USPS Not Alone in Desire to Shed Buildings

The U.S. Postal Service is not the only trusted public entity that wants to sell off its buildings to private interests and in so doing reduce its services.

New York City’s Brooklyn Public Library wants to sell off part of its branch in upscale Brooklyn Heights to real estate developers http://brooklynheightsblog.com/archives/56474/

So what does this have to do with the USPS?

Everything.

Congress has been  unable or more likely unwilling (apparently in the House of Representatives) to solve or at least ameliorate the USPS’s desperate financial problel ms. That has forced the postal service to think it must sell off facilities across the country some of which have been classified as landmarks or at least have historical significance http://santamonica.patch.com/articles/historic-post-office-will-close-soon.

The postal service believes these building sales might raise as much as $20 billion. The USPS bleeds way more than this in a single quarter.

Meanwhile, many proposed closures have been shown to disproportionally affect the poor and elderly as in the Bronx, New York and elsewhere. They also pick on rural dwellers.

Yes it is true the postal service does have a lot of excess space and a bloated workforce at a time when mail volume is declining. So maybe it could withstand some downsizing.

But many individuals both inside and outside the government often see the postal service’s troubles  as an opportunity to make money, disregarding the public good the USPS provides in every corner of the country.

Same deal with the public libraries.

According to WNYC radio, real estate developers, short of new land to exploit, are targeting libraries for the next wave of development http://www.wnyc.org/articles/wnyc-news/2013/mar/18/libraries-eyed-ripe-development/.

Short of cash and working under a city administration more keen on the interests of real estate than on providing needed, if unglamorous public services, it’s no wonder the BPL is tempted to sell off its physical plants.

The parallels with the USPS are unmistakable and chilling.

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