Portsmouth City Council Kills Uber Amendments, Continues Turf War

Monday night the Portsmouth city council killed all three amendments requested by Uber that would have allowed all Uber drivers to operate legally in Portsmouth.

At the public hearing before the vote, Uber supporters outnumbered opponents about two to one. One taxi loyalist accused Uber drivers of “laughing at” the police because he saw an Uber driver park often right next to a police car downtown. Except “Uber Grandma” Stephanie Franz then stepped to the podium to say that driver was her. Why park there? She said:
“I do that because I fear the taxi cab drivers. My car’s been blocked in. I’ve had stuff thrown at it. They take pictures of my car. They take pictures of me. They yell at me. They’ve done a lot of different things.”
Additional reports of taxi drivers harassing Uber drivers and customers all fell on deaf ears. Ordinance architect Asst. Mayor Jim Splaine urged everyone to vote down all three amendments requested by Uber, which they did.
 Splaine even jumped into the Free Uber Facebook page comments to defend the ordinance, erroneously claiming: “We’ve created a free market” by forcing Uber drivers to register with the city.
Portsmouth resident Jason Walls blasted the council’s actions in an op-ed published today in the Portsmouth Herald:

What I saw [Monday] was a group of people listen to a vast majority of interested parties in favor of abolishing the ordinance or, at the very least, adding the amendments requested by Uber to allow us to move on in the short term, and then, subsequently, completely ignore those people and pass the buck onto the next council. In the meantime, Taxi drivers will continue to harass Uber passengers, police will continue to waste time policing the ordinance, and all of this will happen during the holiday season when a surge of ride-sharing drivers is needed most.

This is dangerous and despicable. It’s disgusting to me as a resident and taxpayer. The council members, save for Thorsen and Dwyer, should be ashamed. The headlines should read “Council votes to delay safer Portsmouth” or “Council votes to continue increased drunk driving risks.” You had an opportunity to end this, or at least refrain from enforcement, until this time when it is needed most is over, and you didn’t – even those with nothing to lose on their way out. Let the record show.

Councilor Thorsen, who together with Councilor Dwyer, was one of the only voices of reason during the debate, had the best quote of the night, admitting that the council “didn’t really even know what we’re talking about”:

“I have a little bit of concern over this whole process just because, for example in our last meeting, I went away scratching my head because I was told that our process is better than Uber’s process, for example background checks. And at the same time, we were told we don’t know what Uber’s background check is. Now either one.. you can’t say both. And yet we said both right up here on the council, which told me we didn’t really even know what we’re talking about. And that concerns me in this whole process.

Now we had some feedback from the police department, and that’s good. But again, I don’t think that in trying to get down to the 15 versus 7 [years for the background checks] — I don’t agree with 15, I think we should be at 7 because that’s what most are.

I wanted to be able to address that. I’m going to have to leave it to the next council. We have several young people up on the next council. I think they’re going to have a different opinion than this council. I hope that they do and I hope that they get Uber into Portsmouth as soon as they possibly can.”

The turf war on the streets of Portsmouth continues. Eyes now turn to the new city council and their first meeting January 11th.

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14 Comments

  1. How many of those “supporters” are inhabitants of Portsmouth and are registered voters? How many of them have a real job? How many of them pay property taxes in Portsmouth?

    No one gives a flying fuck about a bunch of loser outsiders who think they can roll over Portsmouth like they’ve done with Keene.

    We’re not Keene, and you tools can all go fuck yourselves.

    No Uber in Portsmouth!

  2. Hi there, “Expert”. Your strawman argument misses the point. If you don’t want to use Uber, then don’t. It’s that simple. Go ahead and continue to use taxis if you want. I support that. Nobody on the Uber side of things is trying to use the council and police department to limit your choices. The least you could do would be to afford others the same decency and respect.

    BTW, not that it matters, but I personally meet all of your arbitrary criteria. Portsmouth resident, good job, taxpayer. Thorsen is the only incumbent I voted for this fall. You do not speak for me.

  3. It would appear the city has the right to support or not support Uber drivers. The city obviously feels a true taxi service is the way to go.

  4. Nor do you speak for me, asshole. This is about law and order. You just can’t do whatever the fuck you want. There is an ordinance banning Uber and that’s that.

  5. residentExpert – I never said I was speaking for you and I too disapprove of Uber drivers. It is apparent the city wants to do away with Uber drivers and go with taxi drivers.

  6. No Jacks. You presume that you speak for others. It’s not up to the city (or you) to “do away with Uber drivers.” That’s up to their customers. If customers don’t wish to use Uber’s services, then Uber will either have to change their business model or go out of business. But you’re not interested in allowing the market to work the way it’s supposed to, Jacks, because you know that it won’t lead to the outcome that you want. That’s why you prefer the use of government force. Portsmouth’s government doesn’t want to wait for the market to decide Uber’s fate. They prefer to make that decision by edict.

  7. Drac Vermell – No, you presume to speak for others. This website is full of your statements you have made “speaking for others”. Know matter how you twist it, Uber drivers are not welcomed in many cities.

  8. Draccc, definitely likes to speak for others, like Cleveland being a dumbass and getting into hot water with the law, all because he thought he was entitled to do WHATEVER HE THINKS he can get away with. Uber drivers are not able to drive in portsmouth. Maybe they will in the future, maybe they won’t. The bottom line is nobody can drive for Uber in that particular city. But stupid people who think they are entitled to do WHATEVER THEY WANT, will continuously find themselves in hot water with the law. If you don’t like it, move off the grid, and eat berries and sing kumbaya by a fire in the middle of nowhere, where the “men with guns” won’t be around to oppress you asshats!

  9. @Jumping Jacks

    You know better than this, Jacks. When I make a statement, I support it. You do not. For instance, you’ve declared Uber as being unwelcome. This statement is unsupported. Uber has a strong customer base in many cities. So many that its business model is flourishing. It’s flourishing despite the fact that its services have been made illegal in some cities. Do you think this would be possible if Uber were unwelcome? You tend to be very imprecise with words, Jacks. Wouldn’t it would be more precise to say that Uber is unwelcome by it’s competitors? Or by you specifically? By merely saying Uber is unwelcome, you’re making a definitive statement that is presumed to speak for everyone.

  10. @Bsizzle

    “…all because he though he was entitled to do WHATEVER HE THINKS he can get away with.” (sic)

    This is an absolutely fascinating statement you’ve made here, Bsizzle. Let’s turn this around, shall we? When Officer Gaiser arrested Cleaveland and it was later determined by Cleaveland’s video recording that the actions Gaiser claimed to have witnessed were different from those in the recorded evidence, do you think that Gaiser was aware of this? Do you think that Gaiser arrested Cleaveland on falsified charges because he knew he could get away with it? I still haven’t seen any news on Gaiser being brought up on perjury charges, so it seems that he did get away with it. Do you think that Gaiser might try to do this to someone else in the future? It seems likely, doesn’t it? Power may corrupt, but what do you think happens when the fear of being held accountable is removed as well?

  11. Dear “Expert”,

    RE: “There is an ordinance banning Uber and that’s that.”

    I’m glad you acknowledge that the true intent here is to effectively ban Uber, despite councilor Splaine’s repeated self-congradulatory assurances that they have benevolently created a framework that “allows Uber to operate” in the city of Portsmouth. Glad we can both agree on the true goal of the ordinance here, out in the open.

    But either way, I disagree that this is the end of the issue. Ordinances can be modified and/or repealed and that’s exactly what this latest council meeting was about, and it’s certainly one of the first issues the new council will take up in the new year. This issue is far from settled, trust me on that. I might go so far as to say that it was a significant factor in the outcome of the election.

    And I never claimed to speak for you, I wouldn’t ever do unto you the same disrespect as you have done to me. In fact I claimed exactly the opposite. If you want to use taxis or run/ work for a taxi company then, of course, be my guest. I completely support your right to do that. I’m not going to run crying to the city council and try to use the force of government to make taxis illegal. All I ask in return is that you don’t infringe on my ability to use Uber if I choose to do so. I think this is a reasonably mature and respectful way for us to agree to disagree. You use taxis and I’ll leave you alone, I’ll use Uber and you leave me alone. I don’t see anything objectionable about that.

  12. There goes draccc, sticking up and speaking for other dumbass asshats who think their entitled to do whatever they want. And here he is not keeping his comments on the topic at hand, and talking about another older post about Cleaveland’s trial for not listening to authority figures that are trying to keep him safe, in which if you look at the posts of constant drivel that he is trying to win out on, it’s just typical draccc, the butthurt 89 year old entitled Romanian that keeps clawing and scratching his way to through the libertarian ideologies that he thinks are right and true. If they are true, why are so many of you in trouble all the time? Why is it that everything you guys do, is portrayed in a bad light? Maybe it’s because normal thinking adults think you guys are a bunch of looneys, and are going to be a tee-shirt of the month at best.
    Sincerely Mr. Grammar
    P.S how are your libertard boo-boo’s doing, dracccccccc? Are you trying to lick them clean with your libertarian entitlement?

  13. It’s hilarious to me that you consider yourself to be a normal-thinking adult, Bsizzle, especially since you’ve provided so many examples that you’re anything but. So please keep organizing your thoughts and posting them the way that you have here, Bsizzle. You’ve been quite entertaining as of late.

  14. Draccc, doesn’t have anything constructive to say, apparently his intelligence is being restricted. If you think I’m not a normal thinking adult like you (sarcasm), then why bother responding? And why don’t you keep on the topic here on this post, yah know sticking up for your pathetic friends?

Care to comment?