Anthony Weiner gets an infusion of taxi money as he denounces Bloomberg's outer-borough plan
Democratic mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner received $23,805 in direct contributions from taxi cab drivers and employees at their dispatch companies in the last six months, according to data from his campaign finance report filed yesterday.
About half of that money—$12,540—was received on July 11, the last day of the filing period and also the day Weiner went public with his objections to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's outer-borough taxi plan. The plan would allow livery cabs to pick up street hails outside the heart of Manhattan, which is serviced by yellow cabs that charge passengers a metered fare. Stakeholders in the yellow cab industry, particularly medallion owners, strongly oppose the plan.
From July 7-10, Weiner got 11 donations totaling $435 from taxi drivers and their colleagues. On July 11, the day of the forum where he made his objections public, Weiner received 25 donations worth $12,540 from people in the taxi industry.
The donations mostly came from employees at four yellow taxi companies: Taxi Club Management on 10th Avenue in Manhattan (which has the same address as 28th Street Management); Downtown Taxi Management in Brooklyn; Victory Taxi Garage, also in Brooklyn; and Woodside Management in Queens.
At the mayoral forum on July 11, Weiner said he objected to the outer-borough taxi plan based on the idea that, despite its aim of fixing a chronic problem with the current taxi and livery system, it would actually leave people in the underserved outer boroughs with even fewer options. He said he feared the new taxis might cheat even as they decrease incentives for livery cars to operate in the areas in which they're meant to pick up fares.
Weiner said that after the Taxi and Limousine Commission (which the mayor controls) dropped a requirement to have GPS devices monitor livery cabs to make sure they did not pick up passengers in the restricted part of Manhattan, the plan became unworkable. He said, "you're going to have all those cars flocking into the city so in the boroughs it's going to get a lot worse."
UPDATE: A T.L.C. spokesman says that the GPS requirement was not dropped, but merely delayed "for what amounted to a couple of weeks" to allow several GPS vendors to get through the approval process [clarified]. The spokesman, Allan Fromberg, also said no plan will begin without the GPS devices being in place.