Who’s running for Uptown Planners this year?

By Hutton Marshall | Editor

Tomorrow, March 2, residents of Hillcrest, Bankers Hill, Mission Hills, University Heights and Five Points/Middletown—which has a nice ring to it—will vote in seven new board members for the all-volunteer Uptown Community Planning Group, more commonly known as the Uptown Planners.

Update: The candidates elected were Jennifer Pesqueira, Ken Tablang, Michael Brennan, Mat Wahlstrom, Kyle Heiskala, Dana Hook and Jay Newington. The will be seated at the April 7 Uptown Planners meeting, where the board will elect its new chair.

With much of the 17-person board up for grabs, and the departure of the long-seated board chair Leo Wilson, the dynamics of the city advisory board will surely change significantly. With a community plan update underway, and the SANDAG bike corridor looming in 2016, Uptown Planners will likely weigh in often about urban development and bicycle infrastructure. Here is a quick glance at the eight candidates running for the board this year.

Neil Ferrier, Jennifer Pesqueira and Ken Tablang were elected in 2011 and are running for second four-year terms.

Michael Brennan sits on the city’s newly established Bicycle Advisory Committee, the Hillcrest Business Association’s board of directors, the Uptown Community Parking District and the Hillcrest Community Development Corporation. Brennan has worked as a landscape architect in San Diego for over a decade. On the HBA, he has supported initiatives increasing bicycle infrastructure.

Mat Wahlstrom owns Roberts Electric Services in Hillcrest and ran unsuccessfully for a spot on the board last year. He previously told me that he supports a community plan that would maintain density levels in Hillcrest. According to, he has been critical of increasing bicycle infrastructure. He is also known as an outspoken critic of the HBA’s current leadership.

Kyle Heiskala, a Hillcrest resident, is one of two candidates endorsed by Paul Jamason, who runs and advocates for smart growth, transit and bicycle infrastructure. (Jamasaon has also endorsed Brennan.) Heiskala often tweets about bicycle infrastructure and sustainability issues.

Dana Hook is an engineer familiar with transportation issues, according to This appears to be her Twitter profile.

– Other candidates include Jay Newington and Chris Cole. Both helped found organizations created by Wilson, although that doesn’t mean their community planning ideologies will be similar.

This post will be updated as more information comes in. For information about when and how to vote tomorrow night, view the meeting’s agenda here.

—Contact Hutton Marshall at 

Update: Nancy Moors has withdrawn her name from the election. Her name has been removed from the article. 

Update 2: A late-filing candidate, Dana Hook, has been added to the post. 

One Comments

  1. Would you please update the article with the names of the people who won election? Thanks.

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