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Minority Coalition Challenges AT&T President To Public Debate



September 1, 2009


AT&T Corporation                                          AT&T Corporation                 

Mr. Randall L. Stephenson                            Mr. Marshal M. Criser III

CEO                                                                President-Florida

208 S. Akard Street
150 W. Flagler Street Suite 1901

DallasTX  75202-2233                                    MiamiFL 33130


AT&T Investor

The Capital Group

Capital Research Global Investors

Larry Clemmensen


333 S Hope Street

53rd Floor

Los AngelesCA 90071



RE:  FMCRC Request:  1) For AT&T Florida to Follow Leadership of AT&T California Diversity Pledge 2) FMCRC Chair Public Debate Challenge to AT&T Florida President (sent via certified mail)


“The cause endures, the hope still lives and the DREAM will never die”Senator Edward Kennedy


Dear Mr. Criser:


I had the privilege to serve in the United States Air Force with some of the greatest leaders that I have ever know, including a colonel who served 7 years in the Hanoi Prison as a POW.  The one lesson taught to me by them that stood above others:  A man is only as good as his word.


The FMCRC General Counsel (Reginald Clyne) and I met with you and your key staff over nine months ago to discuss increased diversity for AT&T in Florida.  I took you for your word as to the follow up agreed upon regarding this issue.  It is obvious that you are not a man of your word but a reflection of economic travesty that plagues minority communities throughout Florida and the south.  I am a man that can not and will not stand by idly and watch this travesty continue for it affects all Floridians in the end.


For many years in Florida, communities of color have been continually subject to economic neglect by the leaders of Florida.  Their approach to adequately investing into Florida’s low and moderate income communities has been nothing short of economic racial segregation. The continue decline in socio-economic data for Floridaminority families and communities reflect this.   


The economic distress of minority communities may be one of the most pressing issues facing Florida.  The lack of businesses and jobs fuels not only a crushing cycle of increasing poverty but also crippling social problems, such as drug abuse and crime in our minority communities.  The establishment of a sustainable economic base together with employment opportunities, wealth creation, role models, and improved local infrastructure is critical to the future well-being of minority communities in the State ofFlorida.  This is the mission that I serve.


The Florida Minority Community Reinvestment Coalition (FMCRC) and our associates and affiliates have witnessed the significant lack of responsiveness to our communities by elected officials and key corporate leaders in Florida.  This lack of compassionate leadership in Florida is direct contributors to the significant socio-economic downturn to families and businesses in low and moderate income communities.  The following data demonstrates this point:


n      72% of all LMI Zone residents are minority

n      High unemployment (11 to 65%).

n      68% with no health care

n      72% of single mothers-below poverty level

n      Poverty ranging from 29% to 68%

n      Lack of community services

n      Lack of affordable housing

n      Lack of living wage jobs



Instead of taking a road of inclusion and one of bold leadership as your counterparts inCalifornia have done, you follow a path that will contribute to the decay of minority communities and families in Florida.  Hiring ex African American or Latino state legislators, placing strategic ad buys in African American publications or providing grants to key minority organizations will not provide AT&T cover from its obligations to be a steward of economic inclusion.  Minorities account for over 40% of Florida’s population but for less than 5% of its Gross Domestic Product.  Economic Inclusion is the only solvent for this economic travesty.


Let me assure you that creating economic rewards for a few key minority leaders will not salvage AT&T’s obligation towards true economic diversity in Florida.  To this end, I have dedicated my life to bringing notice to leadership that serves to create socio-economic apartheid in Florida, which is counter productive to the future of our great country.    Your actions have proven to reflect such leadership.


I witnessed a full page ad in the Miami Times which applauded AT&T Florida diversity that was purchased by an African American publication.  Needless to say I understand this strategy by AT&T is to provide barriers for FMCRC’s attempt to bring true accountability and transparency for your organization.  What you do not understand is that this is not about me or FMCRC but something much bigger than all of us.  Times are changing and there is no man that will prevent this common purpose and common cause from bringing change to Florida.  I will give my last breath towards this end for justice and righteousness is the foundation of my Father Lords throne.


Instead of creating division in our communities by such actions, it is time for you tofollow the leadership of your AT&T counterparts in California.  Why is it that your counterparts in California place enough regard for minorities that they provided the following agreement towards diversity:


Supplier Diversity


Excerpt from final approved CPUC decision 2005 AT&T/SBC merger[1]:


[W]e shall require Applicants to agree to the commitments set forth [in the agreement] below in order to satisfy the public interest requirements under § 854(c) … With respect to supplier diversity, we shall require as a condition of the merger that Applicants commit to the minimum diversity goals set forth in the settlement.  We conclude that these diversity goals will be instrumental in satisfying the requirements of § 854(c).[2]




Excerpt from final approved CPUC decision 2005 AT&T/SBC merger:


With respect to charitable giving, we shall adopt as a condition of the merger that SBC commit to the level of $57 million in additional philanthropic giving as discussed in the proposed settlement.  The settlement proposes that SBC make only a “good faith” commitment to allocate 60% of this increased philanthropy to underserved communities. Given the testimony served on the concerns of the underserved communities, we conclude that more specific commitments are needed beyond the limited terms of the settlement.


We shall require that at least 80% of the increased SBC philanthropy be reserved for the low-income, underserved disabled, and minority communities.  The 80% level is consistent with the recommendation in the testimony of Greenlining prior to the settlement.[3] 



In the Miami Times advertisement, you were applauded for $6.6 million in philanthropy in 2008 and listed over 100 organizations that were financially supported.  In that we at FMCRC applaud such philanthropy, this in itself brings many questions regarding diversity at AT&T Florida.  To truly measure the diversity of AT&T Florida, FMCRC requests the following data:


1)      Workforce-percentage of African American, Asian and Latino’s in top 1/3 management in Florida

2)      Philanthropy-Total philanthropic contributions and percentage of total 2008 philanthropic contributions that were for African-American, Asian and Latino organizations.  Average philanthropic contribution for minority and non minority organizations.

3)      Procurement-Total 2008 supplier spend and percentage of 2008 spend that went to African American, Asian and Latino businesses in Florida

4)      Media Buys- Total 2008 media buy for Florida and percentage towards African American, Asian and Latino media outlets.  Total number of Florida based minority media outlets used in 2008


This data will provide a true picture of the diversity efforts of AT&T in Florida versus strategically placed media buys in African American media outlets by key supporters whom are financially rewarded.


Mr. Criser, I am fully confident of the critical need for increased economic diversity inFlorida by AT&T.  So much so I would like to challenge you to a public debate regarding this issue in Jacksonville at your earliest convenience.  I have spoken to key minority leaders in that city and they will arrange a public forum for such a debate. Allow the minority community to judge the facts as we present them and not through strategically placed media buys.


It is my hope that you will take a road of inclusion and a path less traveled as you review your reply to this letter.  May I also suggest that you seek new advisors regarding this issue for I feel you have been ill-served thus far by your current advisors. 


We at FMCRC wish to thank you for your consideration on this very important issue forFlorida’s minority communities, organizations and businesses.  If you have any questions, please contact me directly at (813) 598-6361.  We thank you for your consideration on this matter.






Al Pina
(813) 598-6361
(941) 284-0688

3308 Paxton Avenue TampaFL 33611






FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps


David Lizarraga (Chairman-United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce) Damon Lester (President-National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers) Roger Campos (President-Minority Business Roundtable) Reginald Clyne (FMCRC General Counsel) Roland  Sanchez Medina (President, Cuban American Bar Association) Dr. Eladio Armesto (Treasurer, US Hispanic Publishers Association) Joy Bruce (Founder and President, NANAY inc.) Frank Rodriguez (Florida Coalition on Human Trafficking) Ron Frazier (Chairman, BAC Funding Corporation) Sylvia Alvarez (President, Housing and Education Alliance) Tomas Lares (Coalition of Latino Faith Based Organizations) Elaine Black (President, Liberty City Trust) Pastor HB Holmes (Coalition of Central Florida Faith Based Organizations) Greg B. Macabenta (National Chairman, National Federation of Filipino American Associations) Winnie Tang (President- Organization of Chinese Americans, South Florida Chapter) Raul Espinosa (President- Fairness In Procurement Alliance) Orson Aguilar (Director, Greenlining Institute) Johnson Ng (Executive Director, United Chinese Association of Florida) Val Dagani (Founder, Filipino American Coalition of Florida)  Doug Mayorga (President, Florida Minority Chamber of Commerce) Nydia Menendez, Esq. (President, Puerto Rican Bar Association of Florida) Jorge A. Mestre, Esq.(Hispanic National Bar Association) Kerth J. Conze, Esq. (President, Haitian Bar Association) Jay Kim, Esq. (Asian Bar Association) Glorious J. Johnson (Council Member, City of Jacksonville) Dr. Bessie Fletcher (President, Mothers & Daughters Inc.) Vicente Rodriquez (Hispanic Publishers Association) Dorothy Hughes (President, Gateway Economic Empowerment Coalition) Maria Benton (President, Spain in Jacksonville) Eddie Stanton (President, Mad Dads Inc.)  Elise Shore (Regional Counsel, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund) Romeo De La Paz (Chair, Filipino American Foundation)  Jackie Quinones (President, Tampa Latin Chamber of Commerce) Dr. Mel Carbonelle (Vice Chairman, Florida Coalition of Chinese Organizations)


[1] A. 05-02-027


[2] Opinion Approving Application to Transfer Control, at p. 168.


[3] Opinion Approving Application to Transfer Control, at p. 168.


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