Press Democrat Enthusiastically Endorses Measure V. YES on V!

Now all three local papers have endorsed Measure V — The Sonoma Valley Sun, The Index-Tribune, and The Press Democrat.

The Press Democrat’s Editorial Board wrote an excellent piece endorsing a YES vote on Measure V. It provides a clear and accurate summary of the issue. Bravo PD! And thank you!

Measure V is also endorsed by The Sierra Club, Sonoma County Conservation Action, the Sonoma County Democratic Party, and many businesses and individuals.

Why I’m Voting YES on Measure V

Measure V upholds an ordinance passed by the City Council, and is on the ballot due to a referendum challenge. Voting YES on Measure V prohibits only gas-powered leaf blowers, while allowing quieter and emissions-free battery/electric blowers.

Some common misunderstandings:

“Will my rates will go up? Will workers lose their jobs?”

In the 20 plus California cities with leaf blower bans, there was NO reported job loss or increases in landscape costs.

“What’s next? Lawnmowers?”

Not a single city that banned gas blowers went on to ban other lawn equipment, motorcycles, or anything else.

“How can my property be maintained without a gas blower?”

Rakes and brooms worked fine for generations. Other options include sweepers and battery blowers. Also, leaves aren’t garbage—leaving them under shrubs and trees provides habitat for amphibians and pollinators, enriches the soil, and decreases water use.

“Batteries don’t hold a charge, and wind up in the landfill.”

The new lithium ion batteries hold a charge for hours, and are fully recyclable.

“I don’t want to have to buy an electric.” The investment in a battery blower is soon recouped in savings for fuel and maintenance that is no longer needed.

“Electric are louder!”

Consumer Reports and other sources confirm: gas blowers are louder. But noise pollution involves more than decibels; frequency and other sound components are what make gas blowers uniquely disruptive.

“The health claims are fabricated.”

The American Lung Association, Mt. Sinai pediatricians, Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Harvard School of Public Health, Scientific American, and many such organizations have cited the health risks associated with gas leaf blower use. That’s why the School District and Hospital stopped using them!

“Gas leaf blowers don’t pollute that much.”

Unlike cars, gas leaf blowers are unregulated. 30% of the fuel is emitted unburned from their two-stroke engines. The exhaust contains carcinogenic particulates like Benzene. Other components form ozone, a greenhouse gas 100 times more potent than CO2.

“Why should taxpayers cough up money for a leaf blower Enforcement Officer?”

The Code Enforcement Officer enforces the entire Municipal Code.

“We’ve wasted $100,000 on this issue; there are more important issues!”

That figure was never substantiated. Yes, there are many important issues, including climate change, and air and noise pollution, which Measure V addresses overnight!

“Sounds good! So does Measure V finally prohibit blowing into the street or onto neighboring property?”


VOTE YES ON MEASURE V to prohibit gas leaf blowers and improve the quality of life for all Sonomans.

YES ON MEASURE V – Endorsements


sierra-club      scca_logo_final_color-high-res        demos_son_cty_official_logo

Sonoma CALM Committee, Yes on Measure V – Endorsements to Date (partial list):

The Sierra Club

Sonoma County Conservation Action

Sonoma County Democratic Party

Bill Lynch

Nicki Naylor

Katherine and Bernie Krause

Wild Sanctuary

Catherine Sevenau, Century 21 Realty

Tiffany Knef, Sotheby’s Realty

Laurie Gallian, Mayor of Sonoma

Madolyn Agrimonti, Mayor Pro Tem

David Cook, City Council, former Mayor

Joanne Sanders, former Mayor

Steve Barbose, former Mayor

Larry Barnett, former mayor

Bob Edwards and Joan Tillman

Fred Allebach

Ben Boyce

Randall Cook

Tom Conlon

Tim Boeve

Deb and James Fallows

Lucy Weinstein, MD

Chantal Jaycox, RN and Russ Jaycox

Nadja Levesque, RN and Greg Levesque

Dr. Jamie Banks

Grant Dobson, DC, Valley Sport & Spine

Dr. Val Forsythe, DVM

Nicole Abate Ducarroz, School Board Member

Gary DeSmet, School Board Member, and Vicki DeSmet

Georgia Kelly, Praxis Peace Institute

Denise Wilbanks

Inge Hutzel

Peter Coster

David Boger

Veronica Brooks

Dayna Lee

Karin Skooglund

Paul and Kristine Benson

Steven and Andrea Bossio

Paul Maysonave

Thomas Thornley and Robin Nelson

Ed and Debra Vaughn

Liz and Brian Jenks

Sheana Davis

Laura and Rich Stanfield

Mary Favaro

Annie Cassidy and Sam Turner

Cindy and Michael Kenton

Jaime and Rick Love

Darryl and Cecilia Ponicsan

Yannick Phillips

Adam Cottingham

Lori and Kevin McGovern

Terry and Nickolai Mathison

Jaime Peckham and Betsy Griggs

Lynn Clary

Tom Wright

David Eichar and Josette Brose-Eichar

Shannon and Ben DeWeese

Steve Meloan

Connie Rhodes and Mark Janofsky

Pat Coleman and Rick Suerth

Rosemary Hakim

Jules Abate

Mara Lee and Fred Ebert

Sarah Ford and Nick Monroe

Sterling Stevens, Get Reel Lawncare

Renee Wiggs, En-Er-Gy Studio

Zac McCormick, Fine Line Art Supplies

Alex Leader, Leader Glass

Sonoma Old School

EJ 588 Salon

Gigi Phleger, GT Designs

John Micklewright Design

Huntington CALM

Quiet Communities

Organizations choosing not to use gas leaf blowers, for the health and comfort of their students, patients, and customers (partial list):

Sonoma Valley Hospital

Sonoma Valley Unified School District

Vintage House

Sonoma Valley Museum of Art

MacArthur Place

Sonoma Market


Bolt Staffing

Vintage House Goes Gas Leaf Blower Free!

Another Sonoma organization has looked at the evidence provided by Sonoma CALM and decided to stop the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers. The Vintage House board met last week and made the decision. Thank you to Vintage House for protecting the health and well-being of your members, guests, staff, and neighbors, not to mention all the people using the bike path on bikes, on foot, and with strollers.

Vintage House joins the Sonoma Valley Hospital, The School District, Sonoma Market, The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, MacArthur Place, Williams-Sonoma, Bolt Staffing, Get Reel Lawncare, and many other local businesses and organization that do not use gas-powered leaf blowers, out of consideration for their clients and customers.



Sonoma County Democrats Endorse YES on Measure V

demos_son_cty_official_logoSonoma CALM is pleased to announce that the Sonoma County Democratic Party has endorsed the Sonoma CALM YES ON MEASURE V Committee. They join the Sierra Club,  Catherine Sevenau/ Century 21, Tiffany Knef/ Sotheby’s Realty, former Mayor Joanne Sanders, Zac McCormick/ Fine Line Art Supplies, Bob Edwards, Renee Wiggs/ En-Er-Gy Studio, Grant Dobson, DC/ Valley Sport & Spine, Get Reel Lawncare, Mayor Laurie Gallian, Council Member Madolyn Agrimonti, Sonoma Old School, Fred Allebach, Paul’s Produce, Darryl and Cecelia Ponicsan, Broadway Veterinary Hospital, John Micklewright Designs, Alex Leader/ Leader Glass, Quiet Communities, Huntington CALM, and others.

Sonoma Valley Hospital Now Using Only Rakes and Brooms!

Sonoma CALM is pleased to announce that the Sonoma Valley Hospital (SVH) has moved away from gas-powered leaf blowers and is now using rakes and brooms to maintain its property.

Kudos to Waldron Landscaping for going along with this bold, forward-thinking plan to further promote the health and well-being of SVH patients and visitors, as well as staff, neighbors, and passersby.

As SVH CEO Kelly Mather said recently in the Index-Tribune’s 2016 Health and Wellness magazine, “We see our mission as one of improving the health of our community, and we begin by creating a healing environment here in the hospital.” Discussing the hospital’s six unique Healing Gardens, she continued “…they have a healing influence, inspiring staff, patients, and visitors to relax and connect with nature.” The decision to cease the use of gas blowers around the hospital is certainly in keeping with this vision of a peaceful, quiet environment.

The hospital made this decision after carefully reviewing information provided by Sonoma CALM, including testimony from physicians and other hospitals, a letter of endorsement from Superintendent Louann Carlomagno of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, and information about how other business and municipalities effectively manage maintenance and landscaping without gas leaf blowers.

For more information on the benefits of not using gas leaf blowers in medical settings, see “High hospital noise levels hinder patient recovery,Advisory Board, January 2012. 

The Sierra Club Endorses Measure V


Sonoma CALM has secured The Sierra Club’s endorsement of Measure V.

Measure V upholds the ordinance banning gasoline-powered leaf blowers that was passed by the City Council, but sent to the ballot due to a citizen’s referendum.

Measure V is in keeping with The Sierra Club’s environmental mission, which includes promoting the responsible use of the earth’s ecosystems and resources, and educating and enlisting humanity to protect and restore the quality of the natural and human environment.


A Veterinarian Weighs in on Leaf Blowers

From Sonoma veterinarian Vallard Forsythe:

In support of local efforts to ban gas leaf blowers and improve the quality of life in Sonoma and drastically reduce unnecessary harmful particulate matter in the air we breathe, I wanted to contribute a few statements and my opinion from the vantage point of a working small animal veterinarian in Sonoma.

It is very well known that particulate matter such as dust, dirt, and debris from the environment can pose a tremendous health challenge for dogs, cats, and virtually all other mammals. While the normal changes in seasons, weather, rainfall, and pollen counts can all affect animals, extra particulate matter such as the debris aerosolized by leaf blowers poses a sharply increased risk for a variety of health problems for our domestic species. Among those most notably seen by me directly are:

  1. Significant flare up of cough, wheezing, and “respiratory” issues that encompass both infectious and inflammatory types of diseases.
  2. Eye problems of unknown origin–either in one or both eyes: owners report a clear discharge from the eyes or a “pink eye” situation with no previous known injury.
  3. Nasal discomfort: rubbing and snorting, as if to remove a “foreign body” that is not there, but rather a minute irritant that was substantial enough to bother the mucous membranes and irritate the pet’s nasal passages.
  4. Skin issues, including itching and scratching. These clinical signs are usually blamed completely on atopy or “allergy.” There is well documented, long standing scientific evidence that the irritation in the skin is secondary to allergens that the pet has inhaled.

In addition, because pets are so sound sensitive, the use of leaf blowers can startle animals and cause outdoor pets to dart away from yards and potentially scare them into more dangerous situations such as traffic or other precarious situations.

The blasting “on and off” sounds made with gas leaf blowers has a definite impact on small animals’ “fight or flight” response, causing an immediate release of cortisol into the bloodstream. Especially with cats, this taxes the body and leads to a surge in blood glucose almost instantly. In my opinion, this is a good example of the loud noise made by gas leaf blowers having a negative impact on animals all around our town—it is not an obvious impact, but once you realize what is going on inside their bodies on a cellular level, you realize that maybe the impact is farther reaching than we previously realized.

The information and examples I have stated above are only a small sample of the deleterious effects that leaf blowers have on the small animals of Sonoma. I hope that my words will help get some conversations started that emphasize the importance of considering the quality of life for our pets in Sonoma as people make an effort to decide the fate of leaf blowers in our community.

I would be happy to answer any other questions regarding this topic as my time and schedule permit.


Vallard Forsythe, DVM ~ Broadway Veterinary Hospital

Support Sonoma’s Blower-Free Businesses


Are you a SONOMA BUSINESS that refrains from using gas-powered leaf blowers? We want to acknowledge you!

A few weeks ago we witnessed a man in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank forced to endure clouds of dust from a gas-powered leaf blower as he tried to wheel his chair up a ramp to get a coffee on Broadway. Because of this, we decided we couldn’t wait until November for the ban on gas leaf blowers to be decided. So we hit the streets to ask business owners to voluntarily stop using them to clean their properties. Just as we expected, we received 100% support from everyone we spoke to.

Sonoma CALM affiliates include Sonoma Market (Manager Al Minero: “This falls in line with our new green plan”), Fine Line Art Supplies (Owner Zac McCormick: “It’s good for business”), MacArthur Place (Manager: “Why would we want to bother our guests?”), Get Reel Lawncare, Bolt Staffing, Broadway Veterinary Hospital, The Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, Sisters Consignment, G’s General Store,  Three Dog Bakery, GT Designs,  Sonoma Old School, EJ 588 Studio, En-Er-Gy Studios, and many more. 

We will publish a full list soon with contact information so you can support these businesses and promote emissions-free, quiet landscaping!

The Sonoma Valley Unified School District has also ceased using gas-powered leaf blowers (Superintendant Carlomagno: “…to protect the children and staff”) and the Sonoma Valley Hospital, with its healing gardens, and Vintage House, followed suit.

If you are a landscape company  working without leaf blowers, or willing to do so, we want to spotlight your business as many Sonoma residents are asking for this kind of service.

And remember, use a rake and broom, and ask your landscaper to do the same. After all, he/she is employed by YOU and it’s the neighborly thing to do. Plus, your landscape workers will no longer be exposed to dangerous noise levels, toxic emissions, and fine particulate matter.

Please visit and “like” our Sonoma CALM Facebook page.