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Include Leaf Blower Ban in CAP

From: domainremoved <Leah>
Date: Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:25:00 -0800

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Public Comment on Banning Gas Gardening Equipment in Menlo Park

City Council Annual Goal Setting Meeting 1/30/2020

(Good afternoon. My name is Leah Elkins and I have been a resident of Menlo Park for over 20 years.)

I am standing up today to add my voice to Lisa’s and to ask that the council consider a ban on gasoline powered leaf blowers. I believe that the global climate crisis and the City’s stated commitment to reduce greenhouse gases compels such an action. Banning gas leaf blowers is an easy way to reduce pollution and bring a greater calm to our neighborhoods which are already suffering from increased vehicle and air traffic and construction noise.

I want to address the common arguments against such a ban that Lisa just laid out in her comments.

First is limited staff resources. The fact is that the research has been completed and accepted by many California cities already. There is very little that city staff need do other than review the reports already created by nearby cities. Moreover, many ordinances have already been enacted that can serve as models for our own.

Second is the limited impact these machines have compared to other pollution sources. While it is true that gas blowers do not contribute as large a percentage of carbon emissions as other sources, it is possible to simply ban them while we cannot do so with cars, nor requirehomeowners to convert their homes to all-electric. On the other hand, electric garden machines are readily available and achieve the same results at nearly the same cost. A ban on gas blowers is an easy step which will definitely result in less emissions and less noise pollution.

The City could also consider banning all polluting gardening equipment such as mowers and hedge trimmers to achieve an even greater reduction. Starting with the most obnoxious machine, however, would be a first step.

Third, a ban will have an economic impact on gardeners and perhaps on homeowners if gardeners raise their rates. Other cities have successfully solved this problem by utilizing a phase in period to allow gardeners time to replace their equipment. And, as Lisa has pointed out, we are an affluent community and anyone who can afford a gardener can afford to pay them a few dollars more per week.

Finally, it has been suggested that the citizenry does not support a ban due to the previous referendum to overturn the Council’s action in 1997. This, however, is ancient history. This is a new day and a new reality we are living in and there is simply no evidence that Menlo Park residents have an unique attachment to these machines which would require us to be bound forever by events that occurred 22 years ago.

In the fight to make a positive change in our community, a ban on gas blowers is low hanging fruit. It can be implemented quickly and effectively and will demonstrate the City’s commitment to reducing harmful pollutants.

Lisa and I have worked hard over the last year to bring the Council’s attention to this matter and we sincerely hope that we have finally arrived at the time when this issue can be given serious consideration. We know you have received at least a few emails from like-minded citizens and we hope you will ask staff to study the feasibility of a gas leaf blower ban as part of Menlo Park’s Climate Action Plan.

Thank you.

Leah Elkins
Sent from my iPhone
Received on Thu Jan 30 2020 - 13:28:34 PST

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