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Commission Chambers

September 11, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Room 400


Present:  Gillespie; Breslin (late); Benjamin; Heinicke (late); Oneto; Oka; Paek

Absent:    0

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:34 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.   Adopting a Design for 311 Customer Service Information Card [ACTION]

  • Director Machen: Overview of Resolution and item.
  • Com Paek:Motions to adopt version 10


Public Comment:

·         Robert Cesana: Prominence of signs in vehicles an issue for riders.

·         Pres Gillespie: Illegal limo needs to be capitalized.

·         Com Oka: 2nds motion with amendment to “illegal limos”

·         Roll Call

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


ABSENT: Heinicke                                                               



4.   Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen: Recommends to continue Item G and sever items D1, D2, D4, & F


Public Comment:

·         Barry Taranto: Philip Teri good driver and so is Calvin Tsu but sad because will be losing employee at airport. Item F, if it’s denied by Taxi Detail why is it on the calendar?

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve items A, B,C, D3 and E2

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion.

·         Roll Call

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


ABSENT: Heinicke                                                               



·         Item D1

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion

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


ABSENT: Heinicke                                                               

RECUSED: Gillespie


·         Item D2

·         Com Paek: Motion to approve

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion

AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto, Paek                       


ABSENT: Heinicke                                                   

RECUSED:   Benjamin


·         Item D4

·         Dir Machen: Reviews staff memo

·         Com Oka: Ramp certificate expired as of 2006 not certified and therefore not qualified.

·         Com Breslin: Has he asked for a time waiver.

·         Dir Machen: He has not asked for one but would be entitled to one.

·         Com Benjamin: Motion to not approve or grant ramp medallion.

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion

·         Frances Gonzales: Did not fill out waybill properly or would reflect he picked up. Received 2nd ramp offer letter and began driving in 2003 with Yellow.

·         Com Oneto: Did staff mention your waybills were short?

·         FG: No

·         Com Oka: Mr. Gonzales why didn’t you renew your certificate when it expired?

·         FG: Didn’t know had to.

·         Com Benjamin: Even if we grant the ramp will he be committed?

·         (6:55 PM Commissioner Heinicke arrives)

·         Com Oneto: To give someone a medallion who doesn’t seem interested is a concern.

·         Com Breslin: Is not a long time driver, needs to re-evaluate his approach. 

·         Com Breslin: Motion and 2nd are on the floor let’s take a vote.

AYES: Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek                      


ABSENT: Heinicke                                                   

RECUSED:   Gillespie


·         Item F

·         Dir Machen: Overview; Staff has been gradually assuming Taxi Detail’s administrative duties, currently we are at 95%. 

·         Tesfaldet Joseph: Single shift driver was told to fill out form and is now denied.  Only transportation he has.

·         Pres Gillespie: He’s being denied because he lives in Redwood City?

·         Dir Machen: Yes, because SFPD has no jurisdiction.

·         Com Benjamin: Where is your vehicle parked?

·         TJ: In my driveway.

·         Com Breslin: How many other taxis are parked off site?

·         Dir Machen: No others

·         Com Heinicke: Aren’t other taxis parked off site?  Frustrated with single-shifters, when do you drive?

·         TJ: Monday through Friday 2-10 PM.

·         Dir Machen: Not sure if anyone else does.

·         Item continued until Sergeant Reynolds arrives.

7:55pm Item 4 continued

·         Sgt Reynolds: Cannot approve application if driver is out of our jurisdiction.

·         Dir Machen: PC&N doesn’t restrict single shifting.

·         City Attorney: Falls to the Taxi Commissions discretion whether Proposition K allows single-shift

·         Com Heinicke: Single-shifting should be operating during peak-time

·         Roll call

·         Com Benjamin: Motion to not allow parking off lot

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion

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





SPECIAL ORDER 7:00 – 7:30 PM

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

  • Chuffa: Lots of infighting between Yellow and UTW, not sure who this will favor. Requesting UTW withdraw lawsuit.  Need to unite to avoid passage of Prop A.
  • Ishfaq: Please return medallions. Can we check if other companies are charging the same gas and gate?
  • Charles Rathbone: Displaying to the Commission alternative sticker for the Bicycle Coalition proposal.
  • Pres Gillespie: Should email the Bicycle Coalition.
  • Robert Vitcha: Taxi Commission should remove medallion holders home addresses from the web. Displaying pictures of poser Yellow cabs he took in the City.
  • Mohammed: Saw many poser Yellow taxis, especially during peak times.  Town and Black & White Checker only take credit card fares to the airport, staff should look into this.
  • Jackie Sachs: San Mateo ramp vehicles picking up in the City, is it legal?  Are they licensed?
  • Mark Gruberg: Illegal limo strike 7am – 5 PM economic crime of immense proportions.  Millions of dollars lost every year.
  • Com Breslin: Public opinion does not represent Commission.
  • Name: Speaking on behalf of Grasshopper. Grasshopper called him when woman was in his vehicle, he was worried about her reaction.
  • Barry Taranto: Part of Com Breslin’s disclaimer comes because she works for the hotels. 49ers game, sea of limos called DPT but nothing was done. Need better collaboration during events.
  • Pres Gillespie: Hotels filled with illegal limos.
  • Com Breslin: Whose duty is it to clear white zones?
  • Robert Cesana: Mayor wants all Commissioners to resign, Proposition A will do away with Commission. Asks Commission to reevaluate Director. All items on the agenda approved by Director not Commission.
  • Bill Mounsey: Picked up hotel manager of Phoenix hotel and told him “no pay no play.” She said she uses Town because they pay. Long term leases driving long hours.
  • Dilbert: Driving with Yellow since 1991. How much is UTW getting for medallions?
  • Ray: Bothered since no agendas are on the table.



5.   Fact Finding Hearing and Disciplinary action including Possible Revocation: [ACTION]

            a.   Grasshopper Alec Kaplan medallion number 9062, violation of Rules 5.A.3, 5.A.5, 5.F.2, 5.H.a, 5.H.2, 5.H.3, 5.H.4, 5.H.5, 5.H.10, 5.H.11, 5.H.14, 5.H.16, 5.H.17, 5.I.3, 5.I.4, and 5.K.2, 4.A.5; MPC Section1148.5, 1120, 1187.1, 1101 and 1123.

·         Pres Gillespie: Item Continued to next meeting.

6.   Audit Report [Information]

a.       2007 Color Scheme Audit Results

b.      2005 Medallion Holder Proposition K and Waybills Results


  • Jordanna Thigpen, Deputy Director: Overview
  • Pres Gillespie: First time staff is conducting this, used to be done sporadically by Taxi Detail.
  • Com Heinicke: First offense admonishment second should be revocation.  If there is a driving requirement and drivers are not following the rules, medallions should be revoked.
  • Dir Machen: Gaining access to medallion holders files were difficult before because files were at taxi detail but we now have the files.
  • Com Heinicke: How many 2nd time violators? We should revoke 2nd time Prop K violators.
  • Com Breslin: We should vote on that since there are differences of opinions.
  • Jordanna Thigpen: 18-20 Post K violators with Royal.
  • Com Benjamin: How can we enforce through color scheme when they are not performing their duties? Waste of staff time and resources if the color schemes are not doing their part.
  • Dir Machen: Only color scheme requirement is to fax a weekly statement that waybills have been turned in. That has only been enforced since August of this year.
  • Pres Gillespie: Audit is first in several years. Tedious and time consuming appreciates commissioners’ comments but must have facts in order before case brought before Commission.
  • Com Oka: Problems stem from what should have been done.  Should have had a mechanism to clarify rules in order to comply with rules.
  • Com Paek: Truth in all that is said, there is only so much staff can do.  Must protect them from over stretching and burn out. Should revisit budget.
  • Com Benjamin: Can we focus our resources on one point?  If we clean house we should do it now.


Public Comment:

  • Bill Mounsey: Appreciate staff’s hard work.  Cab industry is corrupt.  Up to the Commission to do something.
  • Barry Taranto: Should take this seriously, medallion holders are a high power and should be aware of how to fill out waybills. Staff should write letters to medallion holders as to how to fill out way bills.
  • Robert Cesana: Most disputes are confusion of rules and regulations. Medallion holders were told by Detail to not worry about filling out waybills.
  • Jim Gillespie: We posted workers’ compensation in office. Believes there are several medallion holders who need to be admonished, but many work shifts. How many are under ADA?
  • Charles Rathbone: Disabled medallion holders receiving admonishments. Wrong impression sent out. Waybills have no business purpose.
  • Tom Stanghellini: 96 corporate medallions, whose looking into those? Looking forward to Rules Subcommittee.  On busy Friday night how good are waybills?
  • Chuffa: Admonished for waybill. Problem is no enforcement. Should have standards on filling out waybills.
  • Carl Macmurdo: Should focus on egregious violators. Board of Appeals directive to Taxi Commission.  Drive your own medallion difficult rule.
  • Mary McGuire: Do the comments Heidi made that 50% are violators include small violations?
  • Emil Lawrence:  Based on report Taxi Commission has 3 sets of rules; pre-k, post k and corporate. No rules for corporate and pre-k.
  • Name: Worked in marketing, City has tremendous potential to make a lot of money. City should step in to ensure outer areas are being serviced.
  • MarkGruberg: Comments that 175 violators are ADA do not add up.
  • Hansu Kim: There isn’t a graceful way of giving up ones medallion.
  • Thomas George Williams: Agrees there should be an exit for older drivers. Should invest more staff resources into audits.  Electronic swipe cards to replace waybills.
  • TariqMehmood: 175 violators serious thing.  Anyone who doesn’t drive should be revoked.
  • Jordanna Thigpen: Fingerprint technology possible $275. Corporate medallions under investigation. Read Sgt Simpson’s transcript on drive your own medallion rule and he didn’t give a specific number on driving.
  • Com Heinicke: Administrative fines less important. City has valuable asset on streets and only one stipulation is to drive.  Staff to identify violators and present list before Commission
  • Com Breslin: Drive your own medallion should not be apart of the admonishments since Commission agreed no one would receive admonishments based on that.  Would like standards for revocation and taxi rules for driving over the years.
  • Com Heinicke: Many are in compliance but would like staff to list second time violators.
  • Com Benjamin: Agrees not convinced drive your own medallion rule. Admonishments should be held off.  Any law needs two things respect or fear.
  • Pres Gillespie: All Commissioners agree. If a more specific Resolution is needed then we should set it forth.
  • Com Breslin: I do not agree, with driving requirement.
  • Pres Gillespie: Under Naomi Little BOA overturned many complaints. This is by far the best Taxi Commission and staff we have had in 10 years.
  • Com Benjamin: Can we prioritize a list?
  • Com Heinicke: Doesn’t want a list, but would like staff to match up who had received a 2nd admonishment.

7.   Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

  • Director Machen: Overview.
  • Sgt Reynolds: overview.  Would like to include illegal limos in police officer and higher officer training.  MPC prohibits Detail or staff to issue administrative fines.
  • Com Benjamin: Can Sheriff’s issue administrative fine?
  • Com Gillespie: We should agendize this item.
  • Sgt Reynolds: Worked ball park on Saturday illegal limos are out of control.


Public Comment:

  • Barry Taranto: Times and dates of Subcommittee should be posted ahead of time. Ball park parking for taxis should be reevaluated.
  • Charles Rathbone: Ironic that Commission staff worry about waybills when illegal limos are out.
  • Tom Stanghellini: Make taxi only zones and ticket anyone who is parked and not a taxi.
  • Thomas George Williams: Ball park mis-planning for taxis.  Driving difficult because of limos.
  • Barry Korngold: Astounding that illegal limos are getting away with this.
  • Mary McGuire: Good money to be made at ball park/ Picks up at 5th inning always people leaving early.
  • Hansu Kim: Noticed over the years taxis were never looked at as an integral part of transportation.
  • Robert Cesana: Reporting to Taxi Commission is illegal, only should report if someone is breaking the rules.
  • Mark Gruberg: Puzzled that Taxi Commission has impasse on issuing fines.
  • Bill Mounsey: There are laws that make it illegal for limos to pick up off the street.
  • Name: Long term lease $40k/year, limos can be purchased for $10k but don’t have to pay anyone.

8.   Resolution Supporting Blue Angels and Fleet Week  [ACTION]

  • Com Breslin: Commend staff for putting it together. Valuable resolution.


Public Comment:

  • Robert Cesana: Should promote all these events and should have taxi stands.
  • Charles Rathbone: Civic pride, good for business.
  • Barry Korngold: Recently passed Resolution for Clean Fleet, this creates so much pollution.
  • Thomas George Williams: In past these events have killed people. 
  • Mark Gruberg: Good business on 9-11-01
  • Com Oneto: Amend “sky line”
  • Com Breslin: Amend ¼ century.
  • Com Oka: Motion to approve with those amendments
  • Com Benjamin: 2nd motion
  • Roll Call

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





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

  • Carl Macmurdo: Doesn’t agree with drive your own medallion rule. Not stated in Proposition K. If that should be the rule, Commission should create that.
  • Barry Korngold: CNG/hybrid wishes there were more vehicles. Blue Angeles day cancels out hybrid initiative. CNG no much trunk room. Hybrids not practical taxis.
  • Rich Hybels: Responds to remarks Dan Hinds made the week before.
  • Corey lamb: Urged Police Commission to look into gypsy cab issue.
  • Hansu Kim: Thursday MTA outreach meeting at 1: oo PM 1 S Van Ness 3rd Floor.
  • Mary McGuire: Grasshopper repeatedly driving and picking up customers.


10. Adjournment



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