East Bay town fights to outlaw leaf blowers


Orinda's Peter Kendall has heard enough of what he considers noise pollution in his own backyard.

"Where we live, we can see and hear leaf blower activity up to a quarter mile away. Basically six days a week, throughout the day, we are able to listen to the symphony of leaf blower noise," he said.

Peter and his wife Susan have launched a web campaign called "Quiet Orinda." It is a petition drive designed to persuade the city council here to ban or seriously restrict the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.

Piedmont, Berkeley and Mill Valley have already done it.

"I think Orinda should take a serious look at this. We pride ourselves on the quiet bucolic neighborhood. It's no longer quiet," Susan Kendall said.

The Kendalls and their supporters even produced a video to show the harmful effects of leaf blowers beyond the noise.

"Well leaf blowers have a two-stroke engine, which is inefficient and it emits a lot of pollution and it emits more pollution than a modern car," Kristine Roselius from the Bay Area Air Quality District said.

One gardener who does a lot of work in Orinda says he sympathizes with residents who think the blowers are too noisy, but he says they're a necessity in his line of work.

Gardener and landscaper Gabriel Garcia says turning in his leaf blower for a rake and broom, just wouldn't cut it.

"First of all if I got to a property that normally takes three hours, it's going to take about eight hours with a broom and a rake to just get it clean. It's going to cost more money," he said.

The "Quiet Orinda" supporters hope to present the city council with a 5,000 signatures by next fall. So far, they've gathered about 100.

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