So just because the bottoms of the buildings are obscured

Yes, something which is expected for a RE and not at all expected for a FE.

The observation clearly contradicts a FE, with no hope of recovery unless the FE can come up with an explanation for what is obstructing the view to the bottom.

(supposing i was a full 50 miles away from downtown SD = really not a STRETCH)

Suppose you were only 10 miles away?

We really have no idea where the photo was taken, and no reason at all to accept your claim of 50 miles.

To me, it seems more likely that you left El Soco and saw San Pedro in the distance.

This is closer to flat than the theorized curvature and my attempt at getting an explanation as to what could lead to this huge amount of refraction

Because you still want it to be refraction, rather than an error in the distance.

If the distance is wrong, we don't need the refraction.

as opposed to the (as i undwerstand it) 15 % max quoted by Samuel Rowbotham...

As already pointed out, that "15%" doesn't really make much sense, and you need to apply it twice. Once to determine the distance to the horizon and then once again to determine the amount that should be hidden.

It is much easier to understand it as using the actual formula/approximation (rather than 8 archaic units per archaic unit squared) of h=d^2/2R, and substituting in R=7/6R. As that is accounting for "standard refraction".

If you want to simplify that, it is 6.85 inch per mile squared.

But that isn't the maximum. That is standard.

i.e. on an average day you should expect something like that. The maximum can be much greater than that, and there are times where it is less.

talks bout the horizon ramping up to a point, which i guess blocks out the bottoms of distant objects.

Yes, typical dishonest FE magic perspective which magically makes the FE look just like you would expect the RE to appear, directly contradicting the other claims of it being perfectly flat and being able to see the bottom of a distant object no matter how far away it is.

The typical cherry picking, where when refuted, they just pretend that results for a RE are expected on a FE.

But what the entirely fail it is any kind of explanation as to how this occurs.