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Commission Chambers

July 13, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

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

Absent:    Paek

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 2:00 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.      Consideration of Policy on Exterior Design of San Francisco Taxicabs   [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen:  Overview of policy

·         City Attorney: Additional 3rd Option would allow any icon on the cab as long as it didn’t obscure the identification of the taxi.

·         Com Oneto: Not in favor of option #3, prefer standard policy. The companies will then know what to do with their cabs.

·         Pres Gillespie: If we adopt option #1, would it affect any current color scheme?

·         City Attorney: Yellow has a current statement, we are trying to avoid any constrictions.

·         Com Oka : Under that option, would Yellow be required to remove their statement?

·         City Attorney: Yes

·         Com Breslin: Option #3 is vague and could cause discrimination.  Drove behind Grasshopper and all that was seen was the statement on vehicle, text isn’t apart of the color scheme. Text on cabs should directly be used for color scheme.

·         Pres Gillespie: Continue item until City Attorney has exact language unless we do it now.

·         Dir Machen: If you continue this then you will have to continue Item D, which has been continued since April 2007.

Public Comments:

·         Tim Lapp:  If Taxi Commission decides to remove all logos, then they should pay Yellow.

·         Grasshopper: Will be removed from Citywide dispatch. 1st amendment allows statement.

·         Com Heinicke: Any comments from staff or police regarding this being a safety concern? There should be a industry wide standard.

·         City Attorney:  Would recommend website to also be included on color scheme. Color schemes not in compliance would have to figure out a way to comply.

·         Com Oka : Motion to move on option # 2

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

·         Com Breslin:  Disagrees because that option allows any content on the vehicles.

·         Com Heinicke: Could the color scheme choose a slogan for the color scheme?

·         Com Breslin:  Does the color scheme reflect the City of SF with or without color scheme?

·         Com Heinicke: Does promoting a slogan on the vehicles help business? Continue item to give companies time to comment on policy changes.

·         Com Benjamin: Withdraws motion

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to continue item until language is exact

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion.

·         Voice vote

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto,

            NOES: 0

            RECUSED:   0

6.   Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen:  Staff update

Commissioner Announcements:

·         Com Breslin: Thanks staff for All Star game help.  Comment regarding taxi driver who didn’t want to take her to the ball park for the event.

Public Comments:

·         Jim Kennedy: Notifying Commission that Wieland’s son is appealing Commission’s decision.  Investigator position was hard to locate off the Taxi Commission website. 

·         Charles Rathbone: Taxi Commission over charged companies for fees per the Board of Supervisors.

·         Mike Spain: Welcome committed suicide because permit was revoked.

4.   Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         DirMachen: Remove items C 1, C 2, D, E 2, G1 and Best Cab Company is in compliance with worker’s compensation.

Public Comments:

·         Jim Kennedy: Item 4b from minutes reflects comments that Taxi Commission failed to return waybills to Bay Cab, which are still not returned.

·         Charles Rathbone: Minutes incorrectly reflect Commissioners Breslin’s vote on Lindsey Welcome revocation.  She did not vote in support of revocation.

·         Com Breslin: Minutes should be easily readable.

·         Barry Taranto: Minutes do not accurately reflect his comments.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve consent calendar items, A with amendments official record should be tape, F1, F3 and F4

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion

·         Voice call

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto,

            NOES: 0

            RECUSED:   0

·         Pres Gillespie: Item C 1, Commissioner Benjamin to recuse

·         Voice vote

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto, Heinicke               

            NOES: 0


           RECUSED:   Benjamin

·         Com Oneto: Item C 2Questions Delta cab coverage

·         Dir Machen: Michael Austria from State Fund has questions regarding adequate coverage at State Fund believes there was an issue with the underwriter; staff recommends it to go through.

·         Com Oneto: Can we add a condition on this?

·         Dir Machen: This would also need a motion to waive notice.  We can add a stipulation that the company prove coverage in 2 weeks

·         Com Oneto: Waive notice imposed by Commission

·         Com Oka:  2nd motion

·         Voice vote

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

            NOES: 0

            ABSENT: Paek                                                                                 

            RECUSED:   0

·         Com Oneto: Motions to approve with stipulation that proof of Worker’s Compensation is necessary within 10 days.

·         Com Heinicke: 2nd motion

·         Voice vote

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto,

            NOES: 0
ABSENT: Paek                                                                                 

            RECUSED:   0

·         Pres Gillespie: Continues Item D1, without objection

·         Pres Gillespie: E2, Commissioner Benjamin recuses

·         Com Oka: Motions to approve items E1 and E2

·         Voice vote

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto, Heinicke               

            NOES: 0

            ABSENT: Paek                                                                     

           RECUSED:   Benjamin

·         Pres Gillespie: Item F2, severed by me and Com Oka expressed interest.  Anyone want to speak on behalf on this item?

·         Mrs. Sdaigui: Huge discrepancy, counted all waybills.  Ramp pick ups are only 32, not in his control.  At 4am there is only certain number of ramp pick ups.

·         Pres Gillespie: Last meeting we decided not to grant him a medallion.  Tonight he is being held off from being taken off the ramp taxi list.

·         Rich Hybels: Here for moral support, driver has showed his records to him, honest and deserving guy.

·         Com Oka: Ramp medallion holder told him that Mr. Sdaigui worked for him and was a good worker, conscientious; this man has picked me up and has done a great job.  Would like him to see him get a ramp.

·         Pres Gillespie: We can rescind the vote, if a further investigation would reveal something more.

·         Com Breslin: What’s the moving point as to why he was removed?

·         Pres Gillespie: Maybe there was some discrepancy.

·         Com Heinicke: Does staff feel additional time would be needed?

·         Dir Machen: Last memo received from staff showed 100 hours were missing as were the ramp pickup requirements.  An option would be granting a provisional medallion, which was rejected previously.

·         Pres Gillespie: Questions as to what he was getting credit for.  Thought Commission was taking a harsh line on this case.

·         Com Oka: Motion to not remove him from waiting list.

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

·         Roll Call

            AYES:  Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka     

            NOES: Breslin, Heinicke, Oneto

            ABSENT: Paek                                 

            RECUSED:   0

·         Motion fails

·         Com Breslin: Motions to continue item in order to look at policy

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion

·         Voice vote

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, 

            NOES: 0


            RECUSED:   0


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

·         Tim Lapp: Afternoon meetings better for evening drivers. A comment made on news interview regarding 50% medallion holders not driving is exaggerated.

·         Sam Swada: UTW doesn’t represent him or other drivers

·         Mian: UTW doesn’t represent him.

·         Happy Hyder: Taxi Commission staff uncooperative with Lindsey Welcome. She considered taking her life before and losing her medallion was it for her.

·         Kathleen Young: Tried calling on Lindsey’s behalf, wasn’t able to get information.  Found Lindsey dead on   June 23, 2007.

·         Mian Mazhar: UTW doesn’t represent him.

·         Jazwinder Suppor: UTW doesn’t represent him.

·         Zuhair Sinada: UTW doesn’t represent him. If they were sincere why did they keep the Welch medallion? Why not give it back to the City so the next person on the list could receive it? GSP good communication for           pick ups.

·         Ishfar Muhd: Yellow is a good company.  UTW doesn’t represent drivers. Commission should settle UTW lawsuit, if Yellow begins long term lease it will hurt drivers.

·         Segio Pedroza: UTW doesn’t represent him. Only harass drivers.

·         Charles Rathbone: Taxi Commission’s ADA policy different than other departments. Staff should post revocations of medallions 2 weeks before meeting. Notice for revocation should include steps beyond the Board of Appeals for appealing.

·         Edgar Lanzo: Yellow Cab driver, problems with UTW doesn’t know anyone who is a member. Long term lease will affect drivers that don’t have the up front money to pay.  Commission should have more day meetings.

·         Chuffa: Has said harsh words to the Commission in the past, but this time a medallion holder is dead because of decision.

·         Naeem Mazhar: There’s personal vendetta between UTW, Luxor and Yellow Cab, some benefits come back to drivers.  Drivers don’t have money for long term leasing. Neither UTW or companies are for the drivers. Commission should restrain or regulate UTW from wasting drivers’ time.

·         Dan Hinds: Staff was helpful with 1095 for those who couldn’t make it to the office. Why did Ms Welcome   believe she was losing her medallion.  This dramatizes the vulnerable and unprepared to protect themselves.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Smart card at the airport is an issue when it doesn’t work properly.

·         Grasshopper Alec Kapplan: Fired from Citywide with a 30 day notice.

·         Tarik Mehmood; UTW doesn’t represent drivers. They pocketed the Welch medallion. He spoke with Mark Gruberg and what he said was unbelievable.

·         JoeMirable: UTW member, never had big membership but it fought for drivers’ rights.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Lawsuit pending, Commissioners shouldn’t take away any medallions.

·         Barry Tarranto: Not a UTW member for 2 years. Members speaking against them belong to one color scheme. All Star game was good, illegal limos made it difficult to serve the public.

·         Anne McVeigh: Reads a letter written by a driver.

·         Dave Barlow: UTW represents its members. Their positions represent drivers and drivers can agree or disagree.

·         Mark Gruberg: UTW saved drivers money, fought against ballot measures, actions helped return Luxor and medallion permits. Turned over the Commissions decision to release more medallions on the streets.

·         Emil Lawrence: Never enough agendas on the table.  Medallion list problem are the driving requirement documents

·         Jim Gillespie: Approach to industry should be with positive attitude on means to improve.

·         Jim Kennedy: ABC interview can be seen on their website. Six thousand drivers is a lot. 50% medallion holders not driving are exaggerated.

Continue Consent Calendar:

·         Pres Gillespie: Item G, Deputy Director Jordanna Thigpen will present.

·         Jordanna Thigpen: Overview of the case. Points out she and Sgt Reynolds audited records of KSJ, but would like the Commissioners to not use the audit as means of revoking the permit but rather the lack of compliance with 1095 filing.

·         David Basada, KSJ: Refutes findings.

Public Comments:

·         NateDwiri: Police code doesn’t require companies to have worker’s compensation, it just states that the company needs to be in compliance.

·         Jim Kennedy: Commissioners should notify the owners that they could have an attorney to represent them when a case is being brought against them. Charges are being trumped up.

·         Emil Lawrence: Audit should be done by auditors, not staff and/or Sergeant.

·         Anne McVeigh: Staff says conflicting things. Moving this case forward is not fair.

·         Barry Taranto: Mistreatment of staff is wrong. He also assaulted me.

·         Chuffa: If an audit is to be conducted there should be notice to the color scheme.

·         City Attorney: The only basis for revocation would be the 1095 not the audit. Staff could issue an amended complaint.

·         Com Heinicke: Commissioners received information but would like an amended complaint including the audit.

·         Com Benjamin: He’s required to comply with state law, does that mean he has to have worker’s compensation?

·         City Attorney: He is required by state law to have worker’s compensation.  Unless he can persuade this commission one way or another.

·         Com Oka: Is it true that only immediate relatives are covered by worker’s compensation?

·         City Attorney:  I am not sure.  I would have to look up the rules. We don’t require worker’s compensation where the state does not.

·         Com Breslin: Gross misunderstanding worker’s compensation. Staff has a better working relationship with State Fund.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to continue item until the next meeting.

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion

·         Dir Machen: We have created a relationship with state fund sometimes it is difficult for them to share information with us.

·         Voice vote

            AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto,


            ABSENT: Paek                                                                                 

5.   PC&N Methodology Hearing [DISCUSSION and ACTION]

·        Jordanna Thigpen: Presented on this item.  Answered questions on the methodology of survey.  Attacks on staff will not be tolerated.

Public Comments:

·        John Lazar: Cannot supply demand during peak-times, conventions etc

·        Nate Dwiri: Has issue with all these surveys. Look and see what the drivers are doing.  They line up to drive a cab.  Look at what they do not what they say. Most of the time companies cannot supply demand of people who want to drive cabs.

·        Barry Taranto: Against staff doing this.  Interferes with staff time and there’s a political aspect to this.

·        Jim Gillespie: Concern is that the number of calls to big and small companies is not equal.

·        Com Heinicke: Clarifies issue and questions.

·        Emil Lawrence: When a call goes out on a radio it goes to all cars there’s no way of knowing where the vehicle is.  Remedy shift change and it will solve the peak time issue.

·        Charles Rathbone: The staff didn’t do a good job last year, and they shouldn’t perform it again.

·        Name:  Audit should be done by a 3rd party.

·        Thomas George Williams: It doesn’t matter who does the survey, but rather the information that is derived.  The lines at Yellow doesn’t mean it’s good money but rather there’s not enough money made during the shifts they have. This survey should include worker’s income.

·        Bashir Rahimi: Peak hours the city needs taxis.  At the airport, there are lots of cabbies playing cards.  Maybe creating a schedule for drivers would resolve the problems.

·        Mike Spain: Issue is always a problem when survey is done in house. Street pick ups still more widely used then calls.

·        Pres Gillespie: This is not a results survey but a sampling of service in the city.

·        Com Oka: Requests the results to be given to the Commissioners before releasing to the public.



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