“They have waged a number of media campaigns against us,” D.C. cabbie Mechal Chame said of the local press corps. “We are not against the public interest.”
Chame appeared on WUST 1120 AM’s The Taxi Link, which is sponsored by The Small Business Association of DC Taxicab Drivers (SBA) and co-hosted byTheFightBack‘s Pete Tucker and D.C. Advisory Neighborhood Commission member Tony Norman, who’s chairman of the board for Pacifica Radio’s WPFW 89.3 FM.
Among the issues discussed on the program was last Monday’s meeting of Dominion of DC Professional Taxicab Drivers Association which was attended by more than 100 drivers, including D.C. Taxicab Commission (DCTC) member Stanley Tapscott. “We need to pack that place down there,” Tapscott said referring to the DCTC hearing room at 441 4th St., NW. “If we don’t do it they’re going to run over us.”
DCTC has a general meeting scheduled for this Wed., August 8 at 10 a.m. According to the DCTC agenda, the commission will be welcoming a new commissioner, as well as voting on final proposed amendments to Title 31 Chapter 8, which deals with the operation of taxicabs.
In addition to Tapscott, Patrick Scanlon, an attorney for Akin Gump, addressed drivers gathered at Takoma Park Middle School last week. Scanlon gave a status update on the lawsuit Akin Gump filed against the District, which earlier that day had been referred out of federal court and back to D.C. court. “It’s neither a victory or defeat,” said Scanlon, who overall viewed the move as positive. “We are happy about it though. D.C. court is where we wanted to be.”
On a pro-bono basis Akin Gump is representing two driver organizations, Dominion and DC Professional Taxicab Drivers Association, but not the largest driver group, SBA.
Scanlon said D.C. court is the most appropriate place to hear the case since what’s in question is local D.C. laws surrounding issues like the “functionality of the DCTC, fair representation of the drivers on the Commission, and… a properly operating Commission that represents the public interest as well as the driver interest.”
Also discussed on The Taxi Link was the media’s unfair treatment of D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, who joined Norman, Tucker and WPFW general manager John Hughes on Thursday in a successful kickoff of WPFW’s mini-pledge drive.
Prior to his late entry into the political arena, Gray spent his career in the social services where he focused on homeless youth and adults with disabilities. “I love helping people,” said Gray. “I love helping people get to another place.”
* Having trouble hearing The Taxi Link on the radio? Try listening to the program live (Sat. 7:30-8:30 p.m.) on your phone by calling (832) 225-5330. Or download the free app TuneIn Radio on your smart phone.
** Saturday from 8:30-10 p.m., directly following The Taxi Link, the SBA hosts a taxi phone conference in Amharic. To listen, call (712) 432-3100, then enter this code: 140-465.
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