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Effective enforcement of the gas-powered leaf blower ban: Fine the property owners

Original post made by Craig Laughton, College Terrace, on Sep 5, 2013

When I see my neighbors' gardeners using gas-powered leaf blowers, I walk over to them (the gardeners) and inform them that gas-powered blowers are banned. They usually comply, for that day. Usually, they are back at it the following week. It happened again, this morning. They know it, but they refuse to obey the city codes. The police don't enforce it either. However, if the property owner is fined, I think it would end, almost overnight. $100 for first violation; $200 for second violation; $500 for third violation; $2000 for fourth violation, and so on. The property owners will soon realize that it is more financially attractive to pay their gardeners more to obey the law. Also, it should no longer be 'complaint based'...any patrol officer that sees it, should write a ticket to the property owner...lots of money to made by the city for a short while!

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Comments (7)

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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


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Posted by powermax
a resident of Midtown
on Sep 5, 2013 at 3:15 pm

powermax is a registered user.

I am glad you posted this. While I do believe people should obey the laws we have on the books, like this or the leash law, I disagree with the law. The most absurd thing I have ever seen is a landscape contractor at Seale Park with a gas powered generator connected via an electric cord to an electric blower. How does that make any sense? It takes longer for them to finish the job, and creates a very real tripping hazard. It may sound silly, but people are injured every day from tripping. Its unlikely that anyone will die, but twisted ankles and broken elbows/wrists are a major inconvenience for kids (and their parents) as well as the elderly and can result in hundreds of dollars of out of pocket expenses even for people with insurance.

What exactly is the reasoning behind the law? noise? pollution? Does the law really have any measurable impact on these problems? There is plenty of noise from mowers, cars, motorcycles, airplanes. Pollution? I highly doubt these tiny engines really contribute much in the way of pollution. Yes, I'm sure they contribute some, but they also provide speed and convenience in doing landscaping, which is something that we all benefit from.

Its a dumb law, and we should take it off the books. However, out of principle, I would say people should follow it until it is removed. While you are at it, stop forcing stores to charge 10 cents for paper bags!!


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Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Sep 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm

curmudgeon is a registered user.

Leaf blowers are great for dispersing dried-up powdered dog poop into the air. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff]


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

Please interview Pat Burt.


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 5, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

>While I do believe people should obey the laws we have on the books, like this or the leash law, I disagree with the law.

Powermax, I can appreciate your point of view, however, it was long debated in PA around 2005. It was a compromise deal, with the gardener associations. Subsequently, the associations broke their promise. If you want to re-legislate it, go ahead. In the meantime, I want it enforced.

BTW, nothing prevents the use of rakes and brooms...that's the way I still do it. No noise, very little dust and specific to the area being addressed (no blowing leaves into my neighbor's yard).


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Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:27 am

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

One very important aspect of ignoring enforcement of the gasoline leaf-blower ban is that it promotes disrespect for our laws, in general. Same for off-leash dogs. IMO, it would be much better to get rid of such bans, as good as they seem to be, instead of allowing blatant lack of enforcement. Palo Alto is famous for passing laws/regs, then failing to enforce. It hides behind the 'complaint based' fig leaf...by the time a police officer is requested, and he/she shows up, the violation has disappeared. Of course, 'lack of resources' is an old nugget that is commonly used. These old-trick ponies need to go to the glue factory.

City Council: Enforce your laws/regs, or get rid of them. The current situation is an embarrassment.


Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Nov 18, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Craig Laughton is a registered user.

Having watched this leaf blower craziness go on and on, without effective enforcement, I think we should just get rid of the code; same with dogs off leash. Why embarrass ourselves?


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