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Crime

One-Time Use of a Leaf Blower in Manhattan Beach Could Land You in Jail

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Fri, Sep 16, 2011 at 3:25 PM

click to enlarge Photo courtesy of the Manhattan Beach Anti-Leaf Blower Association (ALBA). Really.
Ah, Manhattan Beach. Where celebrities sick of paparazzi camping outside their Santa Monica/WeHo/Beverly Hills mansions go to live their lives in peace -- a sea-breeze neighborhood just gorgeous and classy enough for the SoCal elite, without all the exhaust fumes and screaming fans on L.A. mainland. In a word: Paradise!

Not the kind of place, mind you, where the roar of a neighbor's leaf blower will be tolerated. Not even a little bit.

Updating the city's prior, more standard three-strike rule, in which violators would only be issued a misdemeanor after their third leaf-blowing incident...

... the City Council has now voted in favor of letting police issue misdemeanors upon first encounter, leading to jail time or a fat fine.

Now, we're no friend of the leaf blower. Whoever thought it was a good idea to reverse-vacuum your unwanted plant matter (like a non-absorbant napkin, the stuff you wish to get rid of is only displaced, not cleaned, to absurdly frustrating effect) needs to be leaf-blowered to death, without a doubt.

But former Councilmember Mitch Ward may be onto something when he argues to the Easy Reader that the harsh ordinance would make "criminals of hardworking laborers."

Ward continues: "[The council] should know better especially at a time when local jobs are extremely scarce."

But this is obviously about peeved residents, and #whitepersonproblems, and Manhattan Beach cops trying to make their jobs easier. Via the Reader:

Eve Irvine, chief of police of the Manhattan Beach Police Department, said eliminating the sliding scale of violations will lift a burden off of the police department. "It lessens the tracking system, which is kind of a nightmare," she said, adding, "We don't have to worry about somebody violating this infraction twice, getting convicted twice within a 12-month period, and in the third time infraction becomes a misdemeanor. It just becomes a lot easier for us as well, when it comes to citing."

Imagine if we made that argument about every city ordinance?

Los Angeles is much more lax on the practice. A rep for Street Services' investigation and enforcement division tells us that the first three times you're caught leaf-blowing within 500 feet of a residence, you'll be sent a letter. Then you'll get a hearing -- and "if you stay you'll stop, you're probably fine."

Then again, that's probably the reason everyone's moving to Manhattan Beach.

[@simone_electra/swilson@laweekly.com]

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