At last Santa Barbara voters have a chance to stop the gas-powered blowers, which long have blighted our streets and neighborhoods with their noise, dirt, and pollution.

More than 40 other California cities have already taken this step, for excellent reasons: A gas-powered blower creates up to 70 decibels of nerve-racking noise at 50 feet, disturbing children's naps, school classrooms, and home offices. It also generates significant amounts of volatile organic compounds, particulates, and carbon monoxide, emitting as much tailpipe pollution in one hour as an automobile traveling 100 miles.

These machines don't remove dust and debris, but simply blow it somewhere else. You shouldn't have to wash your car and windows, and sweep your walks repeatedly, just to accommodate a neighbor's gardener.

With a muzzle velocity of 150 miles per hour, gas blowers blow herbicides, pesticides, and fecal contaminants up from the ground into the air, especially troubling asthmatics and allergy sufferers, and increasing the threat to everyone from airborne diseases such as the Hanta Virus.

 Measure D97 gives blower-users, including the City, three months to convert to other methods, such as electric blowers, which are cheaper, quieter, and non-polluting. It will be much easier to enforce than our failed attempts to regulate hours or methods of use.

In none of the cities which have already banned blowers is there any evidence of resulting tax increases, or of financial hardship to gardeners. On the contrary, the removal of a significant health hazard and cause of stress promises substantial savings and benefits to the entire community.

But nobody can place a dollar value on the most important value of all: our QUALITY OF LIFE. We thank the thousands of you who signed our petition, carried by scores of volunteers. Now finish the job: Vote YES on Measure D97!

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