The medallion owners, and they show their appreciation to the city government in an appropriate fashion.
Same reason they don't allow some stores (in the US, typically liquor stores or car dealers) to open on Sundays. It's all about protecting the incumbents from a new entrant who wants to increase their market share and doesn't mind that the existing businesses would have to start caring about their customers.
Or want to buy liquor on Sunday, or play a few hands of blackjack after work, or...
Everything's bigger in Texas. The frakwads in Austin don't let being a part-time legislature get in the way of them getting in your way.
Um, "good public transit" in SV? Calling VTA shit would be an insult to shit public-transit agencies everywhere.
Under US federal law, discrimination against persons under 40 years old is perfectly legal (although states can enact stricter legislation). It may or may not be a good idea, but you can't get into trouble with the EEOC for it.
There are indeed reasonable number of fare-free systems. But you neglect the core purpose of public transit as it is seen by most US governments—i.e. distributing cash. Even if a system has 10% farebox recovery, they still get to buy the equipment and employ people to collect the money. Sure, they could go to proof-of-payment (or drop fares entirely), and further reduce costs by putting the Buy America Act and Davis-Bacon out of their misery, but that would reduce the opportunity for graft.
Your modems are Hayes-compatible? My, that's new-fangled.
In practice, death sentences in the US tend to be more expensive, and that's leaving aside the far-too-high rate of improper convictions. Perhaps an alternate universe with substantially less judicial process would be cheaper, but that option isn't on the menu.
The McAfee/Symantec/Kaspersky salesman. The software doesn't sell itself, y'know.
Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind.
And a spare lightbulb kit.
"All the people are so happy now, their heads are caving in. I'm glad they are a snowman with protective rubber skin" -- They Might Be Giants