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April 8, 2008 at 5:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400


  1. Call to Order/Roll Call
  2. Closed Session On Litigation:
    1. Public Comment on all matters pertaining to the closed session.

·         Name: Taxi Commission should have an ombudsman

·         Charles Rathborn: City should withdraw from the UTW lawsuit since the BOS already ruled on this legislation.

·         Mark Gruberg: Why were some permit revocation cases delayed for over several years?

·         Barry Taranto: Taxi Commission hasn’t heard of some of these cases that are being brought before the Commission.

·         Mike Spain: Most of these ADA cases under Noami Little had a understanding.  This lawsuit  is costing the industry a lot of money.

  1. Vote on whether to hold closed session to confer with legal counsel.  (San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.10(d).)  [ACTION]

·         Com Paek: Motion to go into closed session

·         Com Slaughter: 2nd motion.

·         AYES: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Paek, Slaughter, Oneto          NO: 0

ABSENT: 0                                                                                        RECUSED: 0

  1. Closed session pursuant to Government Code sec. 54956.9 and San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.10(d).
  2. Conference With Legal Counsel – Existing Litigation [Action]

(a)     Slone v. Taxi Commission;

               U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal. No. C 07 335 EDL

               [City as defendant]

(b)     United Taxicab Workers v. Yellow Cab Cooperative;

               San Francisco Superior Court No. 457-561

               [City as intervenor-plaintiff]

(c)     Breall v. Taxi Commission;

               San Francisco Superior Court Nos. 460-436, 505-798

               [City as defendant]    

(d)     Basada v. City and County of San Francisco;

               U.S. District Court, N.D. Cal. No. C 07 4149

               [City as defendant]

(e)     Yuen v. Taxi Commission;

               San Francisco Superior Court No. 505-920

               [City as defendant]    

(f)      Cohen v. Taxi Commission;

               San Francisco Superior Court No. 505-919

               [City as defendant]    


(g)     Wong v. Taxi Commission;

               San Francisco Superior Court No. 506-103

               [City as defendant]    

(h)     Hollis v. Taxi Commission;

               San Francisco Superior Court No. 471-116

               [City as defendant]    

                    e.   Reconvene in open session:


(a)      Possible report on action taken in closed session.  (Government Code sec. 54957.1(a)(2) and San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.12(b)(2).)  [ACTION ITEM]

(b)      Vote to elect whether to disclose any or all discussions held in closed session.  (San Francisco Administrative Code sec. 67.12(a).)  [ACTION ITEM]


·         Com Slaughter: Motion to not disclose closed session information.

·         Com Oneto: Second motion.

·         AYES: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Paek, Slaughter, Oneto    NO: 0

ABSENT: 0                                                                             RECUSED: 0

  1. The Proposed SFMTA/Taxi Commission Merger [INFORMATION]

·         Wade Crowfoot, Mayor’s Representative: Overview of merger

·         Jordanna Thigpen, Acting Executive Director: Overview with power point presentation

·         Com Breslin: What will the merger committee due with the Rules resolutions?

·         Wade Crowfoot: Will take them into consideration when streamlining the rules.

·         Com Breslin: Will the Commission still be self funded?

·         Wade Crowfoot: Yes.

Public Comment:

·         Hansu Kim: This is an issue that should have been addressed by the industry before this was heard today.

·         Emil Lawrence: The amount a driver earns varies annually.

·         Barry Taranto: Staff keeps using the word merger, this is a folding of the Commission into the Merger.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Agrees with Hansu Kim and Robert Cesana that there are no Taxi Commissioners or members of the public on the current merger committee.

·         Mike Spain: Driver income should be outlined in the report.

·         Jim Gillespie: Collaboration should be included on all taxi issues including this merger.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Everyone’s doing a good job.

·         Michael Kwok: There is no public representation included on this merger.  Unfortunate that the Commissioners only have 3 months to include their input. 

·         Marty Smith: Committee should include the industry and the commission.  The industry pay the bills.

·         Bill Mounsey: Beware when you are told you are doing a good job or else why would they want to disband  the commission? No one but the industry, drivers and the commission understand the industry.

·         Mark Gruberg: Proposition A did not give permission to allow the taxi commission to be folded into the MTA, it was already allowed.  The merger is not going to represent drivers and it should.

·         Peter Witt: Doesn’t wish that the Commission folds under although can see some changes needed.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Believes there are other reasons that this is happening than the underlying.

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Follow-up comments to public comments.  Would like to see the creation of a advisory board.

·         Wade Crowfoot: Will engage details of the merger to the industry.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Would like to have someone from MTA to support this. Collaboration very important and would like to get the most input possible from the public and industry.

·         Com Breslin:  Some questions pending were answered and is fully committed to see the Transit First Plan and needs to be at the table for the collaboration.

·         Pres Gillespie:  Who is the invited to the April 29th meeting?

·         Acting Director Thigpen: This will be a public workshop for the MTA Board.  The agenda is still being developed. 

·         Wade Crowfoot: Would like to discuss with Pres Gillespie this week to hold a joint meeting on integrating the Taxi Commission into the MTA.   

  1. Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Staff update.

·         Sgt Reynolds: Update.

·         Pres Gillespie: Drivers will not go to At&t park because there’s only one way in and out.

·         Com Breslin: How are we doing on background checks?

·         Sgt Reynolds: It is a slow process, will be contacting DOJ to follow-up.

Public Comment:

·         Barry Taranto: Ball game ran late and it took long time to get to the ball park.  Hopes with the enforcement there will be a better way of serving the community.

·         Emil Lawrence: Sgt Reynolds doing a great job.  Are the 1,500 A card holders still driving? Why are there so many i.d.s that drivers need to carry around.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Commends Sgt Reynolds on talks with CHP on warning as opposed to moving violation.


  1. Consideration of FY 2009 Taxi Commission Budget [DISCUSSION and ACTION]

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Overview of budget.

·         Com Slaughter: There was a decrease in the city attorneys lawsuit but there was an increase with the Taxi Detail budget.   

·         Sgt Reynolds: More funds are needed to pay for enforcement; illegal limos, at&t park, candle stick park. Currently can only put in a two man team once a week.  We are losing a person and with this increased budget we can have enforcement on Friday and Saturday night for an overtime budget.

·         Pres Gillespie: Will this pay for another position?

·         Sgt Reynolds:  This is for an overtime budget for officers patrolling illegal limos, GTU would like to inspect cabs and CHP would like to work on the corridor. 

·         Com Slaughter: Wants assurance that every penny will be used for enforcement. 

·         Com Benjamin: I don’t think the MTA will be using the detail and we should be saving money for the medallion holders.

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Taxi detail will be preserved when moving to the MTA.  The budget was configured by ratios.

·         Com Slaughter: Wants to discuss litigation budget and wants to see the actual figures from previous years.  Believes that the litigation budget can be approximately $200k.

·         Pres Gillespie: There are outstanding questions on the litigation budget and believes $200k is reasonable.

·         Com Slaughter: Whatever is decided on the budget, we aren’t in a position to say what the fees are since things may change.

·         Com Benjamin: What’s the SFGTV cost after the merger?

·         Acting Director Thigpen: The 25k would be backed out of the fees.   

·         Com Breslin:  We don’t have the figures from last year, so I don’t feel comfortable with creating a fee list.  Would like the fees to be distributed across the board.

Public Comment:

·         Hansu Kim: The fees pay for the budget of this committee.  When the budget increases the fees increases as well.

·         Barry Taranto: Extra cost for the Detail budget will go towards training and approves increases for that. There are no comparisons from last year.

·         Robert Cesana:  If you increase the budget, then you will increase the meter since it will occur.

·         Mike Spain: This commission has not been modest in its increase.  The fees continue to grow out of proportion.

·         Mary McGuire:  Would like to know how much was spent last year.

·         Mark Gruberg: Commission has been underfunded and understaffed. Companies should bear the cost not the drivers.

·         Carl MacMurdo: There’s been no audit and no accountability on last year’s budget. Public safety is big issue since Commission is going after disabled medallion holders.

·         Com Slaughter: Strike increase in Detail budget and attorneys budget. Recovery should be placed on everyone but the drivers.  Finds it difficult to vote on the budget without seeing figures from the last few years.

·         Com Oneto: Doesn’t feel they have the information to make a decision.  Would like to recommend using the budget from last year.

·         Com Breslin: The salaries will be going up so should cover that.

·         Pres Gillespie: Motion to remove the 2nd investigator position, allow for annual salary increase and reduce the city attorney’s budget to $200. Scenario three should be applied.

·         Com Oneto: The color scheme fee for the number of medallions is not equitable. And with the gas and gate increase, the cost to the companies should increase. Second’s motion.

·          AYES: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Paek, Slaughter, Oneto         NO: 0

ABSENT: 0                                                                                        RECUSED: 0


SPECIAL ORDER 8:30 – 9:00 PM

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

·         Charles Rathbone: Color scheme changes shouldn’t be allowed to lower performing companies.

·         Robert Cesana:  Commission makes it difficult for independent medallion holders to make money.

·         Emil Lawrence: There should be an auditor in the taxi commission office.

·         Barry Taranto: Gas is now $3.71/gallon and gates are increasing this week. Would like to see a break down of the money spent on the Bretholtz case.  The add money machine at the airport is eating money and should be addressed.

·         Bill Mounsey:  Has been seeing gas, illegal limos and cabs doubling, but the population is not.  Is MTA going to pay the drivers?

·         Mary McGuire: A benefit of being a medallion holder is having the freedom of moving around to different companies. The commission should not limit this.


  1. Consent Calendar [ACTION]
  • Acting Director Thigpen: Continue item C5- Damein Volynsky to call of the chair, sever items C3 and C4 for recusals.

Public Comment: None

  • Pres Gillespie: Continue item C5- Damein Volynsky to call of the chair
  • Com Oneto: Motion to approve A- minutes, B- public passenger vehicle driver permits, Motion to grant a medallions to C1- Melaku Girma and C2-Marcos Mora
  • Com Slaughter: Second motion.

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



·         Com Oneto: Motion to grant a medallion to C3- Papinder Singh

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


·         Com Paek: Motion to grant a medallion to C4- Manoch Amirehsani

·         Com Oneto: Second motion.

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

  1. Consideration of Hearing Officer’s Recommendations in Taxi Commission v. Douglas Wong: [ACTION]

·         Douglas Wong: Consideration of Hearing Officer’s decision regarding continuation of summary suspension of P-44 Permit # 050561 and P-16 Permit # 180, issued pursuant to San Francisco Municipal Police Code Section §1090(c) for alleged violations of Penal Code §§ 12020(a)(4) (carrying concealed dirk or dagger); 12025(a) (carrying a concealed firearm), and 12031(a)(1) (carrying a loaded firearm by carrying it in a public place or public street).

·         Terrance Hallinan: Mr. Wong is a small man working in a risky business. He didn’t threaten anyone or assault anyone, but rather only possessed the weapons. Learned a lesson and won’t do this again and is facing a criminal case.  If he is convicted he will be penalized.  He will not be repeat what he has done.

·         Pres Gillespie: Why was he near a school?

·         Mr. Hallinan: He lives near the school, never was able to get in the cab. Afraid of his safety and will be punished by the courts and doesn’t think it is fair for the taxi commission to also punish him.

·         Com Oneto: Has there any psychological testing been done?

·         Mr. Hallinan: None.

Public Comment:

·         Bill Mounsey: Has been a driver for 16 years and has been in this kind of situation before.  But knows the rules and it is against the rule to carry a gun.

·         Com Oneto:  Doesn’t like the idea that he was carrying a gun in his belt and was close to a school.

·         Com Benjamin: Shouldn’t encourage any driver to carry a weapon.  We should uphold suspension of his driving privileges.

·         Com Paek: When learning to become a taxi driver, he should remember that it is illegal to carry the weapon.

·         Com Slaughter: Appreciates comments of fellow commissioners and if the suspension is not upheld, there is a message that will be sent to the industry.   Motion to uphold suspension of medallion and A card.

·         Com Benjamin: Seconds motion.

·         AYES: Benjamin, Gillespie, Paek, Slaughter, Oneto            NO: 0

ABSENT: Breslin                                                       RECUSED: 0

  1. Consideration of Hearing Officer’s Recommendations in Taxi Commission v. Bay Cab: [ACTION]

·         Bay Cab: Consideration of Hearing Officer’s decision regarding failure to provide worker’s compensation and violation of Rules 5.A.3, 5.H.2, 5.H.3, 5.K.2, 5.H.16.

·         David Green, Attorney for Bay Cab: Bay cab has opened a policy of workers’ compensation and notice has been sent out to all medallion holders that they are required to either purchase workers’ compensation through their color scheme or their own policy. All documents were produced even after Mr. Brodnax said they were not. Decision should be denied on MPC 1188, hearing officer is required to give findings within 10 days. Rules and regulations of workers’ compensation are not legal.  Rules come from legislation.  MPC does not have workers’ compensation law, it says they must follow state law, and they have no employees.

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Mr. Green is correct on stating that MPC 1188.  However, Bay cab worked to the advantage of other companies since they didn’t comply and saved money others invested on workers compensation.   

·         David Green: No case in CA states a color scheme holder is an employer.  A color scheme holder could be an employer but after prop k, the individual holder would be their own business. New laws don’t reflect how the taxi industry operates in San Francisco.

Public Comment:

·         Hansu Kim: Agrees with the attorney.  Has been asking the Commission to review workers’ compensation policy and define it clearly pertaining to taxi companies.

·         Charles Rathbone:  Commission should re-hear the case since the other companies have been paying workers’ compensation for years.

·         Emil Lawrence:  Workers’ compensation rule should be enforced.  The commission should uphold the decision for not having workers’ compensation.  They also have the wrong phone number on their color scheme.

·         Mark Gruberg:  On behalf of UTW the Commission should uphold the Commissions decision. There is a reasonable interpretation of the law.

·         Com Slaughter: Motions to uphold the hearing officer’s findings.

·         Com Oneto: Second motion.

·         AYES: Benjamin, Gillespie, Paek, Slaughter, Oneto         NO: 0

·         ABSENT: Breslin                                                        RECUSED: 0


  1. Consideration of Recommended Amendments to Taxicab/Ramped Taxi Rules & Regulations 4.A.7, 4.B.1, 4.B.3, AND 5.G.2.a. [ACTION]

·         Continued to April 22, 2008

  1. Consideration of Resolution to Support Senate Bill 1519  [ACTION]

·            Acting Director Thigpen: Review of SB 1519

·            Pres Gillespie: Wants to eliminate illegal limousine language to not confuse the meaning of the resolution. Since SB 1519 is not supporting language for limousines.

·            Acting Director Thigpen: The illegal limousine language has is separate from supporting the bill and only keep it in the resolve clause to be able to plan

Public Comment:

·            Hansu Kim:  Supports the bill.

·         AYES: Benjamin, Gillespie, Paek, Slaughter, Oneto         NO: 0
Breslin                                                        RECUSED: 0


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

·         No public comment due to the lack of a quorum.

  1. Adjournment – 11:45pm



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