WYSK: A Gross Example of What Fake News Looks Like

taxis, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, TLC, black cars, livery


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: A Gross Example of What  Fake News  Looks Like

By Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz


You should know that recently I personally experienced a case of  “Fake News.”


As you know my dear reader, I am the Chairman of the newly created “Committee on For – Hire – Vehicles” at the New York City Council.   This committee deals with all for hire vehicles and companies such as Uber, Lyft, yellow and green cabs, black cars, livery, para-transit, etc…


Councilman Fernando Cabrera and I introduced a piece of legislation (Intro., # 958) to deal with excessive fines given to Livery Taxi Drivers when committing a traffic violation such as picking up a hailing passenger.  This is called an “Illegal Street Hail.”


For illegal street hails drivers, specifically (Livery Drivers), who happen to be Black, Latino, and immigrants are being severely punished with hefty fines as high as $10,000.00 and face having their Taxi and Limousine Commission’s license suspended.


It is important for you to know that our Legislation (Intro., #958) deals exclusively with the mentioned hefty fines imposed on drivers for “Illegal Street Hails”, and NOT for refusing to pick up passengers of color.    But surprise, surprise; according to Dana Rubinstein, a reporter for Politico wrote on Tuesday June 26th that these fines are designed in part to deter the widespread and persistent problem in this city of trying to hail a cab while Black.”   This is False, False, False, and False reporting.


taxis, NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission, TLC, black cars, livery

Credit: nyc.gov

Dana Rubenstein failed to mention in her report that the $10,000.00 fines, imposed by the TLC are NOT for livery drivers refusing to pick up passengers, quite the contrary.   These fines are given to livery drivers because they picked up passengers in violation of the “Illegal Street Hail”  which is a city ordinance.   Ms. Rubenstein also failed to report that these fines are given only to livery drivers who happen to be Black, Latino, and from immigrant communities.


Another case of “Fake News” appeared in the New York Post on June 26th.    It was reported that Two City Council Members introduced a bill so racially charged that the NAACP testified against it.  Both the New York Post and Politico journalists, intentionally or unintentionally forgot or refused to mention the hefty fines as high as $10,000 imposed on livery drivers, who are members of communities of color.  Both of these news reports failed to mention that the fines are imposed for picking up “illegal street hails,” and not for refusing to pick up street hails.


Both these journalist should know the difference between drivers wanting to pick up “street hails”, but are not authorized.  As a result they get a hefty $10,000 fine for doing so.    The majority of these drivers receiving fines are Black, Latinos, and immigrant drivers.   These drivers are not the same as a driver’s who are authorized to pick up street hails, but refuse to pick up a passenger based on racial discrimination. There is a big difference and as journalists they should know that.


These reporters should also know that those who are refusing to pick up street hails are NOT Livery Vehicles.  It is the Livery drivers that are asking for equality and justice. The Livery drivers are only asking for fair, equal treatment and for the opportunity to pick up street hails without being penalized with these outrageous fines and punishment for trying to earn a decent and honest living.


Our bill stipulates that those excessive fines should be lowered. Obviously, the fines [imposed] are outrageously high not befitting the violation.


These are the facts.  This is the truth about said legislation, yet both these two reporters from  “Politico” and the “New York Post”  on Tuesday June 26th both grossly distorted the facts, and reported a gross example of “Fake News.”   Hmm, could this be a failure to check their facts?  I invite you to read our bill {Intro., # 958} and you decide my dear reader what is real (truth) and what is fake (false).


Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered the police not to arrest and send to jail marijuana smokers, those who skip paying the subway fares and those who urinate publicly in the streets, because according to him the punishment is too great for the crime they commit.
Then I asked: “Why penalize the drivers of the liveries with fines of up to 10,000.00 for just picking up passengers on the street, in order to honestly earn bread for their family?”


This is Councilman Rev. Ruben Diaz, and this is what you should know.

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