Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Single Study Syndrome: Is Seattle A City Out Of Administrative Control?

Greetings from San Francisco.  I am here until Friday celebrating "she-who-can't-be-named's" birthday.  Today we are driving north to Point Reyes National Seashore where we will be staying for two days, hiking above the roaring Pacific Ocean.  Glad to be out and away from the cab.   I had my first $100.00 plus fare of the new year on Saturday night, a HopeLink run from Harborview Hospital to Bonny Lake, a small city about 30 miles southeast of Seattle.  Of course I am always glad to see that there are still a few big fish swimming out there in the taxi sea.  Drivers are howling about the lack of business.  There has been little fun the past few weeks.

Sunday night while listening to the nationally broadcast radio show, "On The Media" I heard some commentary concerning how decisions are made, the speaker remarking that our country has what he called  a "single study syndrome," people using over simplistic statistics to justify sweeping decisions.  Of course we are dealing with that very same syndrome locally, with the Cooper & Mundy demand study treated as if nobody before or after them knew or knows anything about foundational customer activity.  Does the City Council really think we are incapable of comprehending the nuances of our own business?  Evidently that appears to be the sorry case, a glaring example of the disrespect directed our way. 

Whatever the final results of the argument is, what must forever change is how the decisions for the taxi industry are made.  Currently the individuals involved have no personal knowledge or investment in taxi.  In the future we must have some kind of associated regulatory board comprised of experienced taxi figures who are paid to assist in the decision making.  Until that happens we will have what is our sad reality, elected and appointed officials dictating our futures like parental figures telling all us children what to do.  This has never been acceptable, and given current circumstances, displays just how unfair the system is.  During our ongoing conversations and negotiations we must stress it is time for the administrative balance to change, because in general it seems that the folks charged with managing city affairs are not doing a good job.  All evidence points to that sad conclusion.

What I am saying is that all you have to do is to look around and what you see is a mismanaged  city.  The most outrageous current example is the blockage stopping the Alaskan viaduct tunnel drilling.  Everyone in charge, meaning both city, county and state officials, failed to thoroughly examine the route before the drilling began.  That they were surprised to find the well piping dating from a few years back says everything about local competence.  In regarding the tunnel project, project managers either were not paying attention, or far worse, are incapable of understanding the task at hand.  Transfer that mentality to our situation and you then begin to see what the problem is.  That is why we can not wait for the City of Seattle to make decisions for us because clearly they do not know what they are doing.  An email from yesterday illustrates this.

Yesterday, in response to my inquiry to the City Attorney's Office, someone from the Office of Consumer Affairs wrote to me about how they are currently conducting enforcement.   When I responded that nothing is being done, I received an email outlining their efforts from Saturday night.  The list I was emailed displayed a total of four confirmed non-taxi cab violations along with three taxi cab infractions. Given that in a blink of an eye Saturday night you simultaneously saw multiple illegal pickups I am not impressed.  Four citations out of  potential hundreds is nothing to crow about.  These examples only back up my contention that we in the industry are not being protected by the very same administrators charged with those same responsibilities. They have failed us.  There can be no other conclusion.  They have failed.

Much more upon this subject later.  Today is someone's birthday.  Time to change my focus.  Time to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge and embrace sanity.  Believe me I am ready, already hearing the gull's raucous chorus, nature's "Bronx cheer!"  Given that "she-who-can't-be-named" is from Brooklyn, that will have to do.  Happy Birthday to rational thinking!

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