Group Opposed to Lifting 30-Foot Height Limit in Midway Aligns With Most Trumpian Politician in San Diego County

by on August 22, 2022 · 30 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

In troubling news for those opposed to the new ballot measure that would lift the 30-foot height limit in the Midway, the group that originally went to court and successfully blocked the former measure, has now aligned itself with the most Trumpian, right-wing politician in San Diego County: Carl DeMaio.

The group, Save Our Access, purports to be an environmental organization. It filed the original lawsuit that forced Measure E, the former effort to eliminate the height limit in the Midway, to court for a favorable ruling. SOA argued — and the judge agreed — the city hadn’t prepared adequate environmental reviews on the effects of tall buildings. Now, with a new review in its pocket, the San Diego City Council — in an unanimous vote – in mid-July of this year,  placed the measure to eliminate the 30-foot height limit in the Midway back on the upcoming November ballot.

The new initiative is Measure C. If approved by voters, the measure would wipe out the height limit in a 1,324-acre area of the Midway District that includes the sports arena and nearby city-owned land.

Yet, now Save Our Access has coalesced with DeMaio’s PAC, Reform Local Government. In an effort to prove the old slogan, ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend,’ Save Our Access believes DeMaio’s network is the only ally around that can help them defeat Measure C.

DeMaio’s extreme right-wing, Trumpian views are well documented. In 2020, DeMaio ran against Darrell Issa in California’s 50th Congressional District, which has a majority of registered Republicans. DeMaio tried to be the Trumpiest of Trumps in out-Trumpian Issa — but failed. He tried, though.

DeMaio is the chair of “Reform California,” — it used to be “Reform San Diego” – that is active in state-wide anti-tax campaigns, and made a name for itself during the Recall Newsom campaign. In doing so, DeMaio really pissed off other conservatives trying to recall the governor, by siphoning off money donated to the recall campaign for his own agenda.

More recently, Reform California tried to get an initiative on the ballot regulating the voting process for state voters. It didn’t make the cut, failing to get the required number of signatures by the required date. DeMaio’s idea of voting reform would have imposed a requirement for citizens to supply their social security number in order to register to vote and a way to verify their registration at the time of voting. DeMaio is into voter suppression.

In a recent podcast, DeMaio expressed his view that the Department of Justice was scamming Trump.

So, why is a handful of environmental activists chumming up to him?

Clues to their thinking were illuminated in a recent email sent out to potential sympathizers. The notice acknowledged that DeMaio’s PAC is “too right wing” for some and that DeMaio maybe “too polarizing.”

But they see DeMaio being able to supply Republican voters to block Measure C. Nobody else is around to help. Save Our Access claims they reached out to “key environmental groups” regarding Measure E in 2020 — but found none. They also claim they found “all key democrats were solidly behind lifting the height limit.” They have again “put out feelers to the environmental community” and except for a few individuals, they received “no response.”

Here’s their current thinking:

What Reform Local Government brings is a huge voting block of republicans that will strictly follow the endorsements recommended. Indications are that it is more powerful now than the republican party.

They believe DeMaio can deliver votes along the I-15 corridor, particularly in Rancho Penasquitos, “Carl DeMaio’s backyard.” This is the Carl DeMaio wing, the Trump wing.

Save Our Access also now believes, “We also need to provide adequate funds for Reform Local Government to do its job.”

The unholy alliance is not only a very risky endeavor for SOA, but it allows them to be played by DeMaio, all the while believing they’re playing him. By aligning with the Trump wing of the local GOP, they will be turning off a whole sector of progressive and Democratic voters.

This alliance is so unworthy of San Diego environmentalists, that it must be opposed.

The OB Rag is hereby drawing a line in the sand: we will not support Save Our Access as long as they are in an alliance with DeMaio. We will not support efforts to chummy up with Neo-fascists, which is what Trump — and DeMaio are. Trump wants to and is trying to wreck our democracy. DeMaio is San Diego’s Trumpiest of Trumps.

Neo-fascists can be environmentalists too. Why, there was even an environmental movement in Nazi Germany, you know, saving the forests for the true Aryans.


{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris August 22, 2022 at 3:06 pm

This has the potential for a heated and popcorn eating thread. We’ll see as that’s always a hit or miss. Anyway, no one I personally know who favors the lifting of the 30 height limit is in any way shape or form a fan of DeMayo. This is definitely news to me. Sadly I guess it makes sense and doing so could have (or will) have some unintended or put a better way, “unexpected” consequences as was spelled out in this piece. We shall see. Obviously there are stark differences between younger progressives and older progressive in a few key issues, housing density being one of them. What makes that more interesting is once upon a time, to be “pro” developer would been seen as an outright Republican value but now things have gotten gray. We’ll see in November what happens and then its aftermath.


triggerfinger August 22, 2022 at 3:15 pm

so the ob rag is suddenly ok with raising the height limit now because it’s more worried about political affiliation than a local issue? lmao. I heard carl demaio breathes oxygen! you better quit endorsing oxygen too!


Frank Gormlie August 22, 2022 at 3:23 pm

Go ahead, try to stir things up, like you usually do. But to your query: of course not! Political affiliation that makes one a Trumpist, one who denies the election was valid, is certainly a different animal. Much more. Yeah, and he probably brushes his teeth; by your logic, we should stop brushing ours. Your logic is circular, my dear friend.


triggerfinger August 23, 2022 at 12:37 am

i just don’t see why it matters. the article certainly doesn’t qualify the concern. are they proposing a bronze statue of demaio as a centerpiece in their massive park? let’s address the issues at hand and not the political leanings of those involved.

i have no allegiance to save or access, and i appreciate their dedication to maintaining the height limit, and seeking allies to gain support, but asking for a massive park space a stones through from mission bay park is asinine. they don’t want any houses at all. i think it’s unrealistic and discredits them.


Frank Gormlie August 23, 2022 at 7:22 am

Yes, you’re right about that. Their “solution” is totally unrealistic and doesn’t play well.


Nikhil August 25, 2022 at 1:53 pm

One of the better articles I’ve read here. Thanks for this.
1) I would’ve supported the removal of the height limit anyways. SOA is actively trying to block the implementation of the results of a public, majority vote. It’s ridiculous that this one group can strangle efforts to make our city a nicer, more interesting, and more accessible place to live in. We can’t just keep our city in stasis like we have for the past 40 years.
2) Admittedly transportation infrastructure needs to be better addressed here. However, it should not come in the form of expanded roads or car-focused improvements. We NEED public transport solutions. I’m speaking as someone who’d be overjoyed to use public transit instead of my car, if infrastructure was built out such that it could actually get me anywhere I needed to go, including the last mile, in a reasonable time.
This city has convinced itself no one wants to use public transit. Let me tell you, many many people, like me, would love to use public transit- IF it were good enough. And for that, we need to invest in it big time. It’ll pay off in significant improvements to our collective quality of life over time.


Geoff Page August 25, 2022 at 5:09 pm

“We can’t just keep our city in stasis like we have for the past 40 years.” Not the whole city but this finite, beautiful asset that is a value for the entire region, yes, keep in stasis, like a national park. The idea is to preserve it – for everyone. There is no need to sacrifice the coast to achieve any goals.


Chris August 22, 2022 at 3:44 pm

Did you read it? It is not.


Gary Huber August 22, 2022 at 4:51 pm

I’m relying on my memory, but didn’t Carl deMaio support Measure E in the last election?


Chris August 22, 2022 at 5:21 pm

Yes he did. That’s the whole point of the article. That and why otherwise very progressive leaning voters want the height limit eliminated.


Mat Wahlstrom August 22, 2022 at 8:22 pm

SOA should have remembered the fable of the Scorpion and the Frog.


Jaybird August 23, 2022 at 5:27 am

Ahhh, Carl… Bless Your Heart.


Progressive Guru August 23, 2022 at 2:00 pm

As the old adage goes, you can’t stop progress. But what type of progress would actually occur? If the height limit is raised, get ready for lots more mid-rise, highly overpriced tiny apartments and condos. Seems that the only ones that would benefit from the height limit being obliterated are rich developers and land owners. Such buildings are popping up all over the place nowadays, in San Diego and elsewhere.


Frank Gormlie August 23, 2022 at 2:38 pm

Here’s a recent tweet by DeMaio:

Wow, look at how quickly the liberal media became experts in various classified document levels. Where was all this “expertise” during the Clinton email scandal? #bias #corrupt 4:36 PM • 8/14/22 • Twitter for Android


Progressive Guru August 23, 2022 at 3:35 pm

Republican logic here tends to be based upon the notion that it’s okay that Trump dumped boxes of documents with some classified documents mixed in at Mar-a-Lago, because Trump is their guy. Essentially, the logic is, “he’s our guy, so then it’s okay. No worries.” One could posit that Liz Cheney may be the very last Republican leader left with any integrity whatsoever; they rest just cowtow the party line. If Trump said the sky is yellow and the sun is blue, Rebublicans would likely chant in eager, immediate blind agreement. After all, it keeps them nice and filthy rich!


Pete R August 23, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Kudos to the Rag for making this principled decision.

Also: When the only allies you can find are Trumpists, perhaps it’s time to reconsider your position.


Chris August 23, 2022 at 5:53 pm

It’s a little more complex than that. Younger progressives in their true heart of hearts sincerely belive more housing, specifically more dense housing will eventually result in the overall cost of housing to go down. Any ties DeMayo as with Trump is just not on their radar, as much as they hate both of them and nothing we can argue will change that. In their defense (younger pro development progressives), it makes sense in the classical supply and demand theory. The fact that all the new high rises that have gone up have not resulted what so ever in reducing the cost of housing is lost on them. Also lost on them is the fact that some of these units have not attracted new buyers/renters able willing to move in. They have been (and continue to) sit more than half empty. Perhaps of so much dense housing goes up that supply FAR outnumbers demand maybe prices will eventually come down, but even if that were the case their could be unintended consequences in itself.


Tyler August 25, 2022 at 10:02 am

“The fact that all the new high rises that have gone up have not resulted what so ever in reducing the cost of housing is lost on them.”

Condescending tone aside, you need not look far for the answer here…you mentioned it in the sentence beforehand. Despite high-rises going up, the pace of demand continues to grow faster than the pace of supply.

“lso lost on them is the fact that some of these units have not attracted new buyers/renters able willing to move in. They have been (and continue to) sit more than half empty.”

Source? Rental vacancies are currently sitting at 1.25%, down from 2.91% last Spring. I can’t find anything for non-rentals.

The other factor is that they are all luxury condos in an area, whereas a chunk of the units being offered in Midway Rising are affordable rate units. Apples and oranges.

Lots of research by experts continues to come out saying building MARKET RATE housing will drop aid in dropping cost of rent:


Chris August 25, 2022 at 6:12 pm

I fail to see how my tone was condescending. It was a pretty straightforward factual statement.
Personally, I have no issues with density. I actually prefer it, but nothing has shown that it will ultimately reduce overall housing costs. That last link says what it says but that doesn’t make it so.
You asked for a source. Well I never said all units or even most are sitting more than half empty. I DID say many tho which again doesn’t mean all or most but still a significant #, regardless of the 1.25 statistic. This is especially common in the Hillcrest and Bankers hill area and parts of downtown. Really not a big secret.
Back to the density thing, I would be all over it if it truly works but I’m not so convinced.


kh August 31, 2022 at 12:42 pm

I just received this in my inbox from DeMaio’s Reform group. Tell me exactly how this energy is a problem, and why the Rag should alienate liberals on this local issue because of political parties and Trump. Not sure how I got on their mailing list but I digress.

“Kevin — City politicians have teamed up with developers to put Measure C on this November’s city election ballot so they can destroy the important 30′ coastal height limit. This Saturday we launch the grassroots campaign to stop them – and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

Join your fellow coast lovers at a fundraiser to defeat Measure C. No contribution is too big or small! Even if you can’t attend this Saturday’s event, please chip into this campaign to fight Measure C and preserve the coastal 30′ height limit.

Do you want condo towers and jammed up traffic at the beach?

Do you want another dirty insider deal?

Then take ACTION today – RSVP or contribute to the campaign kickoff to defeat Measure C.

Event Date: Saturday August 27 at 1 pm
Location: Address provided upon RSVP

RSVP for Event Here:

Can’t Make Event, Please Still Contribute Here:

John McNab”


Mat Wahlstrom August 31, 2022 at 1:05 pm

The problem is that DeMaio serially gloms onto the cause of the moment, spends only some of the funds raised to promote it, then pockets the rest to use for his personal agenda:

” Reform California is a general purpose political committee, meaning it doesn’t exist simply to oppose or support a single candidate or ballot measure. The group raises and spends money on multiple issues at a time. DeMaio has a knack for guiding it to the issues at the center of the state’s conservative movement. …
“ ‘From a legal compliance standpoint, since its status is to influence multiple candidates and measures, it comes with the territory that they could have money left over that they could use on other races and issues,’ said Austin Graham, legal counsel for the Campaign Legal Center. ‘But I know if I were a donor to this committee and I knew that they hadn’t spent all the money I gave them for the reason I gave it, I’d feel at least dissatisfied, and wouldn’t want to give in the future.’”

If people want to contribute to defeat Measure C, then let them give the money direct to SOA or any other organization also doing so. But letting Carl hold the purse strings is throwing good money after bad.


kh August 31, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Fair enough. I don’t know the first thing about how PAC money is earmarked or otherwise accountable to a particular cause, if at all. The article did little or nothing to raise that point, instead choosing to conflate the parties involved with Nazis. Certainly if SOA can be supported independently of Reform CA, that’s worth advocating for, rather than disavowing them entirely.


Paul Krueger August 23, 2022 at 8:27 pm

I am one of several people involved the current no-on-Prop C effort (I have minor role), who disavow DeMaio’s politics. We will continue to fight Prop C independent of Carl. You can too. Hopefully you will soon be reading more about how you can help this independent effort.


Mumia abu Jamal August 24, 2022 at 10:20 pm

Fuck you frank socialist commie piece of shit


Frank Gormlie August 25, 2022 at 9:54 am

… just to share what we receive occasionally.


Geoff Page August 25, 2022 at 5:11 pm

Wow, there is some ego, taking that name for yourself.


Chris August 25, 2022 at 6:45 pm

Mumia Mumia Bo-ber-ley
Bo-na-na fanna Fo-fer-ley


Sorry not Sorry August 26, 2022 at 4:38 am

I bet Mumia eats his children.


Chris August 26, 2022 at 5:03 am

He says they taste like chicken.


Frank Gormlie August 26, 2022 at 2:07 pm

Just to be clear, despite DeMaio and SOA, the OB Rag will continue to oppose Measure C and work with folks who likewise disavow the Trumpist.


Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: