Bad Blow Job

The Leaves are Falling

November, 25, 2008 , by Peter Eichenberger

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Autumn: a season of change; the death of the year; the contemplation of things undone… heralded by the swish of dry leaves, cerulean blue skies, bracing north winds and—from the outermost suburbs to the Capitol grounds, as ubiquitous as the caw of crows—the grating whine of the leaf blower commencing at seven AM, right alongside newschoppers hot on the trail of traffic shots.
   
Sorry to be the turd in the punchbowl all the time, but the leaf blower is one of the most overrated, filthy, nettlesome, selfish contraptions this world has yet devised. First of all, even with careful operation, the leaves often end up blown into a neighbor’s yard or the street, where they become someone else’s problem. Leaf blowers have been making enemies for thirty-plus years, all the while becoming—like all things in this nation—larger, louder and more obnoxious.

Here are some pesky facts:
   
You don’t need me to tell you those fuckers are loud. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers commonly subject the operator to 95-decibel sound pressure. I’ve spent some time in the sound business and take it from me—95 dbs is loud. Loud enough—without scrupulous hearing protection (usually an afterthought on yard jobs)—to cause cumulative and irreversible hearing impairment over time. For us bystanders, even at fifty feet the sound pressure is still 65 dbs. The World Health Organization cites a general outdoors sound level of no more than 55 dbs. Since sound levels are exponential, 65 is ten times what the WHO suggests. But the noise is just the beginning.
   
Gasoline-powered leaf blowers use a two-cycle engine, which is a filthy and obsolete device. What makes them so nasty (listen up, scooter people) is that to facilitate lubrication of internal engine components, the lubricating oil must be mixed with the fuel. You’ve seen a car with bad rings before, that pall of blue smoke? A two-stroke is like a car with bad rings—all the time. Studies have found that operating a two-cycle leaf blower for one hour creates a combustion residue equivalent to 17 automobiles idling in the immediate area. A California Air Resources Board analysis found that in Orange County alone, leaf blowers created 2.11 tons of combustion pollutants—per day. The schmutz, especially the particulate, in the 2.5 micron range, penetrates deeply into respiratory systems which both CARB and the US EPA have linked to increases in asthma attacks, bronchitis, various other lung problems and a reduced ability to fight infections, especially in the young and old. But you say yours is electric? Don’t fool yourself thinking you get a pass, pal.
   
Think about all the different substances on your front lawn: toxic chemicals; fertilizers; lead; mold; pollen; dry dead plant particulate; car poo; dog doo and so forth. Now imagine a 180 to 250 mph air jet propelling those substances. Besides the exhaust, leaf blowers create a persistent toxic cloud. Particles, much in the 10 micron size, are small enough to penetrate deeply into lungs where they wreak all sorts of havoc, especially in the tender, pink developing tissue of children. An hour of operation stirs up five pounds of the above-mentioned ick into a cloud surrounding you and your neighbor’s house. And as a bonus: the free stray leaves!
   
Some communities have gone so far as to outright ban these damnable machines, but lawn contractors predictably moaned about going broke. The city of Claremont, California conducted a study and found that collecting leaves using the old fashioned techniques (raking) adds a whopping 6 percent of work compared to leaf blowers—this, of course, minus fuel and maintenance. Santa Barbara put severe restrictions on all leaf blowers and even banned the gasoline models in 1997. In terms of city budget, after an initial outlay of 90 grand to replace leaf blowers with manual equipment, Santa Barbara experienced a zero increase in budget requirements for leaf clean-up.
   
I’m not holding my breath for such radical steps here in Raleigh. I know how petrophilic my little town is and how little regard it has for its citizens when money is involved. But, at the least, we could vastly improve the irritation factor. Yet, as things stand now, seven AM continues to be the starting bell for any sort of money-making racket one wishes to inflict on their neighbors, as the residents of Boylan Heights will attest vis-a-vis the heavy construction commencing at Central Prison the moment there is daylight.








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  • Arthur!
    11/25 03:55 PM

    I agree. They are noisey and dirty.

  • Betsy
    11/25 04:08 PM

    You are so right.  These things blast micro-particles of mold, feces (of dogs, birds, and squirrels, and everything else), dust, and all kinds of filth into the air. 

    -
    Unlike rakes, they also blast off the top layer of soil, leaving a hardpan of clay dirt around scalped grass and plant roots. 

    -
    Usually, you see the workers blowing the dirt and debris right into the public street, instead of collecting it into bags on private property.
    -
    The dust and dirt floats around in the air, and settles on cars and passers-by.
    -
    And the whine!  the whine!  no one can get away from it.  As soon as the pleasant cool of autumn makes going outdoors feasible again, the leaf blowers start up.  We have six good outdoor months in NC and the leafblowers ruin three of them.

  • Betsy
    11/25 04:11 PM

    You try to go for a pleasant jog on Sunday morning and there is some guy blowing his black SUV clean.  In Cameron Park, for goodness sake.

  • smitty
    11/25 04:23 PM

    Funny when urbanites complain about noise.  Maybe you should move to the country.

  • the truth
    11/25 04:31 PM

    i keep one running by my bed at night. i like the sound (soothing) and love that it blasts the fecal particles off of me.

  • al
    11/25 04:33 PM

    Hey Smitty. Did you take the time to read the article?

  • Jonathan
    11/25 04:43 PM

    I, too, frequently read websites that I hate.

  • Tyler
    11/25 05:20 PM

    I’ve found that the hidden Alt-F4 keystroke can work wonders on unpleasant websites.

  • Micah
    11/25 05:42 PM

    I have been crusading against leaf blowers for years.  I first noticed them, operated in packs of 3-8, on NCSU’s campus when I went to school there in the mid 1990’s.  They were so loud you could hear them in the classrooms.  When you emerged after class you would find little packs of workers with the ominous backpack blowers sending leaves and debris in all directions.  A day or so later, repeat.  At the very least I think they should just leave the leaves until most of them have fallen.

    I have never understood why people feel that anything that is paved over must remain clear of leaves at all times.

     

    Last week, one of my Boylan Heights neighbors (with a .17 acre lot, and an even smaller yard, just like me) had a lawn service come and they started with the blowers at 745am.  There were THREE of them, and they ran for nearly TWO HOURS.  Since I couldn’t sleep I went out and watched them inefficiently blow the leaves out into a long pile on the street….At the top of a hill.  The rains and wind have now washed the leaves into an even longer pile all the way down the street.  When I was working in the yard today (including clearing the very thick mat of leaves from my back walkway off onto the lawn) I notice that their yard is once again covered in leaves.  I expect the blowers back this week.

     

    For those that think complaints about leaf blower noise are ridiculous, well, you have a right to your opinion.  I think (and hope) that they will quickly become socially unacceptable.  Peter touched on some of the other communities in the USA that have banned or severely restricted blowers, but there are MANY more than he mentioned.  Many cities large and small have now required that “manual” methods of leaf removal be used.  A lot of them are using brush sweepers.


    Ironically, most of my neighbors that use blowers or hire lawn services to blow their yards, they are the ones that most need to get a fan rake and go outside and RAKE.

  • Betsy
    11/25 06:06 PM

    I have a real job, raking leaves.  Pay ain’t great, but it keeps me wiry.

  • Logan
    11/25 06:19 PM

    For some comic (or musical) relief, the leaf blower haters should check out the Spankers song dedicated to this very issue! Of course, there’s no substitute for seeing these guys live but I found the “Leaf Blower” song online here, 3rd on the list: http://www.rhapsody.com/asylum-street-spankers.

    Mouth harp = blower sound effects, pretty funny.

  • Kevon
    11/25 06:20 PM

    the Mexican Air Force!

  • Betsy
    11/25 06:24 PM

    I know that Beth’s comment was satire, because it contained the three (3) hallmarks that blogtrolls everywhere rely on:
    That is, that you can effectively counter a well-argued, coherent, point-making opinion piece, which is supported by abundant use of facts and research, by:
    1.  using foul language
    2.  calling your opponent ugly names
    3.  telling them to get a real job.

    Bonus points for using sign-of-immaturity #4: Group everyone who disagrees with you in a monolithic horde.  (especially cogent when only 3 prior commenters have indicated basic agreement with the article)

    Great ironic effect, Beth!

    I know you really *like* the website, of course.  :)

  • lw
    11/25 06:56 PM

    Micah, I feel your pain. My neighbor is an obsessive leaf blower. I work from home and one afternoon he was out there with that damned blower for hours and hours. I finally went to see why he was taking so long, and watched as he went after single leaves which had fallen since he’d passed that area. I had to go out and politely ask him to knock it off.  And he has a teenage son! $10 and a rake would have saved him half his high-end hearing.

  • Kermit
    11/25 07:01 PM

    “Sorry to be the turd in the punchbowl all the time”

    There is no way this is true.

  • LQQK
    11/25 07:35 PM

    People don’t know what they miss by spending a nice day outside with a rake. Too bad.

  • Smitty
    11/25 07:56 PM

    Yup, I read the whole thing.

  • TheCatalyst
    11/25 07:56 PM

    nice Smitty! Love ya Peter but my libertarian self thinks we should not outlaw but discourage it in other ways. Coming up with a way to do that would make a good article!

  • John Morris
    11/25 09:30 PM

    Whenever I want to hear a leaf blower (or a whale song, or paper being crumpled up) I tune in to WXYC. When I can pick it up, that is.

  • RaleighRob
    11/25 11:33 PM

    I just can’t understand why they’re allowed to be used so freakin’ early in the morning.  One would think noise ordinances would ban such a thing.  I’d rather live next to a railroad than a place using these early in the morning.

  • CJT
    11/26 10:26 AM

    Blowing leaves around always seemed backwards.  Shouldn’t we suck them up?  How about a quiet leaf vacuum?

    -CJT

  • Betsy
    11/26 11:35 AM

    Thanks, Beth, but since your version of “discussion” opens with “go f**k yourself,” I’ll pass.

  • singlespeed
    11/26 11:55 AM

    I have blown leaves for a living, not a great thing but you do whatever you need to do to make money.

    Yes, it’s loud and obnoxious, try listening to one of those things for ten hours a day every day. I agree that people should get out and rake their own lawns, but that isn’t going to happen.

    So what should we do about them? What about electric leaf blowers? Not nearly as noisy or powerful, but what about the use of all that electricity? Is this still objectionable? Would those of you, I don’t think anyone here seems to have one, with landscapers be willing to pay more for not using leaf blowers?

  • carolinablue22
    11/26 12:15 PM

    Everyone in my office knows I detest Tuesdays.  Why?  The man who comes and blows leaves and dirt from one side of the parking lot to the other.  Only to blow the same leaves and dirt to the other side the next Tuesday.  I know it’s not his fault, per say, since the landlord is the one who hired him.  But I grew up raking leaves across my family’s one-acre lawn, often by myself, and bagging them, ridding of them in a proper way.  I also swept the leaves off the driveway and cut the grass.  So if a skinny 11 year-old girl can do it, couldn’t a “professional” in the business do this?  I understand that some people just need to get paid, but business owners should be socially and environmentally responsible.  And hire people who don’t mind the extra half hour of work!  Singlespeed-thanks for your post.  In response to your last question, if I had the financial means to hire a landscaper, I would certainly save up to wait and pay more to not use leaf blowers.  I’m glad the article points out other reasons why a leaf-blower is a bad idea.  Also, love the headline, got my attention!

  • singlespeed
    11/26 12:53 PM

    My parents always said that was why they had kids, to do chores such as leaf raking!

    I am a remodeler carpenter by trade, the issue of green building is huge right now. It has a lot of parallels to this issue really, you can have the conventional tried and true way of doing things or you can step up and go Green. It costs more up front even if it does save you money in the long run. People still seem to go for the standards, cheaper up front, as opposed to the more expensive, though cheaper in the long run, much touted green ideas.

    So until people put their money where their ideals are things will not change. Do we really think that the city council is going to point the way by banning leaf blowers? I doubt it in the suburban landscape of Raleigh.

  • Jeff S
    11/26 04:49 PM

    You know, if your yard wasn’t full of non-indigenous fescue you wouldn’t have a reason to blow leaves to start with.

    It’s just one ill-conceived idea after another.

  • shim as required
    11/26 05:21 PM

    i think the title peaks for itself…brilliant

  • Joshua
    11/27 12:53 AM

    holy crap. those are two of my absolute least favorite things too: news helicopters and leaf blowers. so intrusive. i think about it all the time because i live near wral and their copter. and the architect next to me has a guy who comes at 7am on the weekends and fires up the ole leaf blower for 4 hours. the quintessential american garden tool. why deal with the problem when you can just blow it onto your neighbors lawn right?!

    remember the sound of raking leaves? jumping into the pile once you were done? then bagging it up and hauling it to the curb? kind of like…exercise? seems like those days are long gone for most.

  • Todd Morman
    11/28 12:37 AM

    I think it’s ridiculous that the folks behind this site allow insulting, content-less comments like Beth’s “I hate this website so much. Fucking prima donnas. Go get a real job, the lot of you.” to remain. It’s hardly censorship to enforce minimal standards of human interaction, and foolish to allow those people to continue crapping up the site.

  • Kevin
    11/29 12:30 AM

    Noisy yes, but a necessity in our lovely “city of oaks.” I live in a forest of oaks. Blowers help clean up the pollen strings that drop in the spring, the acorns that drop by the thousands in early fall, and the leaves that fall for a solid 2-3 months starting in November, and they’re pretty handy for keeping debris out of gutters that will rot your eaves if left full. The city sucks up leaves at the curb, I assume for mulch, so it’s not like everyone is just using a blower to move leaves into neighbors’ yards. The alternative is to do what my neighbor’s do—just let leaves sit and rot in their yard until they migrate into my yard via the wind. I’d rather live next to someone that ran a blower for 30 minutes 8 or 9 times a year to keep their yard cleaned up than my deadbeat neighbors living in squalor. Dead leaf piles harbor ticks (NC is #1 in USA for rocky mountain spotted fever), copperheads, mice, and smoky brown roaches, all of which I found in my “leafy natural area” (and garage/house) before I cleaned it out and planted grass. A leaf blower is a beautiful thing.

  • Micah
    11/29 03:36 AM

    Ummmm, RAKE them.  It really doesn’t take much longer, and it is good for you and the environment.

  • Jeff S
    11/29 04:39 AM

    Leafblower to prevent the natural species from inhabiting… I could ponder the complexities of that statement all night.

  • Aaron
    11/29 01:45 PM

    Good Lord, someone finally said it! I loathe entirely the sound of leaf blowers.

    I just want one day, ONE DAY where no one turns on that dreadful racket. Use a fucking rake!!!!!!! Please!

  • TheCatalyst
    11/29 05:37 PM

    OK DIVAS! Try living in a large city and then come back and complain about a leaf blower!

  • Micah
    11/29 09:09 PM

    I lived in NYC for 18 months, and apart from the police/ambulance sirens (which you get used to), the leaf blower takes the cake as most annoying (along with most useless).  Come to think of it, I don’t remember there being many engine-powered leaf blowers used in the city.


    People with really loud bass in their car stereos take a close second in needless noise annoyances, now that I think about it.  They are obnoxious.  When I think a little more, Harley’s and people who have modified the mufflers in their cars might be equally as annoying as blowers, but at least the car passes quickly.  There is a guy in Boylan Heights with a loud ass car muffler and a clutch (or something) that makes a whooshing air sound when he shifts gears.  He comes and goes a lot at all hours and wakes me up EVERY TIME.

  • WiseOne
    11/30 09:00 PM

    Great article Peter…and thanks for blowing up some crazy leaf comments.

  • peter
    12/01 08:36 AM

    http://www.nonoise.org/quietnet/cqs/other.htm


    Blower Bans Are Working in California Cities

    Approximately 20 California cities have banned leaf blowers. Citizens for a Quieter Sacramento’s volunteers interviewed 14 of these cities in October, 1997, with a combined population of more than 350,000, to learn more about how their bans are working. We excluded Los Angeles and Santa Barbara because their bans are so recently implemented. The cities we contacted were Belvedere (population 2,500), Berkeley (105,000), Beverly Hills (32,000), Carmel (4,200), Claremont (50,000), Del Mar (5,000), Indian Wells (3,300), Laguna Beach (24,000), Lawndale (29,000), Los Altos (28,000), Malibu (12,000), Mill Valley (13,000), Piedmont (10,000), and Santa Monica (90,000). We have verified that bans exist in Hermosa Beach (18,600) and West Hollywood (36,700). Organized efforts to ban blowers are also under way in Palo Alto, Portola Valley, and Sunnyvale.

    Our contacts included city officials from departments such as police, planning, public works, environmental health, and parks and recreation. Below is a brief summary of our discussions. We can provide more detailed information on request.

    Are leaf blower bans enforceable? A typical response was that the bans are 90-95 percent effective. In most cities, enforcement is performed in response to citizen complaints (i.e., police do not seek out violators in the absence of complaints). There continue to be some offenders as new people, unaware of the blower ban, enter the yard care industry or come in from neighboring towns. However, cities report that the number of complaints diminishes over time.

    Is enforcement a major burden for the responsible agency? The vast majority of cities reported that enforcement was not a large burden.

    Were gardeners driven out of business or did they raise their rates? There were no reports of gardeners going out of business or raising their rates, though not all respondents could answer that question. Responses included “There are still plenty of gardeners working in Berkeley” and “Gardeners are alive and well in Los Altos…there have been no complaints from the public [about higher rates].”

    Are citizens satisfied? When we asked if citizens were satisfied and if the cities considered their programs successful, the response was 100 percent positive.


    Top

    California Cities With Leaf Blower Bans


    Caution: This information is taken from city ordinances, but may not always be complete or current. Please let us know of any needed changes.
    Belvedere (1987)    It shall be unlawful for any person within the city limits to operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces.
    Berkeley (1991)    ...it shall be unlawful for any person, including any city employee, to operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces within the City limits.
    Beverly Hills (1976)    It shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces.
    Carmel (1975)    The operation of a combustion engine blower for the purpose of displacing, removing or blowing any materials from or about public or private property in a manner which allows the engine to be heard on public property and causes the materials to be blown into the air in a manner which allows them to settle on public property or on private property not belonging to the same owner on which the blower is being operated is declared to be a public nuisance and unlawful.
    Claremont (1991)    ...Whereas, the city council finds the operation of gasoline powered leaf blower use results in dust, engine emissions, and noise pollution…Whereas, the city council finds that gasoline powered leaf blowers exceed the noise standards as set forth in Chapter 5 of the Land Use and Development Code…Whereas, the Air Quality Management District (AQMD) in its twenty year Clean Air Plan recommends a ban on gasoline powered blowers…Now, therefore, the city council does ordain…Internal combustion engine (gasoline) powered leaf blowers shall be prohibited in the city after March 1, 1991…Use of any type of leaf blower on any city owned or maintained property is prohibited…
    Del Mar (total ban)    It shall be unlawful for any person to use or operate within the City, any portable machine, powered with a gasoline engine or electric motor, to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, and other surfaces.
    Hermosa Beach (total ban)    It is unlawful to use within the city limits or cause to be used electrical or gasoline powered backpack/leafblowers, such as commonly used by gardeners, landscapers and other persons.
    Indian Wells (1990)    Leaf blowers shall be prohibited in all zones within the City except : (i) individual property occupants may operate a single electrically powered leaf blower with use confined to his/her property; (ii) golf course operators may operate gasoline powered leaf blowers during the months of September 15th through December 1st of each year.
    Lawndale (1997)    (not yet obtained)
    Laguna Beach (total ban - 1993)    The use of electrical or gasoline powered blowers, such as commonly used by gardeners and other persons for cleaning lawns, yards, driveways, gutters, and other property is prohibited at any time within the city limits.
    Los Altos (1991)    ...it shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, landscape areas or other surface.
    Los Angeles (1998)    (to be provided later)
    Malibu   ...the following acts and the causing or permitting thereof, are declared to be in violation of this Chapter:...Leaf Blowers. The use or operation of any portable machine powered with a combustion or gasoline engine used to blow leaves, dirt and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns and other surfaces.
    Menlo Park (1998)    To be provided
    Mill Valley (1993)    It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a gas-powered device to blow leaves, dirt or other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces within any area of the City.
    Piedmont (1990)    It shall be unlawful for any person to operate a gasoline-powered device used to blow leaves, dirt or other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns or other surfaces within any area of the City except that gasoline-powered leaf blowers may be used by public agencies on publicly-owned or operated facilities.
    Santa Barbara (1997)    It shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine, or gasoline powered generator, to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces.
    Santa Monica (total ban)    No person shall operate any motorized leafblower within the City.
    West Hollywood (1986)    The purpose of this Ordinance is to prohibit the use and operation of gasoline powered leaf blowers in the City of West Hollywood. These devices, used to blow leaves, dirt and debris, create an excessive and unusual amount of noise, often operating at up to ninety decibels. The sustained operation of leaf blowers at this decibel level is literally deafening to persons who reside and work within earshot of the many gardeners and property owners who utilize the devices. The sound is extremely annoying and distracting and not only causes disturbance of those in the vicinity of users of leaf blowers but has the potential to cause hearing damage. In addition, leaf blowers tend to blow dirt, dust and other particulate matter in the air, thereby reducing the air quality in West Hollywood, aggravating persons with allergies and asthmatic conditions and depositing such debris on other public and private property. There are many alternate methods of disposing of leaves available to gardeners and property owners, including electric blowers, rakes, brooms, vacuums and water. The use of gasoline powered blowers is hereby declared to constitute a public nuisance by virtue of the detrimental effect such blowers have on the community and residents of West Hollywood.

  • Ernie
    12/01 04:36 PM

    Peter wins! He wrote the most.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/01 06:16 PM

    Ahhhh, and California is once AGAIN successful at chipping away from personal freedoms!! YEA!!

  • Jeff S
    12/01 07:26 PM

    Yea! I mean who are they to say it’s illegal for me to beat my neighbor over the head with his leaf blower? Big government always trampling my rights…

  • TheCatalyst
    12/01 07:45 PM

    LOL!! That’s funny AND short-sighted!

  • peter
    12/02 09:26 AM

    Your “right” to be a lazy suck-up for the petro companies ends at my nose, pal. How bout paying for the free ride you get fouling MY world, huh? Get off your expanding duff and pick up a rake.Think of all the cash you could save not having to drive to the gym.

  • peter
    12/02 10:21 AM

    Cali? Shoot—and DC, and Yonkers NY and Rye NY, and so forth. Get your arguments, information and ideology from your own brain instead of the radio. The US has strayed so far from a sense of personal rights and responsibility as to be unrecognizable. So long as Exxon/Mobil, Gulf, BP, et al, are considered “persons” via a bogus Supreme Court case, you are nothing, a bug, your “rights” a pretty little dream. I’ve had my say on the matter. See below.
    http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid:19525

  • Matthew Brown
    12/02 11:01 AM

    Another great article, Peter, and Amen to Betsy and Micah.

    I wouldn’t even rake my leaves off the sidewalk if I wouldn’t get the hairy eyeball from one neighbor. Leaves are so much more beautiful than pavement. Some people confuse beauty with neatness. Beauty is a virtue in itself; neatness is not.

    Of course I don’t rake the leaves off my yard; they replenish the topsoil. I do rake the leaves off the street – and put them in my yard! They turn into better dirt than you can buy at any garden store. My little forest is so healthy and full of wildlife, without any fertilizing.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/02 12:51 PM

    “Get your arguments, information and ideology from your own brain instead of the radio.”

    I do and have no need to prove that to you. I will fight against any degradation of personal freedoms. I fight and speak out against corporate welfare as well. So before you try to blast me on a personal level, perhaps you should have some idea of who I am.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/02 12:59 PM

    The Word of the Day for December 2 is:

    prolix   \proh-LIKS\  adjective
      1 : unduly prolonged or drawn out : too long
      *2 : marked by or using an excess of words

  • Jeff S
    12/02 01:34 PM

    “I will fight against any degradation of personal freedoms.”
    ——-
    You meant to say YOUR personal freedoms right? Because you’re not fighting for my freedoms, which would include clean air, not to have grass blown in my face as I ride by, not to have to listen to leafblowers every time I’m outside.
    ——-
    I’m with you on bigger government not being the answer, but everytime I hear someone arguing for their rights it’s always for something like a leafblower, a 10mpg SUV, an assault rifle, and to be able to use them all while picking their kids up from school, shooting a couple protected species and dumping their used motor oil into the nearest national park.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/02 02:50 PM

    You have the personal freedom to live in a community with a HOA and dictate away.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/02 02:56 PM

    Jeff-
    BTW- I don’t even USE a leaf blower. We don’t even use a powered lawn mower… but I don’t think I or anyone else has the right to ban the use of them or guns. If you want to go down THAT road I’‘ll be happy to via email. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

  • Betsy
    12/02 03:04 PM

    Of course a city has the ability (“right”)to ban leaf blowers.  There is a constitutional protection regarding gun regulations (the Second Amendment).  Not for leaf blowers. 
    -
    Leaf blowers come under the nuisance regulation powers of state and local governments.  A legal argument about “personal freedoms” does not apply to activities that can be categorized as nuisances.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/02 03:15 PM

    Who said they don’t have the ability or right. They CAN and many have. That doesn’t make it sound judgment.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/02 03:17 PM

    They also have the “right” and ability to seize your property for private development under the new-ish eminent domain statutes…..

  • Betsy
    12/03 12:08 AM

    Catalyst:  You ask, “Who said ...?”  Actually, *you* said: “I don’t think I or anyone else has the right to ban the use of them.”


    I was trying to clarify the distinction between a “right” (which is personal in nature) and a “power” (which is governmental in nature).

    When you stated, “I don’t think anyone has the right to ban the use of them,” there appeared to be some confusion.  In part, you are correct, no *individual* in their capacity as a private individual has the right to unilaterally ban someone else’s use of a leaf blower.  (They can do so bilaterally as a matter of private contract—as with an HOA, as you correctly suggest). 

    However, a *local government* may cetainly ban leaf blowers as a legitimate exercise of its power to regulate for the public health, safety and welfare.

    Turning back to the topic of individual *rights*, leaf blowers could also be subject to private litigation (pleasing the libertarians among us, perhaps).  There would be a civil claim for trespass where the blower throws physical objects onto adjacent private property, and a claim for private nuisance where the blower creates noise that impacts adjacent private property at a level that interferes with quiet enjoyment of that property.  So in fact, an individual might be successful in obtaining injunctive relief to prevent the future operation of a leaf blower. 

    But again, that individual would not be banning the use of the leaf blower; rather, the courts would be enforcing the common or statutory tort law that is operative in the locality.

  • Betsy
    12/03 12:09 AM

    I could take up the eminent domain issue, on which you are partly correct, but I think that is off this thread.

  • Betsy
    12/03 12:26 AM

    But respectfully, Catalyst, all of this is by way of pointing out that if you are going to go around saying things like “I will fight any attempt to chip away at personal freedoms” and “I don’t think I or anyone else has the right to ban the use of [x]”, you had better be able to provide some evidence that you know what the heck you are talking about.


    It’s all very well to want to passionately defend the Constitution—more people should!—but understanding it is key.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/03 12:26 AM

    There are multiple definitions of the word right.
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/right

    I do not think it is JUST to for others to dictate what can and can not be done by another.

    The eminent domain comment was to make a point.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/03 12:28 AM

    I certainly know of what I speak and don’t think it’s a constitutional right to use a leaf blower.

    Do you know what the “heck” you are talking about? Do you have any information to reasonably think I may not?

  • TheCatalyst
    12/03 12:49 AM

    My last word on this subject (unless you want to email me .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)). It is lazy and cowardly to ask the governing persons to do your dirty work.

    If you would like more information on your “rights” and what that means I suggest watching this:
    http://www.isil.org/resources/introduction.swf

  • Emily
    12/03 01:00 AM

    Wow!! Where do all these people live that leaf blowers are such a problem?

    All this time I’ve been worried about peace and love and equality and world hunger and what not.

  • TheCatalyst
    12/03 12:46 PM

    “Every time that we try to lift a problem from our own shoulders, and shift that problem to the hands of the government, to the same extent we are sacrificing the liberties of our people.”—John F. Kennedy

  • z
    12/04 12:08 AM

    Amen, Emily….

  • matt cash
    12/04 05:00 PM

    raking=blue-collar pilates

    best core exercise you can do in the yard!

  • Megan
    12/09 12:23 PM

    By the title of this article, I thought it was going to be something much more entertaining than bitching about leaf blowers.  I can’t wait until the day when I have the time on my hands to sit around and stew about such a non-issue.  When I hear leaf blowers in the morning, and it’s a morning I am able to sleep in, I pop in my earplugs and go back to sleep.  No problem.  No issue.

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