City Transportation Board Revokes License Of All American Taxi Company

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The City Transportation Board voted Thursday to revoke the license of All American Taxi after hearing testimony about fares being charged that are above the city maximum.

The panel also heard witnesses say that the company owned by Randy Van Hooser often put drivers to work who did not yet have their city permit.

Mr. Van Hooser said he made "an honest mistake" in raising the fares, saying he did so after the Transportation Board in May 2011 agreed to make that recommendation to the City Council. He said he never heard that the council did not act on the recommendation.

As a result, inspector Charles Topping said, All American has been charging $28.75 for a 10-minute ride that should cost $23.

Mr. Van Hooser said he did not get any of the extra money, saying it all went to his cab drivers.

Mike Shuford and Brent Matthews were the only ones voting against revoking the license.

Officer Topping noted that the taxi board earlier in 2011, at the request of Mr. Van Hooser, had agreed to raise the maximum fare for a 60-day period. Then it went back to the former rate.

The officer said after All American raised its fares in May 2011 that Mr. Van Hooser had posted hand-made signs in his cabs with the higher rates.

Officer Topping said the rate cards for all taxi companies are supposed to be supplied by the city.

On the issue of unlicensed drivers, Officer Topping said he now requires that the drivers themselves come in and pick up the permits - not the owners.

Officer Topping said he did not know why he did not catch the higher All American fares when he examined the firm's cabs in the annual inspection in February 2012. He said, "I don't know why I did not pick up on that." 

Among the witnesses were two former cab drivers for Mr. Van Hooser who had gone over to rival Tim Duckett, who owns Millenium Taxi and is also on the Transportation Board. Officer Topping said Mr. Duckett passed on several complaints about Mr. Van Hooser.

Manny Rico, City Council member who serves on the Transportation Board, said he did not buy Mr. Van Hooser's story that it was an honest mistake. He said, "Mr. Van Hooser is a businessman. He knows the rules. This isn't his first rodeo."

He added, "This is very serious. He's taken advantage of our poorest people. And he took advantage of our tourists. A taxi driver is often the first people they see."

James Hurst, attorney for All American Taxi, quoted Mr. Duckett as once saying that when taxi drivers raise the price, they actually lose business because word gets around.

Mr. Matthews asked, "If he (Van Hooser) thought the rate went up, why didn't he go to the office (of the inspector) and get a new rate card?"

Attorney Hurst acknowledged, "That's a good point."

He said, "The facts are what they are." 

  


Bradley County Sheriff’s Office Investigating Apparent Domestic Incident On Burke Ridge Road

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an apparent domestic incident that took place earlier Tuesday on Burke Ridge Road.  Reports indicate one person was injured after being struck with a blunt instrument.  Bradley County Sheriff’s Patrol units and members of the Criminal Investigations Division are on the scene and handling the investigation.   ... (click for more)

UT Students Propose Plans For Old Cleveland Woolen Mill

Architecture students from the University of Tennessee shared with the community Monday their visions of the future for a Cleveland landmark. Two days before they were to be graduated at UT, the young architects showed drawings of how The Old Woolen Mill could be used in the future to attract people downtown to apartments, art studios, a restaurant, a cafe or micro-brewery ... (click for more)

Dr. King Wouldn't Approve Of The Mayhem In Baltimore

I am mostly certain that Dr. King never meant for this kind of violence to happen.  I don't recall any of the protests he led not being peaceful.  He would most definitely not approve of people burning, looting, the complete and utter unnecessary mayhem, or anything like what happened in Baltimore. Do you really believe Dr. King would condone 8, 10, 12-year-old children ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Why The Lynching Stopped

Over the weekend I became fascinated by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, and yesterday I devoted my Monday opinion piece to the fact this black man, who for 25 years was a cop in Milwaukee and who is now in his fourth term as the sheriff, believes the arrest of six Baltimore police is “a miscarriage of justice.” The more I read and researched Sheriff Clarke, the more I ... (click for more)

Central Nips Hixson On Wild Pitch In 6-AA Baseball, 3-2

It was one of those games that could have gone either way. But when you get to the winners' bracket final in a district baseball tournament, you come to expect games like this. Hixson's Parker Tyo and Central's Bret Hardy hooked up in one of those classic pitcher's duals and both pitched well enough to win. But Hardy gets that honor after his Purple Pounder teammates scored ... (click for more)

Willingham Pitches Boyd-Buchanan Past Silverdale In 5-A Baseball

River Crowther allowed two runs on eight hits in five innings Monday afternoon, but all he has to show for an outstanding effort is a loss after his Silverdale Baptist Academy teammates came up short in a 2-1 winner's bracket final against host Boyd-Buchanan in the District 5-A baseball tournament. Crowther probably deserved a better fate, but he was one-upped by Buccaneer junior ... (click for more)