The Coronado Ferry Landing on on Jan. 19, 2023.
The Coronado Ferry Landing on on Jan. 19, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

After two years of openly defying the state’s affordable housing laws, Coronado seems to be turning over a new leaf. 

Officials recently unveiled the city’s state-mandated housing plan, which the City Council will vote on today. If approved, Coronado’s plan will go to the state’s housing department for review.

Catch up: During a live recording of the VOSD Podcast at Politifest, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced that his office had been negotiating with Coronado. He shared they were on the verge of getting them in compliance. 

“It’s been on our radar, we’ve been engaged, we haven’t had to sue and if this gets approved, we won’t have had to sue because we will get the outcome that is required by our engagement and our threats to sue and subsequent negotiation to get them in compliance, so they will be in compliance in very short order, if they vote to approve the term sheet,” Bonta said.

Background: Amid a statewide housing crisis, state lawmakers are cracking down on cities to compel them to accommodate more housing for a variety of income levels.

Coronado has to make capacity for 912 new homes over the next eight years, 70 percent of which should be affordable to low- and middle-income residents. That’s compared to what was expected of Coronado in the past — in 2010, the city was asked to plan for only 50 new homes.

City leaders have been resistant to the state’s efforts. Some have openly acknowledged their defiance and thought they had a few years before the state would crack down on them.

But, according to Bonta, his office was well aware of Coronado’s noncompliance, and if the city’s leaders move forward with this housing plan, they won’t have to crack down.

Another Month, More Sobering Homelessness Data

A firetruck passes a homeless encampment on National Avenue in the East Village on May 19, 2023.
A firetruck passes a homeless encampment on National Avenue in Barrio Logan on May 19, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

For the 18th month in a row, the number of people becoming homeless in San Diego County outpaced the number moving into homes.

The Regional Task Force on Homelessness reports that 1,195 San Diegans became homeless for the first time in September and 776 exited homelessness. Local efforts to combat homelessness can’t keep up with the flood of people losing their homes.

In the works: Sobering statistics like these are helping fuel initiatives to prevent San Diegans from falling into homelessness. County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer and philanthropists last week rallied to expand regional prevention efforts.

Border Report: The Other Group Crossing the Border

Temporary workers prepare to cross at the San Ysidro border to work in the United States on Oct. 6, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler
Temporary workers prepare to cross at the San Ysidro border to work in the United States on Oct. 6, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

The United States has seen a significant increase in temporary workers crossing the border, but it’s gone virtually unnoticed amid the droves of asylum seekers that are overwhelming the border.

Many of the temporary workers head for farms, nurseries and orchards in California and other states to work for a couple months at a time. They come here on visas that let them live and work in the states while sending money back home to their families.

It’s a program that’s been running in the U.S. for decades, and last year, almost 300,000 temporary workers were granted the visas – about 40,000 more workers than there were in 2021.

Read the full story here.

‘Til Voters Let Water Agencies Part 

It’s official. From now on, if a water district wants to break up with the San Diego County Water Authority, it will need permission from a majority of county voters. 

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 399 into law. Assemblywoman Tasha Boerner, a Democrat from Encinitas, introduced the bill months ago when two water districts were pushing to ditch the Water Authority. 

Those who opposed the separation, and supported the bill, including the city of San Diego, argued that ratepayers of the remaining water districts would have to foot the bill for the detachers. 

Too little, too late: Rainbow Municipal Water District and Fallbrook Public Utility District already got the OK to leave, and are planning on putting it before their voters in November. 

The bill won’t stop those two from leaving, but it will discourage others. “San Diego water ratepayers will now have an important safeguard against unnecessary and unfair water rate increases,” wrote Nick Serrano, Water Authority board vice chair and representative of the city of San Diego. 

Bachelor’s Degree Coming Soon to Miramar College

Firefighters with the San Diego Fire Department participate in a fire control exercise at a training facility on Dec. 16, 2021. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

Miramar College announced Monday that its proposed bachelor’s degree in public safety management received conditional approval from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office. The approval means that all three of the San Diego Community College District’s for-credit colleges will soon offer bachelor’s degrees. 

Miramar’s degree will build off of existing programs at the community college and provide a wide understanding of the region’s public safety and emergency response systems. The degree still needs final approval, but Miramar is planning a fall 2025 launch. 

Background: As a result of a new law, community colleges can develop bachelor’s degrees so long as they aren’t a duplicate of existing degrees at other public California universities. 

More degrees: Gov. Gavin Newsom signed AB 656 into law last week so CSUs can now offer doctoral degrees without having to partner with private universities or UC schools. San Diego State University President Adela de la Torre called it a “revolutionary change.”

Community college tuition shakeup: Newsom also recently signed a bill authored by Assemblymember David Alvarez that will create a pilot program granting low-income Mexican students who live within 45 miles of the U.S. border in-state tuition. The program, which will bring per unit costs for students down from $300 to $46, will only apply to San Diego and Imperial Valley community colleges.

In Other News 

  • San Diego Unified has opened its choice window through Nov. 15. Parents who want to enroll their children into a school outside of their neighborhood, can do so now. (KPBS) Related: Are you a new parent? Do you need help navigating the choice program? Do you want to see if a school is the right choice for your child? We got you. Download our Parent’s Guide to San Diego Schools for a complete breakdown on school performance and helpful how-tos. It’s free! 
  • CARE Court, a new system that compels people with serious mental illnesses into treatment, officially launched in San Diego and six other California counties on Oct. 2, and it’s off to a slow start. There have only been 15 petitions so far including six in San Diego County. It’s still unclear if anyone has been deemed eligible for the program yet. (Union-Tribune) Related: We’ve been following the rollout of the controversial new program spearheaded by Gov. Gavin Newsom and the obstacles it might face in an already overwhelmed behavioral health system. Read our full coverage here.
  • A new study examining the campaign finance laws and reporting practices of all 18 cities in San Diego County found that five of those cities received a D grade or lower. The report was conducted by Citizens Take Action and looked at contribution bans and limits, fundraising windows, whether election filings are posted online, how easily they can be accessed and for how long. (Union-Tribune)
  • The governor also signed a bill that removes car cruising bans across California. A local lowrider club in National City who pushed for the legislation, celebrated big time. (CBS 8) 

The Morning Report was written by Tigist Layne, Lisa Halverstadt and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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