Wednesday, October 13, 2010

TAC 10-12: This and That

Most of the TAC meeting was concerned with leasing but a few other subjects came up.

1. Chris Hayashi, wearing her flashiest dress ever, mentioned that she was re-staffing in order to end various backlogs.

She also said that an owner/driver has been putting stickers on cabs calling for an end to Paratransit. The man apparently has a website advocating violence against handicapped people. Chris said that she has started revocation action against the owner and added that any other drivers who knowingly placed anti-Paratransit stickers on their cabs would face disciplinary action.

"This goes way beyond the rights of free speech," she said.

2. Hayashi has revised and re-written Article 7 of Division 1 of the Transportation code to add several new misdemeanors. I intend to write a post on the subject later but the ordinance would:
  • Allow MTA investigators to fine illegal limos and taxis $5,000 for violations.
  • Make enforced tipping illegal.
  • Make it a misdemeanor for a customer to refuse to pay the fare.
The ordinance will go before the MTA Board on Tuesday 10-19-2010. Public comment will be allowed and is usually listened to by the Board.

3. Speaking of public comment, I quietly suggested that TAC's policy of requiring public comment to come before the council discussed a subject instead of after was, "unheard of, ridiculous and outrageous" adding that TAC was the only committee that I knew of that followed such a policy.

Much to my surprise, Council President Chris Sweis discussed the issue with me after the meeting. I told him that the public could make more meaningful contributions if they were allowed to speak after the councilors but before motions and voting. I was backed up in this by Barry Korengold who noted that both the Board of Supervisors and the MTA Board conducted their public meetings in the manner that I was suggesting.

Sweis said that his main concern was that my approach would be less efficient. I told him that I thought that doing it (taxi reform) right was important than doing it quickly.

Swiess said that he'd look further into the matter and presumably make a ruling on it next meeting.

4. Mark Gruberg of the UTW, in one of his stranger (considering that he's supposed to be representing lease drivers) speeches, passionately attacked the provision in the MTA ordinance that would make tipping illegal. He said that it would be unenforceable.

Nonetheless it'll be on the books, Mark, making it more enforceable the than nada we have now.

5. As the meeting was winding down, John lazar, out of the blue, said that the taxi industry was being run by an agency that didn't know anything about taxicabs and was doing nothing. He added that the room was full of people who really knew what they were doing, implying (I think) that the cab business would be better off if it wasn't regulated.

Director Hayashi  responded heatedly to Lazar saying, "I take exception to the idea that we've done nothing here." She went on to praise her staff for their hard work and accomplishments under trying circumstances; and pointed out that, among other things, they'd re-written all the rules and regulations concerning cabs and cab driving in San Francisco.

I would add that, while Lazar and his knowledgeable pals spend over 20 years trying to get the right to transfer medallions, Chris Hayashi is the person who made transferability happen. She also:

  • Negotiated the Pilot Plan.
  • Set up a realistic method to rid the City of illegal limo and cabs.
  • Created the Taxi Advisory Council that has empowered Lazar to influence the way the industry is run.
  • Etc. Etc. Etc.
Although I no longer think that Chris Hayashi is perfect, she's close enough for the cab business.

Next: More on Leasing.

1 comment:

  1. Ed, Thanks again for having this blog. I know it's pretty thankless, but I do think you've carved out an important niche, and platform for yourself, while disseminating really useful information to the people who read this. I can not attend many (or hardly any) of these meetings, and it is really valuable for me to have a sense of what's going on at them. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way.

    Also, I really liked the post you did about who should benefit from the Driver Fun. I discussed that issue with you personally, and our opinions were different, but your subsequent post was very persuasive. Few in the industry really care about or stick their necks out for the non-medallion-holding drivers (including, unfortunately, most of the non-medallion-holding drivers themselves, in my opinion). But I think it's a good thing that someone should stick up for them. So, again, thanks.