Saturday, February 28, 2009

CPSIA - The Significant of Recent Correspondence by Rep. Schakowsky

From: Rick Woldenberg

Sent: Sat 2/28/2009 3:32 PM

To: 'Christian.Fjeld@mail.house.gov'; 'robin.appleberry@mail.house.gov'; andrew_grobmyer@pryor.senate.gov; james_reid@rockefeller.senate.gov

Cc: 'brian.mccullough@mail.house.gov'; 'shannon.weinberg@mail.house.gov'; 'william.carty@mail.house.gov'; 'mjg@brown-gidding.com'; Etienne Veber; 'challengeandfun@gmail.com'; 'kathleen@fashion-incubator.com'; 'Stephen Lamar (slamar@apparelandfootwear.org)'; 'Nancy Nord (nnord@cpsc.gov)'; 'Joe Martyak (jmartyak@cpsc.gov)'; 'Mary Toro (MToro@cpsc.gov)'; 'tmoore@cpsc.gov'; 'Patrick Magnuson (patrick.magnuson@mail.house.gov)'; 'Carter Keithley (ckeithley@toy-tia.org)'; 'Rick Locker (fblocker@LockerLaw.com)'; 'Desmond, Edward'; 'David Callet (calletd@gtlaw.com)'; 'ravitz.georgia@arentfox.com'; 'Pamela Gilbert (pamelag@cuneolaw.com)'; 'Robert Adler'; 'Dan Marshall (dan@peapods.com)'; 'erik.lieberman@mail.house.gov'; 'cfalvey@cpsc.gov'; Judy Bailey (judith.bailey@mail.house.gov); adele@narts.org; kmchugh@astratoy.org; richard.goldberg@mail.house.gov; matthew.abbott@mail.house.gov; 'Brian_hendricks@hutchison.senate.gov'; 'david@commerce.senate.gov'; 'Cathy.hurwit@mail.house.gov'; pweller@cpsc.gov; mgougisha@cpsc.gov; bridget_petruczok@boxer.senate.gov; michael_daum@cantwell.senate.gov; bill_ghent@carper.senate.gov; hap_rigby@demint.senate.gov; frannie_wellings@dorgan.senate.gov; david_quinalty@ensign.senate.gov; james_chang@inouye.senate.gov; jonathan_becker@klobuchar.senate.gov; michelle_schwartz@lautenberg.senate.gov; lee_dunn@mccain.senate.gov; sonya_wendell@mccaskill.senate.gov; matthew_hussey@snowe.senate.gov; brendan_plack@thune.senate.gov; hugh_carroll@wicker.senate.gov; elissa.levin@mail.house.gov; christopher.schepis@mail.house.gov; theresa.lavery@mail.house.gov; greg.louer@mail.house.gov; brian.diffell@mail.house.gov; amy.ingham@mail.house.gov; laura.vaught@mail.house.gov; matt.johnson@mail.house.gov; saul.hernandez@mail.house.gov; aaron.shapiro@mail.house.gov; rick.axthelm@mail.house.gov; steve.plevniak@mail.house.gov; scott.cleveland@mail.house.gov; jonathan.smith@mail.house.gov; pat.cavanagh@mail.house.gov; rachelle.wood@mail.house.gov; michael.gaffin@mail.house.gov; angela.manso@mail.house.gov; dana.lichtenberg@mail.house.gov; derrick.ramos@mail.house.gov; elizabeth.stack@mail.house.gov; lori.pepper@mail.house.gov; david.bahar@mail.house.gov; mark.bayer@mail.house.gov; Neeta.Bidwai@mail.house.gov; kyle.victor@mail.house.gov; chris.debosier@mail.house.gov; morgan.jones@mail.house.gov; matthew.dockham@mail.house.gov; tuley.wright@mail.house.gov; cade.king@mail.house.gov; betsy.christian@mail.house.gov; chris.herndon@mail.house.gov; Mike.Ward@mail.house.gov; laura.abshire@mail.house.gov; randi.meyers@mail.house.gov; Greta.Hanson@mail.house.gov; liz.muro@mail.house.gov; jamie.euken@mail.house.gov; jon.oehmen@mail.house.gov; brad.schweer@mail.house.gov; michael.beckerman@mail.house.gov; valerie.henry@mail.house.gov; Becky.Claster@mail.house.gov; tiffany.guarascio@mail.house.gov; jeff.mortier@mail.house.gov; Christopher_day@billnelson.senate.gov; john_phillips@kerry.senate.gov; Kerrie Campbell (kcampbell@manatt.com); bryan_hickman@hatch.senate.gov; Ben.Kershaw@mail.house.gov; tom_jones@commerce.senate.gov; Lisa Brown (lbrown@who.eop.gov); csunstein@who.eop.gov; stacy_ettinger@jec.senate.gov; csunstei@uchicago.edu; rpalmieri@nam.org; dbrown@muchshelist.com; Lyndsay Austin (Lindsay.Austin@mail.house.gov)

Subject: CPSIA - The Significance of Recent Correspondence by Rep. Schakowsky

On February 12, Representative Jan Schakowsky wrote Kathleen Fasanella to complain about the design of her websites and to attempt shame Kathleen by linking child deaths to the origins of the CPSIA. See http://designer-entrepreneurs.com/blog/illustrations/Letter_to_Kathleen_Fasanella.pdf and http://www.fashion-incubator.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=4875. Incredibly, Ms. Schakowsky resorts to emotional manipulation and intimidation in response to the exercise of Kathleen's Constitutionally-guaranteed Freedom of Speech. I believe Freedom of Speech was once considered a sacred right in America. Perhaps the debate over the CPSIA has become too leaden for Ms. Schakowsky.

Ms. Fasanella's answer to Ms. Schakowsky deserves your attention. See http://www.fashion-incubator.com/archive/my-response-to-representative-schakowsky/. Please read the 45+ comments as well.

What is notable about this exchange of letters and the associated comments? Of course, the issue is "misinformation". There has been much traffic in accusations of "misinfomration". See http://energycommerce.house.gov/images/stories/Documents/PDF/Newsroom/nord%20moore%202009%201%2016.pdf and http://energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090204/cpsc.pdf (Congressional leaders) and http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/CPSC_leadership_release_1-30-09.pdf (consumer groups). In Ms. Schakowsky's letter, she identifies herself as a major source of misinformation - all in the name of defending the noble CPSIA. Hmmm. How should we voters feel about this kind of manipulation by an elected leader closely identified with the CPSIA? I believe the public believes it can rely on our Congressional leaders to get it right, but that is apparently a misplaced trust. This is especially irksome since advocates for the CPSIA strenuously sling mud at unnamed opponents for trumpeting "misleading" information. The tactic of attacking the messenger in order to distract from an inconvenient or unwanted message is an old trick. We get it, and the press gets it. When will Congress?

There is a large group of concerned citizens agitated over this law. You can read the comments yourself - how is public opinion running ? It may no longer be relevant how lopsidedly this bill passed - the public is getting fed up. Now that the CPSIA's destructive economic impact is finally being felt, public sentiment is running strongly against the new law. The notion that this law changes the safety picture has been exposed as a joke. Nevertheless, Congress persists in repeating its mantra that the law will not be changed and the CPSC simply needs to implement the CPSIA and make things "clear". Hearings on the law have been scheduled - and cancelled - more than once. This is transparency? Is this what we Americans voted for in the Obama "revolution"? I used to think safety was a non-partisan issue. . . .

The longer that Congress arrogantly refuses to acknowledge the public with its legitimate concerns about this dangerous law, the more likely the outrage will turn into a political firestorm. The American public is increasingly disillusioned with the new Congress as the U.S. economy sinks into the abyss. It's time for Congress to acknowledge the serious errors underlying this terrible bill - publicly for the benefit of the American people - and to take serious action. Please do not underestimate those of us advocating against this bill. We will not agree to tweaks (the word "any" in the lead exemptions won't do it) - the bill needs to be reconsidered.

I hope you will act before it's too late. Our small businesses, and your constituents, are waiting.

I will be posting this letter to my blog. Please feel free to join the debate there for all to see.

Richard Woldenberg
Chairman
Learning Resources, Inc.
rwoldenberg@learningresources.com
Follow my blog at http://www.learningresourcesinc.blogspot.com/ or at www.twitter.com/rwoldenberg.

3 comments:

Jennifer said...

On behalf of my small business, thank you again for taking the time to continue this. This past week I was contemplating our exit strategy out of the kids market. What is so upsetting is that we aren’t being forced about because we make a dangerous or bad product, it is because we wouldn’t be able to afford redundant testing on PROVEN safe products, the threat of liability everywhere you turn, and our limited legal budget to analyze and stay on top of all of the updates that are being sent out by the CPSC on a weekly basis. Oh and I forgot the $$ for the new batch labeling requirements in August.

I feel so let down by our government. I’m tired of hearing about the bail outs of industry’s that continually lose money, pay for people to be laid off (????), don’t know how to operate their businesses, get money from the gov’t, lose more money, don’t change anything, receive more money, it is baffling. What about us in the children’s industry that are doing things right. We are dying because of bad regulations and no one wants to hear us. CPSIA is killing our economy, our spirits and our livelihoods and it isn’t in the name of safety.

Sebastian said...

I'm not a business owner. I am however, a daily consumer of products affected under these laws.
Keep up the good fight. Maybe there will even be a little spillover into other pending legislation (say like reading it before voting for it).

John said...

Thanks for helping to set the record straight. Our small educational toy company will discontinue about 1/2 of our products this year as our inventory runs out. These are safe toys that are beneficial to children. They help teach about proper diet, emotions and socialization, community and safety.

There are no mass market customers for our products. They are manufactured in small lots and inventory turns slowly. CPSIA mandated testing adds 25% to the cost of our products, even though there are no realistic risks associated with them. We can't pass that cost on in any economy.

In addition, how can we take the risk of keeping products in inventory that conform to all laws when produced, but are subject to seemingly random new laws in the future, ie. a 2 day phthalate ban?

I have 3 children and take safety seriously. Once upon a time, I hoped my kids would be interested in and able to take over this family business when the time came. Now I think about how to get out, there is no future in making decent toys that have real value.