SFMTA Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) > January 8, 2009, minutes
City and County of San Francisco
Regular Meeting Minutes
Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 5:30 p.m.
1. Call to Order / Roll Call:
SFMTA CAC members present at Roll Call: Joan Downey, Emily Drennen, Steve Ferrario, Daniel Murphy, Greg Riessen, Norman Rolfe, Daniel Weaver and Ruth Wheeler.
SFMTA CAC members present, but absent at Roll Call: Dorris Vincent arrived at 5:35 p.m., Mary Burns arrived at 5:40 p.m. and Griffith Humphrey arrived at 5:55 p.m.
SFMTA CAC members absent: Art Cimento, Cesar Perez and Jamison Wieser.
2. Adopt minutes of November 6, 2008:
On motion to adopt the minutes of November 6, 2008: Adopted
3. Public Comment concerning any issue within the jurisdiction of the Council and not noted on the agenda:
Anne McVee stated that passenger loading zones in front of hospitals should have curb cuts for wheelchair access. Chairman Murphy assigned the topic to the Engineering, Maintenance and Safety Committee.
4. Report of the Chairman: Daniel Murphy
No report presented.
5. Staff Report: (Discussion/Action)
The staff report was provided to the CAC.
6. Revenue Panel Options: (Discussion/Action) Sonali Bose
Sonali Bose, CFO/Director of Finance and Information Technology, presented the updated FY09 and FY10 operating budgets. Ms. Bose stated that the SFMTA is looking at a $40 million deficit. While many of the CAC recommendations had low revenue potential, the Revenue Panel favored the following recommendations:
a) An additional 0.5% to the payroll tax: Ms. Bose stated that while this proposal may generate $120 million in revenue, it would have a negative impact on business.
b) Add 1% to the utility users tax: Ms. Bose stated that currently utility taxes are not paid by residents. Adding 1% may translate to approximately $10 million in revenue.
c) Add .10% to the Property Transfer Tax: Ms. Bose stated that adding .10% to property sales would generate $17 million in revenue. According to Proposition A, the SFMTA Board can put this initiative directly on the ballot.
d) Charge a parking tax for all parking, including private parking lots that require no payment for parking: Ms. Bose stated that private parking lots would include those at shopping malls and grocery stores.
Ms. Bose stated that any taxation initiative requires voter approval.
e) Disabled Person Parking Placard (handicap placard) payment for parking: Ms. Bose stated that handicap placards are under the jurisdiction of the DMV. Therefore, this proposal would require a change to the State law. Statistics from sting operations against illegal placard users estimate one out of five placard users may not be legitimate. Griffith Humphrey stated that he receives a new handicap placard in the mail biannually, without having to reapply. Chairman Murphy stated that there are cities that charge handicap placard holders for parking. Space proximity is more desirable than paying for these spaces. He suggested closer parking spaces reserved for handicap placard holders with payment.
Ms. Bose stated that the Revenue Panel is still considering curb cut and motor vehicle recommendations; however, due to the poor economy, all the revenue would go to the General Fund and not to transit. The SFMTA is seeking to resolve its structural deficit by increasing the cost of fast passes and fares, enforcement, and increasing revenue from advertising.
7. Taxi Rules/Regulations: (Discussion/Action) Chris Hayashi
Chris Hayashi, Director of Taxi and Accessible Services, stated that the Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance that abolishes the Taxi Commission as of March 1, 2009 and brings the taxi industry under the jurisdiction of the SFMTA. Ms. Hayashi is integrating regulations in Article 16 of the Police Code and Taxicab Commission regulations into a single Motor Vehicle for Hire (MVFH) code that she is hoping to present to the SFMTA Board on February 3, 2009. If adopted, the new regulations would become effective on March 5, 2009.
Mark Gruberg, a driver, medallion holder and permit holder of the Green Cab Company, stated that the United Taxicab Workers (UTW) has not completed vetting the regulations. Regulations govern the lives of people in the industry. Mr. Gruberg is perturbed that the recommendation for a Taxi Advisory Council has three drivers without medallions as opposed to seven representatives of cab companies and medallion holders, whose interests are closely aligned.
John Haun, a driver, stated that he suffered a pinched nerve. When he returned to work with his doctor’s note, he was charged a gate fee for the day he missed work. Mr. Haun hopes that the CAC would look at changes to protect drivers from similar situations.
Anne McVee, a medallion holder and driver with Yellow Cab, expressed confidence that the CAC would be able to make decisions based on evidence and reason. She expressed concern about the process. Ms. McVee stated that a lot of incorrect information is put out. Decisions are based on spin and not on evidence, the custom of the trade, and accurate history.
Martin Smith, Luxor Cab, stated that he agrees that one needs to have a continuous A Card but it should not be retroactive. There is expectation that people just need to get on the list for one year. It should be retroactive. It is unfair that if a medallion holder gets sick, the 90 days has been cut to 60 days. With the economy as it is, locating spare parts can take as long as seven weeks; exceptions to the 30-day rule should be made if more time is needed. Regarding the Accessible Eligibility Requirement, we should get rid of the driving requirement for medallion holders. This would open up jobs for more people. Regarding corporate permits, Luxor reinvested money received from gate fees into the business. They are 60% “green.” If they had fleet medallions, they would have hybrids, better dispatch, etc. Taxi stands are desperately needed. Drivers get cited when waiting in loading or bus zones.
Dave Borlows stated that Public Convenience and Necessity (PCN) decisions vary from year to year and can be capricious. The criteria used are not reliable. PCN decisions should remain appealable to the Board of Appeals.
Barry Korengold, taxi driver, stated that no changes should be made during the transition without discussion with the Taxi Advisory Committee. He objects to how the Taxi Commission was merged with the SFMTA. He recently received his medallion while turning down other career opportunities. Now that all the rules are changing, he wonders if it was worth it. Should he became sick and fail to meet the required drive time, he could lose his medallion.
Tariq Mamoud, taxi driver, stated that he represents Yellow Cab drivers. There are a lot of complex issues that can take months to resolve. There are things wrong with the draft MVFH regulations. He stated that he would like to see everything, including the rules and regulations as they stand, transferred to the SFMTA first. Improvements, additions and deletions should be done later. Drivers were tired of nothing being solved. UTW does not represent taxi drivers.
Michael Spain, taxi owner and member of the Medallion Holders Association stated that Mr. Mamoud represents a large group of drivers including immigrant drivers. There are rules, as well as Article 16 of the Police Code, that were passed by the Board of Supervisors. Amending these rules would be bypassing ordinances established by the Board of Supervisors. He added that some of the rules were negotiated with the Taxi Commission. He recommends adopting the current rules and regulations and letting the Agency work them out later.
Carl Macmurdo, medallion holder, stated that a Taxi Advisory Council would have no authority, but could work with Ms. Hayashi, hear issues and make recommendations. A Council could take an in-depth look at proposed regulations and changes. The time requirement is currently being reviewed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. He felt that it is inappropriate that passage of controversial new regulations should be recommended while they are under litigation.
Bud Hazelkorn, United Taxicab Workers, stated that the UTW is constantly attacked. UTW is the only taxi drivers organization that established the gate cap and brought suit against cab companies that violated the law over gate fees. UTW has been working with the CPUC and the Taxi Detail to fight against illegal limos. UTW fought against the security deposit imposed on drivers to keep their jobs.
Bruce Oka stated that the original intention of the SFMTA Board of Directors and Mr. Ford was to form a Taxi Advisory Council to deal with taxi issues on a long-term basis. It would be in the best interest of the taxi industry and its members.
Steve Ferrario stated that one of the recommendations made by the SFMTA Taxi Advisory Group (TAG) was that no changes be made to the regulations during the transition. Regarding the number of members serving on the Taxicab Advisory Council, the recommendation was a compromise in order to please and represent everyone. The interim TAG envisioned forming a Taxi Advisory Council to work on issues and day-to-day items. Mr. Ferrario agrees that establishing taxi street stands is a good idea. Mr. Ferrario suggests that the CAC not move on anything now.
Dorris Vincent asked if there were any unions for taxi drivers. Martin Smith said no. He stated that 99% of the drivers are independent contractors.
Dan Weaver stated that the old rules should stay in place, but after the transition the SFMTA should form a Taxi Advisory Council to work on issues as they arise.
Chairman Murphy stated that the SFMTA CAC has a chartered responsibility to advise the Agency on issues that, as of March 1, 2009, will include taxicabs. Currently there are specialized committees, such as the Muni Accessibility Advisory Council. Occasionally the CAC may collaborate with these bodies on transportation issues. Mr. Murphy sees a similar role for the CAC, where another committee would handle taxi issues and the CAC would address matters that have a broader impact on transportation.
Ms. Hayashi stated that if the SFMTA did not adopt new regulations, all permit decisions would come before the Board of Directors. Steve Ferrario stated that the Taxi Advisory Group acknowledged the temporary problem, but it would still be better to leave the existing Police Code and taxi regulations as they stand.
Dan Murphy moved the following recommendation:
The SFMTA CAC recommends that, to the extent possible, the Draft SFMTA Motor Vehicle for Hire Regulations be confined to the orderly transition of Police Code and Taxicab Commission Regulations into the Transportation Code, and to the extent possible and allowable under state law, refrain from adopting new substantive policy until the SFMTA Board takes over governance of the taxicab industry on March 1, 2009.
The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA Board adopt changes that allow individual permit issues to be heard by hearing officers upon the March 1, 2009 transition.
The SFMTA CAC recommends the formation of a Taxicab Advisory Council to advise the SFMTA on taxicab issues. Per its duties under the Charter to advise the SFMTA Board, the SFMTA CAC would hear taxicab issues that impact overall transportation issues of the city, but the scope of the Taxicab Advisory Council and the SFMTA CAC should not be mutually exclusive.
On the motion regarding a Taxicab Advisory Council: Adopted
8. Committee Reports:
9. Recommendation from a CAC Committee: (Discussion/Action)
Motion 081119.02: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA Board adopt the Revenue Panel recommendations.
Norm Rolfe moved to table Motion 081119.02 for further discussion.
On motion to table Motion 081119.02 for further discussion: Adopted.
Motion 081119.03: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA study the potential revenues and expenses of an additional 0.5% payroll tax, dedicated to transit, offset by a free Muni zone in the downtown corridor.
Norm Rolfe moved to amend the recommendation to delete the language “offset by a free Muni zone in the downtown corridor.” Without objection the recommendation was amended to read as follows:
The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA study the potential revenues and expenses of an additional 0.5% payroll tax, dedicated to transit.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.03 as amended: Adopted.
Motion 081119.04: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA more strictly enforce the 90-120 minute window for transfers, avoiding the issuance of transfers valid for longer than the intended period.
Mary Burns moved to delete the language “more strictly enforce the 90-120 minute window for transfers, avoiding the issuance of transfers valid for longer than the intended period.” Ms. Burns moved to add the language “improve operator training to ensure the time limits of transfers do not exceed the 90-120 minute window.” Without objection the recommendation was amended to read as follows:
The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA improve operator training to ensure the time limits of transfers do not exceed the 90-120 minute window.
On the motion to adopt Motion 081119.04 amended: Adopted.
Motion 081119.05: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider an increase in the Real Property Transfer Tax.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.05: The motion failed adoption.
Motion 081119.06: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider a Utility Users Tax, with an exemption for low income utility customers certified through the CARE program.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.06: The motion failed adoption.
Motion 081119.07: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider a parcel tax for transit, providing that such a tax is graduated based on a measure such as property value or square footage.
Norm Rolfe moved to table Motion 081119.07 until further discussion with the City Attorney.
On the motion to table Motion 08119.07: Adopted.
Motion 081119.08: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider a parking congestion impact fee in the downtown area, in the form of a surcharge for entering or exiting off-street parking facilities during times of peak congestion.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.08: Adopted.
Motion 081119.09: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider charging users of Disabled Person Parking Placards for parking at meters and providing additional blue ADA spaces citywide to offset the impact to users of Disabled Person Parking Placards.
Griffith Humphrey moved to add the language “The SFMTA CAC also recommends that the SFMTA seek such changes in the law that Disabled Person Parking Placard holders reapply periodically for their permits.” Without objection the recommendation was amended to read as follows:
The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider charging users of Disabled Person Parking Placards for parking at meters and providing additional blue ADA spaces citywide to offset the impact to users of Disabled Person Parking Placards. The SFMTA CAC also recommends that the SFMTA seek such changes in the law that Disabled Person Parking Placard holders reapply periodically for their permits.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.09 as amended: Adopted.
Motion 081119.10: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA consider a general obligation bond for capital expenses associated with the revenue-enhanced version of the TEP and other agency projects and ongoing capital needs.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.10: Adopted.
Motion 081119.11: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA work with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District to assess a new carbon-based car registration fee in San Francisco or the Bay Area to be collected by the Department of Motor Vehicles, and then dispensed by the Air District to support transit operations in the counties from which the fees were collected.
On the motion to adopt Motion 081119.11: Adopted.
Motion 081119.12: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA Board place at least one revenue measure on the ballot on or before the November 2010 election.
On the motion to adopt Motion 081119.12: Adopted.
Motion 081119.13: WHEREAS, The SFMTA and other City agencies aim to create beautiful streets, design safe bicycle access, provide world-class transit, and ensure public safety;
WHEREAS, Curb cuts (driveways) are built to provide automobile access from a public street to a private garage or other parking area, and are currently regulated by the City;
WHEREAS, Curb cuts reduce the space available for on-street parking, trees, transit shelters, furniture, illumination, and other amenities, which decrease the public benefit of the street;
WHEREAS, San Francisco has set goals to reduce automobile travel and ownership, in order to decrease pollution, congestion, noise, collisions, and greenhouse gas emissions, and to make streets more livable;
WHEREAS, San Francisco needs to provide more housing, particularly low-income housing, but every new housing unit constructed in most neighborhoods requires the construction of an off-street parking space;
WHEREAS, The SFMTA needs to identify new revenue sources, in order to meet voter-mandated service standards and compensate for cuts from state and federal funds;
WHEREAS, On November 18, 2008, the SF Board of Supervisors approved a fee on new curb cuts, but this does not apply to existing curb cuts; now therefore be it
RESOLVED, That the SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA staff, in collaboration with the SFMTA Revenue Panel, Planning Department, Department of Public Works, and other city agencies, explore the feasibility of a curb cut fee to be levied annually upon the owners of property that maintain active driveway access to a public street and exclusive use of curb space, as compensation for the decreased public benefit of the street resulting from said driveway. The fee could vary based on the number of parking spaces accessed by said curb cut. In conjunction with this fee, staff should also examine the elimination of minimum parking requirements in the San Francisco Planning Code for new residential and other development, primarily in retrofitted spaces originally constructed as vehicle garages.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.13: Adopted:
Motion 081119.14: The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA Board specify services and amenities the people of San Francisco will receive.
Mary Burns moved to add the language “present revenue measures in the context of.” Without object the recommendation was amended to read as follows:
The SFMTA CAC recommends that the SFMTA Board present revenue measures in the context of specific services and amenities the people of San Francisco will receive.
On motion to adopt Motion 081119.14 as amended: Adopted
10. Recommendation from a CAC Committee: (Discussion/Action)
Motion 081119.15: WHEREAS, Carl Street neighbors have waited more than six years for track replacement on the N-Judah line;
WHEREAS, Carl between Arguello Boulevard and the Sunset Tunnel is the narrowest residential street with rail in San Francisco;
WHEREAS, The Bredas have caused excessive noise and vibration resulting in damage to homes along Carl Street;
WHEREAS, $1.6 million in track repairs have been made in this area in the past five years; now therefore be it
RESOLVED That the SFMTA CAC again urges the SFMTA to expedite Carl Street track replacement and to utilize a direct fixation track method.
On the motion to adopt Motion 081119.15: Adopted.
11. Committee Members’ Questions/Information Requests: (Discussion)
Joan Downey requested information regarding the timeline for the Carl and Cole track.
Dan Weaver asked when the SFMTA Alerts would be reinstated.
12. Agenda Planning for the Next Regular Meeting Tentatively Scheduled:
Next regular meeting: February 5, 2009 at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, Conference Room 3074, at 5:30 p.m.
13. Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 9:24 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by:
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