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Commission Chambers

August 28, 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:    None

* Commissioners Breslin and Heinicke were absent when voting for Items 2 & 6

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:30 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


(Taken out of order)  

6.   Consent Calendar [ACTION]

  • Items A, C, D, E 1 & E 2 & F
  • Com Oka : Motion to approve
  • Com Oneto: 2nd motion
  • Voice vote


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

            ABSENT: Breslin, Heinicke                                      RECUSED:   0


  • Item E 3
  • Com Oneto: Motion to approve
  • Com Oka : 2nd motion


            AYES: Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek   NOES:           0

            ABSENT: Breslin, Heinicke                RECUSED: Gillespie


2.      Modifying the Inside of Taxis with Information for 311 Customer Service Center [INFORMATION and ACTION]

·         Ed Reiskin, Executive Director of 311- Overview and update on past items and questions. 311 will not be tracking items if callers directly work with color schemes.

·         Pres Gillespie: What’s the difference between high and low priority?

·         Ed Reiskin: High priorities are laptops, medical prescriptions, wallets and identifications. Low priorities are cell phones, pagers.

·         Com Breslin: Why should Taxi Detail is involved in lost and found process?

·         Ed Reiskin:  Issue between taxi commission and taxi detail is not his decision.  311 answer telephone calls for taxi detail, which handles complaints.

·         Com Breslin:  How many lost and found calls do the color schemes versus taxi detail receive?

·         Pres Gillespie: Does this sticker replace the current card in the vehicles?

·         Com Paek: Would like to see the City logo on the card and 311’s. Will work with the department on the logo.

·         Com Breslin: Has the Commission decided on either the sticker or card?

·         Com Benjamin: Would prefer card.

·         Dir Machen: Reads Resolution

·         Com Breslin: Would like to amend Resolution with a sunset clause in order to see how 311 are working.


Public Comments:

·         Charles Cesano: Should have central place for all lost property.

·         John Lazar: Who pays for the 311 service? Color scheme doesn’t pay for doing any of it.

·         Charles Rathbone:  Signage on cabs would be an issue.  Urges to replace card with sticker, do not duplicate.

·         Grasshopper: City should have one central lost and found location.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Keep it simple.

·         Thomas George Williams: 311 are great service 32 companies, customers do not know.

·         Barry Taranto: Likes new sticker design.

·         Com Breslin: Make sticker voluntary and not mandatory. What’s the rule on stickers on the windows?

·         Dir Machen: Addressed at last meeting, vehicle codes allows for the sticker to be placed on the window.

·         Com Breslin: This venture with the color schemes crosses into a relationship with private business.  Is the Department ready to deal with that?

·         Pres Gillespie: 311 sticker in NY mandatory and working well. Sunset clause labels it experimental. Can always change it in a later resolution.

·         Com Breslin: Would like sunset in order to revisit the issue in the future.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve resolution

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion

·         Com Breslin: Would like the passenger/driver bill of rights to be included as well.


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

            ABSENT:  Heinicke                                                               RECUSED:   0



[1.]       Public Comment on all matters pertaining to the closed session.

[2.]       Vote on whether to hold closed session to confer with legal counsel. 

            (San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.10(d))  [ACTION ITEM]

[3.]       Closed session pursuant to Government Code sec. 54956.9 and San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.10(d).


            [ACTION ITEM]

(a)     Slone v. Taxi Commission;

         U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal. No. C 07 335 EDL

         [City as defendant]

(b)     United Taxicab Workers v. Yellow Cab Cooperative;

         San Francisco Superior Court No. 457-561

         [City as intervener-plaintiff]

(c)     Brealll v. Taxi Commission;

         San Francisco Superior Court Nos. 460-436, 505-798

         [City as defendant]       


[4.]       Reconvene in open session:

(a)     Possible report on action taken in closed session.  (Government Code sec. 54957.1(a)(2) and San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.12(b)(2).)  [ACTION ITEM]

(b)               Vote to elect whether to disclose any or all discussions held in closed session. 

            (San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.12(a))  [ACTION ITEM]

  • Dir Machen: Overview of cases.


Public Comments:

  • Barry Taranto: Disappointed Commissioner Heinicke is not here. No information available on any of these cases.
  • Pres Gillespie:  What documents are available?
  • City Attorney: Everything can be accessed from the Superior Courts website.
  • Dir Machen: Documents are also available in our office.
  • Name: Urge to vote down Yellow lawsuit.
  • Tariq Mehmood: UTW confused lawsuit. Controller’s report conflicting plan not feasible.  Taxi Commission heath plan possible but not initially.
  • Robert Cesano: Puzzled on why Taxi Commission is getting involved in this case. 2-tier system; no one ever mentioned gate should be lowered.  Controller’s report was not clear. Let UTW and Yellow deal with it.
  • Mian Asad: Has worked for Yellow for 4 years and has no complaints against Yellow Cab.  If there is an overcharging issue, there shouldn’t be a lawsuit.
  • Rich Hybels: All Commissioners’ were not around in 2005; reads a 2005 statement spoken at Board of Appeals hearing.
  • Naeem Mazhar: Most points have already been addressed regarding Yellow and UTW; lots of confusion among drivers.
  • Jaswinder Uppal: Received a lot of information from UTW.
  • Mohammed Booya: Yellow invests a lot of money in color scheme, always has new taxi cabs.
  • Carl Macmurdo: Joe Breall should get same treatment as everyone else.
  • Sergio: UTW should not represent drivers.  This case should not go through.
  • KC: Has been a Yellow driver for 2 years, good company.
  • Charles Rathbone: City has been silent for years on gates, they should withdraw their lawsuit.
  • Shyam: Yellow cab driver, was a UTW member.  Needed help with health care but couldn’t get it from them.
  • Hansu Kim: Worked on language for gas and gate, has correspondence with Kelly and Naomi that gate been $91.50 with worker’s compensation.
  • Ruah Graffis: Illegal for Yellow to increase gas and gate.
  • Thomas George Williams: Asked Taxi Commission to intervene before lawsuit.
  • Mark Gruberg:  All 3 lawsuits have something in common; exercising invaluable right in this society.
  • BillMounsey: UTW for 16 years, doesn’t agree with everything they do, but they do a good job.
  • Com Paek: Motions to go into closed session
  • Com Oneto: 2nd motion.

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

            ABSENT: Heinicke                                                                RECUSED:   0


**Return from Closed Session

  • City Attorney: Taxi Commissioners conferred with consel on items listed on the agenda
  • Com Heinicke: Motion to not disclose matters discussed in closed session
  • Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

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

            ABSENT: Breslin, Paek                                            RECUSED:   0



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

  • Bob Vitcha: Showed pictures of illegal taxi cabs posing as “Yellow cabs”.
  • Barry Taranto: No help from taxi detail on taxi stands.  Everyone is parking in the zones.
  • Mohammed Booya:  Every Friday and Saturday illegal limos soliciting and picking up fare.  UTW should give back medallions.
  • Grasshopper: Summarily suspended but continues to drive vehicle has not been pulled over. All taxi cab marking removed.
  • Hansu Kim: Is now a MTA consultant working on debit card program. Presentation to the Commission on September 25, 2007.
  • Tariq Mehmood:  Showed videotape of Thomas George Williams before settlement of Welsh medallions encouraging drivers to not operate the medallions.
  • Muhd Ishfaq: Commission should create fund to help drivers pay for health care, increase either A card or airport fee.
  • Charles Rathbone: Used to single shift because it was a risk aversion, wanted to maximize profits by working longer hours. Gave it up because he became tired and exposed if sick or injured.
  • Zuahir: Remembers when he was told to not drive Welsh medallions, now they drive them. Confusing issue.  When asked UTW why they drove Welsh medallions, he was told, there weren’t many options.
  • Bill Mounsey: Two way street- Yellow making money too.  Limos are now making left turns on taxi only streets.  No tickets are being issued. Police officers are allowing taxis at hotels.
  • Dan Hinds: Joe Breall working with National for years.
  • Rich Hybels: Asked Taxi Commission to address limo issue at airport. Nothing has happened. $150 million improvements at airport but nothing done about illegal limo picking up there.


5.      Cyclist and Taxi Cab Safety: [DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

a.       Including welcome letters in informational package new drivers receive

b.      Informational item on bicycle safety/share the road;

c.       Adding a Bike Safety section to Taxi Driver training in addition to bicycle and pedestrian safety;

d.       Mandating usage of “Look Before You Leap” and “watch for bikes” stickers;

  • Rachel Kraai and Razzu Mitos, SF Bicycle Coalition: Overview of documents they would like to distribute to the taxi schools and new drivers.

Public Comments:

  • Ruah Graffis: Razzu has been attending and teaching her classes enjoys having him.
  • Tom Stanghellini: Too many coalitions.  Biggest concern, do cyclists know how to use bicycles? Drivers are professional.
  • Steve Murray: Contention is with passengers opening taxi doors without looking. Feasibility study should be done on how to lock doors before passenger opens it.
  • Robert Vitcha: 16 year bicycle rider, proposals make sense should be added and considered. Side view mirror sticker not a good idea. SFBC should continue to educate cyclists.  Bicycle license good idea.
  • Charles Rathbone: Admirable goal, but signage in vehicle will be an issue.
  • Bill Mounsey: Can’t stop passengers from opening door. 80% of cyclists are bad riders. Terrible problem especially on Valencia Street.
  • Ron Fishman: Cyclists are inconsiderate.  When dropping off passengers in bike lanes, has been attacked. No consideration.
  • Thomas George Williams: Reminder; we share the road.
  • Carl Macmurdo: Agrees with Rathbone, training is important. Will be helpful.
  • Robert Cesano: White zone enforcement must happen for taxis to operate and so taxis don’t double park. More training gets added on every year, time consuming and costs more.
  • Mark Gruberg: Tension between both sides, but mutually beneficial- less cars on the road.  Stickers may help in some instances.
  • Tariq Mehmood: Recommends training not stickers.
  • Pres Gillespie: Met with Rachel and Razzu, many comments taken into consideration. Agrees with all their proposals. But not sure about mirror sticker.
  • Com Breslin: Likes literature, what is the accountability for the cyclists? License is a good idea, sense of accountability. Letter would have to stay current.
  • Pres Gillespie: Hold off on passing, in order for the Rules Committee to review.
  • Com Paek:  What is the goal of the sticker?


7.  Forming and Appointing Members to the Clean Air Working Group.  [ACTION]

  • Dir Machen: Overview
  • Pres Gillespie: Would like to change a few things. 1. Change name from Clean Air Working Group to Clean Taxi Working Group 2. 2nd resolve clause to include taxi commission president. 3. Change further resolve clause to include 2 additional commissioners who are voting members and up to 25 additional non-voting members.
  • Com Paek: Motion to adopt resolution and changes
  • Com Oneto: 2nd motion.
  • Voice vote

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

            ABSENT: 0                                                                                         RECUSED:   0


8.  Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

  • Dir Machen: Overview
  • Sergeant Reynolds: Update and overview
  • Com Heinicke: Can staff issue administrative tickets to limousines?
  • Sergeant Reynolds: Will look into that and get back to the Commission.


Commissioners Announcements:

  • Com Benjamin: Blessing of the cabs Wednesday and Friday
  • Com Breslin: Would like Blue Angels Resolution to be considered


Public Comments:

  • Mary McGuire: Received admonishment from Taxi Commission for a fee owed to the Tax Collector’s office.
  • Charles Rathbone: Administrative fine great idea.
  • Charles Cesano: Does not trust staff for hiring of new investigators.
  • Mark Gruberg: Approves staff hiring more investigators.
  • Carl Macmurdo: Doesn’t agree with reprimands for not driving your own medallion.
  • Hansu Kim: Assembly Bill would cut off illegal limo driver’s phones
  • Tom Stanghellini: Believes tickets should be issued to anyone parked in white zones.
  • Thomas George Williams: More information on Proposition A can be found at
  • Tariq Mehmood: Regents does not have worker’s compensation.


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

  • Mary McGuire: Wants letter from our office clarifying and correcting mistake.
  • Tom Stanghellini: Clarified dates and times for Blessing of Fleets.
  • Mark Gruberg: Regents cab has worker’s compensation, comment earlier not true.
  • Thomas George Williams:Proposition A, no proper discussion, no public control.


  10. Adjournment



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