Skip to content.
Skip to page navigation.Skip to content.Web site accessibility
SF MTA homeSF MTA home SF MTA home
Page title as stylized text



February 12, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400 

President Gillespie called the meeting to order at 6:35pm


STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, Deputy Director Jordanna Thigpen, Executive Secretary Tamara Odisho – Taxi Commission, 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

Present: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin(late), Oka (Left at 9:00pm), Oneto, Paek

Absent: Slaughter


2.      Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Com Breslin: Motion to approve consent items A- Minutes, B- Public Vehicle Drivers, Grant medallions to C1-Ernesto Diala, C3- Nollie Griffin, C4- Jessie Reyes, C5- Mohammed Khan, C8- Marika Yuhas,  Remove from PC&N list D1- Marco Mora, Grant Time Waiver E1- Robert Conrad, E2- John Jay Seible, Grant CS Change to item F1- Sayed Rahimi Bay to Desoto, F2-Ahmad Mozaffari Regents to Royal, F3- Mikhail Oykherman Bay Cab to B&W, F4- Martin Jakob Bay Cab to B&W

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion

·         Ayes:Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto, Paek         No: 0
Absent:  Benjamin, Slaughter                            Recuse: 0

·         Dir Machen: Overview of C2- Grant medallion to Barry Korengold

·         Barry Korengold: Supervisor Daly will be introducing amendments to Daly/Ma to clarify language.

      Public Comment:

·         Robert Cezano: Commission needs to find another way to count waybills for drivers, since this is not working.

·         Mark Gruberg: Reasonable interpretation would be to allow pro-rated.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Pro-rating makes sense.

·         Tarik Mehmood: Should send a letter to Supervisor Daly’s office recommending change to Daly/Ma.

·         Barry Taranto: Need drivers like Barry on the streets, should pro-rate 2008.

·         Barry Korengold-  Prop K language does not require a driver to fulfill a whole year but 75% of the business days.

·         Com Oneto: Does the City attorney agree?  

·         City Attorney: You have been a full-time driver for the entire year, pro-rating is not

·         Com Oneto: Our place is not to make the laws but enforce the rules.  Hopes Sup Daly amends the legislation but right now must follow the law.

·         Com Breslin: Has a problem when the new year turns and applicants that are offered.

·         Dir Machen: Reviewed documents and Mr. Kornegold would have needed to receive his letter in October to be able to qualify for 2007.  He received his letter in November which would not have been enough time to be placed on the calendar.

·         Com Breslin: Suggests Commission send a letter to Supervisor Daly and citing this case for reasons to amend Daly/Ma. Continue this to the next meeting. 

·         Com Oneto: Motion to continue C2- Barry Korengold to call of the chair.

·         Com Breslin: Seconds motion.

·         Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek      No: 0
Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: 0

·         Item C6- Demian Volynsky:

Public Comments:

·         Barry Taranto: Should look at staff’s memo

·         Keith Raskin: Inability to speak English disadvantaged during PCC meeting.

·         Com Benjamin: Why does he have different times on his waybills, when it shows that he was at the airport.

·         Insuren: Driver at B&W knows Volynsky for 15 years, is a hard working person. 

·         Gratch: Grant his medallion, known him for over 15 years and doesn’t know what the requirement of the airport logs are.  Sometimes drivers don’t keep accurate waybills.

·         Demian Volynsky: Driver for many years and doesn’t understand the problem.

·         Com Benjamin: Why are there so many discrepancies on your waybills?

·         Demian Volynsky: Sometimes get busy and don’t keep tight log.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Good driver has known him for many years.

·         Anton of B&W: Has known his for many years and he is a good drvier.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Large percent of drivers don’t fill out waybills correctly.

·         Pres Gillespie: Would he remain at the top of the list if he doesn’t receive his ramp medallion?

·         Dir Machen: Yes and would be offered a regular medallion when his name comes on the list.

·         Com Breslin: In the memo from the Director shows that Mr. Volynsky tried getting a new appointment with PCC and is that because he was better prepared?

·         Com Oka : Staff at PCC said he didn’t interview well and when he was asked questions several different ways he could not answer.

·         Pres Gillespie: Based on the PCC recommendation and staff memo, I do not feel this applicant is qualified for a ramp medallion.

·         Com Breslin: Would like to allow him a second chance to interview with the PCC if he is committed to the program.

·         Com Oka: Spoke with several people who were at the interview and consensus was another interview would not change their mind.

·         Com Paek: Would like to continue this item in order to have another PCC interview.

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion

·         Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek      No: 0
Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: 0

·         Com Oka : Has been told that Commission staff is scheduling PCC interviews, should allow MTA staff to be able to schedule those appointments.

·         Item C7- Lien Nguyen Grant Ramp Medallion

·         Dir Machen:  Has no waybills for 2004 since he worked for King Cab who is no longer in business.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Luxor would like to support this driver.

·         Mark Gruberg: Commission needs to accept other evidence for driving

·         Bashir Rahimi: Hard working guy don’t give him hard time.

·         Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto, Paek                      No: 0
Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: Benjamin



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

  • Barry Taranto: Only picked up three fares yesterday.  Limos are all over city picking up fares.

·         Mike Spain: Congratulates Paul on BOS legislation to increase gas and gate including fee for alternate fuel vehicles.

·         Hansu Kim: Pending state legislation investigating illegal taxis in cities. Congratulates Bruce Oka on his help with the Commission and all he has done.

·         Charles Rathbone:  Presents Com Gillespie with TLC handbook.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Smart cards should have pictures so drivers do not confuse them. 

·         Emil Lawrence:  Biofuels are going to be next on the vehicle list and Commission should consider these vehicles in the fleet.

·         Barry Korengold: Illegal limos are out of hand and are acting like another taxi fleet should be enforced on the streets.

4.      Key Personnel Exemption Update [INFORMATION and DISCUSSION]

·         Dir Machen: Overview of item.  

·         Pres Gillespie: Thought this was a great idea when this was passed initially. Sometime this works, ie Charles Rathbone, but how do we deal with companies who have a staff less than 10?

·         Dir Machen: Have told those companies that they cannot participate.

·         Pres Gillespie: Desoto listed 3 non-medallion holders, are they exempt?

·         Dir Machen: No, only medallion holders are allowed this exemption.

·         Com Benjamin: What works best for staff?

·         Dir Machen: You could guide staff to come up with stronger guidelines in a resolution, especially those mentioned in my memo.

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: Payroll forms are confidential and should not be submitted to the Commission.  Sworn affidavits should suffice.

·         Pres Gillespie: What would be a non-intrusive way to get this information? Do you fill out a time card?

·         Charles Rathbone: We do not have other means and do not punch in and out.

·         Jim Gillespie: Privacy is an issue but can redact information. Should consider mid-year transfers for key personnel.

·         Andy Saniku: One of 3 Desoto exemptions but is not a medallion holder.  Would like to be included as a key personnel.

·         City Attorney: Policy can be changed by BOS.

·         Joan Ann Radu-Saniku- Husband should be included in the exemption even if he is not a medallion holder.

·         Barry Taranto: Legislation should state what proof is being used to prove these people are driving. Maybe should obtain state payroll taxes. Also should include waybills that they drove as apart of this audit.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Dispatchers work harder than taxi drivers.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Should define mid-year transfers.

·         Com Breslin: There are safeguards in the legislation and should not create more work for staff since color scheme signs a sworn statement. Should include applicants on the list and allow for yearly adjustments.

·         Com Benjamin: Agrees and should suggest this to the BOS.

·         Com Oneto: For those requesting the exemptions, should turn them in on time and not take so long.

·         Pres Gillespie: Requests Director to put the amendments into a resolution for our next meeting.

5.      Pro-rating 2004 to make it easier to qualify by using 2004 as one of the qualifying years [INFORMATION and DISCUSSION]

·         Dir Machen: Overview of item.

·         Pres Gillespie: Was this brought up in a previous case?

·         Dir Machen: It came up in Raymond Delagdo’s case but would not effect him since he did not drive in 2004 or 2005.

·         Bill Mounsey: Seems like people are trying to work around the rules.  All these excuses are irrelevant.

·         Robert Cezano: Legislation has a lot of pitfalls many drivers work part-time. Smart cards can be loaned to other drivers but now are being used as a record keeper and drivers were never aware of this.

·         Emil Lawrence: American cab has inadvertently thrown out waybills for 2003 and 2004 and other companies maybe doing the same thing.

·         Carl Macmurdo: An amendment by Supervisor Daly is being considered to begin in 2005 and not 2004.

·         Barry Korengold: Removing 2004 and beginning in 2005 would be fair not easier. Daly/Ma has made it difficult to get a medallion, which is a good thing.

·         Mike Spain: Prop K uses word individual and not cab driver, meaning anyone can get a medallion. 

·         Joan Ann Radu-Saniku- In favor of pro-rating this.

·         Andy Saniku- Has driven requirement for the last 2 years

·         Pres Gillespie: Should have 2 amendments; first Begin Daly/Ma in 2005 second. Pro-rating years you are heard. 

·         Com Breslin:  Choices are given to applicants for certain processes helping applicants on both sides.

·         Pres Gillespie: Sounds like BOS will be hearing this and will weight in on this.

·         Com Breslin: Should pass a resolution to the BOS letting them know our position.

·         Pres Gillespie: Requests the Director to write a resolution to the BOS with our recommendations.

·         Com Oneto: How would we adjust for those cases we have previously denied if this legislation gets passed?

·         City Attorney: The Commission can or can not reverse the past actions.

·         Pres Gillespie: Thanks Commissioner Oka for his service and congratulates his approval to the MTA.

·         Com Oka: Taxi industry is key transportation authority in this city and looks forward to preserving that.  


6.      Adopting of Findings for Grasshopper Alec Kaplan Medallion Number 9062 [ACTION]

·         Dir Machen: Overview of item, has clarified findings to include serious allegations.

·         Sgt Reynolds: Clarifies some police code definitions.

·         Zadik Shapiro, Attorney for Grasshopper Alec Kaplan:  Rebuttal of resolution items.

Public Comment:

·         Robert Cezano:  Says Ms. Machen said she noticed Mr. Shapiro, but later said she did not notice him.

·         Dir Machen: Explains the history of noticing and how the decisions were made.

·         Alan Freeburg: Drove his ramp van for 7 months on his cleanliness and was fired because he did not keep his cab clean.  Excessive if Commission takes away his A card.

·         Steven Murray: Grasshopper worked hard to start his color scheme and had a spare cab as well.  Kept  a clean cab

·         Mary McGuire: Should dismiss this hearing because attorney was not clearly noticed.  He seems to have bipolar disease and should have ADA and be evaluated.

·         Emil Lawrence:  Has known Alec Kaplan and believes he has gone through a lot.  While in jail he will not have any income and this case may destroy him if he has no income.

·         Mark Gruberg: Mr. Kaplan was tried without his attorney and to have his attorney address the Commission after findings were found does not seem to be admirable.  These issues will be pursued.   Should start from scratch.

·         Ruah Graffis: There are a lot of people on the streets that were once tax paying citizens, this will be changing a man’s life permanently. 

·         AJ Wilkenson:  Using accusations that are unproven is not right.

·         Pres Gillespie: Remove finding number 7, accusations should not be included and adopt o. We did make it clear to Mr. Kaplan’s attorney that this was going to be heard in January. 

·         Pres Gillespie: Motion to remove finding number 7.

·         Com Breslin: We are not a court, we uphold that standards of the industry.  There is an appeal process.

·         Com Breslin: 2nd motion

·         Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek      No: 0
Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: 0

·         Com Oneto: Motion to adopt findings 1-6

·         Com Benjamin: 2nd motion

·         Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek      No: 0
Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: 0


7.      Consideration of Executive Director’s Final Decision to Adopt the Hearing Officer’s Recommendation [ACTION]

·         Robert Michael Friedman medallion number 865, National Cab, violation of the San Francisco Municipal Police Code Section § 1081(f); criminal convictions which constitute grounds for revocation under MPC §§ 1090(v), (viii); violations which constitute grounds for revocation under MPC § 1090(iv); and violation of MPC § 1110.

·         Dir Machen: Overview of item and presented options to modify, adopt or reject the hearing officers recommendations. Explained that they are not rehearing this case.

·         Jordanna Thigpen, Deputy Director: Overview of the case.

·         Geoffrey Rotwein, Attorney for Robert Friedman: Has serious concerns about the fairness of the hearing procedure. Would like to know if the Commissioners have heard the tapes? Believes due process was unjust and burden of proof should be on the taxi commission and not on his client.

·         Deputy Director Thigpen: Rebuttal.

      Public Comment

·         Robert Cezano: Seems that Commission should have training before presenting to the hearing officer.

·         Carl MacMurdo: Federal lawsuit pending and this should not be heard.

·         Name: Drove for Friedman and is a good guy.

·         Jesus Protillo: Dispatcher at National for many years. Mike Friedman good driver. Is in rehab and is trying to get help.

·         Dan Hinds: Mike Friedman never submitted any fraudulent documents. He is currently on disability and deserves a break. 

·         Mark Gruberg:  Friend killed by someone who had 3 DUIs. If there are procedural concerns, rehearing may be an option.

·         Dave Murphy: Michael Friedman is a sick person and now receiving help, should not be penalized for this.

·         Bill Mounsey: Cannot depend on rehabilitation to help a person stop drinking. 

·         Charles Rathbone: Standards in the industry are low should be reviewed. Three DUI’s are too many.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Thanks Commission staff for all their work and hopes the Commission will too.

·         Com Benjamin: What are the dates of the DUI’s? Some of the arguments brought up by the attorney are legitimate. The DUI’s happened a long time ago and his driving record as a cab driver seems to be clean.

·         Com Oneto: His last conviction was 2001 but he is in rehab as of 2008.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to adopt Executive Director’s final decision to adopt the Hearing Officer’s Recommendation.

·         Com Paek: 2nd motion

·         Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Oka, Oneto, Paek                      No: Benjamin
Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: 0

8.      Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

  • Deputy Director Thigpen: Staff report overview
  • Sgt Reynolds: Review of annual safety report

 Commissioner Announcements:

·         Com Breslin: Rules Committee meeting regularly and would like to add certain items on the next agenda. Would like to know if there is an update on how the merger will take place.  Would like more information about the wrap fund.  What is the status of Peter Witt?

·         Sgt Reynolds: Under the impression that Peter Witt’s A card and medallion were given back to him.

·         Com Breslin: ED has the right to summarily suspend but once it comes before the commission would like to be able make the final decision. 

Public Comment:

·         Charles Rathbone: 110 at fault taxis sound like a lot, should take a sample from that and see if there is a pattern of bad driving.

·         Richard Hybels: Has only seen 3-4 accident reports per year and doesn’t bother reporting hit and runs since when they call it into the police, they tell them to report it to their insurance.

·         Barry Korengold: This job is dangerous and this proves that.

·         Robert Cezano: Should create a system allowing driver to lock back driver side door.

·         Emil Lawrence:  There are no dates of when these reports are filed. High turn over in this industry and drivers seem to have less driving experience.

·         Tariq Mehmood:  Thanks Sgt Reynolds for his work on the safety standards.

·         Joan Ann Radu-Saniku:  Why isn’t there a compliments column? Should have comment cards in taxis.

·         Hansu Kim:  Stats show taxi drivers are safest drivers and usually the accidents are not their fault.

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

  • Marco Mora: Didn’t have a chance to speak during the calendar to hear on this item.
  • Pres Gillespie: Commission already approved removing his name and needs a motion to rescind that vote to continue the item to the following calendar.
  • Com Breslin: Motion to rescind the Commissions vote and continue this item to the next calendar.
  • Com Oneto: 2nd motion.
  • Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oka, Oneto, Paek      No: 0
  • Absent:  Slaughter                                                       Recuse: 0

  • Robert Cezano:  Could we have a town hall style meeting on service before going to the MTA? Couldn’t there be just one card for i.d. as opposed to the many i.d.s. Legality of tracking drivers at airport.


10.  Adjournment



Skip bottom navigation and boilerplate text.Begin brief site navigation and boilerplate text.