It’s official: the City Council will have to vote again on the ordinance that pushed popular ride-hailing companies Lyft and Uber out of town at its next regular meeting, or the issue could end up on the November ballot.
A group of citizens, led by Michael McCauley and Steve DeAses, delivered a document to the city secretary’s office Tuesday announcing they intend to secure signatures to put the City Council’s March 8 decision up for a referendum in November. Organizers have said if the council doesn’t adopt an ordinance Uber approves of, they’ll move forward with the referendum process.
“It’s a shame this council is so far disconnected from the citizens that they don’t get it on this issue,” DeAses said. “It’s more safe to have drunk drivers off the road and give people options. It’s just so ridiculous to take options away under the message of protecting us.”
The group’s efforts may not be needed.
The council is expected to reconsider the ordinance during its March 29 meeting after City Councilman Chad Magill, who supported the measure initially, filed a motion Friday to reconsider.
“The motion to reconsider is a clear message that we are listening, and new information reopens the conversation — and rightfully so,” Magill said.
That new information was a set of ordinance options sent to Magill by Uber officials Thursday, he said. One of those suggestions is the ability for the city to audit Uber’s background check system twice annually — a concept that doesn’t negate the benefits of a fingerprint-based solution, but offers an added level of security, Magill said.
But saying the council is backtracking due to public opinion doesn’t tell the whole story, Magill added.
“It’s easy to blame the council, but the reality is new information is available now that I contacted Uber in person,” he said.
Also at the March 29 meeting, Huerta will officially notify the council of a pending referendum — a statement the group hopes will spur a pro-Uber ordinance from the council.
“We shouldn’t push out business models that don’t meet burdensome regulations,” DeAses said. “We need to pass regulations that work with modern companies.”
He added the group intends to launch the website saveuberincc.com Tuesday, and members of the public will be able to sign the petition electronically. Every signature will send an email to each member of the council informing them when a voter has signed.
Speaking Monday, City Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre said she expects the March 8 ordinance will be altered in a way that keeps Uber in town legally.
RULES OF THE ROAD
In addition to drivers submitting to fingerprint-based background checks (estimated to cost about $38), transportation network companies and drivers have to meet other requirements.
Pay a $50 application fee after a clean background check,
Pay a $15 vehicle inspection fee,
Not drive more than 12 hours in any 24-hour period,
Drivers may not refuse to transport someone to any destination within the city limits,
Display a company sign on the car that’s visible at least 50 feet away,
Drivers may not solicit customers anywhere in the city, and
Drivers may not respond to customers on the street who ask to hire their vehicle.
THE COMPANY MUST:
Pay a permit fee equal to 2 percent of the gross revenue for each vehicle in the city quarterly, and
Renew permits annually
Source: City documents