Monday, March 07, 2022
By Amanda Valentovic on February 25, 2022Comments Offon South Orange board tables leaf blower ordinance following blowback
SOUTH ORANGE, NJ — The South Orange Board of Trustees tabled an ordinance that proposed a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers in the summer at its Feb. 14 meeting after hearing criticism of the ordinance at the meeting. As proposed before tabling, the ordinance would have banned gas-powered blowers between May 1 and Sept. 30. Additionally, the ordinance would prohibit the use of all leaf blowers on Sundays and holidays observed by the village year-round, and their use would be limited to between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday through Friday and between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday.
“Outlawing gas blowers in the summer will force some people to maintain their properties less, reducing the appeal of our community,” South Orange resident Michael Goldberg said during the public comment portion of the meeting. “It will also force landscapers to buy new equipment, and those costs would pass on to homeowners. Not to mention, forcing homeowners and landscapers to buy new equipment while already having perfectly working equipment isn’t very environmentally friendly. We should make it easier for homeowners to maintain their properties, not harder.”
Goldberg also brought up what he found to be the most troubling aspect of the ordinance, the fact that it prohibited use of the gas-powered blowers on Sundays, also known as a “blue law.” He said allowing them to be used on Saturday but not on Sunday is discriminatory to those who observe Saturday as a day of rest.
“I find it shocking and frankly offensive that, in such a progressive community that claims to welcome everyone, we could create a blue law,” Goldberg said. “I deliberately didn’t move to Bergen County because I didn’t want to be restricted by their blue laws and I feel that implementing a blue law here could have a similar chilling effect on which demographics are drawn to the community.”
In an email to the BOT that was read during public comment, resident Amanda Burns said her house is surrounded by many different trees that drop debris all year round and, as someone who does her own landscaping, she can’t keep up by using only rakes.
“My husband and I do our own landscaping, and don’t have loads and loads of time to rake or sweep this debris all year long,” Burns wrote. “Hiring someone to landscape is already something we can’t afford, and now will be more expensive if we can’t do it ourselves. We are all concerned about the environment, but there are many bigger places to start rather than picking at the small fruit, in my opinion.”
Despite the backlash that caused the trustees to table the ordinance, there was also support for the ordinance from some residents. Linda Hadley, Kirk Barrett and Whelan Mahoney all asked that it be approved on first reading. Linda Beck, the chairperson of the South Orange Environmental Commission, also spoke during public comment in support of the ban.
Satan’s policy in this final conflict with God’s people is the same that he employed in the opening of the great controversy in heaven. He professed to be seeking to promote the stability of the divine government, while secretly bending every effort to secure its overthrow. And the very work which he was thus endeavoring to accomplish he charged upon the loyal angels. The same policy of deception has marked the history of the Roman Church. It has professed to act as the vicegerent of Heaven, while seeking to exalt itself above God and to change His law. Under the rule of Rome, those who suffered death for their fidelity to the gospel were denounced as evildoers; they were declared to be in league with Satan; and every possible means was employed to cover them with reproach, to cause them to appear in the eyes of the people and even to themselves as the vilest of criminals. So it will be now. While Satan seeks to destroy those who honor God’s law, he will cause them to be accused as lawbreakers, as men who are dishonoring God and bringing judgments upon the world.
God never forces the will or the conscience; but Satan’s constant resort—to gain control of those whom he cannot otherwise seduce—is compulsion by cruelty. Through fear or force he endeavors to rule the conscience and to secure homage to himself. To accomplish this, he works through both religious and secular authorities, moving them to the enforcement of human laws in defiance of the law of God.
Those who honor the Bible Sabbath will be denounced as enemies of law and order, as breaking down the moral restraints of society, causing anarchy and corruption, and calling down the judgments of God upon the earth. Their conscientious scruples will be pronounced obstinacy, stubbornness, and contempt of authority. They will be accused of disaffection toward the government. Ministers who deny the obligation of the divine law will present from the pulpit the duty of yielding obedience to the civil authorities as ordained of God. In legislative halls and courts of justice, commandment keepers will be misrepresented and condemned. A false coloring will be given to their words; the worst construction will be put upon their motives.
As the Protestant churches reject the clear, Scriptural arguments in defense of God’s law, they will long to silence those whose faith they cannot overthrow by the Bible. Though they blind their own eyes to the fact, they are now adopting a course which will lead to the persecution of those who conscientiously refuse to do what the rest of the Christian world are doing, and acknowledge the claims of the papal sabbath.
The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. Liberty of conscience, which has cost so great a sacrifice, will no longer be respected. In the soon-coming conflict we shall see exemplified the prophet’s words: “The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Revelation 12:17. GC 591.1 – GC 592.3
“With this ordinance, South Orange is not proposing anything innovative,” Beck said. “This is the first step of many steps we need to take to catch up. If a statewide ban gets signed into law, New Jersey municipal workers will have no choice but to retire their municipal gas-powered leaf blowers and think long and hard about an alternate leaf management strategy.”
Trustee Bill Haskins, who in the past has been the chairperson of the Environmental Commission and who took the lead on writing the ordinance, said at the meeting that it’s possible similar regulations could be passed at the state level, so it would be helpful for local municipalities to be ready for it by passing something similar.
“We’re going to have this kind of regulation surrounding us; we might have this regulation in our future as a state,” he said. “It would be good for us to get ready, and the reason we have to get ready is because we have no choice. We’re in an environmental crisis, and we have to respond. This is a small thing that we can do.”
Haskins made the motion to table the ordinance and revisit it at a future meeting to ensure that as much public comment could be taken into account as possible.
“I think the right thing for us to get this right and make it really work for South Orange is to table it at this time, do some revisions and then revisit it in a couple of weeks,” he said. “We’re very close, but we just need a little bit more.”
Climate Change, FEATURED, South Orange Board of Trustees, South Orange Environmental Commission
South Orange board tables leaf blower ordinance following blowback added by Amanda Valentovic on February 25, 2022
Satan works through the elements also to garner his harvest of unprepared souls. He has studied the secrets of the laboratories of nature, and he uses all his power to control the elements as far as God allows. When he was suffered to afflict Job, how quickly flocks and herds, servants, houses, children, were swept away, one trouble succeeding another as in a moment. It is God that shields His creatures and hedges them in from the power of the destroyer. But the Christian world have shown contempt for the law of Jehovah; and the Lord will do just what He has declared that He would—He will withdraw His blessings from the earth and remove His protecting care from those who are rebelling against His law and teaching and forcing others to do the same. Satan has control of all whom God does not especially guard. He will favor and prosper some in order to further his own designs, and he will bring trouble upon others and lead men to believe that it is God who is afflicting them.
While appearing to the children of men as a great physician who can heal all their maladies, he will bring disease and disaster, until populous cities are reduced to ruin and desolation. Even now he is at work. In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous. Destruction will be upon both man and beast. “The earth mourneth and fadeth away,” “the haughty people … do languish. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.” Isaiah 24:4, 5.
And then the great deceiver will persuade men that those who serve God are causing these evils. The class that have provoked the displeasure of Heaven will charge all their troubles upon those whose obedience to God’s commandments is a perpetual reproof to transgressors. It will be declared that men are offending God by the violation of the Sunday sabbath; that this sin has brought calamities which will not cease until Sunday observance shall be strictly enforced; and that those who present the claims of the fourth commandment, thus destroying reverence for Sunday, are troublers of the people, preventing their restoration to divine favor and temporal prosperity. Thus the accusation urged of old against the servant of God will be repeated and upon grounds equally well established: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim.” 1 Kings 18:17, 18. As the wrath of the people shall be excited by false charges, they will pursue a course toward God’s ambassadors very similar to that which apostate Israel pursued toward Elijah.
The miracle-working power manifested through spiritualism will exert its influence against those who choose to obey God rather than men. Communications from the spirits will declare that God has sent them to convince the rejecters of Sunday of their error, affirming that the laws of the land should be obeyed as the law of God. They will lament the great wickedness in the world and second the testimony of religious teachers that the degraded state of morals is caused by the desecration of Sunday. Great will be the indignation excited against all who refuse to accept their testimony. GC 589.2 – GC 590.2