December 7, 2009
City Notes: Taxi biz gets approval, but owner can't drive; Props to Shakoor
The Journal Times' Mike Moore picked up a good story Nov. 26 when he reported a man the city approved to run a taxi business had been charged with driving without a license.
James Ragland got the OK to run Metro Taxi of Racine on Oct. 26 despite owing a $173 fine in Caledonia.
Moore's reporting made the city look bad - they'd conducted a background check on Ragland but apparently not a check on his driving record - and the Public Safety and Licensing Committee re-took up the matter Monday night.
This time they approved a business license for Ragland, but not a license to allow him to drive a taxi. If Ragland's license gets approved by the full City Council, he could hire a driver, but he can't drive a taxi himself.
The ordeal led to some humorous, if common-sensical, quotes at the meeting.
"If you don't have a license you can't expect us to issue a license to run a cab," said Alderman Jim Kaplan.
"I'm not planning to operate against the law," Ragland said. "That would be foolish."
The committee voted 3-1 to grant Ragland his business license. Alderman Bob Mozol voted against the license, saying it didn't make sense to approve a taxi business for someone without a driver's license.
In other news ...
Props to Alderman Q.A. Shakoor II for holding off on last week's Corinne Reid-Owens Tribute committee meeting due to open meetings concerns. We raised questions about whether meeting was properly noticed last week. Shakoor then postponed the meeting, refusing to even discuss a date for the next meeting. That's admirable conduct from the City Council president and a good example of government acknowledging it must operate in the sunshine.
Alderman Greg Helding's proposal to end refunds for people who receive "reserve" class B liquor licenses was deferred. The city now pays back $9,500 of the $10,000 reserve license fee to new license holders. Helding wants to eliminate the refund, which would make it harder, or at least more expensive, for bars and restaurants to acquire licenses. The committee will take up the issue at its next meeting.
The Finance and Personnel Committee denied Zoe Outreach Ministries $4,800 claim against the city for a broken sewer line. Assistant City Attorney Nicole Loop said the problem couldn't be traced to the city, and was, if anything, Mount Pleasant's fault because they own the line. But a claim against the village would be difficult because work done on the line occurred two months before the break occurred. That makes it near impossible to blame any one entity for the damage.