Man’s Quiet Leaf Blower Brings Forth Joyful Noise


Just wait until beleaguered Los Angeles gardeners get wind of Gody Sanchez’s solution to the leaf blower controversy.

It’s a pollution-free, whisper-quiet leaf blower built from common car parts that may have enough power up its nozzle to sweep the blower ban debate right out of City Hall.

Sanchez, a Van Nuys auto mechanic, surprised gardeners in the fifth day of a hunger strike outside the mayor’s office when he showed up late Wednesday and strapped on his homemade leaf blower.


With the flick of a switch, he silently began blowing ficus leaves off the City Hall lawn.

“The idea for this came to me in a dream” after seeing protesting gardeners on TV, said the 36-year-old repairman as hunger strikers maneuvered to inspect his backpack-mounted blower--and to stay out of the way of its nozzle’s blast of air.

The blower uses an ordinary car battery to power a lightweight fan--the same type used to cool automobile radiators. The wind it creates is funneled into a hose attached to a hand-held nozzle.

The only sound from Sanchez’s blower was its whoosh of air and a whine that went unnoticed by passersby a few steps away. The sound of gasps could be heard from the hunger strikers and their supporters.

“We’re very impressed. All it needs is a little more strength. And that shouldn’t be hard to work out,” marveled striker Terry James, a North Hills gardener.

Hunger strike leaders quickly convinced Sanchez to return to City Hall today to accompany them to a meeting they have scheduled with Mayor Richard Riordan.

They intend to ask Riordan to veto the ban on gasoline-powered leaf blowers--or at least delay implementation of the ordinance until alternative equipment such as Sanchez’s can be developed, said Adrian Alvarez, a spokesman for the strikers.

“He and his leaf blower will illustrate the point we’ve been trying to make all along: that if industry is pressed creatively, they can come up with technology to deal with pollution as well as noise,” Alvarez said.

“Mr. Sanchez is even talking about adding a water sprayer to his blower that would help keep down dust. He is like a guardian angel that has come forward.”

Sanchez was still showing off his blower when Councilman Mike Hernandez walked out of City Hall and stopped to watch.

Sanchez pulled a scrap of paper from his pocket and showed Hernandez the blower’s design. He explained that his 10-year-old son, Gody Jr., awakened in the middle of the night and watched him sketch what he had dreamed.

Young Gody and sisters Reina, 11, and Karina, 5, looked on from the crowd of gardeners Wednesday. Gody pointed to a rack on top of the fan where a car radio can be attached. “You can listen to music while you work,” the boy explained. “We’re proud of what our father has done.”

Alvarez agreed. “To me, this guy is a living Edison,” he said.