Taxi Commission slated to name executive director

Less than a month after the panel charged with regulating The City’s taxi industry fired its director, the Taxicab Commission late Tuesday voted to consider reinstating Heidi Machen.

The decision came after about a dozen speakers railed against Machen while an equal number spoke favorably of the one-time aide to Gavin Newsom.

Since Machen’s absence, which began June 28, commission analyst Tristan Bettencourt has filled her position and has been running the office. Bettencourt on Tuesday announced that today is his last day at the agency. He declined to say whether he was fired or resigned.

“I’ll be leaving my position at the end of the day” Wednesday, Bettencourt told commissioners and dozens of people packed into a City Hall meeting room. “It’s been a rewarding time for me.”

Bettencourt, a former roommate and friend of Machen’s, admits to a felony burglary conviction from 1989 that was dismissed by a judge in 2002. Many speakers linked Bettencourt to Machen as a demonstration of her inability to run the agency.

“If you put Heidi’s name as a candidate, you’re condoning the criminality,” said Carl Macmurdo, who represents taxi-permit holders.

Much of the meeting, which extended past 10 p.m. focused on whether Machen should again lead the Taxicab Commission.

“Machen was hired by Newsom to reform the industry,” said Ruach Graffis, a cabdriver. “Bring Heidi back to do the job she was hired to do.”

At the center of the controversy are the owners of taxi permits, or “medallions,” which are necessary to drive a cab. Medallions are licensed by the commission and can be rented out for tens of thousands of dollars a year to cab companies and other drivers. There are less than 1,400 per

Bay Area NewsLocal

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

Agnes Liang, who will be a senior at Mission High School, is running for one of the two student representative seats on the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Turbulent year on school board leaves student delegates undeterred

Around this time last year, Shavonne Hines-Foster and Kathya Correa Almanza were… Continue reading

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Three people killed in SF shootings in less than 24 hours

San Francisco police were scrambling Saturday to respond to a series of… Continue reading

Muni operator Angel Carvajal drives the popular boat tram following a news conference celebrating the return of the historic F-line and subway service on Friday, May 14, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Mayor, transit officials celebrate return of Muni service

Mayor London Breed and city transit officials gathered Friday to welcome the… Continue reading

San Francisco police investigated the scene of a police shooting near Varney Place and Third Street on May 7. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD shooting may prompt new body camera rules for plainclothes cops

Police chief says incident ‘should not have happened’

Governor Gavin Newsom speaks at a news conference about a $12 billion package bolstering the state’s response to the homelessness crisis at the Kearney Vista Apartments on May 11, 2021 in San Diego, California. (K.C. Alfred/The San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS)
Newsom promises sweeping change in California’s $267-billion budget

John Myers Los Angeles Times California would embark on the most ambitious… Continue reading

Most Read