Despite the plethora of post office closings and since 2011 sometimes there appears to be some good news pointing in the opposite direction.
Case in point: in Woodland Hills, CA, near Los Angeles, the U.S. Postal Service has signed an agreement to move the city’s main post office, according to the Los Angeles Daily News http://www.dailynews.com/business/20170512/us-postal-service-seals-deal-to-move-into-shuttered-macys-at-promenade-mall
The new facility is situated in shopping mall space abandoned by department store giant Macy’s and replaces an older post office in the downtown area. This Macy’s closing fits in with another growing trend: a decline in retail stores in favor of online shopping. But that’s a subject about wholesale changes in the American economy and falls outside the postal world.
There’s one big hitch in Woodland Hills: the USPS signed a lease for only a year and a half and will have to find more permanent digs thereafter. That leaves some local postal workers and customers a little confused and rightfully peeved.
The overall march to close postal facilities is otherwise still going on unabated. For many years Save the Post Office (www.savethepostoffice.com) has been steadily tracking post office shutterings and selloffs. In some cases post offices are granted landmark status but quite often they just plain close.
Last month, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) reintroduced a bipartisan bill with Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) to prevent the USPS to close post rural offices under the guise of “emergency suspensions,” which often never reopen, according to the Ottawa, KS News Herald (http://www.ottawaherald.com/news/local/sen-moran-introduces-bipartisan-legislation-to-preserve-rural-post-offices/article_e068b98e-9abf-5f56-9a9a-fd16c31667b4.html.
Around the same time, McCaskill met with members of the National Rural Letter Carriers Association to discuss the ongoing plight of rural post offices https://www.mccaskill.senate.gov/media-center/news-releases/improving-rural-postal-service-is-focus-of-mccaskill-meeting.
Rural post offices often serve as community centers in their area and are have long been considered essential for binding them together. While they are inefficient and costly to maintain they are essential for ensuring universal service, a keystone of the USPS’s overall mission.
Consistent with its obsession with trimming costs and services, the postal service is also removing many street collection boxes around the country. In San Francisco alone, the USPS took away nearly40 of them in the past month, according to hoodline.com http://hoodline.com/2017/05/us-postal-service-removed-nearly-40-mailboxes-last-month.
From all this, it looks like the postal service is gonna continue to mindlessly shrink itself and render itself less and less relevant to the ordinary person. Instead it’s gonna keep stressing its profitable package delivery above its basic services which everybody still needs very badly.
And don’t expect Congress to take up postal reform anytime soon. It’s got at least two things working against it. First there’s the impending resignation of Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Chairman of the House Government Operations Committee, a postal reform advocate. The second reason is Congress’s obsession to repeal the Affordable Healthcare Act, which is likely to spark ever-increasing popular backlash.
Under such conditions, who’s gonna think about fixing the USPS?