With h. brown
h. "Court Jester" brown with his homies.
Court Jester not happy with Alioto-Pier war on
January 15, 2008
Alioto-Piers war on the working class
(Sandoval a co-sponsor)
Ive seen some pretty scummy crap watching the Board of
Supervisors over the past 10 years or so but nothing compares
with Item #12 on todays agenda for the Full Board of Supervisors
meeting. Naturally, it is sponsored by D-2 Supervisor Alioto-Pier.
She wants everyday cabdrivers to pay the cab companies another
$5,000 a year (they already pay $20,000) just for rental of a
District 2 Supervisor Alioto-Pier
Cab companies limitless greed
The legislation Supervisor Pier is carrying before the Full
Board on behalf of the companies is, at bottom, an attempt to
force out the senior rank and file drivers.
They are a pesky lot, these drivers. The last 3 times the companies
were allowed to raise their gates (rental fee per shift), the
working stiffs tied their approval to some kind of health insurance
plan on their behalf.
The companies agreed, then reneged. Then, they called for another
500 new cabs on the street to compete with the regular shift drivers
who dont have medallions. Would it surprise you to learn
that Piers predecessor as D-2 supe who pushed that legislation
was Gavin Newsom?
The increase comes on top of ever-skyrocketing gasoline costs
and competition from Gypsy Cabs to poaching of fairs
by limo drivers. And, all of those 500 new medallions Newsom added
havent hit the street yet.
The industrys lawyer (one cold fish named Ward
whom Pier illegally gave an extra 10 minutes of public comment
at a previous hearing sos he could do an elaborate chart
show) says the answer to the drivers complaints is: They
dont have to drive a cab.
Thats their point.
They dont want these veteran drivers with all their demands
for at least a marginal living and health insurance. They want
immigrants with low expectations like in, say, New York City.
This is just one more front on a 30 year-old attack on veteran
Quentin Kopp, working class hero
It might surprise you to know that the San Francisco taxi industry
has the fairest laws of all the cities in the U.S.. This is all
because Quentin Kopp (former supervisor and judge, now retired)
devised a plan whereby drivers could get on a waiting list (usually
takes 15 years to reach top) to receive coveted medallions from
the City, just for the price of busting their asses.
A driver able to maintain their health for a reasonable time
could expect to drive another 20 years and have 2 other drivers
driving on his/her medallion, and tripling their income for that
time. Of course the industry wanted it all, and theyve fought
to destroy the Kopp measure since its inception.
Kopp set up a Taxi Commission (appointed wholly by the Mayor)
where drivers could go to lodge complaints and lobby for better
working conditions. Cab companies hated it all and vowed to overturn
It took 9 tries at the ballot and 30 years
Little less than 30 years, actually, but not by much. The companies
declared yearly that they were ready to go under and needed more
money from the rank and file. They never never wanted to give
anything in exchange.
The chief goal of the companies is to dump the drivers
waiting list and sell the medallions on the open market. In NYC,
a taxi medallion sells for around $350,000 dollars. Estimates
are that a San Francisco medallion could easily sell for a half-million
dollars. Thats ¾s of a billion dollars and
makes the companies 30-year war on the drivers well worth
The just-passed Prop A gives the cab companies pretty much all
theyve sought for all these years. It folds the Taxi Commission
into the MTA (and, they made Newsom dump Commission Executive
Director a great appointment in favor of industry
favorite Jordanna Thigpen)
and, unless I read the thing
wrong, it gives the MTA the power to sell the medallions to raise
money during a cash crunch.
Ever know MUNI not to have a cash crunch?
All that remains is to force out the senior rank-and-file drivers
by making the cost of doing business (even with the prospect of
owning their own medallion), intolerable. Raising the gate on
these drivers a whopping 20% should accomplish that.
There are 1,500 taxi medallions on the streets of San Francisco,
4,500 drivers work for these medallion holders. While driving
a cab is a horrible job (you not only dont get health insurance,
but you dont get sick-leave either if youre
sick, you still have to pay for your shift)
tough, once you get your medallion, you can make triple what the
average driver makes and join the other side trying to screw them,
if history serves.
Id expect the MTA to put the medallions up for sale sometime
during Newsoms second term. Id expect that out of
6,000 drivers now on the streets of San Francisco, 4,000 will
Hey, it makes sense. If youre a medallion holder, you
cash in for a cool half-million. If youre a driver on the
waiting list, you quit because it simply isnt worth your
time to wait for a future that has been erased by Peskins
The Board should reject Item #12 today. It didnt even
pass the smell test with D-7s conservative supe, Sean Elsbernd.
He once told me that the cab companies didnt like him and
that I was all wrong thinking that he was one of their toadies.
He had the measure passed out of committee without recommendation
(Daly and Pier being other members). Of course, Daly will oppose
Pier not cruel to super-rich
Why do billionaires always need more and more and more? And,
how the hell are they able to act like they are doing you a favor
by taking huge tax breaks for themselves, or taking control of
a public garden?
Pier ran an item through Land Use the other day that accepted
a donation from Richard Blum, for work upgrading a public garden
at the top of the Lyons Street stairs.
Well, let me tell you this about that. Accepting a gift from
Blum (after he engineered the firing of UC Chief Robert Dynes,
Blum found 29 billion in the CalPers vaults that could be invested
in riskier projects like the ones he and his buddies prefer
with your money of course)
accepting a gift from Blum is
like accepting a Trojan Horse from the Greeks.
Blum never mentioned that the space in question (says hes
spent a quarter million so far)
he doesnt mention
its in front of he and Senator Dianne Feinsteins house!
Doesnt mention that he tore out the perfectly good public
garden that was there. Tore it out without permits, or a plan-check
and approval of the planned conversion.
I suggest that you plan an outing at the top of those stairs
on Lyons street. I would particularly like to recommend that teachers
and mentors of At-Risk kids from the Mission and Bayview plan
picnics there. Hell, they can even peep into Diannes front
window. Its only a foot or so off the sidewalk which, along
with the garden, as they say, is public land.
Which is why you can (as predicted here when this mess started
a year or so back)
why you can safely assume that the Board
will be asked to make some special easement, or encroachment legislation
ceding the garden for the irrepressible and madcap Dianne Feinstein,
and her multi-billion dollar Iraqi war contract URS major partner
husband, the war mongering Richard Blum.
War profiteers Senator Dianne Feinstein and Richard Blum
at a pro-Israel
war rally in San Francisco, July 23, 2006.
Why the hell would the City even need to accept such an incursion
on public land? Shit, we already own it. Theyre lucky we
dont make them put it back the way it was.
Should Donald Fisher build
his personal memorial art museum at Hunters Point?
Robert Haaland is working hard to pass pot permit at 722 Columbus.
Who put the rocket up his keyster?
h. brown is a 63 year-old keeper of sfbulldog.com,
an eclectic site featuring a half dozen City Hall denizens. h
is a former sailor, firefighter, teacher, nightclub owner, and
a hard-living satirical muckraker. Email
h at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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