Meet our candidates for Uptown Planners 2021

John Bertsch photo

John Bertsch

I’ve worked, owned businesses, socialized and owned and rented homes in Uptown for almost 30 years. Some of you may recognize me as the builder of Meshuggah Shack, the bright green coffee bar in the heart of Mission Hills. Prior to the Shack, I built live/work homes in Hillcrest and single-family homes in Mission Hills.

Our community needs fresh voices and diverse backgrounds to meet the challenges facing Uptown today. I will bring my skills to advocate for:

  • Greater mobility options on our city streets;
  • Increased housing options for both homeowners and renters;
  • Public amenities that allow for aging in place;
  • And encouraging projects that make Uptown more diverse. More vital. And an even better place to live, work and socialize.

I need YOUR vote to make this vision of Uptown a reality.

Thank you! And I look forward to working for you as a member of Uptown Planners.


Marc Bielas photo

Marc Bielas

I’m very passionate about contributing to the future of our city and neighborhood and for the past three years I have been running a company focused on creating higher quality, more affordable housing across San Diego, starting in Uptown. I have been joining in on the Uptown Planners meetings for the last year and am looking forward to furthering my engagement and representing everyone as a member of the Uptown Planning Board. With your vote I look forward to pushing for our neighborhood to constantly improve and provide more options and opportunities for all of our neighbors. Thanks for your support!


Gloria Brattich photo

Gloria Brattich

Gloria is a San Diego native who believes in the value of strong communities, getting to know her neighbors, and being civically engaged. She returned to San Diego to earn her masters degree in biology at UCSD, and has been proud to call Mission Hills home for the past three years. Gloria loves supporting our wonderful local businesses, enjoying our open spaces, and attending the community events that make our area special. If elected, she looks forward to contributing to the friendly, inclusive, and collaborative spirit as we shape the future of our community together.


Nevo Magnezi photo

Nevo Magnezi

My fellow Uptown community members — my name is Nevo Magnezi. I am an Engineering researcher at UCSD and also volunteer for BikeSD. I am running for Uptown Planners because I love that much of our neighborhood is walkable, bikeable, and transit-accessible, and that there is a variety of jobs, homes, and retail available to us, not to mention our adjacency to Balboa Park.

Though our community offers so much, I see opportunities for us to make it better. As a Hillcrest renter, I can attest to the rising housing costs in San Diego. While our community has begun to address this crisis, we must continue to ensure that underutilized buildings and lots are transformed into a diversity of homes and businesses, to serve the many folks who want to live here.

With transportation being one of the leading sources of household debt, 55% of city GHG being from transportation, and US traffic fatalities climbing, we can help solve these pressing issues by ensuring that our transportation infrastructure is safe, sustainable, and gets people where they want to go effectively.

Uptown has made so much progress in the past few years. I hope to ensure that our community becomes more livable for generations to come.


Soheil Nakhshab photo

Soheil Nakhshab

I grew up in San Diego, I had the good fortune of going through the public school system starting with grade school up through University where I attended San Diego State.  My formal education is a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering which I paired up with my abilities as an Architect and Developer.  I am very passionate about my community.  Using my education and work experience are great tools to help better our community.  For the past 4 years I have been an active board member, these last 2 years I had the privilege of serving as the Chair for Uptown Planners.  With your vote I look forward to continuing as the Chair and being able to help implement great ideas/programs for our community.  My hope with this next election is to see a diverse representation of board members as I believe it is a key that will ensure all voices are heard and create great dialogue for collaboration.


Amanda Nelson

I’m running for Uptown Planners because I want to see more bike lanes and more transportation options like we see going in downtown. I also want to help create more artwork in Uptown. I want to help address homelessness in Uptown by advocating for more affordable housing at all income levels as well as finding ways for more services. And yes, I do want to preserve the historical components of Uptown and the neighborhoods within it. I want to make sure we do have access to views but I also want to make sure that we have more housing, housing that is accessible to all income levels. > TikTok statement


Angela Sillmon photo

Angela Sillmon

I truly love living in University Heights. I’m a fan of its walkability and easy access to great local shops, restaurants and parks. As the founder of Peacock Property Solutions, I help people turn distressed houses into eye-catching homes that help revitalize their community. My background in project management and consumer loans gives my insight into the ways individuals and neighborhoods thrive. I’m a tenacious problem solver and a successful motivator who inspires others to overcome obstacles while marching toward a common goal. I welcome a chance to bring these skills and a warm smile to the community dialog at Uptown Planners.


Oscar Tavera photo

Oscar Tavera

My name is Oscar Tavera, I currently live on the border of Hillcrest and Mission Hills. I moved to the neighborhood 4 years ago and fell in love with the walkability and vibrant scene. I am running for Uptown Planners because I have seen the impact the board has on local projects and how important their feedback is to the city.

I am a mechanical engineer and will use my experience to thoroughly review upcoming projects and provide the best response that improves the character of the neighborhood and respects the growth of the city. We have an amazing opportunity to attract new small businesses to our area, develop new housing that is available to everyone, and encourage infrastructure that is safe and efficient for all transportation methods.

I look forward to working with fellow board members on representing the community and making sure that our voices are heard.


Plan Hillcrest

Don’t miss your opportunity to help plan Hillcrest’s next 20 years! As the City says, “With a growing housing crisis and a changing climate, more is needed to address housing costs, enhance access, use of transit, and provide public spaces for all to use. Plan Hillcrest will address place-making, connectivity, housing, and the neighborhood’s unique identity to ensure Hillcrest thrives into the future.” To find our more, check out the Plan Hillcrest website or join Rise Uptown on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram


Elections 2020

COVID may have stopped the 2020 Uptown Planners election, but it hasn’t stopped Rise Up Town. Decisions that affect Uptown are still being made, and your voice is more important than ever. Join us at the Uptown Planners virtual meetings (go to UptownPlanners.org for virtual meeting times and info) to make sure Uptown has more opportunities for affordable, livable housing, thriving businesses, and greater mobility choices. Join Rise Uptown on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram To get the latest info on meetings and issues that affect you.