City appeals to regulatory commission to intervene in post office closure
By Andre Coleman 07/05/2012
Pasadena city officials said they would file a notice of intervention with the US Postal Regulatory Commission today in a last-ditch effort to stop the US Postal Service from shuttering local post offices.
The move comes on the heels of a letter signed last week by Mayor Bill Bogaard and the City Council saying the city would consider every step to avoid the negative impacts that could result from closing the Matthew “Mack” Robinson Post Office on Lincoln Avenue.
“We have not gone beyond the intervention stage,” Bogaard told the Weekly Monday. “The way I understand it, this process gives the commission the opportunity to intervene in the process.”
There is no timetable for a response from the commission, according to Bogaard, who appeared on the steps of City Hall, along with US Reps. Judy Chu and Adam Schiff, Councilwoman Jacque Robinson, postal workers and members of Occupy Democracy — Pasadena, to oppose the closures, which were scheduled to begin this week.
Portions of the Mack Robinson facility were scheduled to be consolidated this week, leaving only the front desk open.
“If it closes, jobs at the distribution facility get relocated,” said Occupy Democracy — Pasadena leader Patrick Briggs. “They can’t actually lay them off, but they can force them to go to any facility in a 50-mile radius, which would force people to give up their jobs. The mail service will be degraded considerably. This is the only processing center in Pasadena. It is going to have to go all the way to Santa Clarita and come back. It is going to hurt people just trying to pay their bills on time.”
The closure could result in 190 local employees losing their jobs. The USPS has also tagged the Orangewood postal facility, located in the shopping center on California Boulevard at Pasadena Avenue, and the Altadena Post Office on North Lake Avenue for closure by year’s end.
The USPS has targeted 3,700 post offices — 100 in California — for closure without making much contact with officials in those communities.
Critics claim the move is another step toward eventual privatization, which would allow the postal service to raise prices, lay off employees and cut services without congressional approval.
“The Mack Robinson postal center is a very important element to the community for historical reasons, postal service reasons and business reasons created by the people who work there and the employees whose lives will be severely disrupted by the closure,” Bogaard said. “It is severely unfortunate this is the direction we are going.”