Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Chris Daly's Charter Amendment

The charter amendment that Supervisor Chris Daly (seen working the press in the photo) is putting on the ballot would reinstate Prop. K with a few changes:
  • 1. The full time driving requirement would be 800 hours only. There would be no option of driving 156 shifts.
  • 2. The amendment, however, would allow for the MTA to "modify the personal driving requirement for a medallion holder with an injury or medical condition that precludes full compliance ..."
  • 3. It further states that "the Agency shall make provision for the welfare of medallion holders and all taxi drivers who satisfy the personal driving requirement of 800 hours per year, including health care, retirement and disability."
This measure of course would have several drawbacks.
  1. It would end any kind of transferability.
  2. Since the MTA has no money, any fees for the above "welfare" would fall on the backs of the medallion holders. Judging by Supervisor Chiu's plan (see Et Tu Chiu ) such fees could run as high as $10,000 a year.
  3. The 800 hour requirement for this welfare (which was not in last week's version) appears to be ambiguous. How could a driver retire if he or she needs to work 800 hours to collect the benefits?
  4. While the provision for "modifying" the driving requirement for disabled drivers is an improvement over the current situation, it's vague and doesn't appear to deal with people disabled because of age.
  5. There is no provision for an exit strategy or mention of a way to "retire with dignity."
  6. It also would short circuit the Town Hall Meetings and thus kill any attempts by the various sides of the taxi industry to mediate a rational and thorough reform plan that could appeal to and be backed by most of people in the business.
Supervisor Daly's putting this measure on the ballot appears to confirm rumors that he plans run for mayor. Win or lose, the proposition could help his liberal progressive resume as the candidate who wants to bring "welfare to the workers."

However, I think Supervisor Daly has badly misread the situation if he thinks he's going to have the "cabbies" at his back. Instead he's succeeded in unifying most of them against him.
  • All medallion holders favoring transferability will be against Daly's amendment.
  • Medallion holders favoring the preservation of K will be against the measure because of the "welfare" fees and the lack of a clear retirement plan or exit strategy. Barry Korengold is advising SFCDA members to work against it for these reasons.
  • Many if not most of the people on list - including many drivers that the UTW claims to represent - will also be against it because the measure will devalue the worth of a medallion.
  • Ordinary drivers who want to buy a medallion at auctions of course will also be against the measure.
In short, the cab driver vote would probably run 4 to 1 or 5 to 1 against the amendment.

Nobody really knows what effect the opinions of cab drivers have on their customers but, when it comes to the subject of taxicabs, my guess is that it is quite a lot. Companies pay thousands of dollars to advertise on the top of a cab.

I wonder if Supervisor Daly fully understands what the inside of a taxi is worth?

No comments:

Post a Comment