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Mayor Won’t Lift Leaf-Blower Ban

January 9, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Mayor Richard Riordan refused to lift a ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers on Thursday, despite the protests of gardeners on hunger strike for the past week outside City Hall.

Instead, Riordan signed a law that goes into effect in 30 days that bars the use of the leaf blowers within 500 feet of homes. Violators face $270 fines.

He also agreed to establish a task force to study technologies to make quieter, cleaner leaf blowers and to explore the possibility of establishing a loan program to buy improved machines.

But members of the Association of Latin American Gardeners said they wanted to see something in writing before ending their strike. Seven of the 11 original hunger strikers remained outside City Hall on Thursday. Four went home because of weakness and low blood pressure.

``We need something more concrete,″ said Alvaro Huerta, an organizer of the year-old gardeners’ union created to fight the leaf blower ban.

The gardeners say their work will take twice as long without the motorized blowers worn on their backs. That means fewer jobs and less income.

The ban was passed after homeowners in upper-middle class neighborhoods complained that the machines were too noisy.

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