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On August 16th of this year, I received a copy of an email that my friend, Paul Morris, A.K.A. "Bubbles," sent to mayor Fred and a few other local politicians. (Sam Merulla, Tom Jackson, Terry Whitehead and Maria Pearson.)

Here is the email Mr. Morris sent:

"As a long time taxi driver in this city, I would like to ask what (if any) tangible action plan the council has for dealing with Uber. I am all for competition - as a consumer of various goods / services myself, I appreciate choice - BUT it needs to be FAIR, and on a LEVEL PLAYING FIELD so to speak. How does the city justify its inaction and ineffective addressing of this issue while they continue to maintain the stauts quo for those involved in the taxi industry as to licensing, bylaws and regulation. fees collected, fines for violation of said bylaws / codes, and generally just raking in $ for all these years from those in this industry?

Then there's the issue of allowing a mega US corporation to flout the existing system so to speak, by their inaction. In conversation with my fellow drivers, it's an accurate observation to say, that Uber has gobbled up at least 50% - and on weekend nites more - of the business, while those in the taxi industry who have to follow all the regs, codes, and be licensed, as well as pay many types of fees etc, suffer the loss.

One of my fellow drivers took a cab recently in Toronto and in conversation with the driver, was informed that there, apparently, the city has begun taking steps to help the taxi industry. They still have a way to go however but at least they're trying. All this money being funnelled out of country to a corporation that at the same time doesn't pay taxes in Canada on the money they earn here, thus depriving this country / province / city of much needed revenue to address needs here.

There was a meeting last month, hosted by Monica Cirello which apparently accomplished littel to notihing to sovling the aforementioned issues. Is this the way you repsond to issues of concern - for appearances sake go thru a charade of seeming to deal with the problem?

Given the number of emails I have sent the mayor and councilors that almost NEVER see a response, Bubbles actually received the following reply from the mayor:

Hello Paul,


 

Thank you for reaching out to me. The motion that passed at Council is to introduce a licensing category for ride-sharing applications similar to the by-law passed in Edmonton a few months ago. The intent is to ultimately legalize ridesharing in Hamilton while also ensuring public safety and promoting fair competition within the industry. We expect this will be coming to Council in the fall.


 

Should you require more information or have other concerns, please let me know.


 

Cheers,


 

Fred

Analysis and Translation

Some might think it rare that a politician would answer a question with such direct honesty as Mayor Fred has done in this instance.

Also, to be fair to the mayor, he does point out that the motion was passed by city council, not just him. Therefore, the blame is to be shared.

In essence, the mayor's response to Paul's concerns about equal application of the law, the reasons for his and council's unfathomable obeisance to this American corporation that has shown nothing but contempt for our laws, and his response to the fact that many Hamilton cab drivers have had their livelihoods, and lives, turned upside-down by this corporate rogue is a simple,

Paul,

Fuck You.

We don't really give a rat's ass about your little problems.

You object to the harm being committed by this rogue corporation, and the fact that the city just sits back and does nothing? Well, guess what? We are going to add icing to the cake by legalizing, it. (Besides, the city of Edmonton has already done so, and I read over and over again that Edmonton's is a "model" for other cities. So there.)

I must say, such honesty coming from a politician is rare.

The indefatigable, Bubbles, wrote back to the mayor,

Fred

thanks for your reply to my query.. I'm not sure what Edmonton did, but you still made no comment re all the fees etc the taxi industry pays and what if anything, will be done about easing them. If a cabbie has to pay (including abstract and photo) over 200$ / year at present, for a taxi licence, and owners/ lessees have to pay more on top of that, what will be done to give some relief? I mean the info is all on file on computers, including the photos, so why the extortionate fees for less than 15 min of work by city staff to issue a new version? Even an Ontario driver's licence / permit doesn't cost so much, and it's good for 5 years!

To which the mayor, again, responded,

Hi Paul, by licensing uber, we are hoping to level the playing field. Staff have been working with our Licensing, cab company and uber representatives to do just that. Edmonton created a licensing class for uber/ride sharing applications. That is what we are doing as well.

Even though this response from mayor Fred is shorter than the first one, it remains highly revealing as to the mayor's commitment to honesty.

Consider the statement, "by licensing uber, we are hoping to level the playing field."

This statement is so staggeringly preposterous that base stupidity could not, alone, explain it. Though maybe it does, given all of the idiocy we have seen of late in road reconfigurations in Hamilton.

The literal translation of the mayor's words goes thus:

"by licensing bandit cabs affiliated with uber, and giving them an entirely separate set of rules that leave their competitors in the other taxi companies straight-jacketed, we are hoping to level the playing field. (!) "

Speaking colloquially for a moment, have you ever heard a bigger crock of shit?

Note his use of the dishonest "ride sharing" euphemism for bandit taxis. By perpetuating the fraudulent idea that bandit taxis are not taxis, and are an entirely different mode of transportation than taxis, the mayor tries to pull the wool over the eyes of one of his constituents in order to further the interests of Uber.

Why doesn't he just HAVE THE BALLS to tell it like it really is?

Prediction

The mayor and city council will go ahead and legitimize Uber bandit cabs. The spin in the media and Uber's own money power will Trump any of the concerns of local plebes. The facts that Uber's profits are siphoned away to the Netherlands at the expense of local businesses, that Uber takes advantage of innumerate "partners" by charging them 25% for the work they do with their own time and resources (just like an income tax,)

The fact that Uber relies upon dangerous distractive technology to dispatch its cabs

The fact that Uber's use of unmarked taxicabs normalizes the questionable practice of riding in cars with strangers....

will not deter the City of Hamilton from welcoming this monstrous corporate bully into our midst, regardless of how many lives are destroyed.

Is there a lesson to be learned here?

Yes. As all of the cab drivers who jumped through, and over, the city's hoops and barriers to employment in the cab business, and to all of the plate owners who invested a major part of their lives in the City-created taxi license franchise system, the lesson is SCREAMINGLY CLEAR!

Never trust a politician.

Comments

  1. Just turned on Bill Kelly show....Donna Skelly was on talking about beautify Upper James street. Of course with tax payers money. I felt sick....just goes on and on.

    ReplyDelete

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