Poll: How do you feel about the use of leaf blowers?

Sonoma, the Northern California town known for its beautiful vineyards, was on the verge of banning the use of gas-powered leaf blowers recently. But then its mayor abruptly changed his mind. He didn’t want to hurt the prospects of “hard-working entrepreneurs,” he said.

So Sonoma will continue restricting the hours that blowers can be used, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday in residential areas.

Had it passed the ban, Sonoma would have joined about 20 other California cities, including Beverly Hills, Carmel and Berkeley, that have either banned all leaf blowers or allow only electric or battery-powered ones in an effort to minimize air and noise pollution.

According to its website, Beverly Hills, which allows electric blowers but prohibits gas-powered ones, believes that they’re an environmental nuisance because:

• Gas emissions are unhealthy for everyone, particularly the equipment operator, children, seniors, pets and wildlife.

• The noise disrupts the peace and tranquility of the neighborhood.

• Dust and debris are not removed but merely displaced.

• They increase air pollution by stirring up mold, allergens and dust.

In Kansas City and most surrounding municipalities you can operate loud machinery, including leaf blowers of all types, seven days a week between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. (give or take an hour, depending on the municipality).

What do you think about these local laws? Take our online poll at right.