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Commission Chambers

March 27, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

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

Absent:    Breslin

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:36 P.M.


STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, 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.                  Consideration of Clean Air policy for taxis [INFORMATION and POSSIBLE ACTION]

·         Vandana Bali, Department of Environment: Introduction of green menu and discussion.

·         President Gillespie: No policy decisions to be made tonight, only review.

·         Com Heinicke: If the maintenance factor is a wash, would the fuel savings realized be profitable? Taxis are a small % of the cars driven in SF; what would the benefit be for the environment?

·         V. Bali: Reduction in tail pipe emissions would be beneficial

·         Pres Gillespie: We can help reduce CO2 as a sector, not taking action is unconscionable. Reduction of fuel consumption would put more money in drivers pockets.

·         John James, S&C Ford: Has been a part of the program since 1989. CNG is the best product available, and is the stepping point for Hydrogen. Maintenance on CNG Crown Vic is the same for fuel Crown Victorias.

·         Hal , Yellow Cab: Mandating this may not be fair for smaller cab companies.

·         Com Benjamin:  How many used CNG vehicles are available?

·         Hal:  There are quite a few but they do not meet the qualifications to be a part of the taxi fleet.

·         John Lazar, Luxor Cab: The Standard Taxi will be available in 2008. Luxor to purchase 180 vehicles.  Will be using a Chevy engine.

·         Com Henicke:  No one is saying they do not want this, nor is anyone saying companies couldn’t afford this.

·         Steve Anton, Regents Cab: There is a commitment to get involved, but how long will the incentives be available for, since there will be more companies competing?

·         Pres Gillespie: How would you feel about increasing the gate fee?

·         Com Heinicke: I say we make it a general requirement and let the companies do it their way, hybrid or alt fuels.

·         Marty Smith, Delta Cab:  Burning clean fuel is a very topical and important issue. Saving for drivers are huge. It seems that the driver is being left out of the picture. Don’t care for mandates, but would like to see 50% hybrid in 2 years.

·         Doug Cameron, Clean Energy: CNG is CARB certified.


Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathoborn: Drives a London Cab and is happy with it.  High powered diesel is better for heavier vehicles. Bio-diesel is also available in SF.

·         Tim Lap:  Urges TXC to use bio-diesel.

·         Name:  Hybrid crashed; used Crown Victoria and finds it to be equally safe. Carpool use is a plus.

·         Barry Taranto: There aren’t many CNG fueling stations, hard to gas up vehicle. Don’t increase gate fee.

·         Robert Cezano: Difficult for the elderly and handicapped to get into hybrid vehicles.

·         Mark Gruberg: Green cab hasn’t decided which vehicles to purchase but will soon.

·         Christopher Fulkerson: Congratulations for taking on this issue. Gate increase is reasonable.

·         BlakeDurby: Firecrackers burn off more co2 than cars, should look into that.

·         Ron Fishman:  New regulations affect the lives of drivers.

·         Tom Stanghellini: CNG precluded because of credit cards. What about airports, more CNGs no free pass at airport?

·         Name: Safety should be the most important factor.

·         Vandana Bali:  Although funding is limited, DOE put in application for taxi industry.

·         Com Heinicke: How long is the money available for? Can we find out if more is need?

·         Pres Gillespie: Continue to second meeting in April.

·         Com Heinicke: Agrees this is an issue, but feels that it’s second to dispatching in the Sunset.  Incremental mandate would be something to consider.  As well as flexibility for companies to choose which cars to purchase.


3.                  Healthcare for Taxi Drivers Working Group  [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen: Overview of the issue

·         Com Benjamin:  Who is the provider of the insurance plan?

·         Kerry Johnson:  Semeta Financial, a Warren buffet company.

·         Com Heinicke:  The Commission could forward this to the Board of Supervisors without a recommendation and not an adoption by the Commission.


Public Comment:

·         Barry Taranto: 25c charge on meter would be fair.

·         Robert Cezano: Pass this to the Board, better a plan than none.

·         Charles Rathoborn: Amend resolutions and change to medallion holders’ plan.

·         Ron Fishman: Everyone should pay for their own healthcare.

·         Dan Hinds: Costs increased, will hurt companies.

·         Tom Stanghellini:  Start slow, than build a plan, since there is no sure number of how many will participate.

·         Mark Gruberg: Having a plan is better than none.

·         Eileen: There are multiple options. Issues were brought up during the process and thought through.

·         Blake Durby: Health Care Committee not fairly represented. Trust administrator is costly.

·         Christopher Fulkerson:  Plan is imminent and unfair, no figure used.

·         Marty Smith: Companies will go out of business.

·         Jim Gillespie, Yellow Cab: Brian Browne report supports Aarbis plan.

·         Ed Healy: Very expensive group plan, starter insurance better than no plan.

·         Ruach Graffis: 1973 drivers had insurance and representation.

·         Carl McMurdo: Plan should be universal health care, Dublin’s a good plan but expensive. Aarbis is better.

·         Peter Witt: Consider 3 plans simultaneously; gate increase, healthcare and raise meters.

·         Julietta: Not against paying for insurance but doesn’t agree with the high cost.

·         Liz Bradley: All make money, some more than others.  Considering another career but needs healthcare.

·         Maheed: None of these issues are new. They have been going on for years.

·         Azaden: Doesn’t represent anyone but no one speaks for a card holder. Healthcare isn’t bad, not sure why more people are speaking for it.

·         Mary McGuire: The price for the plan can increase over the years becoming to costly.

·         Chuffa: Commission should provide the insurance and do it fast.

·         John Lazar: Everyone should have insurance.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Would like to go over the Resolution section by section.

·         Com Benjamin: Eligibility, ie 800 hours please clarify.

·         Com Oneto: 200/ quarter

·         Pres Gillespie: Funding

·         Com Oneto: To ensure fairness and equality, the healthcare committee voted on using percentages since there aren’t a known number of drivers. Another way to do this avoiding a lawsuit would be to set the monthly medallion pay-out fees. The extra money would go into an account to pay for healthcare.

·         Com Benjamin: What about the 25c plan, it could fund healthcare without impacting medallion holders.

·         Com Oka:  Can the Dept of Health give more money to help fund the program?

·         City Attorney: Any monetary value set would be done through the Board of Supervisors not by the Dept of Health.  

·         Pres Gillespie: Drivers give a lot to the City and it should help pay for healthcare. Anyone recommending a change? Next sections, financial set-offs, account for how people will pay for their share. I would like to suggest a $5 fee / gate shift not controversial. But rather than a 50c increase on the flag-drop, reduce the drop to $3.00 and change mileage from 45c 1/5th mile to 40c 1/6th per mile and 40c per minute per wait time motion to make change.  

·         Com Heinicke: Opposes any fare increase. How will the increase affect the passengers? This is not tied to service, and service needs to be addressed, although not against health insurance. Inclined to remove this entire provision; gate and fare increase.

·         Com Oka: If we take out that provision would that effect the Resolution?

·         Com Oneto: Seconds amendment

·         Dir Machen: Reduce flag to $3.00 from $3.10 and change mileage from 45c 1/5th mile to 40c 1/6th per mile and 40c per minute per wait time.

·         Roll Call


      AYES:  Benjamin, Gillespie, Hienicke, Paek, Oka, Oneto   NOES: 0

ABSENT:  Breslin                                RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Motions to remove the entire financial set-off section

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd Motion

·         Roll Call


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

      ABSENT:  Breslin                                          RECUSED:   0


·         Pres Gillespie: Reviews administration overview, requests Director Machen’s to review

·         Dir Machen: Administration overview.

·         Com Heinicke: The healthcare plan report should first be reviewed by the City Attorney before being heard by the Board of Supervisors.

·         Com Heinicke: We should memorialize the language that we advise the Board to review the plan before considering it.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Asked if the Commissioners had any questions and asks Director Machen to read the resolve clauses and asks if there any questions.

·         Com Heinicke: Yes, would like to amend “adopts” to “forwards”.

·         Com Paek: Would like the Commissioners to uphold standards. Respects health committee’s report and wants it to be approved.

·         Com Heinicke:  Motion to change “adopt” to “forward”

·         Com Oka:  2nd Motion


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

      ABSENT:  Breslin                   RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Motions to change “all necessary” to “practical”

·         Com Oneto: 2nd Motion


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

      ABSENT:  Breslin                                       RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Should we add the medallion holders’ association plan to the resolution and explain why we rejected it?

·         Com Oneto:  Doesn’t feel that should be added since there isn’t anyone that can discuss it being rejected.

·         Com Gillespie: Could we say that we looked at the Arbis plan but rejected it?

·         Com Paek:  Why weren’t they more involved before?  They shouldn’t be added since they were involved last minute in the process of the subcommittee.

·         City Attorney: Can include relevant excerpts from the subcommittees record with the health plan to the Board, and those who want to argue for the plan can do so at the Boards meeting.

·         Dir Machen: Add from the health care report a clause that the Aarbis plan was taken into consideration but rejected by the subcommittee.


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

      ABSENT:  Breslin                         RECUSED:   0


·         Com Paek: Motion to pass Resolution as amended and with the cover letter

·         Com Oka: 2nd Motion


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

      ABSENT:  Breslin                                      RECUSED:   0


4.                  Consideration of the Consent Calendar. [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen:  Recommends severing C1, C3, C5 & D1 & D3


      Public Comment:

·         Barry Taranto:  Memo regarding admonishments of medallion applicants unfair, and wants consent calendar to be first item on agenda.

·         Corey Lamb: Consent calendar should be first

·         Peter Witt:  Consent items should be first.

·         Roll Call: Voice vote; unanimously passes

·         Com Heinicke:  Apologies for holding back the color scheme changes, really wants to work on dispatch service. Motion to approve item C1

·         Com Oka: 2nd Motion


      AYES: Gillespie, Heinicke, Oka, Oneto, Paek      NOES: None

      ABSENT:  Breslin                                  RECUSED: Benjamin


·         Com Heinicke: Motion on  C 5

·         Com Oka: 2nd Motion


      AYES: Heinicke, Oka, Oneto, Paek  NOES: None

      ABSENT:  Breslin                         RECUSED:   Benjamin, Gillespie,


·         Com Oka: Motion on D 3

·         Com Paek: 2nd Motion


      AYES: Gillespie,Heinicke, Oka, Oneto, Paek     NOES: None

      ABSENT:  Breslin                                   RECUSED:   Benjamin


5.                  Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen: Update

·         Sergeant Reynolds: Robbery of 2 cabs; same area.  Cameras failed in both cabs.

·         Com Heinicke:  Wants an explanation from Worldwide and Yellow as to why the cameras were not working properly.

·         Sgt Reynolds:  No leads at this time, but investigating.


Public Comment:

·         PeterWitt:  Need a taxi cab stand at 18th & Castro; and ball park.

·         Name:  Some drivers disconnect the wires from the camera, not sure why.


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

·         Aaron King:  Needs more time for admonishment

·         Carl McMurdo:  What’s the policy for a medallion holder driving their own medallion?

·         Cezano:  Why audit if you don’t follow your own policy?

·         Charles Rathborn:  Sgt Simpson says we can drive other medallions if our cab is out of service.

·         Mary McQuire:  Georgette Welsch; her children were given her medallion, should not have been.

·         Barry Taranto:  Public Comment should be first. Gas price increase, 25c doesn’t cover.  Expanded cab stand @ ball park. Get DPT to ticket.

·         Abdel Al-Mohtaseb: KRON 4 should watch the news show; interviewed officers etc regarding the industry.

·         Peter Witt: Doesn’t agree with the addition of new medallions. Service hasn’t gotten better. Dispatch will not improve in the sunset.  Suggests higher meters for ramp cabs.

·         Mark Gruberg: You are required to drive your own medallion per SF police code.  


7.                  Adjournment  



Respectfully Submitted,


Tamara Odisho

Executive Secretary





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