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Commission Chambers

October 09, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Room 400


Present:  Breslin, Oka, Paek, Heinicke (late), Oneto

Absent:    Gillespie, Benjamin

Vice President Breslin called the meeting to order at 6:32 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

4.  Consent Calendar [ACTION] ( Item taken out of order)

  • Director Machen: Remove item G1 since applicant lacks workers’ compensation.

No one to speak for public comment on consent calendar

  • Com Oka: Motion to approve consent items A- Minutes, B- New Drivers, C- Removal of Applicants from PC&N waiting list, D- Grant Time Waiver, E- Grant Medallion & F- Consideration of Applicants Ineligible for Ramp
  • Com Oneto: 2nd motion to approve consent calendar
  • Roll call/voice vote

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

ABSENT:  Gillespie, Benjamin                                        RECUSED:   0

  • Com Heinicke: Why are G1 and G2 moving companies?
  • Com Breslin: Asks applicants to speak, Anita Lee not present.
  • Jane Bolig: She and Dan have irreconcilable differences. Stock options available at DeSoto. National will be more competitive now than in past.
  • Com Breslin: Continue item G 1 – CS Change for Anita Lee from Bay to B&W Checker without objection.
  • Com Paek: Moves to approve G 2- CS Change for Jane Bolig from National to DeSoto.
  • Com Breslin: How long were you with National?
  • Jane Bolig: 3 years and 6 months and I was with DeSoto for 25 years.
  • Com Oneto: 2nd Motion
  • Roll call/voice vote

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

ABSENT:  Gillespie, Benjamin                                        RECUSED:   0

  1. Public Convenience and Necessity: Consideration of Peak Time Medallions  [DISCUSSION]
  • Com Heinicke: Finding taxis during peak-times in San Francisco are difficult for both residents and tourists. Line at Sheraton hotel very long and bellman complain of lack of supply. Would like to increase number of taxis during peak-times.  Regular medallions may just flood the market.  Would be trying something new with peak-time medallions, if that doesn’t work, maybe issue more medallions.
  • Com Breslin:  Appreciates topic especially since it is angled at residents.

Public Comment:

  • Bill Mounsey: Don’t issue more medallions, limos eating business. Thursday evenings drives empty cab.  If issued, peak-time medallions should be one color for easy recognition.
  • Com Breslin: Do you think one color scheme should have these peak-time medallions?
  • Bill Mounsey: No.
  • Barry Taranto: Commission should define what peak-time medallions are. City is affected by congestion that needs to be addressed to help taxis get around.
  • Com Heinicke: What days should they operate?
  • Barry Taranto: Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, too many drivers sitting at airport.
  • Bob Vitcha: Income from such vehicles will be difficult. Should issue corporate medallions.
  • Com Heinicke: Would like to know how much money a taxi needs to make for it to be profitable, need to ask managers.
  • Tom Stanghellini:  Enforcement of peak-times should be easy, Commission to send someone to each lot during the day to ensure vehicles are on the lot. 
  • Murai: Peak-time medallions are a good idea and should be used everyday especially when there are conventions/ events in town.
  • Thomas George Williams: Centralized dispatch should be addressed.  Should not create another class of medallions. Toronto has peak-times and they do not generate enough income for drivers.
  • Dave Schneider: Peak-time medallions would be good on Friday and Saturdays and especially for emergencies, central dispatch is a good idea and most important.
  • Grasshopper Alec Kaplan: Spare cabs should be used as peak-time medallions. Illegal limos are already picking up the extra slack taxis do not.
  • Jane Bolig: Single-shifters should be forced to drive peak-time medallions. Corporate medallions are good only if they offer stock options. Day drivers usually drive more days and night drivers less nights.
  • Mark Gruberg: Does not support more cabs.  Other issues getting pushed into the background; economic livelihood and over saturation of the market.
  • Mike Spain: Not speaking on behalf of Medallion Holders Association, a real division industry wide, drivers do not want more competition. Strong supporter of peak-time medallions. Especially on Thursday – Sunday 1:00PM- 4:00AM; Wednesday – Sunday 3:00PM – 10:00PM and all special event days. Medallions should be given to individuals do not distribute corporate medallions.
  • Peter Witt: Peak-time problems all over the world.  Peak-time medallions unfeasible.  Availability is what we are talking about.  Sheraton doormen crooked, they cheat. Everyone wants at cab at the same time and that’s a problem.  New York has peak-time rates and carpools.  SF doesn’t have the business NYC does.
  • Rich Hybels: Peak-time medallion issues would be providing workers’ compensation, since insurance companies will not provide part-time coverage.
  • Com Oneto: What about single-shifters, how is it feasible for them to have workers’ compensation coverage?
  • Rich Hybels:  They do not need workers’ compensation.
  • Name:  There is no one solution, in favor of corporate medallions.
  • Kiki: Industry needs to be better organized. Not economically feasible.  Impossible to make everyone happy.
  • Carl Macmurdo: Peak-time good idea would prefer amendment to Prop K as opposed to offering it to driver’s on the medallion waiting list. Encourages a monthly coordinator to check-in on how well the taxis are functioning and a monthly assessment of when they are needed.
  • Hansu Kim: Spare cabs should be looked at since they are already sitting on the lot.
  • Al Costa: Requests Taxi Commission to work closely with the City to close downtown streets to non-transportation vehicles.
  • Name: Peak-time vehicles will come at a high cost.
  • Tariq Mehmood: Cost of vehicle and insurance will be expensive.
  •  Esad: Add peak-time for Thursday, Friday and Saturdays.
  • Jaswinder: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are good money making days.  Some other weekdays are not.

7:45 PM Public comments continued to meet special order

SPECIAL ORDER 7:30 - 8:00 PM

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

  • Barry Taranto: TODO magazine honors monthly taxi drivers however this month they honored a limo driver under the taxi driver appreciation award, outrageous. Luxor cabs didn’t show at 49er game.
  • Rich Hybels: Sergeant Reynolds and Lieutenant Scholtz at 49ers game did a good job.
  • Murai: Proposes new medallion recipients to speak at meetings and to also be given their medallions.
  • Mike Spain: Driver’s are making a lot of money and the economy is doing well.  Customers constantly complaining about the limited taxi service.  A taxi’s monopoly is the top light.
  • Carl Macmurdo: ADA lawsuit pending, applicants shouldn’t be denied if stay is applicable. Staff to cross reference.

Item #2 Continued – Public Comment:

  • Com Oneto: How much will it cost to have these vehicles on the street?  If the vehicles only drive 40 hours/week then the mileage will be 1/3 of regular taxis.
  • Com Oka: Has heard a lot about this issue over the years. Single-shifters should be used for this and medallions should be given to individuals and not medallion holders.
  • Com Paek: Questions urgency of need.  Focus should be consensual.  What’s the feasibility of this? Environmental issue should be taken into consideration.  What are other cities doing?
  • Com Heinicke: Thank you for having this discussion. Appreciates speaker’s candor, convinced there is a need to more taxis during peak-time but how do you address this issue? Need is now, no need to wait to test this proposal.
  • Com Breslin: (Places pictures on the overhead) One hour wait at hotel for taxi. Workers’ compensation should be pro-rated. Peak-time should only apply to in the City.  Thanks everyone for their comments.

5.  Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

  • Dir Machen: Overview
  • Lieutenant Schlotz: Discussed taxi shooting and limited details of the case.  Reported Town Cab had workers’ compensation to cover incident. Reported on 49ers game; impounded an illegal taxi.
  • Com Breslin:  What are the fines in such a case?
  • Lt. Schlotz: In process of putting a packet together.
  • Com Heinicke: Can the Commission impose fines on this person?
  • City Attorney:  Possibly.

Taxi Commissioner Announcements:

  • Com Heinicke: Thanks the SFPD-Detail for all their work.

Public Comments:

  • Rich Hybels: Outrageous color schemes do not have workers’ compensation. Has paid over ½ million over the last few years.
  • Mary McGuire: Why wasn’t the industry aware that the Board of Supervisors heard the taxi driver healthcare plan? Board of Supervisors staff said it was the Taxi Commissions responsibility to alert the public.
  • Mark Gruberg: Alioto-Pier legislation issue. Contempt for drivers.
  • Cory Lamb: Watched meeting and Supervisor Elsbernd adamant to not approve the plan.  A color scheme without workers’ compensation is unacceptable.
  • Tom Stanghellini: Many events occurring last weekend.  Luxor was out at other events and not at 49er park.  If a Color Scheme does not have workers’ compensation, Taxi Commission should shut them down.
  • Carl Macmurdo: 24 hours before meeting should be notified of meeting.
  • Mike Spain: Thanks Alioto-Pier for gas and gate language.
  • Thomas George Williams: Every taxi in SF needs workers’ compensation. Notification of Board of Supervisor meetings is a individual and personal responsibility.
  • Bill Mounsey: Taxi Commission not listening to drivers.  Should drive cab to understand industry, limos are out of control.

6.  Adoption of the Recommendations of the Charter Reform Selection Committee [ACTION]

  • Dir Machen: Overview of item.
  • Com Heinicke: Many qualified candidates to choose from, difficult to choose committee.  Recommend amending the Resolution to leave the two non-voting seats vacant unless the Mayor’s office or Board of Supervisor’s staff elects to attend.
  • Com Oka: Agrees, many qualified candidates, wishes there were more slots.

Public Comments:

  • Barry Taranto: Important committee should have had bios on public members.
  • Mary McGuire: What type of outreach was done for the public?  Googled applicants and are friends with staff.
  • Mian Hassan: How were these people chosen and what was the criteria?
  • Booya: Whoever chose this committee was wrong to not include Nate Dwiri and Tariq Mehmood.
  • Jaswinder: Tariq Mehmood and Nate Dwiri should be on this committee.
  • Ishfaq: Consider Tariq and Nate Dwiri on the committee.
  • Com Heinicke: Difficult choice for committee, understands how everyone feels, limited space on committee.
  • Com Paek: Motion to approve Resolution with amendment.
  • Com Oneto: 2nd motion.
  • Roll call/ Voice vote

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

ABSENT:  Gillespie, Benjamin                                        RECUSED:   0

7.  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: PC&N survey $5 compensation is not enough.  Should pay out more especially out in the Sunset and Richmond districts.
  • Hansu Kim: Workers’ compensation should be mandated 2 tier gate fee for workers’ compensation language ambiguous, should create a better business plan.
  • Mark Gruberg: Apologizes for last meetings comments. 
  • Corey Lamb: Why isn’t there workers’ compensation?  It is very important to have.
  • Emil Lawrence: Pre-tax assessment based on Controller’s report. State law says they are employees but are independent contractors. W-2 should be offered to drivers.
  • Thomas George Williams: Two points; Safety hearing should address fumes in vehicle cabin. Tax Collector is sending out final notices to people who haven’t paid their business tax fee, don’t pay this. Since drivers are not self-employed.
  • Com Heinicke: City Attorney do you know if the Controller talked to us about this issue.
  • City Attorney: Not aware.
  • Com Heinicke: We need to revisit this business tax fee issue.  1. Deputy City Attorney please ask the City Attorney to visit this issue. 2. Talk to the Treasurer’s office 3.  If nothing else works, talk to the Board of Supervisors.
  • Name: Worked for Yellow Cab for 11 years, what would happen if 500 cabs added to the City? Nothing. You can have as many as you want but they will sit in the downtown area. Neighborhoods should be treated differently, there should be centralized dispatch.
  • Tariq Mehmood:  Centralized dispatch has issues.

8.  Adjournment at 9:45 PM



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