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Meet Craig Hartley, Palo Alto's first leaf-blower enforcement officer

Original post made on Feb 24, 2023

Since April, Craig Hartley has been the city of Palo Alto's chief enforcement officer, when he took on the work of administering Palo Alto's ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 24, 2023, 8:20 AM

Comments (22)

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 24, 2023 at 9:06 am

Bystander is a registered user.

Really? We are employing another pen pusher!

I think there is too much money in City coffers and they are looking for ways to spend it.

Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2023 at 10:26 am

Crescent Park Mom is a registered user.

What a waste of a resource.

Posted by Riley2
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 24, 2023 at 10:36 am

Riley2 is a registered user.

Good for Palo Alto! In terms of improving health and general quality of life, this is money well spent. If only Menlo Park would follow suit; and while they’re at it, ban ALL leaf blowers.

Posted by Dean Samos
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 24, 2023 at 10:45 am

Dean Samos is a registered user.

It's great that Palo Alto is enforcing this ordinance at long last. I hope other communities follow suit!

Posted by Edbeards
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 24, 2023 at 10:45 am

Edbeards is a registered user.

There was (is?) an exception for city employees to let them use gas blowers on city property. Curious what is the status of that now.

Posted by Laura Cory
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 24, 2023 at 11:05 am

Laura Cory is a registered user.

That’s great news! I’m amazed at the level of fumes that the gas powered blowers put out. You can smell them a block away.

Posted by Anne
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2023 at 12:48 pm

Anne is a registered user.

Well done Craig!

Posted by M
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 24, 2023 at 12:56 pm

M is a registered user.

Given a few of the comments above, I can see why an enforcement officer is necessary. But beyond that, its important to have someone who can work with yard crews constructively to make the transition.

Posted by Morgan
a resident of Meadow Park
on Feb 24, 2023 at 1:43 pm

Morgan is a registered user.

Wait, so the city hired someone to enforce the gas powered leaf blower ban, but the person had no knowledge of leaf blowers?

Is the city going to hire different people for each code that needs enforcing? Solid strategy.

How about one for off-leash dogs at the parks/schools?

Posted by Tom S.
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 24, 2023 at 3:41 pm

Tom S. is a registered user.

It's time and I'll monitor closely.

Not only gas-powered leaf blowers but all leaf blowers should be banned for the following reasons:
1. It generates dust and pollute the air.
2. Most gardeners simply blow leaves into public area or neighbors.

Posted by Neal
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 24, 2023 at 3:47 pm

Neal is a registered user.

I don't like leaf blowers but I won't rat out my neighbors.

Posted by Eric Muller
a resident of Los Altos
on Feb 25, 2023 at 9:36 am

Eric Muller is a registered user.

Los Altos also has a ban, if you want to report a violation: 650 947 2775.

I checked the CORE program, but it seems that you have to go through an authorized reseller, and the closest is near Monterey?

Posted by Old PA Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 25, 2023 at 11:13 am

Old PA Resident is a registered user.

I am THRILLED about this, can't stand the noise and the pollution. I'm happy to "rat" out my neighbors!

Posted by Marie
a resident of South of Midtown
on Feb 25, 2023 at 2:17 pm

Marie is a registered user.

So happy Palo Alto is enforcing its gasoline leaf blower ban. I only hope they soon extend the ban to commercial and governmental landowners. With new technology and interchangeable batteries, electric leaf blowers work better than ever. This does not only help the general public including those with asthma like me. It also means we do not exploit low income workers. Their hearing loss and lung issues from using gasoline blowers was a high price to pay for a reduced cost to us for gardening. I have paid my gardener extra for years to use rakes

Posted by Gnar
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 25, 2023 at 6:08 pm

Gnar is a registered user.

Tackling the things that really matter, it seems. What an incredible position of privilege... to consider this of all things a priority issue for law enforcement.

Headlines like these are why Palo Alto has a reputation of being home to overeducated and entitled wealthy boomers with not enough to do.

Posted by Book Em
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 27, 2023 at 8:38 am

Book Em is a registered user.


Now lets do a full time officer to enforce the 3 day limit on RV camping at any one location.

The onces wrapping our block have been there for more than 5 years...and the only time we get something close to enforcement is when one catches fire.

BTW...when I first read this article I thought it was cut from "The Onion".

Posted by Annette
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 27, 2023 at 3:19 pm

Annette is a registered user.

Gnar: do you perhaps ski Squaw - er - Palisades Tahoe?
Neal: d'accord.

Posted by DCD
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 27, 2023 at 3:53 pm

DCD is a registered user.

Very happy to see the gas blower ban finally being enforced. I especially appreciate that Mr Hartley is driving around and citing those he sees. Thank you!

Posted by Book Em
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Feb 27, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Book Em is a registered user.

Am I the only person who sees the irony in the leaf blower environmental police chasing around town in a gas burning car to save the world from gas powered leaf blowers?

Again, when I first read this...I thought it was The Onion.

Posted by marc665
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2023 at 3:09 pm

marc665 is a registered user.

Instead of hiring an enforcement officer, why doesn't the city just give out electric leaf blowers to all the landscapers that service properties in Palo Alto.

With the state incentive program a backpack blower is about $450 (discounter from $900). So assuming that Hartley is paid $60,000 a year that is 130 electric leaf blowers a year that the city could distribute.

Otherwise Hartley has an incentive to NOT do their job well. If everyone starts using electric leaf blowers then there is not reason to keep this position.


Posted by Eeyore (formerly StarSpring)
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 1, 2023 at 9:03 am

Eeyore (formerly StarSpring) is a registered user.

I would like to see CPA do a mass mailing explaining that they are going to start enforcing this regulation. We have several new neighbors who have weekly blow-and-go guys around here. We all can afford electric blowers but I'm sure they have no idea there are regulations requiring their use.

Happy to suggest that Mr. Hartley have a chat with them but I think a mailing is a better first step.

Posted by Consider Your Options.
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Mar 2, 2023 at 12:17 pm

Consider Your Options. is a registered user.

I would instead prioritize an officer to ticket speeding cars and red light runners.
Speed + Mass kills.

Leaf blowers are annoying, loud and nasty GHG emissions generators, but they don't kill and maim people. It would be good if people transitioned more quickly to electric (or a rake), but driver behavior needs enforcement of traffic laws to keep people safe.

Ticket scofflaw drivers, please, PAPD. Save lives.

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