Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown, who on Sunday was honored by an Amistad (Friendship) Award for service to the Hispanic community, had an about-face epiphany, a throng of landscapers and yard workers had an impromptu celebration, and the Sonoma City Council watched a 3-to-2 majority in favor of banning gas-powered leaf blowers, shrink to a 2-to-3 minority.
On Monday night, the second reading of an ordinance creating a gas-powered leaf blower ban ran into Brown’s epiphany and the ban was defeated.
With that, the expected resolution of what Sonoma citizen Darryl Ponicsan has described as a “clear and present nuisance” that generates “raucous, nerve-wracking noise, ” was transformed into a victory for professional landscapers and gardeners who protested the ban would put their livelihoods at risk.
Brown, who spoke candidly after the meeting, explained that, “There is a grace period between the first and second reading of the ordinance. I had time to reflect … And I definitely feel that winning the Amistad Award was a part of it.”
On Oct. 7, the council voted 3-to-2 to approve the first reading of an ordinance banning all leaf blowers powered by internal combustion engines, but allowing for continued use of electric leaf blowers.