Four of the companies are under the same ownership, which left Commissioners Christopher Welch and Bill Weisman questioning whether there was adequate competition within the city.
United Taxi appealed the decision, countering that the city had no valid reason to deny its application for one available taxi permit.
On Tuesday, representatives from United Taxi and the city’s current taxi operators reiterated their lengthy appeals to the City Council.
Existing taxi operators argued business was already down 25% compared with two years ago, while United Taxi representatives argued in favor of allowing “real competition” in Glendale.
Francine Oschin, a consultant for United Taxi, alleged in a letter to the City Council that tax records showed the fifth company, People’s Taxi, as being under the same ownership umbrella as the other four taxi operators, ensuring a virtual monopoly.
“Today directly or indirectly, they operate all of the 81 taxis in your city,” she argued.
While council members Laura Friedman and John Drayman disagreed with the commission’s decision, citing the consumer benefits of greater competition, they said they did not see enough reason to overturn the decision.
“I don’t want to give the notion to the public or vendors that our boards and commissions are merely a stopover point to the next step, as much as I disagree with the vote the Transportation & Parking Commission made,” Friedman said.
Councilman Dave Weaver also said he was insulted by Oschin’s insinuation that the city’s decision was influenced by campaign contributions.
In the previous election cycle, Weaver received a $500 contribution from G&S Transit Management, the listed operator of City Cab. In the 2009 election, Councilman Ara Najarian and Mayor Frank Quintero both received $1,000 from Gorgee Enterprises Inc., the listed operator of People’s Taxi.
Speaking to the full council, Oschin said the city decision to block United Taxi didn’t pass the “smell test.”
Despite the charges, Najarian, a former Transportation & Parking commissioner, said he was familiar with the long-contentious taxi issue, but saw no fault with the commission’s decision.
“I’ve been through these taxi wars before,” he said.