When it comes to enforcing its leaf-blower ban, the city says no more Mr. Nice Guy.
This week staffers reported they're no longer issuing "courtesy" warning letters to violators.
Now, any one who uses a motorized leaf blower is handed a citation, and property owners are sent letters putting them on notice that future violations will not only be issued to the gardners—but also to them.
In a memo to the City Council, Santa Monica's Director of the Office of Sustainability Dean Kubani said it was "clear" property owners and landscapers were taking advantage of the warnings.
"Leaf blower operators were modifying the days and times that they worked in order to avoid being seen and photographed by City inspectors," he wrote.
Under the old warning process, Kubani said property owners had "two weeks to confirm that leaf blowers [were] no longer being used on the property" and staffers had to "see or photograph a violation in the field on the third instance in order to issue a citation."
Motorized leaf blowers were banned in 1991, but owners, water customers, and property and landscape management companies weren't held responsible under the law until the city's ordinance was amended in 2010.
Violators are subject to fines between $250 and $1,000.
Staffers had reported the 2010 amendment was effective because they saw a drop in reported violations. But in September, Kubani said a "large number" of complaints flowed into his office from residents who reported leaf blowers were still being used in certain parts of the city.