Different observers have different interpretations of the psycho-spiritual event that occurred inside the head and heart of Sonoma Mayor Ken Brown Monday night. Brown says he experienced an epiphany that inspired him to reverse his position and vote against a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers.
The presence of 30 or more “working class” Hispanic landscapers in the anteroom of the council chambers, coupled with his Sunday night reception of the Amistad friendship award (given by Nuestra Voz) appears to have triggered some sort of neural alchemy.
Brown, himself, is refreshingly frank about the reasons for his change of heart, admitting that the Amistad Award was an influencing factor, and that, as a lifelong “blue-collar” American, he identified with Hispanic workers “at the bottom end of the class structure.”
Injecting the subject of class into the leaf blower debate rankled a number of observers (witness some of the opinions expressed on this page), but we don’t think that’s the relevant issue here.
Clearly, industry pressure, however it was expressed and however Brown heard it, influenced his vote. He has said as much. There’s nothing implicitly wrong with that, unless it involved money, gifts or other gratuities, and no one is suggesting it did.