Mayor Brown switches leaf-blower vote

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 Monday night and, with a room full of landscape workers watching, changed his support for a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers and provided the third vote needed to kill the ordinance most observers assumed would be adopted.

In reversing course, Brown candidly acknowledged that the Amistad Award, given by Nuestra Voz, a Sonoma Valley nonprofit promoting leadership in the Latino community, influenced his vote.

“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,” he said.

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.

At the time, Brown announced, “I’m not prepared tonight for a ban on all types of leaf blowers, but I will support a gas ban …”

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