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Residents to 'Fight Like Hell' Against Post Office Closure

At a public meeting, residents object to planed closure and sale of the Fifth Street Post Office in downtown Santa Monica.

Selling the historic, New Deal-era Post Office in downtown Santa Monica and —an area described by some residents as "the desert"—would save the agency an estimated $3.3 million in operational costs over 10 years.

But many residents who spoke at a public meeting Thursday night about the proposed relocation, told United States Postal Service officials that it would be bad for business.

They believe the agency is underestimating the number of customers who would turn to the Internet and other mail carriers if using the centrally-located post office at Fifth and Arizona streets were no longer an option. They made it clear that the main post office is not only historic and beautiful, but also convenient, especially for senior citizens and residents without cars.

"It's a joy every morning to go ot the Fifth Street location to go to my box," said Santa Monica resident Phyllis Elliott. "Going to the Seventh Street location would not make me unhappy.

The plan to shift services from the Fifth Street location to an annex carrier facility at 1653 Seventh St. and to sell the historic property is part of a plan to  lower operational costs nationwide and to make some quick money.

With first class mail volume down 25 percent since 2006 and labor costs—which account for a lionshare of the Postal Service's operational costs—up 80 percent, the agency has seen a net loss of more than $25 billion in the past five years.

Letter carriers stationed at the Santa Monica Post Office on Fifth Street are already scheduled to move into the annex site on Seventh Street July 28 and 29. That move is separate from the proposed relocation of retail, P.O. boxes and bulk business mail services.

"This delivery operation consolidation will increase efficiency by having all Santa Monica letter carriers located in the same facility," spokesman Richard Maher wrote in an email. "The move will be transparent to the community and will not impact delivery service."

Maher said there is no public notification or input process when the Postal Services moves or consolidates letter carrier delivery operations. 

Thursday's meeting drew an audience of about 50 and galvanized residents into action. A Santa Monica woman, Sara Meric, volunteered to coordinate opposition efforts. At one point during the meeting, one speaker shouted "let's fight like hell!"

Margaret Gazey July 21, 2012 at 03:17 PM
There are also many tourists from around the world that mail packages home from this central area that is close to the promenade. Doubt they'd find the other one. As they cut back on services they lose more money. Our mail used to be delivered in the morning, now it is at 5pm.
RJ July 21, 2012 at 04:56 PM
....wouldn't it be interesting if an independant accounting firm really looked at the books? Telling us that closing the loved Post Office will save 3.3 Million over the next 10 years dosen't say a thing! Explaining what the Operational cost have always been (over a 10 year period) and how/if they have gone up....then explain why. Was the Post Master/Goverment running this Post Office efficiently?.....or spending tax payer monies on "employee moral" building junkets in Las Vegas? PLEASE Jenna....when you write an article could you actually give useful information above and beyond the typical "tweet" amount? Sometimes your articles give useless or such little information that it just angers readers.....unless thats your intent in media land?
Rebecca A. Anderson July 22, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Right on, Americans need something to be joyous about, especially us Seniors who don't have cars to drive. As an old Lender I just can't imagine who would be wanting to give the Feds quick cash for that building, there is, it's deferred maintenance and it wouldn't be used for it's "highest & best use", plus, it's just plain old. Who would want that? Do they Really know it will save 3.3 million in ten years, 10 years is a long time, 3.3 million isn't that much comparatively speaking,plus it's making so many good people unhappy. You are right, we must fight like hell. I'm wondering how much The Obama's spend on their many unnecessary trips for security, planes, etc.
Rebecca A. Anderson July 22, 2012 at 12:41 AM
That building is just going to be considered Sub Prime Commercial, what a shame to have our beloved historical post office end up that way.
Greg Fry July 22, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Different parts of the nation have different levels of postal service. East of the Rockies, every two barns and an outhouse seems to have their own post office: step right up, no waiting. California and the west have much lower levels of service and staffing. To cut back on that service even further here is more than outrageous!
Jed Pauker July 23, 2012 at 04:39 AM
Thanks for this clear article on a complex issue. The 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act is the sole cause of today's crisis, and is responsible for at least 85% of the "net loss." Absent that loss for this year's first quarter, USPS - an agency designed to break even - realized a net profit of well over $100 million. USPS has weathered far more serious threats than the internet. In fact, our Great Recession is responsible for most of the mail volume decline since 2006 - year of the highest mail volume ever. One must ask why so many historic California post offices are being closed as compared with those in other states. One must ask why Congressman Waxman supports closing post offices when a single new law could restore USPS's prior overpayments and resolve the radical pre-funding burden - which no other agency bears, and which no company could withstand. A lame duck Congress will likely revisit the currently stalled HR2309. Tell Mr. Waxman to oppose it and to support HR3591, so that the Senate can recall S1789 and pass S1853. Only these actions can reverse USPS's betrayal of the public trust. For more information visit http://venicenc.org/vmpo for Venice status reports. Berkeley is also rising up. Visit http://www.savethepostoffice.com for the comprehensive national story. We must support our nation's only affordable and universally available information carrier.
Scott July 24, 2012 at 04:12 AM
The new location they are proposing is awful, a traffic nightmare to get to with all the cars trying to get on or off the 10.
enufisenuf July 24, 2012 at 04:08 PM
There is just one group of employees that nothing will ever happen to. The following is a quote from the APWU contract: “While serving as a steward or chief steward, an employee may not be involuntarily transferred to another tour, to another station or branch of the particular post office or to another independent post office or installation unless there is no job for which the employee is qualified on such tour, or in such station or branch, or post office.” This means that as long as there are bargaining unit employees remaining on a tour, or station or branch, or installation to be represented, the steward may not be excessed and the other employees no matter how much senior to the steward MUST be excessed. To all the returning military vet employees: How’s that working out for ya? It’s nice to see how the APWU worked out that self preservation clause. Now you all know why they want to be union stewards in this environment! Besides that…they also get their own private parking spots!
Jed Pauker August 07, 2012 at 07:39 PM
Understood re: vets. However, a challenge to that logic is that, if a steward is not qualified to lift mail bags (or whatever) and all the other jobs were moved, the steward could be moved. Worse, if they close the location, where's the job? Removing such protective clauses could let USPS return to its pre-1970 standard, when some employees were so poorly paid that they qualified for taxpayer-funded welfare payments. How does that sound? In fact, the onslaught of revenue-reducing measures is driving USPS in the direction of requiring taxpayer support because it will simply stop being able to pay for itself. Without profitable locations to support costly ones, the agency will become a drain on our already empty pocketbooks. All the while, those profitable, no-overhead postal services will become more costly when privatized, in the form of profit margins, bonuses and expense accounts, to name a few. The results will be 1) higher prices for the same services and 2) USPS becoming a drain on taxpayers. How does that sound? Why should our nation's only affordable, universally available information carrier be dismantled when it already does the same work for less money, employing more people, at no cost to taxpayers? Again, the taxpayer cost of equal opportunity for everyone to communicate is zero. Should we keep it that way, or should we be divided and conquered? Tell Mr. Waxman to oppose HR2309 and to pass HR3591. And recall S1789 to pass S1853.
Chuck Solomon September 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Why doesn't the USPS close the 11th street location in Santa Monica, instead, and sell it, too. It is not a location that serves the public and nobody would miss it. That could save some money, if they haven't closed it already. Santa Monica is becoming known as "silicon beach" and many new businesses are starting to locate here. That will bring the USPS more business and the 5th street location may be needed to fill the coming demand. Closing it now may be short sighted and foolish. Well, that's government for you - its not by and for the people - and Obama wants to give us more if it - we should all be dependent on their greater wisdom, ya sure!

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