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Judge Upholds Ban on Leaf Blowers

March 17, 1998

A Los Angeles Superior Court judge upheld the city's gasoline-powered leaf blower ban Monday, denying charges by the Assn. of Latin American Gardeners that the month-old law is arbitrary and unreasonable.

Judge Robert H. O'Brien said the city had enough evidence to prove its rationale for the ban, which took effect Feb. 13, and that the city's decision should not be changed.

"The city made the choice it did and short of clear illegality or unconstitutionality, the choice should not be disturbed," the judge wrote in denying the gardeners' request for a writ of mandate. "Further, the record indicates that the application of the regulation to gas-powered leaf blowers has a logical and reasonable basis. There is no denial of equal protection under the law"

The gardeners' group, which held numerous protests and a hunger strike to protest the ban, complained that the city had not adequately proved the necessity for the law and that the gasoline-powered blower was banned while others were not. They also complained that the law was too restrictive and would be a financial burden for the gardeners who depend on the blowers. A spokesman for the group could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.

City officials hailed the judge's decision.

"I am pleased the court agreed with our assessment that the city has the authority to regulate in this manner," said Deputy City Atty. Keith Pritsker, who handled the case.

City officials say the leaf blowers are noisy and produce too much pollution. The city has agreed, however, to help the gardeners in their efforts to encourage manufacturers to produce quieter, cleaner models.

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