Wednesday, January 18, 2012

More on the Attempt to Repeal Metro's Price-fixing Limo Law

Below is additional information about last night's council meeting and the effort to repeal  Metro's limousine price-fixing ordinance. I don't know how I forgot Councilman Bo Mitchell. Along with Councilman Tygert, he was the other leading proponent of maintaining Metro's price-fixing ordinance. Actually, he was much worse than Tygert. Tygert argued we needed a comprehensive approach to the issue. Mitchell seemed to have contempt for those wanting to change the law and belittled the opposition as a few insignificant people who did not want to play by the rules. He was also dismissive and arrogant in is unconcern for the law suit facing the city over this issue.

Mr. Bokhahi is the owner of Metro Livery, one of the companies Metro is trying to drive out of business and one of the plaintiffs in the law suit against the city. Rod

From Syed A Bokhari
Thank you for writing a good article with the true picture of how metro council handled things last night. Councilman Bo Mitchell spoke in opposition of BL2011-049, stating that all parties had been invited with the formation of the original bill in 2010. Simply, I am here to say, that was not the case. My company, Metro Livery, was never invited.

1. In 2009, we gave opposition to the Transporation Licensing Commission. See link:

2. Additionally, I called and even mailed letters to Mr. McQuistion to ask him to come and see my operation, so that I may explain my business model, and show him my 24 hour dispatch facilities. Mr. McQuistion did not return my calls or accept my invitation.

3. During the formation of the bill, I personally called Bo Mitchell and never received a return phone call.

4. Matter fact, even in 2011, there was a meeting called, at the behest of Council Lady Edith, where again, I was not invited. A representative of my company was invited to attend in my place. It was during that meeting late last year, that Bill Faeth stated the parties that formed the original bill did so to put my company out of business.

Bo Mitchell stated only two companies are behind the bill because they do not want to follow the rules. Councilman Mitchell also stated out of 57 operators, only two operators disagree. In reality, there were over 15 operators that attended last night’s meetings in support of BL2011-049. Mr. Mitchell stated Metro gets sued every day. He does not mind that Metro has to spend thousands of taxpayer’s money in lawsuits for the City.

My company, Metro Livery, has been a licensed operator with the Metro Nashville Airport for the last six years. Our business entity was same like any Tennessee Livery Association member. We are a licensed operator with the Transportation Licensing Commission from the FIRST DAY of the new ordinance in December of 2010. We are safety complaint and have spent a lot of resources to ensure we are complaint with the rules. Metro Livery stands firm in its commitment to safety regulations. Some of the rules are to support the luxury limousine business model. My business does not have room to survive with several of the rules in the ordinance.

It saddens me to see that we have to defer the bill, while there are many companies and families waiting for these changes. Mr. McQuistion wants a consultant to and what is called a comprehensive analysis of his office. Meanwhile, he and his inspectors continue to work tirelessly to put existing companies out of business that try to follow the rules. And Mr. McQuistion himself stated there were about 40 operators in the city that have not even applied to his office.

Again, my company applied the first day for the operator certificate. My assistant met with Mr. McQuistion to set a plan of action (since the ordinance did not have a defined timeline of when all existing companies should get complaint by) to get all vehicles and drivers in my company complaint and to find out from the Director when the enforcement would begin. My assistant was told by Mr. McQuistion that he would notify us before enforcement began. Sadly, that was not the case. He began enforcement targeted to my company almost immediately. We asked Mr. McQuistion for a “comprehensive fix” for our company, he denied, and brought my company in for disciplinary action. And yet, now Mr. McQuisiton needs a “comprehensive analysis” of his department?

To this day there are still drivers working for Tennessee Livery Association companies that are unlicensed. There has been no enforcement upon those companies. My company has even reported to the Inspectors specific locations of drivers for these companies so that everyone could be fairly enforced. Sadly, we were told “that is out of my jurisdiction” by the Inspector.

I am not a taxi. I am not a luxury limousine. I am a car service. I do not exist in the ordinance. All we are asking for is the opportunity to survive.

As Wesley Hottot stated in his article for the Tennessean: "‘The Supreme Court has long recognized that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to earn an honest living, stating in Truax v. Raich, for example, that this right is “the very essence of the personal freedom and opportunity that it was the purpose of the 14th Amendment to secure.””

This is a sad example of abuse of power and authority by the legislators who took the oath to protect the constitution.

Thank you again for all your support and for covering this story on your blog.
Syed A. Bokhari

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