NPPC 2021 Candidates

BEAU BENKO

My name is Evan Beau Benko but you can call me Beau. I grew up in a smaller town in Northern California (Lodi) and have been in San Diego since I graduated from UCSD in 2014. I moved to North Park in 2015 and love it here. I’m currently a renter and work at a bank in Ocean Beach.

I like to do most anything outside, from enjoying our parks on a nice day to beach volleyball (at least in prior years). What I Iove most about North Park is the friendliness of the community, that can be seen at events like the Thursday farmers market, and for the variety of shops and businesses to support. I want to join the planning committee because I already enjoy keeping up to date with city projects and plans and would be happy to spend more of my time doing so to the benefit of our community. I would eagerly join a subcommittee or help in budgeting for the committee. Thank you for the consideration. Accompanying is a picture of me with a couple puppies we fostered during the pandemic.

STEVE BILLINGS
incumbent

Steve Billings is currently on the Board of Directors of the North Park Main Street Association and is proud to be a sitting member of the North Park Planning Committee for the past two and a half years. Most importantly he has been a resident and business owner in North Park for over 15 years. He eats, shops and sleeps in North Park. He is highly motivated to preserve the history of North Park while intelligently managing its growth.

JOSH BOHANNAN


ANDREW BUCK

Our community is a diverse, productive, and beautiful area that deserves a world class, 21st century infrastructure, and there are powerful incentives in California to make that happen. As a University Heights renter and father, and with a professional background in data analytics, I want to help harness these incentives to benefit the North Park community.

I strongly believe in developing diverse, inclusive neighborhoods that are oriented in a “people first” structure. Our streets should be friendlier to people on foot or bike, and I support protected bike lanes and traffic restrictions that make it safer for us and our children to enjoy our streets. I think that housing should be accessible and affordable to all, allowing younger families to join our thriving community. I want to preserve the beautiful architecture and ambiance of our neighborhood while steering us towards thoughtful housing development that helps mitigate San Diego’s housing crisis. Together, I believe we can build a sustainable, safe, and inclusive space for all North Park residents.

KATE CALLEN
previous board member


LYNN ELLIOTT
previous board member

I have been a North Park resident, first a renter, and then a home owner for 40 years. I started my life in San Diego with a bicycle, before a car, learning my way around, riding for fun as well as to and from work for over 20 years. Now I am often seen walking my errands around North Park.

After becoming a homeowner, I started my involvement with North Park Community Groups— NPPC committees, Redevelopment, Main Street, NPPC Board (1 year), NPCA, NPCA’s Summer Concerts, and currently the North Park Recreation Council. One of my original goals for involvement was to change how North Park was in the mid to late 1990s to a safer more thriving community.

As time progressed, I needed to focus on vocational goals and stepped back from very active community involvement. That being completed, I am able to do more. As I have watched events and changes in the community, one of my goals is still to have community individuals and groups come together and openly communicate to work on goals to keep the North Park Community: safe, thriving, and thoughtfully growing.

CLAUDIA FLORES

My family and I are strong believers in community service. North Park has given us so much, and we’ve worked hard to give back.

In all my years as a neighborhood volunteer, I’ve learned that North Park could be a much stronger community if we stand up for three basic principles.

First: Let’s communicate better. Everyone should be fully informed about decisions affecting our neighborhoods. City government should be transparent. And elected officials should be accountable.

Second: Let’s shop locally. Our old-school businesses paved the way for new businesses in North Park. We owe local merchants a lot, and we should buy from them as much as we can.

Third: Let’s find common ground. We shouldn’t let special interests divide our community. We all love North Park, and we can find ways to unite for the sake of our neighborhood.

I’m running for this board because I want to make a difference. and I want to be a voice for long-time residents and small businesses. I would appreciate your vote. Thank you.

JOHN HARTLEY

Hi - My name is John Hartley. I recently moved from Normal Heights where I was a member of the Normal Heights Planning Group to North Park. I believe in contributing to the neighborhood where I Iive, and I would like to contribute to the North Park neighborhood by serving on the North Park Planning Group. So you know where I stand, I believe that neighborhoods have a right to have a say in their own neighborhood and in the affairs of the city as a whole. I ask you for your vote.

PETER HILL
previous board member

For me, North Park is an ever-evolving place I love, where I’ve been lucky to live and be part of its civic life for 14 years. As past NPPC subcommittee Chair, for five years I efficiently led 40-plus meetings of the Urban Design / Project Review subcommittee, where members worked hard to review 9 major projects, complete the North Park Community Plan, and above all listen to and represent members of the North Park community. My professional background is in Corporate Finance, with a later certificate in Urban Planning from UC San Diego. I believe it’s so important, and never easy, to balance North Park’s future direction with its present needs and rich history, all while keeping the eclectic, ever-emerging character that we all enjoy today. Especially now, North Park has challenges where the voice of the planning group can make a difference. I’m a member of the Rise North Park team. We’d all appreciate your vote, and I’d appreciate your vote. Thank you!

ARASH KAHVAZADEH
incumbent


YVETTE MARCUM

Yvette Marcum was born and raised in San Diego, and grew up in North Park. Her mother's family moved here from Costa Rica in January 1950.

As a previous board member, President and Vice President of another San Diego Community Planning Group, Yvette offers valuable experience to NPPC Board, and truly enjoys working with community members.

She fosters an important aspect of community leadership, viewing the big picture for both short- and long-term plans. It is important to make and keep our neighborhood the best it can be, for both current and future generations.

Ten plus years’ experience as a teacher, mostly Science and as an Education Specialist, has given her the skills to not only hear what people are saying, but to truly listen to what they are saying. Clear communication between community members, board members and city staff, is a key component in making the best choices possible. Yvette has also completed a Project Management program at University of San Diego.

Now that many more people have discovered her beloved North Park, and San Diego in general, we are at what some may consider an important precipice of change. She is ready to bring years of experience, and knowledge of North Park, to North Park Planning Committee and would be honored to help guide our community through beneficial changes.

DANIEL MOLITOR


BASIL MOURNIAN

Basil has called North Park his home since 1996, and to this day treasures being able to walk everywhere – restaurants, breweries, and other businesses. Originally born in University Heights, he’s no stranger to the neighborhood – he attended high school at Saints off Nutmeg and 32nd, but has also lived in El Cajon, Clairemont, and Mission Hills. He works customer service at a local Internet provider, and holds a bachelor’s in business. Basil loves learning about how the city functions. An avid Instagram user, you can find him walking the streets taking pictures of not only sunsets, but building projects and city improvements. He’s sad to see old houses go, but sees the economic opportunities that new developments bring. So far he’s been paying more every year renting, so he’d like to buy a home someday. He started attending NPPC meetings 3 years ago because he wanted to learn how our City’s ambitious traffic and development plans would affect his community. Close calls with distracted and hurried drivers have made the need for safe mobility personal for him. If elected, Basil will work with NPPC and the community to provide meaningful feedback to the City on bike lanes, housing affordability, and other issues, to craft solutions that work for North Park’s residents.

STEVEN OECHEL


JEFF OLSON

North Park- You had me at thrift stores, art galleries, and affordable rent. Things sure have changed since I moved here in ‘09. I didn’t mean to gentrify you, it just happened. In the last few years my rent has outpaced my income, and I know I’m not alone. Something has to change. It’s time for North Park to grow up. Like a craftsman bungalow that hasn’t flipped in decades, North Park has great bones. With proper leadership our neighborhood could be affordable, safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and kids. A place where we can all live, work, and play. I’m proud to be a part of the Rise North Park slate of candidates for the planning committee. Their goals of inclusivity, transit choice, and access to opportunity are my goals. My years of work for the San Diego Public Library Foundation have shown me how important neighborhood resiliency is, and I plan to bring that focus to the decisions before the committee. I care about my neighbors, I’m not afraid to take a stand, and I will always stick up for the underdog. Please support me and the entire Rise North Park slate for the North Park Planning Committee.

GINGER PARTYKA

Ginger Partyka has been a homeowner and resident of North Park since 2015. She is a Sr. Technical Product Manager in the healthcare data field. She moved to North Park because she loves being able to do most of her errands by foot. The shops within walking distance are where she spends her money - Leon’s Produce and El Zarape are at the top of that list. Ginger is a strong proponent and user of local businesses and hopes to support a community framework in which those businesses can continue to thrive. She’s a passionate advocate of reducing traffic, improving community interactions, and increasing affordable housing through increasing housing and transportation choice. Density is why she moved to North Park, and she wants to continue promoting further policy in favor of the community benefits of density - whether that be safer ways to get around or more places to choose from when moving here. Ginger loves the atmosphere of our dense and vibrant community and wants to support planning that furthers increased face-to-face interactions between North Park’s members. She’s very excited about the opportunity to serve the North Park residents on the planning committee.

CHAD PEACE

As founder and president of IVC Media LLC and partner at the law firm of Peace & Shea LLP, I am a proud North Park home and business owner.

At IVC Media, I’ve helped grow the company into a uniquely nonpartisan and binational firm. With offices in North Park and Tijuana, I have been blessed to be surrounded by an exceptional team of professionals on both sides of the border, winning numerous awards for creative digital media services.

As a voting rights attorney, I authored San Diego’s landmark reform Measure K in 2016 and I am a Board Member for the National Association of Nonpartisan Reformers. I earned my law degree from the University of San Diego, where I was President of the International Arbitration Team and contribute today as a volunteer coach.

For the North Park Planning Committee, I want to contribute my experience in digital media and business negotiations to help us involve, engage, and improve community collaboration so we can better plan for our futures together as neighbors and friends.

I was born and raised in San Diego, and I maintain a home in North Park with my wife Arieli, dog Lua, and soon-to-be first baby.

GENE POLLEY

I have owned an 18-unit apartment complex on 30 th St. for 20 years. My interest in the NPPC is to ensure the quality of life for my tenants as well as preserve my investment.

Events over the past two years have caused me to participate in most NPPC meetings. I have been disappointed by many actions taken by the NPPC during that time.

Most upsetting was the NPPCs endorsement of the then mayor’s and Councilman Ward’s plan for dedicated bike lanes along 30 th St. -- removing needed parking for businesses and residents. This was done without important neighborhood input and to this day the plan has never been disclosed to the affected parties. Some residents will learn of the project when they see red painted curbs.

The NPPC has endorsed 61 units on El Cajon Blvd. with zero parking for residents and enthusiastically backed Measure A on last year’s ballot which would have cost almost a billion dollars to build over-priced low-income housing constructed by friends and special interests of Sacramento.

If elected to the NPPC I pledge to look out for the citizens/businesses of North Park to make sure decisions by the NPPC are in their best interests.

ARIA POUNAKI
incumbent

Aria Pounaki has been a NPPC board member since being elected in 2019. Since then, he has taken on greater responsibility as the chair of the committee where he has set a progressive agenda that elevates the issues of housing affordability, pedestrian safety, and enhancing mobility options throughout the North Park neighborhood. Aria’s professional background is rooted in experience working in the medical device industry where he managed product development programs for a Fortune 500 medical technology company here in San Diego. His love of urban planning and a passion for creating affordable housing opportunities in our community has inspired Aria to recently pursue a new career with Bridge Housing where he will contribute to growing the supply of affordable housing in our city. This persistent drive to serve our community and continuously learn and listen will make Aria a continued asset to the board as he seeks to set a professional tone and move the ball forward on important policies with the community’s support.

TYLER RENNER

Hi, I am Tyler Renner, a renter living on the border of University Heights and North Park. I recently served as the North Park Community Representative for the previous District 3 City Councilmember, Chris Ward. During that time, I worked on several transformative neighborhood projects, including the El Cajon Boulevard Busways, North Park Mini-Park and the Mid-City Homeless Outreach Program. Currently, I serve as Director of Media for People Assisting the Homeless (PATH), managing external communications for one of California’s largest housing and homeless service providers. Prior to working in politics and homelessness, I worked for LGBTQ community centers. I have an intersectional lens on social justice issues and will work to make housing, transportation and city services more equitable. I have an intimate understanding of the city’s planning process and would be honored to provide insight and perspective on making North Park an even greater place to live, work and visit.

JESSICA RIPPER

Jessica Ripper is a Principal at LeSar Development Consultants where she focuses on bringing diverse voices into conversations about making communities vibrant places for people to live, work, play, and learn. Prior to working in housing and community development, Jessica worked in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors for organizations focused on population health and well-being. As a member of the North Park Planning Committee, she will commit herself to exploring issues from multiple perspectives and help lift up solutions that meet current community needs while ensuring North Park remains flexible to adapt to a changing environment. She recently moved to the North Park home she and her family have owned for four years, and loves being able to walk to a grocery, the farmers' market, restaurants and breweries, shops, and Balboa Park within minutes.

JEN SABO SPENCER
incumbent

I am a Landscape Architect who moved into the North Park neighborhood from Wisconsin with my husband 21 years ago. I am extremely passionate about placemaking and have actively spearheaded several beautification/art projects at the neighborhood schools my children have attended - McKinley Elementary and Roosevelt Middle School. Throughout my professional career, I've gained valuable experience working at several prestigious local and national Landscape Architectural firms including Estrada Land Planning, Schmidt Design Group, McCullough Landscape Architecture and WRT, Inc. In addition, I started my own firm, Studio 2912 Landscape Architecture, based in North Park. Most recently, I’ve decided to step away from my studio and accept an offer as a Park Project Manager for the County of San Diego Parks and Recreation Department. Within this position I’m able to develop and build parks within San Diego County – it’s pretty much my dream job and I get to do it with the most passionate group of co-workers!

I love old houses, large dogs, hiking, painting, craft beer and I basically run on coffee. I've seen the neighborhood change A LOT over the years, but never lose the charm and personality that I fell in love with 21 years ago. My husband and I feel incredibly lucky to have had our kids grow up in such a diverse, vibrant community full of supportive people! I would be extremely excited to continue to be a part of the North Park Planning Committee, if you choose to vote for me.


MATT STUCKY
incumbent

Matt Stucky lives near the south end of North Park with his wife and three children. Matt’s family loves North Park because of its strong community, friendly neighbors, fun parks, great local businesses, and how easy it is to get to all the local spots they love, whether on foot or by bike. Matt wants to make North Park even better by pushing the city to address the community’s infrastructure deficits, including parks, transit and active transportation improvements, and open space. He believes North Park is an inclusive community that welcomes new neighbors, but that we need to ensure there is enough housing for new neighbors of all backgrounds. Matt wants to protect our children’s future in San Diego by pushing the city to take the necessary steps to address the consequences of climate change. Our community’s future depends on protecting the important parts of our community’s history while also striving to create a sustainable, vibrant urban neighborhood that is accessible and equitable for all. Matt is a current member of the NPPC and also serves as chair of the North Park Maintenance Assessment District advisory board and sits on the city’s Community Planners Committee as the North Park representative.

VICTOR TORRES

I am proud to be a North Park resident. I attended St. Patrick’s School, played sports in the North Park Little League/NP (Pioneer) Pony-Colt-Palomino baseball leagues/NP San Diego City Softball Leagues, and worshipped at St. Patrick’s Church. Literally, this community has shaped my life. My career has been spent advocating to improve the lives of working families, so I know the importance of promoting economic opportunity, especially for our many small businesses, and keeping our neighborhoods safe. As a Board Member, I will apply my knowledge and experience of analyzing complex issues and building consensus on resolving common challenges. Keeping our entire community informed about what is going on here is a priority for me, because that’s how we will get more people involved in making North Park a stronger community.

MARISSA TUCKER-BORQUEZ
incumbent

Marissa Tucker-Borquez is proud to call North Park her home because of the diverse and amazing people she gets to call her neighbors. She loves that North Park is a welcoming community and believes its strength comes from its diversity and ability to adapt. She is concerned that workers are being priced out of the area and believes more affordable housing is needed to keep the employees of our restaurants, breweries, and local retail shops here. In addition, she believes that new gentle density can help stimulate the economy by growing the local customer base and encouraging families to make North Park their permanent home.

Marissa loves walking, biking, taking transit to the many amenities North Park has to offer. It is a core value of Marissa to ensure that all North Park residents are safe on our roads regardless of their choice in transportation and that streets should be safe and useful for all ages and capabilities.

Marissa is a current member of the NPPC, founder of Rise North Park, President of YIMBY Dems of San Diego County, and a Graduate Student of City Planning at SDSU.