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Allow gas leaf blowers back

Original post made by Barbara Cleveland, Downtown North, on Aug 4, 2006

Palo Alto should definitely reconsider its ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers. It was foolish to start with and should never have been an issue.


The noise level has been minimal. I have observed the gardeners to be organized and fast, and they should be allowed to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible. If this means gasoline-powered blowers, so be it.

Comments (10)

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Posted by trudy
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 4, 2006 at 11:13 am

The noise level is, on the contrary, extremely high. It's a disaster for anyone who is at home during the day. One instance is bad enough, but multiply it by nearby gardener after gardener and it becomes Noise Pollution as well as just plain Pollution, which is the last thing we need with global warming roaring down the track at us. I had a neighbor who used a leaf blower every day for an hour or so. (I won't comment on how nutsy that was.)

Plus trying to bike through a cloud of leaf fragments and dirt being blown into the street is very annoying. I guess we should swerve out into traffic to avoid this.

Use a rake, use a broom. Show a little environental concern. And save the gardeners' hearing as well.


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Posted by Richard
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 4, 2006 at 11:57 am

Here we are at the "Leaf Blower Debates" again.
The commercial leaf blowers have not place in our residential neighborhoods.
The "Blow and Go" tactics of our gardeners throw a ton of dust in the air and that is unacceptable to maintain a good neighbor policy.
The alternatives are out there. One of my neighbors uses a small electric blower and if you didn't happen to see him you wouldn't even know what he was up to. Try that with a commercial blower.
We should make the ban on leaf blowers a permanent ban this time so that we don't have to revisit this debate each year. The gardeners will have to face the fact that they will not be able to blast clean a 5,000 sq. ft. property in 15 minutes and may have to use a rake and broom now and then and adjust their prices accordingly.


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Posted by Jeremy Loski
a resident of Ventura
on Aug 4, 2006 at 5:00 pm

All machines that exceed mandated noise levels - levels that are set in law - should be banned. Otherwise, why have the law?

All machines that exceed environmental pollution standards set in law should be banned. Otherwise, why have a law?

I would welcome a NEW City Council ban on ALL machines that violate noise and pollution levels, with HEAVY and IMMEDIATE fines for anyone in violation.

I would also like to see our City up the number of civil code enforcement officers from the current number of one, to three or four, so that noise and other city ordinances can be effectively and consistently enforced.

I would also welcome a City Council ban on ALL equipment manufactured by ANY company that violates environmental safety levels set in our civil code.


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Posted by A.J.
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 5, 2006 at 4:47 pm

I, too, am annoyed at someone bringing up this debate again.

Is it so hard to get proponents of the blowers to understand all the issues? Perhaps they will only understand if they are required to mitigate and pay for the problems they cause: for example, would they be willing to pay to have the gardeners come back and spend a few days cleaning the thick layer of grime that settles on the neighbors' houses and cars? (For my house, this would require dry-wiping, as regular water in every corner or crevice could damage the house.)

Or would they pay a tax to reimburse people whose kids have extra asthma attacks? The dust and noise, by the way, is a significant issue for many people. Particulate pollution of a certain size increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes in the elderly (see American Lung Association for more info). And I can attest that it's not necessary to be outside to be adversely affected in one's home by the excessive dust.

Over the past 20 years, I've asked gardening services I've hired to sweep or rake rather than use blowers, and frankly, they've never had a problem with it and they're just as efficient. The gardeners I've hired have all been pretty industrious and efficient at everything they do. I've been willing to pay more, but it's never been necessary. My home stays cleaner, inside and out, my yard seems nicer without the extra grime coating all the folliage and hardscape (and my windows), it's way less stressful without the threat of the noise and dust, and I end up with far fewer weeds because I don't have a dirty whirlwind spreading the seeds around every week.

I'll be glad to see these blasted things go the way of cigarettes...


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Posted by Walter E. Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2006 at 10:13 pm

Take another look at water sweeps - that's how they used to handle leaves. It was quiet and it held down the dust.


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Posted by gordon
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 7, 2006 at 3:30 pm

never trust anyone that doesn't do their own gardening. . . unless they're physically not able to do it, of course. and for sure, never trust what these people say about leaf blowers.

they aren't concerned about noise or pollution impacts on other people. they're not even really concerned about their gardeners.

they just want to pay as little as possible to have someone else do their inconvenient chores for them. period.

the further removed people become from the impact of their lifestyle, the less human they become.


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Posted by Jan
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 9, 2006 at 10:56 am

I find the noise and dust and pollen kicked up by the more powerful gasoline leaf blowers a nuisance whether I am trying to work outside my own home when neighbors' gardeners are blowing or merely taking a walk through town. The ordinance appears to be widely disregarded, even after asking the gardener or neighbor in question to comply with the law. Oh yes, they may use an electric blower for a week or two, but then they are right back to the gas one. With our recent spare-the-air days, the continued use of gas blowers is unjustified.


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Posted by Air Breather
a resident of Southgate
on Aug 9, 2006 at 11:29 am

I can't resist throwing my tirade into this pile......

Often but not always, the people who operate the blowers, be they gas or electric have no connection to the neighborhood they work in. I'm home during the weekdays and watch severa gardeners come and blow dust clouds up and down the street. Often times they'll blow stuff out of one yard and onto the recently blown surface of another yard.

It would be great comedy if I didn't have to close my windows or end up with a housefull of street dust.

Between the constant thrum of gardening equipment and the McMansions going up, there is very little peace in my neighborhood.

Whatever happend to rakes and brooms?


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Posted by Borat Sagdiyev
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Nov 25, 2006 at 2:14 pm

i have good idea: rake leaves inpile and throw kerosine so burn them. that what I do, it work so nice! and no noise like leif blower. good smeell too!


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Posted by Elizabeth Lee
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Leaf blowers have only been around for the past twenty-five years or so, yet some people have become convinced that they're essential to a gardener. They are not essential, and they erode top soil and harm plants. Gardening is all about caring for the plants and soil, not harming them. Leaves are not the enemy, but provide mulch to protect top soil and discourage weeds. They decompose and provide new topsoil. I laugh when I think of people going to the plant nursery and buying dirt when there's a ready supply of it, or should be, in their yard. A landscape of fallen autumn leaves also provides colorful beauty during this time of year.
The gardeners and landscapers need to relearn how gardening used to be done. The mow-blow-and-go needs to become a thing of the past. The noise and air pollution they cause is unacceptable.


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