Traditional taxi cabs—remember those?—have taken a beating from ridesharing services like Lyft and Uber. The ground transportation game irrevocably changed once customers said to hell with hailing cabs and began using sleek smartphone apps for cleaner cars and generally more polite drivers. But the war to put butts into back seats is far from over in San Jose, where Mayor Sam Liccardo and the City Council are trying to rewrite the rules on ridesharing services and airport pickups. After several deferrals, the council intends to hammer out a plan at its last meeting of the fiscal year, June 23. In a strategic advance earlier this year, Yellow Checker Cab owner Larry Silva made a calculated decision to hire many of the city’s most well-known lobbyists/consultants before Uber or Lyft made a move. In addition to keeping longtime ear-benders Jerry Strangis and Ed McGovern on retainer, Silva hired Pete Carrillo, the duo Sean Kali-rai and Rich De La Rosa, and Victor Ajlouny, a consigliere to former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed. One would have to go back to the controversial Calpine power plant deal in 2000 to find so many lobbyists joining forces to work one side of an issue. Carrillo has since been let go. While he’s closest to Councilmember Magdalena Carrasco, who cannot vote on taxi matters until next year due to a strange sponsored trip that involved Yellow Cab and the Chamber of Commerce, Fly hears that wasn’t the reason Carrillo’s contract came to an end. (Side note: Silva tells Fly he’s still not sure why the cab company’s Chamber sponsorship went specifically to fund Carrasco’s trip to New York City last year.) The remaining five consultants each have their own connections at City Hall, and they’ll be giving a louder voice to some legitimate gripes from cab companies. Yellow Cab and others have to jump through bureaucratic hoops to work at San Jose’s airport, pay permit fees and provide access to people with disabilities—unlike Uber and Lyft. But the council also has to balance the public benefits of ridesharing services. In many ways the pros and cons mirror the current debate between traditional public and charter schools, which has been similarly contentious. But, as previously noted, the council has kicked this can down the road before. The specter of cabbies driving around City Hall while honking their horns—similar to a protest conducted last month—might be enough to push the item until after the July recess.