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Commission Chambers

February 13, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

Present:  Gillespie; Breslin; Benjamin; Heinicke; Paek; Oneto; Oka

Absent:    None

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:33 P.M.

STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, Deputy Director Jordanna Thigpen, Executive Secretary Tamara Odisho – Taxi Commission, Tom Owen– City Attorney

·         Heidi Machen, Executive Director: Turn-off cell-phones, interferes with phone systems and we get feedback.


1.      Call to Order/Roll Call


2.      Public Convenience and Necessity [INFORMATION and ACTION]


·         Director Machen: Gave an overview of the Public Convenience & Necessity meeting

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Presented a power point presentation of the PC&N findings. Talked about issues for reform.

·         President Gillespie: Inquired about flag-down stands

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Bell men reported differently than flag-down survey.

·         Com Heinicke: Less than 50% response in any area of the City is bad.  Public is using other means of transportation because taxis aren’t available. 

·         ComBenjamin: GPS will alleviate this issue, Yellow and Luxor are two of 31 companies that currently have this in their cabs.

·         Com Oka: Sunset residents complain to him that trying to get a cab takes anywhere from 30-60 minutes. Not sure if more cabs are the answer.

·         Com Breslin: Have the supervisor’s seen the report? Regarding the airport, are there more cabs staged there? If not, then where are the cabs? We should have a system that has a revolving/rotating taxi at each taxi stand.  

·         Deputy Direcotr Thigpen: Yes, each was given a copy. We can look into the revolving taxis at the stands.

Public Comment:

·         SusanMizner, Executive Director, Mayor’s Office on Disability: Consistently receives complaints regarding unequal service from the disabled community. Thrilled about the ramp medallion proposal. Contacted community, and many couldn’t make it because of transportation issue.

·         Susan Wakman:  Problems with ramp and taxis not stopping for the blind. More cabs will alleviate the problem, especially if the commission would create a dedicated dispatch system.

·         Corey Lamb:

·         Name: Should increase the ramps

·         Name: Survey was good, should’ve surveyed the cab drivers as well.

·         Chuffa: I’m a rider and driver and am never satisfied with the number of taxis operating in the City.

·         Cheryl Domico: More ramp cabs needed

·         Cindy Ward: Appreciates survey but Desoto is poorly reflected, since they field 99.9% of their calls, dispatch works well for them.

·         James Kennedy: Conduct EIR on operation of CNG cabs

·         ChristopherFolker:  60 minute wait for ramp cabs; cell phone numbers of ramp drivers is the saver. Issuing more ramp taxis may lose business for minimum 2 ramp pick up.

·         Howard Shapman: Companies don’t share the ramps pick up’s equally, increase ramp service at airport and hotels.

·         Mike Errage: transportation problem isn’t just a problem effecting transportation but also the health, especially for disabled.

·         James Pie: Seniors Action Network; the recommendation for more medallions has been happening for a long time but nothing ever happens.

·         Barry Taranto: Top light issue, not in control of by the drivers, but companies.

·         John Lazar: Luxor and yellow have 40% of ramp cabs. There’s nothing that adequate. Cell phones a good business for ramp drivers, 1/3 of calls go directly to drivers.

·         RobertCezano: City is cheap and won’t subside ramp program. Charge no show customers.

·         Carl McMurdo: Amend Prop K, medallions shouldn’t all be CNG, Goldman study should be reviewed.

·         Jerald Ganity:  Worked over 28 years and makes money because he drives.

·         JaneBowlig: Increase won’t work, we should require drivers to take continuous classes. Ramps are needed but there is a structural problem.

·         Victoria: Illegal cabs and limos are a problem.

·         Thomas George Williams:  Cabs are not needed.

·         Charles Rathborn:  Report has discrepancies.

·         RuachGraffis: This issues has been discussed for years. Make ramp holders employees.

·         Mark Gruberg: Some taxis should be issued. Permit holders do well, working driver feels grunt of work.

·         NickSweiss: Ramps should not be going to the airport, should be in the City providing service to locals, should have incentives.

·         PeterWitt: 50% pick up rate in 2001, the times have changed after the dot com.

·         Michael Kwok:  Beta issue with ramps

·         Mike Spain: Should issues 219 medallions. Chases down and out illegal limos.

·         Steve Remers: Can make money working a 10 hour shift. Not sure why there’s a wait, enough cabs.

·         Nate Dwiri: Same arguments year after year.

·         Com Heinicke: What’s the response peak-time?

·         Nate Dwiri: Average time 6-8 minutes, if traffic is heavier times of course increase.

·         Anne Ferran: Sister uses ramps and only way to get a cab is through cell phone. Wait sometimes can be up to one hour. Called fire department at times to help.

·         Jim Gillespie: Yellow, Luxor and Desoto makeup 75% of dispatch, response is very good. Extra ramps won’t solve the problem but a revamping of the system will.

·         Taso Zagraphos: Report skewed.

·         Tariq Mehmood:  Yellow cab started new system, which has a good result.  Business isn’t in the sunset, no matter how many medallions are increased.

·         Karen Horning: Bad survey, illegal cabs servicing hotels not drivers fault.

·         Adam:  No need for cabs, but need for professional drivers.

·         Michael Fergeson: Ramp drivers should have a reduced gate fee. No-shows are costly.

·         Tony: Cabs are a luxury or necessity? DPT gives tickets when waiting to pick up fares, and sometimes when dropping off, that’s an issue.

·         Richard Corey:  Survey flawed and unfair to companies.

·         David Hass: Responds to calls, but many times no shows, they must pick up cabs on the street. Tries to pick up at hospitals, but can’t wait there.

·         Emil Lawrence:  Supply/ demand issue is not considered when making decisions.

·         Blake Derby: No new medallions, ramp program should be removed.

·         Mary McGuire: Report used outside staff, would like to know who these people are, and how they were chosen.

·         Director Machen: Steve Laplant took her shift as a volunteer in the Bayview since he lives there.

·         TomStanghellini: Survey open information not there, how  many cabs at the airport, and how long are they waiting? Peak-times are an issue. Random response time in survey inappropriate.

·         Chuck Walker:  Before 9-11 business was very good. Dispatch pick ups have more no-shows.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Commenting on public comment

·         Com Heinicke:  No show an issue, Feels there is a need and people are in favor of adding more medallions. Peak-time system maybe an option. Enforcing can be done within the industry. Could issue the peak medallions to good response dispatch companies. Recommends 25 regular and 75 peak time medallions.

·         Com Oka: Agrees with Com Heinicke. But not ready to issue more medallions. Wants more review of the ramp system and how it operates. Very good comments, but cannot get anything done without the help of the industry.

·         Com Breslin: Not sure how many medallions should be issued, feels the survey covered quiet a bit of information. How to finance the CNG medallions issue, should be reviewed.  Can’t set restrictions on airport, and should look into peak-time medallions. Should have more meetings on this issue.

·         Com Oka:  We should have a say as to who received the ramp medallion.

·         Com Benjamin: is there a peak-medallion pick-up time?

·         Com Heinicke: Yes, and we will have to see if this investment will be worth while.

·         Com Oneto: Once the health care plan comes out I think the need for cabs will decrease.

·         Com Paek: Faced with 2 issues. Ramp medallion issues serious need to resolve this issue. How to better resolve this situation? Centralized dispatch should be addressed, meeting should be continued, but not sure if that will resolve the problem.

·         Com Heinicke: Input from the public and from the survey addresses a underserved community.


3.      Consideration of the Consent Calendar. [ACTION]

·         Director Machen:  Introduction of item, recommends severing items F,G,H, I & J

·         President Gillespie: Agrees and severs those items


Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathborn: Kye Rorie should get a medallion, it is only fair.

·         Nick Sweiss: In favor of approving Item E

·         Carl McMurdo: Kye Rorie should receive medallion.

·         Dan Hinds: Not opposing Taso’s application but careful consideration.

·         John Lazar: Item F application is not adequate since he is applying for 2 frequencies, dispatch needs 3 frequencies.

·         Steve Remers: Trying to improve service at Yellow Cab and want to continue please pass Item F.

·         Pres Gillespie: Motion on Items A & B

·         Com Breslin :Motion

·         Com Heinicke :2nd motion   

·         Roll Call


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Heinicke; Paek, Oka, Oneto  NOES: 0  

ABSENT:  0                                           RECUSED:   0




·         Com Breslin: Would like an update from staff regarding Kye Rorie.

·         Director Machen: We sent him a letter and will offer him a medallion once it’s available. Commission may have to give him a provision medallion. No new hours for this new year required.

·         Com Breslin: When would it be a good time to notice him so that he isn’t overlooked?

·         Director Machen: Vicky Siu keeps a good track of medallions and will let him know when it’s available to him.

·         Com Breslin: No others should receive a medallion before him.

·         Pres Gillespie: Motion on Item C1, D &E

·         Com Breslin: Motion

·         Com Heinicke : 2nd Motion


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Heinicke; Paek, Oka, Oneto   NOES: 0  

ABSENT:  0                                            RECUSED:   0


·         Com Breslin: Motion on C2

·         Com Benjamin: Motion

·         Com Heinicke: 2nd Motion


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Heinicke; Paek, Oka, Oneto    NOES: 0  

ABSENT:  0                                           RECUSED:   Gillespie


·         Pres Gillespie: Taso please explain this issue, since you are here.

·         Taso Zagrafos: Yellow cab working with Paratransit program and MUNI working with debit programs. Wants to use other data terminals, or other debit card systems using their “home” grown program for competitive business purposes. Will have 3rd party vendor equipment to make this work. But need the extra line not for dispatch but for the transferring of information.

·         Pres Gillespie: Would like the proposal in writing. Have not had anyone to speak to this from yellow cab, we addressed this same issue a few weeks ago with Luxor. Continued to the next meeting.

·         Director Machen: Item G, adoption of the findings.

·         City Attorney: There are no changes, just adopting this issue which was resolved in a past meeting.

Public Comment:

·         James Kennedy: This issue isn’t fair.

·         Anne: San Francisco is violating federal standards for ADA.

·         Com Breslin: To clarify, he would still be allowed to apply for ADA, he chose not to.

·         City Attorney: Yes, this appeal was for the last denied modification.

·         Com Oka: Motion

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion  


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Heinicke; Paek, Oka, Oneto   NOES: 0  

ABSENT:  0                                                   RECUSED:   0


·         Pres Gillespie: public comment on h,i & j

Public Comment:

·         JamesKennedy: Item I, wants waybills returned by someone other than staff.

·         Jane: Independent contractors should be termed-out once their jobs are done.

·         Robert Cezano: Problem with these positions since the commission wants to increase power by hiring more people.

·         Corey Lamb: Taxi Commission similar to the movie “A Bugs Life”

·         Name: Hiring investigators not good idea, and pay is high for counting waybills.

·         Tony: Cost and effect on industry has a negative impact.

·         Carl McMurdo: Auditor makes sense we don’t need 2. ADA subscribers should not be considered violators.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Industry is going backwards.

·         Charles Rathborn:  Don’t want to pay for this, not fair.

·         Anne: Against hiring of investigators.

·         Mark Gruberg: 2 positions will not just be counting way bills. They will also be searching and investigating.

·         Jim Gillespie: Enforcement through commission isn’t as effective as if it would be done through Taxi detail.

·         Dan Hinds: They won’t serve public interest. Most people believe medallions should be given out. Prop K effective and efficient.

·         Emil Lawrence: Financially the Commission is out of control.

·         Thomas George Williams: 2 positions are a good idea.

·         John Lazar: Gate increase needed. Put all things on the table and pass together.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Responds to comments.

·         Com Breslin: Would like to further discuss the investigator positions. Would like to hire someone to train the police. Not sure regarding the investigator issue, especially if we want to change Prop K.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: SEIU doesn’t like provisional contracts, and we would need money allocated for the position as well.  

·         Com Heinicke:  Can we eliminate the position if we approve it? I’m in favor of enforcing the industry but I feel that this would be chasing a ghost. I have heard many credible questions. Alter the proposal to add one investigator position, reduce the fee to fund one position, and review the position to ensure enforcement. But I don’t believe we need two.

·         Pres Gillespie: We have heard every excuse regarding Prop K and overturning it, but there are 100’s of cases that aren’t ADA who aren’t abiding the rules. We never fund these enforcing positions and then the industry becomes lax and doesn’t comply.

·         Com Breslin: If there’s an audit of all the waybills, I don’t think this is the position to do this.  I think we need someone to clean up the illegal taxis and limos. Not once since 2001 have we put together anything to address Prop K.  I don’t think 2 positions are the answer.

·         Com Oneto:  What happens if we only hire one person.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: The issue would be safety

·         Com Oka: Although we can’t fix Prop K, we have the mind set of the taxi community and the public is changing the way the industry is run.  Provisions of Prop K need to be changed and fixed, let’s put it to the voters.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion of one investigator position

·         Pres Gillespie: Discussion on this?

·         Com Oka: 2nd Motion


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Heinicke; Oka,           NOES: Gillespie, Paek, Oneto

ABSENT:  0                                                RECUSED:   0


·         Pres Gillespie: Motion on Medallion increase of $137.50, item J

·         Com Heinicke: Motion

·         Com Paek: 2nd Motion


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Heinicke; Paek, Oka, Oneto   NOES: 0  

ABSENT:  0                                                RECUSED:   0


·         Pres Gillespie: item H as a whole

·         Com Heinicke: Motion

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion


AYES:   Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Heinicke; Paek, Oka, Oneto     NOES: 0  

ABSENT:  0                                                RECUSED:   0


4.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Director Machen: Staff update


5.      Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items NOT on the agenda)

·         Com Breslin: Announcement that SF Marriott will be in need of taxis on future dates that the Commission will fax to all color schemes.

·         Com Oka: Sensitivity training for drivers. Taxi school operators, please bring taxi school curriculum for review.

Public Comment:

·         Thomas George Williams: Have not yet agenized the over charging of gas and gate which is on the Notice Section.

·         Robert Cezano: Should conduct town hall meeting on ramp taxis. 

·         Mike Spain: Drivers should be happy that there hasn’t been an increase in gas and gate.

·         Victoria: It doesn’t take long to load and unload members of the disabled community.

·         Barry Taranto: Look at centralized dispatch.  Street closures and companies are not posting.

·         Carl McMurdo: We should agenda peak-time medallions. Top-lights maybe confusing because some cabs have the advertising sign which is white on white.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Desk clerks at hotels sell the shuttles to their customers. They collect money from the shuttles, and many do it.

·         Mary McGuire: Wants to know how the SF Weekly got a hold of Heidi Mueller’s way bills? No revocations have come of any of the cases I turned in for revocation.

·         Name: Why not hire a taxi driver apply for this position, since they would know best.


6.      Adjournment 


Respectfully Submitted,

Tamara Odisho

      Executive Secretary



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