http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2006/06/09/gardeners-file-claim-against-city-over-leaf-blowers


Town Square

Gardeners file claim against city over leaf blowers

Original post made by Bill D'Agostino, Palo Alto Weekly reporter, on Jun 9, 2006

Gardeners and leaf-blower manufacturers are threatening a $5.5 million lawsuit against the City of Palo Alto, claiming the City Council violated the Federal Clean Air Act when it banned gas-powered leaf blowers last year.


The federal law prohibits cities from setting their own emissions standards, according to attorney William M. Guerry, Jr., who is representing the Bay Area Gardeners Association and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute.


Yesterday, Guerry filed a claim, the first step to a lawsuit, with the city, alleging the ban created an illegal patchwork of standards. The ban does not prohibit electric-powered blowers, which can be just as loud as the gas-powered models, he noted.


"I think it's outrageous and I think a court would find the city culpable and demand remunerations to the gardeners," Guerry said.


The lawsuit would also seek to end the ban.


Senior Deputy City Attorney Donald Larkin said the ordinance does not regulate air emissions.


"This is a regulation of leaf blowers primarily based on noise concerns," he said.


The council had passed the ban in 2000, after a bevy of complaints from residents about both the noise and dirt the gas-powered blowers produced. For years, the council delayed implementation to see if technological advances would make the need for the ban void. Last June, the council decided to go ahead with the ban. Numerous Latino gardeners protested at the meeting, saying the action would threaten their livelihoods.


Since, the gardeners have repeatedly asked, to no avail, that the council reconsider the ordinance.


"Given the exposure, we're just amazed the city hasn't returned our phone calls or the gardeners' phone calls," Guerry said.


The attorney also alleges the city pulled a bait-and-switch. During the period between 2000 and 2005 the gardeners purchased quieter gas-powered blowers to try to appease the council, Guerry said.


The attorney argued that the city's delay implementing the ban was a promise to not enforce the ordinance should technology improve.


"We think Palo Alto should live up to its commitments," Guerry said. "It's legally and morally obligated to do so."


The gardeners hope to recoup the $4 milllion they spent on quieter leaf-blowers and another $1 million in lost income. Manufacturers of leaf blowers are also seeking $500,000 in lost sales.


Larkin said the council never promised to repeal the ordinance.


"I'm not aware of any agreement between the city and the gardeners association," he said.

Comments

10 people like this
Posted by Very Tas
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 9, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Ban them all on the basis of noise violations! For the first time in a decade one can bike around this town without feeling like one is in a clear cut forest zone with chainsaws buzzing.

Get rid of tthose darn leafblowers, INCLUDING the electric ones! Gardners can then charge more money


5 people like this
Posted by Very Tas
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jun 9, 2006 at 10:00 pm

Also, I wonder how much of that $5.5M that mercenary Guerry will take home if the snowball does freeze in hell, and he wins his lame case. Pathetic!


6 people like this
Posted by Noah
a resident of University South
on Jun 9, 2006 at 10:38 pm

Should any city council person ever read this, here's a solid vote/request for the gas powered ban to remain in effect. I've heard both gas & electric leaf blowers and the gas ones are far noisier.

Three properties around us, including my own each use electric blowers on occasion and they are really not that noisy at all. Given the slight overhead of needing a long cord, the neighbors (and us) occasionally just use an old fashioned broom/rake and they work just fine thank you.

While I sympathize with those contractors who have now have to use an electric, I can't see how this was (primarily) an emissions ban in conflict with federal law. Tons of surrounding cities have banned gas blowers, mowers, etc - as they're just too noisy.


6 people like this
Posted by Richard
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 10, 2006 at 11:34 am

The ban should stay in effect.
As a matter of fact we should begin the process for a state law to ban the gas leaf blowers.
The noisier and far more powerful gas blowers throw a ton of dust in the air. On that basis the EPA should be involved and supportive.
Perhaps we should expand the ordinance to include electric blowers over a certain decibel.
My neighbors use small electric blowers in their yards that are not offensive and I have yet to see dust flying from them.
I bid good riddance to the big blowers for the Mow, Blow and Go contractors and hope the city does the right thing and fights for our rights.


5 people like this
Posted by Larry
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 11, 2006 at 9:38 pm

A ban on all gas-powered gardening tools is way overdue. They cause extreme air and noise pollution, it's that simple. Electric mowers, blowers, and trimmers have been available for a long time, and the gardeners could have avoided trouble by switching over early instead of waiting for the law to change. I would never hire gardener who uses gas-powered tools - or any kind of blower for that matter. Are the hourly wages so high that we can't afford to have them rake our yard once a month or so?


6 people like this
Posted by Matt
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jun 15, 2006 at 10:37 am

The ban needs to stay in effect. In fact, I wish Menlo Park, Portola Valley, Sunnyvale, and other surrounding cities would enact and enforce bans as well, so that gardners understand this is a widespread, persistent problem that they can't just ignore or avoid.

When I was younger, leafblowers were unheard of (and unheard), and most gardening was done by local kids or the homeowners (and I'm not even 40!). Over the years, the use of leafblowers has skyrocketed, as has the ire of anyone forced to be near them. The only reason there isn't MORE outrage over their use is because many people are mercifully at work or school during the day and aren't aware of the problem. But some people work at night and need to sleep during the day, others are at home full time, others are just passing by.

It's absolutely not true that electric leafblowers are as noisy as gas-powered ones, and they are certainly less annoying and less penetrating. The noise of gas-powered leaf blowers can carry for a large distance and penetrate buildings with their annoying, buzzy whine at multiple frequencies (both high and low), so that in many cases residents were bothered by multiple leaf blowers from different locations each day, let alone each week, before the ban went into effect, and closing doors and windows (as if they should have to!) would only slightly dampen the racket. (The noise of electric leafblowers, on the other hand, doesn't carry nearly as far and is easily blocked out by closed windows, due to their smooth, steady noise lacking low frequencies. Thus, fewer leafblowers are audible from any one location, the noise is much more easily blocked when they are heard, and the noise produced is not as annoying in the first place.)

In addition, they are luckly federal or state clean-air regulations don't already ban gas-powered leafblowers on emissions grounds! As cars and other sources have been tackled, small engines are one of the next big targets. Even if the gardners were to win their ridiculous lawsuit, they might end up being banned NATIONALLY before too long anyway (or at least have to buy significantly cleaner models).

In addition, while gardners made many claims about using quieter leafblowers in a more sensitive manner so that a ban wouldn't be needed, MOST OF THEM WEREN'T DOING IT. They were still routinely blasting the loudest leafblowers at full power (sometimes two at a time at a single location), even as people asked them to stop, held their fingers in their ears, or choked on the dust as they passed by.

While many scofflaw gardners routinely ignore the ban to this day (and thus disrespect the residents of the town they are providing services in), it has nevertheless had enough of an effect to make a dramatic improvement overall.


5 people like this
Posted by Gina Pera
a resident of another community
on Jul 1, 2006 at 8:55 pm

San Mateo

Hello,
I support fully your efforts to ban the nuisances. Why stop at blowers, though? Today, my neighbor's yard crew ran at least four machines, each one louder than the next, and most of the "work" not even necessary! So much gratuitous noise!

One used the blower to chase a leaf around the backyard for five mintues (not kidding!), and the other came with the lawn mower to chew up the leaf. They used an edger (very noisy) on a part of the yard that no one even sees -- or can see. Then, in the front, they used ENORMOUS gas-powered hedgeclippers (I clocked at 70 decibels from 100 feet away) to shape and smoothe two little bushes. Ridiculous!

What happens is that people who've never touched a garden implement and who know nothing about gardening turn over the yard to people who've often spent no time in a garden either, very low paid workers who are handed a noisy appliance and told to move it around a lot.

Juniper bushes are very slow-growing. They do not need trimming every week!

Our driveways needn't be so clean of each twig and leaf. What is this fixation?

Flower beds do not need the bejesus blown out of them every week! It's bad for the beds and bad for our air.

Have we all lost our minds to allow this?

We live at the top of a hill near Belmont, and it starts at 7 a.m. every day -- the lawn appliances, the wood-chippers, the Skil-Saws....

As a volunteer, I work in the area of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Many children and adults in Silicon Valley suffer from ADHD as well as auditory-processing disorders. Scientists are finding that the increased noise in our environment contributes to cognitive processing disorders. (Yes, ADHD is largely genetic, but as the geneticists say..."Genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger.)

This noise has to stop. The noisy motorcycles droning through all of our hiking areas. The Homeland Security planes making our yards feel like a D-day landing. Is there an organization -- Peninsula-wide -- through which we can gather voices? Without a united citizenry, we'll never win against the lobbyists (and that includes blower manufacturers, pilots organizations, etc.)

I'll start it if a few will join me.

Gina Pera
San Mateo


8 people like this
Posted by DC
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2006 at 5:45 am

Gee, I live in PA and having been calling the police to report bandit leaf blowers for ages...I still hear gas powered blowers all over PA, or the noisy electric ones. There has been little effective enforcement of the ban, the homeowner/landlord should be the one who gets fined if his gardener breaks the rules, the fine should be increased to support the burden of enforcement.

There are so many gardeners/yard cleaners in Palo Alto that during 9-5 (the blower hours), there is a constant stream of gas-electric powered appliances in the neighborhood.

It does not matter whether you use gas or electric, the big hair dryers blow dust with pollen, cat and dog poo, as well as rat, bird and other animals that use your garden as a toilet.

Concerning the gardeners' lawsuit - stick it back to them, we should suit their association for noise/air/ polution and damage to cars and structures by improperly using their tools, etc.

I have no problem with the gardeners charging more for the silent service, like our old Japanese gardener who didn't own a power tool and would only come 1 a month, the garden was always pretty - who cares about a few leaves on the ground?

I would support a state ban on noisy tools like these - what did we do in the 60 and 70s to keep the garden clean? Rake+kids = allowance and clean yard.


5 people like this
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 5, 2006 at 2:13 pm

I hope the city council won't be intimidated by the lawsuit. Please let council members know how you feel about topic, since it will be up for disucussion soon.

Apparently the gardeners' lawyers are telling them they do not have to comply with the ordinance.

If you see gardeners using a gas-powered leaf blower, you can report them by calling Community Service Officer Stacy Henderson at 329-2210. Provide the gardeners' license plate number and the address where you see them working. Gardeners get two warnings before being issued a citation. FAQs on the leaf blower ordinance can be found at Web Link

For more info on this topic see:

EPA considering using California small-engine rules nationally
Web Link

Noise Pollution comments by a doctor
Web Link

The politics of pollution: " . . . small engines (not just lawn mowers -- leaf blowers, chain saws, stuff like that) put in excess of 22 tons of smog-forming chemicals into the air each day in California. That's equivalent to the gunk produced by 800,000 cars a day."
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Rita
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 5, 2006 at 5:35 pm

The gardners should be able to use the gas blowers. I find them to be much quieter and they get the job done faster. I have followed the city's interaction with the gas and now electric blower use and I think our elected officials have bigger issues to deal with. Let the gardners use the best tools they prefer and leave them alone to do the daily work other people do not have the time or ability to do. I do not have a front lawn and do my own gardening now, but I have used gardeners in the past. Yes, there is some dust blowing in the air, but is not anywhere as big a problem as the city street sweepers.

For example, just last week ( June 27 )as I was walking to my house the sweeper came by and raised so much dirt,dust and grit I had to brush it off my clothes and I had to clean my glasses. This happens most weeks. I see it all up and down Middlefield and some of the side streets too. There is a lot of construction in my area and the street sweeping raises more dust in the air than it cleans up. Maybe if they wet the street before thay sweep like they used to it would not be such a problem.


Like this comment
Posted by jason the gardener
a resident of another community
on Oct 9, 2006 at 10:24 pm

[Post removed.]


5 people like this
Posted by Gary working at home
a resident of another community
on Nov 1, 2006 at 3:32 pm

Congratulations to Palo Alto for banning the use of leaf blowers. Now, what need to be done to get the City of San Jose to do the same?

Leaf blowing is ubiquitous in San Jose. Spend an afternoon riding around on your bicycle and just see if you don't get dirt blown into your face. The noise is penetrating, too. If you worked at home, like many people in this valley now do, you'd get the noise and dust from all directions, not only from yards on either side but from across the street and sometimes from blocks away. These are not the neighbors per se using these machines, but young boys employed by yard services.

P.S. The infernal racket is outside my window as I write this. I'll stop what I'm doing to shut all the windows, but I don't think it's my job to personally confront all of San Jose's noise and pollution offenders. There needs to be a law!


5 people like this
Posted by Elizabeth Lee
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2006 at 9:20 pm

I'm one of the people who worked hard to get the gas blower ban passed and words cannot express how much more peaceful and less stressful my life is now. I had to report all the blower users in my neighborhood, some of them several times, for the noise to stop, and now I can enjoy my backyard whenever I have time without that noisy racket ruining it. Now the gardeners use electric blowers, most of which are far quieter and don't send me running for cover.
What we have now is a legal recourse for those of us, like myself, who work at home and need a good work environment. Hopefully the ban will become nation wide. While I agree that some electric models are rather noisy, and other landscape machines as well, the improvement we have now is, for me, a dream come true.


4 people like this
Posted by Susan Polchert
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 21, 2007 at 8:51 am

Help! Eugene Oregon is considering a ban on leaf blowers or limiting their use. The city council votes next week. I support a ban. Any advice appreciated. Thanks, Susan of Eugene


5 people like this
Posted by Late Person
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 22, 2011 at 10:59 am

I get awakened every week by a noisy leafblower. I am in a
"reisdential/commercial" zone, so they fire it up at 8am.
Apparently, that's still legal. They are literally 5 feet from
my window, and 8 feet from my right ear. On top of that, the workers are illegal. Why can't we start by enforcing THAT law?


Like this comment
Posted by What's the issue
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:35 am

This is really not a technical issue of sound/dirt/disrupting the peace. It's an issue of the rights of the undocumented.

Can a liberal city make a law that disproportionally impacts the undocumented? Need such a law be obeyed?


5 people like this
Posted by rake
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 22, 2011 at 11:41 am

A rake is good enough for me. Why isn't it good enough for professional gardeners? If a rake takes a little more time, just charge a little more.


5 people like this
Posted by Matt
a resident of another community
on Nov 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Snobbish, boorish, wealthy elite: if you remembered anything about accruing wealth or business, it's that time is money. The more time it takes a gardener to finish work on a property, the less time they have to see other clients and therefore makes less. Charge a client more to account for the time differential, then they risk losing clients to others who might be willing to do it for less. And to consider that you have no fiscal investment in this ban, your ignorance is really showing hard and it ain't cute. Now if you were all the ones doing the gardening, ban away. But you aren't.

These gardeners went through city-recommended best practices to continue their livelihoods and were then told to basically f*** off...all because you want to keep your communities pristine. Yet I doubt many of you do the majority to keep your community pristine. You outsource it to folks of color and then regulate the hell out of them.


6 people like this
Posted by John
a resident of Midtown
on Nov 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm

Palo Alto, and every other town deserves some limits on noise and air pollution. The obvious answer is to fine the property owners, not the gardeners. This would prevent undercutting wages of the gardeners.


5 people like this
Posted by Parent of asthmatic child
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Nov 18, 2013 at 2:19 pm

I have tried to pay gardeners extra to rake instead of use those blowers, but they always have some new employee who forgets. It spreads weed seeds around - significantly increasing weed problems - and makes the house really dirty, for one. The clouds of dirt and dust are a nightmare for asthmatics. It's usually impossible to avoid several of these clouds nearly every school day on the way to school. I was so glad to hear when they were banned, then realized it was just the type of equipment!

We haven't had a gardener now for years, purely because I can't seem to rely on anyone to always remember NOT to use the blowers.


4 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Nov 18, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I have come to a greater appreciation of the issue of leaf blowers. They have roared back into heavy use here.
I think they should be used as appropriate - and that is a big thing because they are used all the time, 6 days a week - for extended periods - where I live! Some gardeners just blow leaves, dirt, trash, dust into the street onto passing cars - people have to step off the sidewalk. I can see with periodic heavy leafdrop that blowers make sense for very limited use. It is ridiculous to see the constant use - sometimes they are only blowing dust and dirt. For many, many years rakes were sufficient in the typically smallish yards such as one has in Palo Alto.


8 people like this
Posted by Loves peace and quiet
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Oct 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm

The noise in Palo Alto is horrific. Aircraft noise going to SFO is extreme and exacerbated by helicoptors, traffic, idling vehicles, year round construction, road re-dos, etc. One cannot find a quiet spot outdoors and often indoors as well. Palo Alto is worse than a boiler factory!

Studies document the stress response to noise.

I applaud this ban by City Palo Alto to protect citizens health and well being.It is crucial.


21 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Oct 2, 2014 at 9:19 pm

If the majority of Palo Alto residents had to rake and dispose of their own leaf debris, this ban would be repealed immediately.


20 people like this
Posted by Julian
a resident of Crescent Park
on Oct 3, 2014 at 9:49 am

The noise of a leaf blower is nothing compared to the constant noise of planes flying over my house all day!


4 people like this
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 3, 2014 at 2:34 pm

What's their beef? The city doesn't enforce the ordinance.


10 people like this
Posted by RPN
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 12, 2015 at 2:20 pm

When can we get a ban on inane, gilded elitists running their mouths about self imagined first-world issues? For all the supposed technorati living in PA, LA, et. al., it's amazing to me that none seems able to both to read any of the readily available facts and data on the supposed problems behind this faux issue.

#1, actual scientific tests on the noise caused has demonstrated that electric blowers, wackers, trimmers and edgers actually cause ***MORE*** noise pollution over a significantly larger area. It is simple acoustics. Electric blowers result in many more harmonics at lower frequencies which travel further before dissipating energy. The only quieter electric gardening implement is a mower, which you geniuses didn't even add to your bogus ban.

#2, the amount of net total energy efficiency is nearly 1.5 orders of magnitude better for gasoline powered lawn implements than electrics. Again, only larger mowers tend to bring net energy to an even rating. This is primarily because of the tremendous inefficiency involved in the types of batteries used in handheld tools. They require rapid discharge with respectable amperage and turn very small electric motors at very high RPMs. Not only is this significantly louder than a gasoline engine of comparable power, but it is far less efficient (without even including disposal costs).

As for pollution, until people get a brain and allow more clean energy production, including nuclear, the meager couple percent of electricity that comes from solar and wind does little to offset the fact constantly recharging the multiple battery packs gardeners must now lug around does little to offset the oil burned in the central plant and the 70+% of energy lost in transmission to all those little wall-wart chargers.

...get a clue and quit passing ignorant laws.. You're probably all convinced you're "allergic" to gluten too...lol.


7 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I think this little leaf blower rebellion is being driven by realtors, commercial real-estate owners, and landlords. It seems like most home owners do their own lawn maintenance, or wouldn't mind paying a little more, to have their lawn quietly raked, instead of blown.

It's the realtors, commercial real-estate owners, and landlords that are squeezing the gardeners. They want their properties to look like Stepford Village, but they are too cheap to pay the gardeners to rake.

How many of these "gardeners" complaining about the blower-ban are in actuality big real-estate maintenance operations?


1 person likes this
Posted by Tax payers
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2015 at 5:36 pm

Sue the city. I am sorry to say that the population of PA is ignorant regarding local laws and how they interact with federal statute. Just because it is an ordinance at a local level, does not mean it is legal in the State and federal level. That is why we have the courts.


Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2015 at 5:47 pm

Excellent points, RPN.

We should ban all types of leaf blowers outright. Fine users (or their employers, if appropriate) $100 for the first infraction, and $1,000 for each subsequent violation.


3 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2015 at 5:55 pm

RPN,

I hate to interrupt your rant about energy efficiency, but electric leaf blowers don't use batteries. The type that "gardeners" use, plug into AC outlets.


14 people like this
Posted by GoneOnTooLong
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2015 at 9:05 pm

Use a rake and a broom like I do.

I'm so tired of watching the neighbors gardener blow dirt and dust (and leaves) into my yard and all over my car. Why is it important to Palo Altan's to protect someones right to blow dust and dirt clouds throughout the neighborhood ?

Ban blowers of all kinds.


2 people like this
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2015 at 11:04 pm

"Use a rake and a broom like I do."

Precisely. There is no reason that the gardeners can't use rakes and brooms. Ban all leaf blowers. If the gardeners file suit, then we should fight it in court.


2 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2015 at 11:07 pm

For the first time *ever*, I agree with GoneOnTooLong. I watched my gardener blow dust all over the place this week without doing anything productive. So much for my clean windows.

I am an advocate for going back to rakes and brooms. The dust and noise (gas and electric alike) is not worth the momentarily clean driveway!


6 people like this
Posted by Sueanne
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2015 at 11:10 pm

The noise that needs to stop is SFO plane noise! Leaf blowers are a minor problem compared to the jet noise every 2-3 minutes over my home day and night.


3 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2015 at 11:27 pm

Sueanne,

Aircraft noise is being discussed on another Palo Alto Online Town Square article: Here is what happens when you actually measure airplane noise Web Link

Or visit the Sky Posse Palo Alto website: Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Kazi
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 12, 2015 at 11:33 pm

"The noise that needs to stop is SFO plane noise! Leaf blowers are a minor problem compared to the jet noise every 2-3 minutes over my home day and night."

Nah, aircraft noise is only a problem for a tiny, whiny handful of people. Leaf blowers, on the other hand, are infernal machines. They cause dust pollution, and threaten to turn Palo Alto into a second dust bowl. Who knows what microorganisms are on that dust. Maybe hantavirus or some nasty mold or fungus spores?


10 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 12, 2015 at 11:39 pm

Kazi,

Jet planes are just big flying leaf-blowers.


Like this comment
Posted by Kazu
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 13, 2015 at 12:06 am

"Jet planes are just big flying leaf-blowers."

Except not nearly as loud as leaf blowers and they don't kick up a bunch of dust.


3 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2015 at 12:24 am

And by the way, what a joke that "gardeners" are suing the city. Hey "gardeners," ever hear the saying, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you?" I see some of the comments above, like from "jason the gardener" and "Matt." Did no one teach you that you won't make friends by calling people names?

Based on this lawsuit, and the attitudes of "jason" and "Matt," I'm going to give my gardeners exactly one chance to switch to rakes and brooms before I fire them, and will advocate all of my friends and neighbors do the same. I refuse to be held hostage by private employees who think they should dictate how our city policies are shaped.

And don't even try to call me racist, or that this is a "person of color" issue. I'm a huge advocate of retaining diversity and affordable housing in this town, but I won't tolerate being sued over obnoxious machines. You can't sue me and think I'm going to support you at the same time. That would be STUPID.

@What's the Issue:

"It's an issue of the rights of the undocumented.
Can a liberal city make a law that disproportionally impacts the undocumented? Need such a law be obeyed?"

That's ALMOST too funny to respond to. The rights of the undocumented? Since when do illegal immigrants have equal or more rights than legal residents and citizens? You just succeeded, all by yourself, to push me to the right on immigration reform.


7 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 13, 2015 at 12:32 am

Do you feel the same way about private employeRs who dictate and/or influence city policy?

Leaf blowers never kept me awake at night the way the planes do.


8 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2015 at 12:39 am

Plane noise is getting plenty of press on other threads - stop trying to hijack every conversation to suit your agenda. If you're so sleep-deprived, you should be trying to sleep right now, not posting online.

(Here's another issue I USED TO have sympathy for...)


5 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of University South
on Jul 13, 2015 at 6:51 am

>Gardners can then charge more money

Why? I don't remember my bill going down when they started using them.


1 person likes this
Posted by Crescent Park Dad
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 13, 2015 at 7:07 am

@ Ahem:

No dog in this debate but....I've seen gardeners with electric leaf blowers use portable gas generators (on wheels), as well as some gardeners using leaf blowers with battery backpacks.


6 people like this
Posted by Too much plane noise
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 13, 2015 at 8:11 am

Leaf blowers are used during the day, whereas jet planes are flown over my home in the evenings and even at 4:30am. This is much more disturbing and has ruined my sleep. P. A. Needs to have noise regulations to keep our city livable again.


5 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2015 at 10:16 pm

CPD said:

"I've seen gardeners with electric leaf blowers use portable gas generators (on wheels), as well as some gardeners using leaf blowers with battery backpacks"

Seriously? Never seen that before. In my neighborhood about half of the "gardeners" just flagrantly ignore the ban, and the other half use electric blowers plugged into the homeowner's AC outlet. The "gardeners" ignoring the ban are generally maintaining rental properties.

Palo Alto's favorite realtor lived in my neighborhood for a while. Once a week two "gardeners" would spend 2-3 hours roaming over the property with gas/oil powered blowers.

Why gas/oil? Because most "gas" powered blowers are actually two-cycle engines, which require two-cycle motor oil to be mixed in with the gasoline.


2 people like this
Posted by Mike
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 14, 2015 at 3:59 pm

One in a hundred gardeners obey the current leaf blower law. The nerve to threaten a suit is unbelievable. A city official should sample gardeners using blowers in neighborhoods city wide for two weeks and see what compliance really is currently.

For a community that buys expensive organic food at Whole Foods, worries about cell tower radiation and bans sidewalk smoking it is puzzling that the incidence of city wide neighborhood moving clods of dirt and leaf mold don't merit a total blower ban.

Where do you think all the dust on cars, windows, screen, tree leaves and virtually anything else outdoors originates?


3 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 15, 2015 at 6:21 am

mauricio is a registered user.

The ban is not enforced anyway. The gardeners are using gas blowers freely. Perhaps one out of 15 gardeners I see is using electric blowers. This is nothing but a ploy to get money out of very wealthy Palo Alto.


9 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 9:03 am

I just instructed my gardener to cease using a blower and rake instead. They just said OK. We'll see how it goes.


4 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2015 at 6:48 pm

I would much rather put up with a few minutes of noise from a gas blower than listen to someone raking up leaves on the concrete for thirty minutes. It sounds like nails on a chalk board. Besides, I never hear the gas blowers, I am at work all day.


2 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:04 pm

>> I would much rather put up with a few minutes of noise from a gas blower than listen to someone raking up leaves on the concrete for thirty minutes.

To each his/her own. But not everyone's yard is concrete. Oh, and not everyone is gone all day. But no need to consider anyone else.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2015 at 8:37 pm

@Rakes Rule

"But no need to consider anyone else"

That's funny, that is exactly what you are doing to the gardeners.


2 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 9:46 pm

>> That's funny, that is exactly what you are doing to the gardeners.

How so? They are still getting paid, and they spend no more time than before. The ground in my yard is less "clean" than before, but I'm fine with that. And they are breathing less crap.

So what, exactly, am I doing to the gardeners?


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2015 at 9:57 pm

@ Rakes Rule

"So what, exactly, am I doing to the gardeners?"

You are probably paying $100 to $150 a month for a once a week service,and I bet that you think that it is too expensive. Did you give them a raise for making their job more difficult?


2 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 11:22 pm

>> You are probably paying $100 to $150 a month for a once a week service,and I bet that you think that it is too expensive. Did you give them a raise for making their job more difficult?

Wow, huge ASSumptions there about what I pay and for what service, but that's what people do on this forum - ASSume and react.

How did I make their job more difficult? Because they rake what they can reach instead of carrying gasoline motors on their backs while breathing dirt, gas fumes, and all kinds of airborne molds, allergens, and bacteria?


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2015 at 11:44 pm

@ Rakes Rule

I must have hit the nail on the head. Now, lets talk about your gardeners immigration status? After all, you did bring it up in a previous post.


4 people like this
Posted by Ahem
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2015 at 11:49 pm

Having a vibrating two-cycle engine strapped to your back, can't be good for the joints in the back. I know people that have messed up hands, just from using vibratory sanders too much. I think RR did the guy a favor.

What kind of benefits do you think his employer offers? Full medical?


4 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm

@Ahem

"What kind of benefits do you think his employer offers? Full medical?"

Rakes Rules is the employer.

This getting good.


6 people like this
Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2015 at 12:03 am

@Ahem

"What kind of benefits do you think his employer offers? Full medical?"

Rakes Rule is the employer. Full Medical? You and I and the rest of the tax payers pay for that.

This is getting good.


2 people like this
Posted by Rakes Rule
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2015 at 1:16 am

@Neighbor:

You really should stop digging a deeper and deeper hole...

>> Now, lets talk about your gardeners immigration status? After all, you did bring it up in a previous post.

Actually, I did NOT "bring it up in a previous post," I responded to someone else' post, which had absolutely NOTHING to do with our current "conversation," which is about... Oh, what is it about exactly?

@Neighbor's posts have been about (these are paraphrased, so please correct me if I am mistaken):

- Not liking the sound of rakes versus gas blowers (and he/she is at work during the day anyway, so doesn't care about any noise)
- Accusing me of not considering the gardeners' viewpoint (no evidence)
- Accusing me of making the gardeners' jobs more difficult and not paying them more, based on so-called harder job (no evidence)
- And then claims victory (LOL!)
- Raising immigration status, implying a bunch of irrelevant stuff I won't even get into at this late hour

Hate to burst your tiny, little bubble, but I contract with a gardening company (so sorry I was not more explicit earlier, but I honestly had no idea the thread would devolve to this level of detail), and they are responsible for their employees. But, based on these extremely thoughtful posts, I will call my gardening company tomorrow and ensure that any "undocumented workers" are immediately fired from setting foot on my property.

I wouldn't want an illegal immigrant to suffer the awful effects of raking my yard instead of carrying a gas blower on his/her back and breathing fumes and particulates.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 16, 2015 at 8:29 am

@ Rakes Rule

"Hate to burst your tiny, little bubble, but I contract with a gardening company"

I hate to burst your tiny, little bubble, but the majority of Latino laborers that work in the service industry, here in the bay area are undocumented.