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Commission Chambers

June 12, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

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

Absent:   None

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:35 P.M.


STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, Tamara Odisho– Taxi Commission, Thomas 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

·         President Gillespie: Thanks Mayor Newsom for his support and others for attending the press conference.   Appreciates all input from the Department of Environment, clean air community and members of community.   First resolution, which was omitted, was adoption of rule before adoption of policy. The currently drafted resolution will be a declaration of our policy. This will put the Commission at the forefront of the industry.

·         Jordanna Thigpen, Deputy Director- Presentation of power point slide on Clean Air Policy

·         Com Heinicke: Wants to understand the next steps of the policy; creating a working group to discuss which vehicles will be included under the policy.


Public Comments:

·         Steve Huff:  Has a Ford Escape, and is a great car, but doesn’t think a Prius will hold up as a taxi

·         John Lazar:  Crown Victoria safe vehicles, hold up especially well during accidents.

·         Mike Spain: Insurance costs will be higher for smaller vehicles.  Should look into including crown Victoria especially since it can pick up wheel chairs.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Crown Victorias hold more people which means less people driving their own cars

·         Charles Rathbone: Happy about this policy, although would like more choices.

·         Robert Cesano: Incentives should be established to help purchase vehicles. Level playing field by allowing more Yellow Cabs to get a pass into SFO.

·         Carl McMurdo: Keep options open

·         Steve Reimers: Carbon credits important to keep in mind.

·         MarkGruberg: Has 3 Prius’ and 1 Civic vehicles has had no complaints.

·         Brian Rosen: Has Ford Escape and saves money on gas over the year.

·         Barry Taranto: Safety issue should be considered especially since it would be difficult to change after policy is adopted. A surcharge should also be included.

·         Name: Overregulation of the industry

·         Name:  Two technical points; 1. diesel good option 2. as cars get smaller injuries decrease

·         Joe Mirable: We should be able to meet all the goals

·         Marty Smith: Global warming an issue, hybrids are the way to go.

·         J. Gerrling: The process should be slow in adopting the policy

·         Grasshopper:  Wants his item to be agendized.

·         Emil Lawrence: Ford will be introducing a Crown Victoria with a diesel engine

·         Tariq Mehmood: Disabled community members use Crown Victorias when ramps are unavailable.

·         Dan Hinds: Need incentives for this policy, Crown Victorias reliable vehicles.

·         Doug Cameron: Thank you for looking into alternatives.

·         Com Heinicke: Heard nothing about the gate increase, and no opposition to resolution. No mileage restrictions either.

·         Com Breslin: Would like to include the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in last paragraph of resolution.  Will Commission staff be sending letters to all medallion holders?

·         President Gillespie: Agrees with the addition of MTA.

·         Dir Machen: Will be sending letters to medallion holders via color scheme companies.

·         Com Oka:  Will ensure that seniors and members of disabled community are included.

·         Com Paek:  Eager to have the resolution adopted.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to adopt resolution

·         Com Paek:  2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


3.      Consideration of the Consent Calendar.

·         Dir Machen:  Remove items A, C 1, C 2, C 5 , E , F, G and H (a)

·         Com Paek: Would like to make amendments to minutes from last meeting.

·         Pres Gillespie: Staff to update calendar section


Public Comments:

·         Chuffa: Item G, was skipped again on ramp medallion list

·         Richard Hybels: 2 color scheme applications, no worker’s compensation

·         Barry Taranto: Severed items should be taken out of this public comment section.

·         Thomas Owen, City Attorney: President can be subjective on the severed items he chooses for public comment.

·         Pres Gillespie: Barry you can speak on this item.

·         Barry Taranto:  Doesn’t feel like one minute is enough time to discuss this issue.

·         Nick Swiess: Color scheme change from his company to another without workers compensation

·         Tariq Mehmood: Item B, approval of new permit holders should be looked at

·         Steve Reimers: Yellow will be losing Sam Arian to a new color scheme.

·         Charles Rathbone: Larger color schemes losing medallions to smaller companies.

·         Robert Cesano: Absurd James Gillespie is being fined.

·         Mary McGuire: Reads minutes from Mach and April meetings re Welsch medallions

·         Mark Gruberg:  if the Commissioners have any questions about Welsch medallions, I’ll be happy to answer.

·         Com Benjamin: Is this extortion?

·         Com Heinicke: What is this all about?  Will more medallions come over?  How did UTW make this settlement?

·         Com Breslin: We could continue this and investigate further.

·         Mark Gruberg: Explanation of settlement; which included at least 2 Welsch medallions. Executive boards decision but membership can overturn it. UTW was acting in the interest of members and others.

·         Com Breslin: Remarkable, was here for the whole process and never once heard this before.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Larger companies are full service and should have the medallions

·         Name: UTW members; this company has always been spending the money in the best interest for drivers

·         John Lazar: Smaller companies shouldn’t have ramp medallions.

·         Com Henicke: Motions to approve on B,D, C3, C4, Cg and H (b)

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve changes adopted to minutes of May 22, 2007 and approve as amended;    Item A

·         Com Paek: 2nd motions


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Egregious violators should be set forth

·         Com Paek: Why is no one here from Fog City to discuss this?

·         Com Benjamin: We shouldn’t approve due to the violations; Motions to deny item C1 and C2

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Com Breslin: Item C

·         Com Heinicke: Motions to approve

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                             RECUSED:   0


·         Pres Gillespie: Item E, staff has recommendations.

·         Jordanna Thigpen: Advises the commissioners to not approve new color schemes due to their lack of compliance and inappropriate facilities at place of business, staff is investigating.

·         Com Heinicke: If applicants reapply would they have to pay fee?

·         Pres Gillespie: Wants to hear from commissioners.

·         Com Breslin; Motions to deny new color schemes without paying fee if reapply.

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Dir Machen: Item G; review of candidates history of driving especially lack of required ramp pick ups

·         Abdel Sdaigiu: Says he was passed when he had met the driving requirement.

·         Com Oka: Was he interviewed by Paratransit Coordinating Council?

·         Dir Machen:  No, since that only applies to the 25 ramp medallions approved by the PC&N. Also PCC will not interview applicants that have failed their 100 pick ups.

·         Com Oka:  I think we deny this applicant especially since he hasn’t meet his 100 pick ups.

·         Pres Gillespie: Applicant has been waiting a long time for this medallion, doesn’t feel comfortable voting on this.

·         Com Breslin:  Has his record improved over time?

·         Dir Machen: We didn’t look back that far.

·         Com Oneto: He failed both regular and ramp pick ups?

·         Dir Machen: Yes.

·         John Lazar: He didn’t work for Luxor for the years 2005, 2006, only recently in 2007.

·         Com Oka: Motions to deny applicant ramp medallion.

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                 RECUSED:   Benjamin


·         Com Breslin: James Gillespie case is topical based on the formation of the working group. Only manager that has had action taken against him.

·         Com Benjamin: This admonishment is based on the fact he didn’t meet the driving requirement.

·         Com Oka: Fine is not appropriate since the Taxi Commission didn’t enforce the fine at that time.

·         Com Heinicke: Is the procedure that simple, since the case has already been heard by the hearing officer?

·         City Attorney: Commissioners would vote to either rehear the item unless the future procedures are changed.  

·         Com Oka: What’s the rehearing procedure?

·         City Attorney: Review record at a later date, simplify matter requiring 5 year vote.

·         James Gillespie: Feels like the case was selective enforcement. Anxious to have it settled, although would rather not have admonishment on record or requirement to pay fee.

·         Com Oneto: Finds Mr. Gillespie as a knowledgeable of this industry, why didn’t you follow the rules?

·         James Gillespie:  It took about 20 years after Prop K for Prop K medallion holders to become managers.   This was contentious and we worked with detail on a oral agreement to not worry about driving.  Only after the few months we had the legislation passed was there anything up against me.

·         Com Heinicke: A unique case can’t see it being reheard.

·         City Attorney: You can deny recommendation but would require 2/3 vote, with no penalty or admonishment.

·         Com Breslin: Motion to deny

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion, deny adoption of motion


AYES: Benjamin, Breslin, Oka          NOES: Heinicke, Onteo, Paek

ABSENT: 0                                         RECUSED:   Gillespie


·         Com Heinicke: Motion to rehear case.

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                 RECUSED:  Gillespie


4.      Organization of Charter Reform Working Group: Creating a Selection Panel

Public Comment:

·         Robert Cesano: We have given names; remove Mike Spain and Charles Rathbone

·         Charles Rathbone: More is better: Jack Berry

·         Mark Gruberg: Submitted name for working group, 7 voting, 5 non voting should be changed

·         Barry Taranto: Wants his name to be added to the list.

·         Tarik Mehmood: Wants his name to be added to the list.

·         Mary McQuire: Names of public on the list are friends of Heidi and Jordanna and are all white.

·         Dan Hinds: Applauds reform.

·         John Lazar:  Would like to add both himself and Tom Stanghellini

·         Pres Gillespie: Included to make the group larger

·         Com Heinicke: Could we add 11 voting members?

·         Com Oneto: The non-voting members are City representatives

·         Pres Gillespie: People of color represent a large percentage of our industry and should have fair representation.

·         Com Oka: Larger groups are better.

·         Com Benjamin:  Keep the number even,; 3 commissioners, 3 drivers, 3 medallions, 3 color scheme

·         Pre Gillespie: Commissioners Heinicke, Oka and Benjamin; objection of 12 voting members? Committee to look at what needs to be changed by the voters in the charter. Amend 12 voting members without objection change deadline to July 24th or the next regularly scheduled Taxi Commission meeting.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to accept and amend resolution.

·         Com Oka; 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                         RECUSED:   0


5.      Disciplinary Hearing for Revocation of Color Scheme Permit for Union Cab Company for violation   of Taxicab/Ramped Taxicab Rules and Regulations 5.A.1, 5.A.3, 5.A.4, 5.H.2, 5.H.3, 5.H.4, 5.H.6, 5.H.9, 5.H.15, 5.H.16, 5.H.17, 5.I.2, 5.I.3, 5.K.3., 5.C.2, 5.C.3, 5.C.5, 5.E.1.c, and MPC§1140(a), §1123(a), §1135.1(b)(ii), §1147.4, §1148.6(b), and §1187.1. 


·         Dir Machen:  States that Mr. Me request a continuance.  However the defendant was noticed in April with a 2nd amended complaint.

·         Pres Gillespie: No continuance approved.

·         Jordanna Thigpen: Presented Commissions case against Union Cab

·         Mr. Me, Defendant: Spoke with attorney, complicated case and needs more time.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Continuance not granted needs to present case.

·         Com Heinicke:  There’s a lot of information , Mr. Me not required to give full testimony but there are some questions we could focus on:1040 a4; 1090a9

·         Mr. Me: Yellow and Mr. Me relationship “father and son”. Has contracted radio dispatch with yellow, owes money. States Jordanna does not include that in her report. Has audits from State Fund and she didn’t mention that either. Tried bailing the company out but owed yellow over $200k. Doesn’t believe the Taxi Commission has the authority to collect the fee.


Public Comment:

·         Name: Happy to see something is being done.

·         Name: It’s difficult to run small companies and this is evidence of that.

·         Robert Cesano: Way bills are commission’s biggest problems.  Should find alternatives.

·         Chuffa: Taxi Commission is against following any rules.

·         Steve Reimers: When problems occurred, yellow closed down the lots so cabs don’t shift change on Union’s property.

·         Name: Taxis were confiscated from drivers.

·         Name:  Why isn’t he in jail?

·         Emil Lawrence: Copies of waybills should be required.

·         Blake: As a driver is he entitled to Yellow cabs financial documents?

·         Thomas George Williams: Agrees revocation, Yellow’s involvement interesting. Further investigation needed.

·         John Lazar: Mr. Williams said he paid $105/ shift

·         Name: Please keep your eyes open so this doesn’t happen again.

·         Jordanna Thigpen: Rebuttal

·         Sgt Reynolds: Mr. Me did not pay GTU fees and therefore GTU will not inspect any Union cabs. Cabs are not deemed safe and are a public safety issue.  DA and police are looking into the case.

·         City Attorney: Cannot take medallions from drivers until the Commission creates findings.

·         Mr. Me: Asking commission to give him time to pay back debt to yellow cab and drivers.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to revoke color scheme

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Dir Machen: Will adopt findings and could revoke medallions in 15 days. Summary suspension of remaining medallions could be possible tomorrow morning based on public safety issues.

·         City Attorney: Findings should include evidentiary conclusions that constituted revocation of color scheme permit.

·         Com Heinicke: We could use findings on bottom of page 6 to adopt them as our findings.

·         City Attorney: Could also direct staff to include false statements since you have indicated those as means to revoke color scheme permit.  

·         Dir Machen: Summarizes what City Attorney says

·         Com Benjamin: Motions to also revoke dispatch permit

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to adopt rule violation findings.

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Vote on revoking dispatch


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Table consent item F


6.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements

·         Dir Machen: Update

·         Sgt Reynolds: Update

·         Com Heinicke: If town car is soliciting what should the public do?

·         Sgt Reynolds: Call the dispatch number they will have to come out to issue the ticket, tow car.  Or you can perform citizen’s arrest.

·         Pres Gillespie: passing of PCC’s Vince Behan and Jewel McGinnis, who were tireless advocates.

·         Com Breslin: Could we move the July 10 meeting since there’s an All Star game?

·         Com Benjamin: Time waiver is an issue and needs to be addressed.

·         Com Oneto: Request gas and gate to be a meeting


Public Comment:

·         Chuffa:  Ramp medallion offers are far from him

·         Robert Cesano:  Rules and Regulations meeting needed.

·         Rich Hybels: Commission needs to write letter to Chief Fong requesting police detail at airport to stop illegal limos from picking up passengers.


7.      Removal of Tu Lam and John Nguyen from the Union Cab Company color scheme permit at Mr. Lam and Mr. Nguyen’s request

·         Dir Machen: Review

·         Com Heinicke:  Motion to deny

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion


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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


8.      Public Comment

·         Rich Hybels: Worker’s Compensation issue not fair.

·         Peter:  Spoke at BOS meeting

·         Tariq Mehmood: Yellow issued shift/monthly sign up for new lease starting July 1, 2007 equates to $1.6 million per month.

·         Sam:  GTU inspected his Union cab and it was deemed safe.

·         Name: Shift change at Luxor bad neighborhood, unsafe

·         EmilLawrence: Long term lease is overcharging.. What’s the liability for such companies?

·         John Lazar: Prepay gas and gate for up to 4-6 shifts not long term leases.

·         Charles Cesano: Unions should have the contracts with the companies.

·         MaryMcGuire:  Was president of UTW and gate shouldn’t be increased . Gruberg upset about vote and the Board overturned decision.



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