Leaf Blower Battles

Ashleigh Brilliant Asks Mayor Blum to Enforce the Law

Leaf blower
On the Beat

Dirt Blower Blast: Ashleigh Brilliant, who led the fight a decade ago to ban gas-powered leaf blowers in the city of Santa Barbara, charges that the law is widely ignored.

“Mainly, it is simply not being enforced,” he wrote in a letter to Mayor Marty Blum.

“As a frequent walker, I am painfully aware of this fact,” Brilliant said. “And people who know I was a leader in the initiative campaign are also constantly reminding me of it (which of course is even more painful).” The fact that the city opposed the initiative may or may not be a factor here.

Tell me about it, Ashleigh. Neighbors tell me that at least three nearby homeowners hire gardeners who use these illegal dirt blowers.

The problem is not just gas blowers blasting away and polluting, but that legal electric ones are not really cleaning up, but often just blowing debris from one home to another. One of my neighbors got irate because dirt was being blown into her driveway. At our house, Sue sweeps up the debris, much of it washed down the gutter from above, and picks it up.

“I apologize for troubling you with this matter when there are so many more dire problems confronting you and the city, but there seems to be no alternative,” Brilliant wrote. “We who worked so hard to secure this law have in the past tried conferring with the police department and we received various assurances, but today the situation seems to be out of control.”

“We have found that the chances of calling the police against any particular offender and getting any satisfaction are extremely small. But there are now so many offenders that nailing one hardly makes any difference anyway.

“In any case, we feel that this should not have to be a police matter. And I personally would like to suggest that, with your backing, there are some simple pieces of literature which, at a very small cost to the city, would go far towards solving this problem:”

(1) A simple statement of the law and the penalties for breaking it, which can be distributed to concerned citizens and handed directly by them to offenders.

(2) A notice directed at homeowners and others who employ gardeners, which can be left by concerned citizens, or by the police, at homes or businesses on whose property or by whose employees, the law is observed to have been being broken.

(3) A notice to be placed at all places where gardening machines are sold or serviced, and communicated to all local gardening and landscaping services, clearly stating the fact that the use of gas-powered leaf blowers is not permitted at any time in this city.

(4) Announcements in the local media reminding people of the law and telling them how they can secure copies of the above notices.

Minnie Driver Sings: Actress Minnie Driver, whom I’d watch in any movie, can apparently sing up a storm too. She’ll take the stage this Sunday, August 12 at 8 p.m. at SOhO, promoting her new album, Seastories. Call 962-7776 for more info.

Rincon Beach Cleaner: According to a recent study, surfer mecca Rincon Beach, which once exceeded health standards by 50 percent, had dropped to 4 percent.

Simpsonized: Darn! I was all set to apply for the job of top editor of the Wall Street Journal. But then I found out that the new owner, Rupert Murdoch, had appointed Homer Simpson. Well, at least Homer won’t get his first choice; the Santa Barbara News-Press.

Max Factor’s Son: Mark Barry Factor, son of the late cosmetics king, died at Devereux School in Goleta, where he was a resident for many years. He was 68.

Reagan GOP Country?: In spite of what the New York Daily News thinks, Santa Barbara is not “Reagan Republican country.” It’s solid DemoLand, as proved in recent elections, which elected an all-Democratic City Council.

Wrote the NYDN; “Oprah’s ensconced in the middle of Reagan Republican country, near Santa Barbara, but there was no shortage of requests to meet the ‘rock star’ of the presidential campaign and peekaboo Oprah’ digs as a bonus.” That’s referring to Oprah’s upcoming fund-raiser for Barack Obama. (Has my invitation been lost in the mail, or trapped in an e-mail vortex?)

Barney Brantingham can be reached at barney@independent.com or 805-965-5205. He writes online columns on Tuesdays and Fridays and a print column on Thursdays.


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