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View Poll Results: What should be done about gas leaf blowers?

Voters
48. You may not vote on this poll
  • Ban all gas powered leaf blowers except for special usages like storm drains, roofs and tennis courts.

    20 41.67%
  • Custom regulation: over time make commercial properties and parking lots vacuum instead of blow debris, restrict hours of usage, allow neighbors, upon request, to insist upon set two hour leaf blowing periods each week, and curtail city use of leaf blowers in parks and playgrounds, shift city to leaf vacuums, rakes and brooms.

    12 25.00%
  • Simple regulation: regulate hours of usage between 9-5 Monday to Saturday and set no other restrictions

    6 12.50%
  • Place no restrictions and leave things the way they are

    10 20.83%

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  1. TopTop #1
    Peacetown Jonathan's Avatar
    Investigative Reporter

    Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    By Jonathan Greenberg
    for WaccoBB.net
    March 17, 2011


    The issue of our Sebastopol City Council regulating the usage of leaf blowers has flowered into one of the most robust public policy debates imaginable.

    A good number of the citizens and real estate or landscaping businesses who overflowed the City Council public comment period on March 15 to express themselves on the subject had probably never been to a City council meeting before. Many were irate that their rights to choose their landscaping tools, or to have their landscapers use the least expensive tools, were being taken from them by an over reaching city government. Others, like me, believe that it is a central role of responsive local government to regulate the rights of some citizens to pollute the air of their neighbors and create deafeningly disruptive noises any time they choose.

    What we have is a classic battle between private interest and public good, with our City Council working to balance the needs of both sides. On one side, real estate owners, managers, landscape businesses, and some homeowners, believe this will cost them money, and that government is over-reaching when it legislates to modify their behavior. On the other side are a larger number (about two- thirds, according to poll now running on PD’s Sonoma Watch) of homeowners, renters and businesses, who want to change the existing system to protect our air and eardrums, believing that for most uses, alternative solutions to gas powered leaf blowers (rakes and brooms), which kept lawns and parking lots clean for centuries, should be encouraged through mandated restrictions or (some believe) outright bans.

    After listening to some very thoughtful public comments, and speaking, afterward, to a number of those opposed to what our group (the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort--SPARE) is expressing, I am struck my how thorny this issue is—and how honored I feel to be part of a community in which our elected officials are listening. It has taken a lot of courage for Mayor Guy Wilson and Council Members Michael Kyes and Sarah Gurney to vote to get our small green city moving toward regulating leaf blowers—something which many mostly larger California cities, including Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Mill Valley, have effectively done.

    There really is no fundamental right or wrong about this issue. Well-intentioned people come from different perspectives, practices and businesses. A landscaper did not want to lose financially strapped clients because he would have to charge more for spending more time raking, a method he believes to be much less efficient than blowing. On the other hand, I, and many others, do not like our in-town businesses being disrupted by deafening, relentless noise, and our children's air polluted by what we, and the California EPA, regard as toxic particulate matter. A real estate owner does not want to have to raise rents to pay higher landscaping costs, while a massage therapist or tutor finds it difficult to practice their trade while a leaf blower nearby is shattering their clients’ nerves.

    How much right does someone have to pollute before our elected officials intervene? We all probably agree that people should be forbidden to smoke cigars in elevators and schools and buses—but everyone did not always agree on that, and stores selling tobacco products have been hurt as a result of smoking bans. You can be sure that they 30 years ago, they would have turned out in force at a public comment section if smoking bans were being considered by their City Council.

    Yet the right to regulate noise and air has been upheld by the Supreme Court as a fundamental role of local government, even though polluters, from those opposed to smog checks on their cars to multinational energy conglomerates fighting state emissions controls for their coal plants, have protested mightily against regulations that might cost them money.

    Citizens and businesses that want to continue using leaf blowers as they have done for 30 years want Sebastopol’s elected officials to know that any regulation should be written in a way that respects their right to use what they regard as the more cost efficient, useful tools.

    Many other citizens and businesses, including the hundred who have signed SPARE's paper petition and the many others who have signed online at http://www.progressivesource.org/SebastopolPeacefulAirEffort/ want our Council Members to "effectively restrict" the usage of leaf blowers, which means significantly curtailing their use in our community.

    What to do? Even the legendary King Solomon would have had a hard time with this one!

    As our city council figures this out, and works with all viewpoints to craft a compromise ordinance sure to make all sides in the debate somewhat unhappy, every civics class and debate teacher in the area ought to assign their students a study of the Sebastopol’s leaf blower debate.

    Because this is one for the textbooks!

    If you are seeing this in the digest, click the website button below to Vote in the Poll!

    Jonathan Greenberg, of the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort, is founder and CEO of Progressive Source Communications and TV1.com. An author and investigative journalist, his work has appeared in the New York Times, The New Republic, GQ, New York Magazine, Forbes and Money.
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  2. Gratitude expressed by:

  3. TopTop #2
    wildfire's Avatar
    wildfire
     

    leaf blowers

    hi everyone i am a gardener and for the environment, i live in oregon where we worry about a logging co. spraying atrazine to kill everything so their fir seedlings can grow.Nearby is a lake and other properties, one land owner raises roses, there has been a protest.This lake has streams leading to this lake and fish and people who boat.Atrazine is a herbicide and banned in Europe.Just to put things in perspective a bit.In SEBASTOPOL YOU WORRY ABOUT LEAF BLOWERS, and it will bring more government control, more police involvement, you people make me ill, get on with life!!
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  4. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  5. TopTop #3
    Peacetown Jonathan's Avatar
    Investigative Reporter

    Re: leaf blowers

    We make you ill, Wildfire? I imagine that the rose farm owner is saying the same thing about you. And saying that regulating the toxic chemicals he wants to use would be unwarranted government intrusion into his property rights. Maybe he'd tell you that you make him ill, by complaining about the costs, to you and the planet, of his toxic herbicide. And maybe he'd say that regulating his liberties "would :bring more government control, more police involvement."

    So "libertarians" like you are against this, right? From the numerous comments you have made on this issue, you believe that the right to pollute for profit trumps the public good, as a matter of principle. Or do you?
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  7. TopTop #4
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: leaf blowers

    Quote wildfire wrote: View Post
    ... we worry about a logging co. spraying atrazine to kill everything .....Just to put things in perspective a bit.In SEBASTOPOL YOU WORRY ABOUT LEAF BLOWERS, and it will bring more government control, more police involvement, you people make me ill, get on with life!!
    and kids are starving in Armenia, so eat your veggies and shut up, junior!!!

    .. a true blast from the past.
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  8. TopTop #5
    Cheingrand's Avatar
    Cheingrand
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    One of the problems with this issue is the moving target of issues. Everything I read on this particular thread seems to target gas leaf blowers, yet the city council is poised to ban both gas and electric blowers. I just came in from using my electric blower to clear my porch of all the crap I raked down from my roof. No one came running out of their homes to protest my 3 minute assault. It's common sense to use the tools that work. I'm against the draconian use of our government to legislate common sense decisions of our everyday life. I'm an old UC Berkeley radical, and I resist the idea that we need ordinances and regulations to insure that common sense is allowed and followed. It's time to stand up and disregard the attempts to regulate our behavior on using electric leaf blowers. My porch looks great!
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  9. Gratitude expressed by 5 members:

  10. TopTop #6
    Peacetown Jonathan's Avatar
    Investigative Reporter

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Banning all private home usage of electric leaf blowers was and is not the intention of this effort. Nor is it what the mayor or council wants to do, despite the premature concept of a comprehensive ban. We are all just trying to find a reasonable balance here. And from what I have heard discussed recently, I think nearly all of us will find the Sebastopol ordinance reasonably balanced.
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  12. TopTop #7
    Ronald Treb
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote Peacetown Jonathan wrote: View Post
    Banning all private home usage of electric leaf blowers was and is not the intention of this effort. Nor is it what the mayor or council wants to do, despite the premature concept of a comprehensive ban. We are all just trying to find a reasonable balance here. And from what I have heard discussed recently, I think nearly all of us will find the Sebastopol ordinance reasonably balanced.
    Every person posting here expresses what their particular needs are. While an electric leaf blower might suit your needs, it doesn't suit mine since I need to use the leaf blower on my roof and dragging a cord around on the roof is extremely dangerous.
    I sit in meditation every morning and am very aware of neigborhood sounds, and to me leaf blowers are less odious than the sounds of lawn mowers, and chainsaws, yet no one suggests that we legislate that manual push mowers, or hand saws must now be used. And don't even get me started on how loud chippers are! Or barking dogs! Sebastopol has in place a noise ordinance that says if three neighbors object to a barking dog then the police will ask them to fix the problem. I believe that the same type of ordinance can be used for yard machinery. Let people use their devices sanely and with consideration, and if they don't then let the community, in the form of three neighbors, complain about it.
    That suits me fine, and I hope it will suit others also.
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  13. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  14. TopTop #8
    wildfire's Avatar
    wildfire
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    this is getting absolutely insane, for heavens sake ,you people want government to be your daddy.As i have stated before the mayor was in my conversation with him making no inferences about a ban.He basically lied and is unfit to serve because he gave out misinformation to the public so they would not show up and voice their opinion.This is an example of what happens when you trust government which i dont..People keep giving up your liberty to the government in the name of security and you will not deserve any liberty.This is such a small issue and you want government to legislate.Maybe you will want government to regulate when you can eat or walk or talk or whatever.There are left wing and right wing elitists.This is a left wing elite.The same old hippies now yuppies who once fought the government now embrace it, you sicken me greatly.
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  15. TopTop #9
    wildfire's Avatar
    wildfire
     

    Re: leaf blowers

    Quote Peacetown Jonathan wrote: View Post
    We make you ill, Wildfire? I imagine that the rose farm owner is saying the same thing about you. And saying that regulating the toxic chemicals he wants to use would be unwarranted government intrusion into his property rights. Maybe he'd tell you that you make him ill, by complaining about the costs, to you and the planet, of his toxic herbicide. And maybe he'd say that regulating his liberties "would :bring more government control, more police involvement."

    So "libertarians" like you are against this, right? From the numerous comments you have made on this issue, you believe that the right to pollute for profit trumps the public good, as a matter of principle. Or do you?
    you dont even read correctly, i am for the rose guy who does not want this herbicide sprayed, this issue you speak of in comparison is so minor get a life and off the pipe dude, sorry i am not politically correct, stop trusting government to take control ,that is the larger issue, and putting people back to work for the overall good of society.However your elitism prevents you from seeing that.If this was a major enviro thing i would be with you but it is not, it is insane!
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  16. TopTop #10
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: leaf blowers

    Quote wildfire wrote: View Post
    you dont even read correctly, i am for the rose guy who does not want this herbicide sprayed, this issue you speak of in comparison is so minor get a life and off the pipe dude, sorry i am not politically correct, stop trusting government to take control ,that is the larger issue, and putting people back to work for the overall good of society.However your elitism prevents you from seeing that.If this was a major enviro thing i would be with you but it is not, it is insane!
    That's quite enough now, Wildfire.
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  17. TopTop #11
    nyn8088's Avatar
    nyn8088
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote Peacetown Jonathan wrote: View Post
    By Jonathan Greenberg
    for WaccoBB.net
    March 17, 2011

    The issue of our Sebastopol City Council regulating the usage of leaf blowers has flowered into one of the most robust public policy debates imaginable.

    A good number of the citizens and real estate or landscaping businesses who overflowed the City Council public comment period on March 15 to express themselves on the subject had probably never been to a City council meeting before. Many were irate that their rights to choose their landscaping tools, or to have their landscapers use the least expensive tools, were being taken from them by an over reaching city government. Others, like me, believe that it is a central role of responsive local government to regulate the rights of some citizens to pollute the air of their neighbors and create deafeningly disruptive noises any time they choose.

    What we have is a classic battle between private interest and public good, with our City Council working to balance the needs of both sides. On one side, real estate owners, managers, landscape businesses, and some homeowners, believe this will cost them money, and that government is over-reaching when it legislates to modify their behavior. On the other side are a larger number (about two- thirds, according to poll now running on PD’s Sonoma Watch) of homeowners, renters and businesses, who want to change the existing system to protect our air and eardrums, believing that for most uses, alternative solutions to gas powered leaf blowers (rakes and brooms), which kept lawns and parking lots clean for centuries, should be encouraged through mandated restrictions or (some believe) outright bans.

    After listening to some very thoughtful public comments, and speaking, afterward, to a number of those opposed to what our group (the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort--SPARE) is expressing, I am struck my how thorny this issue is—and how honored I feel to be part of a community in which our elected officials are listening. It has taken a lot of courage for Mayor Guy Wilson and Council Members Michael Kyes and Sarah Gurney to vote to get our small green city moving toward regulating leaf blowers—something which many mostly larger California cities, including Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Mill Valley, have effectively done.

    There really is no fundamental right or wrong about this issue. Well-intentioned people come from different perspectives, practices and businesses. A landscaper did not want to lose financially strapped clients because he would have to charge more for spending more time raking, a method he believes to be much less efficient than blowing. On the other hand, I, and many others, do not like our in-town businesses being disrupted by deafening, relentless noise, and our children's air polluted by what we, and the California EPA, regard as toxic particulate matter. A real estate owner does not want to have to raise rents to pay higher landscaping costs, while a massage therapist or tutor finds it difficult to practice their trade while a leaf blower nearby is shattering their clients’ nerves.

    How much right does someone have to pollute before our elected officials intervene? We all probably agree that people should be forbidden to smoke cigars in elevators and schools and buses—but everyone did not always agree on that, and stores selling tobacco products have been hurt as a result of smoking bans. You can be sure that they 30 years ago, they would have turned out in force at a public comment section if smoking bans were being considered by their City Council.

    Yet the right to regulate noise and air has been upheld by the Supreme Court as a fundamental role of local government, even though polluters, from those opposed to smog checks on their cars to multinational energy conglomerates fighting state emissions controls for their coal plants, have protested mightily against regulations that might cost them money.

    Citizens and businesses that want to continue using leaf blowers as they have done for 30 years want Sebastopol’s elected officials to know that any regulation should be written in a way that respects their right to use what they regard as the more cost efficient, useful tools.

    Many other citizens and businesses, including the hundred who have signed SPARE's paper petition and the many others who have signed online at http://www.progressivesource.org/SebastopolPeacefulAirEffort/ want our Council Members to "effectively restrict" the usage of leaf blowers, which means significantly curtailing their use in our community.

    What to do? Even the legendary King Solomon would have had a hard time with this one!

    As our city council figures this out, and works with all viewpoints to craft a compromise ordinance sure to make all sides in the debate somewhat unhappy, every civics class and debate teacher in the area ought to assign their students a study of the Sebastopol’s leaf blower debate.

    Because this is one for the textbooks!

    If you are seeing this in the digest, click the website button below to Vote in the Poll!

    Jonathan Greenberg, of the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort, is founder and CEO of Progressive Source Communications and TV1.com. An author and investigative journalist, his work has appeared in the New York Times, The New Republic, GQ, New York Magazine, Forbes and Money.

    I am a landscaper by trade and wanted to give my opinion. People keep saying that the blowers are polluting the air, please............... how many of you get in your car start it up and drive around all day, everyday? If thats not "polluting" the air I don't know what is, so lets be real about this.
    I understand they can be noisy, "Deafening" is a bit exagerated. Heres my compromising idea. Only use the blowers between the hours of 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM give or take and hour or what ever. And if the blower is used at a LOWER SPEED it is not nearly as noisy and is not blowing everything all over the place. Is that to simple a solution or do we have to waste more time debating trivial issues. We have men dying everyday in a war that has gotton us nowhere, there are hundreds of thousands of people out of work, losing there homes, the earth is being destroyed and if it doesn't stop mother nature is going to show us whos boss. Whats really important people, whats really important !!
    Thanks for letting me share
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  18. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

  19. TopTop #12
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote Peacetown Jonathan wrote: View Post
    By Jonathan Greenberg
    for WaccoBB.net
    March 17, 2011


    The issue of our Sebastopol City Council regulating the usage of leaf blowers has flowered into one of the most robust public policy debates imaginable.

    A good number of the citizens and real estate or landscaping businesses who overflowed the City Council public comment period on March 15 to express themselves on the subject had probably never been to a City council meeting before. Many were irate that their rights to choose their landscaping tools, or to have their landscapers use the least expensive tools, were being taken from them by an over reaching city government. Others, like me, believe that it is a central role of responsive local government to regulate the rights of some citizens to pollute the air of their neighbors and create deafeningly disruptive noises any time they choose.

    What we have is a classic battle between private interest and public good, with our City Council working to balance the needs of both sides. On one side, real estate owners, managers, landscape businesses, and some homeowners, believe this will cost them money, and that government is over-reaching when it legislates to modify their behavior. On the other side are a larger number (about two- thirds, according to poll now running on PD’s Sonoma Watch) of homeowners, renters and businesses, who want to change the existing system to protect our air and eardrums, believing that for most uses, alternative solutions to gas powered leaf blowers (rakes and brooms), which kept lawns and parking lots clean for centuries, should be encouraged through mandated restrictions or (some believe) outright bans.

    After listening to some very thoughtful public comments, and speaking, afterward, to a number of those opposed to what our group (the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort--SPARE) is expressing, I am struck my how thorny this issue is—and how honored I feel to be part of a community in which our elected officials are listening. It has taken a lot of courage for Mayor Guy Wilson and Council Members Michael Kyes and Sarah Gurney to vote to get our small green city moving toward regulating leaf blowers—something which many mostly larger California cities, including Santa Monica, Santa Cruz, Berkeley and Mill Valley, have effectively done.

    There really is no fundamental right or wrong about this issue. Well-intentioned people come from different perspectives, practices and businesses. A landscaper did not want to lose financially strapped clients because he would have to charge more for spending more time raking, a method he believes to be much less efficient than blowing. On the other hand, I, and many others, do not like our in-town businesses being disrupted by deafening, relentless noise, and our children's air polluted by what we, and the California EPA, regard as toxic particulate matter. A real estate owner does not want to have to raise rents to pay higher landscaping costs, while a massage therapist or tutor finds it difficult to practice their trade while a leaf blower nearby is shattering their clients’ nerves.

    How much right does someone have to pollute before our elected officials intervene? We all probably agree that people should be forbidden to smoke cigars in elevators and schools and buses—but everyone did not always agree on that, and stores selling tobacco products have been hurt as a result of smoking bans. You can be sure that they 30 years ago, they would have turned out in force at a public comment section if smoking bans were being considered by their City Council.

    Yet the right to regulate noise and air has been upheld by the Supreme Court as a fundamental role of local government, even though polluters, from those opposed to smog checks on their cars to multinational energy conglomerates fighting state emissions controls for their coal plants, have protested mightily against regulations that might cost them money.

    Citizens and businesses that want to continue using leaf blowers as they have done for 30 years want Sebastopol’s elected officials to know that any regulation should be written in a way that respects their right to use what they regard as the more cost efficient, useful tools.

    Many other citizens and businesses, including the hundred who have signed SPARE's paper petition and the many others who have signed online at http://www.progressivesource.org/SebastopolPeacefulAirEffort/ want our Council Members to "effectively restrict" the usage of leaf blowers, which means significantly curtailing their use in our community.

    What to do? Even the legendary King Solomon would have had a hard time with this one!

    As our city council figures this out, and works with all viewpoints to craft a compromise ordinance sure to make all sides in the debate somewhat unhappy, every civics class and debate teacher in the area ought to assign their students a study of the Sebastopol’s leaf blower debate.

    Because this is one for the textbooks!

    If you are seeing this in the digest, click the website button below to Vote in the Poll!

    Jonathan Greenberg, of the Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort, is founder and CEO of Progressive Source Communications and TV1.com. An author and investigative journalist, his work has appeared in the New York Times, The New Republic, GQ, New York Magazine, Forbes and Money.
    I, for one, am so glad that you have mounted the white horse and as our self appointed advocate and defender of the silent majority and have galloped hither and yon to fight the good fight against libertarians and other ruling class riff-raff. It must really be really personally validating to have such a profound effect on these thorny public policy issues that are so important to all of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you Peacetown Jonathan.

    Now, I have another problem I'd like to share. Every Friday at 6:00 in the morning I'm roused from my peaceful reverie by a deafening roar of an unthrottled engine that must not have any noise control device at all!! Yes, you know what I'm a-talking about - the villianous, capitalistic, for profit garbage company is, with premeditated malice, disturbing virtually every resident with a deafening cacophony of engine noise, clanks, and/or mechanical grunts. And I'd be willing to bet 6 bits these trucks really pollute too. Surely there must be some way to stop this outrageous intrusion into my right to live in peace and quiet without any disturbance from my neighbors or the capitalists. If you could please start a campaign to have everyone, say, take their garbage to a dumpster outside the city limits and dispose of it quietly and during normal business hours I would really appreciate it. Perhaps with some rumination you could come up with an even better plan. If you could solve this totally thorny issue for us your stature would increase, in my eyes, by at least 3/4" and there might be a regional or even state wide platform for you to shout from. Plus you would have another chapter in your textbook. Happy to have you minding my business for me - jbox
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  20. TopTop #13
    kpage9's Avatar
    kpage9
    Co-Creating Member

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    jbox, your post is all sticky with sarcasm and snark, albeit clever. As a literal-minded type i'd welcome a straightforward statement of your opinion. i really would.

    kathy

    Quote jbox wrote: View Post
    I, for one, am so glad that you have mounted the white horse and as our self appointed advocate and defender of the silent majority and have galloped hither and yon to fight the good fight against libertarians and other ruling class riff-raff. It must really be really personally validating to have such a profound effect on these thorny public policy issues that are so important to all of us. Thank you, thank you, thank you Peacetown Jonathan.

    Now, I have another problem I'd like to share. Every Friday at 6:00 in the morning I'm roused from my peaceful reverie by a deafening roar of an unthrottled engine that must not have any noise control device at all!! Yes, you know what I'm a-talking about - the villianous, capitalistic, for profit garbage company is, with premeditated malice, disturbing virtually every resident with a deafening cacophony of engine noise, clanks, and/or mechanical grunts. And I'd be willing to bet 6 bits these trucks really pollute too. Surely there must be some way to stop this outrageous intrusion into my right to live in peace and quiet without any disturbance from my neighbors or the capitalists. If you could please start a campaign to have everyone, say, take their garbage to a dumpster outside the city limits and dispose of it quietly and during normal business hours I would really appreciate it. Perhaps with some rumination you could come up with an even better plan. If you could solve this totally thorny issue for us your stature would increase, in my eyes, by at least 3/4" and there might be a regional or even state wide platform for you to shout from. Plus you would have another chapter in your textbook. Happy to have you minding my business for me - jbox
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  21. Gratitude expressed by:

  22. TopTop #14
    wildfire's Avatar
    wildfire
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    i have been cautioned by the moderator to chill in my criticism so i will do my best here.Unfortunately being liberal minded my whole life and being anti governmental regulation i am struck by all the lefties wanting the government to make more laws to create more criminals over something like this.I have to be sarcastic to hide my true feelings in as much i must"chill' because i am not "cool"The poster who now wants to go after the garbage people because of their noise.My suggestion is he go on a campaign to have anyone who makes noise move so that his neighborhood can be "peaceful", no landscapers, no garbage, no cars and no voices shsss!What else can i say?
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  23. TopTop #15
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote wildfire wrote: View Post
    i have been cautioned by the moderator to chill in my criticism so i will do my best here....What else can i say?
    it's always good to have more voices in a discussion, so I bet 'chill' doesn't mean 'go away. But: people don't really need to hear about your health ("you sicken me greatly", "you make me ill") along with your ideas. If you want to call other people stupid, (which I must admit I've probably done here myself) it's always good to offer supporting evidence along with the rant.
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  24. TopTop #16
    Jerry Green's Avatar
    Jerry Green
    Supporting Member

    Mediate Leaf Blower Issues: In Sebastopol? Here's a novel idea....

    I am a local mediator who can thinks out of the box. I see in this dialogue the potential to convene a meeting of stakeholders who might identify the criteria of self regulated standards for collaborative planning, perhaps creating a model for other cities troubled by the topic to create a new role for municipalities to support the mediated self regulation of neighborly interests.

    I did put the idea out to representatives of both "sides" of the regulation argument, but it wasn't responded to. Maybe waccobb.net or someone else reading this would like to convene a forum for this purpose, a morning or an afternoon, and see "if we build it, will they come?"

    A model for self managed mediation of neighborly interests.

    Not a bad idea for interests that aren't easily "regulated by government."

    But could a small town in West County do something like that?

    Who are we to think that just a handful of people could change their world?
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  25. TopTop #17
    Peacetown Jonathan's Avatar
    Investigative Reporter

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    The City Council will have an open discussion on leaf blower regulation at the Youth Annex in May 17. A compromise solution that ought to be a model for other communities has been in the works for a few months, and various sides in this debate are expressing themselves and being heard. The Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort, which I am part of, will post to Wacco what we think will be a reasonable compromise, within the next few weeks. we encourage "Sebastopol Citizens," the pro-leaf blower group, to respond.

    We do not anticipate or endorse an outright ban on all leaf blowers, but a regulation system that will give standing to people who are bothered by their neighbor's leaf blowers to at least be provided with a schedule in advance of when those leaf blowers will be used. Also, a limitation on toxic dust blowing in parking lots, with a greener "vacuum or sweep, don't blow" objective. And a change in how the city uses leaf blowers.

    People are free to comment to the city council members, or at the hearings or any public comment, without needing to being to be in the same room at a point in time, or being selected for a mediation workshop.

    Compromise is moving along the democratic process and we are fortunate to have at least three members on our City Council (Guy Wilson, Sarah Gurney and Michael Kyes) who are responsive to our environment, and balancing the rights of all of us.
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  27. TopTop #18
    ArthurBeeken
     
    And how many hundred ear piercingly loud motorcycles, imune from polution control, ride through town stirring up dust and offense, every day, day and night, with impunity.

    "Mowers and blowers, chainsaws and edgers, chippers and washers, routers and hedgers", "It's easy to focus our distain on the loud, but its actually our buildings that are creating the cloud."

    If you want to do somthing big about polution, carbon footprint, our grandchildrens futures on the world which live, focus on your home. Buildings in America contribute the most to air polution, more than industry and far more than vehicles and all the items rhymed above combined.

    Our panties are in an uproar as we argue about how to arrange the deck chairs, althewhile the cold and murky water is rising around us as the ship heads for the bottom.

    Wake up!
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  29. TopTop #19
    Claire's Avatar
    Claire
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote ArthurBeeken wrote: View Post

    If you want to do somthing big about polution, carbon footprint, our grandchildrens futures on the world which live, focus on your home. Buildings in America contribute the most to air polution, more than industry and far more than vehicles and all the items rhymed above combined.
    Wake up!
    I'm sorry, I don't get it. In the last few days, as I've been outside working in my yard in a rural neighborhood, I have had to listen to really loud weedeaters, wood chippers and the occasional leaf blower, all at a decibel level that rattles the brain. I can anticipate more of this as I watch the fields around me fill in with deeper grasses. Wish I had a goat. The noise level and gasoline stink of these machines is awful and I have sympathy for anyone handling any of these. The unmufflered airplanes drone overhead and hwy 101 roars in the distance.

    As I focus on my home (rental) I don't see much pollution coming from it. OK, woodsmoke, that is pollution, but it is sporadic and almost over and we only use dry hardwood and try to manage it well.

    Where is the great pollution coming from our buildings? Do you mean the electricity to run our lights and appliances? OK, true, but here our electricity comes mostly from the Geysers--geothermal. We are lucky.

    I will say something about this house. There are 4 skylights in one room and right next to it is a utility room in the center of the house, dark as a tomb. I cannot do a thing in that room without electricity. One little skylight would have saved untold kilowattage over the years. Is this what you mean? The design of homes? In that case I totally agree.

    Can I just segue' a bit? On the Spring Equinox a beam of late afternoon sunlight shot through the window panes, bounced off the glass on the coffee table and hit the inside wall of this dark tomb/room. It lit up the space with a golden, peachy brightness that was hard to believe. My own little Newgrange, or sumthin.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-20-2011 at 02:46 PM.
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  31. TopTop #20
    wildfire's Avatar
    wildfire
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    omg i just sit here in amazement reading about all these complaints about pollution.I lived in wonderful sonoma co. for 15 years and visit often.I live in southern oregon now..One would think you guys live in L.A,.please in the grand scheme of things are your lives so elitist so selfish so preoccupied with only your personal comforts that you make this such a big issue..;Furhermore you seek the government to regulate behavior on your behalf again!I think you should all move to places like Wyoming or Montana where you will have no pollution or noise of any form..You can then meditate to your hearts content and contemplate in the quietude you seek.for heavens sake let people earn a living we do live in an industrialized society unless you prefer going back to the horse and buggy days with no electricity or phone, yes you must give up your cell phone and computer and tv.Rest assured if i am able i will be present at the council meeting and throw pies in all your faces ala the yippies remember them, ? sarcasm and street theatre is what is needed here.
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  32. TopTop #21
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote claire ossenbeck wrote: View Post
    I'm sorry, I don't get it. In the last few days, as I've been outside working in my yard in a rural neighborhood, I have had to listen to really loud weedeaters, wood chippers and the occasional leaf blower, all at a decibel level that rattles the brain. I can anticipate more of this as I watch the fields around me fill in with deeper grasses. Wish I had a goat. The noise level and gasoline stink of these machines is awful and I have sympathy for anyone handling any of these. The unmufflered airplanes drone overhead and hwy 101 roars in the distance.....
    Can I just segue' a bit? On the Spring Equinox a beam of late afternoon sunlight shot through the window panes, bounced off the glass on the coffee table and hit the inside wall of this dark tomb/room. It lit up the space with a golden, peachy brightness that was hard to believe. My own little Newgrange, or sumthin.
    just to toss in another perspective: I understand that for many, silence is pretty much always wonderful. For me, not so much; it's sometimes a nice change, but I kinda like machines and their noises. I do understand the perspective of those who wish all was Walden - and it's hard for those of that bent to understand - but technology is magic too. An outside observer of what has happened on this planet would likely admire and enjoy mankind's mechanical explorations as much as they would the menagerie of critters we've had over the eons. Volcanoes and meteor strikes are magnificent too - a lot of what's special is pretty damn destructive.
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  34. TopTop #22
    Claire's Avatar
    Claire
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Well, pardon me, fellas, for wanting some peace. My work pretty much depends upon being able to concentrate and my huge joy (gardening) means that I am outside.

    I am a great fan and user of power tools, myself, but some things are just too loud to listen to all day. For example, when people have to completely stop a simple conversation because a plane is flying overhead (and I lived 20 yrs under a regular flight path), it seems reasonable to wonder why that plane does not have a muffler of some sort. Why should all these airplanes subject every living thing all along their paths to ungodly noise? I know most of the weekend pilots are just having fun up there, but it's at the expense of mine.
    If they can build a heavy metal machine that carries itself in the air, surely they can build it to be quieter.
    Last edited by Barry; 04-20-2011 at 02:47 PM.
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  35. TopTop #23
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote kpage9 wrote: View Post
    jbox, your post is all sticky with sarcasm and snark, albeit clever. As a literal-minded type i'd welcome a straightforward statement of your opinion. i really would.

    kathy
    Note: I replied privately to kpage but I'll now post it publicly

    OK, I just think the government should stay out of the individual's private affairs whenever possible. Legislating behavior is an impingement of freedom which is a necessary component of living in society but should be employed with restraint. This issue is, I believe, a tempest in a teapot with a very small number of people making a lot of noise about a relatively minor inconvenience. Where it written that a person should be able to live their life without minor inconveniences? It is the definition of life itself that we all have to accommodate our fellow human beings once in a while, like the 2 minutes a week or so when your neighbor's gardener makes your neighbor's yard aesthecally pleasing to your neighbor. Apparently this is too much to ask for some and they feel the need to legislate this behavior. My post said if you're gonna legislate leaf blowers why not legislate garbage trucks? I hope this is straightforward enough, and I hope my employment of sarcasm amused rather than offended you.
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  36. TopTop #24
    jbox's Avatar
    jbox
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote Peacetown Jonathan wrote: View Post
    The City Council will have an open discussion on leaf blower regulation at the Youth Annex in May 17. A compromise solution that ought to be a model for other communities has been in the works for a few months, and various sides in this debate are expressing themselves and being heard. The Sebastopol Peaceful Air Effort, which I am part of, will post to Wacco what we think will be a reasonable compromise, within the next few weeks. we encourage "Sebastopol Citizens," the pro-leaf blower group, to respond.

    We do not anticipate or endorse an outright ban on all leaf blowers, but a regulation system that will give standing to people who are bothered by their neighbor's leaf blowers to at least be provided with a schedule in advance of when those leaf blowers will be used. Also, a limitation on toxic dust blowing in parking lots, with a greener "vacuum or sweep, don't blow" objective. And a change in how the city uses leaf blowers.

    People are free to comment to the city council members, or at the hearings or any public comment, without needing to being to be in the same room at a point in time, or being selected for a mediation workshop.

    Compromise is moving along the democratic process and we are fortunate to have at least three members on our City Council (Guy Wilson, Sarah Gurney and Michael Kyes) who are responsive to our environment, and balancing the rights of all of us.
    Sorry, Jonathan, but I've gotta disagree with the whole premise here. Cloaking this non-issue an environmental clothing is kind of like putting lipstick on a pig (where have I heard that before?) There's plenty of noise and pollution all around us.This is not an appropriate issue to bring to the government. My example of banning garbage trucks was half serious in the sense that what is the difference between leaf blowers and garbage trucks. Should we ban contractors using power tools if someone objects? Taking this a step further, is it a good use of city staff time to develop, implement, and enforce the regulations you propose? Does Sebastopol's budget allow for this? If not, what programs are you willing to cut to implement your ideas?

    I find it odd that this sort of thing has become a "progressive" issue. If Berkeley and Santa Monica do it then I'm sure the progressive wing around here feels the need to jump on that train. BTW I think Beverly Hills also has leaf blower regulation in force. I think a better use of progressive energy would be used to get us out of the 2 or 3 stupid wars we're fighting, or solve the various budget crises, or put folks back to work, or fight corporate greed. But leaf blowers as a progressive cause? Can you imagine Woody Guthrie or Pete Seeger writing a song about this? Phil Ochs' song "Love me, I'm a Liberal" does comes to mind. Here's another idea, how about a movie sequel called "Mighty Wind 2 - Marching Against Leaf Blowers". Seems a little bit silly, don't you think?
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  37. TopTop #25
    Peacetown Jonathan's Avatar
    Investigative Reporter

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Jbox, I do not think there is anything silly about this. I disagree with your premise that this is not a progressive, or environnmental issue. I was at a community meal at Petaluma co-housing last night and spoke with six different tenants there about leaf blowers. They cannot stand the "leaf blowers" (a misnomer: they are in fat toxic dust spreaders which do not blow leaves but five pounds of metals and pollutants on walkways and parking lots for every 30 minutes of use) that the manager of the housing complex uses; the noise is deafening and disruptive and they can see the pollution in the air.

    These fellow citizens feel they have no recourse. They have asked and even called the police on loud and disruptive polluting leaf blowers right outside their door. They City has no legal instrument to regulate or restrict this activity.

    Jbox, I imagine you would agree that it is indeed the role of government to protect our environment from those who profit by using unneccessarily polluting tools which human beings surrounding these polluters suffer from in the way of impacted air. Should durty coal plants be "allowed" to pollute the air when more expensive, cleaner burning technologies are available?

    I find that those who are against any regulation of leaf blowers in our community are effectively saying to people who are impacted by them, environmentally, to "suck it up." Because the profits of those polluting, meaning that forcing them to higher cost solutions like human labor and brooms and vaccuming parking lots instead of blowing the toxic dust, is "too expensive" and not the role of government.

    You so called libertarians are in fact ignoring that the cost of the polluters profits are being borne by those who are not polluting and unfortunate enough to live near the polluters.

    I am in fact active on a number of local, national and international issues to stop wars and fight the assault on the middle class that the corptocracy in this country is engaging in. But thta does not mean I believe in turning away from important local environmental or political issues.

    This is a classic progressive issue and with all due respect, you are on the wrong side of it.
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  39. TopTop #26
    Barry's Avatar
    Barry
    Founder & Moderator

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote jbox wrote: View Post
    ... what is the difference between leaf blowers and garbage trucks. ...
    Garbage trucks come and go in a matter of a minute or two, whereas leaf blowers can be used for a half hour or more at a time.
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  41. TopTop #27
    wildfire's Avatar
    wildfire
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    j box thank you , you have summed up my feelings very well politically.We do have a yuppie liberal elitist mind set here no doubt about it.I would not want someone blowing stuff in my face and would ask them to please stop and show some respect for my feelings, cant we accomplish this without bringing in the g men..
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  42. TopTop #28
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote claire ossenbeck wrote: View Post
    On the Spring Equinox a beam of late afternoon sunlight shot through the window panes, bounced off the glass on the coffee table and hit the inside wall of this dark tomb/room. It lit up the space with a golden, peachy brightness that was hard to believe. My own little Newgrange, or sumthin.
    A millennium hence, archaeologists will unearth your place and decide it was a temple, aligned just so that would happen on the equinox. New Age hucksters, perhaps the descendants of current local ones, will lead pilgrimages to the ruins of your house, making big bucks by pretending to channel you.
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  43. Gratitude expressed by 4 members:

  44. TopTop #29
    podfish's Avatar
    podfish
    Supporting Member

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote wildfire wrote: View Post
    ...We do have a yuppie liberal elitist mind set here....
    Yuppie? (Young Urban Professionals) oh come on. Young?? few in this crowd, I suspect. Urban? well, not -heavily- rural, but barely even suburban. Professional?? maybe some, but I don't think there are a lot of doctors, lawyers, or insurance agents weighing in. Do we need to be a bunch o' hillbillies to be credible??? anti-gov survivalists?? flat-earthers?
    Last edited by Barry; 04-21-2011 at 12:56 PM.
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  46. TopTop #30
    Dixon's Avatar
    Dixon
     

    Re: Leaf Blower Issue A Thorny Public Policy Debate

    Quote wildfire wrote: View Post
    Furhermore you seek the government to regulate behavior on your behalf again!
    This is a common theme in your posts, wildfire, and I hear it from others in different discussions. It always strikes me as a bit odd, because I don't know of anyone who doesn't want some kind of government regulation of behavior. Surely government regulation is one of those things that can go wrong in 3 ways: Too much, too little, or the wrong kind. Surely also reasonable people can disagree about what should and shouldn't be regulated without accusing each other of being crazy for disagreeing.

    The extreme, absolutistic wording of your comments thus far has made it sound like anyone who wants any government regulation of behavior is weak, immoral, stupid, crazy, or however you would prefer to phrase it. But I'm assuming, wildfire, that you too want the government to regulate behavior on your behalf. Do you agree that the government should regulate behaviors such as robbery, rape, murder, etc.? If someone was trying to rob, rape or murder your family, would you refuse to call the cops, because you're against "government regulation of behavior"?

    If you can affirm that such behavior should be regulated, then suddenly we're no longer in the extremist fantasy world wherein you're against government regulation and all those crazy or stupid or weak or immoral folks are in favor of it. Now we're in the real world, wherein everybody wants some kind(s) of government intervention and not others. Now, instead of self-righteously slinging around absolutistic white-versus-black judgments, we can discuss where to draw the lines within the large gray areas that really exist.

    A major impediment to agreement in such things is self-interest. While noise ordinances of some type exist in most civilized areas for good reason, those who aren't bothered by a certain type of noise may not feel the need for restricting it, and if they themselves somehow benefit from that noise, they may become self-righteously adamant about their presumed right to continue to do so. Yet the same people might be in favor of restriction of such a noise if they had no personal stake in it. I'm curious, wildfire--Do you benefit somehow from leaf-blowers? Do you use them, or pay someone else to? Or are you just one of those lucky ones who hasn't been bothered by them and therefore feels that the issue isn't important enough to justify another damn law, even if others are bothered by the noise?

    In any case, can we agree that you probably support certain types of government regulation that others don't believe in and that doesn't mean you're crazy or immoral? Can we also agree that those who disagree with you on whether to ban this particular thing aren't crazy or immoral, and proceed from there?
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