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As we begin another new year I want to remind all operators throughout the State of California that the Greater California Livery Association (GCLA) has continued to work at unifying, promoting and protecting the livery industry. I am including below a summary of our activities during 2012.
I know you have heard this message before, but I need to emphasize more than ever how important it is to increasing our membership. Do not assume that our organization has an unlimited amount of funds to address legal, legislative and airport issues. Your membership dues help support these activities and if you assume “the other person” will take care of it we will end up not having the resources to represent you and every operator in this state. Your dues are not a subscription to a newsletter, site services, etc. Your dues are your contribution to our efforts for the year. Whether you pay your dues in January or September they are your support for our efforts in all of 2013. Sign up or renew your membership today, only do affiliate business with GCLA members and encourage your associate operators to join the GCLA. Please be active and proactive in recruiting every operator in the State.
For those of you who have received membership expiration notices in the last few days by email, if you have sent your payment in, please be patient as we bring our new administrative assistant, Jennifer Sultan, up to speed with our systems. If you haven’t paid your 2013 dues please send your check or log into the site and renew your membership today.
GCLA Activities And Issues In 2012
AB 45 bill relating to Minors and Alcohol was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown effective January 1, 2013. The new law sets new standards for companies who operate large party vehicles where the consumption of alcohol may occur while underage passengers are onboard. Full details of the bill and the required documents to complete these types of runs are available through the GCLA.
AB 838 was also signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown which will allow electronic waybills to become the “Norm”, and will be effective January 1, 2014. We are moving at lightning speed with new technology and are embracing the changes that will allow us to operate our businesses more efficiently.
CPUC - As I mentioned in our mid-year message the California Public Utilities Commission appointed a new director. We, at the GCLA, felt it was important that we meet with the new director to insure that he is aware of our issues and concerns. In June GCLA Consultant Paul Haney, Northern California GCLA Director Rich Azzolino and myself met with Brigadier General Jack Hagan along with Paul Wuerstle and Julie Halligan. We discussed the issues at the San Diego Airport relating to their "Vehicle Conversion Program", issues around Mobile Apps services such as Uber and encouraged them to form a joint multi-task force enforcement team consisting of the local District Attorney's office, EDD, California Highway Patrol and PUC to aggressively go after illegal operators throughout the state. Our meeting was positive and we felt that Mr. Hagan and his staff will work with us to make the PUC a friendly advocate for legal operators across the State. We were also fortunate to have General Hagan attend our December General Meeting and Holiday Party as Guest Speaker. It was a great evening with plenty of Q & A, with General Hagan receiving a standing ovation after some quite intensive questions. “I can’t fix it if I don’t know it’s broken,” said General Hagen.
We seem to be at a standstill with San Diego Airport Conversion Program. The seven year aging of vehicles has been pushed back to ten years and the SAN Airport Commissioners recently placed a hold on the penalty phase for operators who didn’t have vehicles that met there policy standards. The GCLA will be meeting with both the airport and the CPUC to determine if these latest changes in policy are temporary or in fact permanent with this program. The GCLA feels strongly these ill-advised programs do place an unnecessary burden, financial constraint and a negative impact to operators that would be felt tremendously if approved on a state level.
Are mobile apps new potential threats to take away business or a new business model that needs proper regulation. So who decides if Uber, Sidecar, Lyft and others are legal or illegal. The GCLA, some of the state’s major airports along with other ground transportation agencies are asking these same questions. In fact many of us are being included in the California Public Utilities Commission’s requested OIR- Order Instituting rulemaking that will be an official process to determine where this new technology will move forward with possibly a new set of standards. We will keep you updated on this hot issue.
Annual EXPO - GCLA rolled the red carpet out once again for operators attending the Annual Greater California Livery Association Expo and Trade Show, where more than 30 industry vendors, including top automakers, showcased their products and services to GCLA members and guests. The Greater California Livery Association Expo and Trade Show featured the most chauffeured vehicles and buses on display outside of a major industry trade show, offering operators in California and beyond a unique opportunity to sample vehicles and make key fleet buying decisions. This year we had the pleasure of two key note speakers who are veterans in the travel industry. Lynn Carpenter, Vice President of Marketing from Visit California and Jon Severini, President and CEO of the California Travel Association who spoke during the evening. Lynn Carpenter explained how Visit California is driving business to the hospitality sector through extensive marketing efforts while Jon Severini explained the facts of how the California Travel Association is working to protect the interests of companies doing business in California. The GCLA Board of Directors wanted to personally thank our "Official Partner" of the 2012 GCLA Expo and Trade Show Ford Fleet & Livery Vehicles, Platinum Sponsor Penske Cadillac, Gold Sponsors Acton Fleet Sales, BMW, Hyundai, Mercedes Benz and SoCal Penske, Silver Sponsor Limo Anywhere, along with all of our supporting vendors and attendees that made this year's GCLA Expo and Trade Show the most talked about event ever in the history of the GCLA.
Fundraising - Our 2nd Annual GCLA Poker Tournament was a success thanks to a nice turn out of players, sponsors, Don Brown Bus Sales and supporting cast of GCLA Director Kevin Illingworth, Heather Telaak from Classique Limousines, Anne Daniell from Torrey Pines Transportation and Kristen Messineo from LCT Magazine. You can see plenty of happy faces from the Poker Tournament on the GCLA Face Book page.
Recognitions - GCLA scored big at the Limo Digest Show in Atlantic City, first by being able to participate in the Association Summit Panel which included GCLA President Mark Stewart, Limousine Association of New Jersey LANJ President Tim Rose, Matt Daus from the International Association of Transportation Regulators IATR and Al Lagasse, Executive Director of the Taxi Limousine and Para Transit Association TLPA who were guest speakers of the Association Summit. The Greater California Livery Association GCLA was named 2012-2013 Association of the Year and GCLA President Mark Stewart was named Association Leader of the Year at the Industry Achievement Awards Gala. The GCLA Board of Directors wants to thank all of our members for your participation and support in making the GCLA one of the strongest and recognized associations in the industry today. We would also like to congratulate International Livery Services, Beverly Hills, for winning small operator of the year.
I want to thank all our members of the GCLA and those who have graciously donated to the lobbyist and legal fund. It is imperative that the GCLA have the resources necessary to hire and maintain professional lobbyists, lawyers and airport consultants to help protect the interests of all ground transportation operators in California. The GCLA has been fortunate to hire a team of professionals that has been able to remain watchful and vigilant regarding issues which affect our operators throughout the state.
When you have a moment please check out your new Board of Directors for 2013 on the GCLA website, we have some new faces onboard this year. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Director in your area with a question or suggestion. Interested in helping our industry, please get involved and volunteer some of your time on one of our Committees.
I am looking forward to serving the GCLA as your President this year and wish all of you a happy and prosperous year in 2013.
Greater California Livery Association