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Shaw's not afraid to make bold moves

Candidate wants mass transit, less fees for smaller businesses and more tourist-oriented events downtown.

October 13, 2010|By Michael Miller, michael.miller@latimes.com
  • Joe Shaw, a City Council candidate for 2010.
Joe Shaw, a City Council candidate for 2010. (HAND IN, HB Independent )

Joe Shaw believes in community spirit and protecting the environment. And he killed his own lawn to prove it.

Shaw, who is making his second run for City Council, was on the Public Works Commission in 2009 when the city urged residents to curb water usage during a regional drought. The nine-year Surf City resident looked around his own home for ways to reduce water use, and his eyes stopped on the patch of green out front. By the end of the summer, Shaw had removed all the grass from his yard and replaced it with more water-efficient native plants.

"We had a Stage 1 drought alert, asking residents to cut water use by 10%, and I thought I could do better than that," he said.

Shaw, a Bolsa Chica Land Trust board member and a former planning commissioner, wants voters to know that he's not afraid to make bold moves. An early entrant in the race, he led all challengers by raising more than $14,000 by the end of last year, and he's pushed that total to nearly $35,000, among the highest of any candidate. In August, he joined Planning Commissioner Blair Farley and former Mayor Connie Boardman to form Team Huntington Beach, a coalition running on the platform that it can meet residents' needs better than the current council.

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Unlike Farley and Boardman, Shaw didn't get an endorsement from the city's police or fire unions, all of whose endorsed candidates went on to win in the last three elections. But his campaign does have a slew of high-profile supporters, including former Mayors Debbie Cook, Grace Winchell and Linda Moulton-Patterson; the Sierra Club; the Orange County League of Conservation Voters; and the Huntington Beach Downtown Residents Assn.

Cook, who hosted Shaw's campaign kickoff party at her house last year, is a longtime backer of Shaw; he served as her communications director when she unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2008. She said she expected Shaw to fare better than he did during his first run in 2006, when he finished sixth out of seven candidates.

"I generally agree with his policies, but more important to me is that he has an open mind and he just wants to continue to learn," Cook said. "As we learn more, it has a tendency to change our positions on things, and I like the fact that he's always willing to hear others and learn."

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