I finally received the letter from Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn thanking me for my two years on the taxi commission. It had been mailed June 21st and first went to a wrong address. It was even signed which impresses me, finally getting some official recognition. For those who have been faithful and loyal readers of this weekly taxi testament, you know that I feel all my hours, weeks and years of advocacy and activism have essentially been flushed down the bureaucratic toilet. I do realize that I have had active support from many in the local governmental sphere. I thank everyone concerned. My mayoral liaison, Kenny Pittman has been greatly supportive and efficient. It wasn't his fault that others share neither his insight and energy and commitment. And for a few minutes we had the involvement of Dan Pike, a former city of Bellingham mayor. If he had remained in KC Licensing I don't believe I would be writing this, his political skills honed and polished.
One line in particular I find noteworthy. "Your involvement, especially during the early formative years was invaluable." I truly appreciate the acknowledgement. Given that, I certainly have had second thoughts about leaving the only forum the local industry has to address our needs and concerns. I did not make my decision lightly but personal time issues and constraints plus the inaction I saw prompted me to leave when in reality I didn't want to. I have never been someone to back away from a confrontation. Negotiate, yes. Seek viable compromise, yes again. But inherent flaws in the process have created unnecessary impasse and obstruction, the commission meetings themselves fraught with frustration. I again lost my temper during my final appearance. Clearly it was time to go.
The subject warrants a thorough examination but a few sentences must suffice today. There are at least two major obstacles currently facing Seattle's taxi industry. The long history of not understanding how the taxi industry functions has led to a series of regulatory missteps, perhaps the worst being the premature deregulation back in the late 1970s which set the tone for what we face today. Again, I will leave the details backing that opinion for later.
And directly concerning the taxi advisory commission itself, it was set up for failure by an unwieldy internal structure and by poorly made appointments. Attendance is abysmal which is made worst by having members who have never driven a taxi. How can they know what I know? And when the response is "that they don't need to know" then now you see the problem.
This in brief is what I have gone up against and primarily why I decided to leave, structural issues rendering the commission impotent. Major adjustments are necessary but I have no faith that any are forthcoming in the near future. I wish the current commission members the best of luck because I know they will need it. My last wish is for the entire taxi community to remain supportive of their efforts. If support fades so will the commission. We do not want that to happen.