for a while now how Uber -- the mobile phone-enabled car/taxi ordering service -- has run up against a bunch of obsolete laws in various cities, often leading to bizarre rebuttals from municipal officials. Uber quickly realized that each ridiculous response from a city government was something of a marketing opportunity
to introduce itself to new cities. You would think, by now, city officials would learn that the proper thing to do is figure out how to work with Uber to provide better transportation for their citizenry, rather than immediately bowing to demands from taxi/limo companies who fear potential competition.
However, the response from Houston may be the most bizarre of all. Uber had set up a petition for Houston residents, emailing city officials of their support for allowing Uber in that city. In response to this, the city of Houston issued a cease-and-desist
, effectively telling Uber to stop asking Houston residents to contact their own elected government about this issues any more.
From: Feldman, David M. – LGL
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
It's ridiculous for Feldman to argue that citizens contacting their own elected officials is a form of harassment and somehow illegal. And, of course, the end result of this is that it just drives that much more attention to the issue (and probably even more emails).