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Commission Chambers

April 24, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

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

Absent:   Heinicke

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:37 P.M.

STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, Danelle Carey– Taxi Commission, Tom Owen– City Attorney, Sgt Reynolds-Taxi Detail

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

1.      Call to Order/Roll Call


2.       SFO Presentation Cashiering Program. [INFORMATION]

Introduction of staff members: Alice Sgourakis

Vicky/Beth: The objective of the new automated taxi system (trip fee collection) is to replace the manual collection process with the smart card based collection system.  The smart card has a computer chip inside and will hold monetary value.  The AVI transponders/Readers will be used to verify CNG vehicles for incentives and the compliance system.  The Taxi Staging lot is where the add value machines will be located to add fare to the smart cards.  Customer service will be available on site (curb side assistance) as well as phone assistance through an 800 number.  Taxi Driver training will be held from April 23-June 1st (36 classes per week).           

Public Comment:

·         Pres Gillespie: Will a person be able to look into the staging lot without the smart card?

·         Vicky: We will be 100% into it so every driver will be required to have a card.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Do you think that every driver needs training?

·         Vicky: Yes, we received positive feedback and taxi training schools have also attended the class.

·         Com Benjamin: Is there any way this system can be used to control limos?

·         Vicky: They don’t actually operate through this system. 

·         Com Benjamin: Is there some type of technology where limos can go thru the same gates so we can stop them from picking up fares?

·         Alice: This is not for limos but police are aggressively enforcing the solicitation of limos.

·         Com Breslin: What about the smart card replacements? Do these cards have a magnetic strip?

·         Vicky: The life of the card is 10 years.  The smart cards have a computer chip in them.

·         Com Breslin: What will the data obtained from the computer show?

·         Vicky: It can show how long drivers are in the staging lot.

·         Com Breslin: I would like to see reporting features that are accessible to us. It should be a requirement that the schools hold this taxi training.

·         Robert Cesano: I don’t have enough time.  I am appalled and feel that this is not acceptable. 

·         Pres Gillespie: Timer was not on, set for 3 minutes.

·         Barry Taranto: I think that the system will be wonderful.  Can people use someone else’s card? 

·         Bill Mounsey: Can you use a credit card to put money on a smart card?

·         Vicky: Credit cards are accepted.  For power failure issues the devices have a UPS system and emergency generators at certain locations.

·         Carl: This is the most expensive city.  This proposal was designed to get rid of cashiers.

·         Thomas:  I hate this system, there is no privacy.

·         Vicky:  Our Trans link system will be available at BART stations as well as the regional transit.

·         Alec Kaplan: There should be one cashier for driver’s to get change from. Cards should have a $100 max.

·         Mark Grueburg: People are going to lose the smart cards.  Why can’t the cabs be registered to the transponder? 

·         Carol: How long is the balance on the card good for?

·         Unknown: This system was designed without input of the drivers.  They just want to get rid of the cashiers. 

·         Unknown: This system can break and crack.  The line will be too long when the system fails.

·         Tom Stanghellini:  SFO should go to the cab companies directly and have a presentation.



3.      311 Presentation on Advertising [INFORMATION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

Tomas Lee: On March 29th, 2007 311 went public.  311 are available to the public 24 hours a day and serve’s 145 languages.  311’s public awareness campaign has a target audience that consists of city employees, SF residents and businesses.   From June 1st, 2007-June 30, 2008, 75 units of ad space will be utilized for public awareness.  Community outreach will also be an avenue used for 311’s advertising strategy.  San Francisco has approximately 15.7 million tourists and it’s in our economic interest to provide good customer service to our visitors. 


Public Comment:

·         Pres Gillespie: To what extent are you asking the commission to do in the taxi industry?

·         Tomas Lee: Wherever public awareness can be projected about 311.

·         Com Breslin: Please elaborate on who you’re in discussion with on our commission staff.

·         Dir Machen: TXC is taking over lost property and 311 would be a good place to filter and track.  For advertising we can incorporate the passenger bill of rights and 311.

·         Unknown: The city has too much on its plate.

·         Mark: 311 is a great idea.  Maybe 311 can be incorporated with rate sheets.

·         Unknown: Why aren’t taxi drivers consulted first?

·         Com Breslin: I would like to be apart of designing the content.

·         Tomas Lee: 311 would be happy to work with you in the design.


4.      Consideration of the consent calendar [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen:  Recommends serving item B, D1&2; F, G1&2 and I

·         Pres Gillespie: Agrees.


Public Comment:

·         Robert Cesana: Why do we even have minutes? You don’t put anything in the minutes.

·         Pres Gillespie: Focus your comments on the consent calendar.

·         Barry Taranto: on notice; yellow to regents (per settlement agreement?) Should pull this item for next mtg TXC was not involved in closed or open session regarding this settlement agreement.

·         Mary McGuire:  Need to have the dispatch hearing and further investigation on Welch (medallion 690).

·         Tom Stanghellini: Item G2“To impeach is patriotic” does not have a place on a taxicab

·         Chuffa: Received offer letter in 07/03, finished requirement 08/03 and memo stated no ramp available.

·         Alec Kaplan: political speech regarding “To Impeach is Patriotic”

·         Pres Gillespie: Terrible abuse of public comment focus on consent calendar.

·         Com Benjamin: Don’t care what Alec puts on his cab that’s his business.

·         Pres Gillespie: We will get to this topic in consent calendar order.

·         Ryan: Congrats to Mark Gruburg. William O’Brian should be reinstated to the list

·         Pres Gillespie: I have cards for Bill O’Brian or John Trapman

·         John Trautman: I am with William O’Brian.  After 14 yrs on the list and 25 yrs of driving and he just lost the ltr he should be reinstated on the list.  He provided 2 affidavits, was admitted to Kaiser on 12/24/06 for 40days.  William O’Brian is ready to receive his medallion and work. Questions?

·         Pres Gillespie:  We will have questions once we get to you item on the consent calendar.

·         Thomas G Williams: The statement on grasshopper cab is a city policy not private

·         Jim Gillespie: Itm H; concerning taxi wraps.  Door wraps don’t cover the identity of the cab and will bring more opportunity because it is more affordable.

·         Pres Gillespie: Any other comments? We can take the items on the consent calendar that have not be severed

·         Dir Machen: That will be item A, C, D3

·         Pres Gillespie: Com Oneto you had some questions about the D section why don’t we raise those now

·         Com Oneto: Is Mr. Amirehsani or Dashti present?

·         Mike Dashti: Present

·         Com Oneto: On all three of those apps that came from union cab they said that there was no radio service

·         Mike Dashti: There is a clerk that sometimes answers the telephone, that’s all.

·         Pres Gillespie: There will be some information regarding this issue coming in a couple months.

·         Pres Gillespie: Dir Machen we can sever D2. Motion on A, C, D3-6, E1 & H.

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion



AYES: Gillespie; Benjamin; Breslin; Paek; Oneto; Oka


ABSENT: Heinicke                            RECUSED: 0


·         Dir Machen: Line Item B, consideration of the minutes of the April 10th taxi commission minutes, I was hoping someone would make a motion to change the minutes to show that Com Paek was absent.

·         Pres Gillespie: Both Com Paek and I were excused absences for that mtg as Com Heinicke is tonight

·         Dir Machen: and also you two may recuse yourself or rather abstain

·         Pres Oka: Move that correction through me

·         Com Breslin: All in favor


AYES: Benjamin; Breslin; Oneto; Oka


ABSENT: Heinicke                            RECUSED: Gillespie; Paek


·         Dir Machen: Line Itm D2, Yellow to Royal and this is for recusal

·         Pres Gillespie: I need to recuse so Vice President Breslin

·         Com Breslin: Motion to accept it

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion


AYES: Benjamin; Breslin; Oneto; Oka; Paek


ABSENT: Heinicke                            RECUSED: Gillespie


·         Dir Machen: Line Itm F, Consideration to Reinstate Applicant and Medallion waiting list number to the medallion waiting list for applicant William O’Brien.  There is a staff memorandum enclosed in packet.

·         Pres Gillespie: We’ve got some stuff here and I don’t know if the entire commissioner got a copy.  It’s a problem when we get these the night of and try and figure out what relevance they have.  In light we have to continue these things to review the documents.  Is there a staff recommendation director machen?

·         Dir Machen: Just a little confused.  The story that they never received the offer letter.  I’m referring to the affidavit signed by a notary Donna and William O’Brien.  And yet there were discussion between staff and Mr. O’Brien between the Nov 14th letter and the eventual taxi commission sending an ltr stating we were going to remove his from the list. I’m confused why there was a conversation between Mr. O’Brien and commission staff if he did in fact never receive the offer letter.

·         Pres Gillespie: You want to try and straighten this out?

·         John Trautman: He was in the hospital for 40 days and could not respond to anything.

·         Pres Gillespie: Does anyone have a problem continuing this? Without objection item F will be continued to our next meeting.

·         Dir Machen: Item G1&G2 which is a two part question.  One, determining whether bumper design “To impeach is Patriotic” is considered a wrap.  Two, if it’s not a wrap will the commission approve a taxi wrap decal logo. Alec Kaplan paid the advertising fee which is being held pending commission approval.

·         Pres Gillespie: Do we have the actual rule on the wrapping and altering taxis? Bumper stickers have been informally put on cabs and never brought forth.

·         Dir Machen: This would differentiate from a bumper sticker it’s apart of the design painted on the taxi.

·         Pres Gillespie: I will bring you up to answer questions if you agree not to go on a political ramt. My question is do you intend on having this on for one month and take it off?

·         Alec Kaplan: I have no intention on removing it unless you force me to in which case I will take it through the ACLU.  Further, this is not advertising or a wrap it’s my first amendment of freedom of speech.

·         Dir Machen: the duration of the campaign will only apply if the commission will approve this as a wrap

·         Pres Gillespie: Isn’t there a rule about alteration.

·         Dir Machen: Yes, Appearance has to come before the commission

·         Pres Gillespie: And is the rule that we have used to justify taxi wraps in the past?

·         Com Benjamin: In essence we are determining this is not a wrap it’s a change of a paint job.

·         Pres Gillespie: You want to make this overall part of your color scheme so it’s not a one month wrap so I’m troubled with that level of disingenuous on your part. You have contradicted what you wanted to do with this

·         Alec Kaplan: This has been on my cab for a few months until Steven Moss said you have to repaint this, this is a violation of the rules and regulations and I took it to the commission.  This is a larger bumper sticker exercising such right, I would argue.

·         Pres Gillespie: Based on the legal issues of this case I am going to continue this case also. If there are no objections’s we will continue this item. (Items G1&G2 continued)

·         Dir Machen: The last item of consideration is Item I of the TXC to grant a taxicab or ramp taxicab medallion holder permit to applicant(s). (I1.) Kye Rorie, Luxor, this item came up before the commission in Dec.  Mr. Rorie didn’t get his paper work in time. He was on time waiver several months into this year.  He could have got his driving requirement for 2007, but his driving requirement bumped up from 2 to 3 yrs.   (I2.) Abdel Al-Mohtaseb, Royal, has an issue of falling hours short, 15 hours one yr and 26 another yr. Commission staff was unable to count 12 and 15 hour shift that he had driven. Commission staff has admonished him for driving more than 10 hours which he has signed. Recommendation to approve despite him falling short several hours.

·         Pres Gillespie: I think the recommendations are within our power to grant these on a provisional basis.

·         Com Breslin: I just want to know what type of time frame we will have.

·         Pres Gillespie: 6 months

·         Dir Machen: Mr. Rorie will need to turn in his way bills in Oct

·         Pres Gillespie: We grant you Mr. Rorie 6 months to get your way bills in. Is there any other comment?

·         Pres Gillespie: Motion on I1 & 2

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion


AYES: Gillespie; Paek ;Benjamin; Breslin; Oneto; Oka


ABSENT: Heinicke                            RECUSED: 0





5.      Consideration of Clean Air policy for Taxis [DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

Pres Gillespie: Were going to consider this item tonight but after some discussions amongst ourselves and with the Mayor’s office and the staff we are going to continue this item.  It was my instinct not vote on this item tonight but to put this resolution out there.

Director Machen: This item was cont’d from the March 27th mtg. All clean, all green by 2011 (100%). The taxi fleet has become 15% clean over the last 10+ years.  There is vehicle funding for 47 vehicles.  Thanks to the Department of the Environment and San Francisco Airport for working with us on getting this funding.  This resolution would do the following; Restrict all replacement vehicles after July 1st to hybrids and/or alternative fuel vehicles. Urges SFO to explore restrictions and reward to clean air vehicles.  Urges the Board of Supervisors to create higher gate for clean air vehicles.

Public Comment:

·         Pres Gillespie: Need replacements for the current vehicles.  Can we get a list of clean air vehicles? We need more outreach to the companies.

·         Com Breslin: Supports the goal of clean air but does not know the economic impact or the financing structure.  We don’t want to harm the industry to meet the goal.

·         Pres Gillespie: Unaware of the comfort level of the companies?

·         Com Benjamin: Companies need more time.  If we delay this it will be a better proposition for everyone.  That way everyone can get a better view of what’s out there.

·         Pres Gillespie: The resolution should be specific as to an appropriate gate fee.

·         Tom Stanghellini: There is a pretty good incentive to buy the vehicles.  We need to hold this off until we figure out a gate fee.

·         Jim Gillespie: I’m not here to object; my concern has to do with the timeline. We would be purchasing 400-500 new vehicles and people are looking to get subsidies.  There is only subsidy for 50 cabs.  One year ago a meeting should have taken place to look at economic impact.

·         Pres Gillespie: Do you think going through gate is a viable way?

·         Jim Gillespie: Adding health and the cost of alternative vehicles, how can we come to a gate? This needs to be thought out.  We need to sit down and meet about going green and how to get there.

·         Pres Gillespie: How will this alternative fuel impact the industry?

·         Jim Gillespie: Looking at smaller qty’s there is only a limited subsidy and if mandated it will affect yellow cab.

·         Robert Cesana: Drove to Sac in CNG cab.  No where can you purchase CNG unless you have a propriety card.  This is uncoordinated.

·         Doug Cameron: Agree in decision to delay.  Lots of emission benefits, cost issues etc.

·         Pres Gillespie: Hope I haven’t been too negative about CNG.

·         John James: Attended alternative fuel vehicle in Anaheim.  There are several different alt vehicles.  Doesn’t make sense for hybrids to go to the airport.  2011 is coming and we have to meet these goals.

·         Pres Gillespie: How many vehicles are viable as taxis?

·         John Janes: At present there are only 2 commercials (Escape/Crown Vic) The Escape is doing well downtown and Crown Vic is good for the airport.

·         Nathan: Addressing incentive policy.  Very upset at memo written by Heidi Machen, Yellow should not get all funding because it’s the biggest company. The policy for incentives is questionable.

·         Pres Gillespie: Do Hybrids get better mileage than Crown Vics?

·         Nathan Dwiri: Hybrids are not sturdy or secure.  Have had some horrendous collisions in Crown Vics and people were able to walk away safely.

·         Pres Gillespie: Mandate?

·         Nathan Dwiri: Where would we fuel vehicles? Hybrids are not safe. Compressed are environmentally safer.

·         Chuffa: If mandated by the city they have to cover the cost for the whole amount.

·         Mark Gruburg: Green Cab 1st cab in service is a Toyota Prius which gets 40 miles to the gallon.

·         Pres Gillespie: How much did the vehicle cost?

·         Mark Grueburg: $25,000, Brand new.

·         Pres Gillespie: Have you compared it to the other 2 hybrids?

·         Mark G: Escapes are more expensive with lower gas mileage.  Pruis is small but not as it’s conceived to be.

·         Barry Taranto: Don’t want to bankrupt the industry by buying these vehicles.  Clean energy vehicles you have to fill up twice a shift and they are not as fuel efficient.  Need to look at CNG/Hybrids again.

·         Marty: Son has a CNG vehicle and without propriety card you cannot get gas.  Mechanics are limited to only 2 places.  If city wants everything green they should pay for it.

·         Michael Spain: If you want to see this industry transition quickly take the gate cap off of those vehicles. Camrys and Highlanders are the only appropriate cars.  Escapes are not safe they are too light.

·         Thomas G Williams: Excited for Green Cab putting only hybrids on the street.

·         Jane Bolig: They need a forum for this.  We hope to work cooperatively with the commission.

·         Pres Gillespie: What would get a company to purchase these vehicles?

·         Jane Bolig: Schedule of incentives, rewards for fuel efficiency.

·         Pres Gillespie: A concern is less miles per gallon than regular gas vehicle.

·         Unknown: In car accidents crown vics are very safe.

·         Pres Gillespie: Hopefully in the next week we can have an mtg to come to a resolution. If the executive dir is ready to facilitate a meeting we can move forward.



6.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcement [INFORMATION]

·         Director Machen: Update

·         Sgt Reynolds: Update




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

·         Richard Wieiver: Would like to have 1095 picture waived

·         Carol O:  Serious safety issue with women due to the lack of limo enforcement.

·         Pres Gillespie: Comfortable with the 1095 policy and the pictures are legitimate.

·         Robert J: Commission is going in the wrong direction. Stop increasing fees.

·         Jim Gillespie: Several drivers received admonishments.  10-20 cabs come in early and the driver is ready to drive but its not there medallion. Serving the public is a priority and penalizing the owners is penalizing the public.

·         Carl: Public comment should be in the beginning of mtg.  1095 process needs to be more flexible.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Is there a way we can get an extension for Stephan Chans A-card?

·         Barry Taranto: Public comment needs to be in the beginning. Gas prices are up

·         Mary McGuire: City wide dispatch never had a bad customer.  UTW legal fund, will there be a settlement to this issue?

·         Unknown: 1095 accommodations for persons with medical conditions

·         Chuffa: driving requirements

·         Thomas G Williams:  The drivers should be paid back from cab companies for being overcharged.

·         Tariq Momud: Medallion holders driving there own cabs


8.      Adjournment.


Respectfully Submitted,

Danelle Carey

Senior Clerk



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