Matt Gonzalez Partnership Could Buy DeSoto Cab Company

Categories: Transportation

MattGonzalez_n_chicks.jpg
Let me get you ladies a cab.
Local left wing ex-politicians are staying true to their blue-collar values -- by becoming capitalists.
 
Former supervisor Chris Daly's a barkeep, and Matt Gonzalez, the former president of the Board of Supervisors and iconic 2004 mayoral candidate, might soon become a cabbie -- or at least owner of a cab company.

Hansu Kim, Gonzalez's business partner, has informed the SF Municipal Transportation Agency of possible plans to purchase Desoto Cab, one of the city's top four taxi companies with 100 city-issued "medallion" permits under management.

According to Christiane Hayashi, the SFMTA's deputy director for taxi services, Kim called the agency this week to say Gonzalez and Kim had made a proposal to purchase the company, and that it had been approved by the DeSoto board.

The deal's apparently not yet final.

"We've had a vote by the membership to have Matt and Hansu to help us out," said DeSoto president Jane Bolig. "We had offers to merge into other companies. But it's important to stay independent. Basically, Matt and Hansu are helping us try to do that. These are are plans, and they're in negotiations, and I can't talk about them more than that."
Another source close to the negotiations confirmed there's no deal yet. Gonzalez and Kim are currently analyzing the feasibility of buying the company, which had previously been run as a cooperative among medallion holders.

"The DeSoto board would like this to happen. And the DeSoto cooperative membership would like it to happen," said the source. "There's been proposals made. There's been interest expressed. But no ownership change has been made."

In 2008 Gonzalez and Kim created a policy consulting firm. Last year they represented cab drivers in pressing the city to include cabbie-friendly policies in a plan to sell taxicab medallions, rather than issue them for free as before.

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h. brown
h. brown

Gentlemen,

I meant that the 'free' (if you consider waiting in line 15 years free) list is gone and that Gonzalez certainly didn't destroy it. Prop A passed with almost no opposition from cabbies despite my loud warnings (my soap box wasn't tall enough). The companies went to the voters at least a half dozen times over the years to destroy Quentin Kopp's Prop K and finally got it. It was a tragic loss of essentially a couple of thousand small businesses.

I'm personally in favor of a new Prop K. We had the best system in the country.

Go Giants!

h.

Barry Korengold
Barry Korengold

Once again, the "list" is not gone, and medallions are still going to those at the top who've earned them, without purchase, albeit at a much slower rate. Nobody's saying Gonzalez destroyed it, though he and Kim have been pushing to end that system and eventually make all medallions "transferable".

The SFCDA has put forward a proposal that would continue this process, while allowing some "transferable" medallions and a way for medallion holders to eventually get out of their driving requirement by contributing a portion of their income to the city and the newly formed Driver Fund. Gonzalez and Kim have so far not weighed in on this proposal. We are hoping for their support.

Barry Korengold

Greentaxis
Greentaxis

Next time someone says "Hi, I'm from Texas and I want to be your progressive mayor" I'll listen to that question mark in my head.

h. brown
h. brown

Mr. Korengold,

You're misleading the Weekly's readers and you should know better. Your out-of-context quote implies that Gonzalez had something to do with destroying the drivers list. That's not true. Prop A (Peskin's last hurrah) set the stage for eliminating not just the list but also the Taxi Commission which was great fun for viewers (I thought).

Great painting of Matt, Matt,

Go Giants!

h.

Barry Korengold
Barry Korengold

Mr. Brown,

The "drivers list", or "medallion waiting list" has not been destroyed (you should know better). The list continues, and all medallions sold go to the next qualified and willing buyer on the list.

What the Kim/Gonzalez consulting firm has pushed for, is the sale of medallions, all of them. The SFCDA and others have argued to keep most (if not all) medallions going to those first on the list, who've waited the longest in line, and earned them through time on the road. Not by going hundreds of thousands of dollars into debt, splitting their income with the city and the banks.

Barry Korengold

Barry Korengold
Barry Korengold

You state that Gonzalez and Kim's consulting firm pressed the city "to include cabbie-friendly policies in a plan to sell taxicab medallions, rather than issue them for free as before." This may have been "cabbie-friendly" to those who wanted to buy their way ahead on the medallion waiting list, and to those who had medallions to sell, but it wasn't very "cabbie-friendly" to those who've waited their turn and put in the driving requirement for over a decade. Many of these drivers made career decisions based on their position on the list. Unlike what many believe, cab driving is a hard and dangerous job. Medallions earned by years on the road are not "free".

Barry KorengoldPresident, San Francisco Cab Drivers Association

Dave
Dave

If it wasn't for folks like Hayashi, Gonzalez and Kim, San Francisco's taxi industry would have already imploded due to corruption and negligence. They have been the industry's saviors.

What's wrong with being a "barkeep" or a "cabbie"? Can't a "left wing ex-politician" own a business without being judged a "capitalist"? Sounds like Daly, Gonzalez and Kim are hands-on guys. Gonzalez might not drive a cab but he and Kim will be active in running a business that will take better care of its employees and provide better service to the community. They see a need and they're filling it.

Magpi
Magpi

About time DeSoto was run with integrity and competence. Maybe DeSoto can get back to its glory days.

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