LEAF-BLOWER BAN OK'D ON 9-6 VOTE.Byline: Patrick McGreevy Daily News Staff Writer
The Los Angeles City Council The Los Angeles City Council is the governing body of the City of Los Angeles, California, United States. voted Tuesday to begin enforcement of a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers, despite intense opposition from gardeners, including 200 who packed the chambers and 10 who vowed to continue a hunger strike hunger strike, refusal to eat as a protest against existing conditions. Although most often used by prisoners, others have also employed it. For example, Mohandas Gandhi in India and Cesar Chavez in California fasted as religious penance during otherwise political or to seek a veto by Mayor Richard Riordan Richard J. Riordan (born May 1, 1930) is a Republican politician from California, U.S. who served as the California Secretary of Education from 2003–2005 and as Mayor of Los Angeles from 1993–2001. Riordan ran for Governor of California unsuccessfully in 2002. .
The council's 9-6 vote created the enforcement rules, setting a maximum $270 fine for people who operate leaf blowers within 500 feet of residences and for the homeowners who hire them.
Supporters hailed the decision as an important step for reducing noise and dust, but critics accused the council of bowing to the demands of the city's wealthy property owners at the expense of the working poor.
``It's unjust,'' said Victor Rivas, 29, who rallied outside City Hall after the vote with about 500 protesters.
The Arleta resident is one of 10 gardeners who launched a hunger strike Saturday to draw attention to their opposition to the ban.
Without the leaf blower, gardeners said, their work time would be more than doubled, and their income halved.
Earlier, inside council chambers, gardeners alternated with supporters of the ban in heated testimony.
Actor Peter Graves Peter Graves is the name of:
``We're all victims of this machine and most especially the gardeners who have to suffer from the use of it,'' Graves testified.
The six dissenting council members - including Mike Hernandez, Richard Alatorre Richard Alatorre is a politician, and a member of the Democratic Party. Alatorre has served as a member of the Los Angeles City Council. He was the first Latino to serve on the council in 23 years. , Rudy Svorinich Rudy Svorinich (born 1960) is a Republican who served on the Los Angeles City Council representing the 15th district. A resident of San Pedro, his diverse district also includes the community of Watts. He was elected to the council in 1993 and served two full terns. Jr., Richard Alarcon, Hal Bernson Hal Bernson served as Los Angeles City Councilman for the 12th district. He was chair of the Transportation Committee. Prior to being on the City Council, he served in the Navy.
Robert M. and Rita Walters Rita Walters (1930-) is currently the commissioner of the Los Angeles Public Library. Prior to this position, she served on the Los Angeles City Council representing the 9th district. During that time, she chaired the Arts, Health & Humanities Committee. - sent a letter to Riordan seeking the veto the gardeners want.
An aide said Riordan is likely to approve the ordinance, which simply sets up enforcement guidelines for a ban initially approved by the council and mayor 13 months ago. Riordan would not comment officially until he receives and reviews the council file. He has 10 days to act before the ordinance takes effect.
The letter from opposing council members said a different policy could be drafted ``where we do not penalize pe·nal·ize
tr.v. pe·nal·ized, pe·nal·iz·ing, pe·nal·iz·es
1. To subject to a penalty, especially for infringement of a law or official regulation. See Synonyms at punish.
2. the most vulnerable communities while maintaining the sensitivity for those who require machines at lower decibels.''
Hernandez gave the same message in Spanish to the gardeners gathered outside City Hall, saying, ``It's important that you know you have a voice.''
During the council debate, Hernandez urged his colleagues to reject the ban.
``You have a group of working people where this is their basic tool that they use every day and we're saying you can't use it,'' Hernandez said.
Added Alatorre, who also voted no: ``What we have done is we're penalizing what we would consider to be the poorest of the poor. They are hard-working people.''
Hernandez said the proposal already had sparked outrage in the Latino community, which he said sees the council action as ``government trying to slap the working class people down.''
``We will respond to certain communities, and we don't serve all the people,'' he added.
Supporters of the ban denied that they intend the ordinance to be one that divides the city along class lines.
Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski Cindy Miscikowski represented the 11th District on the Los Angeles City Council for two full terms from 1997 through 2005. Previously, she was an aide to Councilman Marvin Braude and the Executive Director of the Skitball Cultural Center in its beginning stages. said the proposal has been pending for about 11 years and the manufacturers of gas-powered leaf blowers have not acted to reduce the noise and pollution caused by the machines.
She said gardeners can raise their rates to cover the cost of spending more time using brooms and other methods to clear sidewalks and driveways.
Adrian Alvarez, a spokesman for the Association of Latino American Gardeners, questioned how council members Jackie Goldberg Jackie Goldberg (born June 16, 1937) is an American politician and teacher, and a member of the Democratic Party. She is a former member of the California State Assembly. and Mark Ridley-Thomas Mark Ridley-Thomas (born 1954) is currently a California State Senate where he chairs the Business, Professions and Economic Development Committee]]. He represents the 26th district which includes the communities of Vermont Knolls, Jefferson Park, Leimert Park, Hancock Park, Korean could support the ban while claiming to represent working-class constituencies.
Goldberg said it was a tough decision, but she said the ban might be the only way to force manufacturers to make blowers that are less noisy and polluting.
``I am depressed that the hardships will fall on those on whom the hardships always fall on heaviest - those marginally employed,'' Goldberg said. ``But I do believe there are major health issues involved in this, and I can't find a way around it.''
Svorinich said he was angry that the ban would cost city taxpayers $1 million in additional costs annually for city workers to clean parks and city facilities without blowers.
Bernson said he would support a ban only on leaf blowers noisier than 70 decibels, to allow technology improvements to solve the issue.
``If you asked me should we ban the use of gasoline-powered engines, I would say why single them (leaf blowers) out,'' Bernson said. ``I didn't come downtown on horseback on the back of a horse; mounted or riding on a horse or horses; in the saddle.
See also: Horseback today and I don't think any of you did.''
In a related action, the council approved a permit allowing the hunger strikers to camp on the south lawn of City Hall for two more weeks as long as they get insurance to protect the city from liability.
The gardeners planned to continue their fast until a mayoral veto because the ban would hurt their ability to earn a living, Alvarez said.
``This (hunger strike) is the only way that we can express our voice,'' Alvarez said. ``This is the only way we can show you how drastic the impact will be. We plan to continue the hunger strike even if we have to die.''
Daily News Staff Writer Deborah Sullivan contributed to this story.
PHOTO Councilman Richard Alarcon tells gardeners gathered at City Hall why he supported them.
Michael Owen Baker/Daily News