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Guest Opinion: It's time to address leaf blowers (again)

Original post made on Aug 23, 2019

A longtime Palo Alto resident wants to take the fight over leaf blowers to the homeowners and property managers who hire gardeners often found using them in residential neighborhoods.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, August 23, 2019, 6:54 AM

Comments (57)

27 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2019 at 8:32 am

I agree 100%. Most of the leaf blowing is pointless anyway, but, for those who want it, there are perfectly good corded electric and battery-electric blowers out there that are quieter and much less annoying. And mowers, too, while we are on the subject: although most mowers are cleaner and quieter now than they used to be, battery-powered mowers are even better. I used my battery-powered mower for several years -it worked perfectly well- and eventually sold it after the transition to drought-tolerant landscaping.

Let's find ways to encourage the transition to battery-powered landscaping.


5 people like this
Posted by M-A Gardener's Association
a resident of another community
on Aug 23, 2019 at 9:18 am

The other (and former landscape maintenance alternatives) are just as irritating and/or impractical.

The sound of aluminum rakes is grating to the ears & hosing debris off the sidewalks is now considered a waste of water.

Electric leaf blowers are quiter but you have to have access to outdoor AC and a very long extension cord.

So what is a poor landscape maintenance person to do when they only have about 20-30 minutes to clean-up the outdoor areas?




15 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:14 am

Posted by M-A Gardener's Association, a resident of another community

>> Electric leaf blowers are quiter but you have to have access to outdoor AC and a very long extension cord.

>> So what is a poor landscape maintenance person to do when they only have about 20-30 minutes to clean-up the outdoor areas?

Rechargeable battery leaf blowers. Just in time for leaf season, here is a fresh rundown right here:

Web Link


4 people like this
Posted by Bill Bucy
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:22 am

Bill Bucy is a registered user.

We should all re-read the 8th paragraph in this piece which notes, "the 2005 ordinance has proven ineffectual and unworkable" and then go out for a nice cup of tea when the gardener is scheduled to arrive.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:23 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Palo Alto is a city that loves it's canopy and protects it with requirements. My Redwood tree out front is dropping nuts and leaf pieces chewed off by the squirrels. I can clean that one day and the next it is littered. My back yard is the recipient of both my and other people's trees on a continual basis. That is the reality of living in a tree city. And when the wind comes up then the yard is littered by tree pieces from all surrounding yards. I wish the residents who do not have to deal with a situation quit dictating to those who do have to deal with the situation.
I do note that the PA maintenance crews who clean up the parks are using untethered leaf blowers. That is reality.


5 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:56 am

Under both the current ordinance and the author’s proposal someone has to notify the police of the violation. So are the police going to be more willing to respond in a timely fashion if the citation is given to the homeowner rather than the gardener? Or will the citation be issued to the homeowner when the violation is reported without any requirement that the police respond?

If the author’s proposal is adopted, then as soon as I get my warning (or initial fine if there is no warning) I will tell my gardener that I no longer desire his services unless he starts using leaf blowers that comply with the ordinance, So it seems like the City would be making me the heavy so it can avoid having its police officers issue citations to gardeners.


10 people like this
Posted by jim
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:59 am

Thank you Barry for a well written thoughtful article. I will tell my gardener to not use gas and will help him buy an electric.

I agree the law should allow for dated photos as evidence and fines to the property owner.
In addition, only rakes should be allowed on streets. I see gardeners blowing dust every day. The city cleans the small debris that would be left by using only rakes on the streets. Electric blowers should be confined to yards.

In many yards, there are sufficient outlets for a corded electric. For others, a gardener would need a premium cordless with at least 2 spare batteries charging in his truck to be able to service yards.


3 people like this
Posted by Drake
a resident of Meadow Park
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:03 am

We should NOT use the police to enforce this law. Live with it.


22 people like this
Posted by lstovel
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:03 am

lstovel is a registered user.

I chipped in $300 so my gardener could buy a battery-powered leaf blower–they are very expensive–because I could not stand the smell of the gas blower. It may be that he uses it only at my house, but I am much happier not having the smell.


23 people like this
Posted by PA Grandma
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:08 am

If you have asthma or other respiratory problems, the dust and dirt kicked up by the leaf blowers, whether they are gas or electric, is hazardous to your health. And it leaves a layer of grit over everything in the vicinity, including the side of your house and roof, which washes into the rain gutters and drains to to Bay. It is pollution.


11 people like this
Posted by sequoiadean
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:19 am

sequoiadean is a registered user.

Thank you Barry for the letter. I live in Los Altos (after 30 years in Palo Alto), and gas leaf blowers are a big nuisance here too. I and other residents are being more proactive about calling the police about these horrible devices, and they are now issuing more citations. We have also created flyers that we give to homeowners and gardeners notifying them of the ordinance, and this is having a positive effect on reducing the number of gas leaf blowers in use. I think if everyone who is bothered by these devices calls the police and complains, they will get the picture that this is important to the citizens of Palo Alto and enforce the law.

I completely agree that it is the homeowner who should be responsible and pay the fines, not the gardeners. They are just doing their jobs, and we should want to help them do it in a healthier manner.

Those of you who say "I wish the residents who do not have to deal with a situation quit dictating to those who do have to deal with the situation." have it all wrong - we are dealing with the situation every time your gardener is disturbing the neighborhood by using a gas leaf blower. We can't ALL go out for a cup of tea every time there's a leaf blower within hearing distance. That's all we'd be doing all day then.

Have you noticed that NOT ONCE, EVER, have you seen a homeowner use a gas leaf blower? If a homeowner uses one, it is 100% of the time electric, because they do not want to breath in the pollutants from the gas one. Why is it we subject our gardeners to something we would not tolerate? If you have a gardener, chip in a few bucks to help him buy an electric leaf blower.

Better yet, pay the gardener more to use a rake and a broom, or pay him for his time, and get use to the fact that a minute after the leaves are cleaned up, they will start falling again. It's a losing proposition in a tree-covered community to eliminate all leaves, nor is it good for our soil, our gardens, the critters that live here. I could go on.


10 people like this
Posted by SuperD
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:21 am

If gas powered leaf blowers are the biggest concern in your life, you are living a blessed existence!


35 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:34 am

Recently, I explained to one gardener (in Spanish) that the law requires only electric blowers. He told me that he doesn't have the power to make that decision.

He said that his boss had recently bought a new electric blower, but decided to start another "crew" in his gardening company (and that new crew uses the electric one). Their crew was forced to continue using the gas-powered blowers.

Interestingly, he said that most of the crew members are daily contractors who are paid under the table. He said that if anyone made an issue of it, the boss would simply hire someone else.

The gardener mentioned that they are told to "play stupid" if they are confronted by cops or someone from the city. He said that their boss told them not to worry too much because no one at the city or police actually pays attention to this law anyway.


30 people like this
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:41 am

@ SuperD - I'm not sure that gas blowers are anyone's BIGGEST concerns in their lives.

However, if you have an air conditioner (meaning you don't rely on open windows to cool your house), you've got a blessed life. If you have no health problems (like asthma) and/or no worries for your children's health, etc., then you have a much more "blessed" life.

I guess that this is "Palo Alto privilege?" Of course, not everyone in Palo Alto is so privileged. Some people can close their windows and turn on the air conditioner. Many of us cannot.

Each and every week, when carbon monoxide from a gas blower is flowing into your home or apartment from an open window or window fan and you see your child coughing, you might not think that you're so "blessed" at that particular moment.


18 people like this
Posted by Of course
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 23, 2019 at 11:43 am

Reminds me of Grapes of Wrath...one who won’t gets replaced with one who will.

Shining example of why CA continues to encourage illegal immigration. Cheap labor!


18 people like this
Posted by Diana
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 23, 2019 at 12:52 pm

As with enacting or enforcing any law, you have to ask yourself who gets hurt. On the one hand we have residents who desire tidy leafless lawns and gardens, on the other we have residents who want to protect their health and the health of their gardeners. Protecting health is more important than pleasing the aesthetic tastes of the few who believe a leafless lawn is more important than a healthy environment.


21 people like this
Posted by Jim
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 23, 2019 at 1:27 pm

The worst part of blowers (gas or electric) is blowing on the street. It just raises a lot of dust. If there is heavy debris on the street - use a rake. It's actually easier for this. Getting the streets super clean (and sending the dust to everyone else) should not be your gardeners job.The city cleans the streets.
This is the main cause of breathing problems and adding dirt to your household if you don't have air conditioning and need to open windows.

Walk around and watch when gardeners blow on the street and see all the dust put into the air.


12 people like this
Posted by Just Say NO To Messy Trees
a resident of Community Center
on Aug 23, 2019 at 1:49 pm

Another way to reduce/eliminate both gas & leaf blowers in PA is to eliminate the trees & that drop a lot of stuff on the ground.

Evergreens drop needles & cones while ginko and other deciduous trees like maple are known for dropping lots of leaves.

^^^These should all be removed & replaced with trees that don't drop leaves or debris.

This will also cut-down on having to clear rain gutters as well.


23 people like this
Posted by Kimberly Sweidy
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Aug 23, 2019 at 2:21 pm

Kimberly Sweidy is a registered user.

In 2014, I realized how ridiculous it was for me to be having discussions with my landscape maintenance company about what equipment they needed to be using. I went to Hassett Hardware and bought for my home a Stihl Electric Leaf Blower for $119.95 and a 100 foot outdoor extension cord for $74.99. I have plenty of outdoor outlets. I instructed the company to use the equipment that I provided for them because it is required by law and because it's better for everyone. Problem solved.


22 people like this
Posted by Elaine
a resident of Los Altos
on Aug 23, 2019 at 3:48 pm

This is not a small problem. Gas powered leaf blowers have the following negative effects:
- They shoot particulate matter (including gas emissions, spores, animal droppings, heavy metals) into the operator's lungs.
- This particulate matter hovers in the area for two hours after the blowing stops, effecting children and pets especially.
- They dry out plants and remove leaves and mulch that harbor beneficial insects.
- one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2016 Toyota Camry about 1100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.

These devices are not good for people, not good for plants and not good for the planet.


12 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 23, 2019 at 10:43 pm

I’m a female homeowner and when I’ve politely asked gardener crews (who do truly minimal work) to not use any blowers on my property, I basically am ignored. They temporarily stop. I think they are sexist.
Years ago, no one had blowers. They are useful a brief period in the Fall, that I can see. Otherwise a rake is fine. It isn”t time consuming to use a rake, that is a silly argument unless you have an unusual garden/yard. I am not going to purchase fancy equipment for a gardening business, they have multiple customers and should provide their own tools. I am not willing to become their employer.
I wish someone could stop those who blow leaves, dirt, dust out into the street, which accomplishes nothing and adds a mess.
The noise from a blower on Saturdays is awful near me.


6 people like this
Posted by Synchronize
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 24, 2019 at 1:26 am

When we first moved here, all the neighbors around used the same gardening crew. They came every Wednesday, did everyones yards in the morning and we all had peace and quiet for the next 6 days. Then the neighborhood changed over the years. People moved away and the new owners hired their own landscapers. Now the noise is daily and scattered throughout all hours of the day. (Sigh)


14 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2019 at 8:07 am

john_alderman is a registered user.

Please adopt the Santa Monica solution: fine property owners for the use of gas blowers on their property. It had a major effect there, and worst case is it raises some money for the city. And even a little enforcement helps...

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by rezi
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 24, 2019 at 10:29 am

Do.your.own.gardening.


5 people like this
Posted by Pa
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 25, 2019 at 8:36 pm

If property found using any leaf blower, I propose the following:
- Rental properties default into rent control status
- Owner occupied property loses their Prop13 status

That will solve multiple problems at the same time


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 25, 2019 at 8:42 pm

^ Fails the Eighth Amendment.


9 people like this
Posted by susidies?
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 25, 2019 at 9:38 pm

My impression is that the majority of gardeners who use gas blowers do so because of their lower cost. Perhaps if the city subsidized the cost of more environmentally-friendly battery-operated blowers the gardeners would be happy to purchase them instead.


1 person likes this
Posted by Let it go
a resident of El Carmelo School
on Aug 26, 2019 at 7:54 am

Why does this topic keep popping up? Majority does not care

When a “law” or city ordinance is not obeyed by the majority then it’s time for it to go away.

Residents want there lawns maintained, the Police have bigger things to enforce, the Gardner’s want efficiency and more blowing power.

Get some earplugs or like above to grab a cup of tea.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2019 at 9:49 am

Posted by Let it go, a resident of El Carmelo School

>> Why does this topic keep popping up? Majority does not care

Actually, AFAIK, the majority does care. City Hall doesn't care.

>> Residents want there lawns maintained, the Police have bigger things to enforce, the Gardner’s want efficiency and more blowing power.

Too much blowing power just leads to massive clouds of dust blown down the block. There used to be a gardening service (might still be?) over on Georgia by the Gunn bike path cut through that had an extremely loud leaf blower that was loud even on the bike path on the other side of the houses. The gardener had houses on both sides of the streets and kicked up an enormous cloud of dust that blew down the block and over towards Gunn.

- This type of activity was always and is now a "nuisance". If teenage boys were making this much noise with their music blaster they would be cited and dispersed. And arrested if they pushed back.

- The huge cloud of dust is bad for people with various respiratory illnesses.

- The noise is bad for people. It exceeds public health standards for noise.

- It contributes hydrocarbon pollution and GHGs.

- It serves no useful purpose whatsoever.

And, there are convenient, much quieter, alternatives available.

>> Get some earplugs or like above to grab a cup of tea.

The property owners should build sound barriers around their property if they insist on the gardener using this idiotic device.


1 person likes this
Posted by Srsly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 26, 2019 at 10:12 am

[Post removed.]


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2019 at 10:12 am

Apologies for following up my own post, but, as-posted, it is confusing. The gardening -service- wasn't on Georgia; several houses that used it were on Georgia near the Gunn bike path cut-through. (Still doing this? Still creating its own dust storm?)


14 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 26, 2019 at 10:13 am

Use a rake and a broom like I do.
Blowers are unnecessary and pose significant health risks.


5 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 26, 2019 at 11:01 am

Green Gables is a registered user.

I did do my own gardening for 3 years, and it is exhausting. I have many other things I do such asVOLUNTEERING which actually takes time to do. Get a job or volunteer to help someone else


9 people like this
Posted by leafy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 26, 2019 at 12:08 pm

hate them hate them, they are disgusting, stink and are sound awful. People are sooooooo lazy they cant even clean their own yards, get some exercise!!!! Plant wisely and you wont need one!!

Most of the time the "blow and mow" fools, just come even when there is no need at all, it's just a weekly stupid waste of time. Summer Winter Fall.

Please call (650) 329-2413 write down the license plate number of the "gardener" and address and they will come and warn them.

2 stroke exhaust is super toxic, its half oil!!! What a way to add a little more ugly noise and worthless pollution. Leave your windows open and your lazy neighbor will fill your whole house with the crap!


6 people like this
Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 26, 2019 at 12:20 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

I'm not lazy; I'm 78 years old, leafy.


9 people like this
Posted by Old Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 26, 2019 at 2:02 pm

M-A Gardener's Association : "The sound of aluminum rakes is grating to the ears"

Seriously ? the sound of a rake bothers you so much and you suggest that a two stroke leaf blower is the better alternative ?


7 people like this
Posted by Bill Michel
a resident of another community
on Aug 26, 2019 at 2:44 pm

Grew up near Mitchell Park. Am frequently riding through PA... seems like
violation of the Ordinance is pervasive. We have a lot of "motorized landscape equipment noise here in REdwood City. Burlingame passed an ordinance in 2012...
might be instructive to hear how that is working... Web Link

Both from a noise, and an air-quality perspective, we should *definitely*
be moving away from the 2-strokes. There *are* actually gas powered models
that are pretty quiet, but environmentally, it would seem that electric
ones will continue to improve.

I encouraged our Council to work with the Air District and Manufacturers
to establish some sort of incentive program for landscapers to upgrade
their equipment to quieter/cleaner units.


7 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 26, 2019 at 4:16 pm

"He said that their boss told them not to worry too much because no one at the city or police actually pays attention to this law anyway."

That's the key. Same with the hardfought anti-idling ordinance. The city council makes laws but has no power to enforce that they are enforced. Or, even more absurdly, it chooses not to enforce its laws.

So pass the new law. Nobody will notice any change.


1 person likes this
Posted by Allison
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 26, 2019 at 9:54 pm

A few months back, I picked up the phone and complained about a gas blower being used across the street. A few days later I received a letter from the city stating that I am going to get a $300 fine if MY GARDENERS were caught using the gas blower. Um...okay.

I have been paying an extra $20 per month for the last two years to my gardener so he would use a gas blower.

I do think that calling the police is useless. I did it about 15 times -- the police come by and just keep on driving! They could care less about this law.


2 people like this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 27, 2019 at 3:44 pm

Yeah, I want to have the police prioritize leaf blowers over muggings and robberies around Palo Alto.


1 person likes this
Posted by Me me me
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Aug 27, 2019 at 4:17 pm

The problem is that even as the lowest priority, when police have nothing else to do and come when called for a noise or leaf blower ordinance violation, and see the violation themselves, they do not stop the violation. They at most warn the violator. I’d be surprised if the fine has ever been paid.


8 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 27, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Me 2 : “Yeah, I want to have the police prioritize leaf blowers over muggings and robberies around Palo Alto.”

Please provide ANY evidence that this priority inversion is actually happening, or even that ANYBODY has suggested such prioritization.

Perhaps this leaf blower “dust up” is just a slippery slope. Today it’s leaf blowers, and tomorrow it will be taking away everybody’s guns, right ?

The train is Victorian.


5 people like this
Posted by Old Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 27, 2019 at 5:20 pm

@Anon said....
> Perhaps this leaf blower “dust up” is just a slippery slope.
>Today it’s leaf blowers, and tomorrow it will be taking
>away everybody’s guns”

touché’


4 people like this
Posted by HUTCH 7.62
a resident of Portola Valley
on Aug 28, 2019 at 10:13 am

Why live in an overcrowded city and then complain about noise? The owners of those leaf blowers are often undocumented immigrants, who are struggling to survive, why cause them any more financial Hardship? Are any of you willing to buy them new quieter leaf blowers?


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 28, 2019 at 10:50 am

Posted by HUTCH 7.62, a resident of Portola Valley

>> Why live in an overcrowded city and then complain about noise? The owners of those leaf blowers are often undocumented immigrants, who are struggling to survive, why cause them any more financial Hardship? Are any of you willing to buy them new quieter leaf blowers?

Why do you assume that Palo Alto has to be noisy? I recall an acquaintance from a big city visiting me back in the 80's around the time the Apple Mac came out complaining about it being "too quiet". He preferred a noisier, more stressful environment. I preferred a quieter environment. All kinds of things were being developed around here at the time in that quieter environment.

Quieter electric leaf blowers are quite affordable, BTW.


1 person likes this
Posted by Me 2
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 28, 2019 at 1:01 pm

"Please provide ANY evidence that this priority inversion is actually happening, or even that ANYBODY has suggested such prioritization."

No. YOU please provide ANY evidence that this priority inversion is actually NOT happening, or that ANYBODY has suggested that it isn't prioritization.

Or maybe just look up the thread to see someone saying they've called the police 15 times. That's more evidence (albeit anecdotal) that you have yet to provide.

So there. Nah nah thbbbbbht.


7 people like this
Posted by Alice
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 29, 2019 at 2:34 pm

Someone put their dog poop in MY trash can today. I wish the police would do something about these irresponsible and rude dog owners.


6 people like this
Posted by M-A Gardener's Association
a resident of another community
on Aug 29, 2019 at 3:22 pm

IF the professional gardener's associations agreed to eliminate the use of gas-powered leaf blowers & returned to the use of metal rakes, homeowner's water to hose off the sidewalks + an added fee for removing the debris & dumping it, would PA homeowners be willing to pay an additional $100-$125 per month for landscape services?

Fat chance....and an even fatter chance they would have their kids mow the lawns & rake the leaves.

Palo Alto resident parents have not instilled any values in their children when it comes to earning money.

So the gas-powered leaf blowers will continue.

Wear some protective earwear to ward off the noise.. That's what my workers do.

Adios complainers.

miguel


10 people like this
Posted by Nah
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 29, 2019 at 3:29 pm

“ Use a rake and a broom like I do.
Blowers are unnecessary and pose significant health risks “


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 29, 2019 at 4:52 pm

Posted by M-A Gardener's Association, a resident of another community

>> So the gas-powered leaf blowers will continue.

>> Wear some protective earwear to ward off the noise.. That's what my workers do.

So, you recognize it as a health issue for the workers, but, not for neighbors subjected to it. That is "normal", and also, why we need -enforcement-.


3 people like this
Posted by Zinney
a resident of Green Acres
on Sep 1, 2019 at 2:05 pm

I am hoping for good outcomes her.
I am not liking noisy working in my house area.


Like this comment
Posted by Clara Sims
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 2, 2019 at 10:09 pm

Does anyone know when this law goes into effect?


10 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Sep 3, 2019 at 1:47 am

^ Passed by City Council on June 13, 2005. Still waiting for it to go into effect.


1 person likes this
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Sep 4, 2019 at 6:15 pm

Address leaf blowers again? Hah, like the issue was ever addressed in the first place. And no, passing a gas-powered leaf blower ban and then refusing to enforce it does not count. Does anyone really think that our city government will be any more effective this time?


Like this comment
Posted by Kenny
a resident of University South
on Sep 4, 2019 at 6:24 pm

"Why live in an overcrowded city and then complain about noise?'

Because it is Palo Alto and that is what people do here. When have you read Town Square when people were not complaining about something?


1 person likes this
Posted by Ginny
a resident of South of Midtown
on Sep 4, 2019 at 9:59 pm

It is fair game to not like noise. Tend to your own problems please and let us stick to business at hand.


2 people like this
Posted by Responsibility
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2019 at 8:24 am

When we were renting, I used to try to get gardening services to rake instead. The workers preferred it. It was faster, less noxious for them, and it didn't leave nasty grit over everything including the house.

But there was always some new guy at some point and they would go back to the blowers because that's what they did. So when we got into a home, we didn't hire a landascaper (just as well, can't afford it anyway), and find on balance that not having the disruption, the grit all over the house and windows, the noise, and most of all the dust (asthmatic child), were well worth having to rake a few times a year.

When you can restrict the dust to your own airspace -- including the sidewalk in front of your house -- so that children and we can take daily walks for our health without having to breathe your toxic cloud, and when we don't have to bake in our non-A/C house all day because we had to close up early to avoid the toxic dust for your landscaping that didn't need the dust blowing anyway, then maybe I will be as dismissive about the issue as some above. Seriously, maybe we could require a tent over your house so that only you get the benefit of your dust, and see how long you think it's a non-issue -- it would keep down the noise for everyone else, too. I'm sure if it became commonplace, it could be very easy to put up and take down.

Until then, if it's such a non-issue, how about just getting a rake and a broom, or better yet, not being so anal about having a leaf here and there on your property? Maybe go volunteer at the hospital and sit with kids having emergency care for asthma attacks or elderly people with COPD (the ones who couldn't get the exercise they needed because of your "non-issue".)

I am 100% in agreement with the above poster, except I'd prefer to ban all leafblowers. For most people, hand tools won't be anymore timeconsuming and their homes and windows will be cleaner. Anyone with enough landacaping that they feel they can't live without a blower can afford to pay their landscapers a decent wage to sweep or rake. Or pay for a tent every time so you and your children's lungs own your own dust.


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On Friday, October 11, join us at the Palo Alto Baylands for a 5K walk, 5K run, 10K run or half marathon! All proceeds benefit local nonprofits serving children and families.

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