Columnists Opinion

Council needs to allow digital advertising on rideshare cars

Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson cares about his constituents.

He shows it every day with events like his “Coffee with the council member” meetings, where he helps address the specific needs of his constituents, and his efforts to clean up our district and make it beautiful.

I was lucky enough to attend a coffee with Harris-Dawson earlier last month, and my support for his leadership is through the roof.

I met with him along with a variety of interested constituents in his district because I’m counting on his support in the coming weeks when Harris-Dawson and the rest of the City Council will decide if I get to keep earning an extra $300 per month. They are going to vote on whether a law that allows me and other drivers to attach digital advertising signs to our vehicles should be repealed. 

The sign, from a company called Firefly, guarantees me the extra cash just for driving like normal. I don’t have to drive more or to particular parts of the city. I simply drive like normal and Firefly compensates me.

These days, when so many people struggle to earn enough to pay all their bills, that $300 means a lot. Los Angeles is an expensive city to live in, so this extra income helps. 

Besides the money, it also means extra time at home with my family and especially my grandchildren. I am the sole provider for my own household in addition to helping my daughter and her six children. The more I make without driving more means I get a little more quality family time. And it’s not just me.

There are a lot of drivers who would be hurt pretty bad without that extra money, and their families too. 

But after meeting with Councilman Harris-Dawson, I’m certain that he sees this issue as I do, which is that this is an economic matter that affects real people’s lives.

There are more of us than you might think, people who are hardworking, but still have to work extremely hard to make ends meet. As an independent contractor, I don’t get sick days or other valuable benefits, so every day I’m not behind the wheel is a day I don’t get paid.

That’s why the Firefly income is so important to me.

I’m really afraid that in the coming weeks I could lose a significant portion of my monthly income. But like I said, I have faith in Harris-Dawson. I know he’s someone who doesn’t just say he has the best interests of his constituents at heart. He truly does, or he wouldn’t bother to do all the things he does in our district.

I’m hoping that soon, this will all be settled and I can stop worrying. I’ll always be a supporter of Mr. Harris-Dawson, because I know he has my back.

Elizabeth Nichols is a professional rideshare driver who lives in South Los Angeles.