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Commission Chambers

October 23, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Room 400


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

Absent:    0

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, City Attorney Tom Owen

Heidi Machen, Executive Director: Turn-off cell-phones, interferes with phone systems and we get feedback.


1.      Call to Order/Roll Call

2.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen: Introduces new investigator Scott Leon.

·         Scott Leon: Introduction.

·         Com Breslin: Welcome, hopes you don’t focus on prop k violators but illegal limo drivers.

·         City Attorney: Cannot go into further detail, since item was not agendized properly.

·         Jim, 49ers: Problem at post games are lines are up to one hour wait. Fans are taking public transit to the games and taxis from the game. Have been getting lots of help from taxi companies and are continuing raffle and announced 4 winners.

·         Com Benjamin: Can staff send a map of the area to the companies?

·         Dir Machen:  Periodically send out game dates and maps. Information is also on our website.

·         David Perry, Home for Halloween: Overview of No Halloween in Castro campaign.  Has lived in the City for 21 years, last few years have had violence, drunks and other violations. MUNI will be closed underground to that area but the F line will continue as usual. SFPD will be prepared.

·         DirMachen: Staff update.

·         Pres Gillespie: Overview of the TLPA trip.

·         Com Benjamin: Also discussed trip.

·         Lieutenant Schlotz: DA does not want limos towed unless the driver is the owner, or if the owner knows the vehicle is being operated illegally.

·         Dir Machen: We have good communications with the DA’s office so we can relay anything the Commission would like.

·         Pres Gillespie: Let the DA’s office know we want illegal limos off the street.

·          Lieutenant Schlotz: Many of the illegal limos do not have workers’ compensation since it is owner operated. 311 complaints are about 500- 1/5 are limo complaints; 1/5 lost items; others are for speeding taxis and some calls should have been routed to 911.

·         Dir Machen: Police will have to proceed with caution regarding illegal limos.

·         Com Heinicke: Limo problem is important more of a crimp in the process, penalties would work better. Officers should be working on more pressing things and staff should be able to issue administrative fines.

·         Lieutenant Schlotz: When she was working at the airport she would issue tickets to illegal limos.

Commissioner Announcements:

·         Com Breslin: Reflecting on public comments from past meeting on peak-time medallions. Will hold additional Rules Committee meetings.  Supports comments made at last meeting requesting more money for PC&N dispatch for outer areas.

Public Comment:

·         Barry Taranto: Hopes staff creates a map for the 49ers games.  No city official can tell drivers where to go on Halloween, drivers serve the customers.

·         Marty Smith: 49ers staff should make some streets one way to allow taxis easier in/out access to the park. As well as allow left hand turns off some streets.

·         Thomas George Williams: Diamond lanes should be available for all taxi cabs.

·         Bill Mounsey: Welcomes Scott. Illegal limo issue looming, DA needs to prosecute even if it isn’t a violent crime. Folks that cause the trouble in the Castro are usually from the East bay.

·         Mark Gruberg: Limos are a priority but egregious violators need to be prosecuted.

SPECIAL ORDER 7:30- 8:00 PM ( taken out of order)

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

·         Thomas George Williams: Colorado trip is of concern because industry lobbyists with money usually attend. Employed drivers should be focused on central dispatch.

·         Charles Rathbone:  Worked out a cost-effective formula for peak-time medallions.

·         Barry Taranto: Mr. Rathbone’s numbers make sense. Illegal limos are at major hotels. They are paying to lease white zones at the hotels.

·         Jim Gillespie: Large percent of drivers give good customer service.  There’s a small few that ruin it for the rest. TLPA meeting also has a state group which costs $100/year to join.  Open to anyone who would like to be a member. This group has been working on opening diamond lanes to taxi cabs but highway patrol opposes since it may open the topic for others like UPS, etc to also be included.

·         Emil Lawrence: Has received tickets for dropping off and picking up customers in bus zones, one customer was handicapped and the officer saw him helping her out.

·         Isfaq: SF Smart cards should let the driver know how much money is left on their card. Oftentimes people find they do not have enough and hold up the line to recharge their cards.

·         Mohammed: UTW mess has created people waiting for cabs.  Fees being charged to drivers. Always see illegal limos sitting in white zone.

·         Bill Mar: Gate fees to be enforced which weren’t before when brought before the Board of Supervisors years ago.  UTW didn’t support this.

·         Bill Mounsey:  Illegal for doorman to pay either limo or taxi. There will never be enough taxis in the City, and Commission should not add more. Proud member of the UTW.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Agenda items should be done differently it seems like a wish list for staffers.

·         John Lazar: Luxor receives 4- 5 thousand calls per day and cannot fulfill the demand. Peak-time medallions can be helpful if they are controlled and should be given to companies with a big fleet size.

·         Eric Hatten: Third generation cab driver couldn’t work in 2004- 2005 because of eye surgery would like to know his options.

·         Pres Gillespie: This is an administrative issue that needs to be addressed by staff.

Public Comments closed at 8:05pm

3.      Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen: Sever items F1 and H

·         Pres Gillespie: Sever items D, E, F1 & H

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve items A- Minutes, B- Public Passenger Permits, C- Removal of names from the taxicab/ramp list, F2- Grant medallion, G- Consider applicant ineligible for Ramp medallion

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion

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

ABSENT:  0                                                                            RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Item D, Director Machen can you explain the requirements for a time waiver.

·         Dir Machen:  Sure, a time waiver will help a candidate on the list, usually ramp applicants, fulfill an extra year of driving they have not met.  For example if a driver receives an offer letter this year, they would be required to drive 3 out of the 4 consecutive years.  

·         Com Breslin:  What was his history before 2005?

·         Eric Hatten: Began driving in 2005 and 2006.

·         Com Heinicke: When you signed up for the medallion list did you know about the driving requirement? Before Daly/Ma was there a driving requirement?

·         Com Breslin: Was an accommodation offered to him?

·         Pres Gillespie: Let’s continue this item to answer all these questions.

·         Com Paek: Motion to approve granting a time waiver to the following D1, D2, D4 – D6

·         Com Oka: 2nd motion.

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

ABSENT:  0                                                                            RECUSED:   0


·         Com Heinicke: Item E seems to me one way to regulate services is by limiting dispatch changes just as color scheme changes. Smaller color schemes using cheaper services to allow them to do their own thing. Commission should review further applications and not allow such transfers.

·         Pres Gillespie: Agrees and looks forward to calendaring the issue for the future.

·         Com Paek: Motions to approve item E-dispatch change

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

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

ABSENT:  0                                                                            RECUSED:   0


Public Comment:

·         Mrs. Stephen Keyes: Has kept a thorough count of husband’s waybills over the years and would like to submit them as proof he has met the driving requirement.


·         Pres Gillespie:  Staff could have possibly discounted some of his waybills if they were deemed inaccurate.


·         Carl Macmurdo: Has known Stephen at Yellow for 31 years.


·         Mark Gruberg: Sounds like he has driven and should be considered for this medallion


·         Com Heinicke: Should have further review of his waybills for year 2004.


·         Com Breslin:  Continue to next agenda and not wait until next year.


·         Com Oneto: Motion for staff to review this case.


·         Com Paek: 2nd motion.


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

ABSENT:  0                RECUSED:   0


·         Dir Machen: Review of Item H cs change for Anita Lee continued from the last agenda because lacked proof of workers’ compensation work.


·         Com Heinicke: When this medallion was at Bay did it have workers’ compensation?


·         Dir Machen: No.


·         Com Benjamin: We are allowing the medallion to go from one company to another without workers’ compensation?


·         Dir Machen: Liability rests with the color scheme.


·         Com Benjamin: Are we going to revoke the color scheme for not having workers’ compensation?


·         Dir Machen: We will have to ask the City Attorney. Bay and Regents went before a hearing officer on this issue and we are awaiting his decision.


·         Com Oka:  If it’s the policy of this Commission that workers’ compensation be apart of the color scheme then the message needs to be sent to the color schemes.


·         Com Heinicke: Is it proper for the Commission to send a letter to the hearing officer requesting a decision on the matter?


·         Dir Machen:  One has already been sent out.


·         Com Heinicke: Maybe we can approve this conditionally.


5.        Report of Clean Air Working Group and Consideration of Accompanying Resolution and/or Rule            Change [DISCUSSION]

·         Pres Gillespie: This will only be a discussion to shape the final decision.


·         Dir Machen: Overview and findings


·         Pres Gillespie: Purchase plan should be put in place so as can plan their purchases making it affordable and doable.


·         Com Oneto: Going through numbers of vehicle and standards.


·         Com Benjamin: Why don’t we follow the Department of Environments list?


·         Com Oneto: Department of Environment summary uses standards of New York.  But New York uses miles/gallon and we don’t want to restrict that.


Public Comment: 9:36 PM

·         Todd Campbell: Proposal before Commission uses mileage not wheel well to wheel well. AB 118 dollars would not apply to this. Would like to see DOE/ staff recommendations.


·         Doug Cameron: Same remarks.


·         Hansu Kim: Should have better input from companies before giving them unaffordable figures. Should meet with these companies to discuss this.


·         Mark Gruberg: Windfall profits for color schemes with a $7.50 gas and gate increase.


·         Charles Rathbone: Smaller taxis do not have room for partitions and they will be necessary.


·         Assad: Crown Victoria’s are not the best looking cabs but it carries a lot of people. Sizes of cars very different, Commission should consider this.


·         Jim Gillespie: Support minimum of $10 gas and gate.  Hybrid costs are expensive since mechanics aren’t trained in this and must be re-trained in this. Frustrated with committee and Commissioner for a long subcommittee meeting.


·         Tom Stanghellini: No talk of public and passenger vehicles. Why can’t there be an aggregate average? What about carbon credits? Who is going to train the mechanics?


·         Thomas George Williams: Driver’s income lost over the years because of gas increase.  No offset on income. Can be part of the solution; $7.50 should be max.


·         Dan Hinds: There should not be a difference between old and new vehicles.  If there was a surcharge would the drivers be better off driving hybrid vs CNG?  Should be a $10 minimum charge.

·         Emil Lawrence: Prius production creates pollution. Crown Victoria powers itself over the years. The problem is the big engine; prefers Toyota Camry.


·         John James, S&C Ford: There are used alternative-fuel vehicles that can be used that are not on this list.


·         Tone: Any bridge should include a toll fee. All vehicles are differently made than in 1990.


·         Isfaq: Smaller vehicles do not due well in inclement weather. Folks with large pieces of luggage refuse to use Prius’.


·         Name:  Has been driving since 1997, Crown Victoria is good for comfort and safety.


·         Bashir Rahimi: CNG vehicles cannot hold luggage and are not good for long distances. Tanks are very dangerous.


·         Mr. Kiki: Alternative fuels are very expensive. Crown Victoria’s are best vehicles.


·         Tariq Mehmood: Commission should take their time when making decisions. 80% of calls are paratransit; wheel chairs cannot fit in Prius’ or CNG’s.


11:00 pm

·         Pres Gillespie: Difficult to make changes, Crown Victoria’s are ingrained in the industry and drivers bare the costs.


·         Com Oka: Of the number of paratransit users how many used wheel chairs and how simple was transporting?


·         Pres Gillespie: Never had a problem transporting.  I want this policy to work


·         Com Heinicke: Three issues here. Should new and /or used vehicles apply? Incentives for new/used vehicles. In favor of gas and gate increase.  Heard a lot about the DOE’s numbers and would like to know more about that as well as what the Mayor’s office is saying about it.


·         Com Breslin: There’s been too much information presented tonight to make any decisions.


·         Com Paek: Thought facts were flushed out well with the companies and not sure there is much more to go over. Not ready to make any decision tonight and would like to think about it to come up with something we all agree on.


·         Pres Gillespie: Over the next month hope to have some clarity to be able to present it to the Board of Supervisors since they must approve gas and gates increase.  The next two agenda items do not have time criticality can we continue the items since we are late into the evening?


·         Com Oneto: We can continue this item, because the public comment on this will be long.


·         Com Breslin: I thought because of the Rules Subcommittee meeting, we should have this item heard in our committee.


·         Pres Gillespie: I would like for Deputy Director Thigpen to give us a 5 minute overview on item 8 so we can decipher whether this should be heard before the Commission or the Rules Committee.


6. Criminal Background Checks for Taxi Drivers [DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION]

           *Continued to call of the Chair


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

8. Subpoena Authority and Hearing Rule Changes - Recommending Board of Supervisor Legislation                [DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION]

·         Jordanna Thigpen: Overview of item 8.


Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Subpoena power is given to people with good judgment and with this administration who have made poor judgment; it would not be a good idea.


·         Tom Stanghellini: Officers go out and investigate without subpoenas, why can’t the new investigator do the work?


·         Mary McGuire: Medallion holder said waybills were lost by the office and Director told him that she would not do anything if he testified against color scheme.


·         Pres Gillespie: I do not want to get into this item right now since we will go over this next week.



9.  Adjournment



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