I am sorely disappointed in Mayor Ken Brown and his decision to cancel his vote to ban gas-powered leaf blowers in Sonoma.
If it is to be believed at all (and I don’t) that Brown’s “epiphany” – his fear that his friends in the Latino community will lose jobs as a result of the ban – I wonder how, as such a dedicated and tireless advocate for that community, he does not aspire on their behalf to something better than a future of blowing dust around a parking lot.
Mayor Brown failed to mention that the two biggest landscaping companies in Sonoma are both owned by non-Latinos who undoubtedly keep most of the profit for themselves. He also failed to acknowledge that everyone, regardless of race or class, breathes the same air and suffers equally from exposure to elevated noise levels, which was the point of the ban to begin with.
The landscaping community was offered a grace period of several years to use leaf blowers in and around town in a more responsible and courteous manner and to adhere to prescribed days of operation. This never happened. If Mayor Brown really wanted to protect the blue-collar worker, he would have realized that protecting them from off-the-charts noise pollution, airborne pathogens, residue from pesticides, fertilizers, brake dust – not to mention animal feces and exhaust from a two-stroke engine – is a much smarter a place to begin.