We’ve been listening to people in Berkeley and what we hear is that the sale of our post office is not what our community wants. The Postal Service has not heard us yet: We will get their attention. To do so we must all speak and act together.
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We were hopeful that the Postal Service would agree to work with the City of Berkeley to keep full postal services at 2000 Allston Way, maintain USPS ownership of the building, and realize long-term financial advantages for the Postal Service.
Instead Monday afternoon the USPS issued a decision to proceed with the “relocation” and sale of our historic 99-year old Main Post Office.
Perhaps as a concession to our community USPS offers this language:
Vice President, Facilities
Facilities Implementation – Pacific Area
1300 Evans Ave. Ste. 200
San Francisco CA 94188-0200
The fifteen day time line for a review request is consistent with the time granted to other California communities. But shouldn’t we have been given thirty days to request a review? That’s what a reading of the federal regulation and the time line recently used for review requests on the Bronx General Post Office indicate.
On April 10, Postmaster Patrick Donahoe responded to a letter from Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. Donahoe stated that in his view the economic crisis of the USPS is "not due to "a manufactured crisis," but instead, is a direct result of a fundamental change in the way Americans use the mail and the lack of flexibility in (the USPS) business model to adapt to these changes."
And "cut, cut & more cuts."
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr and more than thirty other elected officials wrote the USPS on April 1st to offer their strongest objections to the sale of the Bronx General Post Office.
At a poorly-publicized daytime public hearing on Feb. 6, community members rallied against the proposed sale.
“We are appalled that, despite request for further community consultative processes at that hearing, the United States Postal Service has seen fit to issue a final sale determination,” read the letter, signed by Borough President Diaz, nine city council members, 16 state representatives and three Congressmen.
The Postal Service’s “refusal” to host evening hearings or accept community input electronically “when taken together, seem designed to minimize the public input during this important process,” the letter read.
“We cannot and will not accept that the Postal Service could come to such a deleterious determination affecting such an important part of the our Bronx heritage,” the letter concluded.
Read the entire letter from Bronx elected officials here.
The Bronx General Post Office lobby is filled with thirteen egg tempera on plaster frescos by artist Ben Shahn and his wife Bernarda Bryson Shahn. Inspired by the Walt Whitman poem "I Hear America Singing," the Shahns' murals collectively entitled Resources of America, illustrate the nobility of the American worker. The panels depict men and women throughout the country engaged in labor, from rural cotton and wheat fields to urban textile factories and steel mills. Hydroelectric dams and industrial blast furnaces complete the powerful imagery which symbolized 1930s America.
Any person may make a written request for review by the US Postal Services Vice President for Facilities
photo credit: David Bacon
Berkeley’s Mayor and City Council are unanimous in opposing the sale of our beautiful, historic Post Office. Their official letter to the USPS requests a one-year moratorium on selling the Post Office. Berkeley’s city officials would like to work with the USPS to keep our Main Post Office in the public trust. To date, we know of no decision having been made whether or not the building will be sold.
Add your voice to the growing movement to save Berkeley’s historic Main Post Office and to keep our postal service serving the public good.
Join Our Weekly Informational Leafleting Outside the Post Office on Saturdays.
Saturdays from 11:30 to 3:00 — please sign up for an hour or two.
Contact Sally Nelson email@example.com
Put “Save P.O.” in the subject line.
The Public Hearing on February 26, 2012, started the USPS clock.
The 15-day comment period ended on March 13, 2013.
So what's happening now?
Well, USPS Facilities Manager Diana Alvarado evaluates the evidence and then sends her evaluation, the public comments and possibly a recommendation to the Manager of Facilities Implementation in Duluth, Georgia for a decision.
Once a decision is issued, any person has 30 days to make a written request for a review to the US Postal Services Vice President for Facilities in Washington DC.
Within fifteen days the US Postal Service Vice President for Facilities or his representative issues a determination. The V-P determination exhausts the administrative review/ appeal process. Because the USPS terms the proposed action on the Berkeley Main Post Office as a "relocation" (rather than as a "consolidation" or "closure") we do not have a right to appeal the determination to the Postal Regulatory Commission.
However, note: A violation of U.S. Code can be appealed to the Postal Regulatory Commission at any time.
Download the lyrics and an mp3 over on the right. Berkeley is outraged by the USPS proposal to sell our Main Post Office. And we still know how to turn a nation-wide struggle into fun on a Sunday morning. Come on out!
Hali writes: "I am hoping for at least 100 people to swamp the stairs going up to the post office (more is better!) They don't have to be Berkeley residents. This is a national issue and we need to make folks aware of it! Any voice in song is a GOOD voice!!! (My firm belief)."
Join us for a rally on 2/26 at 6pm, with special guest Josh Kornbluth, playing the first postmaster: Benjamin Franklin.
Download the flyer by clicking "read more" below, and help spread the word!
Save the Berkeley Post Office--USPS Hearing
Tues Feb 26th @ 7 PM
2134 Martin Luther King, Jr.
The United States Postal Service will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, February 26th at 7:00 p.m at the Berkeley City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way in Berkeley. We must be there to be sure the USPS hears our views on their proposal to relocate and ultimately sell Berkeley's beautiful historic Main Post Office. We urge you to come to this important hearing on Tuesday at the City Council Chambers at Old City Hall, Berkeley.
Monday the US Postal Service announced its intention to sell the Bronx Central Post Office on the Grand Concourse. With its splendid series of Ben Shahn murals in the lobby, this treasure of American social realist painting is at risk. Tuesday USPS hit NYC again: USPS wants to sell the historic Old Chelsea Post Office. Wednesday the USPS unilaterally declared to the nation that six-day delivery will end in August.
Mark your calendar: Tuesday, February 12th at 6 p.m. the Berkeley City Council Post Office Subcommittee is asking for citizen input on the proposed sale of our historic Main Post Office. Council Chambers, Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr Way.