Monday, July 02, 2007

Playing The Deaf Card In The Free Enterprise Game

About 10 years ago I went to a meeting at a pizza place. The meeting was about free enterprise the deaf way. The business itself was called "Destiny Telecom" where the hearing impaired were buying what they thought was a lifetime of economic security. The hearing impaired players saying sad stories of them trying to find jobs , discrimination, being homeless, then they were saying beautiful stories about their homes, cars, beach trips after investing in Destiny Telecom. The admission to this free enterprise was $200. Sure I saw a lot of hearing impaired people shell out $200 out of their meager SSI check. Thats 1/3 of the handout in California. I took the 'wait and see' approach to this investment opportunity.

The folks there invited me to another meeting at a hotel and they sweetened it up to let me make a short presentation on the hard journeys most hearing impaired people have to go through their lives. Basically I was used as the deaf card to a free enterprise program that later turned out to be a scam. The the 'wait and see' approach I took was a smart move.

Then these other scams came out Futura, Future Strategies, Valuefax, VIP-CLUB, Pentagono, PPBG, and the list goes on even today to include overpriced herbal pills and even diamonds. It isn't long after they shell out their hard earnings they get their burn notice. They're not going to get their money back nor will they get a lifetime of economic security either. They're completely abandoned.

Now I have a suggestion of a free enterprise opportunity that comes with a built in deaf card.

It's all in this PDF file ->
Just copy both sides into a single card stock copy to make 4 cards and sell them. This one works and it costs pennies to start. You keep it all yourself and give me nothing.

I've had a number of roommates making themselves a decent living with these deaf cards and one will brag of earning $700 a single morning in one of the skyscrapers of Los Angeles. I've got hundreds of clients happy with this choice. These cards got hearing impaired people off the streets, got them food on their table, and even got them school education to get themselves better opportunities to gainful employment and there's more!

Some of you will see this economic opportunity very differently, but then it's 4th of July.



  1. OMG... are you serious? Your non-profit organization is encouraging your clients to peddle these cards?

    Who are your board members of your 503(c3) organization? I would like to contact them about this blog. I cannot believe the non-profit organization would swoop that low.

    This is outrageous! What are you going to teach them? To teach the teeming masses pity to the Deaf, and then the Deaf can make living by begging? Oh lordy!

    Amy Cohen Efron

  2. This is absolutely GROSS.. How can you stoop so low??? Deaf people have had to struggle to keep a possitive image and creeps like you shut us down; Its horrible absolutely atrocious!!! Who in the right mind would come up with such a ludious idea???

  3. I have a problem with you referring to scams and peddling as "free enterprise" Free enterprise is basically investing yourself or your money into a risky (legitimate) business, and reaping the rewards of hard work. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. The country has MANY examples of successful Deaf entrepreneurs who took a risk and are enjoying success, but there are also Deaf people who tried and didn't succeed.

    Are you suggesting we should all wait for government handouts to be called "successful?"

  4. Amy,

    Youre missing the whole point. I have a reputation for helping people even using methods you don't believe in.

    You're welcome to contact the board by sending them a letter at the address on the contact link. Welcoming community feedback is a very important part of our advocacy operations. You can see it on this blog itself. And the board even looks at the blog too.


  5. Amy,

    We don't post the names online for safety reasons but we'll be happy to mail the board sheet to an address that Rex had tried to get from you when you called.

    Call him back and leave the info with him so when I get there tomorrow I'll be happy to send it to you.


  6. Thanks, Richard, for bringing it up. It is an option that Deaf people can take upon.

    God bless.

  7. Richard,

    Jamie Berke wrote an important post on "deaf peddling" back in May 2007, called "Embarrassing the Deaf Community."

    I strongly encourage you to go read this. Apparently there are laws against this!

    Jamie wrote that Deaf peddling was an activity that "shamed the American deaf community and hurt the image of deaf people for years."

    Jamie also wrote: "The image of deaf people was so badly damaged by deaf peddling that it took a concerted fight by the National Association of the Deaf and other deaf organizations, to bring an end to it."

    She gives references for her research as well.

    As an advocate for the Deaf Community, your non-profit agency should be assisting Deaf individuals in keeping their dignity by connecting with Career Counselors, Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, Employment Development Depts., Vocational Training Schools, Job Developers, Sheltered Employment or other qualified job placement agencies based on their needs, that will assist them in finding respectable, dignified and suitable employment.

    Your advocacy and encouragement for deaf peddling is highly questionable.

    ~ LaRonda

  8. Richard,

    This is a law in Texas. There may be a similar law in CA. You should read it.



    PERSONS. It shall be unlawful for any person to peddle or use a
    finger alphabet card or other printed matter stating in effect that
    the person is deaf and/or mute, in a manner calculated to play upon
    the sympathy of another in the solicitation of a contribution or
    donation. Any person violating any provision hereof shall be
    deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be
    punished by imprisonment in the county jail for not more than sixty
    (60) days or by a fine of not less than Ten Dollars ($10) nor more
    than Fifty Dollars ($50), or by both imprisonment and fine.

    Acts 1959, 56th Leg., p. 1066, ch. 487, Sec. 1.

    ~ LaRonda

  9. Laronda,

    Of course theres laws against this in a few areas but its legal in many parts of the southland as long you get the permits.

    We already partner with a few one-stop centers and many of these people would have expired the traditional approaches to gainful opportunities first before they're sent to us.

    And we then process them through the opportunities we have on line with us and when those wont work out for them we then suggest the Community Business Enterprise Program that helps them start their own business and if that don't sound right for them then we go to the non-traditional approaches.

    The non-traditional approach thats the subject of this fury is always a last resort.

    I'm sorry to say this but the California Vocational Rehabilitation program is a joke as I seen many of their deaf counselors scoring the clients out of assistance. They're always looking for ways to reduce their workload. This been going on for over 10 years and I dont see any light at the end of this tunnel at this time. The program needs to be overhauled from their tops to their bottoms.


  10. I see nothing wrong with a business opportunity. People sell things, paper, apples, pencils, stocks, tables, etc.

    You need to tell the Deaf to be responsible for getting a peddlers license, tax id number, pay taxes based on what they earned. Most do not and that is where the trouble begins.

    If a lot of Deafies followed your advice and sells so many cards and not pay any taxes. Who will be liable? Your agency could be liable for not informing Deaf people their local, state and federal tax laws.

    Keep everything legal.

  11. Stephen,

    If I teach deaf people to fish, do I tell them to send a fish to Uncle Sam for every 10 fish they catch in their lifetimes?

    I help them get their fishing licenses and the licensing agencies tells them what the rules and responsibilities are.


  12. Richard,

    First, please know that I offer this discussion in a respectful, but concerned tone. I am not out to get you, but I do hold some serious concerns about what you are doing by advocating deaf peddling, and I need to hold up a mirror, ask some questions, and share my opinion. I appreciate you letting me do so. I hope intelligent, positive discourse and clarification are a result.

    To keep us on track, I need to clarify that this discussion is not about evaluating vocational rehab agencies. It's about public concern about your agency's questionable advocacy for deaf peddling.

    Are you aware of the long-standing history in the Deaf Community about the lack of dignity in deaf peddling?

    Are your nonprofit funders aware of this history as well? Do they know what you're doing? Are they aware that you know that many states hold laws against deaf peddling? Are they aware of the laws about deaf peddling in their own counties and state? Can you provide legal references for them if they ask? Are they aware of the current strong negative perceptions from the Deaf Community about deaf peddling?

    Does the state of California require a permit to peddle? Do you help your deaf peddlers obtain permits to peddle these cards you make accessible to them? Is there an Orange County Statute against deaf peddling without a permit?

    Do you have a permit to make these cards or materials for deaf people? Does the state require you to have one? Have you shown your funders your permit? Would you show this permit to peddle to anyone who asked?

    Which one-stop centers do you partner with to make your deaf peddle cards or materials? Are you willing to disclose this? How transparent is your agency?

    If your community partners and funders are not aware of these things, do you think that they would still fund and partner with you to make these materials if they knew?

    These are important questions to ask and have answers to if needed.

    I personally do not believe that deaf peddling, which you call "non-traditional approaches" is the last resort to helping deaf people earn a living. But apparently you do. Forgive me for being frank, but it makes me question your education, connections, and access to resources for deaf people in need of economic assistance and employment.

    It's almost like hooking them on selling drugs. "Make some fast cash in whatever way works." By advocating deaf peddling as a way to earn a living, your in effect, advocating a Machiavellian mentality: "Who cares about personal dignity. The means, whatever they are, justify the ends." In my opinion, it's just not moral or ethical.

    You are a nonprofit organization serving the public good. Tax dollars go into your agency and there are expectations from the stakeholders (this includes the deaf community as well as funders) that you need to keep in mind.

    There may be whistle blowers out there who look into the legality of deaf peddling in California. If you haven't done so already, you should as well. You have a nonprofit organization to run and a moral, ethical and financial responsibility to the public.

    ~ LaRonda

  13. I'm really sorry to say this but I dont see deaf people getting their means to keep their homes food on their table via non-traditional approaches showing lack of dignity. These deaf people are simply obeying their own and the needs of their families, not the needs of their peers, not the needs of their local, state, national deaf organizations.

    One of our biggest funders sees this as a non confrontational approach to solving the hunger and housing problems. Our funders wants results and they dont care about the methodology as long its not confrontational. The same thing goes for the county's one stop centers, they only want results and dont care how you achieve it as long it's legal.

    Orange County is a very compassionate county. Numerous cties allow these and they have specific rules and requirements for it that varies from city to city. Anaheim has one to curb the Hare Krishinas. Its allowed in most cities as long it's not agressive and some cities require business licenses.

    California has attempted to set a statewide anti-pedling law only to be tossed by the Supreme Court. I help them get business licenses and reseller permits.

    When Robert Herbert Meyer passed away, his son gave me all the rights to the card his dad designed and I use these rights to share this card with as many people as possible. I'm not required to have a permit to posess the rights to the cards. Deaf people can take the copy masters to any copy place to make copies and even a number of Kinko's Copy centers in the county carry copy masters of this for the deaf people to use too. This is how compassionate we are here in Orange County.

    Finally, its my fiduciary responsibility to see that my clients know of all the options available to them pertaining to finnancial solutions especially the options that the big funded deaf agencies would not dare share with their clients.

    Witholding the non-traditional options available to clients by the big deaf organizations is a sin by silence, a scandal by denial, and a waste of taxpayers money.


  14. Wasnt it a great 4th July?

    I'm very proud of my unorthodox approaches to the the genuine human question of survival.


  15. Our agency has a permit to sell these cards.

    Take a look at

    We use this permit to train people to sell the cards.


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