Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Having Reached A Critical Juncture

I firmly believe as a local industry in its entirety we have reached an important juncture, perhaps even a point of no return.  Now that the Labor & Industry driven meter rates have been implemented, and with extremely important hearings concerning how the City deals with the "for-hire vehicle" industry slated to begin September 28th, I believe there can be no looking back for our local industry.  Government on three fronts, state, city and county have pushed us to the brink, dictating what and how we will function and operate.  It is time we say no, this must stop; no, you can't control us anymore.  It is clear that we must have more input into our own destiny. Yes, we do have the City & County Taxi Advisory Commission of which I am now Chairing but as I have said before it is a flawed entity that cries out for new restructuring  and formatting.  I will never say that the local government officials are bad or even misguided.  Their reality is simple. They have too much upon the bureaucratic plate to deal with.  It just isn't possible despite how many hearings they might convene to understand our industry. Because that is true we must begin to have more say in our own operations.  I will be suggesting to the City & County that a new advisory board separate from the current commission be created.  I will also be asking the State of Washington to create a statewide taxi industry advisory board.  I also want these new boards or commissions to have regulatory teeth.  My commission experience from the last year tells me that unless you hold real governmental authority you are only grasping thin air.  This is not acceptable.  I am failing my constituency.  This cannot continue.

At Frank's wake, a long-time industry figure lamented to me about the driver group that had again been  awarded the WAT (wheelchair) vans from the County, reinstating their responsibility to serve the handicapped community.  He said they have failed miserably and are simply not interested in serving the very customers that they were mandated to assist.  I do know that King County officials are aware of the situation but my friend asked why had they been given them (the WAT vans) in the first place? I told him it was simply a question of politics, that a former Port of Seattle official had led their reinstatement.  Again, all of this is further evidence that local officials are overwhelmed.  Instead of making the best choice, it appears they made the worst.  And again, always again welcome to taxi as I know it!

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