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Law on Gas Powered Leaf Blowers
updated: Oct 17, 2011, 6:46 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Wonder how the Edhat community feels about repealing the law on gas powered leaf blowers? Is it better to repeal the law or leave it on the books without enforcement?

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 223238 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 06:50 AM

Leave it on the books, but enforce it for a change.


 COMMENT 223243 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 06:56 AM

I'm with 238. Enforce it. Hate those things.


 COMMENT 223244 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 06:59 AM

Totally. They're obnoxious.


 COMMENT 223245 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:00 AM

Move it to a special section entitled "Unenforceable Laws" and subtitled "Your City Council Dollars Hard At Work".

In there will be the 20 ft ban on smoking, soon to be joined by a ban on plastic grocery bags.


 COMMENT 223247 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:02 AM

Coffee bean and tea leaf on dlv & state had a guy using one the other day blowing the crap at patrons with cops walking in and out...i hate them whether they're gas or electric though...seems like they just stir stuff up!


 COMMENT 223248P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:03 AM

Keep it and enforce it.


 COMMENT 223249P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:04 AM

Leave it on the books.


 COMMENT 223261 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:40 AM

Repeal it. Why not just ask the gardener to use it on a lower speed? What a waste of time to call the police, when any of us could do what the cops do. "Hey buddy, can you knock it off?"


 COMMENT 223267 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:52 AM

Regardless I will continue to use mine just as I always have. Even when fired up at 6:45am on a Sunday I've still never received a complaint or a ticket.


 COMMENT 223273P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 08:04 AM

Keep it and enforce it. Yeah, speaking to the blower (rarely "gardeners" which implies knowledge of plants) accomplishes nothing but getting a finger --- and dirt blown at your direction.


 COMMENT 223286 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 08:36 AM

Not only enforce the current law, but ban ALL dustblowers in the city. The reason no one gets cited for using them now is because sometimes it's hard to tell whether a blower is gas or electric. But ban ALL of them and the law suddenly becomes enforceable. I couldn't care less about the noise level of the dustblowers, but I resent like hell the amount of dirt, dust and effluvia that is churned up and becomes airborne by them. I do not like inhaling all that crap, thank you!


 COMMENT 223303P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 09:17 AM

Create a special zone where those who must blow leaves can blow to their heart's content. Maybe the top of Cathedral Peak?


 COMMENT 223307 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 09:26 AM

Keep it. In my fantasy world all my neighbors and I would have our gardeners come at the very same time so they could blow away to their heart's content and then there would be quiet for another week.


 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 09:49 AM

Leave it on the books.


 COMMENT 223323 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 09:55 AM

Enforce the law! The "gardeners' in our neighborhood make a career out of leafblowing. All day long with the leaf blowers--come on use a rake and broom already. If you want to clean up the area then stop the noise pollution.


 WESTZYDE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 10:05 AM

Keep it and enforce it. We've tried asking gardeners and/or neighbors to stop, with no luck. Not one person has ever agreed to stop, and some got very mad. My husbands lungs can't take the particulates.


 COMMENT 223330 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 10:06 AM

I think leafblowers should be allowed but what's with blowing stuff off your property onto the street or my yard? In what way is that not littering or illegal dumping at least?


 COMMENT 223332 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 10:08 AM

To clarify, the SB city code is you can't use them before 8am and on Sundays, right?


 COMMENT 223339 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 10:22 AM

For all those that continue to complain about stuff blowing around....this law has NOTHING to do with that. Exhaust and noise from gas powered engines, that's all.

As for stuff blowing around....there is something out there called WIND. Blows that stuff around all the time. Quit your whining.


 COMMENT 223343 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 10:30 AM

Keep the ban on gas blowers.

If the gardeners at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (or any other business in the city) are using gas blowers, talk to the manager -- they can and should tell their gardeners to stop using them.


 COMMENT 223358 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 10:55 AM

Leafblowers can run at more than 100 mph hour and kick up chemicals, fungi, spores, animal fecal matter, molds, diesel soot, allergens and other toxic substances. They combine to compose deadly particulate matter.
Some of the disease organisms that can be kicked up by the blower and inhaled include:
Cryptococcus (fungus spores)
Hantavirus (in dust contaminated with rodent feces)
Tularemia (in dust contaminated with rodent urine)
Histoplasmosis (fungus spores)
Chlamydia psittaci (in dust contaminated with bird feces)
Ya' still wanna' blow it around????


 COMMENT 223364P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 11:00 AM

358 - thanks --- and the "gardeners" are not the ones affected, since they wear masks; it's the neighbors and passersby who shouldn't have to wear masks in their own yards or streetfront.


 COMMENT 223383 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 11:32 AM

358 - So when it is really windy outside (which happens quite frequently) do you walk around with a mask on? No?? Why not? Is it because, perhaps, you have no idea what you are talking about??


 COMMENT 223390P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 11:57 AM

Keep it! Enforce it! After the Jesusita Fire, the people in a nearby condo complex hosed ash off their roofs. However, their gardeners -- master leaf-blowers -- promptly and repeatedly over the next few weeks, blew the ash 20 feet into the air and back onto the roofs.


 COMMENT 223393 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 12:04 PM

You can't compare the winds in this area to the force generated particularly via a backpack blower.

I owned a landscape maintenance business for awhile and did find blowers necessary to keep the man hours down. Blowers really do speed the clean up, but they are easy to get carried away with. (Kinda like owning a fast sports car.)

I rarely wore masks while in the gardening biz and now suffer some chronic coughing as an older man. (Never smoked.)

Well, in conclusion I'd have to say from a gardener's point of view blowers are a necessary evil if we want affordable landscape care to keep Santa Barbara beautiful!


 COMMENT 223416 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 01:13 PM

Keep it and enforce it.


 COMMENT 223421 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 01:22 PM

Keep it on the books. First world problems like this are ideal for distracting the uninformed populace of the true crimes being committed to them and in their names every day.


 CHERIDIANE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 02:37 PM

Keep the law and enforce it against gas blowers! The exhaust fumes are polluting and awful. Okay, gardeners can use corded electric blowers judiciously to save time and keep costs down. But gas blowers, cough, no.


 COMMENT 223458 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 02:54 PM

I agree with everyone that gas leaf blowers are nasty machines. I voted for the ban because I thought it would stop the gardener next door from blowing dust into my house. But it didn't, and electric blowers are just as bad.

That being said, I now believe it should not be a law. I say this from the perspective of a gardener who breaks this ordinance on a weekly basis. Sorry.

If I'm on a sidewalk and someone is within 20 feet of me I turn it off. I also use it on the lowest power, almost at idle. That way I control where the leafs go.

In the last ten years I have had people call the police on me, but never the homeowner or next door neighbors, it was always someone driving by, and mostly one woman. Once, I saw her stopped down the street and I ran and hid under the deck. Sure enough, 10 minutes later I heard a car pull up. I saw the black shoes of a cop walk by and then he left. Another time this woman saw me but I didn't hide in time. A woman officer showed up and I had my back to her, she said she saw me so she had no choice but to ticket me. I asked her if she would rather be doing something else and she said she just got off weeks of late night DUI duty so this was no problem. She was cool, but she wrote me the ticket. However, that ticket never made it into the system.

The big one was when the woman saw me, and stopped in front of the house where I was working, and stayed there until TWO officers arrived. They could not have been nicer. Even though they didn't see me using it, the woman insisted I get a ticket. I went to court, plead not guilty, had to pay bail of $465, and got another court date. Both the woman and the officer got notices to appear, neither did, the case was dismissed, bail returned. I've been cited twice, and haven't paid a dime.

People, is this what you want?? It's been on the books for more than ten years. If it was enforced, this would be a dirty town or you would pay more for your gardening.

Remember this, all of us are paying for the police to respond to these calls. All of us are paying for the court cases, and yet the leaf blowers go on, day after day after day.


 COMMENT 223468 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 03:11 PM

Okay, I certainly respect what you say, Dan, but how would the town be more dirty? All that the leaf blowers do (or most of them) is blow the leaves and dirt from one lot, where the owner has paid a gardener, to the next door or the street where there are not the gardeners! Dirt moves from A to B - A is cleaner, B is dirtier.


 COMMENT 223470 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 03:14 PM

I wish people (including gardeners) would use those big push-mower-sized machines that sucked instead of blew, like they used in the 1960's and 70's. Or better yet, a handheld electric one, like we used to have in the 1970's that had a bag attached that collected the leaves (which were basically chopped up mulch by the time they passed by the fan). Blowing debris around makes no sense.


 COMMENT 223500 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 04:45 PM

Dan, you knowingly break the law, get hassled by a citizen that sees you break the law and reports you, then you get upset because you have to go to court and you feel the whole process is a waste of time for the police???

In essence you want a law repealed because you are too cheap to buy an electric leaf blower and a very long power cord.

Sad. Truly sad.


 COMMENT 223506 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 04:49 PM

Yeah keep the ban and enforce it!
And to enforce it let's create and hire an enforcement force, patrolling our streets day and night...


 COMMENT 223508 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 04:54 PM

In economics, an externality (or transaction spillover) is a cost or benefit, not transmitted through prices,[1] incurred by a party who did not agree to the action causing the cost or benefit. A cost is called a negative externality or external cost.

In these cases in a competitive market, prices do not reflect the full costs or benefits of producing or consuming a product or service.

Producers and consumers may either not bear all of the costs or not reap all of the benefits of the economic activity, and too much or too little of the good will be produced or consumed in terms of overall costs and benefits to society.

For example, manufacturing that causes air pollution imposes costs on the whole society, while fire-proofing a home improves the fire safety of neighbors.

If there exist external costs such as pollution, the good will be overproduced by a competitive market, as the producer does not take into account the external costs when producing the good.


 COMMENT 223512 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 04:57 PM

@223500 Actually what is more sad is that some lady drives around all day looking to call the cops on people who are actually working for a living. Now that's sad!

Note: Snippy.


 COMMENT 223514P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 05:00 PM

Sadly for my opinion of Dan, I agree with 223500.


 COMMENT 223527 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 05:34 PM

I can't believe that some people give me a hard time. I voted for this law. Then I say I have changed my mind, confess that I violate the law, and they go on to say how sad it is. Why are you sad? I'm the one gardener in SB that's telling it the way that it is.


 COMMENT 223529 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 05:40 PM

I agree 120% with Dan - It's a dumb nanny law that is not enforced unless some lady calls and waits for the cops. Then it just costs us all money and time. My neighbor on Garden Street has 2 gardeners that use one each. I have not called - will not call - I 'am to busy working to notice .....


 COMMENT 223536 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 05:58 PM

Thank you Dan for telling your story. I didn't realize that a citizen could call the police on people using gas blowers and they would actually take it seriously and show up. I have plenty of time on my hands and will certainly be calling in on these scofflaws when i encounter them in my neighborhood in the future. be careful. it could be you.


 COMMENT 223551 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 06:34 PM

536 - I hope you call me in


 COMMENT 223555 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 06:49 PM

536, I'll be on west side tomorrow, close to David Pritchett's house. (not that you will hear me, remember, I use it at the lowest volume so I don't bother people.)


 COMMENT 223577 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 07:46 PM

Dan is right - get over yourselves


 COMMENT 223597 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 08:44 PM

Electric blowers are not expensive , they are a super hassle. They blow just as much dust . The advantage is with the operator. Some people are pros with the gas blowers, and some are hacks. The time it takes to hook-up the electric and running out of cord is problematic. You can't reach everything with the electric. Trust me I kick ---- with the push broom , but there are many times when just a short time with the easily accessible gas blower is what a professional needs. Wind blows the same stuff the gardeners do. Newer blowers are being designed quieter. All of the other two-stroke tools put out the same type of exhaust and noise. Let's just ban all professional grade tools (sarcasm). I vote for using gas-powered blowers. And those "sucking" vacuum tools really "suck" in my experience (as in no good) .


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-17 09:31 PM

Indeed, I thought the main rationale behind the "ban" was the noise & exhaust of gas blowers.
(Ashleigh? Where are you?!)
Knowing people with asthma & various mold infections (aspergillus can be inhaled from outdoors), I think we're just too fancy about our gardening. Yes. I'm anti-lawn also. I don't think blowers are necessary, but I've lived with rock/cactus/succulent and rock/lantana front yards for 20-30 years. The mold issue is not the only reason I think SB gardening is so darn fussy. Grow what grows locally! And don't leaves make good coverage/mulch?


 COMMENT 223627 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 06:43 AM

Leaf blowers are useless! I did see a gardener with a vacumn the other day and that actually makes sense. He was sucking up the leaves and emptying his bag into the green bin. The vacumn made noise, but was about 1/3 the volume as a leaf blower. Our gardener actually blows dirt into our house twice a week by aiming the leaf blower at our front door! It literally blows the fringe on our rug around.


 COMMENT 223644 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 07:24 AM

Throw Dan in prison, that scofflaw!


 COMMENT 223647 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 07:25 AM

KEEP IT. AND add the hedge cutters, those gas powered hedge cutters are louder than most leaf blowers and are not included in the law, In most neighborhoods various gardeners come on various days to various properties, end result, it is never quiet anymore. Maybe a single day should be 'gardener day' the rest of the week could be quiet!!


 INQUIRING MIND agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 07:31 AM

Dan39 says it right. I'm a homeowner in the foothills but still in the city. We don't get our streets swept like the privileged people in town. I have personal sidewalks, a patio and 500 ft of corner lot street to clean. I tried to use an electric blower for several years and spent a lot of time dragging cords around. The only practical answer is a gas blower if I want to keep the oak tree refuse, pine needles, and eucalyptus leaves at bay. And I don't just blow them down the street; I either collect them in piles and mulch them with my very noisy, nasty, man-eating, gas-powered mulcher/chipper. Or I blow them into an area where they will mulch by themselves harmlessly. And BTW, a lot of gardeners blow leaves into piles and put them into the green cans.


 COMMENT 223675 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 08:20 AM

Lots of good pros and cons. I, personally, wish we had the law in Noleta, but thank goodness for double-paned windows and doors I can close. I think the blowing of dirt into the air is not healthy, and the noise offends me. By the way, re: figuring out if they are gas or electric, electric ones have long orange cords on them. Some users are more considerate and don't blow at full volume. That does help.


 COMMENT 223676 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 08:21 AM

I can sweep my drive way clear of leaves faster then my gardeners can with the blower. Better exercise (gardeners over weight and I'm not) better for the environment and cost lest then the blowers. Lazy society.


 COMMENT 223681P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 08:33 AM

The noise breaks the peace that we often have here; the dust dirties nearby windows and cars. Often I'm driving and the gardener's noisy dust raising dirties a passing car. If a law is on the books, it should be enforced.


 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 09:09 AM

Is broom & rake so bad? Gas or electric, they're all over my neighborhood and they're all noisy.


 COMMENT 223709 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 09:21 AM

No one has mentioned the main risk factor in gas blowers (and all gas machines): leukemia and lymphoma. Would be interesting to follow the guys who use these machines for decades and see what they die of.
Have you seen them blowing dust along the streets covering the parked cars with dust? Many at full throttle. At least Dan uses his at low throttle, but an electric blower would be better and safer.
They are a nuisance, an ear irritant, and a risk factor for our health. ENFORCE the law.


 COMMENT 223720 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 09:54 AM

Have you seen how grimy dirty a street can get from passing vehicles and airborne junk? That gunk is thrown up in your face when a car or truck flies by, and forget about keeping your car clean if you park on the side of the road.... it ain't the leaf blowers doin' it!!

I have a gardening crew come by once a week and I'm grateful for the amount they can get accomplished in the hour they are here. I am grateful that they are able to be competitive and cram as many clients in a day to feed their families. My neighbors also have gardening crews and compared to the other noises the city produces the blowers are minimal. I say to the naysayers to get over it. Let the guys do their jobs and stop interfering with their efforts to feed their families.


 COMMENT 223730 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 10:13 AM

709 - really - I guess I'll leave my chain saw - skill saw - saws all generator - motorcycle - hedge trimmer - truck - other truck - and just not breathe or go outside for fear of inhaling something . Now that is a grand way to live a life ............Nanny state here we come..........lets ban everything .......


 COMMENT 223739 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 10:32 AM

I've had a gas powered and an electric blower. I can see the exhaust being an issue but the electric one is louder. So when I would blow our driveway off I'd use the gas blower for convenience instead of having to deal with 100 feet of extension cord. Also, I've seen the city using gas blowers in the roundabout on Milpas. So if I can't use a gas blower then the city should not be able to. What does the Mayor think? What does Lois Capps think? What would Obama do? Let's bring home the troops and have them walk our neighborhoods to enforce this law and shoot the taggers while they're at it!!


 COMMENT 223756 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 11:08 AM

All of those simple 2 stroke engine power tools are the biggest air polluters. The awful noise and airborne powdered fecal material are terrible ! Those operating these obnoxious machines insist they need them. However I've watched them using them in the very smallest of gardens where a rake or broom would be just as quick and effective. That we have NO enforcement by officers sitting at a coffee house watching it happen is shameful !


 COMMENT 223761 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 11:23 AM

I hate leafblowers and the businesses that use them. they're a complete nuisance and are used by greedy and lazy gardeners in order to keep labor and time costs down.


 COMMENT 223781 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 11:50 AM

I have called in crews using these and NEVER gotten any kind of enforcement. FINE the owners of the businesses that employ the workers who use them, that way it COSTS them and that pays for the enforcement. And while you're at it check the citizenship status of the workers. THAT would quiet down the neighborhoods.


 COMMENT 223802 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 12:20 PM

A gas powered leaf blower pollutes more than a car driven 300 miles. Air pollution; and all those ingredients listed above. They are a health hazard; they erode the topsoil; blow dirt and pesticides into houses and cars, and are noise pollution.

They have no redeeming features. In the old days; the "real gardeners" (who knew about plants, and how to treat them, and prune them....the good old days!!) Used to sweep with mexican fan palm dried leaves! Now that is a beautiful sound!


 COMMENT 223816 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 12:50 PM

Dan, what volume you use your blower at is irrelevant ... most people using these don't do the same. And saying the city would be dirtier is ridiculous. And as David points out, people should be paying the actual cost and not passing the externalities on to everyone within hearing. As for complaining about people giving you a bad time ... it's a bit like someone who says they support the laws against murder and theft going out and murdering and stealing ... having voted for the law doesn't absolve you of breaking it.


 COMMENT 223820 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 01:04 PM

Why repeal it? It's not enforced. De facto mortis. De minimis non curat lex.


 COMMENT 223828 agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 01:23 PM

Enforce it and extend the ban to Goleta!
Nozzle air velocities can exceed 100mph and are much greater than wind. This stirs up all kinds of particulate matter that is terribly unhealthy for our lungs and remains suspended in the air long after the gardeners leave. Perhaps if the owner of the property that hired the work was held liable, there would be less violations.


 COMMENT 223882P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 03:44 PM

Once again, 223828, like most of the uninformed posters, has absolutely NO CLUE what this law is about.

It has NOTHING to do with stirring up dust.


Please, educate yourself before you post.


 COMMENT 223972P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-18 11:29 PM

Thanks Dan for the good illustration to the posting! Fun...


 COMMENT 224899P agree helpful negative off topic

2011-10-22 09:03 PM

Keep it and enforce it! I've heard the gas ones equate to the exhaust of 300 cars per hour !!


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