Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Speak Softly and Drive the University Van

Monday might in downtown San Francisco with the Reporting class, now Tuesday night in beautiful Oakland at Oakland City Council with the Advanced Reporting class.

(And that is an *impudent* name, isn't it?)

I used to do this every semester, but I've been absent awhile because I haven't taught the course in awhile.

As such meetings go, this one was terrific. Cab drivers were complaining about the "gate," that is the price they pay to drive a cab whose medallion belongs to one of Oakland's big cab companies. Companies were complaining about how running cabs in Oakland is a mug's game, given the fact you've got too many bad neighborhoods and "granny" trips to the market to get groceries and not enough long hauls to local airports.

Of course, the drivers had the same gripes, but from the shorter end of the stick.

Council was trying to help out the struggling cabbies and to soothe the recalcitrant owners while trying to make sure that Oakland cabs agreed to go into the city's dangerous neighborhoods 24/7. The competing interests were clear. The outcome was a compromise that may make no difference at all. (If I find that anyone actually wrote about it, I'll link to it.)

This is the way it works, kids. Blood may be the price of freedom, but boredom is, too.

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