Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey (left) speaks at the University of San Diego for Politifest 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. / Vito Di Stefano for Voice of San Diego
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey (left) speaks at the University of San Diego for Politifest 2023 on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. / Vito Di Stefano for Voice of San Diego

During Saturday’s Politifest, Attorney General Rob Bonta joined the live recording of the VOSD podcast and told LA Times journalist Liam Dillon that his office is on the verge of “announcing something” regarding the city of Coronado’s failure to comply with state housing laws. 

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey was one of the panelists of a discussion on Sacramento v. Small Cities: The Housing Battle, moderated by our Tigist Layne. Here are a few excerpts from what he had to say about Coronado’s long track record of defying the state’s affordable housing laws

Q: Do You think Coronado’s leaders have made a good faith effort to get into compliance with state housing laws? 

RB: “Yes, I do…We have submitted Housing Elements that were rejected by the state… But we are working with the state, and I think within the next two weeks the City Council will be considering a Housing Element that will make us complaint, so I do think we are certainly doing our part. 

But I’ll raise the question to all of us. What does success look like? It’s easy, I think, for all of us to say that we would like housing to be more affordable. But how much more affordable? The average rent in Coronado is $3,700. The average rent in El Cajon is $2,000. 

Approximately half the households in the United States make less than $75,000 per year. Is our objective to have housing here in San Diego County, and specifically, maybe, along the coast affordable for half the households in the U.S. that make less than $75,000 a year – is that the objective? 

If not, what is the objective? And how do we know we’re actually reaching success?”  

Q: Do you believe that Coronado and city governments have an obligation to make sure that there’s housing for a variety of income levels? 

RB: “The city doesn’t set the price for housing within the city, the market does. 

This is just a market reality that more people on average are willing to pay more for housing along the coast than they are in other places. And so, the idea that local government can actually control for and set aside housing for certain income levels really ignores the market reality, which is that more people on average want to live in certain areas than others.” 

Q: Isn’t that the point of the Housing Element, though, to make sure housing is set aside for different income levels? 

RB: “The city can try our best to set zoning, even high-density zoning… but the market effects probably won’t achieve the desired result, despite our best efforts.” 

Tigist Layne is Voice of San Diego's north county reporter. Contact her directly at or (619) 800-8453. Follow her...

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  1. Bailey is correct, the market sets the price of housing. However, the price is influenced by the allowable density and building codes that are set by the local jurisdiction. The city could also density development incentives if the housing is affordable. In the end, the city could discourage or or encourage housing development!

  2. I think the goal is is exactly how this guys describes in a way, if we install more housing all over San Diego included in the county of San Diego it should reduce the overall average costs of monthly rent in San Diego. If there was more housing available, rich people would not be the only ones pervlieged enough to afford living by the coast.

    1. How exactly would building more prevent investors from buying it up and offering it for rent at enormous prices? Can you explain that? What government policies in the last few years might have led to land lords jacking up prices to extreme levels? In theory building more could bring down prices, but our housing crisis is close to being beyond the repair of minor policy changes or compliance with existing state laws.

    2. So you are saying people shouldn’t just be able to have affordable rent, laws should make it so they can afford to live with an ocean view?

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