Results in Uptown Planning Group Election a Sea Change Against Pro-Developer Slates

by on March 7, 2022 · 9 comments

in San Diego

Vote Portends Trend in Local Community Planning Group Elections

By Mat Wahlstrom

The result of the Uptown Planners community planning group election concluded Tuesday, March 1, gives reason to hope for authentic community advocates.

With 925 ballots counted, all three of the Uptown for All candidates came out on top by almost 2-to-1. Despite a lower turnout, this is about the same margin as in last year’s election when we won all eight open seats.

This time around the desperation was on the side of the self-identified YIMBYs, the Rise Uptown slate. They somehow paid for a five-figure direct mail piece to every Uptown household. But unlike the targeted letter we self-funded last year, theirs was a glossy postcard heavy on hype but light on substance.

Uptown for All went for the riskier but time-honored route of delivering flyers by hand and talking door-to-door about the issues.

Rise Uptown doubled down on their support for the City’s proposed ‘Plan Hillcrest,’ which calls to remove all parking and all personal vehicles from University Ave between 6th Ave and Park Blvd — turning it into the C St of Uptown — and for entitling over 40,000 new units within 400 acres.

Conversely, they campaigned as they alleged so-called NIMBYs would, by telling anyone they identified as not living in Hillcrest that they needn’t worry about extra density in *their* neighborhoods — their candidates would work to ensure it all gets packed into Hillcrest instead.

And rather than engage on what they were for, they browbeat anyone carrying Uptown for All literature toward poster boards with deconstructions of its flyer more meme-worthy than credible.

This backfired, as most of those informed of the obvious knock-on effects of Plan Hillcrest naturally balk. But rather than check their neoliberal cheerleading, they tried to gaslight what people could see for themselves.

In sum, despite spending more money and more cleverly trying to obscure their pro-developer message, what these partisans advocate was again key to their defeat.

There’s a lesson here for all of us.

North Park is the other community planning area with a “Rise Up” affiliate running a slate this year. Their election will be a hybrid of online and in-person voting. The deadline to register for the online component is before midnight today, March 7, at this link,

In-person voting will be held on both Saturday, March 12, and Tuesday, March 15, and information on times and locations can be found at this link, .

Here is a link to the map showing which CPGs cover where you live.

And here is the link to the schedule for when each will be holding theirs, with either a Planning Department page with election notices or separately maintained websites for finding out who is running and how to participate.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Geoff Page March 7, 2022 at 2:17 pm

Congratulations to Uptown For All in their win. It just completely disproves those who say the planning boards exclude certain classes of people. To make change on a planning just requires what these folks did and, by doing so, show what the community really wants. This is how it is done.


SDer March 7, 2022 at 7:26 pm

Am a hybrid partisan myself on preservation and development. Have to say tho this is a classic line here
“But rather than check their neoliberal cheerleading, they tried to gaslight what people could see for themselves.”

#neoliberal + #WOKE = #BADFORALL


Mat Wahlstrom March 8, 2022 at 8:38 am

Take just one example: a person who regularly trolls on here (and hides behind her Twitter account to take pot shots at this publication and at people she’s pre-emptively blocked) repeatedly claimed that her support for Plan Hillcrest was a “false narrative” — yet admitted to an ally less than an hour later that she hopes it goes through!


Paul Webb March 8, 2022 at 9:58 am

Wow, have I missed something? Is there really a plan for a trolley line on University Avenue? Why would anyone do that when we already have the Park Blvd./El Cajon Blvd. rapid bus project as part of SANDAG’s SDSU/MidCity/Downtown plan? Is the trolley just from 6th Ave. to Park Blvd. where the closure to private vehicles is proposed?

This is either an unhinged proposal or I’m missing something. I see nothing in the RTP about this project.


Mat Wahlstrom March 8, 2022 at 10:20 am

That’s been the normal reaction, Paul. The 2016 Uptown Plan called for the trolley to go up Park to El Cajon from downtown, replacing the ‘Rapid Transit’ bus line — which is why Uptown Planners voted to approve the ‘Density Redistribution’ alternative that fit with this and determined to be ‘environmentally preferred’ under the environmental impact report. (The city of course ignored us.)

But then at last June’s Plan Hillcrest meeting, out of nowhere the city presented this an “option” — which is always a bad sign. After hemming and hawing, they said it would depend on what SANDAG decided. And buried in all the controversy over the per-mile tax and other funding for the SANDAG Regional Plan last December, this is exactly what did get approved.

Here’s a link to that June presentation, which is (so far?) the last heard on the ‘Mobility Element’ (see page 18 etc.),


Paul Webb March 8, 2022 at 11:30 am

I’ll say again, Wow! C street downtown has been such a great success and such an inviting pedestrian/transit corridor that I can certainly understand that the city would want to duplicate it elsewhere.

Honestly, I can’t think of any street downtown that is less appealing to walk down, or even cross. I know of a number of restaurants and other businesses that went out of business when they converted it to a (mostly) transit corridor.

And the idea of one way couplets is a terrific thing to do, particularly if you want to destroy a neighborhood. Back in the 70’s, the city proposed to make Sunset Cliffs Blvd. and Cable Street one way couplets. We would ended up with two high speed streets cutting our community into pieces. Thankfully, saner heads prevailed and they streets were never converted.


Mat Wahlstrom March 8, 2022 at 11:55 am

Exactly! And C St is just one of half a dozen direct east-west connectors downtown. The only way to get to or from Mission Hills/Hillcrest to University Heights/North Park is either Washington St, University Ave, or Robinson Ave (which is narrow and residential).

Taking University out will ruin our businesses and our neighborhood.


Mat Wahlstrom March 8, 2022 at 12:58 pm

Forgot to mention, they’ve abandoned the proposed Park Blvd trolley line.


Mat Wahlstrom March 15, 2022 at 11:31 pm

BREAKING NEWS: A total repudiation by the people of North Park against their ‘Rise’ slate —


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