Questions and suggestions

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Basic Questions

While the article “NightmAirbnb” does a good job painting a poor-me narrative of retired school teacher Rachel Smith being picked on by the big bad government, it lacks real transparency. Rachel listed her property on more than one home rental website and received vacation rental traffic and business revenue from opening up her multiple room, multimillion-dollar historic Craftsman without ever giving one single thought about the damage she was doing to legitimate, registered, local bed and breakfasts.

Rachel Smith with her granddaughter in front of her historic home

Rachel Smith with her granddaughter in front of her historic home

How many websites did Rachel advertise on? How many days during the year was at least one room inside her dwelling rented? What was the total revenue she earned for 2012, 2013, and 2014?

With any good story, there’s always two sides. It would be nice if someone at the Reader would follow up with Rachel and/or her attorney, Omar, and ask the basic questions that will surely come out when the City Attorney deposes Ms. Rachel Smith.

  • Daniel Hall
  • Hillcrest

Professional People Mover

I’d like to respond to your News Ticker article, “Taxicabs Unlimited for San Diego.” Thank you, Reader, for this follow-up article and for continued interest in this topic.

As a former permit holder and current-lease, full-time taxi driver, I have two words about adding more cabs: horrible idea. The city’s current fleet of 900+ vehicles is way more than enough to meet the public demand.

I wish Marty Emerald and the council would have done more research into this before their proposal. They gave little or no consideration at all to what the competition has done to our incomes lately. Uber and Lyft have made a huge dent in markets that were previously only available to taxicabs.

I have no problem with competition; that’s what America is all about, right? But please don’t flood the city and county with up to 5000 new permits in just a few years. This is not New York or Chicago. Drivers here are saved only through the larger events at the Convention Center, to balance the slow times.

Many taxi lease drivers see ownership as a way out of the monster leases they are charged. Which it is, at first. But now one has a whole new set of expenses coming at you from all sides: commercial transport insurance, MTS fees, city fees, vehicle purchase and maintenance, etc. Not to mention, now you’re on the streets competing with twice the amount of cabs. If the current owners of permits who lease their vehicles could somehow find a way to lower those leases and level off at a fixed rate for the lessee, that would help.

The owner I lease from lowers the lease amount for me during the slowest months in our business, November through January. Yellow Cab charges the most to lease their cabs, in some cases ridiculous amounts, some as high as $2400 monthly. So, I can see why ownership looks so enticing to some.

Another side of this is that some current owners of permits invested thousands of dollars, some taking seconds on their homes or borrowing heavily from family and friends to purchase the permit. Now that investment would be wiped out, gone, after years of waiting. I even know a story of an owner who committed suicide when his $150,000 investment would now be worth $3,000. Taxi permits are supposed to go up in value over the years, like real estate. New York medallions are currently worth $1,000,000 on average, worth $400,000 eight years ago!

I hope when this whacky plan goes into effect, the MTS and City will at least limit the number of active new permits to 50 or less the first year. Then do a review after that year, assess supply versus demand, and decide from there.

I wish to remind all readers here that taxi drivers do so much more than take you from A to B. We make emergency blood deliveries to hospitals all over SoCal. We have contracts with hospitals to deliver their patients safely and timely to appointments. We take kids to and from school. We deliver freight, documents, movie film, and food. We deliver flight crews to the airport. There is so much more cab drivers do for the community than I can write here.

Yes, those new rideshare services are cool and hip, but when you want a professional people mover, please take a taxicab. You’ll get the best bang for your buck.

  • Name Withheld
  • Hillcrest

Do Hipsters Have Morals?

This is about Ask a Hipster in the May 7 Reader. In his first answer, in the final paragraph, the Hipster says, “... hipsters can be flexible with their morals.” Then the Hipster further says, “... by paradoxically holding on to choice antiquated values that provide a counterpoint to the endless crush of living in the 21st Century.” I was wondering what this really meant. Do hipsters have morals? It seemed kind of funny to me.

I also want to know if the Hipster can be asked a direct question, not one of these hipster questions.

I leave you with this quotation by Paramahansa Yogananda: “Loyalty to a spiritual custom without sincerity and conviction is hypocrisy. Loyalty to the spirit of a custom even without clinging to a form is wisdom. But loyalty neither to spiritual custom, nor principle, nor teacher is spiritual degeneration. Stand by God and His servant, and you will see His hand working through all things.”

The hipster should ponder that. All pseudo hipsters, and all others as well.

  • Captain Broom
  • via voicemail

Seriously? Anyone who objectively looks at that website can figure out that it is biased beyond belief.

This article (“You Love Me Now, but Will You When I’m Four?”) is absolutely terrible. Something as misleading as this shouldn’t be published in a respectable medium. Please do some real research when writing about a topic as heated as this one is. A couple of anecdotal stories and a reference from a biased website? Did you bother checking ASPCA website? Temperament test results? I mean seriously?

Stay classy, San Diego.

  • Junior Mendoza
  • South Lake Tahoe

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I will gladly answer any question. Nothing is beyond my hipster ken. Nothing.

I am the anti-Jon Snow.

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