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What Council members think about the Uber threat

I was scrolling through Facebook and came upon this post from CM Michael Kubosh:

Mayor Turner wants UBER to stay, but they must follow the city’s ordinance that requires a CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK and FINGERPRINTS. Council Member Michael Kubosh said that all public service drivers for buses, cabs, train, limos, shuttles and jitneys require the same CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK and FINGERPRINTS. They must follow the rules. They came to Houston during the 2014 Rodeo operating illegally and the City Council changed the Ordinance to make room for their business model. NOW LOOK WHAT THEY ARE WANTING.

Which got me to wondering about other Council members and what they thought. Of the five Council members that voted against the original ordinance in 2014, four remain on Council: Kubosh, Jack Christie, Jerry Davis, and Mike Laster. I went looking, via Google, Facebook, and Twitter, to see who else has had something to say.

And the answer is, most of them have not said anything as yet. One who has is Brenda Stardig, who is the Chair of the Public Safety committee:

CM Dave Martin was quoted in one of the stories I blogged about after Uber issued its ultimatum:

“If you don’t want to follow the rules we all agreed to, have a good opportunity in another city,” District E Councilman David Martin said. “But we cannot be blackmailed when it comes to public safety.”

And that’s pretty much it for actual opinions. The only other Council member to say something was Greg Travis:

Mayor Sylvester Turner wants uber to stay in Houston, but wants the company to operate under the same rules as other transportation companies. Uber wants to eliminate regulation for its drivers to have city fingerprint check. Rather, uber wants to use its own background check. Mayor says uber’s background check inadequate. Your thoughts?

Comments on that post ran more in Uber’s favor than against, for what it’s worth. Also for what it’s worth. all four of these Council members – Kubosh, Martin, Stardig, and Travis – are Republicans; so is Jack Christie among the No votes from 2014, while Davis and Laster are Dems. I mention that mostly to note that if Uber is trying to make a free-market/deregulation argument, it’s not working on the kind of people you’d think it might work on. This discussion is just getting started, and Lord knows Uber is willing and able to dump a ton of resources into winning it, so this is hardly a final whip count. But clearly, Uber has some ground to make up to win this one.

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5 Comments

  1. Joshua ben bullard says:

    What kuffner doesn’t ever show you is his methodically published list of what council members are receiving campaign contributions from “big taxi” and how much ,I know for a fact jack Christie takes a tremendous amount if cash and so dies genius mike lasted(master takes a lot of money from big taxi) but no one ,out if all of them takes and receives more campaign contributions that Mayor Sylvester Turner from Houston’s Big Taxi- but kuffner never wants to do the detailed post on it (he’s checked it,he knows I am correct) but he won’t say a word v-so I do it for him, stop taking houstonians money threw big taxi.Dave martin takes plenty cash from big taxi as well.you officials make it easy for me,keep taking that cash gentleman-keep it up.

  2. Joshua ben bullard says:

    “Laster takes a lot of money from big taxi” “genius laster”

  3. Joshua ben bullard says:

    “So does genius Mike Laster” -the auto correct has a mind of his own today. These ” s are the corrections as intended “

  4. Steve Houston says:

    Joshua, perhaps if you present the actual numbers from campaign finance reports it would bolster your accusations more than the continued slant you’ve shown. Given how much Uber is willing to spend to influence elections versus pay their contractors a living wage, at least you’d have something of substance people could identify with. As Uber apparently is willing to write blank checks to keep their employees from being fingerprinted, it really doesn’t endear them to the public just to save a few bucks on the occasional ride most voters get from either taxis or ride sharing services.

  5. […] a dump truck of lobbyist money into his office, remains to be seen. For what it’s worth, the Council members in Houston who have expressed an opinion so far have all been 1) Republican, and 2) in favor of fingerprinting. So this fight next year may […]