April 21, 2010
Turn off that leaf blower!
I was working at home, on a conference call with some people in New York and Southern California. I couldn't hear what they were saying, and they couldn't hear what I was saying. But they could hear the leaf blower, all the way from in front of my home in Walnut Creek.
My co-workers could also hear me yell "Turn it off!" But the landscaper couldn't hear me, not over the sound of that damned leaf blower. (And, I was using a new phone, and, no, I had not yet learned where the stupid mute button was.)
Actually, that's been the first time I've been home in the middle of the day when the landscapers with the leaf blowers have come to my cul-de-sac. I'd say the sound from that machine was as loud as a locomotive rushing 10 feet from my window. I probably could have endured it--I knew it would stop eventually--if it weren't for the fact that I was trying to talk to people to get work done.
My experience with our neighborhood leaf blower guys comes the week that Quiet Orinda, a grass-roots group of residents in that town, premieres its professionally produced documentary about the nuisance and environmental hazards of leaf blowers.
The big screening will take place 7:15 p.m. Saturday at the Orinda Theater as part of the 12th annual California Independent Film Festival. Quiet Orinda was formed in 2009 to raise awareness about the air and noise pollution caused by leaf blowers and to promote legislation to encourage healthier alternatives to these machines.
The video, Quiet Orinda, presents "candid, unrehearsed" interviews with Orinda residents who describe how the use of leaf blowers in their neighborhoods hurts their well-being and their enjoyment of their homes and community.
Saturday's screening will be the first public screening of the video.Tickets can be ordered in advance at the California Independent Film Festival website.
Quiet Orinda has a petition drive going to gather signatures to urge the City Council in that town to consider banning the use of leaf blowers.
Does Walnut Creek need a similar campaign?