Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Costs: Uber For-Hire License----Zero, Taxi For Hire---$180.00

After hearing the rumors, and not receiving a clear response from Seattle/King County, yesterday I went down to King County's "For-Hire" desk to receive the definitive and official answer.  While seeming stranger than fiction, it is true, anyone signing up to drive for a TNC company, ie Uber, does not have to pay a single dime for something  that costs me $180.00. Making the insult worse is that the "Uber" for-hire license allows the applicant to drive not only for them but also for flat-rate for-hire and taxi companies, meaning that the TNC for-hire version is both free and completely transferable while my for-hire license is limited to taxis and flat-rates.  And it certainly is not free.

The question then is twofold.  How is this possible; and how was the regulatory permission created?  Another  two VERY important questions requiring an answer is basic. Who then is paying the King County/Seattle fees due; or have the fees relating to TNC for-hire costs been completely waived?  If Uber is paying fees that normally are assigned to the independent contractor, then it would appear that a contractual line has been crossed, with Uber taking on the position of employer, negating their ongoing regulatory argument stating they are an app leasing company and nothing else.

But if King County/Seattle is handing out exemptions, I too want to be standing in that bread line.  If Uber's getting a free lunch, well, me and all my fellow cabbies too are hungry,sick and tired of growling stomachs and tightened belts.  Yes, I'll take ketchup and mustard on that for-hire!   And please, make my mine to go.

I suppose one possibility is that  Uber does require repayment by its associated independent contractors, the King County/Seattle arrangement one of convenience and nothing less, the mystery explainable, Sherlock Holmes or Father Brown's expert intervention made unnecessary.  But whatever is going on, I do believe transparency is required.  I want to know why that simply by registering my 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with Uber, I can forego charges I would normally be personally responsible for. Answers are required and I hope to have them for you in the next few weeks; or before January 25th when I leave to join "she-who-can't-be-named" in San Miguel del Allende, Mexico.

Ya Would Think They Would Have Learned........

Even I thought that Yellow had learned its lesson after its near fatal computer dispatch debut but no, they did it again, thankfully though in this instance the damage far less magnified.  Last Monday Mister George Anderson based down in San Francisco installed a system-wide software update that, at least initially, resulted in some temporary system failure, requiring either a re-booking or re-logging into the system.  As of today, December 29th, the problems continue unabated.

That they failed to warn anyone this software update was coming was the first mistake.  And that the only person in the local industry truly knowledgeable concerning taxi computers, Solomon, had a four-day holiday closure, only compounded the issue. So much for proper planning and making sure the customer is satisfied.

Why, why do they keep operating like this?  Yes I know, it is a very good and pertinent question.

And something I found out last week surprised me.  A colleague told me that the late PSD GM, Frank Dowilla, viewed me as enemy # 1, topping his list.  What I find so confounding is that I have only been interested in resolutions, not blame.  If my various interventions had been taken seriously, many of the system problems we have all experienced might have been avoided.  Enemy?  I just don't see it.  Personally, while finding Frank's managerial style unnecessarily abrasive, I did respect many of the decisions made during his tenure.  Much might have been achieved if instead he had reached out and talked to me,Yellow potentially today looking  far differently than a company sinking into the sunset, swallowed up by the transportation sea.  And the lot would not have been abandoned, as 74 South Hudson's permanent closure is mere days away.

Yellow Debit Card No More

Another ill-advised decision recently abandoned is the usage of Yellow's driver debit card, something both of questionable legality and widespread driver outrage.  One thinks they might have asked all of us whether we were interested in transitioning to a cashless payment system.  Not only did many drivers fail to authorize their card, many didn't even bother to open the envelope.  Funny, sort of!


Yesterday I had Seattle's last great mayor in the cab, none other than Charles Royer, picking him up in Pioneer Square.  A good guy, and I will be checking out his brother Bob's blog.  Thanks Charlie, for all those good years!

For All Those......

For all those less that enthusiastic about Christmas I leave you with this poem by the American writer Dorothy Parker.  Happy New Year.  And as everyone knows, I am doing all I can to make this my last taxi year.


Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Again, I wish everyone the best of success and happiness with the coming New Year 2016!  Good  taxi luck in the ensuing months!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

What If Mary And Joseph Had Failed To Present A Valid Credit Card?

Can you imagine what would have happened when instead of a warm stable, Jesus was born outside on a cold winter night, and perhaps not surviving the experience, thus upsetting all future theological plans?  Not only would we not be celebrating Christmas, the Holy Roman Empire might too not have existed; and today during these modern times, instead of the Savior Jesus, all in the western world might be worshiping Jupiter, eyes uplifted toward the fifth planet. Imagine no Christmas tree farms or the month-long onslaught of "Silent Night" and "Grandma Was Run Over By A Reindeer."  Think how much poorer we would be!

Yes what would our culture look like if Joseph hadn't been able to pay cash for the manger with its hot and cold running sheep and donkeys and oxen?  Thankfully life was simpler 2000 years ago when money was king, translating into a snug birthplace for the future King of all Mankind.

In today's America,  not having the correct piece of plastic can prevent you from renting a hotel or motel room even though you might have a million dollars in your pockets, your money alone not good enough.  In any future sequel of the nativity story, I am sure the Heavenly Father will make sure the anointed couple  has an array of cards ranging from Mastercard to American Express, knowing they could be turned away, thus delaying the awaited miraculous birth.  As for going to a hospital, this new Mary and Joseph must be on their best behavior plus having proof of medical insurance or face a similar rejection into that cold December night..  Perhaps then and only then will the Republicans  finally thank GOD for Obama-care!  I could see that included in a newly updated New Testament.

Though not a member of the Holy Family, Dan, a perfectly nice guy walking up to my cab in Ballard early Saturday morning, required, like every other human animal, shelter from that day's early morning rain and chill.   All he wanted was a room for the night, and though trying our best for almost 90 minutes, driving all over the north end---again and again turned away due to not having a credit card.  Not wearing a suit probably didn't assist in the process. Don't you know you must look culturally respectable 24/7?

The lesson driven home here was that having the money to pay meant nothing to an intractable rule barring the less privileged from the simple dignity of having a safe and comfortable bed for the night. Not having any kind of identification card results in the same, not only stopping someone from voting but also from sleeping.

Finally, $61.00 meter dollars later, we found Dan a room for two nights at the Hillside. Given the non-stop insults, Dan was fairly philosophical about the situation, accepting his current position as an outcast, a societal leper not worthy of the most basic considerations.  I personally felt he was an honorable personage, his current circumstances not worthy of faulty judgement.

What has our modern American up-to-date world become?  We all know the answer to that.  Merry Christmas everyone.  Merry full-moon Christmas, that is !  May Heaven help us, and keep you and Dan and everyone safe upon the coming new year.  And watch out for the drivers these next few lunatic days.  Believe me, they are making every effort to kill you, leading not to presents but coffins beneath the colorful, twinkling Christmas tree, Santa Claus making a poor mortician.  

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An Insistent Abigail At The Wheel

What will always be true concerning taxi is its natural creation and never ending availability of crazy and spontaneous situations occurring minus control and intention. Now while many things happen which I would rather avoid it is hard to protest when a mundane Ballard QFC grocery run blows up into a miniature carnival---a staggering drunk carrying a Christmas tree and along with a very insistent Staffordshire terrier/bulldog mix Abigail taking full advantage of the chaos by repeatedly moving to the taxi driver's seat. When this type of entertainment occurs I can only "throw up my hands" and appreciate the absolute madness of a derangement that is uniquely, and can only be, taxi.  Why worry if Abigail's muddy paws might soil the interior?   Instead of caring I should enjoy a recalcitrant pooch doing whatever it wants regardless of human concerns and commands.  Hurrah for Abigail for telling me and everyone else to go to canine hell, I'm driving this taxi to the nearest fire hydrant, and just try stopping me!  Grrr  Grrr Grrr!

David Plouffe: Barking Doggerel 

David Plouffe, Obama's gift to Uber,
last week came to town,

to announce that 14,000 thousand Uber cars
now dominate the Puget Sound,

Mister Plouffe crowing, after getting a a big raise,
having recently departed the presidential lounge;

But while he might be lacking personal ethics
you gotta say the former advisor knows how to get around,

And while he's no Donald Trump,
he's still another version of the

"I'll go anywhere if you pay me enough"

political clown

doing anyone's dirty business

minus a frown

smiling with the mayor,
making sure to remind Murray

that Uber hadn't forgotten Mister Ed's intervention

and big favor!

and Plouffes' here
just to remind there

just might be future opportunities ahead

to savor!

so remain brave and never waver,

Uber never forgetting

its favorite Seattle


Uber Union

Our friends at the Seattle City Council, maybe needing a last hurrah before fading into political obscurity, and somehow, some way feeling it necessary to bandage the open wound that was their freeing of Uber from regulatory bondage, voted yesterday to allow all local transportation independent contractors (like me) to be free to form and join in collective bargaining agreements.  Council hero Tom Rassmussen, he, as reported by a colleague, of an Uber X sign in his office when such operators were still operating illegally; spoke eloquently about labor rights and how we should respect the worker's toil and sweat and blood by giving them democracy and choice, demanding liberty and elemental  justice for all human kind.  Mayor Murray is not pleased and Uber has promised that the whole issue to headed to court.  But with a valuation of over 61 billion dollars, does anyone really think that Uber will lose out over this argument?  Maybe by the year 2051 the case will reach the United States Supreme Court and Justices Rassmussen and Murray will decide what is ultimately   right and wrong.  If you think this is a fairy tale then consult the Brothers Grimm and get back to me.  In this fairy tale the dragon, instead of being slayed, eats the good knight, and come midnight, snacks on local cabbies.

Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water

but Jill drowned Jack

while simultaneously

stabbing him in the back

then drove back to San Francisco

in a new Cadillac

(or was it a Toyota?)

A Birthday Tradition

Friday is my birthday.  "She who can't be named" always sends me a hand-made card which includes a newly composed inscription.  I do the same for her in January but she is surely the superior poet.  This year's poem says it all and then some. Enjoy, like I have, the sweet sentiments.

"Joe is 62

Don't you know

that it's not all for show

the pain is real

but he's no heel

He weathers the Madness!

and smiles to boot

He's sure one crazy koot

and I wish to heaven

and I wish to tell

that he escapes the



Thanks, Hound!  How can I disagree?  Yes I am certainly ready to be


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Three Hours Listening To The Port Of Seattle Commission Meeting---A Seat At The Table Is Required

Yesterday, Tuesday December 8th, I sat through my first Port commission meeting.  Forsaking both sleep and writing time I battled a steady rain all the way from Tacoma to Seattle, just making the 2:00 PM start time.  Thankfully I arrived just in time to to make my public commentary, a colleague having signed me in, allowing for one solitary taxi driver voice to be heard.  Yes, amazingly I was the sole non-owner to stand up and speak, again advocating for an industry utterly devoid of self-interested parties, most cabbies concentrating upon their own navel.  It is a sorry situation, our nearly complete lack of viable representation, something requiring immediate repair, a two minute podium not enough time for addressing decades of association mismanagement and regulatory failure. Again, the entire Yellow taxi Sea-Tac contract might soon implode and, as usual, there I was, the driver's sole spokesman. To their credit, others did voice concern about major changes looming at the Port but these complainants either single owners or paid lobbyists; the taxi foot soldier, as I said, conspicuously absent.

What became clear beyond any doubt is our (the lease-drivers) need for an organization defending our goals and civil rights..  While the thought is simple, the solution is complex, creating a union or driver trade association out of thin air.  Still, once my book is publication ready, I will start the process.  Looking at my current progress, it probably won't be before mid-February at the earliest, once I am back from Mexico. This trip I guarantee I will have my book with me on a known laptop.  I will get the work done, and then, and only then will I begin the attempt to bring everyone together in a coherent and legal organization.  If having a bureaucratic gun to your head isn't enough to convince folks to join up, I will finally surrender to the non-negotiable reality that Seattle's taxi industry is beyond redemption.  It very well may be the case but you never know, don't miracles happen everyday?  Just ask the current Pope.  He'll tell you all about it!.  And all you Roman Catholics should start saying a few Hail Marys. Prayers are definitely called for. Light a candle or two while you are at it, never knowing what will grab the taxi God's attention.

Two ominous notes from yesterday's meeting concerned TNC concessions at Sea-Tac and Yellow's contractual future.  Uber obviously has been lobbying the Port, making potential inroads toward obtaining curb space with the taxis on the third floor.  The port employee making his report to the commission mentioned "very quickly" Yellow's billing issues.  His short sentence should scare the hell out of the  Sea-Tac taxi drivers.  Listen between the lines and you will be alarmed.  This could be the proverbial "tip of the regulatory iceberg" sinking good Ship Yellow Cab's continued presence at Sea-Tac.   The situation is dire.  Is anyone paying attention?


One potential mistake the good people at the Port of  Seattle might be making is thinking, erroneously, that providing taxi and taxi-like services, is easy, something anyone can do.  Opening up Sea-Tac to TNC "amateur hour" could be a huge mistake.  An example from Yellow this past weekend shows yet again that too many independent operators are not up to the taxi task.

To say that Seattle was rainy Friday, Saturday and Sunday is understating how much moisture fell from the skies.  Rivers are flooding and hillsides are sliding upon railway tracks and roads, our past summer-long drought a distant memory.  It was during these water-laden weather conditions that a rookie Yellow taxi driver stopped on the west side of Aurora Ave North (State Highway 99), telling his well-dressed passengers they were going to somehow have to cross over the highway to that famous eatery of Seattle's millionaire-class, Canlis, on their own, that he wasn't going to take them any further.

That these customers had no idea how to do the impossible is understandable.  Obviously this is a very bad story, with the ultimate consequences yet to be written but like the driver who last week took his passengers to the wrong Boeing Field, who truly  is to blame?  Who was it that licensed and certified these individuals taxi ready?  Of course none other than the City of Seattle and King County.  Will the bureaucrats there be held responsible?  No, of course not.  And will the driver be fired?  Unbelievably that also might not happen.  Amazing, isn't it?

And this should be fair warning to the Port of Seattle commissioners.  You might want to reconsider flooding the airport with transportation neophytes.  All hell could break loose and then who will be taking responsibility for the mess and accompanying scandal?  If anyone thinks Uber will, you are naive. Or worse!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Five Weeks Since I Have Returned

Because my day and night drivers requested some schedule adjustment last week, Tom especially wanting a taxi-free turkey zone, I ended up driving five consecutive days, something I haven't done in a long time. Business was certainly iffy, with "Seahawk Sunday" being the best out of the five, though Monday while barely working I still managed a 100 dollar gross over four hours.  The real test will be coming in the "taxi dog day" months of January through March.  That I am not looking forward to it is a complete taxi understatement but joining "she-who-can't-be-named" in Mexico during the last part of January will help alleviate the pain.

Unfortunately, soon after coming back Tom will going on his annual Hawaiian vacation so I am looking at potentially more driving than I have done in a long while.  But like this past weekend I know when and not to "push it," resting and sleeping instead of eking out a few pennies from no business whatsoever.

Understanding that the elongated Thanksgiving weekend had destroyed the Saturday night, early Sunday morning "bar-break," I was asleep by 1:00 AM, figuring that later in the day could potentially translate into beneficial business, a hunch paying off with a first-fare $57.00 Sea-Tac from Ballard, an initial burst blasting me to my best overall take of the weekend.  Especially when business is essentially nonexistent, a good personal strategy can win the taxi day despite the bleakest predictions.  Friday morning, when I scored a $75.00 Sea-Tac run, another veteran driver told me he had one solitary seven dollar run during a similar five-hour time period.  Clearly his report made my up-to-that-point overall gross of $175.00 look so much better.  As any long-term driver knows, taxi can, and will be unforgiving, kicking your butt all over the street at a moment's notice.

As to being back at it for now over five weeks, I have been sick twice and in a general struggle to get anything done other than placating the taxi gods.  No fun, I am not having any fun.  My one and only compensation is eating Chinese food, a small pleasure amidst the madness.  Beef brisket noodle soup, anyone?!  My 62nd birthday arrives this upcoming December 18th.  I have two writing projects I have to finish before that defining date.  I'll let you know if I make it.

Easier Time at the Husky

While only a partial report, only having time for one "Apple Cup" half-time fare, the police presence was the lightest I have seen it in years.  Maybe, just maybe my plea to everyone concerned with game traffic control was heard.  With my night driver Raymond expecting the cab at 3:00 PM, the unusual Friday afternoon game time made me miss the post-game frolics, meaning I do not know what happened when traffic was snarled.  Hoping to not be driving by this time next year, I hope I can never tell you the answer.  Having had enough of all this, I have had enough to last this and any other potential future lifetimes. Taxi in my future?  I hope not.

Beware of the Rabid Upper-Middle Class Woman

While sounding like a the title from a Grade-B horror flick, it was my reality when, after dropping off my brother last night, my call to a local grocery store transformed into this stupid woman physically charging at me because Yellow had failed to send her neighbor a timely taxi.  Pulling up to the store I saw an elderly woman looking somewhat confused.  What had happened is that she had called her next door neighbor to pick her up after waiting too long for her Yellow cab.  Upon innocently pulling up to this situation, the neighbor decided that I should be punished.  Thankfully she pulled up short of striking me because I would have had her arrested.  Who was truly to blame?  None other than a lingering full moon laughing at its earthly victims. In addition to the avenging neighbor, I was twice nearly struck by cars speeding through red lights and two incidents with oncoming wrong-way drivers.  Nuts is all I can say!

Single Owner Seeking Day-shift Driver January 1st-March 5th 2016

If interested call Alci at 253-245-8839.  It is YC 670.  Car is a Crown Vic with only 140,000 miles.

Wrong Boeing!

Saturday, from the Museum of Flight,  I picked up 4 Canadians from Calgary, Alberta in for Sunday's football game.  Everything was normal until they told me that the Yellow cab they had flagged in Pioneer Square had taken them to the wrong Boeing Field.  For those of you unfamiliar with the greater Seattle area, there are three Boeing sites containing airfields, south Seattle, Renton and Everett's Payne Field.  Instead of Boeing Field (King County International Airport), their intended destination was Everett and a tour of its Boeing facilities, a long time favorite with tourists.  Given its popularity, everyone is required to make pre-paid reservations, in the Canadians' case being $250.00.  Not understanding that the dumbbell cabbie had taken them south, not north, they got out at the incorrect location.  Why the Canadians, once understanding the error, didn't go up to Everett I can't tell you.  But the idiot cabbie cost both himself and the Canadians money, the fare up to Payne Field about $75.00. And usually you can arrange to take your passengers back to Seattle.

Making matters worse was the Canadians mistake by not remembering the cab number thus preventing Yellow from figuring out who the culprit was. That the passengers held some blame is obvious but how do you take someone, anyone in the complete opposite direction from where they need to be?  When you have no idea what you are doing is the the simple answer.  And who is ultimately responsible?  The City of Seattle and King County of course.  Do they care?  Why don't you ask them and see what kind of answer you receive. Ha Ha Ha!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Coyote Running At 120th and Lake City Way NE

As any cabbie knows, there are all kinds of wildlife in the city, some human, some not.  I certainly prefer the non-human type as exemplified by the somewhat bewildered looking coyote running from east to west across usually impassable Lake City Way NE but if you have to cross, 1:30 AM on an early Monday morning is probably the correct time.  I was on my way to my last fare of the weekend, the strip club Deja Vu, a venue where the least cultivated human animals go.  If needing any further evidence, it was my attempted talking to the young woman who was sitting outside the door waiting for her ride home.  She relented to tall me my passenger would be coming out soon but clearly she felt she had to be "on the defensive" because of her status as what I am not sure.  She was just a very ordinary example of young American woman, proving to the world that strip clubs will take anyone who is willing to pay their rent and take off their clothes. Thankfully my fare was considerably brighter, and tipped me five on top of five.  Strip clubs appear to be miserable places, a societal lowest common denominator. I doubt if any self-respecting coyote, raccoon, opossum, crow etc. would enter those doors.  While naked is their reality they do nothing to flaunt or celebrate it.  They are natural, in their naturally wild state, not brooking any false arguments to the contrary, not interested in what us humans call civilisation, we, not they, the intruders.

Sea-Tac Contract Review

Port of Seattle will be announcing its decision the Yellow's contract renewal on-line December 3rd, 2015, and more formally, during a commission meeting December 8th, 2015.  The Yellow Sea-Tac drivers I believe should brace themselves for the worst outcome.  At best I think you will see a much reduced role for taxis.  I hope I am wrong but I doubt it.  We, my taxi friends, are a somnolent industry.  What wakes us up? Nothing, forever remaining asleep.  If you don't agree then why have you ignored the screaming alarm clock? You can't tell me you haven't heard its shrill bells.  I know you have.  The problem is that you don't know how to care.  You really don't, your empathy and awareness of self and others miserably lacking. After 28 years of watching everyone operate, that is my damning assessment. And I know you won't prove me wrong.  I know you.  I know all of you too well, it being a sad and sorry story, a tale of you own writing. Many know that I have tired to edit the narrative but I have been  ignored.  Now you get what you get.  At least you can't say you hadn't ever  been warned.  I know I sound disgusted.  Without any doubt I am, repetition boring, so utterly boring.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sad---How Can The Local Hospitals Be Stopped From Giving Taxi Their Unwanted Problems?

 The question, while simple, contains a complex answer.  Why do hospitals in Seattle and in the rest of the United States continue to both discharge and refuse service to patients in need?  While some might say that it is due to well-known medical insurance issues, I instead see it as more concerning institutional policy, literally the rules dictating admissions and tolerance toward difficult individuals. What I will never believe is that what I witnessed Saturday night at the University of Washington Medical Center was somehow accidental, an anecdotal incident unrelated to administrational procedure.

How can it be naive to say that a medical institution's first public imperative is to serve the ill regardless of malady, be it physical or mental?  Too often, like this past Saturday night, I have seen area hospitals act in a manner less that helpful to the problem presented.  One very notable exception is Harborview Medical Center, the four-state (Washington, Alaska, Idaho, Montana) regional trauma center. Even when faced with the craziest individual, hospital staff make every attempt to treat the patient. It is impressive, something that should be emulated everywhere.  And given that the two hospitals are associated, there is truly no excuse.

Saturday night  I was belled into the UWMC Emergency Room only to come upon Jeff, a man in his early 60s who was standing outside the entrance surrounded by bags and a guitar case.  Understanding that this was my customer, I was puzzled why he was outside, and not inside the hospital filling out some kind of form, as he was clearly doing.  A few words from the gentleman quickly told me what I was now dealing with.

Jeff, clearly a (thankfully) good-humored manic-depressive (bi-polar or borderline), was intentionally locked out of the ER, probably after causing some kind of ruckus. Staring at the assembled security staff staring back at me it was clear that they had no further interest in dealing with the disruptive Jeff, impatiently waiting for me to take their trouble away.  Any further evidence to this was demonstrated by the hovering arrival of two officers anxious to dispose of yet another annoying disturbance, their arrival hastening my efforts to get Jeff into the cab.

Did I want to take him any where?  No, of course not but I also saw that he was about to be tossed about and handcuffed, but being the misguided humanitarian I unfortunately am I decided to take on this walking question mark regardless of the ultimate consequences. I understood that it would both be painful and confusing but again, what could I do when the decision was already  made for me?

Very suddenly I was designated a human rubbish collector, emptying the hospital's human refuse bin.  At the very least they could have given me a charge slip ensuring I would receive something however minimal for my pain and suffering. But no, Jeff was a "self-pay," which was no problem according to him since he had eight-thousand dollars sitting in his bank account.  Jeff, while being totally out-of-his-mind, was completely accommodating, saying I was getting a one hundred dollar tip.  That was a nice thought, Jeff, it really was but functional reality overtaking your gesture, which was too bad but there is nothing to be done when madness replaces normal cognition.You needed to be in their care, not mine.

Making a long tale into something manageable, I will condense into brevity and abbreviation, cutting short what, like my ride with Jeff, seemingly could have extended into eternity, because, more than anything else, Jeff desired uninterrupted attention focused solely upon himself.  As I have found out over the years, mental illness, if nothing else, is a deranged selfishness sanctioning no other reality than its distorted version of what life is at that given moment.  And being distorted, that version can and will change sometimes in a split second, completely negating what was being said a moment before. While certainly not condoning the decision to toss Jeff back to the streets, I can understand the frustration generated and acted upon.  Usually these kinds of decisions hold little consequence, no one save the affected individual aware of an injustice afflicted upon the helpless. That evening the hospital made me an accidental witness to callous decision making.

After many attempts on various cards resulted in no money, it became self-evident that Jeff would soon be out of my cab other than for his two remaining twenty dollar bills that kept this saga going. Finally deciding he would pawn the valuable Gibson guitar he had along, we tried two Pawn shops but both were closed.  Along the way, Jeff kept asking me what  were some of my favorite bands and songs, singing to me Jefferson Airplane's "Volunteers" and the Doors "People are Strange."  Jeff was amazing and I really liked him but it became abundantly clear no resolution would be reached this particular night, providing me no other option than the one the hospital decided upon.  Jeff would have to leave because everything he suggested, pawning the guitar or dropping him off at various addresses, never happened.

The final straw, when stopping at a Starbucks so he could "look something up," was his rushing at me, shouting, "you are not going to leave me!" which I did once he was inside the store.  I had offered to give him back $10.00 so he could have some coffee but responding "No, no, I will burn it!"

Anyway, nice guy or not, Jeff was impossible for me to deal with, which is why he became yet again someone else's problem. I can only assume that the police were called, and maybe, just maybe he received the 72 hour involuntary commitment that was required.  I might have said before that twice I have been hired as a MHP (Mental Health Professional), that is, someone who can make an official committal recommendation.  Intervention was certainly required but not by Yellow cab.  How can it be moral to abandon someone seeking assistance?  The answer is more than obvious, and lack of necessary funds is no excuse. Jeff required professional intervention.  He didn't get it.  Until he does, the cycle will continue or until he unintentionally injures or kills someone.  Then there will be intervention, and perhaps not until then.  Nice story, isn't it?  Again, yet again, welcome to taxi as I know and hate it, human stupidity beneath the shining top-light.

Hamster for President?

Two entertaining passengers described aspiring GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump as a "giant hamster wearing a toupee." While that isn't the most flattering description, far worst is the five year and running lawsuit against Trump and his "Trump University" get rich selling real-estate scheme.  It is claimed that 7000 peopled were defrauded up to 40 million dollars by folks utilizing his fame and celebrity to sell useless seminars and information.  Some of the claimants lost up to $34,000 dollars.  In at least two of the cases, Trump has been charged under the RICO racketeering act.  Mobster for president?  God who knows!?

Itchy toes

All of a sudden this past weekend my right foot had a sudden "fungus" attack, creating more discomfort than I have had in a long time. I mention it only to display the sometimes unknown misery associated with taxi driving.  Years ago, back in 1984, when first noticing a problem, I went to my "Group Health" clinic and, instead of being taken seriously, I was given a tube of Desenex .  As I can report, the "treatment" wasn't effective.

Note on Paris and Travel Security

The terrorist attacks of last Friday in Paris have me reflecting on my recent three pleasant days there.  My last morning walking around the "Gare du Nord" were my favorite moments in Paris, watching that great city awaken, the cafes opening and everyone having their early coffee and pastry.  It is unfortunate of course that madness overtook the city but when mythology overtakes functional reality, you appear to get this kind of situation.  During those three days I did see many armed soldiers walking the streets but clearly that wasn't enough to prevent what happened from occurring.

One security lapse that did get my attention was in Krakow when I was boarding my flight to Paris.  Twice I was not asked for my ID identifying me as the ticketed passenger.  By neglecting that simple procedure with me and others, anyone could have boarded that flight. Hopefully Easyjet is now more thorough.  It only makes sense given what has occurred.

Postscripts 11/19/2015

A flurry of incoming news has inundated this taxi reporter so I am adding to yesterday's posting instead of creating an entirely new report.  Just think if I was being paid for doing this?  I then could be truly organized and up-to-date and accorded the respect given to a working journalist . What do I get now?  Don't ask!

No, No,this can't be true: Cheap TNC permits vs Traditional for-hire licenses

Hopefully by next week I will have confirmation one way or the other but today I was told this astounding information.  If you apply for your standard for-hire license (for taxis and flat-rates) you will pay $280.00.  Apply for a TNC (Uber, Lyft) driving permit, which I am told allows you to drive TNC, taxi and flat-rate and you only pay a nominal sum.  What that is I don't know but I will find out.  Can this insanity be true?  Stay tuned.  What do you think?  Could the City of Seattle and King County be this disorganized?

Have the WAT charges gone the way of the dodo?

Rumor has it that we in the local taxi industry no longer have to pay the WAT welfare payments forced upon us by the City and County.  Is that wonderful news actually true?  Again, stay tuned to this taxi channel.

Past Due TNC report

City/County TNC annual report was due end of October 2015.  It is the middle of November and we are still waiting.

UW Post-game closure update

Pleased to report that the mystery surrounding the unexpected closure of the Husky Football stadium has been solved by the office of City Council-member Tim Burgress.  Nate, his legislative aide emailed to tell me that they had contacted UW/SPD traffic and were told a stalled metro bus caused the change in post-game access.  A plus to my question is that a discussion has begun about how to best address situations like this in the future.  Part of the response also stated that if taxi drivers had said they were going in for a fare they would have been allowed access but from my experience that night I was never given the opportunity to talk to the frantic officers directing a traffic tsunami. If you have ever been down there after a game you know exactly what I mean.

That I am appreciative of their efforts should go without saying. Thank you Mister Burgress!

Debit Card Update

I have been able to access my money at my bank minus any charges.  In reality it is an efficient system.  I could apologize for my bad attitude but my long experience dealing with taxi in general has left me jaundiced which I suppose is appropriate for a YELLOW cab driver!

Still a taxi pulse 

Tom, 478's day driver reported that on Monday he had 6 airport runs plus two 20 plus fares.  Just a few minutes ago, night driver Raymond first fare on a Thursday afternoon was an airport run from the Queen Anne.  And I can report that on Sunday my last fare was $89.00 including tip from the SPD East Precinct to Maple Valley. Then, not really working on Monday, driving over to the train station, my one and only fare took me to the Southcenter Doubletree and $50.00.  Some business remains.  That is obvious.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Barred From Our Traditional Workplace---Questionable Decisions Saturday Game-Night By The University Of Washington And The Seattle Police Department

Anyone familiar with my taxi history knows I started driving on the weekends back in the autumn of 1987 with a three cab association, Classic Cab, a company minus any real dispatch other than special requests made by individuals interested in riding in a genuine Checker taxicab,  It was an excellent introduction to "all things taxi" since not having an organized dispatch system forced me to figure all of it out "by the seat of my taxi pants."  If I was going to make money, it was going to depend totally on my ability to understand where the business was at any given part of the taxi day.  I would have to learn, minus formal  instruction, how to fish the taxi seas, studying the "schooling patterns" of the various passenger species swimming Seattle's streets.

Being the "restless sort," I didn't naturally take to sitting on downtown hotel stands waiting for undetermined fate, good or bad, deciding my fortune; instead intuitively comprehending that passenger volume increases your potentiality for taxi success.  I found that sporting events, like football and basketball and baseball games, especially when taxi was the only transportation option, usually translated into a reliable source for ride-seeking customers, often providing business otherwise absent. When the teams are winning, you too will score your share of taxi home runs and touch downs.

This late 1980s time period just  happened to be UW Husky football coach Don James' heyday, a boon era when those "big and bad" and top-ranked football Huskies chewed up and spit out its pigskin opponents each weekend, game-day Saturdays becoming my personal taxi "gold mine," providing me business from morning to the late of night, numerous crazed fans storming the taxi gates. While not always pleasant, the frenzied "UDub" fans supplemented my Monday-Friday "Day Job," attending to a psychiatric client community too dangerous to mention, perhaps preparing me for the taxi asylum and my weekend mobile milieu.  Suddenly I had more money than ever before, preventing any whining over letting my ex-wife have all of our savings, her selfishness nothing new to me.  That first Christmas minus her and her family, I instead traveled to Holland, Belgium, England and northern Wales, having a great time, taxi financing the journey.

It was a good time to be a Seattle cabbie and working those Husky weekends, taxis allowed both direct access to the front of the stadium and to the University Hospital, which at that time featured a four-car stand. While not always the friendliest, UW and Seattle police were generally accommodating, knowing that it was beneficial to have all those drunks in a taxi instead of erratically careening in their own cars.  Anyone clad in "purple and gold" and wearing a plastic penis nose on their face told everyone all they needed to know concerning their reliability.  These folks simply were nuts, alcohol-fueled lunatics, and the faster we could transport them away from the game the better. Along with making money, it was, and is, a genuine public service.

Unfortunately, coming back to the present, that recognition has evaporated, demonstrated by actions taken Saturday night by UW and Seattle police after the University of Washington and Utah game, blocking access to Pacific Avenue, University Hospital and the stadium for over an entire hour. Not only has that once sublime era of mutual cooperation and collaboration disappeared, it has been flushed down the bureaucratic toilet, perhaps never to be seen again, marking a relational deterioration threatening our very existence. If we in the taxi industry are to succeed and prosper, we must have free access to to our work space and customers.

Suddenly, last Saturday night, that operational reality vanished, making me wonder why and how this could have happened. Too typical of course was the total lack of communication from the City of Seattle, sending a clear message to the local taxi industry that we are unworthy of consideration given to other business communities.  If you think Boeing or Microsoft or Amazon would be so cavalierly treated, think again. It just wouldn't happen, the Mayor and the City Council rightfully fearing immediate legal action.  The best they get from us is one obscure, solitary blogger shouting against the beadledom sky.  Not very scary, I must admit. Even when impersonating a taxi driver, my fangs less than lethal, only shocking myself in the early morning mirror.

Still, regardless of the effectiveness, we have to respond, telling everyone involved that we are unhappy; and with the big game, University of Washington playing at home against their hated rivals, the Washington State Cougars, coming up soon on Friday, November 27th, we require complete and open access to our workplace all day long.  Anything less is unacceptable.

Yesterday I emailed Mayor Murray and City Council president Burgess.  That is just the beginning of my personal campaign to reverse what occurred on Saturday night.  I urge all of you to contact everyone I have listed below, telling them it is a violation of our for-hire license agreement, and possibly far more serous, a civil rights violation. All of us drivers and owners, whether we are driving taxis or flat-rate for-hire or Uber or town-cars, all hold City of Seattle business licenses acknowledging, that just like Microsoft, Boeing, Amazon, we have the legal right to operate in our recognized work place.  Anything short of that is, from what I can tell, an illegal and arbitrary obstruction to our ability to make a living.  It is past time that we in the taxi industry sit down with the City of Seattle and examine their treatment and attitude toward a business community that is older and pre-dates Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon.  Before there where 747s and computers, there were taxis.  We must demand the respect we deserve, and of course, not taking the blame for dysfunctional taxi associations.  It is not my fault nor yours that local associations have operated inefficiently. We are independent operators and business owners.  We must demand the legal recognition that we deserve.  There is, and can be, no other option.  We are equal to all other businesses in Seattle and King County. It is time, minus all exceptions, that this basic fact is acknowledged 24 hours a day and 365 days a years.  It is basic. It is simple. It is our reality!

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray


Email----go to seattle.gov website and access "contact the mayor."

Seattle Police Department

Non-emergency number---206-625-5011

Traffic Division---206-684-8757

Go to SPD website and submit a general inquiry.

University of Washington

Ana Mari Cause, University President

206-543-5010     pres@uw.edu

Her Chief of Staff---Rolf Johnson


UW Police

206-543-0507     uwpolice@uw.edu

City of Seattle Customer Service


This should get you started and occupy your time for an hour or so.

New PSD Location

2901 South 128th Street.  Easy to find.   Just off Military Road South.  The shop is rumored to be closing December 15th.  Dispatch will be moving end of February.

Taxi Medallion Lottery Result---I didn't win

My unlucky number was 757 or something like that.  Middle of the pack out of over 1200 entries.

Election Results

It looks like all the Seattle City Council incumbents won except that today it was reported Bruce Harrell is up by only 2 percent, so there remains a small chance he might be ousted.  The good times is that some good people have been elected, meaning we might have an opportunity to influence future policy.  Maybe!

Sally Clark---Something wrong with this story

Was I hallucinating or was that ex-City Council President Sally Clark walking by my taxi at King Street station on a rainy Monday night?  If it was Sally, she looked directly at me without any howdy-do, though how can I blame her, given my at times combative attitude toward her and her former fellow City Council mates?  Did I tell you that she resigned from the council to take a high paying position at the University of Washington?  I could match her salary but it would take working 18 months straight which I ain't gonna do.

Yesterday, talking to a colleague on the phone he related a story how Sally Clark was tossed out of a Yellow Cab because she told the idiot driver she was only going 6 blocks and the fool didn't realize he had the Chief Arbitrator of his fate in his taxi.  She related this story to my friend as the final straw for not helping the dumbbell taxi industry.

I find two things wrong with this story.  One is that she told it to someone who has never driven a taxi for a solitary second.  Why not instead call someone like me who could have done something about it?

And two, if she was so outraged with this kind of stupid behavior, why then did she insist of dropping a complete day from the City of Seattle for-hire license training?  Why make a bad situation worse?   The truth is that for at least the past five years I have been lobbying and begging the City of Seattle and King County to create a comprehensive taxi driver training program, along with requiring that new applicants have held a Washington State drivers license for a minimum of five years.  What the hell do I know?  Well, when it comes to taxi, quite a lot, more than I want to.  Why listen to this taxi Bozo?  Clearly the City and County have found good reason not to.


I got a call from a driver colleague telling me about how he and others are considering starting an independent company that will service HopeLink and Seattle School Accounts minus Yellow dispatch involvement. Sitting for hours without a call makes you crazy.  Finally drivers are understanding that the situation is serious.  What took them so long to understand the obvious?

Taxi Commission Killed

Did I mention it already?  The stumbling, bumbling Seattle & King County Taxi Advisory is now defunct. While the official word is that the death is temporary, I do not see anyone "rolling away the stone." The taxi corpse is cold, prone, just like our business.  Oh well!

At least.......

With the move to the new building, BYG/PSD have changed how everyone is "cashed out" after turning in all of our credit, debit and account paper.  All of us "Yellowites" have been issued debit cards which is where all of our money is now going.  I have already told them I am not sure that they can do this but for the moment it is what we will be dealing with.  Everyone has been given an envelope with the card and accompanying paperwork.  That this isn't a popular development is a huge understatement.  Talking to the woman in charge of all this, she said something I found extremely funny.  Telling me that scores of drivers have come to her office screaming and shouting, she said, "At least you have opened the envelope."  Now that is just like the "taxi" I know and love.  When I told "she-who-can't-be-named" about it, I said, "Isn't that funny?"  And she replied, "There is nothing funny about taxi driving!"  How can I disagree?  It's true!

Communists taking over Gig Harbor?

Anyone driving taxi in the Seattle and Tacoma area has to deal with bridge tolling and DOT's "Good to Go" offices.  They keep making mistakes but what can you do when you are dealing with private vendors under the State of Washington bureaucratic umbrella?  Given that Gig Harbor is the closest Tacoma area office it has been my location of choice.  The problem is their inefficiency and general  lack of accountability, reminding me of past experiences in Iron Curtain Hungry and Yugoslavia, where the response was "we don't care because we don't have to."  I even experienced this a bit recently in the once communist Baltic countries.  When I told a worker today at the Gig Harbor office that I wanted names and numbers to address my concerns she advised that I go to the website, having no information to give me.  After that I told her "I surrender, you win!" she looked stressed and unhappy, not wanting to deal with yet another crazy "Good to Go" malcontent.  I keep thinking back to that bank teller in Skopje.  "How dare that I wanted to change some currency," was the look she gave me.  How dare that I expect the "Good to Go" folks not to screw up and cost me money?  Why I must be out of my mind?  How could I be so rude?!  Where is Winston Churchill when you need him?  Maybe Kansas but I don't think so.

New Insurance Problems Courtesy of the City of Seattle

Those nice people governing Seattle are trying to change the insurance rating requirements back to an A rating, thus making everyone pay more than what we already are paying.  Because I have 3 drivers listed on 478 in addition to myself my cost is now over $6000.00 a year.  Yellow is paying over $11,000 per car.  And now we should pay more?  And the sorry part of this is that Uber IS NOT required to up its costs.  Talk about something that isn't funny!  What the hell is going on?  Is there a conspiracy against all of us hard working cabbies?  One might think so is all I can say.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Coming Back---Immersed In Everyday Commonplace America

Instead of the familiar, the world and life I have returned to feels foreign and alien, an involuntary response shouting I would rather be elsewhere; two taxi weekends telling me, if this is life I would rather be dead. This past weekend 478 was twice hit, first on Halloween Saturday afternoon, a car striking me from behind. And Sunday, while peacefully eating a snack in the PCC co-op parking lot, someone backing into me.

While both incidents were minor, with no damage either to car or body, I found the accidents symptomatic of the disease that is life in early 21st Century America, a life (or death) style I find boring, unworthy of active participation.  The young couple in the new 2015 Ford Fiesta were perfectly nice.  So too was the woman shopping at the co-op.

I shook hands the first time, and reassured the errant backer at the co-op that I never saw anything occur. Why shout when it is simply too stupid, all of  us joined "at the hip" in a symbiotic cultural agreement providing us confusion, anxiety and discontent.

Who needs it?  I  certainly don't, finding the commonplace unacceptable, clearly now, after over fifty sanity infused days traveling over Northeastern Europe, finding alternatives necessary and called for. How long can I remain whole before I again fracture into so many disassociated pieces, not wanting to again sink into irrevocable oblivion.  Whatever breaths I have left, be it tonight or the next twenty years, I refuse to inhale stupidity.  No thank you, I say, no thank you, madam or gentleman or Mister and Mrs Misplaced and Inane God, Devil or Mythology.

Today I drove a few morning hours after Tom, my day driver, called off to spend the day at the local Social Security office.  My second fare out of three total was a school run, taking two sweet kids on a long ride from NE 110th & Lake City Way to Honeydew Elementary in the Renton Highlands, battling early morning traffic mile after tedious mile.  Jason, the first-grader, related how, when "they were poor," the entire family (both parents and four children) slept in their car.  "It hurt my back," he lamented.  Indefatigable, he sang the "Honeydew" theme song.  Sweet yet sorrowful.  What a f__ked existence!  I shook their hands too, for a quick moment loving them for the innocents they were as they sprinted off to school and class, their cabbie nearly a half hour late.

So here I am and, for the moment and time being, remain.  What else could I be doing? Maybe growing crisp apples in the shade of the Carpathians.  Or more closely to what will probably happen, residing in the rolling prairie hills in Montana's southeastern corner bordering South Dakota, watching the pronghorn running free across the grassy plains.  I can salute that potential reality, watching the welcoming sun rise over the Dakotas, the morning breeze telling me that life once and for all is worth living, sharing my breath to a life I can finally and fully appreciate and comprehend.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Recommendations---Seattle Election November 3rd, 2015

As has been said a million and perhaps a billion times over, "better late that ever" which is probably self-serving since I am sure the majority have both made up their final choices and put their ballot in the nearest mailbox. But if you are interested in my opinion, read on especially if you want to know why I strongly feel that Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council incumbent, and vying for the Council District # 3 seat, is not only not qualified to remain on the council but clearly fraudulent and dishonest, misrepresenting herself as a socialist. Take note of this current cultural fact in today's America, that self-labelling is rampant.  If Sawant called herself a ballerina it would be easy to see if she can actually dance. Just as the Independent/Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, there is again no evidence this is true unless being a reliable vote for NRA initiatives makes you a socialist but that is highly doubtful. Another thought is why would someone want to be something they are not?

Anyone then can and will call themselves anything minus proof and real accomplishment.  Add water and mix appears to be the prevailing message and recipe. National candidates like Donald Trump and Ben Carson ask us to believe they are qualified to lead a huge and complicated nation without any viable evidence proving they have the experience to have their fingers inches away from the nuclear trigger.

You might call this a national tread and disease that is highly infectious, which might explain why someone like Sawant, an upper-Caste and upper middle-class emigre from India can be placed in a similar category, having become ill by close association.  But superiority it appears is an essential part of India's cultural and societal dialogue. America's inherent classism pales in comparison to India's theologically-based class prejudice. When God says you are inferior you know without any doubt you are in deep trouble. Didn't American 18th and 19th Century slave owners say their ownership of other people was sanctioned by their God?  Watch out is all I can say!

The Recommendations

City Council District # 1----Lisa Herbold over Shannon Braddock.  Two very similar candidates.  I like Herbold's idea for endorsing one for one replacement for affordable housing, making the City and developers accountable.  My first apartment in Seattle in 1973 was $85.00 a month, this for the second floor of a house overlooking Green Lake.  I rented a 4-bedroom house on Capital Hill in 1975 for $240.00 a month.  I bought my first home, again on Capital Hill, a co-op apartment in 1987 for $29,000.  In 1998 I bought another Capital Hill co-op apartment for $35,000.  As we all well know, those kinds of prices are long gone.  It is a mistake to let developers take over Seattle like they have in San Francisco.  I lived in San Francisco in 1979-82, and our Glen Park flat was $300.00 a month.  I am guessing that the same flat is now renting for $3000.00 a month.  How is that reasonable?

City Council District # 2----Tammy Morales over Bruce Harrell.  Morales is another fair housing advocate.  Harrell of course is one of those eight City Council votes that sold the local taxi industry down the operational river.

City Council District # 3----Pamela Banks over Kshama Sawant.   My basic assessment of Sawant is that she is disingenuous, not a sincere individual despite theoretical pretensions to the contrary.  Some important background information is that she is from the largest middle-class grouping on our planet, a number surpassing the population of the United States.  This pool of privilege exists while nearly half of India's population is under-nourished, creating catastrophic conditions for the poor.  While India sends satellites orbiting into space, millions of Indian babies are born stunted due to their under-weight and malnourished mothers, the infants sentenced to lower IQs and less than average physical heights. Sawant's mother was a school principal and her father a civil servant.  While Sawant grew up in a literate household and graduated college with a computer degree, 37 percent of India's population of 1.28 billion people remain illiterate. Not a good statistic.

I find all this relevant because Sawant calls herself a socialist but nothing in her background provides evidence she has ever involved herself in the actual day-to-day mechanisms of true socialist activity.  A retiree drawing Social Security is more closely involves in a "socialist" action than Sawant.  Listen to any tried-and-true GOP supporter angrily rave about FDR and his "New Deal" to fully appreciate what I am saying.

Sawant came to this country and got her PHD in Economics from North Carolina State University.  She then taught at Seattle Central Community College. It all sounds reasonable but I don't see where her claims to be a socialist comes in.  And if she is looking to help people out, freeing them from unfair bondage, why isn't she doing that in India, her country of origin?

I think the answer to that is simple, answering why so many of her  fellow Indians are flocking to the USA and Seattle.  For the money, honey, for the money!  Professionals in the United States make a hell of a lot more that those in India. It is true.  Check it out.  Tell me one story of an American-born professional moving to India for the big salaries over there.  I would like to hear it.

You might by now be curious why I am concentrating upon Sawant and her contradictions?  Sawant was the eighth vote uncapping Uber, Lyft and Sidecar operations in Seattle.  Her odd explanation backing her vote for an Uber company valued at the time at over 40 billion dollars was that corporate expansion was inevitable, implying there was no use in resisting Big Money and Big Government interests.  I was seated in the audience when she said this.  It was both shocking and confusing, her vote making little sense.

And also during this time period I witnessed Sawant speak on more than one occasion during City Council proceedings, lapsing into what I saw and heard as incomprehensible rants.  All of the council proceedings have been recorded and her unusual performances are public record.  Check them out and see what you think. Aside from the Uber vote, in general I question her overall effectiveness as a public official.

As for her opponent, Pamela Banks, she is currently running the Seattle Urban League, whose stated mission is to provide support for African-American and other underrepresented communities.  If the immigrant population driving taxi in Seattle isn't underrepresented, then I don't know the definition of the term.  I know it has been said that Banks is supported by big money interests like Alaska Airlines.  She has disavowed this kind of backing.

Council District # 4----No position.  Michael Maddux and Rob Johnson seem to hold nearly identical positions concerning City issues. A coin flip, near as I can tell.

Council District # 5----Debora Juarez over Sandy Brown. Juarez is a Puyallup Indian who has served as staff attorney for the Native American Project.  I believe her empathy would be a plus on the City Council.

Council District # 6----Mike O'Brien over Catherine Westbrook.  O'Brien was the lone positive vote toward stemming the Uber tide.

Council District # 7----Deborah Zech-Artis over Sally Bagwell.  Zech-Artis recognizes that Seattle's lights (stop & go signals) are not synchronized, telling me that she more awake than at least 98 % of those folks running Seattle.  As for Bagwell, I find her both naive and disinterested concerning City of Seattle issues.  I would love to see her behind the wheel of an Uber vehicle.  Maybe we can collect a fund and buy her a used Prius and get her started.  Wouldn't that be something like sweet justice for someone prone to making disingenuous statements?

Council District # 8----Jon Grant over Tim Burgress.  Grant is the former director of "The Tenants Union of Washington State."  Sounds good to me, someone who will finally protect renters in Seattle.  Burgess was and is a reliable Uber vote.  What else do I need to say?

Council District # 9----Lorena Gonzalez over Bill Bradburd.  I like both candidates but I am endorsing Gonzalez because she has the potential to become the City Council's resident idealist.  Bradburd, perhaps more of a pragmatist, would also be a good choice.

And that folks means my time is up.  All the other measures and candidates I leave to your good discretion.   Unfortunately I hear, however faint, taxi's siren song beckoning me to the unforgiving urban reefs.  I can only hope that my posting today added something to the overall discussion.  If nothing else, you know I am not a Sawant fan.  If I have one guiding principal, it is sincerity.  I attempt that in my own life and expect the same from others.  It is simple while remaining complex.  Be who you claim to be minus digressions.  Anything short of that means I don't trust the person's motivations.  I don't see how my position will ever change upon this most important subject, honesty being, or should be, everyone's personal policy.

And be sure to pet your cats and dogs daily.  Very important!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Lottery Number 51208

Yes taxi brothers and sisters, the City of Seattle medallion lottery drawing is upon us, Wednesday, November 4th being the big day.  From 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM they will be choosing at least 100 entries for the first 35 medallions that are to be awarded in December, with another 65 medallions coming in January 2016. For those who are mathematically deficient (count me amongst you) that adds up to 90 medallions.  I was told today that they plan to release even more medallions in 2016 on top of this initial 90. While that might be exciting to some, remember that our market is already saturated to bursting, making it even more difficult to pay those bills.

One very big negative is that the lottery is open to anyone meeting the minimum requirements, meaning any current medallion owner also qualifies, which many of us would call unfair but the City of Seattle says it is bound by law and cannot limit entry.  Need I remind anyone that it was the City of Seattle who allowed illegal Uber and flat-rate for hire operation within Seattle city limits for over three years, thus making any adherence to legal guidelines farcical.

But they have added a provision mandating that any current medallion holder relinquish 50 % of their ownership interest.  While on first take that might sound fair until you realize that by shifting ownership to a friend you have essentially retained ownership.  If you don't believe me, let's say that I am a current owner and I win a medallion.  All I need do is shift 50 % to that most famous of personages, "she-who-can't-be-named," and end of story, I am still completely in charge of the medallion.  Another condition is that you have to actively drive the taxi for three years.  Even in this down market, you will probably be able to sell the medallion for 25-50 thousand, so from whatever angle you look at, winning one of these licenses is a good deal.

In other taxi news, Yellow's move is imminent, moving to the old STITA taxi lot, at S. 128th & Des Moines around the second week in November.  Yellow (BYG) is dramatically changing its business model by eliminating car ownership and financial overhead by leasing out its medallions.  Just before I left for Europe, in a rushed decision, I took over YC 478, buying the car and taking on all  responsibilities, including insurance and maintenance.  It is interesting being a "quasi-owner."  I have two veterans of the taxi byways driving the day and night shifts, Tom on day, and Ray at night.  I  am back to my tried-and true weekends.

Another "something new" that Puget Sound Dispatch is doing is eliminating all cash transactions and transferring all account transactions to individual debit cards.  Opening up my envelope today I was completely mystified by the entire process.  All we can hope is that the transition will be better thought out than the flawed computer system debut.  That was, as reported, nightmarish.  But any screw-ups regarding accessibly to our money will cause a riot.  Nothing to fool around with, that is for sure.

Two Deaths in the Taxi Family

Terry Davis, a long time taxi industry advocate, recently succumbed to prostate cancer after a long battle with the disease.  Terry was once president of a driver organization called the "The Cab Drivers Alliance of King County.'"  I knew him as a fellow TAG member.  There will be a memorial and remembrance for Terry on Saturday, 11 AM,  October 31st, 2015 at Matthews Beach Park, located just off Sand Point Way.  The official address is 5100 NE 93rd Street.  An enduring legacy is Terry's push to have signs in Braille placed in all Seattle and King County taxis. Thanks to him the vision-impaired have more information literally at their fingertips.

Also dying recently was my friend and former Taxi Superintendent, Jack McQuirk.  I have no information other than he is dead.  It is disturbing news to say the least.

Municipal Elections

November is 3rd is election day.  Tune in Friday and read my recommendations.  This is an extremely important election for us in the industry.  We require friends, not active opponents on the Seattle City Council.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Paris Goodbye

My last night in Europe. It has been a good trip even if at times I have been confused and unsure where I was and what direction I was going.  Today has been a good example, trying to find places that no longer exist and getting turned around and missing what has been there for decades.  Paris is a big city.  And frenetically busy.

Where I am staying, my second hotel in Paris this time around, the first being an utter disaster, is near the Gare du Nord ( North train station), is an area of non-stop motion, taxis and buses flying around corners. What makes this area all the more interesting is the large North and former French West African residental population, along with untold number of Pakistanis and Indians.  It is quite an interesting mix, creating an unique ambiance not easily found elsewhere.  Last night I ate in "Lahore, Lahore," a Pakistani restaurant filled mostly with North African men.  Everywhere there are bars and coffee shops filled with young men, with not a woman in sight.  The food at the restaurant was just fabulous.  And very spicy.  A big change from the terrific pirogi I was eating in Poland.

The only positive about the first night was the Parisian cabbie who assisted me in finding the hotel.  My flight from Krakow ($70.00 one-way on EasyJet, quite a deal) got in about 10:30 PM so I knew I would be searching for the hotel in the dark.  The smartest decision I made the entire trip was buying train tickets when I was here in September, making it easy to quickly locate the Paris-bound train, not having to fuss with ticket dispensers. It also helped that I had figured out which metro stop I needed.

Once stepping out of the metro station I was bewildered. Thankfully I saw a vacant cab parked next to a Turkish kabab cafe, with the driver sitting inside eating. He didn't speak English but showing him the address he motioned with his arms forward, then making a right turn motion, which were perfect instructions, making it easy to find the hotel. When I told him I was a "United States taxi driver", he gave me an enthusiastic "thumbs up!"  Yes, that's right, taxi brothers to the end!

I'll conclude with two poems relating to my travel experiences.  While a trifle self-indulgent, and of course, off subject, I hope you will enjoy following some of my recent adventures, or misadventures, depending upon the point of view.

The first is about my trying to find the beginning of what is known in Sanok as the "Trail of the Ikons," which is a series of old churches spread along the countryside.  Confusing doesn't accurately describe the difficulty I had. Regardless, by my second weekend I had more or less figured out where I needed to go.  That particular day I must had walked a total of 10 km, my feet were sore and tired by day's end.


                                      I wanted to arrive but not reading Polish
                                      I didn't know how to start yet regardless
                                      I began, turning left down the lane
                                      avoiding the scattering chickens
                                      and the leaping puppy I walked
                                      and walked, the River San to my right,
                                      and to my left, farms then forest climbing
                                      the hill, all the while scanning ahead, and 3 km
                                      later, just as the sign promised, a grey onion
                                      dome above the trees.
                                      There is my ikon.
                                      I have found my church.

It was a beautiful old Greek Catholic Church now used by the Polish Roman Catholics.  Have I neglected to tell you that Poland is wall-to-wall devout Catholic?  My next poem is all about that reality.  Anyway I was pleased  to have found at least one of the churches, making my time in Sanok just a bit more worth while.

This next poem is a "real" travel story, meeting someone in a favorable manner, and boom! it all blows up. The person I am talking about boarded the same bus, the one taking me from Smerek in the Carpathian Mountains to downtown Krakow.  She got on in Solina, a town on a large lake about 30 km south of Sanok. In the course of our conversation she showed me pictures on her telephone of "ikon" painting she had done.  I wa astonished at their quality. She also told me that she had gone to Rome with a choir to sing for "Papa," namely the Pope.  Turns out she was "crazy" about Jesus, and I made the mistake of being honest.  Oh well!

                                                  Today God Was Polish

                              Our conversation was satisfying to us both

                              until my saying, "Evil doesn't exist, only confusion,"

                             which, explicitly contrary to Catholic doctrine,

                             shocking her into a sudden disdainful silence clearly

                            implying I sinned by suggesting realities not containing

                                                   autocratic deity

                                               and by ignoring dictates

                                                   I kneel and pray

                                              thanking Him for an existence

                                             I have no understanding of


She was on her way to a week long retreat at a Catholic  monastery. I was just dis-invited. Don't think they had room for a secular rationalist anyway.  Actaully I am sure of it!

More soon from Tacoma/Seattle.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Again In Krakow---And Taxi Lottery Update

After a 5 1/2 hour bus ride from Smerek, a tiny community on the edge of Bieszczadzki National Park, I am back for two nights in Krakow before flying back to Paris for the last three nights of my trip.  Upon leaving Sanok Tuesday morning I paid for a bus to Wetlina only to discover the guest house I was staying was about 2 km north, in Smerek.  The only advantage to having stayed in equally minute Wetlina is its location next to the "Yellow" trail into the park, which was the route I ultimately took on Wednesday, hiking up a mountain, past the colorful (and informative, if you read Polish---within the park resides an adder---vipera berus berus) park boundary sign, and up and up and up to the most wonderful grassy ridge line.  Though still too low in elevation to be called "alpine" or "sub-alpine," this surprising grassland was still above the local treeline.  Incredible views awaited me both to the west and the east on what was the one fair day out of the three.  The eastward view was an unending horizon of wooded mountains stretching to the Ukraine and Slovakia.  If I had rented a car in Sanok (good idea past-tense) I would have visited both countries yesterday.  Check out a good map of Poland and you will see why that was possible. Coming back via the "Red" trail almost crippled my poor taxi body due to the extremely steep decent.  Crawling into bed I was seriously concerned I was injured but morning brought me some recovery, enabling me later to walk a short distance on another leg of the "Red" trail that thankfully was flat, at least to the point I took it to.  Gathering some "wild" apples I had found, I fed the hungry ponies in a field adjacent to my guest house.  Fall is definitely "apple season" in Poland.  Delicious apples abound!

More Taxi Lottery Info

Beginning Monday October 19th, 2015, everyone with the following qualifications (five years driving taxi at least 30 hours a week; and/or 10 consecutive years of holding a for-hire license)  can go down to South Dearborn Street, along with both your for-hire and WA State driving licenses and apply to get one of 90 medallions that are to be issued in 2015 and 2016.  One point I am not clear upon is whether you are disqualified if you are a current medallion owner.  I will let you know later on that issue.  There is a way to put your name in via an absentee application and I will also provide that info to you soon, probably when I am in Paris.  While I was surprised on the number of new medallions to be released, that might have been sparked by the Seattle City Council receiving requests to deregulate the entire industry, allowing unlimited entry.  While understanding emotion, does little Seattle really require the combined transportation equivalent (taxi, flat-rate for hire, town-car, TNC/ride-share) matching NYC's 13,000 Yellow cabs?

A few figures tells us the entire story.  Current NYC metropolitan census figures say there are between (depending on the area applied, which includes nearby suburban areas of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania) 20-23.6 million residents.  Combined Seattle & King County residents (our service area) is, according to 2010 census figures, 1,322,589.  Even with the population growth over the past two years, we don't come close to the NYC figures.

I estimate, including the town-cars, we have about 8000 full and part-time independent operators trying to make a living with a population base that is one-22nd in size to NYC.  Even if you add the area reaching to Everett to the north and all the way down to Olympia to the south, as some data does, we still see a figure of just over 4 million residents. The entire state of Washington has, according to the 2010 census, 6,724, 546 residents; with an estimated 2014 census of 7,006,530. The entire state of New York, not counting the out-of-state areas that make up metro NYC, is just under 20 million.  So why have so many independent operators been added, with more on the way?  Good question, isn't it?

Kind of Funny, But Not

I finally get around to writing an email to one of the Port of Seattle Commissioners voicing my concern about the pending Sea-Tac contract renewal and rumors of wrong doing, and what kind of reply do I receive?  Why only to be put on the person's mailing list, which included the most recent posting praising that arch-enemy of the taxi industry, the now deposed Jean Godden.  Are you laughing?  I'm not!

Sunday, October 11, 2015


                                                   "Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
                                                    What I was walling in or walling out,
                                                    And to whom I was like to give offence,
                                                    Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
                                                    That wants it down!"

This somewhat "out-of-context" quote from the American poet Robert Frost (1875-1963) is of course from his famous poem, "Mending Wall," coming from, if I remember correctly, one of the greatest poetry volumes in American literary history, "North of Boston."  Everybody loves to quote Frost.  In a book I just read, William Styron's "Lie Down In Darkness," "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is referenced twice.  There are only a small number of writers I truly admire, and Mr. Frost certainly is one of them.  And today his poetry will assist me in, yes, again making further commentary upon current Seattle taxi issues.

While enjoying ending my last missive with "animal talk,"  I find it necessary to expand further on the implications of what the Seattle City Council is doing and why it is potentially important to us taxi industry stalwarts. The title says much of what I believe they are doing, and have been doing for at least the last four years---namely the creating of operational barriers, or walls, to our ability to function as the governmental regulated industry which we undeniably are.

During the past couple of years I have dutifully reported on both City Council and various Seattle and King County decisions curtailing our ability to thrive and prosper.  It has not been a pretty picture, and as many of you know, our future only continues to darken.  The latest chapter in their ongoing effort to punish and suffocate Seatttle and King County's taxi operations, as I said in my previous post, is by partnering with  Teamsters Local 117s' effort to further legitimise flat-rate for-hire and rideshare/TNC (Uber & Lyft) inroads into our traditional operational sphere.  By offering collective-bargaining rights to entities that, from my position, should not exist in the first place, the City Council and Teamsters 117 are only further entrenching into permanency what are nothing but invasive species choking the taxi soil.  That Teamsters 117 pretends to also represent a sizable group of taxi drivers and owners, mostly consigned to Sea-Tac Airport, we have a situation both contradictory and schizophrenic, creating more confusion and despair.  Our historic disarray only works to their advantage.  The question, as usual, is what to do; how and why; and should and can we respond?

To do nothing is easy, which is what we collectively as an industry do well.  Another equally ineffective response is address one's own personal interests, which is what happened during the now infamous "Mayor Murray negotiations," resulting in the city being over run with Uber vehicles.  What the Mayor provided the taxi industry was a "garden hose" when the blazing fire was inches from the house, the smouldering embers inevitable, burning the skin.

As I have noted, Ed Murray is the consummate politician---like any good poker player, understanding a favorable hand.  Friday on-line I saw a photograph of Mayor Ed Murray, KC Executive Dow Constantine and Govornor Jay Inslee greeting President Obama on the airport tarmac.  That, my friends, is about as big as it gets in our current political reality.  And this is where Murray wants to be, with the major players, where he thinks he belongs.  Look for him to be part of any new Democratic Administration, post-Obama.

Again, Murray "toyed" with taxi industry representatives, even storming out (from all reports) during one session.  And there he is now, rubbing elbows with the US President.  For once I am not laughing.  I am wincing.  Oh yes, that's right, the smoke getting to my eyes. 

Why did we lose?  Why did we succumb so easily?  The simple answer is the lack of a bonafide organization truly representing our industry interests.  If we in Seattle continue to rely solely upon association leadership, and the duplicitous Teamsters Local 117, I foresee only a continued deterioration in our business model, meaning our ability to make a living.  Our opponents will not be letting up, I can guarantee that.  If you doubt that, you only have to look as far as the endangered Yellow Cab Sea-Tac contract.  If you don't see or understand what is happening at Sea-Tac, you are blind.  It is that simple.

So what to do, what can we do to stem our bleeding?  Well, the answer, and continues to be, is to organize, to once and for all create a viable, legal Union (or whatever else you want to call it) and start defending our industry in every possible way.  I don't see an alternative.  Delay will only lead to a diminishing of our industry and personal wealth.  It is the truth.  And thinking about it for a few seconds, I know you agree.  The walls are closing upon us. Soon they will tower, blocking out all sunlight.  Is that what you want to happen?  Not only will it happen, it is occurring right now as I sit here typing in faraway Sanok, Poland. I know you know what we must do. It is obvious.

More Travelogue

It has taken me a while but I am finally getting more oriented with Sanok's general vicinity. Thursday I made it to the top of a small mountain, Oril Kamien.  The view was wonderful but my favorite part was on my way back,. noticing a very "solid" older Polish farmer staring at me like I had just appeared to him in a vision.  As I approached he spoke, with me pointing back from where I came.  Nodding, shaking my hand  with his very large and cold hand, pleasantly remarked back to me in incomprehensible Polish. He then waved ggodbye. I liked our interaction a lot, showing humanity at its best, displaying the many levels of what can be construed as "positive" communication.  Who needs language when you can smile?

Friday afternoon I took a bus to nearby Lesko, rented a bicycle and explored the adjoining countryside, finally napping in the autumn sunshine next to the River San.  A historical moment later in the day was my entering the one few surviving synagogues in the area, a weathered but lovely building just off the Lesko town square.  Prior to WW II, Lesko's population was 60 percent Jewish.  By the wars' end they had all been murdered by the Germans.

Yesterday I walked the first leg of what is known locally as the "Trail of the Ikons," a three km jaunt along the river taking me to Miedzybrodzie, a Greek Catholic church dating from 1899.  Along with a grey onion-shaped dome, the two parallel windows held matching red crosses, late sunshine lighting up the northern-facing window.  Beautiful!

Tuesday I finally leave Sanok after 12 restful nights and head south to hike in the high grasslands in Bieszczadki National Park.  Friday will find me back in Krakow.  Sunday I fly back to Paris. October 21st back to the USA.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Northeastern European Taxi---An Anecdotal Appraisal & More Seattle Taxi Updates

Given that I find taxi interesting, I will attempt to to give you my observations about taxi in the various countries I have travelled to, where I have both taken and avoided taxis; for instance, not liking the looks of those ruffian cabbies waiting in front of the Vilnius train station. Wow, what an ominous looking crew.

But before proceeding with that somewhat unscientific analysis, I would first like to introduce everyone to this amazing part of the world we share that I literally stumbled upon, that being the southeastern corner of Poland better known as the region of Bieszczady which is, in turn,  the Polish province of Podkarpackie.  I feel lucky to have found myself here accidentally nestled in the Polish Carpathian Mountains foothills.The surrounding green hills are lovely to behold.

Where I am, and will remain for another five days, is the Hotel Jagiellonski in Sanok, a city of  about 40,000 residents located on the River San. My corner room on the second floor allows me to do what I have been needing to do for months if not years: have a sustained rest and collect my often weary thoughts.

It has  been a month now since my departure, and still, thirty days later,  the ill effects of too much taxi remain.While slowly regaining my departed strength, I remain alarmed at how much damage has occurred.  As I have always said, taxi is a perpetually fatigued industry, and folks, I can say definitely that I quality as exhibit A to that notion. But if soup qualifies as medicine, I will soon be healed due to my nightly supping upon the delicious soups served in the hotel restaurant as part of their daily special, 17 zl, translating into about $4.00.

Sanok itself is a historical place, having been here for centuries, now posing as a mild tourist attraction, at least during the prime summer months of July and August. The center, or "centrum," is located upon a hill overlooking the rest of the city.  Today, for the second time since my arrival, I walked up and up the sidewalks in the wonderful city park to what appears to be the highest point, a lookout allowing you an expansive view of the city and the River San valley and the surrounding forested  foothills.  I know I am sounding like a travel pamphlet but Sanok is truly a pretty place.

A couple blocks adjacent to the park is the town square, and also near by, is the city museum located in what they call "the castle."  Anyone visiting Sanok, and especially those interested in religious art, should immediately enter those doors and allow themselves to be embraced by the most astounding collection of 15th to 19th Century Polish Christian artifacts and paintings.  Anyone halfway familiar with the subject will be simultaneously astonished and pleased.  A museum guard told me that it is the finest collection in all of Poland, and I have no reason to doubt him, the large case of Crucifixion figures more than enough to convince me.  Another reason to to go is that a  large portion of the museum is dedicated to local artist Sanok, Zdzislaw Beksinski (1929-2005), whose mature work is both surreal and symbolic.  A statue of Beksinski can be found in the square just outside the Tourist Info Office door.

Everywhere you will find, especially if one is paying attention, reminders of Sanok's both distant and recent past. On the walls of the hall, Dom Sokola,  built  in 1889, is a  pictorial history of the events that have taken place over a hundred-year period inside that venerable hall, including, from 1943, a photograph of an auditorium and stage filled with Nazis and local Nazi sympathizers. In the church located on the square, I found a painting of an obvious Auschwitz inmate standing in front of the barbed wire fences.  I was told the man portrayed is considered a local saint, having given up his life to save another.

And just outside the square, is a memorial with the following inscription written in Polish and Hebrew and English:
                                      Opposite To This Place Stood A Synagogue
                                                         Desecrated And Burned
                                                         By The German Occupiers
                                               In Memory Of Over 10,00 Jews 
                                               From Sanok And The Vicinity
                                               Murdered During The World War II
                                                      By The German Genociders

Perhaps not the best translation but, the message sent is clear, so very clear.

NE Europe Taxi

In this description I include Poland which is more central than the Baltic regions but close enough for taxi government work, and besides, this is intended, as implied, to be anecdotal and not to be regarded as thoroughly comprehensive.  Part of what I know has already been noted in recent postings, especially my first taxi ride in Saint Petersburg.

At least in the three Baltic capitals of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, but also in the Polish city of Krakow, the taxi industry appear to only be partially regulated, resulting in all four cities having an "anything goes" meter or rate system.  My taxi fare from the Tallinn airport was just 13 euros, but later in the week, to my shock, a very short ride I took to get from the 'train public market" to the other side of "Old Town" cost me 10 euros.  I did mention it to the driver but what he told me was accurate, the cabs have different rates.  I still think he overcharged me, the asshole.  I did file a complaint with Tallinn's taxi commission, and getting quickly back to me, explained to me, the best they could, with how the situation stood.  And making it worse, the driver tried to take me to the National Library, not the Tallinn City Library.  I HAD to show him where it was. Ridiculous! How many days did I stay in Tallinn? Eight!

In Riga, having learned my lesson, I had the Tourist office located at the bus station call me a cab.  A green-colored "Baltic Cab" pulled up about 10 minutes later and took me to a genuine "Latvian" sauna. The driver, having once lived in London, spoke some English, telling me that in three weeks he was joining his brother in Norway to work on a construction site.  After three years driving Riga cab, he wasn't making enough money to justify his 24 hour shift on, with two days off.  The best he could expect to make was about 100-110 euros for 24 hours.  I can see why he was looking forward to Norway.  When he gets back he plans on buying a house on a small plot outside of Riga.  He appeared motivated.  He was a good driver, skilled at maneuvering in heavy traffic.

In Vilnius, the thugs waiting outside the train station alarmed me.  I know what waiting too long does to the taxi mind.  I quickly learned how the bus system worked and went everywhere I needed to go, thankfully avoiding what looked like a very surly taxi crowd.  As much as I defend my fellow cabbies, I am realistic, understanding better than they do what desperation does to the malcontent taxi driver.

In Helsinki, passing through like I did to and back from Saint Petersburg, I could tell, just like the city and Finns in general, the taxis were organized, their lineup outside of the extremely busy central train terminal making sense, as opposed to Seattle's "King Street Station" which is both stupid and chaotic.  I doubt if the Finns would allow the rates not to be standardized.  It only makes sense, ultimately serving both the drivers and the passenger public.  Waiting at a Krakow, Poland tram stop, I was able to read the various taxi rates while cabs waited at the light.  The variation in rates made little sense.  It became clear which cabs to take, and not. And besides, this kind of system usually results in unhappy drivers and unsafe cabs.  I saw that in Seattle when the City allowed this kind of system.  It just doesn't ultimately function, resulting in poor service.

A ride I haven't mentioned yet was the taxi I took from my Saint Petersburg hotel to the ferry terminal.  I had the hotel call, and within five minutes the cab was there.  It was clear the driver was uncertain about the address and soon, after we got under way, I understood why.  The cabbie, a truly nice guy, was a genuine part-timer, his primary gig instead driving cement trucks.  His English wasn't great, and my Russian non-existent but still we had a good time, telling me we were driving by his home as we took a direct route back to the ferry.   He showed me both his taxi and truck driving licenses.  I gave him a very big tip.  I enjoyed his forthrightness, making both of my Russian cab experiences terrific rides, one by a complete professional; the other by this gentleman, the congenial amateur.

Seattle Taxi Forever On My Mind

I am going to make this short and expand further in a future posting.  What I will leave you with is that the Seattle City Council, in its confused wisdom, is now joining "liberal" forces with Teamsters 117 to forge ahead with an effort to allow collective bargaining for those thieves (having stole from the taxi industry for over 3 years) known as the anointed flat-rate for hire drivers and Uber (TNC) drivers.  It appears that the council, after unknowingly (and unwittingly, it appears) essentially de-regulated the local transportation industry, is now attempting to mend its evil ways by recognizing that the Uber drivers are little better than indentured servants.  And need I remind anyone that Seattle's resident Socialist voted for their servitude? Comical yes but serious they are, serious of course for a bureaucratic circus.  But of course, being good progressives, they have banned the tigers and elephants but oddly, have left the baboons.  How could that be?

More later from Sanok.