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Commission Chambers

April 10, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

Present:  Benjamin; Breslin; Heinicke; Oneto; Oka

Absent:   Gillespie; Paek

Vice President Breslin called the meeting to order at 6:32 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 the Consent Calendar. [ACTION]

·         Com Breslin: Would like to be excused from voting on the minutes, since I was not at the last meeting, but can vote on the rest of the consent calendar.

·         City Attorney: Without VP’s vote there isn’t a quorum, continue item to next week.


Public Comment:

·         Robert Cesano: Omission of minutes in the healthcare packet on page 31, want to include that the medallions holders object to the health care package presented.

·         Charles Rathbone: Hopes taxi wrap 916 is approved by the Commission.

·         Jim Kennedy: Believes that his letter should have been included in the minutes. Would also like waybills and contract back.

·         Com Breslin: Minutes will be voted on next week.

·         Dir Machen: Reads consent calendar.

·         Com Benjamin: Questions George Lancia, medallion #846, claims that he isn’t able to drive his own medallion.

·         George Lancia: Medallion is never available.  Union Cab always leases it out.

·         Com Breslin: Asks Dir Machen to look into the issue. Asks to vote on B, C &D.

·         Com Benjamin: Motion on B,C,& D

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion



·         Roll Call on Consent Calendar items B,C & D

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

            ABSENT: Gillespie; Paek                                          RECUSED:   0


3.      Taxi Driver and Rider Bill of Rights; and Quality of Taxi Driver Service [DISCUSSION]

·         Com Breslin: Thanks Jordanna Thigpen for all her help on this, and appreciates that she met with her during Jordanna’s vacation.

·         Dir Machen: Displays taxi stands map, and discusses DPT meeting.

·         Miguel Bustos, Mayor’s Office: Reads letter from Mayor

·         Com Breslin:  No decision to be made tonight, this is just discussion.  Would like to agendize for a future meeing, to also include professional conduct, neighborhood accessibility, taxi zones, and call phones @ taxi stands.

·         Charles Rathbone: Suggests adding the Bill of Rights to an automated message on taxi companies’ telephones and to their websites, rather than in cabs.

·         Robert Cesano: Commission should conduct a pilot program for cab sharing.

·         Marty Smith: Cab sharing already exists. Sensitivity training and taxi stands at BART stations important.

·         Ron Fishman: BART stands are never placed correctly, buses enormity cover stand and cabs cannot see passengers waiting and cannot get to them. 

·         Thomas George Williams: Bill of rights is important since there isn’t labor representation.  Drivers need to know rights.

·         Ruach Graffis: UTW created the bill of rights, and apologize for only distributing tonight.

·         Barry Taranto: Illegal limos and gypsy cabs should be included in the bill of rights. Material to be on website not in cabs.

·         Peter Witt:  Believes bill of rights are a good idea.  Equal to bus stands and taxi stands.

·         Com Benjamin: Drivers should be using fire hydrants to pick up and drop off it is legal.

·         Com Heinicke: Mayor brought up the bill of rights at his State of the city.  The bill of rights should not be used as a policy changing vehicle, but rather an informational material on the current policy and rights.  This should be kept basic. Neighborhood service should not be included in the bill of rights. Cab dispatch also is not relevant in the bill of rights. Cab stands are great but not many in the outer districts.

·         Com Oka: Passengers should be given a copy as they enter vehicles.


Public Comment:

·         Robert Cesano: Mayor’s representative left, shows Mayor doesn’t care.

·         Ron Fishman: City should have their own dispatch company.

·         Bob Vitcha: Drivers should be allowed to use their cell phones for business, change language in the bill of rights to include that.

·         Chuffa: Wishes there was a real bill of rights from drivers. Trying to improve dispatch won’t make a difference.

·         Peter Witt: Driver’s should be surveyed

·         Com Benjamin: Shouldn’t allow anyone to eat or drink in the cabs.

·         Com Oka: Eating would be important for those who are diabetic.

·         Com Breslin: Awareness is important and not making the bill of rights a new policy document is very important. Let’s agendize this for the next meeting.

·         Com Heinicke: Agenda management is needed for all future meetings.  

·         Com Oka: Agrees, finds it hard to get a cab late and care provider has to come late to his home.


4.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen:  Update

·         Com Breslin: Overwhelming amount of passengers didn’t get service by the T-line.

·         Com Heinicke: MUNI service at ballpark should be non-stop.

·         Com Oka : T-line is up and running, there will be direct connection, should refer to MUNI website.



Public Comment:

·         Robert Cesano: 1095 photo contentious issue

·         Dir Machen:  Office is trying to digitize all driver files, since we don’t have access to the Treasurer’s databases.

·         Com Heinicke: Doesn’t find anything wrong with the photo taking.

·         Barry Taranto: Feels the Commission should have a better working relationship with the Giants.

·         Mark Gruberg: Business tax issue is a big deal, sent a letter to the Treasure’s office on this issue.

·         Com Heinicke: Wants Commission to look into this.

·         Corey Lamb: Knew the photo would be an issue. Should send a letter to notify medallion holders of this standard.


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

·         Barry Taranto: Medallion holders should be concerned about leased drivers’ quality of life standards.

·         Robert Cesano: Schedule meetings to discuss taxi rules, stop sending admonishments.

·         Charles Rathbone: The adoption of the change in the fare increase, without the medallion holder’s input, creates a loss of income to drivers.

·         Com Oneto: How will this effect drivers?

·         Charles Rathbone: When traffic is slow, 1/6 of a mile = 40c< 1/5 of a mile at 45c.

·          Thomas George Williams: Spent a few weeks in NYC at labor convention, very informative.

·         Ron Fishman: Shouldn’t have to notify Commission when driving fulfillment is done.

·         Chuffa: Believes the Commission gave ramp to someone behind him on the waiting list.

·         Jim Gillespie: Commission request to handout taxi rules and gather signatures of pre-k medallion holders is going to be difficult with Friday deadline.

·         Com Machen: Will be happy to provide extension, will send correspondence.


6.      Adjournment



Respectfully Submitted,


Tamara Odisho
Executive Secretary



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