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Commission Chambers

August 14, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

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

Absent:    0

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:40 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.                  Modifying the Inside of Taxis with Advertisements for 311 Customer Service Center [INFORMATION and POSSIBLE ACTION]

·               Nancy Alfaro, 311: Reviewed some issues that the Commissioners had at the last meeting.  Presented     new sticker, which included reporting “illegal limos” to 311.

·         Com Heinicke: Would like the sticker to have room to place the vehicles medallion number and color scheme. Inquires how the lost and found procedure will operate.

·         Nancy Alfaro: Sticker can include medallion number and color scheme.  If a lost item is a high priority then it will be handled by a manager.

·         Com Heinicke: If the caller knows the color scheme, why should 311 create a report;  311 should give the caller the number for the color scheme and let them deal with it together.

·         Com Paek: Sticker design should be recreated, colors need to be bolder and more visible.  Sticker is too small.

·         Com Oneto: Logo should also have a different shape.  When the sun shines, the light will wash out the language since the font is so light.

·         Nancy Alfaro: Would like consensus from the Commissioners on design.

·         Com Heinicke: Summarizes the requests for changing the sticker; 311 logo limits space, theme of 311 not needed, color and design should be bold and contrasting.


Public Comments:

·         BillMounsey: Riding public is indifferent to designs, it should be located on the head rest of the driver’s seat, more visible to passengers.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Advertise 311 in the phone book, or on a sticker without all the details. 

·         Jim Gillespie: Keep it simple as possible, no need for the extra work load.

·         TariqMehmood: Neck rest not a good place for the sticker it will peel off. Too much information keep it simple.

·         Barry Taranto: Should replace the current sticker in the taxi with this one. Should have input from taxi detail.

·         Grasshopper Alec Kaplan: Shouldn’t place anything on the windows.

·         Sylvia: Sticker should have color

·         Mark Gruberg: 311 is supposed to be simple

·         Com Breslin: Like 311 and wants to advocate the department.  However, its relationship with the Taxi Commission changes the dynamics and structure of how things are currently done. Wants to learn more about how calls are tracked.  Prefers head rest for sticker, but would like a larger sticker to include passenger bill of rights. Thinks illegal limos should be changed to illegal transportation.

·         Pres Gillespie: Agrees with everything said but illegal limos should stay on sticker.

·         Com Heinicke: 311 should be equipped to respond in their script to give a caller the color scheme’s number rather than open a report. Should continue item until new sticker design is presented to Commission.

·         Com Oneto: Who is paying for sticker?

·         Nancy Alfaro: To summarize, the Commission would like something placed on the head rest, with room from the medallion number and color schemes name to be placed on the sticker with contrasting colors.  Will provide more then one sticker to Commissioners.


3.                  Consideration of Policy on Exterior Design of San Francisco Taxicabs [ACTION]

·         DirMachen : Overview of item, also includes amendment presented to Commissioners by Mark Gruberg.

·         Pres Gillespie: Few years ago allowed Luxor to include their insignia without making a policy change.

·         Com Heinicke: Happy with responses to survey, except from DeSoto.

·         Com Oneto: If taxi is wrapped, wheel well to wheel well will be covered, customers not able to distinguish color scheme.

·         Com Heinicke: Only discussing slogan, not identification of taxi.


Public Comments:

·         Grasshopper Alec Kaplan: Would like to place “To Impeach is Patriotic” on back of taxi. Wants ad approved based on first amendment right.

·         Mark Gruberg: Allow additional amendment and insignia. Allowed Luxor, when there wasn’t a policy, but now creating a policy. More allowances for commercial speech than for company advertisement.

·         Com Benjamin: Congratulations on award but what if you receive two more awards, would those also be placed on vehicle? Each company should pay for such placement on vehicles.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Should have a time limit for placement of such insignias. Bumper stickers are an issue and should be limited.

·         Steve Murray: Speaking on behalf of Grasshopper, Commission should reimburse Grasshopper’s money if they do not approve color scheme change.

·         Emil Lawrence: Didn’t know bumper stickers were included in the resolution, 2/3 taxis have bumper stickers.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Should not allow Green Cab to include insignia.

·         Com Oneto: If Commission approves insignia, then it will be regulating content, not intention of Commission.

·         City Attorney: Yes, definitely.

·         Com Heinicke: If Green Cab wanted to use insignia with limited font they could under this resolution.  Motion to approve Resolution and should read as follows for slogan;

1.  It may only be changed 1 number of times per year;

2. Font size will be no larger than 2 inches;

3. Placement only from wheel well to wheel well part of the vehicle;

4. There will be a grace period of 3 months for any company not presently in compliance to obtain compliance with this rule. 

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

·         Roll call

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



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

·         Name: lives downtown and sees many illegal taxis.  Some cabs take credit cards and others do not their should be some consistency. Welsh medallions should be returned.

·         Zuhair: UTW does not represent him.  Can Welsh’s be sued for creating all this?

·         Thomas George Williams: UTW only represents members. UTW does not own Welsh medallions.

·         Bill Mounsey: Illegal limos are an over the top issue.  Limos pick up people over the weekend. Taxi detail doesn’t seem to care. All they do are check waybills.

·         Barry Taranto: Outreach should be done about Bay Bridge closing and alternate routes available to cross bridge.  Illegal limousines at Sheraton. Unfair, taxi drivers should follow laws why shouldn’t illegal limos.

·         Jim Gillespie: Channel 7, ABC covered story of missing trumpets.

·         Jaswinder: UTW does not represent him.

·         Tariq Mehmood: UTW member said they only represent their own members.  But previous pamphlets said not to drive Welsh medallions, than UTW won settlement and now use/drive medallions.

·         David Basada: Filed case with Superior Court against Commission.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Problems with illegal limos. No dispatch after midnight at airport is a problem. SFO to hire more investigators especially at Untied and international terminal.


5.                  Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen:  Recuse items C, D & H


Public Comments:

·         Barry Taranto: Should not have controversial item on consent calendar.  It should be its own item.

·         Emil Lawrence: Agendas should be available on the table.

·         Jim Gillespie: Charles Hawkins dedicated driver will be great ramp medallion holder.

·         Carl McMurdo: Knows William O’Brien for years, mail was compromised because of where he lives.

·         John Trap: William O’Brien’s hard of hearing, will speak on his behalf. Moved postal service did not forward mail. Appreciates any consideration.

·         Pres Gillespie: Reinstating O’Brien would not place him ahead of anyone on the list.

·         Dir Machen: Removal tonight will be for failure to respond to two letters sent by the Commission. Has not driven for 5 years.  If he applies and is given an ADA accommodation he may still be eligible to receive medallion.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve consent calendar

·         Com Oka : Seconds motion

·         Voice vote

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


·         Item C:

·         Com Oka : Motion to leave William O’Brien on the medallion waiting list

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion

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


·         Item D:

·         Com Oka : Comments Hawkins passed PCC interview and all committee questions.

·         Charles Hawkins: Driver for 4 years and will be dedicated medallion holder.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve Charles Hawkins for a ramp medallion

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion


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

RECUSED:   Benjamin


·         Item H:

·         Continued to call of the chair.



6.                  Membership and proposed agenda of the Clean Air Working Group and Rules Subcommittee [DISCUSSION]

·         Dir Machen: Overview of the memo.


Public Comments:

·         Barry Taranto: Include these agendas, times and dates on the website. List days of the week. Some rules are not being enforced; rules subcommittee should look at that. Parking cabs on lots should be addressed.

·         Jim Gillespie: Should look into mandating the green fleet later in the year.  Should alert companies how many taxis they will need annually to meet the 2011 goal.

·         Pres Gillespie: Not sure if that can be done by the next meeting.

·         Mark Gruberg: Recommends Joe Mirable for Green Committee, knows a lot about the industry.

·         Thomas George Williams: One rule states that a rule book should be in every cab.


7.                  Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen: Reads report.


Taxi Commissioner Announcements:

·         Com Breslin: Blue Angels and Fleet week economic boom to the economy and taxi industry.  Proposes Taxi Commission to prepare a Resolution to send to the Board of Supervisors in support of the Blue Angels.

·         Com Oka : MTA promised debit card plan and should present findings before the Commission.

·         Com Heinicke: Illegal limos #1 driver issue, availability of taxis is consumer’s #1 issue. Other factors related to availability are traffic patterns, dispatch issues and peak times for certain areas. Proposed two questions to City Attorney 1. Could Commission allow peak-time medallions?  2. Can a driver on the medallion waiting list be removed if they do not accept a peak-time medallion? Answer to both questions is yes. This would not violate Prop K.  Requests a hearing in the near future on these findings.

·         Com Benjamin: Hold up with the Board of Supervisors on increase of gas and gate is not reasonable. Commission met April 1, 2007 deadline.  Board is ignoring this and will be recessing for summer break.

·         Pres Gillespie: Long over due frustration on this issue.  Any Commissioner with Supervisor relationships should contact them.

·         Com Oka : Maybe Commission should send a stronger resolution to the Board


Public Comments:

·         Barry Taranto: Blue Angels are a good for the economy, need the business.

·         Mark Gruberg: April was deadline for healthcare plan which driver’s have been fighting for 2003.

·         Thomas George Williams: Limos important issue.  Don’t add more cabs then look into illegal limo issue.

·         LaurieGraham: Saw limo driver parked at coffee shop, whose medallion and A card were revoked by the Commission.

·         Com Heinicke: Are limo driver’s licensed by the PUC? If so then why are they licensing such drivers? What kind of background is done on the drivers?


8.                  Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items NOT on the agenda; also limited to public that did not speak during Special Order)

·         Tom Stanghellini: Make hotel parking zones all white and only allow taxis to park there and fine $400 for violators.

·         Mark Gruberg: Number of comments made against UTW.  UTW has done a lot; worked Assembly Mark Leno, sponsored legislation per their request.


9.                  Adjournment



Respectfully Submitted,

Tamara Odisho
Executive Secretary



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