Instructor says 'service without politics'

Heather Grow would have no trouble reading a council agenda by night and reading "If You Give a Moose a Muffin" by day.

The first-time Huntington Beach City Council candidate has worked for nearly three years as an inclusion facilitator for special-needs children at the YMCA. In her spare time the last few months, she's made the rounds as a candidate, speaking at meet-ups at friends' houses, designing campaign signs and handing out cards with a slogan — "Public service without politics" — meant to underline the fact that she isn't a career politician.

For up to 50 hours a week, though, Grow devotes her time to people who rarely show up at City Council meetings. The lifelong Surf City resident reads to after-school classes at the YMCA, helps integrate special-needs kids into regular programs and counsels other staff members on how to deal with behavioral issues.

"I'm Miss Heather to them," she said. "That's how they know me."

It may not be a typical job for a council candidate in a field dominated by planning commissioners and small-business owners, but Grow, 37, is intent on serving Huntington Beach any way she can.

Grow has at least two powerful allies in the race for one of the four open council seats. Kim Kramer, the spokesman of the grass-roots group Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn., gave Grow $500 for her campaign, although the group itself did not endorse her.

In addition, Noble Waite, a former Huntington Beach mayor and member of the Orange County Water District Board of Directors, said he has trumpeted Grow's campaign to others in town. He got to know Grow through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and said her legal background and knowledge of the community would serve her well on the dais.

"I've known her basically through her church, and she is a good, clean, all-American girl," Waite said. "And that's something we need more of in government than we have right now."

Grow, a Marina High School alumuna, attended UC Davis and earned a law degree from University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law. The university offered an internship to help her go into special-education law, but because she couldn't afford a year without pay, she went to work with children — first as a private tutor, then her job at the YMCA.

As a candidate, Grow said, she would fight cuts in public safety personnel and development in Bolsa Chica. She opposes the Downtown Specific Plan and the senior center in Huntington Central Park and has mixed feelings about the Poseidon desalination plant, which she views as a potential environmental hazard.

Grow, who is still awaiting her signs back from the printer, acknowledged that her campaign has been low-key, but she's been encouraged by the support so far.

"I have a lot of little checks from $20 to $520," she said. "They're still coming in. Every week I get more. But it's an honor, because every time someone gives me a check, they're saying they have faith in me that I'll do a good job."

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World