Monday, November 14, 2011

Emailing the SFMTA board is the e-mail address for sending messages to the sfmta directors, including CEO Ed Reiskin, plus a few other sfmta officials. On December 6, the sfmta board will consider some taxi amendments, one of which will re-open the opportunity for medallion holders age 60 and above, or who are disabled, to sell their permits. Although not included in the original taxi advisory council recommendation, taxi staff has added a clause to disallow pre-K medallion holders from participating in the process. Just today, I learned that certain activists are now lobbying the sfmta directors also to raise the participation age from 60 up to 65 years old. My e-mail on the pre-K exclusionary clause is attached below. Likely, I will write a separate e-mail to explain why medallion holders in the 60-64 age range should be included. It will be helpful if our members who have strong feelings on these issues can e-mail the sfmta board with your opinions.
To: SFMTA Board
From: Carl Macmurdo
Date: November 4, 2011

Dear SFMTA Board members,

On December 6, you will consider proposed taxicab legislation for   inclusion into the Transportation Code. This e-mail requests an amendment to  one specific item.  On September 26, the taxi advisory council (TAC) passed a resolution by  a 9 to 5 vote recommending that sfmta re-open the process under the  medallion sales pilot program to allow medallion holders age 60 and above,  or with disabilities, a 30-day window to register as sellers. Subsequently, DTAS staff unilaterally added a clause which disallows participation by the   300 or so pre-K medallion holders. Staff's liaison stated that the same  public safety policy reason for needing an exit strategy for K (also known as post-K) medallion holders --- who have a driving requirement --- doesn't apply to the pre-K's, who are not obligated to drive. Although this point is accurate, it does not explain or justify why the pre-K's should be excluded.

Here are reasons for pre-K inclusion:

(1) More than 1,400 taxi drivers on the waiting list have registered to purchase taxi medallions at the set price of $250,000. Allowing the pool of interested pre-K medallion holders to participate might make 100 - 200 more medallions available, so that the aspirant buyers can begin building equity in their future. The Pilot is very successful. Why not allow willing sellers and buyers to match up?

(2) Each transfer will generate a $37,500 transfer fee to sfmta.

(3) Having younger, active drivers replace the already retired pre-K's who want to sell will revitalize the industry to an extent.

(4) Pre-K's were included in the first round of Pilot participation in 2010 and should continue to be eligible.

(5) The pre-K's bought their medallions prior to 1978 with the understanding their permits were transferable. Proposition K of 1978 abrogated the transferability aspect. It seems fair and equitable to offer this opportunity once again.

At the October 24 TAC meeting, a motion to remove the controversial clause added by DTAS staff failed by a 6 to 6 tie vote. Various speakers made vitriolic remarks, steeped in jealousy, about the pre-K's. In actuality, most pre-K's are former career taxi drivers who helped build the San Francisco taxi industry. A typical pre-K is more aptly described as "Gas and Gates Bill" than as Bill Gates.

Presently, the proposed legislation is Transportation Code Sec. 1116(a)(3): "Any Medallion Holder who is subject to the Full-Time Driving Requirement who has attained or will attain the age of 60 as of December 31, 2012."

My request is that you amend the proposed legislation by removing the phrase "who is subject to the Full-Time Driving Requirement." Otherwise, that clause effectively excludes pre-K medallion holders from the sales process.

The pre-K's should be included for the reasons stated above.

Thank you for your consideration.