In the rest of the world, my chief claim to fame is as the author of Pot-Shots. But in Santa Barbara, California, where I've lived since 1973, I am also known as the man who got rid of the leaf blowers. This reputation is not entirely deserved, since for one thing I had plenty of help, and for another, the leaf blowers were not entirely got rid of. But I did lead a successful campaign in 1997 which required the gathering of over 9000 signatures to place on the local ballot a measure banning all use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers within the City limits. The voters approved this law by a substantial majority, and it has been part of our Municipal Code ever since.

Electric-powered machines, being marginally less noisy and less polluting, were allowed to remain legal.

The leaf blower problem is widespread, but in many places it is only seasonal. In our part of the world, however, thanks to a congenial climate, it was a year-round plague.
The issue was unfortunately clouded by the fact that most users of leaf blowers in our community were Hispanic hired gardeners, many of them illegal immigrants, working for gardening contractors. This has also made enforcement of the law more difficult. But there has been substantial voluntary compliance, and few would question that things are much better now than before the law went into effect.

Here is the actual wording of the law, as embodied in Chapter 9.16 of the Santa Barbara Municipal Code:
9.16.021 Use of Gasoline Powered Leaf Blowers Prohibited.

Measure D97, adopted November 4, 1997, provides: In order to secure and promote the public health, comfort, safety and welfare, and to protect the rights of its citizens to privacy and freedom from nuisance, it is the purpose of this ordinance to prohibit unnecessary, excessive and annoying noises at levels which are detrimental to the health and welfare of the community, and to minimize airborne dust and pollen.
It shall be unlawful for any person within the City to use or operate any portable machine powered with a gasoline engine, or gasoline powered generator, to blow leaves, dirt, and other debris off sidewalks, driveways, lawns, or other surfaces. (Ord. 5036, 1997.)
If you live in Santa Barbara, here is a simple statement in English and in Spanish which you may find useful:

In the City of Santa Barbara, it is illegal to use gas powered leaf blowers at any time. (Municipal Code 9.16.020-021)

En la Ciudad de Santa Barbara, es illegal que se usen las sopladores de gas a cualquier hora. (El Código Municipal 9.16.020-021).

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