Speak Up on Possible Post Office Closure

Public meeting is Thursday evening on the planned closure on Santa Monica's Fifth Street branch.

Correction: The public meeting date is Thursday, not Wednesday.

Before a final decision is made on the shuttering of the New Deal-era Post Office in downtown, officials are seeking comments from the public.

The financially-strapped U.S. Postal Service wants to relocate retail services from the Fifth Street branch to its carrier annex facility less than a mile away at 1653 Seventh St. If the move is approved, the Fifth Street property—which was built by then-president Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Projects Administration—would be sold.

Postal service representatives will be on hand 5 p.m. Thursday for a public meeting at the Ken Edwards Center, where residents can learn more about the plans, then offer their opinions.

Written comments are also being accepted until Aug. 3, and should be addressed to: Diana Alvarado Pacific Facilities Service Office U.S. Postal Service 1300 Evans Ave. Ste. 200 San Francisco CA 94188-8200.


Matthew Susman has lived in Santa Monica off-and-on for the past 20 years, and plans to attend Wednesday's meeting to voice opposition. He said he submitted an application Monday to the state Department of Parks and Recreation to have the site reviewed as a potential landmark.

"The architecture is unique," he said, accusing the Postal Service of targeting the Santa Monica location because "they know it's going to go for a lot of money."

Spokesman Richard Maher said the agency is in a "very serious fiancial situation and is facing insolvency."

Every opportunity to reduce expenses and generate revenue is being considered in order to maintain universal service to our customers," he said in a press release.

Agency-wide, the Postal Service's financial losses have totaled $25 billion in the past five years, prompting reviews of 3,700 post offices, stations and branches for possible reduced hours, consolidation or closure.

About 30 of those are in Los Angeles County. Each has undergone public review, but their futures are still uncertain. The Postal Service hasn't announced any final decisions.

Olyver Gold July 18, 2012 at 03:27 AM
( This is a cross-posted comment from http://berkeley.patch.com/articles/save-our-berkeley-post-office ) USPS officials have shown over and over a complete disregard to public input regarding current post office closures. In most cases the decision has already been made by postal executives, while local managers are expected to 'play the public' and "get it done." It is a disgraceful and brutal maneuver by postal executives to break apart a piece of their own history in order to save a few bucks. (maybe?!) This self-amputation from its national treasures and utter insensitivity may indicate how USPS executives are slowly falling out of touch with the people's post office and giving into the mantra of the big corporations. Immediately following a colorful presentation and some spreadsheets, most likely the local postal manager will present the bleak picture of the USPS finances and how this closure is only evaluational in purpose. It probably would help if one keeps in mind that postal managers are being trained to respond to the public based on a predetermined format sent down from postal headquarters. USPS executives put on their blindfolds and expect the local managers to do the same. Perhaps it is time to consider a community class-action lawsuit aside from the usual appeal process through the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Zina Josephs July 18, 2012 at 03:08 PM
From Joe Nocera in the New York Times: The USPS pension is overfunded to the tune of around $11 billion. It is also required by law to make an annual payment of nearly $5.5 billion to prepay for health benefits for future retirees, a mandate imposed on no other company — or government agency — in America.... It could...close money-losing rural post offices and outsource the work to the local general store. It could shrink its work force. It could end Saturday delivery. It could raise prices, which are among the lowest in the world. It could take steps...to get its costs under control, just like any other business grappling with red ink.... The Postal Service still generates more than $60 billion in annual revenue.... The problem is that neither the management nor the workers really control the Postal Service. Even though the post office has been self-financed since the 1980s, it remains shackled by Congress, which simply can’t bring itself to allow the service to make its own decisions. It was Congress that insanely imposed the prefunding requirement in 2006. Laws restrict the post office’s ability to raise prices and cut costs. Over the years, when the post office wanted to get into new businesses, it was often prevented from doing so by Congress.... The Internet notwithstanding, the country still needs a viable Postal Service. What is mainly required is for Congress to get out of the way and allow it to begin truly operating like a real business.
Rebecca A. Anderson July 18, 2012 at 11:53 PM
I have been a real estate loan underwriter, licensed real estate agent & mortgage broker in this area for many, many years, while it's a great homey-type historical building, it' going to be hard to find financing. I would say Sub prime Commercial at best and that is very expensive. They could bypass institutional money, and, perhaps get private funding,but who would want to do that? Do the Feds actually have a solid buyer lined up, ready to go to escrow? It's like trying to find someone to finance those over the hill cop cars they try to sell. Everyone knows it is an over the hill cop car and who wants that??! This sounds like another Federal Disaster waiting to happen, not as bad as the Gulf Oil Spill, but Bad!!
Rebecca A. Anderson July 19, 2012 at 01:06 AM
They did this very same thing to the Post Office in my home town of Coos Bay, Oregon. We had a really great building built during that " New Deal" Era. I remember going there with my mom in the early 1950'S and being so impressed, we bought the main stamps at 2 cents apiece, in the color of purple I think? Plus we also bought the there to help finance the Veterans. Was funny when I went back a few years ago, there were a lot less steps up?? Anyway, it is now possessed by the local art museum, which, I think mostly they are not cutting the mustard so to speak plus it is also the location of the museum for the local sports hero of Nike fame. Anyway, it has removed the heart & soul of the local downtown, the good ambiance is gone, and the people have to an ugly cheap building located off the beaten path. Some how or other we need to keep this still so viable building, the warm & fuzzy heart beat of our community ( You don't realize it until you loose it) at it's intended purpose , highest & best use, as our great downtown Post Office. This current Feds bunch is known for it's disasters, lets not let this be another one!!!
Rebecca A. Anderson July 19, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Author of that last comment: I did not realize that a couple of things did not go through 1. It's where we bought the red Veterans poppies used in their fund raising. 2. Our local sports hero was Steve Prefontaine of Nike, hopefully you will remember the horrible shootings that took place when he went to the Olympics and then he lost to Finland.
Eddie Greenberg July 20, 2012 at 01:48 AM
No matter what we say or how many show up to say it, this is already a done deal! When closings were first announced this post office was pledged to stay open.Thirty days later a deal was made behind the scenes; " an offer that the Feds could not refuse", so to speak. Always know that in Santa Monica like other places everything is up for sale, and it happens by groups that prefer to avoid public attention. None of these want to be associated with making this a Manhattan by the Sea. However the drive to make it such is always all around us. Denny's restaurant will be gone soon, Norm's is next, seniors lost their Palisades Park location, no more Nativity Scenes and the voracious appetite of the developer's and their running dogs will remain unsatiable until every last piece of property is eviserated as we know it to be! The forever after commentary is always that this was done, "to make it better"!


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