Friday, October 28, 2011

Quick Report from Olympia L&I Hearing 10/28/11

Yes, I also made it to Olympia though not that I wanted to.  The hearing was scheduled for 10 AM and I get a call at 9:15 AM (because I live in Tacoma) and I am told that I have to go, that I am the only one, that it is being televised, etc. I was not pleased with the last moment request but throwing on a suit I was out of the door and flying to Olympia.  And I was glad that I did.

As opposed to Wednesday, this meeting was near capacity though I was the sole Seattle/King County taxi industry representative.(Guys & gals, we gotta we do better when so much is that stake!)  Regardless I got there in time to sign up to speak, and while waiting my turn, I listened to folks from the logging industry complain about what they felt were unwarranted L&I increases.  The general sentiment I got from them and others that all of this was a State of Washington tax grab, an attempt to fill empty coffers.  Whether that is true or not, many folks were and are quite unhappy with L&I and its proposed increases. One witness, Cindy Martin, former owner of DC Taxi of Olympia told her story of how she was put out of business by L&I despite her cooperation.  She was not happy.

My testimony was similar to Wednesday except I was much calmer and was able to reiterate that the proposed rates for the Washington State taxi industry were not reasonable.  I believe I did a good job presenting a clear and coherent position.  Again, I feel strongly that we are on the positive side of the issue.

I was nearly out of the building when I was intercepted by Bill M, a L&I official who bought me a latte and took me up to his floor to have an impromptu conference with three other L&I  folks.  For about an hour I gave them a quick and thorough history of our local industry, its concerns, trials and various tribulations.  Many questions were asked and I attempted to answer them to the best of my ability.  One final comment was very telling, with a woman saying that she had wished that they had this kind of meeting before all these negotiations and hearings had begun.  One reason for that I believe is that they have already heard from many of the various primary players and were ready to hear another voice. I made every attempt to make a fair and balanced presentation that included all of our concerns, meaning both the lease-driver and owner operator communities.  But in closing, let me again encourage you to contact the various officials on your own, telling them your concerns in your own words.  Always remember, by working together toward the same goal we will jointly arrive united at the desired solution.  Join me in this goal.


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