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Council Returns on Monday With Leaf Blowers and Campaign Financing On the Agenda

Published on Friday, October 15, 2021 | 6:16 am

[UPDATED] After taking time off due to last week’s federal holiday, the Pasadena City Council will get back to work on Monday by taking care of some leftover business from the Oct. 4 meeting on leaf blowers and a campaign financing ordinance. 

The council will again attempt a first reading on an ordinance that would set laws on unlimited donations in local political campaigns. The proposed ordinance has created some confusion among local residents who believe the City Council is doing away with previously established campaign restrictions.

“Our County, State, and National politics are already driven by those parties who can raise the most money,” Sam Morrissey said in electronic correspondence with  the council. “I appreciate that money will always find a way into politics, and appreciate that at least here in the US there is some level of transparency.  That said, I also very much appreciate that local government remains one of the last bastions of true representative democracy, free from the vitriol of the current national political debate. 

See the Pasadena City Council’s full agenda for Monday by clicking here

“A limit on individual donations of $3,000 should be sufficient for a city like Pasadena,” Morrissey wrote. “It requires candidates to actually engage with local residents. It requires candidates to speak to the actual issues faced by local residents.”

Serious candidates do extensive door knocking and participate in multiple forums.  

On Monday, the City Council will also consider banning gas powered leaf blowers. 

For decades local residents have complained about gas-powered leaf blowers. Those complaints include issues with air and noise pollution.

According to a staff report on the item last year, the city has received 359 complaints since 2015. Of these, about 275, or 77%, have involved the use of leaf blowers outside the allowed operating hours. Other complaints include exceeding the allowed length of use, the noise level while in operation, and debris being blown over a property line.

According to the city’s current ordinance regulating leaf blowers: 

  • It is unlawful for any person to use or to operate, or cause to be operated any type of leaf-blowing machine or device within a residential area before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m.on Saturday; or at any time on Sunday.
  • It is unlawful for any person to use or allow to be used or to operate or cause to be used or operated any type of leaf-blowing machine or device in the city within a radius of 500 feet of a residential area before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; before 9 a.m. and after 5 p.m. Saturday; or at any time on Sunday. 
  • It is unlawful for any person to use or operate, or cause to be used or operated, a leaf blower in such a manner as to blow, dispel or make airborne leaves, grass cuttings, paper, trash, or any other type of unattached debris or material, which, by use of the leaf blower, will intentionally cause such leaves, grass cuttings, paper, trash or any other type of unattached debris or material to become airborne or travel beyond the property boundaries of the parcel on which it is being used, to adjoining properties or public rights-of-way within the city, and to remain therefore more than 15 minutes.

Gas-powered leaf blowers emit 23 times more carbon monoxide and 300 times more hydrocarbons than a 2011 Ford Raptor high-performance pickup.

The South Pasadena City Council recently banned the machines.  

Pasadena’s Environmental Advisory Commission took up the issue to  “create a package of information” for the City Council’s Public Safety Committee to consider at an upcoming meeting.

The item was not discussed by the committee, but could come to public safety before a council vote.

The City Council on Monday could also receive a predevelopment review on a proposed a five-story, 112-unit senior affordable housing project at 280 Ramona St. or 279 E. Holly St., as agendized.

The site was once considered for becoming a city Water and Power Department administration building.

The applicant, National CORE (Community Renaissance) of California, plans to put up a senior housing community that’s 100% affordable, with 50% reserved for average median income seniors, and a minimum of 10% set aside for permanent supportive housing.

After some revisions, the project will now comprise 55 studio units, 56 one-bedrooms apartments, and one two-bedroom unit for the onsite manager. The developers have been working with city planning staff to make sure they are meeting all of the city’s requirements regarding setbacks and clearances.  

The developer is also working with Pasadena Heritage to design the outside of the building so it meets the standards needed to fit with the rest of the city’s historic Civic Center, home to City Hall, the Central Library, a one time YWCA, a historic YMCA that since the early 1990s has been used for single-room occupancy (SROs) accommodations, the Hale Building, the Police Station and the County Courthouse.

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