Sunday, February 15, 2009

Another letter to Congress

Here is my latest letter to Congress. I intend to send it to several Congress members, but I'm sending it first to Rep. Waxman.

This morning Sonshine was outraged about CPSIA, so I encouraged him to write a letter to lawmakers about it.


The Hon. Rep. Henry Waxman
2204 Rayburn H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Rep. Waxman,

You are breaking the heart of an 8 year old boy.

Attached is a letter my son Sonshine wrote you. This morning he discovered two things that upset him. The first is that I just can’t afford to take on the liability of helping him sell his collection of Nerf guns, because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. He’s painstakingly searched shelves of thrift stores accumulating this collection, and now he wants to sell it to raise money to buy new toys. But because I don’t know what the lead levels are in the guns, I don’t feel comfortable selling them on eBay, where they might sell to someone in a state where the Attorney General is looking for an easy CPSIA technical violation case to prosecute to prove their “for the children” bona fides. I told him he could sell them locally because I know our state Attorney General has better things to do than prosecuting people who sell untested toys, but I just cannot take the chance that I might sell the toy to a state like Illinois or California where the laws are even stricter than CPSIA, or a state like Connecticut where the Attorney General has publicly stated that he’s interested in fully enforcing CPSIA despite the CPSC’s one year stay of enforcement.

The other thing my son discovered that broke his heart is that one of his favorite books is now contraband. He has a well-beloved copy of The Merry Adventures Of Robin Hood that belonged to his great-grandfather. It was published in 1952, well before the CPSC’s 1985 cutoff date for saleable books. Before 1985, lead might have been used in the inks, so no one can buy, sell, or give away books published before 1985. Evidently when you passed this law, you were afraid he would eat or lick the book. My son is almost 9; the only things he eats and licks are food. It’s ironic, that I’m now in possession of an outlawed book about a famous outlaw.

Rep. Bartlett has proposed legislation, H.R. 968, which has been passed to your committee. I urge you to do right by my son and by me, and pardon Robin Hood by allowing this legislation to come to a vote. Don’t forget: the Sheriff of Nottingham—the one who strictly enforced unreasonable law-- was the villain, not the hero, of the story.

Wacky B. Hermit


Here's what Sonshine wrote (first draft; I may have him write a 2nd draft):

dear Lawmakers

my mom says that It is to dangeus. to sell my old toys on ebay. becose your law. I am 8 years old. and I do not like your law. I liked to read robenhood. and it is illgeal. so please stop the law It is my grate grampas book.