In September more than 1,000 taxi drivers went on a one-day strike to protest a proposed requirement that D.C. cabbies pay a monthly medallion fee for the right to operate their vehicles. The rule was explicitly aimed at reducing the number of taxi drivers in the city. “The fact of the matter is that we are overwhelmed by the number of operators,” the bill’s sponsor, Council Member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), told The Washington Post. That assessment will come as a surprise to anyone who has tried to hail a cab in the nation’s capital, which boasts 8,000 taxis for 600,000 residents.
Two days after the taxi strike, a dozen federal agents raided the City Hall offices of Ted G. Loza, Graham’s chief of staff. Loza was arrested and charged with accepting bribes. It turns out that someone identified in court papers as “Individual Number 1” wanted to limit the number of taxi licenses in order to make a planned exception for hybrid cars more valuable. In exchange for a few months of bill advocacy, he allegedly offered Loza “a stream of things of value” including “cash, the use of vehicles and trips.”