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Commission Chambers

September 25, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Room 400


Present:  Gillespie; Breslin; Benjamin; Oneto; Oka

Absent:    Heinicke; Paek

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:33 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.      Update on Paratransit Debit Swipe Program [INFORMATION]

·         Greg Wilcox, Deputy Director of MTA: Introductions of staff and Hansu Kim to present power point to Commission.

·         Hansu Kim: Presentation and overview of power point presentation. 

·         President Gillespie: Thanks MTA and Hansu Kim for presentation.  Explains first attempt at Debit Swipe was ill conceived but second attempt looks very promising.

·         Com Breslin: GPS tracking is very limited. It’s currently being used for other tracking, would like to hear from Color Schemes on any opposition to this. Ongoing training is important.

·         Hansu Kim: GPS would be used only for auditing and emergencies. Will work on ongoing training.  Current system is similar to new system.

·         Brent Allen, Consultant: Translink uses smart card.  When procurement occurs will specify a port to be included in this device so when Translink uses smart card the model will then be attached to the system.

·         Hansu Kim: This technology will potentially give all taxis availability to used credit cards if it is mandated.

·         Com Benjamin:  What’s the ball park cost for the Color Schemes?

·         Hansu Kim:  Not sure yet, waiting to send out bids.  Expect competitive pricing, anywhere from $700- 1,500.

·         Com Benjamin: Luxor and Yellow have different systems how are you going to work with that?

·         Hansu Kim: Their current equipment will be upgraded and will no longer have coupons. Smaller companies will have smaller systems.

·         Com Breslin: What’s the cost going to be like for the smaller companies that do not have 30 or more taxis?

·         Hansu Kim: The rules for companies that have less than 30 taxis will not apply.  They will be reimbursed.

·         Com Oka: Commends MTA for bringing together the industry to resolve this issue.

Public Comments:

·         Barry Taranto: Hopes to stick to timeline presented.  All equipment should be credit card capable.  New system will help lessen fraud.  Training needs to be properly done as does there need to be a hotline number we can call.

·         Bob Vitcha: Radio channels accessible to anyone with a scanner, should not be radioing in credit card numbers.

·         MTA:  Misstatement made in handout.  If system is down drivers can use knuckle buster.

·         Jim Gillespie: Debit Card program has problems for years but believes in this new system. MTA personnel great. Yellow cab only uses GPS to dispatch orders and only for tracking taxis when there’s a need to manually input orders. Tracking used for emergencies and archives.

·         Steve Reimers: Information is public; drivers should not worry about their location if they are driving.  Yellow has had this technology in place for over 10 years.

·         Dan Hinds: Hansu Kim is the glue to bring all parties together on this issue. Critical for the industry to stand together on the facts to accomplish things.

·         Bill Mounsey: Eternal pessimist.  There will be huge fraud in the system.  Currently at least 2 of 10 are fakes.  Like many other things in this industry.  Will there be a way to notify MTA of the fraud?

·         John Gursen: Business owner and SF resident, understands difficulty for drivers using paratransit.  He is disabled.  Smart card technology is free through visa. Magnetic system is old and outdated.  MTA should invest in smart card technology.

·         Emil Lawrence: Magnetic strip system is obsolete and system is old.  Yellow and Luxor systems are old.  Current hand held systems available and easier. No training needed.

·         Frank Fehy: Opposes personal information being exposed on GPS system. Should have the right to privacy.

·         Thomas George Williams: Honored to be apart of this committee.  Need to look into the fraud issue.  Options should be available for privacy.   System should also include a panic button for drivers.

·         Tariq Mehmood: All drivers want to work on this happy to have credit cards in all taxis, it will increase ridership.

SPECIAL ORDER 7:00 - 7:30 PM

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

·         Blake Derby:  Commends Breslin for not voting against Lindsey Welcome’s revocation. Bauers limo double parked, he got out of his cab to see what happened and drunk person kicked his car door into his leg.

·         Barry Taranto: Fasted for 25 hours and thought a lot about the taxi industry and how to improve customer service. Taxi Commission has failed the industry. 49ers football game out of control.  Need staff to attend games. What’s the delay on the Disciplinary Hearings? Drive your own medallion rule should penalize color schemes not drivers.

·         Chuffa: Thanks all Commissioners especially Benjamin for help in getting medallion. Thanks SF residents for encouraging him to fight for his medallion. People who attend Taxi Commission meetings bimonthly are his heroes.

·         John Gursen: Lives in Excelsior cannot get taxi service sometimes waits for hours to get a taxi.  Calls Daly City taxi for service. Sometimes lies and says going to the airport to get a cab. Knows a lot about the industry has met people and knows of people who drive more hours than required and knows about fraud.  Hilton Hotel also pays off limos.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Single shifting issue especially when PC&N occurs should consider them for peak-time medallions.

·         EmilLawrence: Probability of Taxi Commission being dissolved and adopted  by MTA.

4.      Fact Finding Hearing and Disciplinary action including Possible Revocation of Public Passenger Vehicle Permit 9062, A Card Permit P44-50373 and Grasshopper Color Scheme: [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.

·        Item Continued to call of the Chair.


5.      Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Director Machen: Recommends that Commission sever items for D2, D3 and D4 for recusals.  Items G withdrawn by applicant.

Public Comments:

·         Charles Rathbone: Congratulations to Chuffa, Commission should release other medallions.

·         Com Breslin: Motion to approve Items A- 9-11 Minutes, B- Public Passenger Vehicle Driver Permits, C- Color Scheme Wrap for Arrow Cab, D1- CS Change Aaron Rushinsky from Royal to SF Taxi, D5- CS Change Fadel J Zaru from DeSoto to Royal Taxi, E- Ineligible Applicants for a Ramp Medallion for Failure to Respond and Submit Application and F- Grant Ramp Medallion to Tesfaye Chuffa

·         Com Oka : 2nd motion to approve Consent items.

·         Roll Call/ Voice Vote

           AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto   

           NOES: 0

           ABSENT: Heinicke, Paek                                        

           RECUSED:   0

·         Com Oneto: Motions to approve Item D2- CS Change for Solomon Makkonnen from Yellow to DeSoto Cab

·         Com Oka :  2nd motion to approve item D2.

·         Roll Call/ Voice Vote

            AYES:  Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto                   

            NOES: 0

            ABSENT: Heinicke, Paek                                        

            RECUSED:   Gillespie

·         Com Oneto: Motions to approve items D3- CS to Luxor for James Lam and D4- Hikmut Pople to DeSoto.

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion to approve items D3 and D4.

·         Roll Call/ Voice Vote

           AYES:  Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto                                

           NOES: 0

           ABSENT: Heinicke, Paek                                        

           RECUSED:   Benjamin

6.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen: Staff Report and overview.

·         Sergeant Reynolds: Illegal limos are being prosecuted thanks to Director Machen and Deputy Director Thigpen.  Will be at 49ers game and will work with taxis.  Spoke with DPT and they will not issue tickets, will leave it up to him and he will administratively deal with drivers.  Susan Hom left Detail for airport, will be greatly missed.

·         PresGillespie:  Candlestick park isolated and hard to get there.  Especially if the cab is empty going to the park.


Commissioner Comments:

·         Pres Gillespie: Thanks to Com Breslin for the Rules Committee.  Clean Air meeting productive and thanks auto industry representatives for attending. Thanks to the SF Opera particularly Leah Garchik, who gave out $200 tickets to drivers.  Will not attend October 9, 2007 meeting because will be at TLPA conference.

·         Com Breslin: 49ers should follow opera example by issuing free tickets to drivers. Rules Committee issues to be addressed are shift changing, top lights, leasing, layers, waybill issues, workers’ compensation, medical exam requirements, ramp picks.  Past meeting was free flowing next meeting will be restricted to agenda. Henry Epstein requesting Taxi Commission to review hearing procedures process.

·         City Attorney:  It would be appropriate for the Commission to review this if you thought it was necessary.

·         Com Breslin:  Could we find out more information on his question?  And whether this would be a more internal question.

·         Dir Machen: I believe this was an internal question that Tom Owen answered.  Correct me if I am wrong Tom.

Public Comments:

·         Barry Taranto: Resolution should be created to commend Leah from the Opera. Thanks Sgt Reynolds for efforts on illegal limos.  Busiest weekend of the year; Blues Festival and Folsom Fair and 49ers game.

·         Thomas George Williams:  Very excited limos are being prosecuted.  Wants to hear more feedback from conferences.

·         Chuffa: Forgot to thank Commission staff.

·         Tom Stanghellini:  Opera house keeps driveway clear, making it easy for taxis to enter and exit.  Transportation doesn’t take taxi industry seriously.

·         Tariq Mehmood: UTW claims strike went well.  But it did not.

·         Marc Gruberg: Tariq is obsessed with UTW. It wasn’t a strike but a protest.  Event fizzled because was not well organized.

·         Blake Derby:  Overjoyed about limo issue.

·         Sgt Reynolds:  Address Breslin statement; 49ers said they would compensate color scheme and drivers if they pick up at the stadium. Also wanted to thank the District Attorney Kamala Harris and Chief of Staff Russ Giuntini for limo prosecution.

·         Com Benjamin : Opera will be at ATT&T park on Friday night. Taxis should pick up at park.

·         Pres Gillespie: Staff to write thank you letter to Opera.


7.      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: Driver at Luxor collecting gifts for soldiers in Iraq.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Yellow held picnic with over 800 attendees.  Also free lunches were handed out at St Bonafest Church no one from the Commission or staff. UTW gate fee are lies.

·         Marc Gruberg: His word against mine.

·         Com Breslin: Taxi Commission meetings are not the place for personal attacks.  Will not be tolerated.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Comments made should only relate to taxi business.

·         Thomas George Williams: Health care will be coming before the Board of Supervisors in the next week.


8.  Adjournment



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