Thursday, February 25, 2010

Open Letter to Tim Redman

Mr. Redman,

It's discouraging to spend 6 months helping to create a Taxicab Reform proposal only to see it totally distorted by the press. It was nice of you to provide a link to the proposal. It would've been even nicer if you'd bothered to read it carefully.

In short, this is as bad a piece of journalism as I've seen. What's wrong with it? Let me count the ways:

1. The proposal does NOT, "in essence" or any other way, allow cab medallions to be sold on an open market.
A. At most 300 of the 1500 medallion will be sold ONLY to working drivers on a seniority list.
B. Only medallions belonging to drivers over 70 will be sold as way for them to get out of business with some equity.
C. The other 1200 medallions will be given out without charge to drivers on a seniority list the same way that they are now.

2. This proposal is NOT the mayor's plan. Newsom's plan was to take all the taxi medallions and sell them at an open auctions as you should be fully aware.
. A. Newsom wanted to extort $600 million from the taxi industry.
B. As a compromise, he's accepting $15 million - which, while still extortion, isn't that bad when you consider the size of the mayor's gun.

3. The entire plan, in fact, is a compromise that was put together mostly by working cab drivers like myself but including of course cab companies and the MTA. We spent over 150 hour discussing ways of reforming (or not changing) this business. We listened to over 20 proposals and discussed them all at length.
A. From what I hear the major doesn't like this plan any better than you do.
B. the mayor wants a lot more money then this plan gives him but he's willing to go along with it to avoid a ton of lawsuits and bad publicity.

4. The fixed price sale will probably be closer to $250,000 than $400,000.
A. The whole idea of the Fixed Price is that it should be affordable for a working driver.
B. medallion holder gets paid leasing fees of $2,000 a month. This price will be fixed so that these leasing fees will cover the price of a loan.
C. Once again. This is NOT Newsom's idea, it's MINE.
D. It's compromise between an open auction and continuing a broken system where drivers have to wait over 20 years to get a medallion.

5. The MTA is NOT hoarding medallions. 30 medallions, in fact, have been given out since the MTA took over on March 1, 2009.
A. It would've been nice If you'd bothered to talk about this subject with Deputy Director of Taxis Chris Hayashi instead of listening to unsubstantiated rumors.

6. Not mentioned by you is the fact that this Consensus Plan also includes:
A. A Driver's Fund to give the average driver benefits - something they haven't had for 32 years.
B. Setting up an industry council made up of drivers and the public to monitor and make changes in the plan if necessary.
1. The council will also study ways of improving cab service to the public.

7. The situation that you describe at the end of your piece - with drivers waiting for people to die in order to get a permit - is the situation that exits now.
A. This plan should speed up the process, not continue screw the drivers like they're being screwed now.

Once again, I have to say that it's very discouraging and frustrating to read such a distorted view of a proposal that so many of us working drivers gave up so much time and effort to create.

It makes you wonder? If the press can't even cover taxicabs accurately, what do they get right?

If you really want to know what goes on in this business (humility aside) I suggest you read a little more of my blog.

Ed Healy,
Cab #572

P.S. You comment page on your blog didn't accept this piece because it wouldn't pass your SPAM filter. Is the filter set up to reject negative criticism?

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