Thursday, December 23, 2010

In Defense of Chris Hayashi

Director Christiane Hayashi is currently the object of an hysterical attack by cab driver Tariq Mehmood. From the way he's bellyaching you'd think she'd either turned racing to the airport into a capital offense or taken all the medallions and gave them to Malcolm Heinicke.

Her actual crime?  Long lines to get an A-card.

Let's put this into perspective.
  • Despite their length, the lines are moving quickly.
  • People talking about 3 minute lines at City Hall in the old days are delusional. For one thing there were 3 lines (One to do the paperwork and take the picture; one in another room to pay the fee; one back in the first room to pick up the A-card.) I waited many an hour at those lines in the old, old days. It was only in the last few years that they streamlined the process and speeded things up.
  • This is the first time that the MTA has done this and it's tough to get it right the first time out.
Should Hayashi have foreseen this problem and done things differently? I suppose.

If Cliff Lee had foreseen Edgar Rentaria mashing his pitch over the left field fence he probably would have thrown it differently and the Giants might still be waiting for the ring.

The important thing is that, unlike Lee, Hayashi has been able to correct her mistake.
  • Next year the deadline will come on drivers birthdays so there shouldn't be any lines at all.
  • The deadline has already been moved back to January 31st and, starting in January, the hours to get A-cards will be expanded.
The hours will be:

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
9 am - 11:30 am and 2 pm - 4 pm

If people want to write letters to the MTA it should be to get them to release funds so Taxi Services can hire more staff.

It seems like a good time to remind everybody what Chris Hayashi has done for us. Without her:
  • There wouldn't be a Pilot Plan.
  • There wouldn't be a Driver's Fund.
  • The Waiting List would no longer exist.
  • Buyers wouldn't have the best loan terms in the nation.
  • There wouldn't be a Taxi Advisory Council.
I could go on and on. The job that the Director has done goes way above and beyond what anybody could have hoped for or imagined.

As for Mehmood's rant ... he hates Hayashi because she wisely didn't put him on the Taxi Advisory Council.

On New Year's Eve, my first toast will go to her in honor of her hard work and everything she's accomplished.


  1. Ed, this blog lacks a sense of panic, paranoia and urgency. Clearly you aren't thinking clearly. Any reaction must be knee jerk and there must be a rallying cry. You must make bold, outlandish statements based on your personal anecdotes. You must finger someone as an oppressor. You must make a call to action and scare the hell out of us all.

  2. I agree with you and to expand on the release of funds issue you are talking about it is the SFPD slush fund of $700k. That is money from out fees that would have been for the cab detail but SFPD does nothing for us now except for a handful of cops that bill for 8 hours over time and write 2-3 tickets.
    Ford refuses to take it away from the cops for some reason.
    Between cops and Taxi Comm. there was always 12-13 people. Now there are 8.
    The Limos continue to eat our Frickin lunch and Ford allows it.


  3. Finally A spark of intelligents

  4. Hi Richard,


    Dear Athan,

    To whom do you think you're writing?


  5. Tariq inflates the numbers, as is his wont (he overinflates himself, too). But you really could get an A card at City Hall in 30 or so minutes. And where's the parking around 1 South Van Ness? Not to mention the increase in price. Kind of looks like the people who get served with Muni in charge are not the drivers, Christiane or no Christiane.

    You credit her with saving the drivers' fund and the List. But these were things the drivers already had; so what you're saying is she just kept them from screwing us over as badly as they might have.

  6. No Anonymous - that isn't what I was saying.

    1. There was indeed a driver's fund - with $80,00 in it. There was no reason for it to continue as part of the Pilot program. In fact, the company owners and the MHA were against the fund as were certain key members of the MTA and, I believe, Newsome.

    If Hayashi had not fought for it, there would no longer be a Driver's Fund - period.

    Instead, there will be fund with millions of dollars in it.

    2. And, there was indeed A List. I didn't say that Hayashi invented it. I said that it would not exist if she hadn't fought for it.

    The same group(MHA, Owners, MTA board members and, of course, Newsome) were against continuing the list. Indeed, all the above (except for Newsome who is not longer part of the equation.) still want to end the list And, they still might win.

    So yes - Hayashi certainly did Keep "them from screwing us as badly as they might have."

    If she hadn't negotiated the Pilot Plan, one of two things would have taken place:

    1. There would currently be open auctions with no Driver's Fund and no list.

    2. One of Heinicke's mad plans would have held sway. The MTA would own the medallions and lease them out.

    And, you'd be screwed much worse than you are now. In fact if you're one of the 60 drivers getting medallions; or one of the drivers buying them, you're in Fat City.

    As for the rest of the drivers - they have a chance to own a medallion some day and that fund might grow large to actually help drivers.

    Thanks Hayashi