Grandmother Proves Rake and Broom as Fast as Leaf Blowers (January 8, 1998 press release from Zero Air Pollution, Los Angeles) In fighting the ban on gas powered leaf blowers gardeners have argued that it would take them twice as long to do jobs if they had to use rakes and brooms. But Diane Wolfberg, a Palisadian grandmother in her late 50s, proved them wrong in tests conducted by the Department of Water & Power Leafblower Task Force last Thursday. In three tests involving gas powered leaf blowers and battery powered leaf blowers, Diane cleaned the areas using rakes or brooms faster than any of the battery powered blowers and almost as fast as the gas powered leaf blowers and she did a better job in cleaning up the areas. The Task Force, formed at the direction of the Los Angeles City Council, is composed of two representatives from the gardeners' associations and one representative each from the landscape contractors association, the dealers, DWP, the Department of Parks and Recreation, General Services, the City Council, and the homeowners. It is evaluating electrical alternatives to the gas powered leaf blowers. When it was proposed that the electrical equipment be tested against gas powered leaf blowers which would be the baseline for comparison, the homeowner representative, Jack Allen, also of the Palisades, suggested that rakes and brooms be included in the comparison. Wolfberg, who like Allen, is a member of Zero Air Pollution (ZAP), volunteered. In the first test, which required each participant to clean a pebbled cement patio area approximately 100 square feet in size with eight chairs placed on the patio, diminutive Wolfberg cleaned the area in two minutes and 30 seconds. The gas powered leaf blower operated by a large, well muscled gardener cleaned the area in two minutes but like all the leaf blowers, did not clean the area of small nuts or leaf stems, something Wolfberg was able to do. In a second test involving the moving of paper cups and wadded paper down a 50 foot slope and back up again, she was as fast as the gas powered leaf blower and faster than the electric blowers. In the third test, requiring the cleaning of a heavy bed of pine needles and dirt down a thirty foot concrete ramp, she was the fastest and the cleanest. The leaf blowers all sent columns of damp dirt flying into the air as much as five or six feet. Wolfberg's performance did not impress the gardeners but did impress others who had been convinced that using rakes and brooms was not feasible. The representative from DWP told Wolfberg that she had won him over.