It’s been more than a decade since the city banned noisy and smelly gasoline-powered leaf blowers near homes after a contentious battle between residents and primarily Latino gardeners. But, at least in some sections of Silver Lake, the leaf blower issue has roared back to life, with residents complaining about increasing noise and an indifferent city bureaucracy. “I’ve tried to report gas-powered leaf blowers,” said one resident at a Wednesday night committee meeting of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. “Nobody ever did anything.”
Many in attendance at the meeting said that most residents have forgotten the 1998 ordinance, which banned the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers within 500 feet of homes. However, electric leaf blowers and other devices are still permitted, causing some confusion. The LAPD website recommends that residents with complaints about noisy leaf blowers call the “Leaf Blower Complaint Line.” But that number, 1-800-996-CITY, directs callers to the main number of the city’s Public Works Department, and there is no mention of leaf blowers on a menu of services.
The leaf blower issue was placed on the agenda of last night’s meeting after a resident on Panorama Terrace complained about the potential health hazards associated with the exhaust of the gas-powered machines, said Elizabeth Bougart-Sharkov, chair of the neighborhood council’s of Silver Lake’s Urban Design & Preservation Committee. “We have to find an alternative,” she said.
But what are residents to do since not many expect the city to devote more resources to police the illegal blowers? One person suggested a public shaming of residents whose gardeners use the illegal blowers and another proposed offering rebates to purchase electric powered machines. But after some discussion and joking about banning blow jobs in Silver Lake, many on the committee and in the audience seemed inclined to launch a public education program about the current law, perhaps in the form of flyers and door hangers.
The topic and a proposal is scheduled to come up again at the committee’s April meeting.
Photo from GasPoweredLeafBlower