Dan Rattiner's Stories

Leaf Blower Rebellion: People Stealing Hamptons Blowers – Can You Hear Me Okay?

Thefts may be an attempt at quieting all that noise.

Earsplitting gasoline-powered leaf blowers get stolen in the Hamptons. The thefts appear in the police blotters all the time.

For example, this past week, The East Hampton Star wrote about the Redmax leaf blowers allegedly stolen from a trailer at 225B Springs-Fireplace Road. Another Redmax backpack blower was allegedly stolen from Manuel M. Andrade in East Hampton. A Stihl hand blower disappeared from the parked dump truck of Jose F. Santiago. There is also mention of a leaf blower allegedly stolen from Everton Nathaniel.

On some occasions, the police arrest those who they believe are guilty. But are peaceable homeowners forming vigilante groups to take possession of all these insanely loud landscaping machines? Whatever happened to leaf raking? Rake, rake, rake.

The last time an open rebellion took place in the Hamptons by a group of people who just wouldn’t take it anymore was the time when the State of New York passed a law requiring surfcasters to pay to acquire a license to throw their fishing rod lines into the Atlantic Ocean. At that time, the local fishing stations here on the East End simply refused to sell anybody licenses. And the other places where you could buy one had no takers. Eventually the state relented. They would give away the licenses. The goal, they said, was only to determine how many surfcasters there were in any given area. The protest ended.

And the last time there was a rebellion about leaves in the Hamptons was 10 years ago, when the Town of East Hampton, going through a terrible financial time, announced that the upcoming November curbside leaf pickup program would be suspended. Just bag your leaves and take the leaves to the dump yourselves.

People discovered a sneaky operation they could perform during the night in the Village of Sag Harbor. For some reason—it’s an interesting story how this happened, but not for this story about leaves—the entity known as the Village of Sag Harbor straddles two townships. One half of Sag Harbor is in Southampton. The other half of Sag Harbor is in East Hampton. The dividing line is along the centerline of a street known, as you might expect, as Division Street.

You know what’s coming. That November, people on the Southampton side of Division Street woke up in the morning to find massive amounts of bagged leaves by the curb in front of their homes. What a mess. The following November, the leaf pickup was back to normal and the vigilante leaf operations ended.

At the present time, the Village of East Hampton is trying to fashion a law banning gasoline-driven leaf blowers throughout the community. At a meeting last week, East Hampton Town Trustee Arthur Graham was taken to task for suggesting that golf courses be exempt from the proposed new law because they are, by design, far, far away from disturbing a house next door. “You are a vested member of the Maidstone Club,” the Mayor said. “I would ask that you recuse yourself. You cannot serve two masters. It’s called transparency and ethics.” Graham has thus far declined.

Environmentalists should get into this discussion. The leaves on the trees die, turn bright colors and fall to the ground. On the ground, they eventually turn to fertilizer, enriching the earth. Why the hell do we want to make so much noise to just push them from one place to another?

And what will we do with all the banned gas-driven leaf blowers? Here are some suggestions:

1. Turn them on to get teenagers off their cellphones.
2. Use them to dry hair after a shower when in a hurry.
3. Keep one in your bedroom. When a burglar breaks into your home, point it at him and turn it on. He flees.
4. Form leaf-blower marching bands to spice up Fourth of July parades and halftime shows.
5. Have them handy while watching TV. Democrats drown out Fox. Republicans drown out CNN. Refuse to listen to ANYTHING that Trump says.

BONUS STORY:

Aerospace Development
The Riverhead Town Board voted last week 3–2 to sell 1,643 acres of the former Grumman Aerospace property in Calverton for $40 million. The buyer is a group that includes Stuart Bienenstock, the billionaire owner of the largest shopping center in the country, the Mall of America. He intends to develop the property as a center for education, research and production for the aerospace industry.

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