Saturday, October 24, 2020

California Proposition 22 & Me Versus The City Of Bellevue, Washington & Nearly Mashed In The Southbound Highway 99 Tunnel & Voting Song By Crabtree And Mills

Uber says, "Please, don't hold us accountable!"

What do Uber, Lyft, Door Dash, Instracart, Postmates all have in common?  All are attempting to overturn the State of California Assembly Bill 5 passed in September 2019.  Why have they spent over $200 million dollars to pass California State Proposition 22?  Are these mega-companies suddenly "good neighbors," now interested in the common good?  

No, that doesn't seem to be the case, instead all interested in only protecting their financial bottom line, with Uber once again losing 1.8 billion this most recent quarter, meaning California's designating gig-workers as employees is economic poison for Uber and its ilk, not interested in paying sick leave, overtime and other related benefits.  

With less than two weeks left until the election, Uber and company are pleading with California voters to continue providing them with a free ride minus any real governmental control or regulation.  Could the majority of Californians be that stupid?  Given our nation's recent voting track record, anything is indeed possible, people unable to see beyond their nose.  Even my sister in Tehachapi has a vote.  I wonder what she will do?

My Court Date is now November 24th

Some might remember I was given a ticket in Bellevue many months ago simply for parking legally in Bellevue, Bellevue having this obscure law forbidding all taxi cabs from parking anywhere on the city streets.  Even if you own a house, you are forbidden to park in front of your legal residence, which I why I have always intended to ask both Bellevue's mayor and police chief to tell the court why this is both legal and reasonable?  Do I want to take the time and effort to accomplish this?  No I don't but how can I let these _______s get away with this kind of discrimination?  The answer is simple, I can't.

Crazy speeders in the Hwy 99 tunnel

Am I the only one to notice that drivers are blatantly breaking the 45 MPH speed limit in the north and southbound Highway 99 tunnels?  It appears to be true because enforcement is nonexistent, cars flying through at 60,70, 80 mph, making the 1.7 mile journey from one end to the other extremely hazardous.  Wednesday afternoon I was southbound mid-tunnel, driving 50 mph, when in the rearview mirror I saw 3 cars bearing down on me at high rates of speed.  The third car, speeding between 70-80 mph while appearing not to see me, prompted my gunning of the accelerator in an desperate attempt to avoid being slammed from behind.  Thankfully the maneuver worked, my quick reaction allowing some space between tragedy and relief, the car stopping just short of my bumper.  Of course none of this should be occurring, a speed camera an obvious deterrent in a narrow tunnel.  What did WDOT think would be happening on this stretch of roadway?  Compliance!?  That's a joke as from day one fools have been endangering me and everyone else, giving little heed to reason and commonsense. 

1960s Voting song written 2006 by JoAnne Crabtree

This morning, listening to "This Saturday Tradition" on KCBS 91.3 FM I heard a song harkening back to the 1960s folkie/civil rights days.  The song, "What Else Can I Do?," sung by the duo Crabtree & Mills, springs from traditional old-fashioned activism, encouraging us to take up of the battle for societal and cultural justice, telling everyone it's time to vote your heart, your mind, your soul.  

Yes, it's that time of year again where excuses don't cut it, it's time to participate in making positive changes through your right to vote for candidates and issues affecting you and me and our entire great country.  Being registered in New Mexico this time around, I sent in my absentee ballot over ten days ago.  If you haven't voted, please get your "ass in gear" and vote.  All of us are depending upon you. Vote!

Here is the song's first and last stanzas and chorus.  From the Crabtree & Mills album, "Flight of Fancy"

                                                      "What Else Can I Do?"

First Stanza:                         I have seen the face of anguish 

                                             I have heard the voice of pain

                                             In the mother who is marching

                                            And the son who has no name.

                                            So I go and help my neighbor,

                                           "Cause what else can I do?

                                           And then I vote my conscience,

                                           And I hope that you do too.

Chorus:                              I want to stand for something

                                          I want to ride that freedom train

                                          I want to share my privilege 

                                         With those who feel the same

                                         I want to stand together outside the voting booth,

                                         for honor and for truth.

Last Stanza:                     So I go and help my neighbor

                                        And I hope that you do too

                                        And then I vote my conscience 

                                        'Cause nothing less will do.


Stakes are very high this election.  Don't think so?   Friday the USA had a record 85,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. 225,000 Americans are dead.   Some experts believe there will be 400,000 dead by January 1st.  

Climate change?   California had a record 4 million acres burned, 1million alone in one fire.  Colorado is now burning, parts of Rocky Mountain National Park in flames, bark beetle larva surviving winters that once killed them, the adult beetles eating the trees.  

Hurricanes?  Port Charles, Louisiana has been hit by two huge hurricanes a month apart, the mayor asking "Has America forgotten us?"

Iowa August derecho thunder storm?   20% of Iowa's farm crops are destroyed in a matter of hours, winds 70 to 120 mph wiping out towns, farms and fields.

Did you know that Trump's own wife is still in recovery from COVID-19?  During the past 2 weeks, has Trump mentioned any concern for her welfare?  Not that I have heard reported.  

Vote smartly, vote correctly. Vote!


Friday, October 16, 2020

Reality Of Taxi As I Know It---A Real Text Quote Sent Monday Morning: "Weirdo bitch go sleep the f___k, Get ur musty ass out the cab"

Ah yes, such sweet tidings, and why such utterances texted my way?   And how did they have my telephone number?  It all began early Monday morning sitting at the King Street Station composing last week's blog posting.  Having just finished, I accepted a call to the 175 (the Denny Regrade), belled to the Loyal Inn.  Calling the telephone number, Valerie said she was coming.  Arriving at the hotel, no Valerie, prompting another call. "Oh I'm coming," she says. Waiting for a few more futile minutes, I request my no-show, and instantly given another 175 call, once again the tardy Valerie.  I call, asking why call dispatch again when I am sitting in front of the hotel?  "Oh no, I hadn't called again."  Calling dispatch, they responded she had placed another request. Why is she lying?

Suddenly I sense a presence outside my cab and there she is, standing near the left passenger door, trailed by someone clearly her pimp, Valerie a hooker lurking in the early morning gloaming.  Surprised, I tell her I was waiting for someone coming from the hotel, prompting an "I was using their address," telling me it was time to leave, and I did, knowing full well what was coming: an extremely stressful ride taking two sullen, angry half out-of-their-mind street denizens to where I probably had no interest in going at 3 o'clock in the morning.  I turned off my computer and went home, fully having had enough of "enough already!'

After awakening I found her massage, confirming who they were which was easy to know, not wanting to know but certainly I knew, the two of them one of too many lost souls wandering the streets requesting your participation into a nightmare of their personal making---composed of vipers, demons and vengeful ghosts. In a different moment I would have usually put up with it, taken the abuse and attempted to wish them well, delivering them to their desired destination but sometimes I simply can't do it, all too painful, too crazy to bear, knowing instead sleep the better companion in the bitter not sweet morning.

And this is the world I am either blessed or cursed to know, America's underbelly inhabiting the streets, totally self-absorbed, not caring about you, me or even themselves, new zombies biting, gnashing the air, prepared to assault, bludgeon or kill anyone blocking their path to where they are going, oblivion their home and destiny, melodrama their persistent theme.  Ain't it grand?

City/County Medallion Renewal Schedule

You can renew your taxi medallion from October 12th to December 31st, with a grace period of two weeks ending January 15th, 2021.

Fees have been reduced.  $300.00 for city-only, $500.00 for dual licensed cabs.   WA State fee reduced to $145.00 for single and dual-plated cabs. or call 206-386-1268 to schedule a meter test appointment.

Go to Guru Auto Repair for your safety inspection.  

COVID-19 News

The total number of USA coronavirus cases is now over 8 million, that is, as of 5:28 PM Friday, 10/16/2020, totaling 8,282,809 confirmed infections. The nationwide death toll has now reached 223,581. Recent daily count this week is at 53,000 newly confirmed cases.

Today, the regional trauma center, Harborview Hospital, announced it had its own recent virus outbreak infecting 10 staff and 4 patients, with one of the patients dying.

Worldwide, there have been 39.1 million cases and 1.1 million deaths.  

Last night, Trump said, during his NBC solo town hall meeting, that he has been doing a good job controlling the virus.  His own son, 14 year old Barron, now has COVID-19, Trump dismissing his son's illness, showing no concern.

43% of all COVID-19 deaths were either African-American or Hispanic.

Political Humor (told to me by a passenger)

What is a Trump-kin?

Orange all over, hollow inside, and tossed out in November

Monday, October 12, 2020

It's Time The Seattle Yellow Taxi Single Owners Have Legal Representation & Soured Relationship: Puget Sound Dispatch And The Yellow Fleet & Did The City Of Seattle Violate Taxi Driver Privacy?

We Must Have Legal Advocacy 

As will be outlined in my separate sections concerning Puget Sound Dispatch and the City of Seattle, we, meaning the collective Seattle Yellow Cab single owner community, require some kind of legal protection because its clear we are essentially defenseless, PSD and Seattle Taxi licensing doing anything they want to us minus consultation or consideration, leaving us with little to no effective ability to respond to dictates good and bad. Where once some owners entrusted Teamsters 117 to speak for them, it's now obvious they were mistaken, the Teamsters embracing our arch-rivals, Uber and Lyft, leaving us to fend for ourselves. And since that's our unvarnished reality, we must hire a lawyer or lawyers telling all concerned parties we are no longer remaining silent, demanding a "seat at the table" concerning decisions influencing our future well-being.  

In short, collectively we have been extremely foolish to remain PSD's and the City of Seattle's punching bags.  If necessary, we must hit back.  I see no other recourse because PSD's operational repression is relentless, expecting us to pay for our own diminishment, and worse, saying we are getting what we deserve---lump it but please, guys, don't leave us---and continue giving us money as we routinely bash everyone in the head.  

This must stop, which I why I am  encouraging all of you to join me and others in this effort to regain a balance lost years ago when the City of Seattle and King County forced us taxi independent operators to join a association or simply lose our right to operate a cab.  If we write letters or make telephone calls, they are ignored but if a lawyer writes or calls for us, they will begin listening, I can guarantee you that.  As been said many times, united we stand, divided we fall. 

The Last Straw? PSD's Decision to Conceal Time-calls 

It appears Puget Sound Dispatch has lost track of history, operating as if Yellow Cab/PSD is still the BYG taxi cooperative and not what it is now---a company composed solely of independent single owners.  Back then, big multiple medallion owners like Lema, Noven, Hirschberg and others were making the decisions but that is no longer the case, PSD existing now in an operational vacuum minus any foundational support other than the single owners, a base they routinely refuse to recognize. 

Given this new dynamic, one would think PSD would begin working cooperatively with us (that is, the single owner community) but the exact opposite is true, treating us as quasi-employees and refusing to  allow us any participation in association operations.  Case in point was PSD's unannounced decision to no longer display upcoming account time-calls, the "bread and butter" all of us depend upon to make our living given the recent crash in tourist-related and business travel customers.  

Why did they do this?  Because too many owners have been sitting in key areas waiting for the time calls rather than accept usually smaller cash fares but much of this is a problem created by PSD itself.  Instead of having timed the calls in say, 15 minute intervals, they have been displaying them 45-60 minutes ahead of time, causing the drivers to bunch up when a time-call appears in a given zone.  

And each week, management highlights the biggest weekly account fare, last week it was a $800.00 fare, with an amazing $1000.00 plus fare coming out a few weeks ago.  By advertising these "Golden Eggs," they have taken away any incentive to instead grab that $5.00 Safeway run.  One then could say PSD's approach is nonsensical, displaying little thought to how one correctly operates a taxi company.

While agreeing overall that too many of the owners aren't the best cabbies, PSD has repeatedly refused my offer to teach our fleet how to properly drive a cab.  Me and my taxi buddy Rick, previous owner of Redtop Taxi, have said we will do it, we will help mold these guys into the cabbies PSD wants them to be but no, PSD continues to say no, we won't do that.  

On one hand they say they have no authority over the drivers while simultaneously making all the decisions for them minus input and consultation.  Does this make any sense?  And now does anyone wonder why I say we need lawyers in our corner?  The alternative to this is PSD's recognition they are in an equal partnership with the owners, as I said earlier, with PSD finally understanding that basic foundational dynamics have changed, making cooperation the new operational imperative.  

Seattle Checking on Cabbies' Hours

In the last PSD newsletter, all of us were informed that the City of Seattle have been checking on our hours worked, concerned some of us are surpassing legal daily limits.  All this is news to me, bringing up the legality of the City seeking information that could be considered confidential.   The conflict arises in that while, yes, I am leasing dispatch services from Yellow/PSD, I have never agreed to them acting as my legal agent.  

And again, this is why we single owners need a lawyer, telling us what's up, what's down, who is real and who is a clown.  

And since my Mac's battery is almost expired, I'll leave it at that.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Back In The Seattle Taxi Saddle: Seattle Kisses Uber And Lyft & Trust And Believe The Philippines Dispatch? & Who Wants To Be In A Damn Cab: Why I Travel

I made it back to Seattle from Arcata in one day, leaving early to allow myself some time to walk along a beach and twice visiting towering redwoods.  It was sad to leave but currently, this is my self-manufactured state, muttering to myself on Friday, "I gotta get out of here! and damn well it's true, sleeping 11 to 12 hours a day in Arcata  recovering from what is not possible: the unrelenting grind that is taxi.  Now to subjects taxi.

Oh those poor abused TNC (ride-share) operators: Boo Hoo Hoo!

They, being the combined forces of the Seattle City Council and the Mayor's Office, along with Teamsters 117, have finally implemented their early Christmas gift to local Uber and Lyft drivers, passing a bill assuring they earn the local minimum wage of $16.75, making this somehow "First Testament biblical"--- the Council, the Mayor and a certain Mister Smith taking on the guise of Jesus Christ personally administering to the blind, lame and crippled TNC masses.  Damn they missed a grand opportunity, failing to enlist Pope Francis, the Dali Lama and the Archbishop of Canterbury in this grand governmentally religious endeavor, perhaps signing on the Rev Franklyn Graham too to this grand, spiritual enterprise.  Praise GOD but shaft the cabbies, issuing them tickets on the lower West Seattle Bridge and generally kicking their asses in and around the entire Puget Sound!

Does anyone remember that these Uber clowns operated illegally in Seattle for over an entire year before  granted permission to work in Seattle, flouting laws, rules and regulations, not caring one bit who they affected or harmed?  And after Mayor ("can I pay you for a little _____") Murray decided their numbers shouldn't be capped, Uber and Lyft propagated like Viagra-maddened Easter bunnies, over-populating Seattle and King County with over 28,000 drivers. 

And I thought Mister Smith was our taxi buddy.  That what I get for thinking.  I think it's time for me to retire to merry old Oxford England and have a cup of tea with someone named Dawn who once fought for thee, you ye merry old traditional cabbie!  Ha Ha Ha.  

Am I out-of-my-mind?  Indeed I am working on a full moon night, illuminating my brain by the lunar light, shouting silently minus hesitation with all my throat and might!

I neither believe what the Cebu-based dispatch say or trust what they do

I give up.  These folks answering the telephone way across the Pacific Ocean collectively do not know what they are doing 100 % of the time.  Perhaps they do operate efficiently 75 % when dispatching our calls but that isn't good enough.  Even if they are operating effectively nine out of ten tries, that still means they are screwing up a full 10 % of the calls.  Do you you as a Seattle Yellow Cab customer want to be part of that 10-25 % disparity?  No, I didn't think so.  

Yesterday, I was belled into 2201 Westlake Avenue North.  Where was the elderly passenger really waiting?  2201 Westlake Avenue.  She told me she clearly told the call-taker the correct address.  When I call dispatch I am told it was the passenger's fault, which is the "old dispatch" line of blaming everything upon the dumbbell customer.  All I can say is, Cebu & Company are learning their lessons well.  

And a few minutes ago I am belled into 2905 1st Avenue South.  Where was the customer actually waiting?  On the corner of 1st & Broad, 2905 1st Avenue.  

I've had enough of this.  When I call Cebu dispatch I now say I can no longer trust or believe what they say.  Why should I or any other Seattle Yellow Taxi single owner believe or trust these folks to do their job well?  The answer is, we, that means all of us, continue to have our time, and our customers time, wasted.  

And what is current management going to do about it?  First, they will be angry that I have once again displayed our "dirty laundry," blaming me (and all of the other single owners) for something currently out of our control, and most galling, continuing to make us pay for this disservice.  It is our money paying the salaries of those fine ladies and gentleman sitting across the roiling sea, not management.  Then management will say that the Cebu call takers are doing a wonderful job, and that I have no idea what I am talking about, denial a current popular American tradition, calling everything a hoax, fake news, etc. 

What management won't do is attempt to refine and enhance the call takers skills, allowing this is to fester like an untreated wound.  Doctor?  We don't need no doctor!

And they will expect us to accept the situation remaining the same regardless of obvious reality.  Amongst themselves they will insult us owners, saying they do this and that, which, while being totally true, cannot be part of this conversation.  We did not hire non-taxi personnel to run our dispatch.  They did.  This is solely a management issue that must be resolved by management.  

Please, whatever the solution is, implement it, make it happen.  I don't want or deserve another misaddressed bell.  I pay my dispatch fee.  I serve all the bells I accept.  I deserve better.  If I don't, I want management to tell me why.

And certainly our customers deserve better than the service they are getting.  Why do they have to wait 30 minutes (in ten-minute service areas) wondering where their cab is?  Why?  Why do they have to wait when instead a correctly addressed bell will quickly deliver to them their cab.

What is going on?  I repeat, what is going on?  Oh, I think I said I know what is occurring here.  Sorry for the repetition. 

Why I Travel

One simple answer it that it's "in my blood," having moved year to year during my childhood, a thousand miles this way, two thousand miles in the opposite direction nine months later.  Desert, mountains, frozen wilderness, prairie were all my home, rattlesnakes, coyotes, buffalos, pronghorn my personal friends.  By latest count I have been to 45 countries and territories.  I am never more stimulated than when I am where I haven't been before, or like the area around Arcata, someplace worthy of more exploration.  

This past Wednesday, while walking upon a paved trail near the ocean, we discovered a bushy trail taking us down to where the Mad River meets the Pacific, suddenly standing on a pebbly beach surrounded by lush foliage and blessed silence, our modern word obliterated, nothing mattering except the natural world embracing us in that moment.

That is why I travel, and have traveled, be it Russia, the Dakota Badlands or the Redmond Watershed Preserve located a few miles away across Lake Washington, where yesterday I marveled at the rain-glistering spiderwebs waving in the breeze, their tiny brown hosts waiting for a passing fly. 

That's why I travel and you should to.  Five years ago I stayed 10 days in Sanok, Poland wandering the streets and the local countryside; and in the evening, supping on various delicious soups in my hotel's dining room, the experience staying with me, to this moment, to this hour.  That's why I travel.  To quote the poet Robert Frost, "You come too."  You won't regret it, I assure you.