A nice peaceful morning in Los Angeles: sun rising, seagulls eating from dumpsters, and the quaint sound of gas-powered leaf blowers filling the morning air; filling the morning air with noise and gas fumes that is.
Whether you're an apartment dweller or nestled in an over-priced house in a subdivision, there's an ever lasting hum in the air that persists through all hours of the waking Angeleno day. Leaf blowers.
Leaf blowers are typically gardeners, usually of legally questionable foreign origin. If you listen carefully, or even if you try to block it out, just before the crack of dawn, you'll hear the revving of these gas-powered little nuisances, likely before your first coffee has been brewed. In most parts of the country, such early disturbances would constitute a friendly neighborly reminder that people are sleeping and that noise making at such hours is quite inconsiderate and rude.
From the following LAPD webpage:
"Gas Powered Leaf Blower Enforcement
Gas powered leaf blowers increase the presence of airborne particles, which may cause problems for persons suffering from asthma, hay fever, or other upper respiratory ailments.
Los Angeles Municipal (LAMC) Section 112. 04 (c) bans the use of the gas powered leaf blower device to minimize the nuisance and health related problems attributed to this type of equipment.
The following ordinance became effective on February 13, 1998:
"No gas powered blower shall be used within 500 feet of a residence at anytime. Both the user of such a blower as well as the individual who contracted for the services of the user if any, shall be subject to the requirements of and penalty provisions for this ordinance. Violation of the provisions of this subsection shall be punishable as an infraction in an amount not to exceed One Hundred Dollars($100)."
This section does not preclude anyone from using other devices such as a gas powered vacuum device or electric leaf blower.
Officers enforce Los Angeles Municipal Code Section 112.04(c) in the same manner as any other infraction.
The Los Angeles Police Department has primary enforcement responsibility for this Ordinance. Community members may also register complaints with the Street Use Inspection Division, Department of Public Works, at 1-800-996-CITY (Leaf blower Complaint Line).
An officer who responds to a radio call and/or otherwise observes anyone operating a gas powered leaf blower within 500 feet of a residence within the City of Los Angeles, may take the following enforcement action:
* Inform the operator of the leaf blower that they are in violation of Section 112.04(c) LAMC."
This largely unknown law, in effect since 1998, directly addresses the health issues related to the nuisance of such leaf blowers. People ought to utilize this number more as to curtail the rampant and excessive use of these polluting devices within range of residences.
Now while the effectiveness of calling the hotline might be questionable, the fact that it exists, along with the municipal code, shows that the problem of leaf blowers is addressable if people take the necessary steps.
A return to quieter and less polluting days of the broom and rake is not so far fetched. Such a renaissance would also lend to people as a whole enjoying more peaceful days and less dust on their car from the neighbor's gardener blowing refuse into the street and onto other people's property.