Over the course of the Town Hall Meetings, almost every group or person involved compromised on their original ideas of how the reform the taxi business. We were all in search of a consensus we could support.
Hansu Kim and the MHA wanted open auctions but they accepted a fixed price sale. Barry Korengold and the SFCDA want a retirement option for medallion holders but, for the time being, accepted the fixed price sale. Mayor Newsom and his man, Malcom Heinicke, wanted 600 million dollars but were willing to settle for less. And, they didn't want a Driver's fund but there is one in the Consensus Plan. Newsom, Heinicke, Kim and the MHA didn't want keep The Medallion Waiting List but they all agreed to do so.
The only group not to compromise, not to accept any new ideas, not for a moment to reconsider their own plan was the UTW.(The only exception was Rua Graffis [photo] who offered a plan to based on the London taxi system.) Every third or fourth meeting, Mark Gruberg would respond to someone else's reform proposal by rhetorically asking,
- "I don't see why we can't just keep Prop-K and have the medallion holders pay for everybody's retirement."
The problem. Mark, is that neither of your ideas work.
Prop-K is fatally flawed:
- K offers no exit.
- 600 of the 1,500 medallions are thus held by people over 60 years of age.
- If all these taxi drivers magically disappeared, the same situation would soon reappear.
- It's human nature. Once somebody has something - especially if they've waited 15 0r 20 years to get it - they don't want to give it up.
- And most medallion holders wouldn't be able to retire even if they'd wanted to. Drivers getting a medallion at 60 probably wouldn't have enough time to save enough money to retire.
The idea that medallion holders should pay for everyone else's retirement is unworkable:
- Medallion holders make from $20,000 to $30,000 a year off of their medallions.
- In San Francisco, this is barely enough money to save up for one's own retirement.
- A small, fixed group of people would be paying for an ever expanding group of retired people.
- In few years, the medallion holders would be overwhelmed by the costs.
- Gruberg claimed that it would only cost $300 per month but San Francisco's controller estimated that a package that included medical benefits would cost from between $18 million and $67million a year.
- The total yearly gross from all the medallions in San Francisco is between $30 million and $40 million a year.
So, that's why we can't keep Prop-K.