Houston Threatens Uber With Some Legalese Over Email Campaign
There's been a lot of discussion about Uber, the car service that recently launched service in Houston despite the fact that ordinances prevent it from operating legally. The Mayor and City Council have been in discussions on what to do about services like Uber and Lyft that provide an alternative to taxis and limo services. Both allow users to request a car via an app, which also handles payment. The driver is paid electronically.
They are shutting down the city!
Some 10,000 Houstonians signed an online petition in support of the service, the most vocal of whom are young, urbanites who are strong supporters of the technological aspects of the service.
What was the city's response?
Apparently, the city is tired of having its inbox filled up with Uber petition signatures because it issued a cease and desist to the folks at Uber asking Uber to stop the flow of petition e-mails to city mailboxes:
From: Feldman, David M. - LGL [mailto:David.Feldman@houstontx.gov] Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2014 8:46 AM To: Miller, Robert Subject: Uber Cease and Desist
Robert - Please consider this as a formal demand that your client, Uber, cease and desist from transmitting or aiding in the transmission of form e-mails to City officials regarding the adoption of an ordinance to accommodate their enterprise. Despite my informal request to you by telephone on Monday, the excessive number of e-mails has gone unabated, to the point that it has become harassing in nature and arguably unlawful. Failure to cease and desist will be met with appropriate action by the City.
David M. Feldman
City of Houston