Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cab Drivers Swarm MTA Meeting: or Who is What

A couple hundred cab drivers, mostly medallion holders, showed up at the April 7th MTA meeting. So many showed up in fact that two extra rooms were needed to hold them all. Most of them came to protest the Sun King's plan to steal taxi drivers' rice bowls as well as to take a stand against auctioning off cabs under any circumstances.

The meeting also marked the emergence of a new group: The San Francisco Cab Driver's Association (SFCDA).

There are now so many points of view, interests and groups involved that it looks like the box score of an NBA basketball game. I think it's time to clarify the situation with a list of the various groups and what they stand for.

First the owners/medallion holders:
  • The MHA which now basically represents three groups of drivers.
  1. Pre-K owners who bought their medallions and want to sell them under almost any circumstances whatsoever. Their motto is, "Render unto Caesar what is Ceasar's and let us keep the change."
  2. Post-K medallion holders who also want to sell the medallions but want to maximize their profits. Their motto is, "Get it while you can."
  3. Post-K medallion holders who so desperately want things to stay the way they are that the drivers are willing to give up as much as 25% of their yearly income just to maintain the status quo. Their motto is, "Please don't beat me."
  • The owners and wannabe owners of companies.
  1. The actual companies like Yellow and Luxor cab who want to bust the system up so that they can buy and sell medallions at will. John Lazar of Luxor cab became the standard bearer for this group when he offered the city (i.e. Newsom) $50,000 up front just for the right to sell a medallion. Very noble of him considering that he has no intention of selling his - only buying the medallions of everybody else. The motto for the companies is, "Greed is good."
  2. Speculators and carpetbaggers like one Mr. Tariq who represents a consortium that wants to buy up taxis at auctions and pay the drivers who work for it serf's wages. Their motto is, "Greed is God."
The SFCDA, who basically agree with number 3 of the MHA above, but have an in-yo-face attitude about it. Proposition K is what got them their medallions and they want to keep the situation basically like it is. They are drawing a line in the sand and daring the city to cross it. Their motto is, "Thou shalt not pass."

Tomorrow: the non-owner drivers.

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