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With h. brown

h. "Court Jester" brown.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

Court Jester previews BOS agenda

By h. brown

February 12, 2008

Another day of shame for Peskin
(4,500 cabbies robbed ‘legally’)

Item #19

I’ve seen the Board of Supervisors do lots of nasty shit over the last 10 years or so
of watching them, but nothing tops what they’ll do if they pass this item today. It
is a raise in the daily rental fees for drivers of the largest two cab companies - in order
to drive cabs that might not even be on the street for 12 years - with no increase in
‘meter’ for the drivers.

Oh yeah. Hard to believe? Well, dig it. This legislation allows Yellow and Luxor cab companies to charge their drivers another $12.50 per day if they (Yellow and Luxor) agree to put cars on the road by 2012 to reduce green house emissions by 20 percent.

This will cost the average cabbie - Yellow and Luxor have 80 percent of the City fleet - another $3,000 a year. But, they’ll get it back from a raise on the meter and you’ll end up paying, right?


This legislation is a direct attack on senior drivers, the first raise in gate rental fees that I’ve ever seen that wasn’t tied to a balanced raise on the meter. The only difference you will notice is twofold.

First, it will start taking longer for you to get where you’re going. They’ll take the long way, as it were. Maybe they can make up the difference that way.

The second difference you’ll see is that your driver isn’t faking and that he really doesn’t know where he or she is going. That will be the effect the cab companies are looking for because it will mean that the senior drivers have quit driving and the companies won’t be feeling all that pressure to provide health insurance, or keep that pesky medallion list moving (medallions are supposed to turn over as drivers retire or become unable to drive – there’s a list that has been there since 1979 and it generally takes around 15 years to reach the top of the thing and get one, but it’s worth it cause your income triples and you become part of the cab company collectives you’ve been fighting til then).

Peskin’s role in the heist

This kind of legislation smashing the middle class could only come through the office of Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier. When it reached the full board there were enough supervisors wearing Progressive badges to vote it down. Seeing this, Peskin sent it back to Pier and Elsbernd’s oversight committee to be tweaked, but not substantially altered.

Only champion of the working class, Chris Daly, voted against sending it back to committee.

Now Daly sits on that committee with Pier and Elsbernd but Peskin replaced him with Gerardo Sandoval that day. This gave Sandoval the opportunity to read a long statement directly from a text that sounded like it came straight from the cab companies. Another vote lined up to smash the working class.

Peskin’s contribution was to make a ‘compromise’ with the cab companies (whom a Controller’s report has noted are very profitable by the way) that would ‘only’ allow them to take another $12.50 out of the drivers’ pockets at the beginning of each shift instead of the $18.50 Pier had carried for Luxor and Yellow. No raise in the meter for the drivers was added.

The entire odious mess is pure Peskin and ties into his Prop A shenanigans which is closely tied to an attack on the 4,500 regular cab drivers and their families. And did you know, by the way, that CBS Outdoor Advertising gave Aaron’s Prop A campaign $28,000 to support that proposition and didn’t report it until after the election?

Hell, if he helped Clear Channel get a contract worth a couple of hundred million right after they plunked just $20,000 into the Prop A campaign, what’s in store for CBS Outdoor?

So now it comes back to the Board as Item #19 and Peskin has signed on with Pier and Elsbernd and brought Sandoval along with him. It’s odious. As of now there’s only one thing I think we can do.

Vote AGAINST Sandoval for Judge

If he’ll sell out 4,500 cabbies and their offspring. Imagine the damage he could do as a superior court judge? All of those drivers should be mobilized against Sandoval and there’s no better pulpit than the driver’s seat of a cab (tell me you hadn’t noticed that).

Item #25

The reappointment of Ryan Brooks to the SF Public Utilities Commission should be rejected outright. I watch their meetings and he is one pure tool of PG&E and of bad,bad contracts. He’s no engineer. He’s an advertising executive (for CBS Outdoor for goodness sake – is there an echo in here?) and he uses his power as commission president to waste your money at every turn. His only problem has been getting past PUC Commissioner Dick Sklar.

Item #26

Do I even need to get into what Sklar has done for San Francisco?

- Rebuilt the cable car system.

- Electrified buses on the highest hills where polluting diesels burned out their engines every couple of months.

- Rebuilt the sewage plant in the BayView in 1974.

- In private practice he rebuilt airports all across the United States.

- He was in charge of rebuilding the infrastructure in Bosnia after that war (they could use him in Iraq now but he’s a little frail at the moment with health problems).

- He was the United States Ambassador to the United Nations. You know how he did it?

This is from his bio:

"He developed the first integrated program management system, now used throughout the industry, to track spending, measure progress and improve accountability on public construction projects."

That’s why PG&E and all of the giant construction companies would like to have Sklar go away. I’ve watched him at PUC commission meetings hour after hour picking apart bad contracts.


Sticking it to the cab drivers and dumping Sklar are the worst things I’ve seen come before the Class of 2000. The Judas goat on both items is Aaron Peskin. And, the so-called ‘Progressive’ supes follow him like sheep. All that remains is to see how much more of this kind of legislation further weakens the working class while enriching the large corporations Aaron is able to squeeze through before he’s thankfully shown the door next January.

There ain’t gonna be no parade.

You should see my room. Looks like Saint Francis' porziuncola.




h. brown is a 62 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 h@ludd.net.


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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