Uber

Is the NYC Lawmaker Leading the Charge Against Uber Getting His Information on the Company From Random Google Searches?

New York City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez's preposterous attack on Uber.

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As the New York Observer first reported, New York City Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez (D-Dist 10) tweeted the following yesterday morning:

Tweet |||

Rodriguez is the chair of the council's transportation committee and a co-sponsor of the recent bill that would effectively put a moratorium on new Ubers in New York City for a year. Josh Mohrer, Uber's general manager in New York City, responded on Twitter by calling Rodriguez's accusation "a lie."

Mohrer is right. New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) requires that every Uber driver maintain a commercial liability insurance of $200,000 per person, and $100,000 minimum liability. The insurance held by Uber drivers are just as reliable as any other commercial policy.

So where is Rodriguez—arguably the most influential lawmaker with regard to transportation policy in New York City—getting his information on the company? He deleted his first tweet, but later reposted it, adding a source:

Tweet |||

Apparently, Rodriguez (or whoever's managing his Twitter account) stumbled on a July 1 article on the investment blog Seeking Alpha (perhaps after some frantic Google searching) by a Los Angeles–based investment advisor named Larry Meyers, who also works as an advisor to the payday lending industry. Meyers' post argues that Uber's valuation is too high for a variety of reasons, and towards the end of the piece, he includes one sentence mentioning "insurance issues":

There are insurance issues that could scare away drivers. Carriers can cancel policies if a driver has an accident, even if his Uber app isn't on, because policies explicitly say commercial use voids the policy.

Ydanis Rodriguez |||

That's it. Though he provides no source for this assertion, in the comments section Meyers explains where he got this notion that Uber drivers have slippery insurance coverage: "There was an accident here in LA and now Uber and the driver are both being sued," Meyers writes. "The driver has lost his insurance, now all of his assets are exposed, and Uber may be on the hook as well."

I couldn't find anything on a lawsuit in L.A. that sounds like what Meyers is describing, but it must have to do with an issue that arose in California after the tragic death of six-year-old Sofia Liu on December 31, 2013, which I wrote about in The Daily Beast last year. The driver of the vehicle had the Uber app open but hadn't yet picked up a ride, so the company claimed that the driver's personal insurance, rather than Uber's commercial policy, should be on the hook. A regulation in California that took effect this month clears up this ambiguity.

In New York City, however, drivers are required to maintain around-the-clock commercial policies, so this was never an issue. I'm glad the elected officials deciding on Uber's future in New York City are giving the company such fair and careful scrutiny.

A spokesperson for Councilmember Rodriguez didn't return my call.

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  1. THIS is what democracy gets you, folks.

  2. Politicians being cynical, lying pieces of shits parasites.

    Here’s my shocked face.

  3. I don’t think they’re “random” Google searches.

    “You wont believe what 2 Uber drivers did with one cup!”

    1. *jacks furiously*

    2. O_O I CAN NEVER HAVE SEX AGAIN

  4. Did you know Uber drivers are allowed to killed children and during their blood?

    1. drink their blood.

    2. Elizabeth Nolan Brown moonlights as a Uber driver?

      Figures.

  5. I have a good friend who leans fairly leftward but generally considers himself not up-to-date enough to debate politics much. He’s pretty laid-back about everything. He recently lost his job, and when I suggested he could drive for Uber until he found something better he was vehemently opposed to the idea. It’s somewhat out of character for him to be as agitated about it as he was. Uber cheats to skirt rules that protect consumers, etc., etc. It was during his birthday party so we agreed that we wouldn’t get into a long discussion over it, but apparently I found a hot-button issue for him.

    1. Uber is the new Walmart – the progs are all up in arms about it for no particular reason that I can discern, to the point where the talking points have been absorbed by all.

      1. It’s cheap, easy, and the masses like it; intellectuals, and hence progressives, obviously have to hate it.

        You should be happy that they allow you to take taxicabs. The only acceptable and safe way to travel is by secret-service driven government vehicle (e.g., Hillary) or personal driver (big Democratic donors).

  6. All of his assets are exposed? Good god. Of course all of his assets are exposed. Unless the driver has incorporated himself, he is personally liable for anything he does. I’m not not aware of Uber allowing or disallowing drivers to incorporate and operating that way (aka the smart way). So anyone who doesn’t incorporate and contract with Uber in their corporate form is an idiot.

    Anyone who doesn’t get a round the clock commercial policy on their car while driving for Uber is also an idiot (whether it is required by law or not, cover your ass).

    Sounds like Councilman Rodriguez is being paid by the cab companies though. So expect Uber to die in NY.

  7. Why do we believe our politicians are immune from all the secondary retard effects of social networking?

    1. Because they go to Ivy League colleges?

      1. Wouldn’t that make them more susceptible to the secondary retard effects of social networking, social networking having been invented there and all that?

  8. “…calling Rodriguez’s accusation “a lie.””

    Sounds about right to me.

  9. Rodriguez looks like Pajama Boy.

    1. Looks more like Alexis Tsipras.

      1. Winnah!!!!

  10. Some actuary/entrepreneur, with an excellent understanding of the risks in underwriting Uber drivers, should be able to make a fortune writing polices tailored specifically for Uber drivers.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if Progressive were shooting a commercial with that Flo lady pitching new policies specifically for Uber drivers even as I type.

    1. Progressive – isn’t that a Soros outfit?

  11. Petty government bureaucrats won’t stop shaking down Uber, et. al. until they get as much or more money out of Uber as they get from the cab companies.

    And it’s not just about NYC auctioning off medallions for $700,000 and up.

    Look at some of the fees on this schedule:

    There is a 50-cent MTA State Surcharge for all trips that end in New York City or Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange or Putnam Counties.
    There is a 30-cent Improvement Surcharge.

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/tlc/ht…..rate.shtml

    It’s like a legal protection racket. The petty bureaucrats are saying, “Nice business you got there. I’d hate to see somethin’ happen to it.”

    Anyway, the important thing is that the people of NYC keep voting for Democrats and installing Democrats beholden to the unions in all their bureaucracies. Because if New Yorkers don’t vote for Democrats, they could end up with a Confederate flag on their state capitol building. And do you really wanna see that happen?

    Well DO YA?!

    1. They’ll be 10′ under water soon enough.

      1. If only global warming actually worked as the Democrats claim it does!

    2. Elections have consequences and they deserve to suffer.

      1. I’ve heard that the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I’ll take that one step further.

        If intelligence has anything to do with learning from mistakes, I’m starting to wonder if there’s really any intelligent life in New York City.

        If the police are brutalizing black people, the school sucks so bad, or the local bureaucrats are trying to make it harder and more expensive to get around, how can the solution always be to vote for more Democrats?

        I saw recently that in Chicago the public employees’ union recently endorsed a Republican–a Republican who’s totally in their lap but a Republican nonetheless. What’s it say about people when the public employee unions are more eager to support a Republican than the voters?

        It says those voters are incredibly stupid, doesn’t it?

        1. The problem is R’s have allowed stupid SoCon issues to so dominate their public agendas that they scare away most people who might go for their fiscal approaches. People won’t vote for a guy in favor of Uber when the first thing that guy will do once elected is try to ban abortion and stop gay marriage.

          1. Yep.

            There is a reason why the Culture War is always front and center, and it isn’t because it isn’t the perfect engine for signaling.

          2. The socons don’t necessarily dominate the public agenda but the newsers would like you to believe that they do.

      2. One presumes that New Yorkers are suffering.

        It’s my understanding that white, affluent New Yorkers are perfectly fine with Stop-n-frisk, for example.

        1. I suspect many black New Yorkers tired of all the crime in their neighborhood are also perfectly fine with stop-n-frisk.

  12. In my youth I delivered the shit out of pizzas. Technically I was supposed to get a commercial insurance policy. Yeah, right. No one did. 99.9% of all pizza delivery drivers in the country are flouting the insurance companies’ rules about this.

    1. I’ve argued this here before, and I’ll argue it again…

      Taking your car out on the road is an inherently risky activity, and making poor people pay to insure relatively rich people’s cars is not a legitimate function of government.

      Why should people who do not have $100,000 in assets be forced by the government to insure assets they don’t have?

      If you want to insure your car against uninsured drivers, you should be free to do that. We should all be free to insure our own property!

      The government should not force people to buy auto insurance to insure other people’s property. Driving a car down the street is an inherently risky activity, and anyone who willingly takes that risk with their own property should be free to insure it against the uninsured. If you’d rather sue other drivers who damage your car, then you should be free to do that rather than buy insurance, too. But under no circumstances should the government force people to buy auto insurance.

      It’s just rent seeking by the insurance companies–forcing poor people to insure assets they don’t even possess.

      1. But roads! Driving is a privilege (that many people need in today’s world in order to make a living)!

        Honestly, government funded roads are the source of a shit ton of government expansion. From the ability of the feds to dangle funds and make the states jump the way they want, to the ability of cops to use them as the main means of revenue coll…I mean keeping us safe through enforcing traffic laws, they are the means by which the state gets to fuck people over big time. There’s more to add.

        Seriously, is there any research done to show how often interactions with the police increased as their presence on roads picked up? Obviously not, and it corresponded with the development of more densely developed communities, but it’s still their primary mode of stopping people.

        The ability of the state to yank your driving ‘privileges’ is a means of extortion that people have no recourse against.

        1. Not to mention every piece of shit politician who wants to raise taxes always talks about ‘crumbling infrastructure.” I have no idea where all these crumbling roads and bridges are, personally.

          To comment on the initial story. I don’t think he’s lying. I just think he really has little clue what he’s actually doing in his job. He doesn’t know NY”s transportation laws let alone Uber’s policies or the particulars of insurance contracts. Being an ignorant, unqualified hack isn’t the same as being a liar…at least he may not be lying in this instance.

          1. Have a drink with me.

            This blood’s for you!

      2. Nah, I don’t really buy that argument. Requiring people who use the public roads to carry liability insurance isn’t some bizarre, reverse-class-warfare upward redistribution scheme. When you are motoring around town in a 1.5 ton machine of death and destruction you can easily do much more damage than the average person’s net worth will cover. And that damage isn’t somehow magically restricted to only impacting other motorists.

        It isn’t anti-liberty to assert that folks who put other people’s property and lives at risk should be able to shoulder the financial burden if things go wrong. Driving a car happens to be one of those places where we can actually require proof that you are indeed able to shoulder that burden, at least to some minimum standard.

        1. “It isn’t anti-liberty to assert that folks who put other people’s property and lives at risk”

          You’re putting your own property at risk when you take it on the road of your own free will.

          You do something risky with your own property, buy insurance to protect your property from that risk.

          I’m not here to insure your property for you.

          “You can easily do much more damage than the average person’s net worth will cover.”

          You mean to someone else’s car?

          Insure your own car. Why use the government to force everyone else to insure your property for you?

          I haven’t been convicted of any crime. Why is the government forcing me to insure your property for you?

          Insure your own property and leave me out of it.

          You want to drive around in a $50,000 car, and you know it could be hit at any time by anybody–and you drive it down the street anyway? Don’t make other people pay the premiums for the risks–you take with your property of your own free will.

          P.S. Don’t you insure your car against uninsured motorists anyway?

          1. Ken Shultz|7.21.15 @ 10:21PM|#
            “You’re putting your own property at risk when you take it on the road of your own free will.”

            Like crossing the street?
            Sorry, Ken, no sale.

            1. I don’t understand what you mean by that.

              I’m not saying people aren’t still legally responsible for the damage they do to your property.

              But if you want to be paid in case someone damages your property–regardless of whether you win a lawsuit or regardless of whether the person who damaged your property has the ability to pay? Then there’s an easy way to accomplish that.

              Insure your own property.

              Are there any other situations in which I should have to pay for the risks you willingly take with your own property, or is auto insurance the only one?

              It’s one thing to take someone to court and win a judgement against them. Quite another to decide that Ken Shultz has to insure your property for you–when I’ve never even seen your property–much less damaged it.

              And it isn’t just how you can justify using the coercive power of government to make Ken Shultz insure your car for you–against damage that hasn’t happened and may never happen. It’s also making every single other driver in the State of California insure Sevo’s car for him–when Sevo could just insure his own car himself.

              Again, the insurance mandate is rent seeking–it’s about forcing people to buy insurance they don’t need to protect assets they don’t have.

          2. You’re putting your own property at risk when you take it on the road of your own free will.

            That is absurd. You might as well argue that “You’re putting your life at risk when you take it on the street, since people could go out an murder you. Therefore, murder should not be prosecuted by the state.”

            Using a road involves an agreement between the road owner and the user; the other road users are not your concern, they are the road owner’s concern. A private road operator can impose whatever conditions he wants on your use of the road, and requiring you to carry insurance is a perfectly reasonable requirement. He might not allow expensive cars at all, or only allow expensive cars. In fact, in a fully libertarian world, you’d likely have to be bonded and insured in order to enter many different kinds of private places.

            You might make some argument that a publicly owned road shouldn’t impose such requirement, but such arguments are irrelevant to libertarianism as arguments about the nature of the Holy Trinity are to atheism.

            1. “That is absurd. You might as well argue that “You’re putting your life at risk when you take it on the street, since people could go out an murder you. Therefore, murder should not be prosecuted by the state.”

              Actually, if you look at what I wrote, you’ll see that I wrote:

              “I’m not saying people aren’t still legally responsible for the damage they do to your property.

              But if you want to be paid in case someone damages your property–regardless of whether you win a lawsuit or regardless of whether the person who damaged your property has the ability to pay? Then there’s an easy way to accomplish that.

              Insure your own property.”

              And later I wrote:

              “It’s one thing to take someone to court and win a judgement against them. Quite another to decide that Ken Shultz has to insure your property for you”.

              Why respond if you’re going to ignore everything I wrote?

              Just because you have the right to sue me in court and just because I’m still legally responsible for any crimes against you or any damage I do to your property–does not mean I should be forced to buy you insurance?

              In your analogy, just because you might get murdered, do you imagine that means that I should be forced by the government to buy you life insurance?

              1. If you want life insurance for your family, go buy it yourself.

                The government will still prosecute murderers, and your family can still sue the murderer for financial damages–but why should the government make me pay for your life insurance? I haven’t done anything wrong. I’ve never even met you!

                I haven’t been sued. I haven’t committed any crime. So why should the government make me pay for your life or auto insurance?

                Go buy it yourself.

      3. But under no circumstances should the government force people to buy auto insurance.

        The reason government is doing this is because government built and owns the roads. If the roads were private, the private road operator would likely do something similar, and for the same reason: they don’t want endless legal disputes about fault.

        It’s just rent seeking by the insurance companies–forcing poor people to insure assets they don’t even possess.

        No, it isn’t “just” rent seeking. Insurance of some form would likely be required in a fully libertarian world as well, although the nature and amount might differ.

        1. “The reason government is doing this is because government built and owns the roads.”

          You are so far out in left field, it’s amazing. You and Liz Warren should go out for dinner and a movie.

          I’m a taxpayer. I own the roads. I pay for them. I should be able to use them so long as I don’t violate someone else’s rights. And not buying insurance for other people isn’t violating other people’s rights. They don’t have a right to redundant insurance polices that protect their cars for them. They have a right to insure their own damn property. And the government is violating my rights if it’s forcing me to buy something for other people without due process. By what justification are they depriving me of my liberty and property? I haven’t even been accused of a crime–much less duly convicted by a jury of my peers.

          And besides, I’m not being asked to insure damage I do to the roads. I’m being forced to buy insurance–for your car. The government doesn’t own your car.

          “If the roads were private, the private road operator would likely do something similar, and for the same reason: they don’t want endless legal disputes about fault.”

          The legal disputes about fault are not mitigated because the government requires insurance; the legal disputes about fault are mitigated because individuals buy insurance for themselves. If you as an individual don’t want to worry about litigation so much, then by all means, by yourself some insurance–and leave me out of it.

          1. Meanwhile, people sue their insurance companies and insurance companies sue each other and other people all the time. Meanwhile, people sue the hell out of each other more often because people with less than $100,000 in assets are being forced by the government to protect assets they don’t even have. People with less than $5,000 in assets wouldn’t be sued at all if the government weren’t forcing them to buy auto insurance. It’s that insurance that makes many of those suits possible. So your whole theory about insurance making the absolute level of lawsuits less is highly suspect. Insurance just makes the individual buyers less worried about lawsuits–we don’t know that it lowers the absolute level of litigation.

  13. Oh lord… Seeking Alpha is a vortex of misinformation. It is really just random idiots’ opinions about stuff.

    1. So – Reason for the rest of us.

      Seems legit.

  14. Slightly OT: Uber just started here in the Quad Cities today! We don’t really have any entrenched taxi cartels only taxi you have to make an appointment for, but the talk in the newspaper and online seems to be, bu.. bu… but someone will get raped!!

  15. This has become an issue of sorts here in Florida. I just got hit by a contractor in his work truck last week. So he was on a commercial policy.

    First, they asked repeatedly if I was doing any work function in my car, transporting anyone for pay, … anything for pay… anything work related…. I responded with “is this the new Uber question?” The guy just laughed – “probably”. So Uber is having an impact in the collision claims arena.

    2 – Never get involved with a commercial policy. I called my carrier immediately and got the other driver on tape admitting full responsibility within 5 minutes of the accident, so I was on solid ground. But the commercial guys (at the same company) seemed quite determined to find a way to shift the blame back to me. It took them 3 days to agree to assign responsibility and begin paying for my rental. It took the personal auto insurance guys about 25 minutes to sort things out and assign responsibility.

    When dealing with their personal auto insurance division in the past, you just took your car to an authorized service center and they’d do the rest. Rental ready when you arrive. No out-of-pocket, nothing. With commercial they cut a check and you get it fixed on your own. If it runs over, you gotta fight for it.

    Lastly, they had a 10k payout limit. Not sure what that means, since you have to carry 20x that on a personal policy. Maybe that’s all they can authorize before I’d have to sue. Whatever… it is a pain.

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    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

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  18. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

  19. I’m sure that even random web-searches are BETTER than shameless and paid for Uber corporate propaganda.
    With web-searches – you will at least some truth…
    With Uber’s propaganda – you are getting bombarded with misdirection and BS non-stop 24/7.
    Hey, it’s not like they are paying taxes or anything… so they spend it on this propaganda BS.

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