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Council Urges Firms to Develop Quieter Leaf Blowers

January 21, 1998

Attempting to help gardeners deal with new restrictions on gasoline-powered leaf blowers, the Los Angeles City Council took several actions Tuesday aimed at encouraging manufacturers to develop equipment that meets the city's new regulations.

The council also agreed to ask the Community Development Bank and others to develop low-interest loans or grants to ease the costs of purchasing new equipment.

The council's Community and Economic Development Committee is expected to hold a special hearing within two weeks to discuss various alternatives to the gas-powered leaf blowers.

Two weeks ago, the City Council upheld its ban on the gas blowers, which takes effect Feb. 13.

Gardeners who use the tools within 500 feet of residences face fines of up to $270; the offense is considered an infraction.

Gardeners have opposed the ban, saying that new equipment is too costly and that the restrictions could force them to raise rates.

Council members have said they want manufacturers to develop a lower-cost alternative that will be less noisy and stir up less dust and dirt.

Earlier this month, a group of gardeners staged a seven-day hunger strike on the City Hall lawn to oppose the ban.

The strike ended after three council members visited the protesters in their makeshift tent city and delivered written pledges to hold hearings on finding an alternative to the blowers.

Mayor Richard Riordan had also delivered a similar pledge to the hunger strikers.

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