Legislature taking action on awful leaf blower noise

The OlympianJanuary 27, 2014 

Enterprise Services grounds staff member Joe Johnson clears fallen leaves from a section of Maple Park Dr. near the Capitol Campus Monday as fall color hits its peak in the South Sound.With sun-basked color courtesy of Mother Nature making a Halloween appearance Monday an ever-so-slight crispness in the air harkened the impending seasonal change as colder and wetter weather is predicted for the annual upcoming fall-back weekend (STEVE BLOOM)/staff photographer

STEVE BLOOM — The Olympian

YAY: Ban the blowers

State Sen. Kevin Ranker wants to ban leaf blowers on the Capitol Campus. These noisy cousins of the Midwestern snow blower not only annoy people, says the senator, but pound-for-pound they emit an excessive amount of greenhouse gases. The senator prefers that state employees use brooms, rakes or electric blowers to clean up campus lawns.

Is it too much to hope that with the reduced noise level envisioned by Sen. Ranker, that Republican and Democrat lawmakers could actually hear each other?

BOO: Ban the blowers

We don’t understand why Sen. Ranker stopped with leaf blowers. Why not ban gasoline lawn mowers and hedge trimmers at the same time? We can’t wait to see the Department of Enterprise Services fiscal note on this one.

YAY: PFLAG-Olympia

The local chapter of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays, Olympia, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in November, says the passing of same-sex marriage laws has not lessened the demand for its support, education and advocacy work.

The group provides a monthly “opportunity for dialogue about sexual orientation and gender identity, and acts to create a society that is healthy and respectful of human diversity.”

Lately, the group has been welcoming people beyond the LGBT acronym. It’s now, LGBTIQQTSA, which stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, questioning, two spirit and ally.

 Longtime Lacey elected official Virgil Clarkson helped create PFLAG in 1993. The group meets the second Sunday of every month at the United Methodist Church on Legion Way.

YAY: Donating blood

The Puget Sound Blood Center recently handed out well-deserved honors to people who contributed blood or organized drives in Thurston and Mason counties. Keith Samplawski, principal of Lake Quinault High School registered 53 new donors and donated 95 units. Kris Grap, of Olympia made 120 whole blood donations, 162 platelet and 62 double platelet units.

Alan Robbins and the state Department of Ecology held 12 blood drives last year that brought in 173 donors and 408 units of blood. They also recognized Kathy Williams and the state Department of Health.

YAY: Perfect brackets

With a $1 billion prize on the line, we might fill out our March Madness bracket with a little more care this year. Multibillionaire Warren Buffett is insuring a Quicken Loans contest that will award a billion bucks to anyone who picks all 67 winners in the annual NCAA basketball tournament. The odds of winning: 1 in 1 billion. Good luck.

HUH: Bipartisan bivalve?

Generally speaking, we refer to bipartisanship as an initiative or piece of legislation supported by both Democrat and Republican lawmakers. We’re at a loss, however, to explain how that label applies to SB 6145, which would make the Olympia oyster the state’s official oyster.

If Sen. Karen Fraser (a Democrat) and Sen. Tim Sheldon (A Democrat in Republican clothing) both support the bill — two legislators who are ideological polar opposites — does that constitute bipartisanship?


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