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Allow rideshare drivers freedom to advertise

Shuan Bonner | 6/6/2019, midnight

I’m a professional rideshare driver, which means I get paid when I drive someone. It can be hard to budget because I never know exactly how many fares I’ll get in a week or month. That’s why the deal from a company called Firefly is so great. They pay me $300 a month to display their digital advertising sign on top of my car and drive it around Los Angeles while I work. Nothing special, I just drive like normal.

But now, the city council is considering banning these signs. They’re voting in the next few weeks on a measure that would take away this extra income from me. It’s a scary situation, because that $300 a month is vital to my budget.

First, I know I have that money coming in, so I can allocate it to my most pressing bills. As guaranteed income, that $300 gives me some breathing room every month. I don’t have to drive as much as I did before to make ends meet, and less time behind the wheel means less strain on my eyes and back.

Thankfully, I’m represented by Councilman Curren Price, Jr., who has long been a champion of immigrants, minorities, and women. He’s been honored by the Central American Resource Center as a champion of immigrant families. He launched the Community Safety Partnership program to reduce violent crime in the South Park area by building trust between residents and law enforcement. He created the Ninth District “Shero Award” to honor women in the district who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, pride and commitment to strengthening our community.

That’s why I am hopeful Councilman Price will vote to help the taxi and rideshare drivers of the Ninth District and all of Los Angeles, really. Our community is mostly made up of all the people he’s championed for so long. We are the working poor, minorities, single moms and immigrants working hard to support our neighborhoods and provide a decent life for our children. We want to spend time with our families, too, not be stuck in a car for 15 or 18 hours a day. So, the ability to display the signs and get the money for them is really important to us.

I know our councilman understands that and will want to help us do what’s best for ourselves, our families and our communities. So I want to thank him now for all he’s done to make sure the people in the Ninth District have the best life possible, with all the resources and advantages we deserve. And I humbly ask him to vote against the measure that would damage the very people and neighborhoods he’s worked so hard to improve and build up over the years.

Shuan Bonner is a professional rideshare driver in South Los Angeles.