Yesterday's failed meeting between Yellow Taxi association operators and its board of directors is all about history and unmet expectations and grievances. It is not coincidental that the chief complainants is that new group of operators now leasing individual medallions, a group that before now, were ultimately powerless to influence association policy. Like the newly emancipated slave, they now want their equal rights, demanding an instantaneous recognition heretofore unachievable.
While that emotion is understandable, it fails to understand that all of us in Seattle's taxi industry have labored under a false hierarchy and power structure created and maintained solely by Seattle and King County regulators. By limiting the number of medallions, this artificial shortage allowed a class structure of have and have-nots to be created. That the individuals profiting from this system are reluctant to retreat from what has been, until recently, an enviable "gravy train" is understandable and part of America's inherent economic system. It is simple supply and demand. In the past I have paid as little as $75.00 a month for an apartment in Seattle, and unbelievably, $29,000 for my first home in the Capital Hill neighborhood. As everyone knows, those prices are long-gone, never to return.
Returning to the meeting, it started off badly when it was postponed from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Having to attend to some business concerning my cab, I missed the near riot and the calling of the police. By the time we were all assembled in a small room, I clearly saw that, at least for this day, we would not be making much progress. A list of demands were presented, including an unrealistic request to reduce the weekly dispatch lease payment from $180.00 to $80.00. I can say that I did not participate in earlier operator meetings, which probably was a mistake. I did tell one colleague prior to the meeting that the discount requested was too large, and would be met with disdainful resistance.
And surprise, surprise, that is exactly was happened. From there it was a downhill degeneration, with misunderstanding and some shouting taking over. Where we proceed from here is any one's guess.
Even with time constraints, I will attempt to make more of future planning sessions. It would be a mistake to repeat yesterday's fiasco. There isn't any point. While long-term resolution is necessary, what occurred yesterday is counter-productive. It is simply back to the revolution drawing board and hopefully we will all come up with a better blueprint, remembering never to get the police involved again in our affairs, their involvement certainly beyond sense and necessity.