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June 10, 2008 at 6:30 p.m.

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Acting Executive Director Jordanna Thigpen, Executive Secretary Tamara Odisho Benjamin – Taxi Commission, City Attorney Tom Owen


Jordanna Thigpen, Acting Executive Director: Turn-off cell phones, interferes with phone systems and we get feedback.


  1. Call to Order/Roll Call

Present: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Paek, Slaughter, Suval              Absent: 0

  1. Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]
  • Jordanna Thigpen, Acting Director: Overview of events occurring over the last few weeks.
  • Ron Reynolds, Sergeant of Taxi Detail: Overview of events occurring over the last few weeks.
  • Com Slaughter: Would like to know if driver who spilled hot tea on hotel doorman was suspended?
  • Sgt Reynolds: Was not and will be conducting an interview with the driver as to what transpired.
  • Com Breslin: A-card should be suspended pending investigation.
  • Sgt Reynolds: No arrest was made by SFPD or report filed. Needs to get more information before we take action.
  • Com Slaughter: Should authorize executive director to suspend A cards and medallions until Commission or hearing officer hears the case.
  • Com Breslin:  Viewed video of bellman who was arrested in “Operation Bandit” and believes he was tricked into offering the limousine.
  • Com Slaughter: Concerned there has been no 311 report and would like to get an idea of what type of complaints are being reported.
  • President Gillespie: Welcomes Susan Suval to commission.
  • Com Breslin: Westin Saint Francis hosting its annual Driver Appreciation Day with coffee and donuts 7am-11am Thursday June 12, 2008.

       Public Comment

  • Robert Cesano: Commissioner Breslin was wrong since bellmen cannot solicit any type of transportation for drivers.  Limos must be prearranged unless it’s a hotel house car which is a free ride.
  • Barry Taranto: Welcomes Susan Suval.  Would like more than one minute of comment and wants to know when the meter increase will be addressed by Commission.
  • Emil Lawrence: Was assaulted by limo driver 5 years ago, believes hotels should be held liable for limos.
  • Marty Smith: There shouldn’t be any exceptions for violence.  Schools should teach that. 
  1. Taxi Commission v. American Taxi: [ACTION]
    1. Defendant’s Appeal of Administrative Fine of $250 for Failure to Cooperate for Failing to Return a Temporary Medallion to the Taxi Commission Office and for Making False Statements with Regard to the Medallion
  • City Attorney: Overview of hearing procedures.
  • Ray Sloane, American Advocate: Is this an appropriate venue for this item?  Would like continuance.
  • Pres Gillespie:  Continuance for executive director to meet with defendant.
  • Com Slaughter: Executive Director should not yield on the facts revealed, should come to the Commission if a settlement is not reached.

Public Comment

  • Robert Cesano: People are afraid of our coming into taxi commission office.
  • Anne McVeigh: Difficulty dealing with office since someone isn’t playing fairly.

SPECIAL ORDER 7:30 – 8:00 PM

  1. Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items NOT on the agenda)
  • Charles Rathbone: Website informative.
  • Jim Gillespie: Commission should not forget to agenize rule change required for Daly/Ma.
  • Marty Smith: Meter rate increase would hurt industry. Drop increase would be better.
  • Barry Taranto: Raise drop and not mileage and add surcharge for serving outer areas. Com Breslin should not be taking sides since she represents hotels. Thank you to the St. Francis hotel, but why not offer to the evening drivers?
  • Emil Lawrence: Worked for American and they lost his waybills. They run 3 separate businesses and operate badly.
  • Liz Brady: Worked in businesses for 11 years and hasn’t seen many increases in meter over the years.
  • Robert Cesano: Taxi Commission forgets its job is to serve the general public but continues to increase regulations on taxi companies and drivers.  Signs at the ball park have not been moved as previously stated.
  • Grasshopper Alec Kaplan: Would like check for a new color scheme to be refunded since Commission never voted on it.
  • Neigh Malick: Executive director is doing a wonderful job and hopes she will stay.  Gas prices going up difficult to resolve this matter. Company should pay drivers $25 for gas savings. Healthcare needed now.
  • Anne McVeigh: Incentives as opposed to penalties. Hopefully there will be a positive approach.
  • Carl Macmurdo: Should have a surcharge for more than 2 passengers. Fake cabs are a safety concern.
  • Mark Gruberg: UTW is sponsoring a hearing on illegal limos on Wednesday. Has been distributing flyers to drivers and has heard a lot of complaints regarding gas prices.
  • Peter Witt:  150 minute statement filed hard copy in Taxi Commission office.
  1. Consideration of 2008 Color Scheme Standards: Proposed Rules 4.A.13 and 5.A.10, Amendments to MPC § 1125; and Proposed 2008 Color Scheme Standards [ACTION] 
  • Pres Gillespie: This item will be discussion only and will take public comment.

Public Comment

  • Charles Rathbone: Support staff efforts to have standards.
  • James Kennedy: Some color schemes do not or won’t meet requirements. 
  1. Consideration of Clean Air Taxi Program: Proposed Amendments to Rules 4.A.6, and Sections 5.D and 5.G, Proposed Deletion of Rules 4.A.8, 5.B.1, 5.B.3, and 5.B.8 of the Rules and Regulations (see Explanatory Documents for Proposed Amendments) [DISCUSSION] 
  • Pres Gillespie: The change will be discussed at the June 24, 2008 meeting so that the rules are in effect by the July 1, 2008 deadline.

Public Comment:

  • Jim Gillespie: Model/year change to 5 years is very restricting for smaller companies. Seven years is better.
  • Pres Gillespie: Salvaged vehicles will go through a more thorough inspection.
  • David Pruit: The proper infrastructure is not setup to pump CNG. Since, there aren’t many places to buy CNG or the vehicles.
  • Emil Lawrence: Why is the city requiring these vehicles when drivers do not own the medallions? Condition and age of cab have no correlation.
  • Richard Hybels: Grateful for Rules Committee. Five vehicles not in fleet would be disqualified if the Commission changes the year minimum.
  • Charles Rathbone: Supports raising standards for vehicles. Salvaged vehicles should not be in fleet.
  • Mark Gruberg: Should allow staff to grant number of spares to color schemes.
  • Marty Smith:  Should allow each company to get the most mileage from their vehicle.
  • Jane Bolig: There should be an excel program that companies can refer to and designate a point person at a company. Need approval for longer than 30 days.
  • Gratch: Almost all companies support green vehicle but without certain restrictions.  For example, age of vehicles will help color schemes and drivers.
  • Nick Sweis: Vehicle must be placed back into fleet within 30 days and if not back in fleet by then vehicle not allowed back into fleet. First color scheme to use camrys and could take up to 3 weeks to get an engine.
  • Jim Kennedy:  Find hybrids difficult to drive and has trouble getting in/out. Has been in the business for 43 years and thinks limos and town cars will take over the business.
  • Barry Taranto: If you take more vans out of service than will have a problem at the airport since families of 4 or more tend to use the vans. 
  • Robert Cesano: In Sacramento only 5 CNG stations and don’t take credit car and PG&E only takes their own card.
  • Peter Witt: Mixed view on these issues. More spares ruin the fleet. Salvaged vehicles doesn’t take much to fix.
  • Tariq Mehmood: Long-term leases ½ fleet
  1. Consent Calendar [ACTION]
  • Acting Director Thigpen: Sever items D& E, overview of item D5- CS change for David Basada
  • Com Oneto: Motion to waive noticing requirement for D-5
  • Com Breslin: 2nd motion.

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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                                           RECUSE: 0

Public Comment

  • Jane Bolig: Comments on color scheme change are untrue and DeSoto is seeking legal council.
  • Robert Cesano: UTW and Green cab are 2 separate entities.
  • George Schmits: Urge Commission to approve color scheme change to Green cab.
  • Name: UTW is acting like a broker, Commission should press the matter.
  • Name: Barry Taranto should speak against UTW and what they are doing.
  • Tariq Mehmood: Medallion no. 690 is listed under Philip Welch but workers’ compensation is under Amy Welch.
  • Rick Johansen: Would like to remove comments against DeSoto from application.
  • Raymond Rojo: Also would like to remove the comments.
  • Com Oneto: Motion to approve A- Minutes, B- Drivers, C- Removal of applicants that do not qualify for a medallion from the list.
  • Com Paek: 2nd motion

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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                               RECUSE: 0


  • Com Slaughter: Motion to approve color scheme for items D1-Albert Behravesh, D2- Rick Johansen and D3- Raymond Rojo
  • Com Paek: 2nd motion

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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                               RECUSE: 0


  • Com Slaughter: Motion to allow recusal of Susan Suval from voting on item D4- Philip Welch color scheme change.
  • Com Paek: 2nd motion.

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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: Suval


  • Com Benjamin: Don’t know order of the Court but MPC 1084 doesn’t allow a court to modify ownership of medallion.
  • City Attorney: Medallion cannot be assigned, since that would assign all the rights of the medallion.  If Philip Welch is still responsible then there is no assignment of the medallion.
  • Com Slaughter: We shouldn’t deny change of color scheme until we set standards.   There is no evidence of changing assignment of the medallion.  
  • Com Breslin: The issue is not so much the assignment of the medallion but who is in charge of the medallions.  Creating a broker situation is what we don’t want.
  • Com Slaughter: Motion to approve the color scheme change for D4- Philip Welch from Regents to Green
  • Com Paek: 2nd motion.

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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: Suval


·         Acting Director Thigpen:  Overview of item D-5 David Basada

·         Roger Cardenas: Vehicles sent to mechanical services to upgrade vehicles before taking it to GTU. A lot needed to be done to meet the deadline.

·         Ligia Parmenter, Attorney for David Basada: Was not present at time of the signing but was read the terms over the phone by the executive director.

·         Com Slaughter: Medallion should not be on the street. Only approve the color scheme change conditional until the GTU inspection takes place and is cleared.

·         Pres. Gillespie: Good faith effort made by staff on this issue.  Staff bent over backwards to help Mr. Basada comply.

·         Com Slaughter: Motion to conditionally approve D-5 David Basada color scheme change from KSJ to Bay Cab. 1. Must pass GTU inspection and medallion to be held by staff

           until Board of Appeals decision. 2.  Board of Appeals must approve of the settlement.

·         Com Oneto:  2nd motion.

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

ABSENT: 0                                                                                               RECUSE: 0


  1. Taxi Commission v. Driss “Kiki” Elassali: [ACTION]

a.       Consideration of Revocation of Permit # 52819 for violations of MPC § 1110, MPC § 1187.1, and Rules 6.A.1, 6.A.4, 6.A.8, 6.A.9, and 6.A.11; MPC §§ 1078(a), 1120, 1091, 1092, 1094, and 1095.

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Overview of item.

·         Ligia Paramenter: Requested a continuance of the matter with executive director but was told the Commission would need to decide that.  Also requests this matter be heard before a hearing officer and not this body. Has recently been obtained and would need time to review the case.

·         Acting Director Thigpen: Overview of item and possible suspension of license.

·         Pres Gillespie: Could continue this item to July 8, 2008 meeting.

·         Com Oneto: Objects to continuance.

·         Com Slaughter: Approves of continuance but recommends declarants to appear before the commission.

Public Comment

·         Jim Kennedy:  He has a right to due process.

·         Peter Witt:  No public safety/ danger present. What are the criminal charges against this guy? Companies should be targeted as well.

·         Chris Sweis: Has been trying to get a hold of medallion holder #899 Royal in order to get the transponder and decal.

·         Tariq Mehmood: This item should go to a hearing officer, violation of 4 layer rule.

·         Richard Hybels: Broker runs 24 medallions and has no time to drive. Approaches medallion holders and charges $3000.

·         Nick Sweiss: Broker does not follow the rules and has no expenses. Unfair competitive advantage over color schemes.

·         Bill Mounsey: Continuance based on late hour.  Nobody wants to deal with anything.

·         Com Slaughter: Hopes when issues are addressed, penalties be put into place.

  1. Public Comment (Please limit public comment to items NOT on the agenda; also limited to public that did not speak during Special Order) 
  • Tariq Mehmood: Mary McGuire brought some documents for review.  Brokering should be stopped.
  • James Kennedy: Luxor and Yellow will benefit from shutting down smaller companies.  People make accusations against American Cab.  Commissioner Slaughter seems to be siding with Emil on the issue.
  1. Adjournment



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