Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program

Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled

Administrative Committee (TADDAC)


October 28, 2010

10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program, Main Office

1333 Broadway St., Suite 500, Oakland, CA 94612


The Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled Administrative Committee (TADDAC) held its monthly meeting at the Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program (DDTP) main office in Oakland, California.  TADDAC Chair, Kathleen Barrett, called the meeting to order at 10:10 AM.


TADDAC Members Present:

Kathleen Barrett, Disabled Community-Mobility Impaired seat, Chair

Chriz Dally, Deaf Community (arrived 1:00 PM)

Nancy Hammons, Late-Deafened Community

Tommy Leung, Disabled Community – Blind/Low Vision seat

Chris Meyers, Proxy for Alik Lee, Division of Ratepayer Advocates

Colette Noble, Hard of Hearing Community

Kenneth Rothschild, Proxy for Bummy Burstein, Deaf Community at Large

Kevin Siemens, Disabled Community-Speech-to-Speech User seat (arrived 10:30 AM)

Non-Voting Liaisons Present:

Shelley Bergum, CCAF Chief Executive Officer         

Linda Gustafson, CPUC Communications Division

Helen Mickiewicz, Legal Division


TADDAC Members Absent:

Patrick Boudreault, Deaf Community

Bummy Burstein, Deaf Community at Large

Alik Lee, Division of Ratepayer Advocates

CCAF Staff Present:

Sharon Albert, Director of Operations

Margie Cooper, CRS Contract Specialist

Patsy Emerson, Committee Assistant

Karen Evangelista, Committee Coordinator

Karen Lincoln, Customer Contact Operations Manager

Mansha Thapa, Business Analyst

David Weiss, CRS Department Manager

Jackie Conrad, CRS Administrative Assistant

Priya Barmanray, CRS Program Analyst

Silke Brendel-Evan, Special Projects Coordinator


CPUC Staff Present:

Penney Legakis, Communications Division

Others Present:

Wayne Hoang, AT and T

Otis Hopkins, Attendant to Tommy Leung

Edward Kinal, Hamilton Relay

Karla Thompson, Attendant to Kevin Siemens

Ileana Winterhalter, AT and T

Dixie Ziegler, Hamilton Relay

Margo Ormiston, Verizon


Present by Phone:

Beth Slough, Hamilton Relay, National Account Manager

Ann Ruth, EPAC Chairperson


  1. Welcome and Introduction of Members


          The Committee members and liaisons introduced themselves.


  1. Minutes of the July 29, 2010 TADDAC Meeting


The minutes were approved with no corrections. 



I.        Review of Action Items List from July 29, 2010 meeting.

          Previous Action Item #36: AT and T to investigate the issue of STS Relay  answering with automated menu dialing instead of a live operator.

          Ileana Winterhalter of AT and T reported that AT and T is looking into this issue and will report back to the committee.

          Previous Action Item #35: Committee members to assist CRS Vendor outreach efforts by sending information on community events to David Weiss.

          David Weiss said that he has received some notices from Committee members but none since September. He would like to continue receiving notices and for this to be an ongoing Action Item.

          Previous Action Item #34: Jonathan Lakritz will research who is ultimately responsible for informing callers of a 3rd party’s presence and if it is possible to shift responsibility to the consumer on CapTel calls.

          Linda Gustafson reported that the prerecorded captioned telephone privacy announcement has been dropped and CapTel users have been sent a letter stating that it is each user’s legal responsibility to notify those whom they are calling of the presence of a third party on the call.  This message now appears as text only to the individual CapTel user. This item was closed.

          Previous Action Item #33: GoAmerica will report on why the practice of announcing a new STS CA was discontinued.

          As GoAmerica is no longer a vendor, this question was not pursued and the item was closed.

          Previous Action Item #32: Committee members will forward questions and concerns of CRS users re: new long distance charges to Kathleen Barrett to then forward to CCAF.

          Kathleen has received no comments or concerns. Both new CRS vendors, Hamilton Relay and AT and T, will keep a record of and include comments and complaints as part of their monthly reports in the future. This item was closed.

          Previous Action Item #31: Helen Mickiewicz will research the question of legal professional privilege for CRS Communication Assistants.

          Helen does not think that any legal confidentiality privilege would extend to CAs but will check further with another attorney and report back to the Committee.

          Previous Action Item #29: Nancy Hammons and Patrick Boudreault will lead the development of TADDAC’s Budget “Must Have” proposal to the CPUC.

          The Budget “Must Have” proposal was completed and submitted to the CPUC and this item was closed.

          Previous Action Item #27: CPUC Legal Division will prepare a guide to the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act for the Committees.

          Per Helen Mickiewicz, a draft of a simplified guide has been written by an LD attorney and is in the review process. The CPUC hopes to have a finalized version by January 2011.

          Previous Action Item #22: CCAF to research the technological feasibility of video-to-video conferencing with a CBO for Committee meetings in order to increase public input.

          Kathleen Barrett will coordinate with Ann Ruth and pass this action off as a project for EPAC. This item was closed.

          Previous Action Item #5: Committee members will review the DDTP website (English and Spanish) and give any feedback and suggestions to CCAF.

          Shelley Bergum reported that the website is still somewhat in transition (new vendors and new host) and undergoing navigational restructuring to make it more user-friendly. Committee review and feedback will remain ongoing.

          Previous Action Item #3: Phil Kaplan and Annette Carter will create an outline for a Deaf/Blind CA training curriculum.

          Tommy Leung will confer with Bapin about this item and CCAF will keep the Committee apprised of any new developments of deaf/blind devices being considered for the program. This item was closed.

New Action Item: TADDAC will receive a report from CCAF on developments of the DBC for the deaf/blind when available.


          Previous Action Item #1:EPAC will update the Committee on TPIC.

          This item remains on hold until EPAC meets again in November, 2010.


  1. Approval of Agenda


This item was not discussed.


  1. Administrative Business

  1. Report from CPUC Staff


Linda Gustafson updated the Committee on the progress of Rulemaking 06-05-028 (a copy of the draft proposed decision was distributed as a handout at this meeting) which addresses both LifeLine and DDTP Wireless and which may be decided upon as early as today by the Commission. Linda was also happy to report that the State now has a budget for the next fiscal year and that those budget resolutions that had been approved by the Commission would serve as the framework within which the program will operate. The Commission has looked at specific TADDAC “Must Haves” and expects that the Committee members will review and prioritize those that are most important to them so that further discussion can be had on how they may be fleshed out in terms of specific program initiatives. The third item Linda shared was that Hamilton Relay is implementing an updated privacy announcement process. There will no longer be any prerecorded announcement, but instead the CapTel user will see a text statement notifying them that they have a legal responsibility to inform the person they are phoning of the presence of a third party on the call. This change raises new questions of legalities and older concerns about discrimination. Linda then spoke of the development of Speech-to-Speech (STS) Training lines by both new vendors. Hamilton began a soft launch of their 24/7 service in English on October 15th and are currently in the beta test mode of the Spanish version. AT and T begins the beta test of their Training line on November 1st with the soft launch to begin November 15th. AT and T is also implementing changes to streamline their upfront automation. Representatives from both providers gave brief presentations on their services later in the meeting. The last item mentioned in Linda’s report was regarding new OneWorld Marketing campaigns which were discussed later as part of the CCAF report. Linda then took the time to thank everyone who had provided the Commission with feedback on many of these topics and to inform the Committee that the CPUC is finally proceeding with the formation of a Disability Advisory Council.


  • Report from the Chair

Kathleen Barrett notified the Committee that she would be leaving at 2:00 and asked for a volunteer to chair the meeting. Kevin Siemens was chosen as chair pro tem. Kathleen then brought up a concern that Nancy Hammons had mentioned earlier of the absence of Patrick Boudreault from this meeting and the two preceding it. Helen Mickiewicz was asked to advise the Committee on how to deal with the situation. Helen took a look at the charter and advised the group of their options.  Kathleen will write a letter to Patrick expressing the concerns of the Committee and a generic discussion of committee membership will be added to the next meeting’s agenda to allow the members to address the issue openly and fairly.

Lunch Break 12:10 to 1:05


  • Report from CCAF


          Shelley Bergum pointed out to the Committee that this meeting’s binders include three months’ worth of vendor reports. However, the Customer Contact reports are incomplete due to the transition with the Equipment Processing Center (EPC) vendor, the move of their call center, and the implementation of a new, centralized data base. It is hoped that all the monthly reports will be complete and available by next month. Shelley added that throughout the transition there has been no disruption in terms of the service they have provided; calls were still taken and equipment was still distributed.  CCAF has also been working closely with Hamilton Relay and AT and T on the transition of their services. AT and T has completely changed the upfront automation and the feedback being heard is how quickly relay users are being connected, especially if you have a profile either as a TTY, a Speech-to-Speech, or a voice user. Much thought is being given to how to better communicate with consumers about the value of having a CRS profile. Shelley also spoke of the change from a recorded privacy message to a text message for CapTel users and about the success of the new CapTel 800 phones which are so easy to use and in great demand. Finally Shelley spoke about OneWorld Marketing’s new campaign featuring the tag line “California phones, keeping you connected.” They are also developing print ads, TV and radio ads that will be rolled out after the first of the year and which will hopefully generate some new interest in the program.


  • Public Input


Chriz Dally wanted to let the Committee know that she is hearing a lot of complaints about the CapTel privacy message in the community.

  • Unfinished Business

          It was agreed to postpone review and discussion of the Budget “Must Have” document until the next meeting in November when Jonathan Lakritz will be in attendance.

  • New Business

    1. EPAC Report and Recommendation


There was no report or recommendation at this time.


    • Overview of CRS Call Volumes and Consumer Issues


David Weiss first noted that the Dashboard reports, which had been distributed monthly, have been put on hold while CRS works with the vendors to ensure that we have consistent and accurate data and definitions to report. David referred the Committee to the June to August Relay Providers’ information in the binder and summarized CRS activities for the past quarter. Basically the conversation minutes have remained stable and both vendors have been in compliance with all the ASA and blockage requirements. In the future, dashboard reports will be broken down even further which will show rising or decreasing trends. Captioned telephone has been on a steady increase with most recent activity showing more stability. It is possible some people are transitioning to a different service such as Web CapTel. Some of the issues that have been addressed over the last quarter are the setting up and handling of profiles with the new vendors, adjusting AT and T’s upfront automation to better accommodate users so that they reach a live operator, working with the CPUC to change the privacy announcement process and keep them updated on customer complaints, and implementing a Speech-to-Speech training line. The Committee requested a new report on trends in CRS call volumes by various modalities.


    • Presentation of the Status of the Speech to Speech Training Line Implementation


          David Weiss used a Power Point presentation to describe the new STS training line which is a requirement of the contract with the new vendors and which is being developed collaboratively by the CPUC, CCAF and the vendors. Vendors are to provide a separate, dedicated training line to educate STS users and receivers of the service to both the purpose of STS and how to use it to serve their needs conveniently and efficiently. At a minimum the lines are required to be available from 9 am to 3 pm but Hamilton Relay is offering the service 24/7 in both English and Spanish. As stated earlier, Hamilton Relay began beta testing of the line, collecting feedback and analyzing data October 1st and AT and T will begin November 1st. The training lines will be used not only to educate the public but to also identify problems with the service and to find solutions to those problems. So far there has been favorable support and response to the training line being available and solutions have already been found to problems that have arisen. And separately, as part of an education package about STS, both AT and T and Hamilton have information on their websites and written materials that can be provided.

          At this point in the meeting Kathleen Barrett left and Kevin Siemens took the chair.


    • Updates from CRS Providers on the Status of Their New Service


          Wayne Hoang of AT and T Relay used a Power Point presentation to update the Committee on recent and upcoming outreach events, the status of the new STS training line, and their website. AT and T has attended many outreach events and plans to continue branching out to different communities in the future. Wayne will send a list of upcoming outreach events to CCAF, TADDAC and the CPUC and welcomes recommendations from each about any events they may want AT and T to attend.

          Edward Kinal of Hamilton Relay also provided a Power Point presentation to update the Committee on their recent activities. Hamilton is continuing with their California-specific training of CAs including monitoring them to ensure that they are following the methods and procedures established for California. They have also established an STS training line to meet contractual requirements that enhance awareness of the service. As stated earlier regarding CapTel, the prerecorded privacy announcement has been removed and now users see a brief text message reminding them that California law requires them to inform the person they’re calling that there is another person on the line. Mr. Kinal also reported on recent and planned outreach activities for both the deaf and hard-of-hearing. In response to questions about the timing of the text message, Beth Slough (via telephone) assured the Committee that the message appears while the captioning service is dialing out and causes no delay in connecting to the receiving party.


    • Report from the Communications Division on any Updates to CRS Long Distance Charges


Linda Gustafson reported that there are no pressing issues at this time but that inquiries and concerns about long distance charges would be part of the CCAF monthly reporting and would be reviewed and followed up on as they came in. Kevin Siemens noted that he has been working with Margie Cooper at CCAF to resolve issues with the 40 mile radius limit on STS toll calls imposed by AT and T. Billing issues may have to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

    • Review of Draft Decision in the LifeLine Proceeding

Shelley Bergum stated that Commissioner Bohn’s proposed decision in Rulemaking 06-05-028 (a copy was provided to the Committee) is a draft that will be voted on by the Commission shortly. The decision approves wireless equipment as a permanent part of the DDTP and instructs the Commission staff to make that happen. It also makes the LIfeLine discount available on a second data line for deaf and hard-of-hearing users who already have a text device with a data plan. As some details of the decision will undoubtedly change as it is reviewed and finalized, Shelley suggested that the Committee wait until the next meeting to discuss it. Linda Gustafson said that the final version will have, for instance, a broad outline of how to proceed with development of a wireless program, the time frame, and the LifeLine discount process itself. It was agreed to put discussion of the decision and its ramifications for the program on next month’s meeting agenda.


    • Discussion of Off-Site Meeting Possibilities

          Colette Noble suggested the idea she and Nancy Hammons had discussed of inviting the folks at Fremont Oak Gardens to come to the Oakland offices for an educational meeting so that they could see the setting and all the equipment available through the program. Linda Gustafson mentioned how much she enjoyed the panel discussions at previous off-site meetings because they brought people together from the program and the community. Kevin Siemens liked the idea for Northern California but doubted it would work out logistically for Southern California. Tommy Leung stated that the Fremont center would bring a nice cross-section of people with different types of disabilities and that transportation would be a big issue with any meeting.  The pros and cons of various venues and populations were discussed including a DCARA event in San Leandro, the CTAP contact center in Stockton, CSUN in San Diego and an HLAA conference. As the CSUN conference is in March, a decision needs to be made very soon if the Committee wants to plan a meeting around it. Nancy Hammons said that she would ask the seniors at Fremont Oak Gardens if they are interested in attending a TADDAC meeting in Oakland. After much discussion, in particular about advancements in technology and what impact they may have on DDTP, no decision was reached about an off-site meeting except that discussion would continue at the next meeting.

Kevin Siemens said that he wanted TADDAC to brainstorm about new products that could be included in the Program, with products for people with speech disabilities at the top of the list. Shelley suggested that it might be better to start with a report from EPAC on the products they are reviewing and testing, so TADDAC doesn’t have to reinvent the wheel. Kevin asked Kenneth Rothschild to check into this with EPAC.


    • Member Reports


No members had any reports.


    1. Items for Next Month’s Agenda

This item was not discussed directly.



The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 PM


These minutes were prepared by Patsy Emerson