Here we go again - blowing hot air in northern California

The city of Sebastopol, CA -- located about an hour north of San Francisco -- just passed a leaf blower ban, which will go into effect about a year from now (read story). Some residents didn't feel like it was fair to have to deal with the dust and noise associated with leaf blower operation. The Sebastopol City Council agreed, voting 3-2 in support of the ban. The only exception to the ban is for city public works employees who can't utilize another tool to complete a certain task, such as cleaning out storm drains in an emergency. Apparently, for lawn maintenance contractors who need to clean up leaves and other debris, a rake will do just fine. One of the dissenting Council members said she would prefer to see usage restrictions, such as certain days of the week and hours of the day where leaf blowers could be used. But that didn't fly, because the three council members who voted in support of the ban want to see a more peaceful, healthy community. Here's another liberal government imposing a ridiculous law in order to appease a few, to the detriment of small business owners like lawn maintenance contractors. The best defense against measures such as these has always been a mobilization of that given community's Green Industry, including associations, landscape contractors, equipment dealers and landscape supply stores. The best defense is a good offense, making sure local residents and government officials understand the effect these rulings can have on your business, not to mention alternative approaches such as usage restrictions in the case of leaf blowers. I do not know if a mobilization of the Green Industry took place in Sebastopol, but other communities throughout California, and the entire country, should take notice. Don't wait to attempt to set the record straight until a vote is about to take place. ~ Gregg Wartgow, editor in chief