The shift in the Big Apple political winds will ripple to operators in New York City and to bordering regions beyond. New York will get a new mayor this election season and many are betting that Democrat Bill de Blasio is the man. He is running against Republican Joe Lhota who was deputy mayor under Rudy Giuliani. De Blasio has a wide lead in the polls and the tide seams to have turned in his direction. Barring a major “Weiner” screw-up, he will most likely take the post.
De Blasio is not a fan of Taxi and Limousine Commissioner (TLC) David Yassky. In a recent radio interview which was included in the New York Post, he said, “I’d start by getting a new chairman for the Taxi & Limousine Commission. David Yassky is someone who I regularly disagreed with ... I want someone who will work with the drivers.”
De Blasio comments article here
Not only will we see a change in the mayor’s office but also likely in the TLC leadership under De Blasio. Who will fill this important role for our industry? Speculators have thrown out former TLC Commissioner Matthew Daus’ name, but there is no foundation in this. Daus is entrenched as the chair of the Transportation Practice Group at the law firm of Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf, LLP. He is the attorney for the Limousine Associations of New Jersey as well as Coalition of Transportation Associations (COTA) and he is still active in the International Association of Transportation Regulators.
De Blasio last September addressed a COTA event where Yassky also spoke earlier in the day. “I didn’t know a lot about this industry when I became a public advocate,” de Blasio said. “This industry is foundational to everything that is New York City. I would have thought that this was a very prosperous industry which works well with city government,” he joked. “I would not have expected the Chairman [Yassky] to take sport of an industry we so desperately need. It is important that this group has organized to make your voice heard. It is unhealthy when there is an imbalance. In all my time working with city government, I have not had a constituent say we need more street hails.
“You are job creators,” he continued. “You are the true New York story. Often immigrants get a job driving a taxi or black car. We have failed the test in first doing no harm as a city. I want the industry to be strong and stable. The city needs to sit with the stakeholders and the businesses. We are in the greatest economic crisis of all times. We need to take special pains to protect businesses to ensure that they make it through. There are few industries that have been hurt as hard as this one. Our job is to help you through. I encourage you to work together and get your voices heard and work together to amplify your voice. Your businesses matter. You should be respected and supported. If you do it right, you will be there to take the next step.”
At a recent LANJ meeting, the future political changes in New York City were discussed. “This is why it is so important to have a strong association,” LANJ President Tim Rose said. “We need to have a part in helping to select the next TLC leader.”
LANJ has been active in lobbying and working with its regulators to form policy and laws that affect the transportation industry in New Jersey and New York.
— Linda Jagiela, LCT contributing writer
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