Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program 

Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled 

Administrative Committee (TADDAC) 


September 28, 2011

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 Vice Chair, Nancy Hammons, called the meeting to order at 10:05 AM.


TADDAC Members Present: 

Bummy Burstein, Proxy for Chriz Dally, Deaf Community Seat

Nancy Hammons, Late-Deafened Community Seat, Vice Chair, Moderator

Alik Lee, Division of Ratepayer Advocates Seat

Tommy Leung, Disabled Community- Blind/Low Vision Seat

Jax Levesque, Deaf Community Seat

Colette Noble, Hard of Hearing Community Seat

Kenneth Rothschild, EPAC Liaison

Bob Segalman, Proxy for Kathleen Barrett, Disabled Community Mobility-Impaired Seat, Chair

Kevin Siemens, Disabled Community - Speech-to-Speech User Seat


TADDAC Members Absent: 

Kathleen Barrett, Disabled Community-Mobility Impaired Seat, Chair

Chriz Dally, Deaf Community Seat


Non-Voting Liaisons Present: 

Shelley Bergum, CCAF Chief Executive Officer     

Linda Gustafson, CPUC Communications Division

Helen Mickiewicz, CPUC Legal Division

CCAF Staff Present: 

Sharon Albert, Director of Operations

Priya Barmanray, CRS Program Analyst

Silke Brendel-Evan, Special Projects Coordinator

Dan Carbone, Customer Contract Liaison

Jackie Conrad, CRS Administrative Assistant

Margie Cooper, CRS Contract Specialist

Patsy Emerson, Interim Committee Coordinator

Karen Lincoln, Customer Contact Operations Department Manager

Jen Minore, Northern California Field Operations Manager

Peggy Padua, Committee Assistant

Mansha Thapa, Business Analyst

David Weiss, CRS Relay Services Department Manager

Nathan Young, Marketing Collateral Specialist


CPUC Staff Present: 

Tyrone Chin, Communications Division

Christopher Chow, Communications Division

Jonathan Lakritz, Branch Manager, Communications Division

Penney Legakis, Communications Division

Nazmeen Rahman, Communications Division

Zenaida Tapawan-Conway, Communications Division


Guest Panelists Present: 

Henry Jarquin-Baez, CTAP Field Advisor

Linda Drattell, Hard of Hearing/Late Deafened Specialist, DCARA

Harry Gibbens, TTY Museum Curator

Eddy Jauregui, CRS User

James Montgomery, President, HLAA CA

Richard Rutherford, HLAA, ALDA


Others Present: 

Andrea Collins, Revoicer/Attendant for Bob Segalman

Ken Arcia, AT&T

Robert Davies, HLAA

Anne Girard, Hamilton Relay

Otis Hopkins, Attendant to Tommy Leung

Wayne Hoang, AT&T Relay Senior Product Marketing Manager

Rachel Illowsky, Ohlone College Student

Becky Kasyaneva, Ohlone College Student

David Keck

Edward Kinal, Hamilton Relay

April Lindbergh, AT&T

Valerie Lines, Ohlone College Student

Malique Mullens, Ohlone College Student

Nicole Paulsen, Ohlone College Student

Karla Thompson, Attendant to Kevin Siemens

Ileana Winterhalter, AT&T

Dixie Ziegler, Hamilton Relay


Present by Telephone: 

Gail Sanchez, AT&T


  1. Welcome and Introduction of Members 


          The Committee members and liaisons introduced themselves.


  1. Minutes of the June 22, 2011 TADDAC Meeting  


The minutes were approved with one change.  Per Bummy’s suggestion, the motions were put in bold typeface.


  1. Approval of Agenda 


        The agenda was not discussed. Nancy Hammons introduced David Weiss who gave a brief presentation on the California Relay Service. In addition to the standard services of Speech to Speech Relay and Captioned Telephone, David described new features such as the Speech to Speech training lines, Subject Matter Experts who advise the relay providers, and Visually Assisted Speech to Speech (VA-STS) which is in its trial or feasibility phase.


VII. B. Panel of CRS Users 


        Nancy Hammons acted as moderator and the panelists began by introducing themselves, stating the organizations they represent, and what kind of relay service they use. Jim Montgomery, President of the Hearing Loss Association of California (HLA CA) said he began by using the amplified phones provided by CTAP, then a TDD, and now uses the CapTel phones. Over the years Jim has found the relay providers to all be a little bit different in their methods and wished there was more uniformity of service. When errors in translation occur, Jim uses the help line and addresses the problem directly with the operator.

        Linda Drattell introduced herself as the Hard of Hearing, Late-Deafened Support Specialist for the Deaf Counseling, Advocacy and Referral Agency (DCARA) and as past president of the National Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA). Linda started out using CTAP amplified phones and went on to use a CapTel phone. Meanwhile she learned sign language and began using the Video Relay Service (VRS) and found the voice carry over to be great, so she combined CapTel and VRS and uses them together with her TV monitor, which works very well for her.

        Rick Rutherford introduced himself as late-deafened with a cochlear implant. He uses many of the captioning services both at home and at work, and has had the opportunity to test them all out and practice with them. Rick has had some problems with delays and errors with captioned calls but feels that it’s up to him to make the effort to communicate accurately on these calls and that he doesn’t expect the operators to do all the work. He watches the captioning closely and sometimes has to ask for repeats. He reminds the person he’s calling that there will be delays and finds 99% of them are cooperative once they understand how the call works. He takes responsibility for his business calls and explains the relay process up front to his clients so that they know what to expect. Jim has started using CaptionCall and finds it most convenient.

        Harry Gibbens introduced himself as an active participant in his city’s government and in the senior community, and as the curator of a TTY museum. Harry uses a TTY mostly but also uses the relay service and the internet which he has found to be very helpful. At first he found the relay service awkward, but as he learned more about it things got better. He recommended that the service not change operators in the middle of a conversation and that they stay on the call for its duration.

        Eddy Jauregui used to work with the Deaf community as a job developer but is now retired. He uses the relay service to talk to hearing people and has experienced the same frustration that Harry mentioned with the switching of operators in the middle of a call. David Weiss later noted that relay call operators are required to remain on calls a minimum of 15 minutes before trading off to another operator, and on Speech to Speech calls a minimum of 20 minutes.

        Henry Jarquin-Baez introduced himself as a Field Advisor for CTAP and described his experiences using the Spanish language relay service and how fantastic it is to be able to provide this service for Spanish speaking customers.

        In response to Nancy’s question about the handling of translating errors, Jim said he tries to let the operator know when they’re making too many mistakes but this takes too long, so he uses the XXX feature and corrects them himself. Jim said that he gets a lot of hang-ups, especially with doctors and medical offices. Linda said that she would prefer that errors be put in parentheses right away so that she doesn’t have to wait until the end of each sentence to figure out the meaning of what has just been said. Linda said that she switched from web CapTel to Caption Call because of the long delay with CapTel.  She said that none of her clients at DCARA use a TTY. Rick said that he tries not to get bogged down by the mistakes and goes for the overall meaning and only interrupts to ask for clarification if he can’t make sense of what he’s read. He also remarked that the quality of captioning varies widely from operator to operator and from state to state.

 Although some of the panelists have used the 711 number, none of them have set up a 711 profile with the relay service providers. Henry however said he sets up a 711 profile for every Spanish speaking customer he provides with a phone, and even programs the Spanish direct phone number in their phone so that they reach a Spanish operator.  Henry added that connecting to a Spanish-speaking operator when dialing 711 can be a problem, so dialing the Spanish direct phone number is quicker.  Both Rick and Harry said that they don’t use 711.  They just dial the direct number, because that’s easier for them.

Eddy said that the general public doesn’t know about these options and suggested that CTAP do more to educate the public about them.  Eddy said that he can’t use relay to call his bank, because they won’t allow another person to access his account. Linda added that these services are only available for land lines and she would like to see them made available for cell phones as more and more people are getting rid of their land lines. Rick said he uses an iPhone with a mobile service called ClearCaption which he described as “just incredible” and would like to see more mobile devices made part of the program. Helen Mickiewicz clarified earlier questions about residential land lines and 911 to say that, when a person discontinues their land line service, by law the line must remain “warm” for 90 days and able to make calls to 911. All of the panelists agreed that they experience frustrations, hang ups and delays with the relay services and that they still have a long way to go before they will be perfect.

        Before adjourning for lunch, Helen Mickiewicz on behalf of the CPUC, presented Bummy Burstein with a resolution from the Communications Division commending him for his many years of service on the DDTP advisory committees.


Lunch 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM


Kenneth Rothschild asked that any EPAC related business be discussed before he had to leave at 2:00 PM.  The Committee reviewed the Action Items list at this time.


Review of Action Items: 


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


There was no new feedback to report. This item remains ongoing.


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


Colette Noble announced the first real time captioned live theater in Sacramento next Friday, October 6th. Colette also mentioned the City of Fair Oaks Chicken Festival where she will be passing out information about CTAP. Nancy Hammons reminded everyone of the Deaf Nation starting October 8th in Pleasanton. This item remains ongoing.


Previous Action Item #40: Kathleen Barrett and Nancy Hammons will develop a plan for notifying persons who have TTYs that they are currently not using that they should consider holding on to them for use in any emergency to be able to access 911 dispatchers immediately.  


Kathleen proposed that CTAP have a workshop or information booth at the next HLAA Convention in February of 2012 in order to get the word out, not just about TTYs, but about the relay services available and things such as 711 forms and profiles that make using the relay services easier. She also suggested putting this information on the news section of the DDTP website so that it would be the first thing people would see when accessing the site. This item was left ongoing.


VII. New Business 


      A. EPAC Report and Recommendations 

          Kenneth Rothschild reported that EPAC had voted to recommend the reappointment of Brian Winic to the Hard of Hearing Community seat on EPAC.

Nancy Hammons made a motion to accept the nomination of Brian Winic to serve another four years on EPAC and the motion carried.  


     B. Report from the Chair 

          There was no report as the Chair was absent.


  1. Administrative Business  


  1. Report from CPUC Staff  


Linda Gustafson reported the Commission’s budget resolution for the Program was issued which included an acknowledgement that more monies may be needed in anticipation of the passing of legislation involving speech-generating devices.  Legislation is still pending.

Jonathan Lakritz reported that the CPUC is making progress on wireless distribution and is working out the contracting relationships with the Department of General Services (DGS).  They have narrowed down the devices that will be rolled out in the initial phases of the program to two, a primarily text inputting device like a Blackberry, and an updated version of the Jitterbug.  They hope to begin distribution in the first quarter of 2012 pending approval by the DGS of a noncompetitive bid.  They will be following the recommendations of TADDAC and EPAC in terms of prioritizing distribution. Jonathan concluded by announcing that Jack Leutza is in the process of planning his retirement.

Linda Gustafson reported that the CPUC had approved TADDAC’s recommendation of a replacement for a cordless phone.  She then asked representatives from AT&T and Hamilton to introduce themselves and give an update on their relay services. Wayne Hoang, April Lindbergh and Ken Arcia presented for AT&T and reported on their activities since June of 2010 and described their plans for the future. Edward Kinal, Dixie Ziegler and Anne Girard of Hamilton Relay gave a brief history of the company, told of their participation in recent outreach events and described improvements they’ve made to their services.  Hamilton Telephone is celebrating its 110th Anniversary this year.

Linda concluded with an update on the FCC and the national Deaf-Blind program. The CPUC is working with several other state and national agencies and organizations as part of the effort to ensure that California is able to take advantage of the monies that are going to be afforded as part of the $10 million program.


C. Possible Disability Representation for the At Large Seat 


     Bummy Burstein suggested a forming a committee to discuss the criteria for filling the seat so that everyone can have some input. Further discussion about this item will be added to October’s meeting agenda.


IV. C. Report from CCAF 


Shelley Bergum showed the California Phones TV commercials that have been running recently and noted how the CTAP equipment distribution went up in August in direct response to this ad campaign.  Most Committee members had seen the ads and offered several suggestions to improve them, such as increased contrast in captioning, showing younger people using the phones, slowing down the phone number display and repeating it more than once. Shelley will relay their comments to OneWorld Communications. Shelley then referred to the binder and pointed out the newest distribution report, highlighting the August statistics, and the report showing the number of visits to service centers.  August was the busiest month for the past 13 months. After discussion about the numbers of different disability groups attending outreach events, Shelley agreed that there are certain groups who are underrepresented, speech disabled in particular. She said that we need to develop better ways of reaching the consumer, by going to them rather than expecting them to come to us. Linda added that we are trying to connect with the speech language pathology community to help us in these efforts.  Shelley also reported that the move to the new San Diego Service Center location is finally complete.
Lastly, Shelley introduced Patsy Emerson as the new Committee Coordinator.


V. Public Input 


          There was no public input at this time.


VII. D. Discussion of plan for Veteran-focused Panel(s) for October Joint Meeting with EPAC and November Hard of Hearing focused Panel  

          Shelley confirmed the October 26th joint TADDAC and EPAC meeting will be held at the Elks Lodge in El Sobrante with a panel of veterans and representatives of veterans organizations. By asking focused questions we hope to learn from the panelists how we can better meet their telecommunications needs. There will also be a CTAP distribution event at the meeting, and we’re trying to locate an audiologist to provide free hearing tests as well. Patsy will be working with the panelists and Committee members to arrange transportation, lunches and logistics.  


    1. Member Reports 

          Colette suggested that Committee members be notified and sent flyers when there are distribution events in their area that they could publicize. Kevin Siemens had a complaint about a transfer on an AT&T 711 call and David Weiss acknowledged he had received the complaint.  David said that  AT&T is investigating what happened and working to ensure that in the future, calls are transferred appropriately.


    • Items for Next Month’s Agenda 


Since there will be little time left, if any, to address committee business after the panel discussion planned for next month’s joint meeting, agenda items will be kept to a minimum. Members should send any ideas they have to Patsy or Shelley.


The meeting was adjourned at  3:20 PM.


These minutes were prepared by Patsy Emerson.