City Council is often criticized for lack of accomplishment, recently exemplified by its struggle with a moratorium on tasting rooms. As far as can be determined, murky Fair Election Practices laws forced Council to delay work on a tasting room moratorium until the legal parameters could be clarified. Apparently, Council’s initial attempt to enact a tasting room moratorium somehow would have inadvertently revoked the death penalty in Petaluma.
Just kidding. It seems that moratorium-enacting was complicated by the fact that some Council members owned property within 500 feet of the nearest tasting room, and—in a world in which no one actually lives—their moratorium vote conceivably might have affected their property values, up or down. (If their property was five hundred and one feet from a tasting room, then it is written that “The vote shall be pure and none shall question it.” 2nd Leviticus; City Ord. §3406.14.) That said, regardless of the distance to the nearest tasting room, only fools vote against their interests and no one on Council is . . . oh, never mind. At any rate, Council managed to figure out how to pass a moratorium.
This proved Council can accomplish things when it sets its minds to it. An earlier example was Council’s vote to ban the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in Sonoma. That ban went into effect one year ago this month.
One would think that when Council accomplishes something it would be celebrated. But no. Instead, a band of local Free Market patriots, possibly believing gas-powered blowers were protected by the 2nd Amendment, collected enough signatures to put the ban on the 2016 ballot, hoping to persuade voters to reverse it.
The requisite initiative petition signatures were delivered to City Hall on a pony (yes), escorted by a compatriot in a Volkswagen honking the horn to attract attention. They successfully attracted the attention of a police officer but their uprising against Tyrannical Government collapsed when voters affirmed Council’s decision to ban gas-powered leaf blowers, effective January 2017.
The ensuing Silence has been deafening. Blissful. Peaceful. Delicious. Snooze-in-your-hammock deafening.
The 2017 leaf crop, the first since the ban took effect, is now history. Landscapers and homeowners gathered, bagged and hauled all the leaves away lest a Tourist slip on one and lose her wallet. Thanks to the ban, for the first time in living memory it all happened quietly—without ear-shattering, carbon-belching, #@*% gas-powered leaf blowers.
Despite warnings from Free Marketeers that the Collapse of the Republic would follow any ban on gas leaf blowers, nothing of the sort happened. No landscaper was driven out of business or into financial ruin. No homeowner went into cardiac arrest while using rakes, brooms and whisper-quiet Electric Blowers. No one’s property became a fetid Mumbai hell-hole of leaves, vermin and decay which wasn’t already in that condition before the ban.
The only post-ban difference was . . . Silence. Gorgeous. Hear-Yourself-Think. Snooze-in-Your-Jammies, Kiss-the-Dog, Cuddle-the-Cat… Silence.
A local wag noted that the valiant efforts of a small band of residents—‘Sonoma CALM’—to rid the City of obnoxious gas-blowers was so successful that an outspoken opponent of the ban left town for Nevada, leaving only words in cyberspace to remind us how toxic things were in Sonoma before the ban.