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February 26, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.
City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place  
Room 400

STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Director Heidi Machen, 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, Paek, Oneto, Slaughter
Absent: 0

2. Consent Calendar
• Dir Machen: Server items C1- Leonid Tarakanov, C2- Barry Korengold, D1-Marco Mora E2- Barry Korengold and F4- CS change for recusal
Public Comment:  NONE
• Com: Motion to approve A- Minutes, B- Public Passenger Drivers, E-1 time waiver to Mohammed Lassoued, cs change to F1-Chi Chu Shing, F2- Frances Wilson, F3- Yefim Dolgoy, F-5 Ahmed Kabo
• Com:  2nd motion   
• AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Paek, Oneto, Slaughter  NO: 0
ABSENT: 0        RECUSE: 0

Public Comment on Severed Items:
• Marco Mora: Did not turn in his application because his blood pressure was taken incorrectly.
• Dir Machen: Staff told me he did not bring in his medical documents and he was placed on notice calendar.  Was a long time since he responded and no other applicants has had this problem.
• Pres Gillespie: Would like to continue to have staff put together a memo on this.
• Dir Machen: Recommend not to remove him and give him 2 weeks to complete his application and then start the removal process to the calendar. 
• Mark Gruberg: This is a case of an applicant who has no health insurance and was anxious of the bad result.
• Com Breslin: Motion to approve C1-Leonid Tarakanov conditionally. Motion to grant medallion and if he does not pass background check then Commission will revoke his medallion.
• Com Benjamin: 2nd motion
• Ayes: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Oneto, Paek, Slaughter No: 0
Absent:   0       Recuse: 0

• Pres Gillespie:  Continue Barry Korengold items C2- grant medallion and E2- time waiver to call of the chair.
• Com Oneto: Motion to not remove D1- Marco Mora from the list.  Grant him 2 weeks to turn in required documents to the commission for PC&N application.
• Com Breslin: 2nd motion
• AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Paek, Oneto, Slaughter  NO: 0
ABSENT: 0        RECUSE: 0

• Pres Gillespie: Continue items D2-D5 to next calendar.
• Com Onteo: Motion to grant cs change to George Huie from Regents to Yellow
• Com Slaughter: Second motion
• AYES: Breslin, Benjamin, Paek, Oneto, Slaughter  NO: 0
ABSENT: 0       RECUSE: Gillespie,

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

• Barry Taranto:  Concerned that medallion holders are not being responsible and are giving drivers authority over their medallions.  Sometimes medallion holders give their medallion to a color scheme.  A third is the medallion holder giving their medallion to another party as if they are a color scheme.
• Com Breslin: Rules Committee has addressed this issue and those recommendations with be presented at the next meeting.
• Tom Stanghellini: Escape hybrids are too high for top sign advertisements. However wrapping a cab may take months. Option would be placing ads on the side windows.
• Charles Rathbone: Formula for calculating average gate should be average of the days of the week in order to give deeply discounted shifts for example Thanksgiving. 
• Tariq Mehmood: Thanks all the Commissioners on passing the Gas and Gate legislation. Issue Charles Rathbone brought up is valid and should be addressed.
• Mike Spain: Would also like to thank Board of Supervisors and should not provide certain groups in the industry to exploit these rules. Many complaints about middle men, which I think are fair since drivers keep more of their own money.
•  Peter Witt: At the last Commission meeting someone said taxi drivers should be held to a higher standard.  Presented this report to the Commission 2 years ago.
• Bill Mounsey: Got hit in the face by a pedestrian. Police came 15 minutes later and didn’t do much to find the perpetrator.
• Name: In divorce settlement ½ medallion was left to her. Came to the Commission who xeroxed her copies and has not heard from the commission. Ex-husband put his name alone on the medallion.
• Mark Gruberg: Legislation passed today by Board of Supervisors increasing gas and gate by $5 -12.50/shift.  UTW fought this but lost and drivers will have to pay the price. Healthcare was taken out of the legislation. Provision which retroactively covers gate charges, violates due process rights.
• Robert Cezano: Raising gas and gate by the City for the industry to go all green.  Nothing happened with any reports the controller’s office conducts. It’s up to the city to find a way to keep the costs of taxis lower.

4. Setting Additional Administrative Guidelines for the Key Personnel Exemption to the Medallion Holder Driving Requirements [DISCUSSION and POSSIBLE ACTION]
• Dir Machen: Overview of the item and resolution drafted directs staff to investigate but leaves it up to the commission to make changes.
• Com Benjamin:  I thought we would include non-medallion holders who are on the list but work as dispatchers.
• Pres Gillespie: Would that take legislation?
• City Attorney: Yes, the Commission could draft legislation and present it to the board.
• Pre Gillespie: What you are talking about is different than this resolution.  We can amend this and come back next week.
• Com Breslin: Can we just include it tonight?
• Pres Gillespie: We need to agendize that.

Public Comment:
• Charles Rathbone:  Privacy issue still exists, hours worked are fine but pay should be redacted.
• Tom Stanghellini:  Financial records can be opened to the investigator to certify hours worked, doesn’t want information being released to the public
• Barry Korengold:  If there’s an exemption to medallion holders, only fair it applies to applicants.
• Barry Taranto: Language in resolution to help those experienced drivers working in the office. How do you ensure confidentiality and at the same time have proof of work?
• Jim Gillespie: Majority of medallions are at the larger companies and are easy to follow, since they keep records of pay. Maybe staff should conduct a one time per year audit of the companies.  Should set the standard for all companies as a guideline to follow.
• Peter Witt: Glad this is working its way down to the details.  This item has been on the table for years.
• Com Oneto:  Wasn’t there a penalty if they did not turn their forms in on time?
•  Pres Gillespie: Isn’t there a deadline now that we can deny the exemption if they do not turn them in on time?
• Com Oneto: At the last meeting the Director said that there were some folks who had not turned in their application on time.  There should either be a fee or a denial if applications are not turned into the commission.
• Dir Machen:  Thank you for bringing this issue up.  We had to remind companies several times before the deadline. Commission could make the policy decision.
• Pres Gillespie: Since everyone turned in their applications, we do not need to make this amendment.
• Com Slaughter:  We did not hear that from Director Machen.
• Dir Machen: It would be helpful is the commission made a decision on this. We can give zero credit to applicants who do not turn in their applications.
• Com Breslin: Should include the details of date and time application is due.
• Com Benjamin: Agrees, and should add more language to resolution.
• Com Breslin:  Opposed to spending staff time on a minimal number of people who may or may not be fraudulent. Believes staff has the power to check and investigate fraud. Against releasing personal information of these key personnel.
• Com Paek: Should have some standards procedures and structure.
• Com Slaughter:  Can remove the word “comprehensive” from the resolution.  Not interested in invading privacy of the key personnel.
• Com Breslin: If we eliminate “comprehensive” I would also eliminate “preliminary” and would like a detailed understanding of what type of investigation will be conducted and where.
• Com Slaughter: Nervous about adding detailed language which is too hands on.
• Com Benjamin: Motion to approve resolution and omitting “comprehensive” from language.
• Com Paek: Seconds motion.
 AYES: Gillespie, Benjamin, Paek, Oneto, Slaughter NO: Breslin
ABSENT: 0      RECUSE: 0

5. Supporting Supervisor Daly’s Legislation Adopting Standards for Pro-rating Medallion Applicant Driving Requirement Contained in Municipal Police Code 1121 and Eliminating Time Waivers for Regular Medallion Applicants if the Amendment Becomes Law [DISCUSSION and Possible ACTION]

• Dir Machen: Overview of the item
• Pres Gillespie: Can we discuss an item that is not included on this resolution?
• Dir Machen: Spoke with Supervisor Daly’s office and will be considering removing 2004 language.
• Pres Gillespie: Would like to discuss removing 2004 driving requirement.
• City Attorney: As long as it falls within the context.
• Com Breslin: Reviewed the resolution with Sup Daly’s office and didn’t understand why time waivers were included in this.
• Pres Gillespie: Wouldn’t removal of 2004 driving requirement eliminate the need for time waivers?
• City Attorney:  No.
• Com Benjamin: If this goes through retroactively would those who have been denied come before us?
• City Attorney: The Board of Supervisors would make that determination in their legislation.
• Com Oneto: In Daly’s language it leaves it up to the Commission to prorate but doesn’t set a standard.

Public Comment:
• Charles Cezano: Drivers do not necessarily drive the same cabs and that is a lot of waybills to meet this requirement.  If one or two waybills are missing then the applicant falls out of the running. Suggest waybills should be electronic.
• Com Slaughter: This language does not change the burden of proof, right?
• City Attorney: Correct.
• Barry Korengold: Shouldn’t remove time waivers, they help applicants.  This language doesn’t need to be changed but is misinterpreted.
• Carl Macmurdo: Agrees with what Barry said.  Time waivers are helpful. Another amendment not in here is removing 2004 as a requirement. Sup Daly’s office will be introducing this legislation.
• Jim Gillespie: This legislation won’t affect 100 people but more like 10- 15 people.
• Mark Gruberg: There’s some purpose to keeping the time waiver.   
• Com Slaughter: May want to wait until after the legislation is passed to consider time waivers. Consensus of the commission is remove 2004 as one of the years.
• Com Breslin: Would like to poll commissioners as to their stand on this legislation to report to Supervisor Daly.
• Pres Gillespie: There is a general consensus to remove the time waiver and accept the resolution.
• Com Slaughter: Motion to approve resolution but first removing time waiver language
• Com Breslin: 2nd motion
•  AYES: Gillespie, Breslin, Benjamin, Paek, Oneto, Slaughter  NO: 0
ABSENT: 0        RECUSE: 0

6. Establishing Dispatch Standards [INFORMATION and DISUCSSION]
• Dir Machen: Overview of item.
• Pres Gillespie: Think this through and review this data and make any potential amendments.
• Com Benjamin: Should give a minimum requirement of reporting.
• Com Oneto: We need to set the standards on ramps soon.  We should set something like 70-75% calls must be responded to and then should create a progressive discipline program.
• Com Slaughter:  Looking at dispatch rules, Rule 7 says the dispatcher who is contacted and cannot provide ramp service are required to find a ramp vehicle. New language is not needed since we have it on the books, staff needs to enforce the rule with fines.
• Dir Machen: Currently have fines on the books that staff can impose on the offending company, but it is labor intensive since if it is challenged then it needs to go before the hearing officer and then possibly then Board of Appeals.
• Com Benjamin: Should limit ramps to only 3 companies; Yellow, Luxor and B&W
• Pres Gillespie:  Desoto has 14 cabs and should be considered.
• Dir Machen:  A company does not perform like you think they do. There are different circumstances. Yellow faired poorly, but their drivers could be giving cell phone numbers to users. DeSoto did not perform well either.
• Com Oneto: Can’t we set a standard and of those decertify those who are not meeting the minimum.
• Dir Machen:  Commission can consider the next 3-4 meetings to discuss this issue.  Allowing enough time to put the dispatch companies on notice.  They renew their application in July.  Would also need to ensure there’s enough time for ramp applicants to apply for a color scheme change.
• Com Breslin:  Taxi Rules Committee meets March 14, 2008 and will be discussing this issue at that meeting. 

Public Comment:
• Tom Stanghellini:  Why don’t other larger companies invest in ramp vehicles?  Reccomends Commissioners to come to dispatch companies and listen to how drivers are turning off radios or refusing calls.
• Charles Cezano:  Should ban vans from the airport.  Many companies are not taking vans unless owners pay for the vehicles.  Vans loose money and don’t make money for companies. A lot of these surveys are cell phones.
• Barry Taranto: Helped Roger Cardenas when he was having problems with vans. Commission issues ramp medallions to holders who are at underserved companies.
• Charles Rathbone: Congrats to B&W Checker. Staff going the right direction but be careful to not over scrutinize.
• Tone Lee: Good service means a well functioning cab company
• Peter Witt: The customer is important. There are standards and intent and letter of the law. This should have been addressed years ago. There are goals but they are unrealistic.
• Bill Mounsey: Should have central dispatch for ramp taxis.  These vans are another way of getting another medallion. B&W Checker has a good service, but larger companies used to have better service. Strange that smaller company does better than larger.
• Mark Gruberg: No cab company will send a caller a cab, it’s a volunteer system.  Dispatchers can’t always get volunteers. Central dispatch frightens people, call it something else. Regents numbers are somewhat discouraging, however Regents keeps the passenger on the line and tell the passenger the cab is coming.
• Thomas George Williams: Drivers are independent contractors and do not have to pick up fares they do not want.
• Gratch, B&W Checker: There’s only one way to address this issue, since drivers are independent contractors, there should be incentives, possibly charge extra fee. Job is difficult and heavy for drivers to complete.
• Tariq Mehmood:  Talked to Yellow management to change software to put into a better dispatch system to increase service.
• Carl Macmurdo: Commends commission for putting this on the agenda.  Goldman School has a report last year that should be reviewed. Ramp program should have employees or proper incentives.  

7. Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]
• Dir Machen: Overview of item.
• Sgt Reynolds: Will continue to operation bandit over the next few months. New breed of illegal limos.  Made some arrests.
• Com Breslin: Pleasure working with Sgt Reynolds.  Question on background check for medallion holders.
• Sgt Reynolds:  Older permits seem to take longer than the newer ones, about 100 left.

Commissioner Announcements:
• Com Breslin:  Rules will be meeting next month.  Handouts given to commissioners and should be reviewed before it goes to the public. Only Section 4 was noticed, would like to have others discussed. Can someone come speak to us about the merger? Address authority on the Peter Witt case and a decision.  On Senate language, to include illegal limos for the City.  Property tax issue find out from the Assessor/ Recorder and if all that is needed is making a note on that.
• Com Benjamin: Should find out if there are any improperly registered taxis. Has spoken with Sgt Reynolds about this. 
• Sgt Reynolds:  Have been investigating this issue and it is illegal to do this but there is no penalty for not complying.  Area surrounds hybrid vehicles.  If it not a criminal act, it’s not in our jurisdiction. 
• Pres Gillespie:  Would like a memo on this issue.  Com Benjamin, continue to work with Sgt Reynolds.
Public Comment:
• Charles Cezano: You are obligating people to purchase green taxis and should look at how to help individuals or a plan to finance these vehicles.
• Barry Taranto: Applaud staffs outreach. Sgt Reynolds doing great work on under cover operations, however left out names of the hotels and should be more specific.
• Tone Lee:  Bribes happen behind the building. 
• Mary McGuire:  Would like clarification on wrap fund and is it re-categorized as a fee and can it be integrated as office budget.
• Pres. Gillespie:  Will be having a hearing in the next few weeks.  Staff has been doing a great job on researching this.
• Charles Rathbone:  There is a legitimate limo industry and there is a new breed of thuggish illegal limo drivers that need to be addressed.
• Peter Witt:  This is the fifth report and hands one out to the commission, CPUC, DA’s office as well.  Hopes the Commission does not merge with the MTA.  There are rules of how the Commission should be spending the wrap fund, look it up.
• Tariq Mehmood:  Give us more information we can hand out to bellman.

8. Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items NOT on the agenda; also limited to public that did not speak during Special Order)
• Carl Macmurdo: Congratulates Paul Gillespie on legislation passed by the Board of Supervisors. Key Personnel exemption issues that still need to be addressed are whether or not the Commission will allow mid-year designations of key personnel.  Spoke with Sup Elsbernd who may be willing to introduce amendments.
• Tone Lee: Income of taxi drivers continues to go down.
• Mary McGuire:  Inefficient that taxi commission drives to and from commission office to color scheme. Should conduct audit at company.  Enjoys driving her new hybrid vehicle.

9. Adjournment- 10:10pm



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