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October 14, 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


Director Jordanna Thigpen: Cell phone admonishment

1. Call to order/ Roll Call – All attending

2. Staff Report and Commissioner Announcements [INFORMATION] 

·         Director Thigpen: Overview of item. October 28 meeting rescheduled for October 31, 11:00 AM. Introduces new Commissioner Arthur Tom.

·         Com Tom: Introduction

·         Keith Raskin: Would like to add language on the wrap of taxis to include "Don't be taken for an illegal ride"

·         Director Thigpen: Commission would have to approve this. 

·         Sergeant Reynolds: Two football games since last meeting, people were waiting 2 -3 hours for a cab and a ramp was needed but all were on line at the airport. Overview of other issues.

·         Com Breslin: Welcomes Commissioner Tom. Taxis have an issue getting in Candlestick Park and should create a better route for the drivers.

·         Com Suval: Dispatch should be more honest if a cab is arriving or not.

·         Com Paek: Appreciates Sgt Reynolds reports. Gets very few complaints that the cameras are not working.

·         Sgt Reynolds: Cameras are working and trained officers know to check when pulling cabs over.

Public Comments:

·         Ruah Graffis: Gate D at the park is about mile from the door.

·         Barry Taranto: DPT needs to do their job. No smoking rule will be brought before the Board of Supervisors.

·         Emil Lawrence: Sgt Reynolds doing a good job. Doesn't believe all ramps are at the airport. 

·         Carl Macmurdo: MUNI can handle the resources for only 8 games a year and send buses to pick up passengers and bring them to the City or take them to the airport.

·         Peter Witt: The taxi commission should have an advisory group.

·         Sgt Reynolds: At Gate D there is a small scooter to get people to and from the area.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Drivers have to make money and going to Candlestick is not profitable.

·         Mark Gruberg:Glad to hear of the investigation on the “pay offs” in the industry.

3.  Consideration of Controller’s Report on San Francisco Gate and Meter Fees [INFORMATION AND POSSIBLE ACTION]

·         Kurt Fuse, Controller's Office: Overview of report

·         Pres Gillespie: What's the effect on the paratransit budget?

·         Rick Wilson, Controller's Office: Adjustments would increase the paratransit program and would be required to be funded.

·         Director Thigpen: Goes over the procedure and since the initial deadline wasn't met, the other deadlines have also been pushed forward by 30 days.  If the Board of Supervisors or Mayor do not hold a hearing on this then the increases will automatically go into effect.

·         Com Oneto: Why was gate increased?

·         Rick Wilson: Although it was increased in August, this meets the CPI increase, adding $1.50 to the current $91.50.

·         Com Breslin: What is the CPI based on?

·         Kurt Fuse: Based on 2 years.

Public Comments:

·         Dave Barlow: Inflation will be rising and ford sedans are expensive to operate and some approved vehicles are not fuel efficient. 10% increase should be considered. Monthly medallion fee is putting pressure on the industry.

·         Bud Hazelkorn: Increases are benign but are not necessary with a economic downturn ahead.

·         Emil Lawrence: Other cities take more money home. Commission raises gate and increases fees and cab drivers have not received a pay increase.

·         Barry Taranto: Urge the Commission to support the changes but not the gate increase. Getting paid well equals better service.

·         Carl Macmurdo: Bitterness in the industry and urges the Commission to adopt the report.

·         Marty Smith: Approves of the increases, although the paratransit increase will be an issue. The new bid should have the new fees included.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Drivers need this increase.

·         Dan Hinds: Recommendations should not be approved since the economy looks as it will be taking a down turn. Rather then raise the meter, offset the radio fee, shifting the balance and rewarding the drivers and rather than increasing the gate, increase the surcharge for hybrid vehicles.

·         Naighm Malik: .50 on the flag drop will not cover the fee. Meter increase will lessen customers. Companies will make more money and drivers will lose out.

·         Jim Gillespie: Commission should adopt the recommendations.

·         Ruah Graffis: Color schemes are getting more money then they need with the gate increase.

·         Jane Bolig: Hybrids are expensive to operate.

·         Peter Witt: The Commission does not need to adopt this it is automatic.(submitted 150 words)

·         Tariq Mehmood: Appreciates the report. Global economy and there won't be a recession but possibly a slow down.

·         Mark Gruberg: This is the time for a meter increase but no additional gate increase.

·         Com Breslin: Timing does not seem right although drivers need an increase.  Drivers should pick up short fares or customers will be making other choices.

·         Com Benjamin: Industry performed almost 600,000 rides with only 9 complaints. Controller report overdue and drivers need an increase but agrees that the Board of Supervisors will need to reexamine the gate fee.

·         Director Thigpen: There are a lot of reforms the commission can review to help drivers.

·         Com Paek: Increasing the meter rate should be done and would like to see the system to see if there is anything else we can do, for example health insurance. Gate fee should stay as it is.

·         Com Tom: Has heard both sides, the timing is tough, what about a per person surcharge as opposed to the meter increase?

·         Pres Gillespie: Respects the process every 2 years and should take these seriously with a possibility of lower meter increase then recommended.  

·         Director Thigpen: Will summarize comments in a memo and will be available for review.

4. Consideration of Proposed Procedures for Commission Disciplinary and Qualification Hearings [ACTION]

·         Director Thigpen: Combined current procedures and added proposed rules.

·         President Gillespie: Have you made any substantive changes?

·         Director Thigpen: The hearing rules for drivers are all new and based on the code.

Public Comment:

·         Jane Bolig: Qualification number 5 is an issue of concern. Burden of proof does apply to the applicant but then the burden shifts to the Commission since there should be a presumption of innocence. Once charges are made the prosecution shouldn't add more to the complaint. Would like something to be referred that cases should be brought based on evidence and not inference.

·         Com Breslin: Waybills are important to this unless we change the way they are kept since they are difficult to use in the cases.

·         Com Oneto: This is not prosecution this is application process.

·         Tariq Mehmood: The 30 day notice required is not enough time.

·         Director Thigpen: Should remove all of section 7 since it will be heard at the Board of Appeals.

·         Keith Raskin: Summary suspension is to broad and public safety should be defined.

·         Gratch: The industry is overregulated and should be addressed

·         Pres Gillespie: That would only occur if there were abuses by the executive director and the Sgt.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve 4D3 to a simple majority vote and delete all of Section 7.

·         Com Breslin :Second motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto,Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                                             Recuse: 0

SPECIAL ORDER 8:00 – 8:30 PM

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

·         Kenendra: Some drivers are misleading other drivers and attacking Yellow Cab.

·         Christina Amzayan: Speaking on behalf of her father Seryan Amzayan who is very dedicated taxi driver. Has been turned away by the commission

·         Barry Taranto: Illegal limos wait on Minna Street for illegal fares. It is about time to have a hearing on long term leases. Cab stands should be enforced by DPT. Customer service should be taught to drivers.

·         Dan Hinds: Charter reform group has not met for some time. Commissioner to monitor disabled medallion holders to drive.

·         Tariq Mehmood: Driver Steve Clover died of a heart attack. Some commissioners should not discourage immigrant drivers from speaking.

·         Naigm Malik: Commissioners should create a bill of rights for the drivers and health care. Would like to use 311 to call a taxi.

·         Bashir Rahimi: Has been suspended and many want to know what Rahimi III compalint would be?

·         Mohamed Booya: Problems with illegal taxis and limos. Customer called a Yellow Cab via the phone book but was a fraud. Knows Mr. Amzayan and should get a cab.

·         Emil Breslin: Likes the surcharge on persons and should implement surcharge for no shows, credit cards and luggage from the airport.

·         Bud Hazelkorn: Commission should not require disabled drivers to drive and injure themselves or others. Should implement a pension plan. Illegal limos have severely harmed the taxi business of the industry.  Hotels are an issue and are either contracting with the companies or are openly working with illegal limos.

6.  Consent Calendar [ACTION]

·         Director Thigpen: Amendments to minutes and remove items E&F for further discussion

No Public Comment

·         Com Oneto: Motion to approve item A- September 23, 2008 minutes with amendments, remove from ramp medallion waiting list B1- Gerald Cassidy , grant medallion to C1- Vladmir Zhoglo and C2- Yakov Klachovsky.

·         Com Benjamin: Second motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                                             Recuse: 0

·         Com Benjamin: Motion to grant color scheme changes to D1- Abdulbaki Gudu, D2- Frank Wong, D3- Mohsen Barakah

·         Com Suval: Second motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Oneto, Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                               Recuse: Gillespie

·         Director Thigpen: Overview of item E&F

·         Dean Najdawi: Request to be placed back on the medallion waiting list although has never driven a SF Taxi.

·         Com Paek: Motion to retract September 9, 2008 vote for E1- Dean Najdawi

·         Com Breslin: Second motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                                              Recuse: 0

·         Com Benjamin: Motion to remove name from medallion waiting list for not meeting and not attempting tomeet the driving requirement F1- Dean Najdawi

·         Com Oneto: Second motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                                              Recuse: 0

7.  Consideration of Hearing Officer’s Recommendation in Taxi Commission v. Scott Van Leuven, Permit #        675 [ACTION]

  • Consideration of Decision to Lift Summary Suspension Issued for Violations of Rules 4.A.1 and 4.A.3 (allowing unlicensed and suspended driver to operate his taxicab vehicle)

·         Director Thigpen: Accepted hearing officer's decision when she made it at the bench.

Public Comment:

·         Barry Taranto: Shame on Scott Van Leuven to be greedy and go to a broker.

·         Com Breslin: Is there a procedure in place when Sgt Reynolds is not here that there is a notice procedure

       in place?

·         Director Thigpen: He was here during the suspension but we were both swamped.

·         Com Oneto: Motion to uphold the hearing Officer’s decision.

·         Com Benjamin: Second Motion

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                                              Recuse: 0

8.  Consideration of Hearing Officer’s Recommendation in Taxi Commission v. Kingsley Njemanze, Temporary Permit [ACTION]

  • Consideration of Decision to Uphold Summary Suspension for Violations of Rules 6.A.1, 6.A.4, 6.D.2, 6.D.3, Vehicle Code §§ 20001(a), 21950(a), and Penal Code § 243(d), Pending Disciplinary Complaint on Underlying Matters
  • Item was continued.

9.  Consideration of Hearing Officer’s Recommendation in Taxi Commission v. Ikarouien  [ACTON]

  • Consideration of Recommendation to Re-Hear Case for Violations of Rules 6.A.1, 6.D.1, 6.D.2, 6.D.3, MPC § 1141, California Penal Code §§ 211, 243(d), and 591.5 and Uphold Summary Suspension Pending Re-Hearing

·                     Director Thigpen: Hearing Officer recommends the Commission to either rehear the case or hear it before the Commission.

·                     Pres Gillespie: Would prefer a hearing officer to hear this first.

·                     Director Thigpen: District Attorneys office has turned down hearing the case. A superior court action has already been taken and a restraining order issued.

·                     Com Breslin: Agrees with Pres Gillespie and thinks it is better to have this heard before a hearing officer.

Public Comment:

·                     Janice Hennesey: Was attacked by the driver and taking taxis has been very difficult and these things should not happen.  Has never been a victim and is now afraid. 

·                     Barry Taranto: This is accountability of medallion holders and companies to be responsible for drivers. 

·                     Tariq Mehmood: Very sorry to this young lady and due process will take place. The industry is sorry and respects you and work hard for their customers.

·                     Ruah Graffis: Tragic case. SF Detail runs background checks on medallion holders and drivers unlike limo drivers.

·                     Bashir Rahimi: Sad to hear this type of story

·                     Peter Witt: How long has this guy been a cab driver? Low pay attracts a lot of people. This is not surprising but sad.

·                     Com Breslin: Is the suspension still enforced?

·                     Director Thigpen: We were waiting for the DA's office to release the case, which is the reason for the delay. All the cab companies are aware he is suspended.

·                     Com Breslin: Motion to have a hearing officer rehear this case and the suspension remains until the hearing.

·                     Com Paek: Second motion.

Ayes: Benjamin, Breslin, Gillespie, Oneto, Paek, Suval, Tom    No: 0

Absent: 0                                                                               Recuse: 0

10.  Consideration of Resolution Clarifying that the ADA Policy Exists for P-16 and P-68 Permit Holders and not for P-16 and P-68 Permit Applicants [INFORMATION] – Continued but took public comment on this item.

Public Comment:

·         Mark Gruberg: Current ADA policy should not apply to drivers on the list. But there should be some law for these applicants.

·         Director Thigpen: Will amend it to reflect both regular and ramp permits.

11.  Adjournment - 10:20pm



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