The Daily Review/Bill Decker
Patterson Councilman Larry Mendoza, left, makes one last motion to adjourn Tuesday, his last meeting after 24 years on the council. At right is Councilman Jon Rentrop.

Patterson cracks down on cabs

PATTERSON — Tuesday’s city council meeting had a holiday feel.
Volunteers on citizen advisory boards were recognized and thanked warmly. Councilman Larry Mendoza, attending his last meeting after six consecutive four-year terms, got a warm farewell and made his final motion to adjourn.
But taxicab companies operating in Patterson without a permit can expect coal in their stockings.
Mayor Rodney Grogan said he plans to send letters to three cab companies warning them that they and their drivers must have the required permits by Jan. 1 or face fines.
The mayor said companies have been contacted before about operating in the city, but the reply has been that they were only dropping off passengers picked up elsewhere. Police officers have determined that isn’t true, he said.
City Attorney Russell Cremaldi, who was also recognized Tuesday for 37 years of service to Patterson, noted that state law is specific on the city’s responsibility to regulate cab companies. While the state gives local governments the power to perform many functions at their option, the law requires those governments to regulate cab companies.
The key, Cremaldi said, is that Patterson has the right to make sure drivers are licensed, aren’t felons and have safe driving records.
To make matters worse from Patterson’s viewpoint, the offending companies are operating legally in other local municipalities.
“If you’re respecting Morgan City,” Grogan said, “if you’re respecting Berwick, if you’re respecting everywhere else, respect Patterson,” Grogan said.
Patterson’s cab permit law requires both cab companies and individual drivers to have permits. Drivers must also be photographed and fingerprinted by the police department.
The law requires cab drivers to be at least 18 and have a chauffeur’s license. They can’t have drunken driving or felony convictions, and they can’t have failed to obtain the required permit in the past.
The ordinance specifically rules out permits for anyone “convicted of being the keeper of a house of ill fame, or who is directly or indirectly connected therewith or interested therein. …”
Also Tuesday:
—The mayor and council recognized and thanked members of the Patterson Housing Authority, the Planning and Zoning Board, the new Community Center Advisory Board and Main Street.
—The council heard the annual report from St. Mary Council on Aging Director Beverly Domengeaux.
The council served 3,750 meals at the local center and delivered 7,500 meals to seniors at home, a service for which there is a waiting list.

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