Cabdriver’s history of DUIs costs him permit to operate

A veteran San Francisco cabdriver who was found to have four charges of driving under the influence had his permit to operate a cab in The City revoked Wednesday.

Robert Friedman has drunken driving convictions from 1999 and 2001 in Plumas County, a 2001 conviction in Contra Costa County and a 2006 arrest in Alameda County that hasn’t resulted in a conviction.

The convictions came to light after San Francisco police sent a letter to the Taxicab Commission nearly one year ago, San Francisco Taxicab Commission Executive Director Jordanna Thigpen said.

After an investigation and hearing, taxi commissioners voted in February to revoke Friedman’s permit, but Friedman appealed.

On Wednesday, The City’s Board of Appeals reheard Friedman’s case and voted 4-0 to uphold the earlier decision.

Friedman’s attorney, Geoffrey Rotwein, has argued that Friedman’s driving experience and his “success at addressing” his alcoholism only warrants suspending his permit, not revoking it.

Friedman has not driven a cab since 2001, when he went on disability for migraine headaches, Rotwein said. Thigpen said Friedman deserves nothing less than the loss of his permit.

“I have compassion for him. I know other people do, too. But the reality is he must solve the problems independent of being a taxicab driver in San Francisco,” Thigpen said.

Even if he is not driving, Friedman is still in possession of his medallion, the metal plate cabdrivers display to show they are permitted by The City. Medallion holders are required to drive 800 hours annually — but also can make thousands of dollars off of the medallion by leasing it to other drivers or to cab companies.

About 3,500 people are on the waiting list for a medallion, and it is estimated it takes about 14 years to obtain one. To date, San Francisco has issued about 1,400 medallions. Thigpen said that there are thousands of cabdrivers on the waiting list worthy of a medallion who are abiding by the rules.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Advocates with the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition hold a rally outside City Hall before the Board of Supervisors were to vote on a resolution supporting the creation of a public banking charter on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Should San Francisco run its own public bank? The debate returns

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, momentum was building for San Francisco to… Continue reading

Apprenticeship instructor Mike Miller, center, demonstrates how to set up a theodolite, a hyper-sensitive angle measuring device, for apprentices Daniel Rivas, left, Ivan Aguilar, right, and Quetzalcoatl Orta, far right, at the Ironworkers Local Union 377 training center in Benicia on June 10, 2021. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
California’s affordable housing crisis: Are labor union requirements in the way?

By Manuela Tobias CalMatters California lawmakers introduced several bills this year that… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs, pictured at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017, is representing himself in an unusually public police misconduct matter. <ins>(Courtesy Bay City News)</ins>
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Most Read