Cyclist longs for day leaf blowers banned
I’m disappointed that the Los Altos Hills City Council decided against banning gas-powered leaf blowers, especially given the current data regarding the extreme noise levels and health risks associated with these blowers (“LAH council throttles proposed leaf-blower ban,” Jan. 31).
According to the article, the noise emitted by the “two-stroke” machines is 100,000 times louder than Los Altos Hills’ 50-decibel exterior noise-level standard. In addition, gas-powered leaf blowers are linked to cardiovascular disease and lung cancer due to their stirring up of particulate matter. Furthermore, their carbon dioxide-emitting engines contribute to climate change, which also can have serious health consequences for humans.
As a cyclist who trains in beautiful Los Altos Hills, there is nothing worse than having to ride past the noise and exhaust of a gas-powered leaf blower – especially when climbing a steep hill. I have to cover my mouth and nose as I pass by the numerous gardeners using these blowers along my route. I long for the day when they are no longer allowed.
The reality is that if the social cost of carbon were included in the prices we pay, city council members likely would have chosen a more environmentally friendly, and therefore less expensive, alternative.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby volunteer
City, History Museum draft Halsey House plan
For the benefit of those who count on the Los Altos Town Crier for news about our community, I want to correct some information in the recent editorial about Halsey House, a city-owned historical landmark in Redwood Grove (“What’s the plan for Halsey House?” Jan. 31).
There are more than 20 such historical landmarks in our city, not six, as cited in the editorial. Some are owned by the city and others are owned by residents. The city purchased Halsey House and Redwood Grove in 1974. Halsey House was then used for almost four decades as a nature center, Ohlone interpretive center and public facility for small gatherings.
At the Jan. 23. council meeting, Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commissioner April Halberstadt explained that the owners of such landmark properties are required by California law to keep them in good repair.
Allowing Halsey House to remain neglected may leave the city of Los Altos legally vulnerable. It also seems to be poor governance to expect private owners of historical landmarks to do more than we do ourselves.
The council considered and rejected a proposal to spend $25,000 to “study” the situation further. Instead, councilwomen Jeannie Bruins, Jan Pepper and I voted to spend that same amount of money to take the first steps to restore the building.
As city law mandates, the Los Altos Historical Commission, with the support of the Los Altos History Museum, will now take the lead in drafting a plan to make this lovely, significant and important property useful to our citizens again.
We look forward to seeing it restored and repurposed so that everyone in our community will once again be able to enjoy this very special public asset, set among the peaceful redwood trees planted by the Halsey family almost 100 years ago.
Lynette Lee Eng
Los Altos City Councilwoman