Houston Threatens Uber With Some Legalese Over Email Campaign

uber-logo.jpg
They are shutting down the city!
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.

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 Attorney
City of Houston


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11 comments
bribottman
bribottman

Love my Mayor but also love UBER.  Current transportation options in Houston are very JV compared to most major cities. (i know, it's my job) Figure it out Mayor Parker and City Council and get on it - it is important.  


Mayor Parker I volunteered to help get you elected, I stood at polls handing out your literature on election day , etc. but I  have to say that your city attorney David Parker's "cease and desist" order is complete crybaby bullshit. All city employees (elected or not) never should forget who pays their rent.

joet13
joet13

Well, unfortunately I'm not one of the young urbanites, but as an oldie that has traveled many countries and cabbed it with ease, Houston and the surrounding areas really suck when it comes to alternate transportation. Any services that could aid in making it easier to catch a ride whenever it is should be welcome and given a chance. In this sue happy world, why are you even bringing that up as a reason we shouldn't look at them....one suit, give me a break! I'm sure somebody will get sued soon because they are 10 minutes late....BTW, I used Uber in SF and I would use it any day over a traditional cab service, regardless of the price difference. And they even make it easy to split the fare on your credit cards.

Joe

h_e_x
h_e_x

I just want more public transportation options. Having them operate late into the night would be even better.

MakeSense
MakeSense

Since the city attorney's email is right there David.Feldman@houstontx.gov why don't people just email him directly instead of being assisted by someone? That way they know it comes from concerned citizens.

LaurenK
LaurenK

Given that we have such poor public transportation, affordable and reliable taxi service seems like one of the best short-term solutions to reduce parking in popular areas and cut down on drunk driving. Unfortunately, cabs in Houston are insanely expensive—it takes me $40-$50 for a round trip from the Heights to Downtown! Uber and similar services have the potential to make cabs cheaper, but of course, the city is against it… I love Houston but sometimes I just cannot understand our regulators.

ericspin
ericspin

I haven't had the chance to try it, but I've heard good things about Uber. Competition is a good thing!

dispatch2
dispatch2

It shouldn't. You can always ride the Wave in those areas for $15 for the whole night. Thehoustonwave.com

reverendvelvet
reverendvelvet

@LaurenK  In most cities Uber operates, they are more expensive than a taxi. With Uber, you're paying for the convenience of having a car pick you up exactly where you want and when you want. And when you reach your destination you merely exit the vehicle. No messing with cash or credit card.

I used Uber in NYC to send my 16 year old son to the airport. I could track his trip on my smartphone so I knew exactly when he arrived the airport and I didn't have to worry about him being ripped off by a shady taxi driver.

I doubt the presence of Uber will make cabs cheaper but at least there's an alternative choice to the quality of service we want to spend OUR hard earned dollars on.

berry67
berry67

@ericspin You know what? no body talk about health issue. This greedy UBER company they are going to mess Houston and surrounding area smoky and pollution. Think twice. is going to be crowded and bad to breath fresh air. We better be careful not to allowed this UBER in this Beautiful city.

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