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Commission Chambers

November 27, 2007 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Room 400


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

Absent:    Breslin, Paek

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:30 P.M.

STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, Deputy Director Jordanna Thigpen, Executive Secretary Tamara Odisho – Taxi Commission, City Attorney Tom Owen, Lieutenant Schlotz

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

1.  Call to Order/Roll Call

3.  Allowing Newly Issued Hybrid or Alternative Fuel Taxi Restricted Permits to be Used Alternatively in Ramped Taxis.  [ACTION]

* Item was taken out of order.

·         Director Machen : Introduction of item and amendment to resolution

·         PresGillespie: Speaking on behalf of this and ramp drivers whowill be using this.  Hopes to pass this resolution.

·         Com Oka: In support of this.  If we have ramp drivers getting medallions but want to continue serving the community, this is a good way to do this.

·         Com Benjamin:  Will this be temporary? Will this then be 24 hybrid and 26 ramps?  Who and when can they switch over if they would like to leave the program.  This is a little confusing. 

·         Pres Gillespie: It would be up to the individual driver to replace hybrid with ramp.  Knowing two of the drivers that want to do this, I know this would be serving the community.

·         Director Machen: He could move his medallion in the future if he chooses to do so into a sedan vehicle.

Public Comment:

·         Laurie Graham:  I do not consider putting a regular medallion on a ramp as a restricted medallion since you can still pick up anyone in the vehicle.

·         Charles Rathbone:  Supporting this and anything else that provides options

·         Tom Stanghellini:  This goes against what the commission voted for when voting for hybrid CNG vehicles.  Don’t take a hybrid and put it into a ramp van.  This will mix things up.

·         Barry Taranto:  Only four Commissioners here should have a full commission.  New medallions for hybrids not for ramp vans.

·         Mark Gurberg: Alt fuel medallion should drive that vehicle.  These folks should wait for a regular medallion to keep the alt fuel intact and with the Mayor’s 2011 goals.

·         Grasshopper Alec Kaplan: Important to encourage non-idling technology in the city.  Take all possible action in the city. If someone wants to keep a ramp vehicle with a regular than it should be allowed. 

·         Tariq Mehmood: Medallions to be considered should be allowed without the condition for pick ups and what vehicle is being used.

·         Hansu Kim: What is the definition of an alternative fuel vehicle? We should have a definition before we have restrictions.

·         Chuffa: Bad precedent passing this resolution.   

·         Com Benjamin: We do not have any alt fuel vehicle if we do not have a list, so we shouldn’t be issuing these medallions.

·         Com Oneto: No one has to buy an alt fuel until July 2008 so no one has to operate that vehicle until then.

·         Dir Machen:  The amendment to the Resolution would subject any of these medallions to van rules.   

·         Com Oka: Motion to approve resolution as amended

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion

·         Roll Call

·         Vote

Ayes: Gillespie, Oneto, Heinicke, Oka         

Noes: Benjamin

Absent: 0                                                  

Recuse: 0                   

2.  Public Convenience and Necessity: Establishing Appropriate Number of Taxis, Including         Possible Issuance of Peak Time Medallions [DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION]

·         Pres Gillespie: Would like to first go to public comment.

Public Comment:

·         Keith Raskin:  Issue has been long in the industry.  Has Heinicke read the Agnos report from years ago? Should fix the industry before the issues.

·         Barry Taranto: Many drivers here to speak on this issue.  There are no studies in the packet, should delay this to look at the study.  What’s the effect of the new medallions already issued.  Should wait for that first.

·         Tom Stanghellini: Peak time medallions a good idea.  Let’s utilize the fleet.  Allow drivers to make same turns that MUNI drivers are allowed.

·         Charles Rathbone: Peak time medallion drivers should allow the opportunity to return the medallion without a penalty.  Should not be restrictive and mandatory for people on the list.

·         Chuffa: New medallions are better does not agree with peak time medallions.  Limos take up a lot of the business.

·         Com Heinicke: After issuing these medallions this would be it, does not want to flood the market on Monday mornings.  It’s my plan to move for 69 fulltime additional medallions. Peak time medallions to be addressed in the prop k charter reform working group.

·         Healy: Going into a recession, more is not necessarily better. Becomes dangerous since drivers will be racing each other to fares.

·         Grasshopper Alec Kaplan:  It is impossible to pick up people and not get tickets.  City is not friendly to taxi drivers. Peak time medallions would be feasible.

·         Mark Gruberg, UTW: Oppose additional medallions at this point.  Since the previously issued 50 medallions have yet to hit the streets. Publish surveys first.

·         Com Heinicke: Did you feel the last PCN study support 100 medallions, yes or no?

·         Mark Gruberg:  The last survey was flawed and would like to see some evidence for more medallions.

·         Bill Mounsey: Never enough cabs in the city.  People expect taxi service to wait at their door.  There will never be enough taxis.  Nothing has changed over the years.

·         Com Heinicke: What was the effect on your business?

·         Bill Mounsey: It took 4 years to pick up business.

·         Barry Korngold: Too complicated to put out peak time cabs out.  First get rid of the limos and then issue the medallions.

·         Tariq Mehmood: This meeting should not talk about how many medallions to issue but a report for the future.

·         Hansu Kim: Number of medallions important to service. Last PC&N study was flawed and this should not be done without a true survey.  The numbers are all political, since there are no objective materials.

·         Com Heinicke: Do you think there are enough taxis in the City?

·         Hansu Kim: No, Bruce Schaller’s survey was best done.  Many ways to improve public service.  But using public comments should not be the factor used to make the decision on issuing the medallions. 

·         Marty Smith:  Always a proponent of more cabs.  But economy is on a downslide and would rather see 20 medallions introduced at a time as opposed to the large number at once.

·         Carl McMurdo: Weekend embarrassing shortage in the city. Since the approved medallions have not been put out on the streets, cannot judge the impact.

·         Name: There is a shortage at all times especially conventions since the cabs won’t service the outer parts of the city.

·         Peter Witt: (Include handout in the minutes) More cabs are better service.  Illegal limos and health care can happen if fares are increased.

·         John Lazar: There’s a law regarding limos. Sit at hotels in the evenings and cannot get a cab or town car.  If you enforce the laws then possibly can put hundreds more medallions on the streets.

·         Emil Lawrence:  Shift changing during 3-7pm causes the biggest problem for need.

·         Pres Gillespie: Giving the City 119 taxis will do the City service.  One cab per every 500 people.  Only DC and Honolulu have higher number of cabs per capita. There will be a follow-up on the illegal limo issue.  There is no one formula to make sure this is correct but has done research and will vote for this.

·         Com Heinicke: Dir Machen in reaction to comments made regarding the winter season can we issue 10 medallions per month over 2008. 

·         Dir Machen: Can do this, we have done this last year.  And if you vote to approve tonight then the Controller’s office would issue a report as well as a report from the planning department.

·         Com Oka:  If we put out more medallions, we will have to think about meter rate increases.  The public should pay more for cabs if they want more cabs.  How much we raise the meter, not too sure.  But people he has spoken with have agreed.

·         Com Heinicke: Does not agree but would like to see an increase in dispatch service.  Not so much to set the market but allow dispatch surcharge programs within the color scheme to charge the outer city customers.

·         Com Benjamin: Agrees with what he has heard so far.  We should slowly release the medallions.

·         Com Heinicke: The notion that the public is underserved and the current issuing process is not great and this is a relatively small increase that has for me been apart of the process from the beginning.  Personal preference to do this tonight and address peak time at a later date.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to move 69 alternative fuel/hybrid new medallions

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke                     

No: Oneto

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                         

Recuse: 0


6.  Consent Calendar [ACTION]

* Item was taken out of order.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve items A – 11.13.07 Minutes & B- New Public Passenger Permits

·         Com Oka : 2nd motion

·         Voice vote            

Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto

No: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                     

 Recuse: 0

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve items C1-Grant medallion to Michael Gibbons,C2- Grant medallion to John Nickulus & C9 – Grant medallion to Tam D Nguyen

·         Voice vote

Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto                    

No: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                    

Recuse: 0

·         Dir Machen: Staff memo and update.

·         Raymond Delgado: Took another job during the years and lost track of the requirements to receive a medallion.  In 2005 received a notice that would be required to drive but had not been driving. 

·         Jim Gillespie: No requirement when he was on the list to receive medallion to have driving time.  No Daly/Ma when he was on the list. He is a victim and should be considered.

·         Carl Macmurdo: The changed interpretation was an issue and for bonafide driver’s Commission should be lenient. Daly/Ma may have amendment.

·         Barry Taranto: What about all those other drivers that have to drive when they have health issues?  Why didn’t he start driving when he received the letter?  Commission should not make an exception.

·         Mark Gruberg:  Legislation was prospective and drivers have had the opportunity and flexibility to be able to meet the driving requirement.

·         Hansu Kim:  All supported Daly/Ma and very unfair to driver’s who have fallen through the cracks.

·         Com Oka: Could Mr. Delgado apply for a time waiver?
Dir Machen:  A time waiver would not apply to Mr. Delgado since he needs more than one year.

·         Emil Lawrence: This person drove years past and has been on the list regardless if he missed the deadline. 

·         Chuffa:  This is strange that the Commission is going case by case on this issue.  Commissioners should check this rule and requirements should be met.

·         Nathan Dwiri: Delgado also drove a ramp taxi for several years.

·         JoanAnn: The intent behind driving a cab is having qualified drivers.  Unfair that he will be penalized for this. 

·         Grasshopper Alec Kaplan:  Punishment the drivers go through daily basis.

·         Bill Mounsey: Also a long time driver and continuously drove as a taxi driver. If drivers keep breaking the rules what is the point?

·         Barry Korngold: Daly/Ma problem is it is unpredictable to know when you will receive your medallion.  So drivers take other jobs to supplement income since they do not make as much money as medallion holders.

·         Com Heinicke: No doubt that Mr. Delgado is a good guy but the rules are the rules and there is a driving requirement.  Will be denying medallion.

·         Com Benjamin: Will have to agree.

·         Com Oneto: Also agree but he voluntarily took himself out of service.

·         Com Heinicke: I do not think he has a good case for an appeal because the Daly/Ma is black and white.  Board of Appeals should respect the rules passed.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to deny medallion to C3- Raymond Delgado

·         Com Heinicke: 2nd to deny

Ayes:  Oka, Heinicke, Oneto, Benjamin            

Recuse: Gillespie

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                         
No: 0

Public Comment: None

·         Com Onto: Motion to approve items C4- Grant medallion to Georg J Rasmussen, C8- Grant medallion to Yosef Habtemarium, C12- Grant medallion to Frederick Lein & C-13 Grant medallion to Reynaldo Magno

·         Com Heinicke: 2nd motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto

Recuse: Gillespie

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                         

No: 0

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve C5-Ken Dao, C6- Robert MacKenzie, C7- Tai Yip, C10- Amilcar Pereira & C11- Nikolay Busel

·         Com Heinicke: 2nd motion

Ayes: Gillespie, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto              

Recuse: Benjamin

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                         

No: 0


·         Pres Gillespie: Continued C-14- Mikhail Lirisman because no quorum, since Yellow and Luxor must recuse from the vote.

·         Com Heinicke: Apologies to Mr. Lirisman and would like to continue this to the call of the chair.

·         Dir Machen: Remove D-26 Adel Aldalali from receiving a time waiver, since applicant withdrew his name.

·         Com Oka: Motion to remove D-26

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion

Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto

Recuse: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                    

No: 0

·         Com Oka: Motion to approve Item E- applicant ineligible for a ramp medallion for failure to respond

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion. 

 Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto

Recuse: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                    

No: 0


·         Martin Kazinski:  Similar situation as Delagado has medical condition that does not allow him to drive. Daly/Ma does not accommodate him. 

·         Dir Machen: He has come before the Commission before and he did not accept Taxi Commission accommodation, which would allow him to meet the driving requirement prospectively.


Public Comment:

·         Peter Witt: Supports Martin Kazinski. Commission can accommodate him.

·         Mark Gruberg: There was no past opportunity for him to appeal; it has now become possible for him to appeal. This Commission needs to set standards for these conditions.

·         JoanAnn: In favor of not removing Mr. Kazinski from the list.  His information needs not be public but drivers should not be limited to speak to what accommodations were offered to him to the past.

·         Bill Mounsey: Commission is digging a hole since every week there is an issue concerning all these problems.  Should either stick to the law or make an accommodation.

·         Hansu Kim: Legal question to retroactively apply to people who have already paid to be on the list.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to remove F-Martin Kazinski from the PC&N waiting list

·         Com Oka: 2nd

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to remove F1- Behailu Mekbib, F2- Samuil Zotman, F3- Katherine Taylor, F5- Kevin McCarthy and F6- Ronnie Larry from the PC&N waiting list.

·         Com Oka: 2nd

Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto                   

Recuse: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                    

No: 0

·         Pres Gillespie: Item G, will take public comment

Public Comment:

·         Peter Witt: Fog City colors are not contrasting colors and are not the law.

·         Com Heinicke: Can staff look into this.

·         Dir Machen: This Commission would have approved original color scheme as have the police.  What is the Commission requesting?

·         Com Heinicke: Would like the Director to review the color scheme.

·         Com Oneto:  Fog City numbers difficult to detect.

·         Com Benjamin: Agrees.

·         Grasshopper: Also observed difficulty to see

·         Richard Hybels: Medallions going to a highly performing to a low performing dispatch.

·         Tariq Mehmood: B&W Checker sent a letter to the Commission that only a certain number of medallions are approved.  Commission should find out which medallions are single shifts.

·         Com Heinicke: Does staff know if these medallions are single shifts or not?  Do you know why these drivers have gone to B&W as opposed to another color scheme? What about the others going to Fog City?

·         Keith Raskin: They will be full-time and they switched to follow me.  They made their own decision collectively.

·         John Lazar: Disappointed Commissioners are allowing these color scheme changes to not full-service companies

·         Com Oka: Motion to approve color scheme change for items G1- William Jones, G2- John Donnelly, G3- Max David, G4- Chcuk Tong, G5- Edward Bennet, G6- George Blake, G7- Jack Schuck, G8- Michael Chong

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion

 Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto                   

Recuse: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                    

No: 0


·         Com Oka:Motion to approve color scheme change G9- Mahinder Singh

·         Com Oneto: 2nd motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto            

Recuse: Gillespie

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                         

No: 0


SPECIAL ORDER 8:00 - 8:30 PM

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

·         Barry Taranto: Commission should have come up with rules and regulations months ago.  There should be a fee charged to anyone who has not met the driving requirement. New cab stand at Intercontinental hotel.  SFPD-Detail needed at 49er home games.  There should be a handout by the Commission to tell driver’s they do not have to pay.

·         Hansu Kim: Why has this Commission approve medallions to people who have not qualified for a medallion?  So what is the policy the Commission has?

·         Eric Hatten: Spoke with Commission on two meetings previous but have not heard from the Commission on his status.   Heard that everyone was given a letter for Daly/Ma, but only first 200 were mailed out. 

·         Dir Machen: This applicant was not an A card holder 4 years ago, it would be impossible for him to meet his requirement.

·         Com Heinicke: Call the office to discuss this with the Director.

·         Chuffa: Why do the Commissioners require newly issued medallion holders to drive 156 4 hour shifts? Shift changing is a problem since it cannot happen off the lot.  This kills the business.  Allow independent drivers to be able to shift off the lot.

·         Lt. Schlotz: Trend of people approved without completing the driving requirement

·         Dan Hinds: Unable to attend the last meeting.  To my knowledge National has not been under investigation and that type of remark and suggestion says something to people.

·         Emil Lawrence: Rules keep changing for post k medallions but none of the rules apply to those medallion holders.  Pre-K medallions are now on the post K medallion list; if that is the case then the laws should apply to all people on the list.

·         Keith Raskin, B&W Checker:  Survey was taken in the spring and B&W did 100%.

·         Bill Mounsey: Commission should enforce laws on limos before releasing more medallions.  Limos are cutting into his business.

·         JoanAnn: Will possibly be disqualified for being disabled since she signed contract and that should stand.  Commission should have an open policy for all accommodations given to people that have disabilities. Minutes from the last meeting not on the web. 

·         Name: Passengers smoking crack in his cab and he notified dispatch that called the police and dispatched police to his location.

·         Name: Similar situation to Delgado but has always worked for DeSoto. When information received it was not certified on Daly/Ma and never signed any agreement. 

·         Name: Green Cab flyer and not sure if the letter is violation or discrimination because it would allow UTW members first.

·         Ruah Graffis:   Reason Yellow and other companies do not charge for credit card slips is because UTW rallied BOS of this legislation.

·         Barry Korngold: Has been on the list for many years and was sent his notice but won’t be heard until 2008, but only has driving 3 out of the 4 years.

·         Carl Macmurdo: On the next agenda should put on the agenda to prorate for 2008. JoanAnn and Mr. Saidniku may qualify under lawsuit. 

·         Jim Gillespie: Cannot charge for credit card use and only two companies have invested in equipment.  Majority goes through vendors and pays a fee.

·         Peter Witt:  Handout and overview.

·         Thomas George Williams: Drivers should not pay the business license fee.  Hours for 2008 should be prorated. Green cab also has credit cards.  Commission should make it mandatory that all taxis have credit card machines.

·         Tone Lee: Three medallions should be ended. Prop K undermines the public. When the medallion holder ages they can’t drive they will lease it to people. 

·         Tariq Mehmood: Michael Roach’s medallion should have been approved at the last meeting.

·         Mark Gruberg: UTW does not charge drivers as long as they follow the procedures of the company.


5.  Criminal Background Checks for Taxi Drivers and Medallion Applicants [ACTION]

·         Jordanna Thigpen, Deputy Director: Introducing the item.

·         Com Heinicke: Resolution limited to discretion of police department to provide the Commission with the results.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Correct, the background check would be not be disclosed to the public. Amendment to be made to include that.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Support staff proposal.

·         Emil Lawrence: Objects the Resolution. Was not posted online.

·         Thomas George Williams: Should not meddle in drivers backgrounds. 

·         Spanky Williams:  Was a prisoner and served term. Could not drive taxi in LA so came back to SF. Recidivism is high and Commission should not limit who drives taxis.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Should not have too much rigidity on background.

·         Peter Witt: Was a nice person before he became a driver.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Resolution has been changing over the last few weeks.

·         Chuffa: Supported this in the past but does not any more.

·         Nate Dwiri: When he first applied police officers knocked on neighbors doors to find out who he was.  How are you to check backgrounds of people from other countries?

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: This will be solely for medallion holders with the discretion to review. Commission staff is not making the decision but rather detail will be.

·         Com Heinicke: Motion to approve resolution with amendment

·         Com Oneto: 2nd

Ayes: Gillespie, Benjamin, Oka, Heinicke, Oneto                   

Recuse: 0

Absent: Breslin, Paek                                                    

No: 0

7.  Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen: Update and overview.

·         Commissioner Announcements:

·         Com Oka: B&W Checker certificate for most improved cab company

·         Com Benjamin:  Can we agendize that anyone who is given a letter in 2007 will be held to 2007 requirements.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone:  Read on the Mayor’s website a charter reform working group separate from the Commission’s Charter Reform working group.

·         Barry Korngold: Language of Daly/Ma vague for 2008.

·         Peter Witt: Macy’s stand is always blocked by limo.

·         Chuffa: Thanks Commissioner Benjamin to address this issue.  Why should drivers have to drive 156 4 hour shifts?

·         Thomas George Williams: All taxi stands are occupied by limos. 


8.  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: There are a lot of shady things going on with the leases that are paying for shifts. 


9.  Adjournment at 10:15pm



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