Far-Right Politicians Try to Muscle In on Citizens’ Revolt Over San Diego Housing Policies

by on September 13, 2023 · 23 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

Needless to say, but this summer witnessed a citizens’ revolt over San Diego housing policies, most noteworthy the showdown at the August 3 San Diego Planning Commission hearing on Senate Bill 10. (The Commission voted unanimously against the proposal and Mayor Gloria stated he was taking SB10 out of his housing package – although SB10 opponents won’t rest until it’s formally removed from the Housing Action Package.)

Yet, once the dust settled, one of San Diego’s most far-right politicians emerged to take credit for SB 10’s defeat. Enter Carl DeMaio. His team has since sent out an email to his followers which claimed:

We scored a huge win this week in our campaign to defend local control over housing decisions – but we still need your help to prevent a crime-infested welfare housing project from being placed in your neighborhood!

But anyone who followed this issue knows the “heavy lifting” — as they say — was done by the groups Neighbors For A Better San Diego and San Diegans For Responsible Growth, with help from neighborhood organizers throughout the city.

For instance, the Neighbors website and its links generated 2,000 emails to councilmembers and the mayor from San Diegans who oppose SB 10. Their volunteers delivered more than 1,000 “No on SB 10” yard signs across the city.

And key organizers of San Diegans for Responsible Growth from University City and Mission Hills mobilized hundreds at that very successful No on SB 10 rally outside Fashion Valley before the Planning Commission vote. Both groups helped organize the early May rallies across the city against the measure.

One organizer for Neighbors for a Better San Diego told me in an email that they’re angry that DeMaio is trying to take the credit for the SB10 defeat at the Planning Commission. All the rallies and pressure at the Planning Commission were done “without Carl DeMaio’s help, except perhaps for a mention or two on his radio show…”

He added:

But it’s irrefutable that Carl does not deserve credit for helping “angry voters rebel against these reckless efforts” to build “massive mega developments.” Even worse than his shameless and undeserved self-promotion is is effort to fundraise off the real work done by our all-volunteer, grass-roots effort.

And he does us all a terrible disservice by mischaracterizing high-density ADU projects and SB 10 as “welfare housing projects”, which they are not, and which only exposes us to inaccurate allegations that we want to oppose “integration”.

This is nothing new for DeMaio. He tried the same tactics during the fight against raising the height limit in the Midway area, Measure C. Then U-T columnist, Michael Smolens observed:

Carl DeMaio, the radio talk-show host and former San Diego City Council member, suddenly has become a leading opponent to Measure C. He has joined three community advocates in signing the ballot argument against lifting the 50-year-old height limit.

Some leaders of the No on C effort warily accept DeMaio’s involvement, while others working to defeat the measure are upset about the alignment. [Most notably, the OB Rag we have to add.]

DeMaio’s far-right credentials are very well-known, as he’s been around San Diego politics for 2 decades. During Trump’s presidency, DeMaio was a fervent supporter. And he still is. As late as August 23, 2023, DeMaio enthusiastically applauded what he saw as Trump’s blowout during a Tucker-Trump interview. DeMaio wrote on his Instagram:

We don’t need to wait for the cable ratings tomorrow. This was a blowout. Trump-Tucker CRUSHED the competition.

IF DeMaio is still a Trump supporter, then by osmosis, he’s an election-denier. His current group, Reform San Diego / California, is pushing for a voter ID law for the state. Carl stated on his site just recently:

“It is time to settle the debate over election integrity once and for all and implementing a Voter ID law is the best way to restore public trust and confidence in our elections.”

“The only people who don’t want a Voter ID law in California are our liberal politicians and their friends in the media.”

Your memory will serve you right if you remember that DeMaio was also a leader of the effort to recall Governor Newsom.

DeMaio is not the only far-right politician out there attempting to take credit for the city citizen revolt.

Amy Reichert. She just won the second position in the special election to fill Nathan Fletcher’s seat at the Board of Supervisors and goes up against Monica Montgomery Steppe in November.

Amy accused her Democrat opponents, Monica Montgomery-Steppe and Janessa Goldbeck of both having a “far-left ideology,” and that both were even more left than Fletcher.

Reichert did make opposition to SB 10 part of her “platform” in this latest election go-around for her. And she did attend the Fashion Valley protest. But if you read her Special Election campaign material, there was no mention of ReOpen San Diego.

During the height of the pandemic, ReOpen San Diego was a leading voice against shutdowns of businesses and schools, as well as masking and vaccine mandates even before vaccines and treatments were widely available. Meanwhile, more than 5,000 San Diegans have died of COVID, and no doubt there would have been more without those mandates, though the mandates undoubtedly came at a cost to those who were impacted.

Her group’s mantra:

  • Every citizen and every family in San Diego County is entitled to make their own decisions about their personal health and wellbeing. (sic)
  • The government does not have the authority to arbitrarily decide which businesses or livelihoods are essential or not.
  • Lockdowns destroy lives.

Plainly then, Reichert is an anti-vaxxer and Covid-denier.

While much of the city and its citizens were trying to avoid COVID, Reichert was out there harassing the Board of Supervisors and leading rallies of some first-responders who refused to take vaccines. And for pushing police officers to get vaccinated, Reichert accused Mayor Gloria of purging people of faith.

During an interview with East County Magazine in October 2022, Reichert explained in a rambling response her group’s stance:

We had a nuanced stance… we knew COVID was real. But we also took the position that rather than shutting down 100% of society we should shift and protect the most vulnerable, the 10% in our society who is most hit by this… 80% of the people who died with COVID were obese. We know that the people most likely to pass away from COVID sadly in San Diego the average age was 76 years ago which is close to the average life span. We failed to protect the most vulnerable…

Certainly this was news to medical professionals that ” 80% of the people who died with COVID were obese.”

On the question of abortion during that same interview, Reichert claimed she was against Proposition 1 that passed in November 2022, which explicitly added abortion and contraception rights to the state constitution.

Let me explain to you why I’m against Proposition 1…because it doesn’t just protect abortion rights, it expands it….if Proposition 1 passes a baby would be eligible to be aborted the day before it’s born…if a child is about to be born, that child being taken out of it’s mother’s womb is viable and would survive…I am against Proposition 1 and going beyond what’s viable.

Reichert also called for the recall of Governor Newsom.

Many may have forgotten that Reichert first ran against Nathan Fletcher for that same seat – and during that campaign she was endorsed by Carl DeMaio and Reform San Diego, as well as other right-wing notables. During that campaign cycle she was endorsed by the local gun lobby as well as by a group called Equal Rights for All, run by a guy by the name of Ward Connerly.

Connerly has been around for a while. He was a University of California Regent (1993–2005) but is perhaps best known as an anti-affirmative action activist, founder and the chair of a national group that opposes racial and gender preferences, and the president of Californians for Equal Rights, a group active in the state of California with a similar mission.

He is considered to be the man behind California’s Proposition 209 prohibiting race- and gender-based preferences in state hiring, contracting and state university admissions, a program known as affirmative action.

Reichert did not disavow any of these endorsements.

So, between DeMaio and Reichert – we see a pattern. Extreme right-wing politicians attempting to veil themselves in more popular issues than their far-right politics and trying to take credit for the current upswell of citizen dissatisfaction with the city. And residents active in this grand effort need to take note of the wolves pacing around the campfires of dissent.

The above notes are part of our continuing efforts to keep track of local Trumpists and their acolytes in these days of peril for our frail democracy. Stay tuned.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathleen V September 13, 2023 at 5:08 pm

Thanks for this


Vern September 15, 2023 at 11:05 am

SB 10 would have allowed a single-family lot to become a 10-to-14-unit building. This “apartment” building would have required no parking, no landscaping, no trees, no infrastructure to support the increased density and no guarantee of, or provisions for, affordable housing.


Kathleen V September 14, 2023 at 8:09 am

And when I say “thanks”, I mean “thank you for providing irrefutable evidence that reactionary boomers and MAGA politicians want the same policy outcomes – less homes in San Diego.”

You can say you’re not on the same side but this is an incredible display of just HOW on the same side Neighbors for a Better San Diego and all these NIMBY groups are with than Carl and his gang.

You may consider yourselves “progressive” and “democrats” but when it comes to policy that impacts San Diegans, this is an incredible run down of how you all in fact are not! And some of you are going to tell me that you are SO different when it fact you’ve got a whole article here showing all the alignment between these two groups! Why, for instance, have NO democratic electeds endorsed your plans or goals? It’s only MAGA chuds who see common ground with you!

Also “And he does us all a terrible disservice by mischaracterizing high-density ADU projects and SB 10 as “welfare housing projects”, which they are not, and which only exposes us to inaccurate allegations that we want to oppose “integration” is an amazing self-own. “Hey! No fair! Yea sure we want the same exact outcome as Amy and Carl but less openly racist!” (also very funny as I don’t think I’ve seen a person of color in ANY photos posted protesting more homes. It’s ALWAYS the same 60 older white homeowners!).

Truly appreciate this point-by-point takedown showing there’s no daylight between where everyone stands. I bet you eventually take this comment down because it’ll be too on the nose but don’t worry, the damage is done by showing all these connections to begin with.


Frank Gormlie September 14, 2023 at 10:26 am

You’ve taken the whole point of the article and stood it on its head. Your response shows your inability to distinguish establishment Democrats from progressive democrats and a deep unappreciative mischaracterization of our politics — which you clearly don’t understand. And your dissing of the warning about “wolves pacing around the campfires of dissent” reflects your lumping democrats and progressives into one bag. Where do you stand?

We’ve always supported affordable housing – yet you appear to easily align yourself with the profit-driven developers. Your mantra seems to be, “Build baby build!” (and I bet you love Circulate San Diego).

San Diego does NOT have a housing crisis – it has an affordable housing crisis.


Kathleen V September 14, 2023 at 12:03 pm

Frank, how do the outcomes around housing that you advocate for differ in any way from what Amy and Carl want? And why has not a single Democratic elected official joined your cause? Are they ALL establishment Democrats? Every single elected official in the region?

At what point do you realize that maybe you guys are the problem, considering the only politically people who agree with you are actual fascists?


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2023 at 11:13 am

To help set of the record right: the early May rallies against SB10 in 6 to 7 different neighborhoods involved 600 people – I know, I counted them. The Fashion Valley rally included several hundreds of protesters.

And yes, Amy R and a handful of her supporters were there – I know, I saw her. (I also read her campaign lit and not a mention of ReOpen San Diego or her far-right anti-vaxxing or COVID-denying politics this latest time around. When she first ran vs. Fletcher, she touted her far-right credentials and was openly and proudly endorsed by DeMaio.)

Plus, the Rag just recently has called for high numbers of affordable housing at both the Midway redevelopment project and the NAVWAR redevelopment.


Will September 16, 2023 at 4:06 am

Kathleen does have a point about where you see “No on SB 10” signs. I haven’t seen any flopped over apartment building balconies or rental units. Then you do have the fact that the “no” supporters are finding common cause with San Diego’s most noxious rightwing voices. I LOVE the Rag, but also recognize it is old guard progressive. Great for local news, but stuck in the past on urban planning ideas.

I saw my first “Yes on SB 10” sign the other day and it was hilarious. Hand drawn and a little messy, it said “Yes in my backyard SB 10” and “More Newlywed. Not just Nearly Dead.” Wish I could upload a pic.


Kathleen V September 14, 2023 at 12:09 pm

Also, Frank – and I mean this as respectfully as possible – please point to one article written in support of an actual housing project here on the OB Rag. I’ve been reading you guys for years and have never seen anything other than theoretical support of “affordable housing” but never a single, concrete, “hell yes, put that in the ground” article amidst a BARRAGE of never-ending “don’t you dare build anything” stories.

One article! Should be easy to prove me wrong!


Geoff Page September 14, 2023 at 12:25 pm

Kathleen, and I mean this as respectfully as possible, please point to one article written in The Rag that actively opposed an actual housing project.


Frank Gormlie September 14, 2023 at 12:26 pm

So, you’re “respectfully” calling us “fascists” without disclosing where you stand and without denying you’re essentially in support of the for-profit developers and that you’re a friend of Circulate SD – the shrill for developers that has helped destroy San Diego’s community planning groups. Ever now and then Circulate individuals begin attacking us.

You say you’ve been reading us “for years” but have you ever sent us one penny in appreciation? No, I dare say not. Why do you keep reading the Rag when you disagree so much with what we post?

KV – I don’t have to prove one thing to you — plus anyone who says we’re no better than fascists just violated our comment policy.


Chris September 14, 2023 at 2:44 pm


It IS possible that people on polar opposite sides of the political spectrum can agree on some things or at least agree on some things but for entirely different reasons. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a good chunk of people on the right who think Carl DeMaio is secretly a pinko commie socialist tree hugger because he shares an opinion with the staff of The Rag. As you are fully dialed into (as decided by me), Carl is not a fan of SHOHO by any stretch of the imagination. That’s something both he and YIMBYs agree on but for very different reasons.


Paul Krueger September 14, 2023 at 5:20 pm

Thx much for informing your readers about Carl DeMaio’s attempt to take credit for the grassroots effort to defeat the proposed implementation of SB 10 in San Diego. We weee disappointed, to say the least, by his effort to appropriate this issue for his personal political and financial gain, especially because so many of our volunteers and supporters worked so hard to defeat that seriously flawed proposal


Frank Gormlie September 14, 2023 at 5:42 pm

And thank you Paul for all your work vs SB10.


Paul Krueger September 14, 2023 at 6:12 pm

Two other thoughts: it’s really unfortunate that DeMaio injected race and class into the SB 10 debate. Those were never issues for those of us who led the fight against it. SB 10 was fatally flawed because the massive zoning upgrades it proposed could never be amended or revised by future city councils, and it lacked any incentives or requirements for the so-called “missing middle” housing it was supposedly designed to provide.
Also, regardless of her position on vaccines and COVID, I can assure you that Amy Reichert was and is 100 percent committed to defeating SB 10 and similar poorly-planned, high-density development proposals. And unlike Carl DeMaio, Amy was in the trenches with us in our successful campaign to defeat SB 10.


Amy Reichert September 14, 2023 at 6:51 pm

Thank you Paul Krueger for your kind words of support. I have spoken out early and often against SB10, participated in neighborhood rallies against SB10, I took off the day from work to address the San Diego Planning Commission and have had hours of conversations with community members who are concerned about SB10.

My opponent in the Primary received 100s of thousands of dollars and an official endorsement from the BIA. After the Primary I was told because of my testimony to the Planning commission the Builders Industry Association will now endorse Steppe who stated at a University Heights candidate forum “SB10 is the law of the land.”


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2023 at 11:21 am

Amy, while you’re here, could you explain a few things.

Just how close are you to Carl DeMaio? He and his group endorsed you when you ran against Fletcher. He is the most Trumpist of all local politicians.

What is your stand on Trump? Is Joe Biden the President? How did / do you feel about what happened on Jan. 6, 2021?

Why have you buried your anti-vax and COVID-denying politics in your campaign literature? Have you now changed your mind and can see how your earlier positions did not help the 5,000+ San Diegans who died during the height of the pandemic?

Do you still believe, as you stated in Oct 2022, that 80% of the people who died from COVID were obese?

Have you at all changed your mind about being against abortion and a woman’s right to choose since you have stated many times that you stand for freedom from government intrusion? Isn’t preventing women from having abortions by government one of the most oppressing forms of government intrusion?

Thanks in advance for your response.


Amy Reichert September 15, 2023 at 11:40 am

This CNBC article discusses how being overweight/obese did impact outcomes from COVID:


This article and many others like it helped me realize that I needed to lose 50 pounds in 2020. I am happy to report that I am 50 pounds lighter than I was in 2020 and have kept it off ever since.


Frank Gormlie September 15, 2023 at 11:55 am

Amy, thanks for responding. However, that CNBC news report is from March 2021, just a year into the pandemic. It also stated:

“It doesn’t take a lot of extra pounds to be considered overweight or obese. A 5-foot-10-inch man at 175 pounds and 5-foot-4-inch woman at 146 pounds would both be considered overweight with BMIs of just over 25, according to the CDC’s BMI calculator. A man and woman of the same heights would be considered obese at 210 pounds and 175 pounds, respectively.”

Instead of discussing your weight issues, could you discuss a more weighty issue, your stance on Trump.


Chris September 16, 2023 at 6:24 am

Wow Amy you really know how to take a non answer to the next level.


OBGOPer September 15, 2023 at 11:45 am

Thanks Amy for chiming it! It’s important to let these Dems who are also against SB10 (you’re right Frank, we do only have an affordable housing problem!) know that we’re in this together. We’ll prevail by working together.


chris schultz September 19, 2023 at 7:08 am

I’m good with both sides of the aisle getting SB10 out. Even if the credit is not genuine, it still gets the word out. Carl’s politics leave a lot less to be desired overall. Every email is about asking for money for every desperate measure under the sun. He’d do better if he just stuck to Sacramento and tax policy. The taxes are just as bad of income killing as inflation. Newsome wants green conditions, sue the oil companies, and yet people are trapped by inefficient supply including seasonal fuel additives, and the never ending taxes increases per gallon.


chris schultz September 20, 2023 at 8:22 am

The landmark tax initiative Proposition 13, passed in 1978, has endured in its popularity over the years. It has required a two-thirds voter majority to pass most bonds and the taxes to pay them. That pillar of the proposition is called into question by Assembly Constitutional Amendment 1 by Democrat Ceclia Aguilar-Curry of Winters.

ACA 1 would lower the voter threshold to 55 percent to approve affordable housing and public infrastructure projects. It still would allow a minority of voters to control taxing policy in California. Newsom should help make a historic migration away from the 1978 rebellion and toward majority rule and support ACA 1. Local measures to advance affordable housing and customer-friendly transit will rely on new revenue sources.


chris schultz September 20, 2023 at 8:34 am

Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: