Medallion applicants will no longer necessarily have to have a hearing in order to be issued a medallion. In the future the process will go like this:
1. The SFMTA will notify the applicant of the availability of a medallion.
2. They will concurrently post the notices on the SFMTA website and several other places inviting the public to assist in its investigation of the applicant.
3.The applicant will supply proof that he or she is qualified for a medallion.
4. SFMTA investigators will review the materials and decide whether to issue or deny the application for a medallion.
5. If they decide to issue the medallion, a member of public will have 20 business days to protest the issuance and request a hearing.
6. The SFMTA must set the hearing within 60 days.
7. The burden of proof for not issuing the medallion would be on the member of the public.
If, on the other hand, the applicant is denied issuance, he or she has 20 business to request a hearing and the SFMTA must set the hearing within 60 days. The burden of proof would be on the applicant.
These procedural changes were presented by Jarvis Murray (photo, standing) at this week's TAC meeting.
The official explanation is that the change is being made because the hearings have become a bottleneck slowing down the entire process. But I suspect that the ignorance of the taxi business exhibited by many of the hearing officers (an officer at a recent hearing reputedly berated an applicant for NOT playing the airport) may also have had something to do with the decision. Hopefully, with fewer cases to be heard, only officers schooled in the cab business will be presiding from now on.
A Change in the Public Speaking Format
Also at the Taxi Advisory Council meeting, Chairperson Chris Sweis announced a change in the order in which the public will be allowed to speak on an item. Prior to Monday's meeting, the public spoke first. From the last meeting on, the order will now be:
- Reports on a subject will be given.
- The council members will discuss the subject.
- The public will be allowed to comment (without asking specific questions).
- The council members will be allowed to make motions and vote.
The change was made because many members of the public, including myself, felt that they were unable to address a subject properly unless they were given the opportunity to speak after the council members had spoken. And, indeed, I think that the public contributed much more to this weeks discussions than they had in the past.
I also think that Chris Sweis (photo) is to be commended for showing the largeness of mind to change his procedures in order to suit us.