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Graham Withdrawing Taxicab Bill as FBI Probe Continues

Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1) said today he is withdrawing his legislation to overhaul the city's taxi industry, a proposal that is at the center of an ongoing FBI investigation into alleged corruption within the industry and at City Hall.

But Graham said his decision to pull the bill has "nothing to do" with the investigation or last week's arrest of his chief of staff, Ted G. Loza. The council member, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, says he hopes to replace his initial legislation with a new strategy for limiting the number of taxicabs in the District.

In June, Graham called for either a medallion or certification system to limit the number of cabs operating in the District.

If the legislation had been enacted, the city could have created a medallion system in which taxi drivers would pay a monthly fee, like those in New York or Boston, for medallions that would allow them to operate throughout the District. Graham, whose committee has oversight over the taxi industry, had argued that the bill was needed to protect the District taxi market from too many additional taxicabs.

But in interview today with Washington Post reporter Yamiche Alcindor, Graham said he is pulling the bill because of confusion and opposition within the taxicab industry to a medallion system.

"It's one of those things where it became all about medallions, it was not helping," said Graham, who instead plans to hold a hearing next month on strategies for limiting the number of cabs. "I am going to hold a hearing so we can hear everybody's ideas."

Graham's decision comes as some City Hall insiders have speculated about whether he should remove himself from taxi issues until the FBI investigation is complete.

Loza was arrested Thursday for allegedly accepting $1,500 in bribes to try to influence legislation. The indictment says an unnamed individual -- whom sources identify as Abdulaziz Kamus, executive director of the African Resource Center -- wanted to limit the number of taxicab licenses issued by the District and create an exception for hybrid vehicles.

Graham later included the hybrid exemption in his proposed bill. But Graham, who has not been charged with any wrongdoing, strongly denies that Loza pressured him to make changes to the legislation.

"Withdrawing this bill has nothing to do with the investigation and I am going to prove this by going forward with the substance of this issue," Graham said. "I think there is a real issue, under my jurisdiction, under my oversight, with a real concentration (of cabs) and I just want people to know what the issue is."

-- Tim Craig

By Washington Post Editors  |  September 30, 2009; 12:57 PM ET
Categories:  D.C. Council , D.C. Taxis , Tim Craig  | Tags: Abdulaziz Kamus, Jim Graham, Ted G. Loza  
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Lets hope the glare is getting too hot for this spotlight hog. The DC Council will be a much more professional and deliberative body when Jim Graham is defeated. Where are the challengers from Ward 1?

Posted by: tlc20011 | September 30, 2009 1:26 PM | Report abuse

This was NOT a bill to overhaul the taxi system.

It was a bill to enforce the substandard status quo.

A real overhaul would include requiring cabs to be no older than a certain number of years, have no more than a certain number of miles, meet basic cleanliness standards, have credit card abilities, etc.

All the things that other cities that have medallion systems require.

This bill did NONE of that.

Instead, it automatically gave a medallion to every single existing cab, no matter how crappy that cab is.

And then it literally decreed that there would be no more regular medallions, ever (unless they were hybrid, which few cabs are).

So any cab company that wanted to actually enter the DC market with modern, decent cabs could not.

So by definition this would preserve the status quo.

How in the world could this be described as anything but a big fat kiss to the existing substandard DC cab companies? You require NO new standards and you absolutely prevent any new cabs from coming in.

Ridiculous. And suspect from the very introduction.

Posted by: Hillman1 | September 30, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Not related to the ongoing FBI Investigation. Yeah RIGHT Graham, and my name is Santa Claus.

Posted by: concernedaboutdc | September 30, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Jim Graham has lied and obfuscated for so long (from Day 1 when he hijacked Whitman Walker and started taking sole credit for a community effort) that it is now what he is. He is the Karen Hughes of DC.

Many have tried to warn about Graham and countless time and effort has been wasted working around and undoing his shenanigans.
Those who remained silent or profited by his reigns of ineptitude share the guilt here. Ted Loza is merely the fall guy.

Vince Gray's silence and lack of leadership here is speaking volumns.

Posted by: SoCali | September 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

we don't have a problem with Jim Graham.The problem we have so far is with taxicab comission hold our licence for more than 4 months right after we payed them $500...and the reason they always give us is the finger print result from FBI that is too big for us to swallow it ...coz we have already call to the FBI and theytold us that they have sent the result already 3 months ago ....How the heck will this happen in a great nation with this bad economy depression ....some of us don't have a job at all. We need some one to be involved between this two agencis to figure out our problem ...we don't know who....washington post or Nbc , Abc, Fox 5,FBI, ..we don't know GOd knows.

Posted by: kokykok31 | September 30, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

In today's Washington City Paper, there's disturbing news about Ted Loza and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. I wonder why the Washington Post hasn't reported this?

Posted by: Ward4DC | September 30, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I don't understand this. If this proposed legislation wasn't Mr. Graham's best effort to solve a problem, why was it presented in the first place?

Posted by: searay28 | September 30, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Ward4DC wrote:
In today's Washington City Paper, there's disturbing news about Ted Loza and Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham. I wonder why the Washington Post hasn't reported this?

Thank you Ward4DC and City Paper. WaPo get digging! Lets finally get the whole sordid, squalid Graham story out there!

Posted by: SoCali | September 30, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I hope something is done about the taxi situation in this city. No other major city operates like this.

One time my wife and I got in a cab at midnight around the Verizon Center, and asked to be taken down to Old Town. After fighting with the driver, he went. As we headed on 395 and down GW Parkway, he was swerving all over the place. I started to watch him more closely, and he was obviously hammered. One driver doesn't make the whole system bad, but the more I looked at his license, the more I thought how easy it is to either forge it or have it be expired. First, the license should be in the back seat for the passengers to see, especially at night. And second, have some better identifiers to stop forgeries. I'm sure rogue cabbies were 10x worse before we had meters, but an old meter can easily be installed.

DC Council, get the taxi situation figured out. It's a joke!

Posted by: dnara | September 30, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

What is needed is a final decision on the bill it self.

Many public testimony has come and gone nothing has been done. Again Mr. Jim Graham has called another public testimony to it is a joke!

Posted by: Ben22 | September 30, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

What is needed is a final decision on the bill it self.

Many public testimony has come and gone nothing has been done. Mr. Jim Graham has called another public testimony to it is a joke!

Posted by: Ben22 | September 30, 2009 5:23 PM | Report abuse

to view a partial list of crimes committed by FBI agents over 1500 pages long see

to view a partial list of FBI agents arrested for pedophilia see

Posted by: mabumford | September 30, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

From the City Paper article

"Graham put the $3,200 late-term abortion onto his personal credit card, according to a receipt included in court records. "

Graham PAID for a forced ABORTION to Loza's pregnant beaten woman with a CREDIT CARD ! ! !

I am completely for a woman's right to chose, but THIS IS CRAZY... Why aren't people screaming in Graham's face for his resignation.

Posted by: contrarian4 | September 30, 2009 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I guess the Cabbies weren't crying WOLF after all. Something stinks about the whole thing and am starting to side with the drivers it's a Multi-Million dollar business. I wonder when Mayor Fenty's name will come up and Taxicab Comm. Swain. YOU KNOW THE OLD SAYING BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TO GATHER....

Posted by: Conscious | September 30, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

Ok folks, first things first... IMHO monopoly is NOT GOOD. This bill HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE, it's about money and I am talking about BIG money, like 100's of thounsands of $$$ for each medallion money like in NY (not right away of course, but some years later). What will happen is these medallions that are "given" to drivers, will soon fall into the hand of the big guys and the super rich will become mega rich by leasing cabs to drivers who will pay $100 + per shift AND YOUR SERVICE WILL NOT BE ANY BETTER. Needless to say during this process some politicians will make big money, AS SIMPLKE AS THAT. Now, I am not gonna argue that DC taxi service doe not stink... SOLUTION, there are great rules and regulations already inplace. INFORCE THEM, INFORCE THEM, INFORCE THEM... Double or triple the number of inspectors, have them do raids regularly. Big fines and suspensions for repeat affences, suspend and revoke. Most common ones are asking destination, flat rates to VA or MD (as much as $80 from Adams Morgan to Ballston. Personally, I'd fire those right aaway, crappy cabs (milage and year), condition (a/c etc.). So, again this bill will not help the consumer. Thank you for reading.

Posted by: Aarlington_driver | October 1, 2009 1:54 AM | Report abuse

hope the FBI follow this investigation back to all the bills dealing with the DC taxicab industry.

That was past by the DC City Counsel from the taking of independent dc taxicab owner/operators business license to the Residency Law and Meters.

If the FBI would do that,I know a whole lot of folks would go to jail from M.Barry to A. Fenty.

Now if the Washington Post, want to do a real investigation, just start with campaign financing to stock in large transportation/taxicab and bus companies by City Counsel Members.

There want be room for members and there staff at DC Jail.

A committed 45 year dc hacker/taxicab owner/operator,Peace and Love. />>Billy Ray

Posted by: bredwards | October 1, 2009 4:20 AM | Report abuse

Jim Graham is a filthy crook who belongs in prison !

Posted by: ashafer_usa | October 1, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Hopefully the wonderful job done by FBI will continue to trace so many irregularities and bribes in the taxi cub industry and save the hard working taxi cub drivers whose life is daily at stake and risk while running their 4 wheels every risky night. Bribing and taking the business from the hard working class is a sin and unethical and shame. But I would like to say thank you for the great job done by our great FBI people and request you to do more. Believe me the more you investigate and dig the more you will find them. I also believe the UCDC tax commission test had been stolen and many people passed the exam recently.
These criminals just forgot the great respect of the law for this great land in the world where justice is served to the at most. They think they are in Ethiopia and have been used to mess up with the government and go free and hide in the US. They have been laying to the Ethiopian people as if they are with them but are their enemies.
I feel bad for the hard working taxi cub driver who leaves with fear by saying their business will be snatched by the scavengers sooner or later. The DC taxi cub gives ample service to the great capital city of our nations and we have to respect them by keeping their right and business and let the law protect them from money involved crimes. Hopefully the giant bribers and scavengers will not go free and that way they will be example to others and this will serve as good gesture to the hardworking cub drivers

Posted by: mulu1 | October 7, 2009 7:50 AM | Report abuse

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