Re-appointed San Francisco Taxicab Commission reconvenes after
Bettencourt: "We're waiting for things to simmer down"
By Brent Begin, Bay City News Service
July 11, 2006
SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) - Despite three new appointments to
San Francisco's Taxicab Commission in the last two weeks and the
2 a.m. ousting of an executive director, the acting director says
tonight's meeting should be business as usual.
"We're waiting for things to simmer down," Tristan
Bettencourt said. "Tonight should be horribly routine."
The meeting will be the first led by Bettencourt who was appointed
acting executive director after Heidi Machen was relieved of her
post in a June 28-29 marathon closed session.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, who was visibly upset with the commission's
decision, replaced two of the commissioners almost immediately,
and Monday, he replaced a third with former San Francisco police
officer Richard Benjamin.
"I am confident that someone of Richard's caliber will make
every effort to ensure a taxi service that is safe, efficient
and responsive to the residents of San Francisco," Newsom
said in a statement. "His long standing background in law
enforcement will certainly advance the Taxi Commission's role
in implementing guidelines which serve the best interest in public
safety and public welfare."
Benjamin will replace the commission's president, Martin Smith,
who was instrumental in setting up Machen's dismissal.
"It's a mess," Smith said of the shake up. "This
whole thing shouldn't have happened. We've been negotiating with
the mayor for at least six months."
The commission is expected to, at least, discuss the nomination
of different candidates for the executive director position at
tonight's meeting, Bettencourt said. The list of candidates then
goes to the mayor who makes the final appointment.
Bettencourt also said its only a matter of time before Machen
is reappointed, but former President Smith said he will remain
active on the commission and work to keep Machen from getting
her job back.
"The mayor's actions were vengeful," Smith said. "We
were working well together and we were really trying to get things
The meeting began at 6:30 p.m. in room 400 of City Hall.
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