"TAXI MEDALLIONS ARE NOT A COMMODITY!"
A STATEMENT
TO THE BOARD
OF THE SAN FRANCISCO MUNICIPAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY
January, 2010

by Christopher Fulkerson

CF's Composition Desk
BLISS
Unusual Aerial Phenomenon Over San Francisco Bay
Photograph by Christopher Fulkerson
Copyright 1999 by Christopher Fulkerson
All Rights Reserved

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Gentlemen, Ma’am,

You all know the essentials of history.   In terms of your options, which are few, and your need, which is great, you are in exactly the same position as the Renaissance popes.   Sale of medallions in the same thing as the ancient practice of selling offices.  

Medallions are not a commodity.    They are a license.   You don’t sell licenses.

For the issuance of a license it makes sense to charge a fee.   I did the math.    You need about $6,600 per medallion.    I suggest you simply charge it of us.    I think the bulk of this money could be charged of the drivers, the rest, of the companies.    If you allow us some kind of meter increase, and give us the health care we are owed, that would be progress.

I said some of this during the exploratory meetings, and some of it in a long and carefully reckoned letter.   It is clear this did no good.   You are on the verge of instituting the same so-called reforms you had in mind before the meetings.   You made up your minds generally and worked out the details without reference to public input.

If you allow medallions to go for $250,000, you will of course convert SF to a corporate structure and the owner-operator will eventually – though you claim it’s not in the plan, the hands-on driver will disappear.    This will result in a reduction in quality of service to San Franciscans.

What you are considering is reprehensible.   You are trying to get money for nothing, and you are selling the idea to others by saying they too can get money for nothing.   

Medallions are not a commodity.   If you sell them, that will not make them behave as commodities.

************

First posted 1/18/2011.

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