My resume also includes participation in numerous protests including ones against the Vietnam War (from 1964 to 1975) and every war (declared or undeclared) since then - in addition to various taxi demonstrations like the March 2009 one in the photo.
On top of that I've read a little history and watched CNN.
In short, I think that I've earned the right to shoot my mouth off on the subject.
What interests me are questions like: When is a protest justified and when is it not? When is a protest successful and when is it counter productive? Which tactics work and which don't?
But it takes money to protest and I have to drive a shift.
This morning I wake up to discover that I'm already being anonymously attacked (see comments) and I haven't even written anything yet.
This is a symptom of the irrationality and emotionalism that has taken over seemingly everybody in the taxi business. Apparently, you no longer have to have an idea to be slandered. Having the possibility of having an idea is enough. But then, why should these people too cowardly to sign their names wait for an idea since all their slams are personal anyway?
Response to those Too Cowardly to sign their names.
If you want to know what I stand for read my blog in more detail.
As for the SFMTA seizing my medallion ... I'm one of a dozen or so people who helped stop Gavin Newsom from grabbing the medallions two years ago. I think Malcolm Heinicke still wants to do it. How is bashing me going to stop him?
Two things I stand for are common sense and fair play. I also highly value clear thinking which means I try to discuss an idea instead of attacking the person who holds it. I don't always succeed (as in the title of this section indicates) but I try.
Strikes vs Protests.
What is planned for Tuesday is protest not a strike.
A strike means refusing to work - usually for an extended period of time. Unless they are supported by a union, workers can't strike for very long. This is especially true in the taxi business where a driver loses $100 to $150 a day by not working.
When Protests Work.
Protests tend to work:
- When they have a goal.
- When the goal is possible to achieve.
- When the protesters can get the public behind them.
- When they either are not too frequent or don't go on for too long.
- When they aren't confusing.
Protests with a Goal
The protest in the lead photo was partially successful.
It let the people in power know that the drivers were unhappy and led to a series of Town Hall meetings that resulted in the Pilot Plan. The MTA wanted $30 million for one year and ended up with $10 million in two years which means that the taxi industry paid $50 million less than the MTA originally wanted.
Brad, by the way, gave a pretty good example of an impractical goal at the last protest. He carried a sign calling for an end to "Cannibalism" by the MTA. If he meant that literally, I would hope that his goal has already been met. If he meant it as metaphor, the practice is unlikely ever to stop.
Newsham has clarified his goal a bit since then and now wants the MTA to channel all the money they take in from the sale of taxi's back into the cab industry. Although, this will probably take a long time and require legislation, it is possible and I'm firmly in support of it.
Goals Impossible to Achieve.
One driver told me that he was striking because he wanted "respect." Well - you're in the wrong business, dude. They don't respect me, whey should they respect you? You might get them to fear you but they probably do that already.
The Public ...
largely supported the May Protests. Most of my customers told me that they thought that 5% was unfair, and that it should be closer to 2% or 3%. They were also tipping me higher to cover the credit card fees.
When Protests Go On for Too Long ...
the public begins getting annoyed. If you inconvenience them too much, they will turn against the protesters - especially if the public becomes a direct target of the protests.
People are beginning to really complain about drivers not taking credit cards because they are being directly inconvenienced. And, they are starting to blame the drivers for this - not the MTA.
Tariq Mehmood was quoted in a newspaper as threatening to possibly block traffic as part of the "Strike."
He might want to reflect on how popular Critical Mass has made the Bicycle Coalition.
Deliberately blocking traffic would be the kiss of death for public support of the drivers.
Later: Confused messages.