Emergency Taxi Commission session on Monday may result in Machen
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
June 30, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Mayor Gavin Newsom appointed two
new commissioners yesterday to fill vacant spots on the San Francisco
The announcement comes a day after Executive Director Heidi Machen
was removed from her position by a 4-2 vote at a commission meeting
that ran until 2 a.m. Wednesday.
"I am pleased to appoint Tom Oneto and Malcolm Heinicke
as two new additions to the Taxicab Commission," Newsom said.
"Both Tom and Malcolm bring valuable expertise to their
new post and share my commitment to reforming San Francisco's
The appointments are likely a move to reinstate Machen as executive
director. Newsom said yesterday that he was displeased with the
decision to remove her from the post -- especially in a pre-dawn
In an earlier news conference, he said, "We're going to
right this wrong."
Machen served as the commission's executive director since Aug.
2005. Newsom chose Machen, his former aide while a San Francisco
Supervisor, for the post from list of worthy candidates prepared
by the commission, according to Acting Director Tristan Bettencourt.
Commission President Martin Smith called an emergency meeting
for Monday morning to appoint a permanent executive director,
and with the two new mayor-appointed commissioners, there is a
possibility that Machen will have her job back by next week, according
"Very likely they'll bring Heidi Machen back because she's
the most experienced candidate in the city for the job,"
Tuesday's session went into the early hours of Wednesday because
three commissioners, Smith, Mary McGuire and Patricia Bresslin
had to convince Commissioner Michael Kwok to change his vote.
"I guess after several hours under the bright lights in
the back room, he caved," Bettencourt said.
Martin, when reached for comment, said he did not want to comment
on the new appointments and that he would be more available on
Monday after the emergency session, scheduled for 9 a.m. in room
400 of City Hall.
The commission was created in 1998 to take over regulatory and
administrative duties previously held by the police commission.
The commission oversees the 1,381 medallions awarded to cab owners,
and the 7,500 licenses given to drivers.
The two new commissioners will be filling vacant spots left by
former commission President Arthur Jackson, who died in April,
and Mary McGuire who will be leaving the commission.
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