Minutes


Deaf and Disabled Telecommunications Program
Telecommunications Access for the Deaf and Disabled
Administrative Committee (TADDAC)
March 25, 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 Vice-Chair, Bummy Burstein, called the meeting to order at 10:00 AM.

TADDAC Members Present:
Kathleen Barrett, Disabled Community-Mobility Impaired seat, Chair (arrived 10:10 AM)
Gerald “Bummy” Burstein, Deaf Community at Large Representative, Vice-Chair
Patrick Boudreault, Deaf Community
Annette Carter, Proxy for Tommy Leung, Disabled Community – Blind/Low Vision seat
Chriz Dally, Deaf Community
Mark Finn, Late-Deafened Community
Nancy Hammons, Late-Deafened Community
Alik Lee, Division of Ratepayer Advocates
Colette Noble, Hard of Hearing Community
Kevin Siemens, Disabled Community-Speech-to-Speech seat

Non-Voting Liaisons Present:
Shelley Bergum, CCAF Chief Executive Officer
Linda Gustafson, CPUC Communications Division
Helen Mickiewicz, CPUC Legal Division

CCAF Staff Present:
Priya Barmanray, CRS Program Analyst
Silke Brendel-Evan, Special Project Coordinator
Dan Carbone, Customer Contact Liaison
Margie Cooper, CRS Contract Specialist
Karen Evangelista, Committee Coordinator
Karen Lincoln, Customer Contact Operations Department Manager
Mansha Thapa, Business Analyst
David Weiss, CRS Department Manager

Others Present:
Kathleen Bieling
Rita Beier Braman, Purple
Christopher Chow, CPUC News and Public Information Office
Liz D’Anna, Sprint
Gilbert DelToro, Jitterbug
Marilyn Finn, HLA-CA
Ann Girard, Hamilton Relay, Director of Marketing
Robert Haga, CPUC, Office of Commissioner Bohn
Jonathan Lakritz, CPUC Communications Division
Penny Legakis, CPUC Communications Division
Jeff Mandan, AT&T
Kenneth Rothschild, EPAC Liaison
Andrea Roessiger
Anne Rousseau, Stellar Relay
Gail Sanchez, AT&T Relay, Product Manager (by phone)
Beth Slough, Hamilton Relay, National Account Manager
Karla Thompson, Attendant to Kevin Siemens
Jacquie Warren, Attendant to Kathleen Barrett
Ileana Winterhalter, AT&T

I. Welcome and Introduction of Members

The Committee members introduced themselves.

II. Minutes of the February 26, 2010 TADDAC Meeting

Gerald “Bummy” Burstein stated that Kenneth Rothschild was Chriz Dally’s proxy in the afternoon portion of the meeting and should be listed in the minutes. Colette Noble requested that the spelling of her name be corrected on page 2-3, line 18. Lastly, Nancy Hammons requested that her comments concerning the fairness of the allocation of CapTel minutes going to one vendor be included in the minutes. The draft minutes were accepted as corrected.

TADDAC Action List from February 26, 2010

Due to the full agenda of the meeting, Kathleen Barrett suggested that the Committee discuss the high-priority action items.
Action Item #2: CPUC will update the Committee on the issue of hiring/training an ADA Coordinator who can work with the CPUC and DDTP on accessibility concerns. A CPUC response is only needed when a change in the status of the issue occurs.

Jonathan Lakritz reported that the Human Resources director was unable to attend the TADDAC meeting due to being on paternity leave, but CD had several good discussions with him. Jonathan stated that the director has begun research on the activities of ADA coordinators by contacting several state agencies and is in the process of identifying individuals within the agencies who have the appropriate skill set. Jonathan expressed satisfaction with the progress being made on this issue and conveyed the HR director’s interest in meeting with the Committee to receive their input.

Colette Noble responded to the report by stating that she was disappointed and unimpressed due to the length of time it had taken for action to be taken on this item since it’s inception in June of 2008. Patrick Boudreault described the problem as having a lack of accountability. To the sentiments, Jonathan stated that he understood their concern.

Action Item #26: TADDAC to choose a member to lead Goals & Objectives and Budget “Must Haves”.

This item was discussed at a later part of the meeting. Patrick Boudrealt and Nancy Hammons will lead the project.

III. Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with modifications.


IV. Administrative Business

A. Report from CPUC Staff

Jonathan Lakritz provided an update on the Equipment Procurement contract involving the warehouse and call center. He stated that the coordination between the vendor, CCAF, and CD staff has been progressing well in preparation for the transition in July 2010. Although he described the transition as being rather complex, Jonathan was confident that it would be carried out seamlessly. After the transition, the program would gain better understanding of issues such as handling of consumer inquiries about equipment, knowing who is using the equipment, the distribution of the equipment, and the life cycle of the equipment.

In terms of the Marketing vendor contract, CD has worked out a payment process and anticipates resuming mass marketing activities in April. Jonathan reported that the Marketing vendor will conduct focus groups with members of the Committee and other constituents in order to obtain valuable information how to inform the broader population of the California program.

On behalf of CCAF, the CPUC, and the Committees, Linda Gustafson acknowledged and thanked the representatives of the CRS-2 providers- Sprint, GoAmerica and Stellar-Nordia, who were present at the meeting, for their services for the last five years of the contract. Linda reported that the contracts with the new CRS-3 providers are still being finalized, but anticipates that the work to receive DGS approval will be completed by the end of March and that they are moving forward with the transition period. CD and CCAF are working with the vendors to develop marketing and outreach material.

Linda invited each vendor to briefly update the Committee on their status of the California transition. Beth Slough of Hamilton Relay stated that they have been working very closely with the CPUC, CCAF, and Mission Consulting, reviewing the RFP, to ensure they are on track for the transition. She added that they are preparing all of their centers, working on the Speech-to-Speech and Deaf-Blind features, have ordered Hamilton dedicated telephone numbers for customer service and the public, and have been working on outreach and recruiting. Anne Girard, Director of Marketing, informed the Committee that they are recruiting for their Outreach positions for CRS and CapTel, with the intent of having representatives in Northern and Southern California. They are also working with the CPUC and CCAF on developing marketing plans. Gail Sanchez, who joined the meeting by telephone, updated the Committee on AT&T’s recent activities in preparation for the June 2nd transition, which include working with CCAF and the CPUC, establishing local account managers, an aggressive hiring and training of additional relay operators in their Augusta, GA center, and significant Outreach efforts. The experienced relay operators already in the centers will participate in ongoing training for the California relay traffic, including specialized Spanish and Speech-to-Speech trainings. AT&T will be working with Winston Ching as part of the Speech-to-Speech service developments.

Chriz Dally encouraged both vendors to consider promoting CRS outside of the disabled user groups, and to include the general public, who are often the other user group of relay services. Colette added that attention should be made toward businesses accepting relay calls.

Helen Mickiewicz stated that she is working on providing the Committees with a more user-friendly guide to the Bagley-Keene Opening Meeting Act and discussed the extent to which Committee members cannot be involved with the solicitation of any vendors to the DDTP or to the State for donations. Several examples were discussed amongst the Committee to help clarify the policy.

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

Helen reminded the Committees of the rules around submitting comments to Commission resolutions, in that when a committee member who is preparing the draft sends it out for feedback from other Committee members, the other Committee members must respond only to the Committee member who has circulated the draft, because meeting by e-mail goes against the regulations in Bagley-Keene. Regarding focus groups, Helen stated that if three or more Committee members meet, then public notice must be made. Two members from each Committee would be the maximum allowed in focus groups. On the CapTel privacy issue, Helen reported that a coalition of consumer groups has filed a petition with the FCC. Last year, when a group sent a letter to the PUC making similar arguments about the CapTel privacy issue, Helen reported that she recently discovered that the group never received a response, but that the Legal Division has been requested by the Commission President’s office to prepare a response.

Based on questions posed by Mark Finn, Helen responded that whether or not the FCC has authority to preempt the state of California on the CapTel privacy issue will be addressed in the pleadings that will be filed. She stated that the California Constitution contains a provision which applies to the California PUC and states that no state agency can determine that it is preempted by federal statute, but that only a court can make that determination. She went on to state that if the FCC were to accept the arguments made by the consumers group and preempt the CPUC, it would be on the basis of a federal statute. Mark asked what would happen, assuming the FCC doesn't act in time or act in a way that would not preempt the PUC, as Hamilton Relay takes over the captioning service in California on June 1st. Helen responded that the CPUC is currently working with the vendors to develop a message for the consumers, which would be reviewed by the Committee for feedback.

Chriz Dally asked Helen if a consumer focus group could work on changes in the Penal Code, to which Helen responded that it was possible and that the CPUC did prepare language that could be used in a bill to change the Penal Code. She stated that there is a possibility to move further, but upon the CPUC’s review, they are not prepared to advocate a change in the statute because it could appear that the government was trying to restrict privacy.

B. Report from the Chair

There was no report from the Chair.

C. Report from CCAF

Shelley Bergum began her report by bringing the Committee’s attention to the excerpt of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan that addresses accessibility issues and the disability community. A few highlights of the section include how the FCC should ensure accessibility of equipment and services with reference to internet-based services, and consideration of authorizing the FCC to use universal service funds to provide assistive technologies for Deaf or Blind broadband consumers.

New Action Item: The Committee will receive the web link to the FCC’s Broadband Plan report.

Continuing her report, Shelley informed the Committee that statistics on the activities at the new part-time Redding and Santa Barbara service centers will now be included. The Redding and Santa Barbara service centers will be open one day a month and are staffed by Field Advisors and Outreach Specialists, who typically work in the field. Shelley stated that notification to the local communities has been done and that the traffic into the centers will be monitored for consideration of extending operation hours. Colette Noble raised the idea of utilizing volunteers to help customers in the centers as well as to attend to the upkeep of program materials that are displayed in various locations. Shelley concluded her report by explaining that one of the functions of Field Operations Distribution Events is to allow for partnerships with community-based organizational events by bringing in a certifying agent, such as an audiologist, to provide tests/screenings and sign certification forms. Attendees of the events would be able to receive certification and equipment in one day. Shelley encouraged the Committee members to share information on events being held by their agency contacts in order to help reach people who do not live near a CTAP service center.

V. Public Input

Marilyn Finn from the Hearing Loss Association of California expressed her interest in the information she has heard so far and stated that she will report back to her board. She also provided information on the Hearing Loss Association’s Walk 4 Hearing that will take place on May 22, 2010 at Crissy Field in San Francisco. Event registration begins at 9:00 AM and then the walk starts at 10:00 AM in the East parking lot. She encouraged support from the Committee by their attendance. Shelley confirmed that the DDTP will have a booth at the event.

Gilbert DelToro of Greatcall, manufacturer of the Jitterbug cellphone, introduced himself to the Committee and stated that his company welcomes their existing participation in the wireless pilot.

Nancy Hammons read an email from CapTel user, Hope Berline, which expressed Hope’s frustration using the CapTel 200 device. Ms. Berline is not satisfied with the quality of the captioning, stating that she feels the captions are often unclear and delayed.

Lunch Break 12:00 PM- 1:00 PM

VII. New Business
C. Discussion with Representative from Commissioner Bohn’s Office

The Committee welcomed Robert Haga from the office of Commissioner Bohn. He introduced himself and provided information on his previous work experience with Commissioner Chong's office and working for the universal administrative company, the FCC, and the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. He informed the Committee that his office is working on finalizing their decision on the policy programs of interest to this group, which covers a broad range of issues, including the Lifeline decision. Robert took questions from the Committee and expressed interest in receiving their feedback on aspects of the wireless pilot programs. If the Committee proposes that wireless equipment become a permanent part of the program, Robert suggested that they include information such as how wireless equipment is utilized, how is it tied to the service plans, what is working or is not working, how is the life span of the equipment, the return rates, et cetera.

Ann Ruth shared one challenge of the Phase I pilot was obtaining personal information, such as Social Security numbers, from customers. Although the second pilot with the Jitterbug phone has shown to be more successful, Ann stated that the Lifeline Income eligibility requirement limits the number of CTAP customers who can benefit from it. Bummy Burstein expressed support of the Commission’s resolution