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Commission Chambers

January 8, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place

Room 400

Present:  Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Paek, 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, Lieutenant Schlotz, Sergeant Ron Reynolds, 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.      Controller’s Report on PC&N Findings [INFORMATION]

·         Ted Egan, Controller’s Office: Overview of report.

·         Pres Gillespie: The only thing these cost increases affect is the new 69 medallions.

·         Ted Egan: Scope of the report was narrow and focused only on the issuance of the 69 medallions.  Controller’s office issues a report every two years which is based on quality of life and those figures are not included in this report.

·         Pres Gillespie: Meter technology may not be able to take a different fee in mileage and flag drop.

Public Comment:

  • Tom Stanghellini: Very upset over the 30 cent recommended increase in the gate fee.
  • Hansu Kim: Controller’s office has limited data to work with and their recommendation is poor.
  • Robert Cezano:  There are other propositions floating around to increase the gate and all these ideas should be merged into one.  
  • Barry Taranto:  Hybrid drivers should pay more in gas and gate. 
  • Charles Rathbone: The meter cannot take the different fees.
  • John Lazar: Hybrid vehicles cost over $30k and this increase would not cover anything.
  • Mark Gruberg: Robert Cezano made a good point about all of the different gate fee increases; they should be looked at together.
  • Marty Smith: Hybrids are expensive and need a fee to cover the purchase.


3.      Consent Calendar [ACTION]

Public Comment: None

·         Com Oka: Motion to approve A- Minutes, C 2-Drake Batterson, C3- Willie DeLuca, C4- Sohail Sweis, C5-Saher Sweis, C6- David Geitheim, C7- Jay Chatfield, C8- Craig Wilson, E1- Robert Slivoski, E2- Suhaila Sweis, E3- Elchan Aliev, F1-Nasser Fraydouni, F2- Fred Seronick, G- Drake Batterson reverse vote and to make him eligible for ramp medallion permit.

·         Com Breslin: Second motion.

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin Oka, Paek, Oneto              NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: 0


·         Com Oka: Wise to take recommendation of PCC to grant medallion conditionally on a ¼ basis for 12 months.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to grant medallion with special conditions to D-1 Yuriy Gasparyan

·         Com Paek: Second motion.

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Paek, Oneto             NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: 0


·         Com Onteo: Motion to grant D-2 Hoa Quach ramp medallion pending the DOJ background check.

·         Com Paek: Second motion.

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Paek, Oneto                  NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                                       RECUSE: Benjamin


·         Pres Gillespie: Continue item D-3 Lien Nguyen to allow him to retake test.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Want to retain his services good driver but not a good test taker.

·         Bashir Rahimi: There are many hard working people who do not understand or speak English well.

·         Dir Machen: Overview of item D-4 Ralph Machkovsky

·         Lt. Schlotz: Overview Mr. Machkovsky’s background and would like time to review the waybills for this item. 

·         Com Breslin: Most of these signatures for this petition are dated today and is highly unusual. We are holding up two ramp medallions that will not be on the street.

·         Com Paek: Should continue this to be able to look at this packet.

·         Com Oka: Unless there is proof of criminal activity I do not see why we are holding the medallion up.



Public Comment:

·         John Willey: Ask the Commission to look at the list of drivers in opposition since it may be related to litigation and not to the qualifications of this applicant.

·         Ed Shuman: Has known Ralph for many years and has seen him drive.

·         Gratch: Mr. Machkovsky has driven a cab but he is not currently upholding the continuous driving requirement.

·         Barry Taranto: Commission should allow Lieutenant to continue her investigation. 

·         Alex: Works on schedules for Town and never saw Ralph on the schedule and saw him writing up waybills in his office.

·         Jacob Mietzel : Knows Ralph for many years and believes he deserves this medallion. 

·         Marty Smith: This is a cat fight between Black and White Checker and Town Taxi. A lot of this stuff didn’t happen.

·         Chuffa: Really strange case with so many people involved. 

·         Fareed: Has not recently seen Ralph drive and cannot believe he has picked up so many wheel chairs.    

·         Thomas George Williams: Allow Lt. Schlotz to review case.  Unethical if Com Oka does not recuse himself from the vote.

·         Com Benjamin: Can conditionally approve this medallion.  If there is wrong doing then we will revoke his medallion.

·         Com Breslin: Also in favor of approving this tonight.  Com Oka does not need to recuse himself.

·         PresGillespie The only reason to recuse one would be for some personal connection or financial reason and neither of these apply.

·         Com Oka: There is no reason to hold up this medallion.

·         Com Oneto:  Anytime the police department has requested us to investigate and to treat this differently I would not think that would be fair for those people that were continued in the past.  They should have the time to review the waybills.

·         Dir Machen: The staff does not review the waybills with a fine tooth comb. This seemed to have slipped through the cracks and Lt Schlotz did not review the waybills.

·         Com Paek: We are in favor of taxi drivers but with the Lt. request for 2 weeks may be an option even though it has already been continued. 

·         Lt Schlotz:  If approved, she will not audit the waybills.  If it is issued conditionally then follow through may not happen since staff becomes overwhelmed.

·         Pres Gillespie: Applicant long time member of the industry and I believe he has a real commitment to the industry. Motion to approve medallion with conditions of ¼ review for one year. 

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka                                   NO: Oneto, Paek
ABSENT: 0                                                                       RECUSE: 0

·         Com Oneto: Motion to grant color scheme change to F-3 Edward Teper.

·         Com Paek: Second motion

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Paek, Oneto      NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                           RECUSE: Benjamin


·         Com Oneto: Motion to grant color scheme change to F-4 William Case

·         Com Paek: Second motion.

·         AYES: Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Paek, Oneto                 NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                                       RECUSE: Gillespie

·         Dir Machen: Overview of Item H-1 Raymond Delgado

·         Philip Ward, Attorney for Raymond Delgado: Rebuttal of the case.

·         Com Oka:  If this medallion is granted no one would be hurt.

·         Philip Ward: Correct.

·         Pres Gillespie: Trying to find a way legally that we can do this.  Healthcare argument is not compelling since so many drivers do not have it.  For one year drivers on the list were not notified of the passing of Daly/Ma.  Would like to continue this item to think it through.

·         Philip Ward: It would be under the discretion of Commission to rule under Daly/Ma for this case.  

·         Com Benjamin: Allowing him to get a medallion before others is unsettling, but allowing him to stay on the list and require him to drive through 2009.

·         Com Breslin: Can we grant a time waiver for him in 2007 and keep him to the standard of 2007?

Public Comment:

·         Carl Macmurdo: There are a few people who fall under this and can be resolved to all the applicants and would avoid Board of Appeals cases.

·         Mark Gruberg:  In 2004 there was already a one year driving requirement.  Daly/Ma pushed the requirement back to 2 years. Back in those days there were indefinite time waivers .

·         Jim Gillespie: In 2004, drivers were required to have 156 shifts and did so before midnight and then after to get in requirements within 6 months.

·         Tone Lee: Laws shouldn’t be set if you are going to change them.

·         Hansu Kim:   There’s a standard for driving and retroactively apply for an exemption of this applicant is not a fair way to asses Daly/ Ma.

·         Marty Smith: People who were on the list in 2004 signed up knew they only had to drive for one year.

·         Emil Lawrence:   Sometimes does not get mail, no confirmation on whether gets the mail or not.  Doesn’t recall getting the letter in the mail.

·         Barry Taranto: Daly/Ma is the law and should be upheld.  He could have driven part-time.  Applicants have a responsibility.

·         Mary McGuire:  Intention of Daly/MA were not to exclude people like Delgado, was original ramp program starter.

·         Thomas George Williams:  Missed Com Heinicke, there is a law that needs to be observed.  Commission should follow their rules.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Would like to continue this item. 

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

·         Robert Cezano: Congratulates Bruce Oka on his MTA nomination.  Commission should resolve the Ball Park issue before going to the MTA.  Drivers stone walled at the ball park.

·         Name: Showed a video

·         Tom Stanghellini:  Taxi was involved in a robbery and was impounded without allowing the driver to take the medallion and it took for Detail to intervene for Luxor to get the medallion back.  Commission to speak with the robbery unit to release medallions in the future.

·         Charles Rathbone: Ramp cabs are prone to break down and drivers are unable to get ramp cabs for their shifts.  In cases like this drivers should be allowed to notate on their waybills of a mechanical break down without it accounting against them. 

·         Chuffa:  By the end of the year, when you inspect our waybills, don’t tell us we haven’t paid.  Taxi Detail should be advised to be different.  There is inconsistency because they talk about criminal investigations that are contradictory.

·         Barry Korengold: Agendize issue of prorating hours for a medallion applicant, for applicants who are being heard at the beginning of the year.

·         Emil Lawrence:  Isn’t there a way to verify wheelchair pick ups? Received independent driver statement from Controller’s office and is illegal with state ruling

·         Jim Gillespie:  Passenger called with harassment complaint of yellow cab driver, but turned out to be an illegal Yellow cab. 

·         Tariq Mehmood: Showed video.


5.      Consideration of a Clean Air Taxi Policy [INFORMATION and DISCUSSION]

*Continue item but will take public comment

·         Todd: Direct DOE to evaluate each vehicle-wheel to wheel analysis. Allow an average of emission vehicles for the fleet to be able to meet the green goal.

·         Robert Cezano: Size of vehicles should be considered and should not make any choices without considering the aging community.  Running boards are not available on new hybrids.

·         Pete Campbell:  Has information from a third party and findings that fall under the Mayor’s requirement.

·         Thomas George Williams: Grams/ mile make more sense and should figure that out for the emissions. Companies must maintain the car and engine.

·         Pres Gillespie: Grams/ mile goal 312 but if there is a fleet average as opposed to a vehicle emission more vehicles may be able to be apart of the fleet.

·         Hansu Kim: We can meet these goals but should allow flexibility in vehicles purchased. There is still no definition of what a clean vehicle is and there should be for companies to know what type of vehicles they should purchase.

·         Mark Gruberg: Fleet wide average will cause a problem since it allows other vehicles to pollute unless they choose a cap and trade system. 

6.      Fact Finding Hearing and Disciplinary action including Possible Revocation of Permits: [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: Is uncomfortable with going forward with this case without Mr. Kaplan’s attorney.

·         Dir Machen:  Overview item 6a- Grasshopper Alec Kaplan.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen:  Recounts Grasshopper case.

·         Sgt. Reynolds: Overview of Grasshopper.   

Public Comments:

·         Mark Gruberg:  Should allow Mr. Kapplan’s attorney to respond to this.

·         Thomas George Williams:  Alec was a good driver until he had his problems.  Revoking this without his attorney present is not fair.

·         Robert Cezano:  He should be able to apply for ADA. 

·         Emil Lawrence:   Why isn’t there a doctor present to speak on his behalf? How can a decision be made while he is in jail and has no representation. 

·         Com Oneto:  We had to do this tonight, this medallion has been off the street for a long time.  At this time he is incapable of managing a business.  I am in favor of revoking the color scheme, medallion and A card.  If he gets his life back in order then he should be allowed to get an A card.

·         Com Benjamin: Seconds motion.

·         Com Breslin:  There is no ADA issue here since he is a public threat. Should be required to reapply for an A-card.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Appreciates outreach done by the community to Alec, but has issue when there’s a public threat.

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Paek, Oneto             NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: 0


b.      Abdul Bashir Rahimi aka Sayed Bashir Rahimi medallion number 1135, violation of Municipal Police Code 1081(b).

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Overview of Rahimi case and informs commission that an amended complaint will be issued.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Do you want us to make a decision on these findings or would you like us to continue this to rehear this? 

·         Deputy Dir Thigpen: I cannot make a recommendation based on case law.

·         Abdul Bashir Rahimi:  Overview of his case.

·         Com Benjamin: What are some of the serious offenses he has? Did Mr. Epstein agree with the new evidence? 

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Lying.

·         Pres Gillespie: He was previously admonished for 2002 and 2004.

·         Abdul Bashir Rahimi:  It’s on the record that I was admonished in 2001 and 2003.

Public Comment:

·         Name:  He is a bad manager and this is proof, but he drove.

·         Robert Cezano:  If you go to the airport, you saw Mr. Rahimi.  This Commission does not have a proper standard of waybills.

·         Marty Smith: Has seen Rahimi driving and hopes the Commission adopts the findings but should keep his medallion.

·         Mary McGuire: Has seen him driving on the street. 

·         Com Benjamin: Do we have to approve all the findings?

·         City Attorney: Any or all findings.

·         Name: Used to drive for Rahimi and drove with him when he owned 49ers cab.

·         Mark Gruberg:  Hearing Officer says the Commission failed to prove Rahimi did not meet the driving requirement.

·         Name: Knows Rahimi and is a cab driver.

·         Name: Known Rahimi since 1991 and has been driving a cab since then.

·         Thomas George Williams:  Always sees him driving, and Commission failed to prove him guilty.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Willing to support all of the Hearing Officers findings.

·         Com Breslin: Third step is extreme and does not take things step by step.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to accept recommendations of Mr. Epstein

·         Com Paek: Second motion

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Paek, Oneto NO: 0
ABSENT: 0                                                                       RECUSE: 0


7.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Dir Machen: Overview

·         Sgt Reynolds: DOJ reports and delay of background checks due to a new system.  Illegal limo update. Successful run at 49er games, hope to be invited to preplanning to be able to get in cabs at the end of the game. 

Commissioner Announcements:

·         Com Benjamin:  311 sticker has 415 capability for callers outside SF area code.

·         Pres Gillespie: Congratulates Com Heinicke and Com Oka for being nominated to the MTA.

8.      Consideration of Findings for PC&N Determination to Add 69 Hybrid or Alternative-Fuel Restricted Taxis [ACTION]

Public Comment:

·         Mike Spain:  Commission only issued 120 medallions last year but 69 were issued because the Mayor recommended it.

·         Thomas George Williams:  UTW will appeal the issuance of 69 more medallions since there is no reason for the issuance.

·         Tariq Mehmood:  There’s a lot of demand for peak-time medallions.

·         Com Oka: Motion to adopt 69 medallions

·         Pres Gillespie: 2nd Motion

·         AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Paek       NO: Oneto
ABSENT: 0                                                                 RECUSE: 0


9.      Public Comment

·         Mary McGuire:  Clarification needed on what the wrap fund is used for.

·         Mark Gruberg: Comments on video shown earlier in the evening. 

·         Mike Spain: Smaller clean air vehicles not as strong and reliable as gas vehicles and let Board know this.

·         Carl Macmurdo:  Congratulates Com Oka and Com Heinicke for MTA board.  Add prorated time to the next agenda.

·         Thomas George Williams: Alioto-Pier legislation hinders Commissions’ work and creates uneven playing field.  Jeopardizes any future gate increase.


10.  Adjournment – 11:35pm



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