as long as the girls buy it, I'm down. That never would have flown with the ladies I've known, but hey-- you know what they say: What Moroni wants...

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Burwell Oct. 25, 2012 @ 10:58 p.m.

Carl DeMaio is a corn fed carpetbagger from Dubuque Iowa who came to San Diego to strip the city bare.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 26, 2012 @ 12:30 p.m.

I could not agree more. I just hope a majority of SD citizens see that. DeMaio would be a disaster for SD. He's worse than a Mormon!

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monaghan Oct. 26, 2012 @ 2:37 p.m.

I loved this story. Lotta research. Calm tone and well-written. Illustrates the foundational "core values" of these made-in-America Mormon folks: polygamy, $ucce$$ in material matter$ and homophobia.

And since Milly has forced the issue onto every page of Matt Potter's handiwork, let's all get behind Bob Filner for Mayor.

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Dorian Hargrove Oct. 28, 2012 @ 11:09 a.m.

Mindy, where was "Brother Clyde's" character ever questioned? I'm sure he was a nice man, a great big teddy bear as you say. But this story wasn't about Clyde and his great big heart, but about the Romney's presence in San Diego County. And, if using Clyde's own words makes him look bad, well that was Clyde's fault.

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Dorian Hargrove Oct. 31, 2012 @ 9:23 a.m.

No, you didn't call Clyde a "snake-oil salesman" and neither did the author. And I never called you a hick.

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monaghan Oct. 27, 2012 @ 11:02 a.m.

Gosh, Mindy, I thought the author was remarkably detached and even-handed in describing the history of Romneys out here in SoCal. What was "inaccurate?"

The commenters are another story, of course, as they seem to carry some strong bias about Mormonism, but maybe you, as an insider, can correct any alleged errors that made it into print.

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Javajoe25 Oct. 27, 2012 @ 9:08 p.m.

Mindy, is sounds to me like you are going through a lot of pain over this so I'm not going to get into it too much with you here.

I'm happy for you if you have fond memories of the Romneys and how they brought Christmas trees and presents to your door when you were in need. But you should keep in mind that Mitt Romney became a very wealthy man by shutting down American companies and having the work done overseas, and the thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result did not have anyone show up at their door with Christmas trees or presents. That's the thing with the Mormons; if they think you are worth it, they will help you out. Otherwise, as far as they are concerned, you can go to hell.

If you're a believer, you better pray Romney does not get elected President or we will all see just how little he really cares about this country and the people who live in it.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:59 a.m.

But you should keep in mind that Mitt Romney became a very wealthy man by shutting down American companies and having the work done overseas, and the thousands of people who lost their jobs as a result did not have anyone show up at their door with Christmas trees or presents.

I have the same problem with Romney-he sent jobs overseas, now wants to be president-that's why I would not vote for him.

Obama is no better and has been a full on flop. I did not vote for him either-I did a write in protest vote for Hillary Clinton. Could not vote for either main party candidates with a clear and clean conscience.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 1:03 a.m.

If you're a believer, you better pray Romney does not get elected President or we will all see just how little he really cares about this country and the people who live in it.

Obama hasn't done jack to help anyone except gov employees. His work at getting the economic engine running again has been a complete and total failure, and he has broken all promises that he made to get elected. He has taken more Wall Street money than any previous president and not prosecuted a SINGLE Wall Street scammer.

Total failure IMO. Healthcare was a great goal, but at the wrong time.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 12:56 a.m.

You can imagine how well I fit in there.

Hahahahah...Yeah, I have the same problem, I won't let anyone roll me!

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monaghan Oct. 28, 2012 @ 1:23 p.m.

Wow. I'm voting for Obama. And I'm praying for every woman who doesn't have the brain and heart to do the same. And for every student whose school loans will suddenly become unavailable. And for every senior whose Social Security will disappear and whose Medicare will become a voucher plan. And for every mother of a soldier whose child will become more cannon fodder in foreign wars. And for every worker who got a new job after the auto industry was saved from ruin. Obama drew a terrible hand when he got elected in 2008. His record has been solid. I want him back in office to finish the tough job ahead.

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SurfPuppy619 Oct. 28, 2012 @ 8:16 p.m.

His record has been solid. I want him back in office to finish the tough job ahead.

His "record" has been a disaster. He has only ran the credit card sky high.

Is Romney any better- I doubt it-but two wrongs never make a right. Stop spinning.

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monaghan Oct. 28, 2012 @ 7:49 p.m.

Wow again. I think I'll pass, Mindy: we never hit women. Don't be misled by rich positive-thinking liars: Obama for President. Filner for Mayor.

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Andy Cohen Nov. 2, 2012 @ 11:28 p.m.

I appreciate the way of writing and research done (if its all true). Still personally I don't think this will matter enough for Romney in the 2012 US elections. Romney has only one recent issue when he goes through an aggressive debate during Final Presidential Debate http://sandiegofreepress.org/2012/10/shapeshifting-romney-smacked-around-in-final-presidential-debate/. But this will not be stretched long. (just hoping)

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Letter to the Editor Nov. 4, 2012 @ 12:04 p.m.

As a woman, Icannot bring myself to vote for Romney/Ryan.

I grew up in the '50s-'60s when abortion was illegal. Women died by the thousands across the U.S. Rich women took a cruise or toured Europe & were gone for a year & either had their child & put it up for adoption, brought it home as a fake adoption, or had a safe, though expensive, abortion in Switzerland. Poor women had no birth control other than denying their husbands & suffered through 10- or 20-odd pregnancies (suffering when she has no rest between pregnancies — 3 years between children recommended), died young, trusted a stranger to abort in unsanitary conditions, or did it themselves with a hanger or other device. Husbands simply remarried - they needed someone to care for their children, cook meals, wash, etc.

Planned Parenthood, vilified by those on the far right, had the best birth control class I've ever taken, including college & post-graduate psychology & physiology classes. Employees were warm, succinct, unshockable. (I was a naive 17-year-old, who thought only young & beautiful people had sex). I'll always be grateful to them for helping people (both men & women) on a sliding scale. Those who bombed clinics didn't seem to realize they treated women, their children, & did very well-qualified prenatal & post-natal care.

No one is in favor of abortion, but I refuse to make a 14-year-old girl risk her life to bear a child as a result of rape. Nor would I expect any woman to bear a child that has no brain, & therefore not the slightest chance of survival. Nor do I want to return to the '50s when a woman's only choices for a career were limited to teaching, nursing, or prostitution. I have no desire to return to being thought of as a second class citizen or criticized for taking a job from a man who needs to support his family. I thank God every day I work as a school bus driver for Title IX, without which I wouldn't have that job. Duke didn't want to hire me, though I aced the written & physical tests: we had to lift a 75lb bean bag in/out of a wheelchair & special needs van, because "all women do is stand around & talk".

I understand a man's resentment of the freedom birth control has given women, & truly wish all people remained chaste until marriage, but they don't. I wish our globe wasn't overcrowded & that there were simple solutions to pollution, but there aren't.

The USA is a wonderful country. I feel blessed to live here, but it's not a business & cannot be run like one. We're full of diverse & amazing people who work hard to make things better for their families, but we also need to take care of poor, lazy, incompetent people as well. The churches haven't managed to accomplish that for several centuries now - I don't see it happening tomorrow either.

It's common sense that if we spend money on healthcare for babies, they have a chance to grow up to contribute to, rather than detract from the economy. I don't think that's socialism. Rebecca Kiperts

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