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

City Hall,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place               

Room 400

STAFF IN ATTENDENCE:  Executive Secretary Tamara Odisho Benjamin – Taxi Commission, City Attorney Tom Owen, Sergeant Ron Reynolds- SFPD-Detail

1.                  Call to Order/Roll Call

Roll Call: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Slaughter, Suval      Absent: Paek


2. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority Taxi Advisory Group [INFORMATION]

Deborah Johnson:  Taxi advisory group to include 9 members; A-card holder, medallion holder, color scheme permit holder, special events representative, hospitality representative, senior disabled representative and three general public seats. Group to convene by August 15, 2008, will help develop a cohesive business plan. Group should possibly be ready to present to the Board of Supervisors by October 2008.

Public Comment

Peter Witt: Permit fee was not increased and para-transit only makes up 4.1% of the riding pickup.

Jane Bolig: Would like representation from more than one company.

Debra Johnson: Accessible services will merge with the taxi commission and will have a joint director to oversee both departments.

Mariah: Passionate about post k medallion holders to be a part of the industry and those waiting on the list.  Has been a taxi driven for 20 years.

Carl Macmurdo:  Doesn’t know what the group would do but trusts MTA. After merger, would like to see more representation of industry.

Bud Hazelkorn- Disappointed with the advisory panel which doesn’t have enough worker representatives.

Barry Taranto: Thought that the advisory group should have more taxi industry representatives and less members of the businesses.

Emil Lawrence: There is not enough transparency on the advisory groups, should have more driver representatives.

Barry Korngold: Should have more medallion holders, A-card holders and not so many others that do not understand the industry.

Unknown: Tariq Mehmood a real honest friend in the taxi industry and should be given the chance to be a member of this group.

Bill Mounsey: Sounds like the taxi advisory group will be the same as the taxi commission. This needs to be in the drivers hands.

Mohamed Booya: 1800 drivers that deal with issues and requests Tariq Mehmood to sit in that seat as a representative.

Tariq Mehmood: Would like to see a colored person representing the industry on this advisory group.

Mark Gruberg: Only one driver on this group that can easily be outvoted.

Daly Tram: Proposed structure is a poor representation of drivers.

Peter VonWigant: Need more representation for drivers.

Jordan Elias: Member of the public and believes that drivers should be considered city and county employees.

Com Breslin: Believes the group is well thought out and a good balance.

Pres Gillespie: Taxi industry should give the MTA some faith in regulating transit and this industry needs to voice their opinion but should give this a chance. 

Bruce Oka: Would like to assure members of the public and para-transit groups that this transition will take place smoothly and will be a win-win situation.

3. Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

Executive Director Jordanna Thigpen: Update of weekly activities.

Com Benjamin: Can a color scheme owner demand their drivers pay for workers’ compensation or would that be a requirement for the company?   

City Attorney: The commission’s rule does not specify who has to pay.

Com Oneto: My question is who is paying for the workers’ compensation? How much per shift are drivers being charged for workers’ compensation?

Com Breslin: Could the executive director possibly make a flow chart of the workers’ compensation.

Sergeant Ron Reynolds: Overview of items. Lease agreements must be kept on file at SFPD but there aren’t many on file.

Com Slaughter: What company, pre-k or post k? What investigation needs to be done to have that medallion revoked? We have authority over medallion holder and a-card holders and should be able to revoke it.

Sgt Reynolds: Long term lease with Yellow cab.

Com Benjamin: Of the complaints you are investigating how many are long term lease?

Com Breslin: Thank you for working with the hotels and hospitality industry, would like to see A-cards suspended while investigation is ongoing.

Com Slaughter: Should include penalties for color schemes that allow drivers with expired A-cards. 

Com Oneto: MPC 1124, requiring leases on file, are there any penalties attached?

Sgt Reynolds: Any violation can be considered a infraction punishable by jail time.

Com Breslin: Would like a status report on the different subcommittees. Is in favor of a surcharge and not a flag drop.

Pres Gillespie: Very few meter tampering cases and if it is traced to the medallion holder it should be a revocation.

Public Comment

Carl Macmurdo: Congratulate Jordanna on executive director appointment.

Barry Taranto: Why hasn’t there been an increase in the meter?

Peter Witt: What’s the time and place of the July 15, 2008 Charter Reform meeting? 

Emil Lawrence: Economic plight of drivers that do not own a medallion is dear.

Bill Mounsey: Sgt Reynolds is great and drivers know this. Hopes he will be a part of the MTA.

Bashir Rahimi: People make mistake should not punish the whole community.

Tariq Rahimi: Should be fair to everyone.

Naim Malik: Thanks Sgt Reynolds. Allow more opportunity to listen to drivers.   


4. 2006 Prop K Audit [INFORMATION]

Scott Leon, Investigator: Overview of audit findings.

Pres Gillespie: Why weren’t all medallion holders audited?

Director Thigpen: Do not have the staff resources to audit all the waybills. 2007 waybill audit will begin in September.

Com Breslin:  Would like to centralize waybills so that staff will not have to manually count waybills.

Public Comment

Charles Rathbone: Surprised to see some medallion holders fail audit.

Barry Taranto: All post k medallions should be audited.  Must streamline process and how audits are conducted.

Mary Maguire: Is a full time driver and is offended to be listed as a fail since has no past violations.

Emil Lawrence: Commission should look into back door deal done of approximately 400 medallions.

Jane Bolig: Prop K says public is allowed to increase taxis on the street.

Bill Mounsey: Huge number of medallion holders that are getting away with this and thanks the commission for doing this audit.

Tariq Mehmood:  Why has Scott Leon made so many mistakes? How can we believe if this is done correctly?

Naim Malik: Driving requirement should be done 5 days a week not 800 hours.

Name: Not easy to drive and many have disabilities, used to work 11 days in a row now it is very wearing.

Director Thigpen: Accepts responsibility on the errors of staff. Cases brought before the commission will have clear and concise evidence of fraud.


5. Public Comment

Emil Lawrence: Pins on the badges and break off easily because they are made in China. Detail should carry list of expired A-cards.

Barry Taranto: Commissions continuing violations of Sunshine rules.  Limos solicit at clubs and bars and should be stopped. Taxi stand at 24th and Mission is far away from the BART station.

Bill Mounsey: Sgt Reynolds informs you of what’s going but drivers know this and see these violations daily. Police are not enforcing laws when limos are picking people up.

Robert Vitcha: Spoke with someone staying at Hilton at Kearney and the hotel staff told him that the trip would cost him $75-80. Hotels are abiding illegal limos and have been.

Marty Smith: Filing for a new color scheme and would like Commission to waive color scheme changes for medallions.

Peter Witt: Surveys get thrown out by Commission office. Would like to know why DVDs are thrown out.

Roger Cardenas:  At Bay cab there are 2 single shifters who are required to comply or leave the company.  There is no coverage including through State fund that covers the medallion holders.

Tariq Mehmood: Drivers spending a lot of money out of their pocket to pay for fuel leaving them with less money for their fees.

Shelly Perry: Has difficulty time trying to find taxis for disabled passengers.  Is there anything that can guarantee taxi arrival? Could there be more education on to drivers where the Presidio is?

Mark Gruberg: Yellow is pressuring drivers to make prepayments for vehicles. Drivers are paying $2000 per month and needs to be addressed.

Naim Malik:  Drivers should stand in unity and demand a lower gas and gate fee.  Companies should be required to change oil and filter and air in the tires.

Bud Hazelkorn: Sgt Reynolds is one of the very few people that does anything about complaints. Vitale hotel has changed their limo policy to allow more taxis to pick up customers.

Peter VonWigant:  Was told by Yellow cab management that there are forced to do this by the state.  Wants to know why Yellow is being singled out.  If they are taking this money, where is it going to held?  Are they putting this money into an interest bearing account and whether it is legal. There was a 311 complaint filed in December 2007, but was asked about it today and doesn’t remember.

Jim Gillespie:  Expired A-card holders are on a list that are not allowed to drive.


6. Consideration of Penalties for Clean Air Taxi Program [ACTION]

Director Thigpen:  Overview of item.

Pres Gillespie: Urging Board of Supervisors to adopt the penalties.

Com Breslin: Penalties put teeth into the law but shouldn’t be coming up if the color schemes comply.

Com Oneto: Motion to urge the Board of Supervisors to approve the penalties.

Com Benjamin: Second motion

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                                  RECUSE: 0


7. Taxi Commission v. Simon Wong: [ACTION]

  1. Consideration of Summary Suspension of Medallion # 82, Simon Wong, for violations of MPC §§ 1124 and Rule 4.A.1

Public Comment

Sgt Reynolds: Overview of item. 

Pres Gillespie:  This hearing is to only uphold the suspension of the medallion.

Director Thigpen: The medallion has been removed from the broker because it is suspended and it will operate as a gas and gate if that is your will.  But the full complaint will come before you closer to the second meeting in August.

Pres Gillespie: What would be the case to continue the suspension, if there’s a commitment to operate as gas and gate?

Sgt Reynolds: After interviewing a number of people will be able to learn more details and facts of the case.

Com Suval: Will the 4 layer investigation continue?

Simon Wong: Our intention would be to sign gas and gate but a lease has not been signed.  I am also not a broker this is a family business.  There are certain rules the drivers must follow including abiding all rules and regulations of the taxi commission.  The driver who violates the lease is no longer allowed to operate the cab.   Fortuna and American medallions may possibly move from leases to gas and gate so as to not violate the 4 layer rules.

Charles Rathbone: An illegal act occurred and two drivers that are responsible have been told to stay away from Luxor taxis. One driver has been fired and the other was never a driver.  All Wong medallions will be transferred from lease to gas and gates.  Mr. Wong is also not a broker but a proper representative of the family.

Com Slaughter: Sounds like Mr. Wong is a broker.

Charles Rathbone: Mr. Wong leased the medallion to Mr. Bains.  Looks forward to resolving this matter.

Com Oneto: Are any of these leases on file? Would you know if any of the 8 leases are to the same individuals? How can all the leases move so quickly if there are 7 separate leases? Not willing to lift the suspension unless all 7 medallions are gas and gate.

Sgt Reynolds: Not that I can find and I have not seen the other leases.

Com Slaughter: Should continue the suspension on this medallion since we have authority over these medallions and very little authority over Mr. Bains.  Until the color schemes and medallion holders take responsibility as to who drives these cabs, lifting the suspension would be a toothless response. Recommends medallion to be revoked and impose a penalty onto the color scheme.

Com Breslin: Since this is not a public safety issue cannot see any reason to suspend medallion or reinstating the medallion.  Very frustrating situation especially since there are no leases on file.

Com Suval:  Although there was no public safety issue, there was a driver with no A-card and could potentially cause something worse.  

Com Slaughter: Can lift the suspension but look at revocation at the full complaint.

Director Thigpen: The complaint will be brought in August. 

Com Oneto: Motion to uphold summary suspension

Com Slaughter: Second motion

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                      RECUSE: Benjamin

8. Consent Calendar [ACTION]

Director Thigpen: Continue item C4- Andrew Sinaiko. Sever item C1 for a change of color scheme and D1 for a recusal.

Souleiman Ghali: Learned that his item was being continued because of issues dealing with Delta.  However, would like to move his medallion to Luxor and not Delta.

No public comment.

Com Slaughter: Motion to approve items A- 6.10.2008 minutes and B- 6.24.2008 minutes.

Com Breslin: Seconds motion.

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                                  RECUSE: 0

Com Oneto: Motion to grant medallion pending background check to C1- Souleiman Ghali

Com Slaughter: Seconds motion.

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                      RECUSE: Benjamin


Com Oneto: Motion to grant medallions pending background check to C2- Larry Shamis and C3- Austin Peterson

Com Slaughter: Seconds motion.

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                                  RECUSE: 0





Com Oneto: Motion to approve color scheme change to D1-Leonard Howe from DeSoto to Yellow

Com Slaughter: Second motion

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                      RECUSE: Gillespie

9.  Consideration of Possible Regulations for Reconsideration of Medallion Applications Made Prior to February 2008 MPC § 1121 [INFORMATION]

Director Thigpen: Overview of item. Staff has identified 26 possible people that this would impact and there may possibly be more since Taxi Detail was handling that process prior to June 2006.  Administrative issue should be addressed by Commission as to how staff would proceed.

City Attorney: Review of resolution.

Com Breslin:  If approved do they go to the top of the list?

City Attorney: Yes.

Com Breslin: Very crucial that mailing should be certified mail with return receipts.

Com Benjamin: The 26 should be looked at more thoroughly as to whether they qualify.


Public Comment

Carl Macmurdo: Only know 2 people that are affected. Suspect that others may have no A-cards subsequent to receiving an offer letter.

Emil Lawrence: Changing the rules faster and should set the rules at a specific junction and not allow the laws go back and forth.

10.  Closed Session – Discussion of Robert M. Friedman v. Taxi Commission (San Francisco Board of Appeals, Appeal No. 08-029): Discussion of Potential Settlement Terms [ACTION]

            A.  Public Comment on all matters pertaining to the closed session.

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

Com Benjamin: Motions to go into closed session

Com Slaughter: Seconds motion.

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                                  RECUSE: 0

            C.  Closed session pursuant to Government Code sec. 54956.9 and San Francisco Administrative Code sec.        67.10(d).


            [ACTION ITEM]

Friedman v. Taxi Commission

         San Francisco Board of Appeals, Appeal No. 08-029

         [Commission as defendant]

            D.  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 any information discussed in closed session.

Com Oneto: Seconds motion.

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

ABSENT: Paek                                                                                  RECUSE: 0

11.  Public Comment - None

12.  Adjournment – 11:15 pm



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