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Getting ready to ban gas leaf blowers, Menlo Park works on outreach

Original post made on Nov 27, 2022

When it comes to phasing out gas-powered leaf blowers, landscape professionals don't have much to say about it, according to outreach efforts by the city of Menlo Park.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, November 25, 2022, 9:15 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by new guy
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Nov 27, 2022 at 9:22 am

new guy is a registered user.

Great reporting here. Love to hear the passion for ending gas leaf blowers. (though electric ones will still create a dust cloud - just a bit quieter one :(. )

Thing is: all the landscapers know this is coming, everyone I have interacted with in the last 3 years, all they want to do is talk to me about it (probably to hit me up with price increases as well), maybe the only thing they don't know is exact date. Current landscaper drives in from Fremont, he knows, most of them know each other. Thinking people in this "economic situation" are not sophisticated enough to understand regulations in their occupation is well... I will leave that to those who know how best to label.

Posted by neenee
a resident of Portola Valley: Westridge
on Dec 1, 2022 at 1:28 pm

neenee is a registered user.

Can’t wait to see them banned everywhere - they are a menace to everybody’s hearing and health.

Posted by MP Father
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 1, 2022 at 1:54 pm

MP Father is a registered user.

I am neither for nor against the proposed ordinance and would like to learn more. What exactly is the stated GOAL of the proposed ordinance? I get that people don't like gas blowers, neither do I, but there is a cost to eliminate and how does the importance of these goals compare to the many other goals we have and can we achieve the goals in some other way.

My concern is that the Council is acting ideologically rather than pragmatically, and as usual, largely independent of the wishes of residents and home owners. Thanks again to Council Members Combs and Mueller for considering and representing residents.

"...Council member Jen Wolosin proposed the city add an option to its app that would allow residents to notify the city of violations." This sort of feels similar to Texas allowing its citizens to report and sue individuals suspected of not complying with its newly imposed abortion bans - independently enact an unpopular law and have citizens police.

Posted by Happy Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Dec 1, 2022 at 2:43 pm

Happy Resident is a registered user.

It is all about money. There is no question that Menlo Park residents will pay MORE for landscaping services. That is just the way it is, if Menlo Park chooses to force the use of electric leaf blowers and other appliances.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 1, 2022 at 7:43 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

My gardener has already told me he has to raise his prices in anticipation of having to buy some very expensive equipment. The batteries for these things are over $100 each and may last long enough to do one yard. Maybe. So in order to be able to work a full day they have to purchase over $800 in batteries alone. That doesn't include the cost of the equipment to replace a piece of equipment they already have and that works just fine. All so the council can participate in performative activism. They're going to "save the world" even if we have to bear the cost. The cost for something that will have zero effect on global warming. But, hey, they can pat themselves on the back because they're "doing something" about it.

Posted by Stuart Soffer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Dec 2, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Stuart Soffer is a registered user.

Many years ago the Menlo Park City Council tried to ban gas leaf blowers. At the council hearing, council chambers was filled with members of BAGA, the Bay Area Gardeners Association. The options were terrible. Council chickened out.

This can happen again.

Posted by Roxie Rorapaugh
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 2, 2022 at 3:19 pm

Roxie Rorapaugh is a registered user.

I agree completely with everything New Guy from MP Downtown wrote

Posted by David Roise
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 2, 2022 at 4:22 pm

David Roise is a registered user.

I'm with Jen Wolosin that we can't get rid of these horrible devices soon enough. If outreach needs to be done, do it now--don't push back the date.

@Menlo Voter: You're concerned about costs? What about the health costs to everyone (including the gardeners) breathing the crap (literally) that these things blow around? What about the cost to me because I can't do my job with the sound of a jet engine roaring just over my neighbor's fence? What about the cost to our planet from the burning of fossil fuels? You should be relieved not to be charged for the damage they have already done. By the way, rakes and brooms are relatively cheap, they last a long time, and they don't need to be recharged.

@Stuart Soffer: It's time we stop letting people ignore the massive outreach efforts taken by city staff on these issues only to show up at council meetings at the last minute to whine about not being notified. Council members need to do what's right, not just what a few cranky people at the end of a long process would like to like to see happen.

Posted by philtenpro
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2022 at 5:10 pm

philtenpro is a registered user.

We shouldn't assume just one or a limited number of effects to occur from switching from gas to electric blowers and lawn mowers. When the first gas blower ban was considered in the 80s, we had a lawn and our gardener begged us not to support the ban. Since then, we have re-landscaped to all plants and no lawn. So, we would not have a mow-and-blow under any circumstance. Our gardens already require hand pruning and raking to be properly tended. Only hardscape requires some blowing -- for which we would gladly pay a premium for electric (in fact, I do that blowing with both battery powered and plug-in electric blowers of my own). I would disagree also with some comments I heard about no environmental benefit from the switch to electric. These ubiquitous little 2-cycle gas engines emit large amounts of toxic exhaust compared with much larger car engines. The switch to electric might well prompt many homeowners to reflect on their need for vast lawn areas and contemplate the value and beauty of planted gardens. Many changes and shifts may occur in our gardening needs in future for a variety of reasons. As an economist, I would note only that life is full of trade-offs in the face of changing priorities and circumstances. Choose wisely for the greatest total benefit to a healthy life ahead.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2022 at 7:34 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


stopping the burning of fossil fuels in MP won't do diddly for global warming. Don't like noise? Don't live in a city or an area with millions of people, hundreds of thousands of cars and trucks, and multiple airports exist. By your logic we should ban all sirens so you aren't disturbed. I can't be charged for any "damage" they may have already done as I had nothing to do with it. Banning gas powered leaf blowers is just more feel good nonsense by those that want "do something" without actually doing something.

Posted by Westbrook
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 2, 2022 at 9:30 pm

Westbrook is a registered user.

MV has been correct all along in asking where the new electricity will come from.
Without any answers.

David, Can you tell me where all the new electricity will come from to power our homes, commercial buildings, Apt. buildings, cars, lawn equipment and yes one of our soon-to-be biggest guzzlers of electricity. The newly electrified trains,

So start from where we are today (with borderline blackouts) in electricity supplies then multiply that by all the new demand. As for cars that's millions upon millions.

Is the infrastructure there?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 3, 2022 at 8:44 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Here's another thing to consider. If a gardener can't afford to buy enough batteries to power his equipment for a full day, how will he recharge his batteries? Hint: by using his truck to charge them. Which means his truck will sit there idling, producing CO2 and other emissions while he works. So has forcing them to use all electric equipment actually done anything? Obviously, NO! It would be nice, for once, if the virtue signalers of the world would do some research and think things through. They don't and we get to suffer the consequences of them forcing others to do things so they can pat themselves on the back for "doing something". I'm sick of it.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 3, 2022 at 8:55 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


David knows the answer and so do the rest of the virtue signalers that want to force everyone into all electric so they can "save the world". They know the answer is no, but they ignore it, or claim "improvements will be made in the future". BS. So we all have to suffer NOW until some mythical future date when everything will be magically fixed. Of course, the fix won't cost us anything either. More nonsense.

Everything this state has done to reduce carbon emissions has been wiped out by the emissions from wildfires in the last few years. Those fires are both natural and caused by electrical transmission line failures. So PG&E is undergrounding their transmission lines to stop causing wildfires. Guess who's paying for that in higher electrical rates? Electrical rates that are already higher than almost anywhere else in the country already. Even if PG&E stops setting wildfires, there are still fires caused every year by natural causes, so all this pain and suffering the save the world folks are inflicting on the rest of us will have no net effect. But, hey, they can pat themselves on the back for "doing something" while the rest of us suffer.

Posted by Stuart
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Dec 3, 2022 at 11:21 am

Stuart is a registered user.

Regarding batteries and charging, the most efficient/logical option will be for gardeners to purchase gas generators, most likely the cheapest available - which tend to be really loud, and run said generator at each house to charge batteries while using the mandated electric leaf blowers.

So in reality banning gas leaf blowers will not reduce noise or pollution.

Posted by MiddleAged Menlo Parker
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on Dec 5, 2022 at 8:07 am

MiddleAged Menlo Parker is a registered user.

@Stuart your comment is spot on. It sounds like the MP City Council didn't really do their homework on this one to understand the entire environmental impact.

Posted by Dawn1234
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 5, 2022 at 12:30 pm

Dawn1234 is a registered user.

The idea that we should all have to suffer with unnecessary exhaust because people are too busy to rake their own lawns, it's a bit crazy. Every single thing we can do to reduce the harm to the planet we are passing on is what we should be doing. Just because people whine about a thing doesn't make them right about that thing. Convenience over conservation is why we are having such devastating weather events on the regular. More people need to think about how their personal convenience is ruining our planet for the out generations. Be better.

Posted by Stuart
a resident of Woodside: Mountain Home Road
on Dec 5, 2022 at 6:13 pm

Stuart is a registered user.

@ Dawn:
Convenience, sure, lots of people would prefer not to listen to leaf blowers or deal with the exhaust, but the reality is that in San Mateo County thousands of homeowners, renters, and commercial property owners employ hundreds of gardeners/maintenance companies to maintain their properties. Demanding that work being done manually with rakes is simplistic, unrealistic, and frankly a feel-good sound bite.

I am certain that someone could do the math, but I am willing to bet that the total output of exhaust from gardeners in San Mateo County for entire day is far, far, far less than a single coal-fired power plant. The United States is rapidly retiring the domestic coal-fired infrastructure. China on the other hand is constructing literally hundreds of brand new coal-fired power plants - annually.

So yes, I agree, "Every single thing we can do to reduce the harm to the planet we are passing on is what we should be doing", but how about sending a letter to Xi Jinping asking him to "Be better"?

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