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



September 9, 2008, 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

Cell phone admonishment

1. Call to Order/ Roll call

2.  Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION]

Director Jordanna Thigpen: Highlights drivers who have received compliments for good service.  Update on staff report.

·         Com Breslin: What are you presenting at the IATR? Where can I find the list of the taxi advisory group?

·         Director Thigpen: I will be presenting on an Administration Panel, to discuss San Francisco’s green fleet goal.  I will bring the taxi advisory group list to the next meeting.

·         Com Benjamin: In March I requested that we address the gas increase regarding a meter increase and we have not heard from the Controller’s office. I would like to see it on the agenda even if we don’t take a vote.  

·         President Gillespie: We can make our recommendations but the Board of Supervisors will not take action until the report is released.

Public Comment

·         Carl Macmurdo: TAG members are listed on the MTA website. Board of Appeals decision should be discussed.

·         Mark Gruberg: Absence of Controller’s report is a problem since it was supposed to be issued August 24.  Determination of that report would go in affect Nov 1 and the process is in complete disarray. 

·         Emil Lawrence: Some documents are missing from the packet.

·         Mike Lawrence: Board of Appeal decisions should be addressed by the Commission. 

·         Marty Smith: Supports Commissioner Benjamin on the meter increase. Drivers are in great need of the increase.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Thank you to National, Luxor and Yellow for buying lunch for drivers at the blessing of the Taxis.

3. Consideration of P-16 Permit Applicant Andrew Sinaiko’s Qualifications to Receive a P-16 Permit [ACTION]

·         Pres Gillespie: The attorney requested a continuance and this case should be heard by a hearing officer early October.

·         Ray Alexander: Requests a continuance.

·         Director Thigpen: Advises that it need to adopt commission procedures for applicant hearing at the September 23 meeting.

4. Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Director Thigpen: Continue items A- August 26, 2008 minutes and B3- Philip Lo, and remove for further discussion B1- Tesfamariam Zemikael and E1- Stephen Tan, remove for recusal items B4- Elvis Tran, B8-Froilan Lumbang, B10- Vladimir Talian.

Public Comment

·         Richard Hybels: There are no lost waybills as the applicant claims the driver only drove 51 documented shifts at Metro Cab.

·         Tariq Mehmood: E1- Stephen Tan fired drivers without any notice.  Yellow has best systems why is he leaving Yellow?

·         Carl Macmurdo: Congratulates all new medallion holders. Medallion Holders Association has materials for any new medallion holders that are interested in joining.

·         Com Breslin: Motion to grant medallion to B2- James Leng, B5-Louise Nmezie, B6-David Wong, B7-Kirkyin Lim, B9-Antonio Yon, remove applicant from the medallion waiting list C1-Dean Najdawi, C2-Parminder Singh and remove applicant from ramp medallion waiting list D1-Wei Chen Lee

·         Com Paek: Second motion.

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

·         ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: 0


·         Pres Gillespie: Item B2- Tesfamariam Zemikael was continued last week in order for him to produce evidence to the Commission to prove he drove a taxi.

·         Director Thigpen: He has not turned any waybills or documents as evidence to the Commission.

·         Com Benjamin: Motion to deny the medallion

·         Com Onteo: Second motion

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

·         ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: 0

·         Com Oneto: Motion to grant medallion B4- Elvis Tran, B8- Froilan Lumbang and B10- Vladmir Talian

·         Com Paek: Second motion

·         AYES: Benjamin, Breslin, Oneto, Paek, Suval                           NO: 0

·         ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: Gillespie

·         Com Oneto: Why is this person requesting a color scheme change?

·         Director Thigpen: The Commission staff reinstated a questionnaire for all medallion holders to file when applying for a color scheme change.  On his questionnaire Mr. Tan stated that he will not sign a lease with Town Taxi.  However, all medallion holders are required to submit leases to the Commission.

·         Com Breslin: Should we continue this so we can speak with Mr. Tan to better understand how he will operate this cab?

·         Com Paek: Motion to continue to hear from Mr. Tan and to know how this medallion is currently being operated at Yellow Cab.

·         Com Oneto: Second motion

·         AYES: Benjamin, Breslin, Oneto, Paek, Suval                           NO: 0

·         ABSENT: 0                                                                                   RECUSE: Gillespie

Special Order 8:00- 8:30 PM

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

·         Carl Macmurdo: Board of Appeals voted to reinstate Young Yi to the medallion waiting list. They created an a ADA  policy for medallion applicants since the Taxi Commission does not have one.  The other case heard was for Khaldoun Sukhar who was out of the country for 10 months when the Commission sent him an offer letter.

·         Ben Deal, Represents Clean Energy: Seven CNG stations operating in Northern CA. Clean Energy has opened a new CNG station in the Presidio close to Doyle Drive.

·         Bill Mounsey: In the last 6 weeks the CNG at 22nd and 3rd was out.  The Presidio station is far from the company lots and out of the way. Brokers must get out of the industry. They are operating because they can. Taking away the medallion is a great idea.  It would save a lot of problems.  Sgt Reynolds is doing a wonderful job.

·         Mike Spain: Would like Commission to request the Board of Supervisors to license bicycles. Cyclists are more on the roadway and come into contact with vehicles causing more congestion. 

·         Emil Lawrence: Commends Sgt Reynolds for all his work. Rule books should be here at the meeting to disseminate to all drivers.

·         Keith Raskin: Would like permission to put illegal limo sign on the vehicles.

·         Mark Gruberg: Taxi Detail should have full personnel. There’s too much work to be done. 

·         Richard Hybels: Losing another medallion at the next meeting because cannot compete with the payouts. Going after the medallion holder makes more sense, but Joe Breal still has his medallion several years after the Commission has tried revoking it.

·         Kanundra: UTW has Welch medallions. They have been defeated multiple times and should surrender their fight.

·         Jane Bolig: Single operators should be considered as peak-time permits. This would avoid creating more rules and regulations.  Brokers are doing a disservice to the industry.

·         Jim Gillespie: PG&E is installing 3 additional pumps at Yellow Cab. Would like to see more officers at Taxi Detail.  Happy to hear Director Thigpen’s commending taxi drivers.

·         Marry Smith: Brokers are not paying bills and drivers are being charged for shifts they aren’t driving, no representation for these drivers either.

·         Charles Rathbone: Sgt Reynolds doing a great job and will cause distress to Luxor as one of our medallions is sitting on the directors desk.  No unilateral problem, Commission must precisely define what type of business relationships are legal and legitimate.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Need a meter increase immediately. EDD cannot force rules on independent drivers. There’s a group that continuously criticize President Paul Gillespie and should not disrespect him. Nate Dwiry not doing well and his prayers are with us.

·         Bud Hazlekorn: Drivers diverted huge amount of their income because of brokers. UTW will be holding a large meeting to discuss independent contractors.

6. Consideration of Excessive Criminal/Administrative Violations Noted in the Past Six Months [DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

·         Director Thigpen: Staff concerned about increased number of violations. Spent most of the week working on complaints. There will be cases in the pipeline that come before the Commission in the next few weeks.  311 is very successful and is easy for people to call in, but there are so many complaints coming in.

·         Sgt Reynolds: Patrol is being trained to make traffic stops on taxi violations. 311 complaints from people on being over charged for fees, etc.  From the investigations we are finding that a lot of them come back to brokers. In the last 6 weeks 3 medallions have been suspended all had either no a cards, no license or state license and/or no lease on file.  All medallion holders were receiving more than $2500 per month.  The Color schemes said it was the medallion holders responsibility to do all the following.  All three parties are pointing fingers at each other claiming they are responsible.  Mass of A card applications are being trained to be picked up by brokers and not color schemes. Will spend most of his time addressing broker problems. Paratransit scripps are out of control and is trying to get the federal government to help address the issue.

·         Pres Gillespie: There is a rule that all color schemes must have a driver roster and should know who is driving each cab whether it is leased or gas and gate.  If a driver tells you they don’t need to listen to you, then you should cite them or suspend their A card.

·         Com Breslin: I approve of issuing citations as well. This is not appropriate at all and they should be held accountable. 

·         Com Suval: What’s the consequence for meter tampering?

·         Sgt Reynolds: Will setup a task force to conduct spot checks on all meters.

·         Com Breslin: If we have a lot of medallion suspensions, what is the process to get that medallion back on the road? I don’t want the medallion holder to reap the benefits but I don’t want the cab off the street.

·         Director Thigpen: Most of these suspensions are for drivers and not medallions.  Many of these suspensions are being heard almost every Friday.

·         Com Breslin: Would like to see medallion holder suspension expedited.

·         Com Benjamin: Agrees and also would like the medallion to revert to the color scheme to operate. We don’t know who is behind the wheel of the car and the broker is making money and it should stop.

·         Sgt Reynolds: Interviewed broker and asked why he doesn’t open a business? He said that he doesn’t want to pay the business and operation fees that companies do because he wouldn’t make any money.

Public Comment

·         Mike Spain: Brokers shouldn’t be the only targeted issues, illegal limos should be.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Orientation for new medallion holders that speak English as their second language.

·         Jim Gillespie: 311 faxes from the Taxi Commission are 4-5 months old and are impossible to follow up with the drivers on the issues. 

·         Director Thigpen: Trying to get rid of the old ones and are putting new system into play to get through them all.

·         Sgt Reynolds: Working on 311 complaints. Would like color schemes to take some responsibility on calls they directly receive.

·         Emil Lawrence: Complaint level is low.

·         Steve Remeers: Would like any police officer to check a cab once a day.

·         Tariq Mehmood: When UTW took the Welch medallion the Commission allowed brokering.  Taxi school requested a day or 2 more for A-card training.  

7. Consideration of Proposed Ordinance 080438 Prohibiting Smoking in Enclosed Areas, Certain Unenclosed Areas, and Sports Stadiums [DISCUSSION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

·         Director Thigpen: This received national press and was on first reading today at the Board of Supervisors. This would ban smoking in taxis.

·         Pres Gillespie: Overly restrictive bill and if a cab driver wants to smoke in their cab shouldn’t be a problem. Any passenger has the right to request the driver to not smoke.

Public Comment

·         Emil Lawrence: Cabs that are smoked in smell like ash trays. Some drivers lose fares over it.

·         Bill Mounsey: Allows drivers to smoke in cabs but deodorizes the cab after they get out.

·         Mary McGuire: Doesn’t allow people to smoke in cabs. Bad way to die and cannot be around that smell.

·         Barry Taranto: Agrees with President Gillespie and shouldn’t dictate who can or cannot drive.

·         Com Paek: Motion to oppose the Board of Supervisor’s Ordinance and believes it is too restrictive.

·         Com Breslin: Would like to add to the resolution that the Commission has an understanding with drivers and customers regarding smoking in taxis.

·         Com Suval: Second motion

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

·         ABSENT: 0                                                                                               RECUSE: 0


8. Consideration of Possible Working Group for “Taxi Wrap Benefit Fund” to Determine Disposition of Funds Collected From Taxi Wraps [INFORMATION AND DISCUSSION]

·         Director Thigpen: Needs public input on possible uses of the “taxi wrap fund”. Has received some ideas but would like more assistance from the industry. Stands by prior memo regarding legal status of funds.

·         Pres Gillespie: Would like to put together an advisory group to address and discuss before merging with the MTA.

·         Director Thigpen: Committees and policy bodies do not have to produce minutes. The only requirement is 72 hour noticing.

·         Com Breslin: Would like the group to be taxi drivers and companies.

Public Comment

·         Mark Gruberg: Should have minutes for those who can’t be there. This is a drivers’ fund and should be solely decided on how it is used.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Why not use that money to reduce the A-card fee.

·         Barry Taranto: When this fund was established it was because drivers weren’t being compensated from the industry. Drivers should make the decision and it should go to a hardship case.

·         Mary McGuire: Drivers should have a part of this.  

9. Adjournment - 9:30pm




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