Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bronx outraged over post office closings

Another story from the Bronx Press. It's like I'm giving away the paper today! But there are even more stories in the print edition, so go find it!

By Brendan McHugh 

“Keep it open!” 

Going Postal: U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley and residents of Co-Op City
get just a bit hot under the collar over proposed closings of 17 postal substations
in the Bronx, including this one at Einstein Loop.
That was the chant Co-Op City residents hollered Monday morning in front of the Einstein Loop Post Office, one of 17 offices that are currently being reviewed for possible closure by the United States Postal Service. 

The USPS is looking at 34 offices throughout the city, but Bronxites say everyday chores will become near impossible if the Feds close their post office. 

“Bad, bad,” said Co-Op City resident Olga Powell. “I’m a senior. It’s very hard to go over to another office. We can’t afford to have it closed."

The USPS is also considering closing the Dreiser Loop office, which would mean residents in Co-Op City would have to travel all the way to the north end of their neighborhood to Conner Street—two miles away for some—to send packages, pay bills and pick up mail.

Jump below for the full story.

“Post office serve vital services to every and any community,” said U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley. “Co-Op City must be self-sufficient. It must have it’s own grocery stores. Must have it’s own department stores, hardware stores and pharmacies. And what put us here today, it must have it’s own post office.” 

There are about 50,000 people living in Co-Op City, and it is the largest naturally occurring retirement community in the country. 

The USPS is trying to solve its fiscal problems on the backs of the working class, Crowley said. 

“We’re not going to let this post office close; we’re not going to let any of them close. We’re not going to let them roll over this community just to balance their budgets. We’re not going to allow them to shut down the post offices here at Co-Op City,” he said. 

“They can cite numbers, but they’ll never understand what Einstein Loop means to the community.” 

The USPS had a net loss of $3.1 billion in the third quarter this year, a USPS spokesperson said, and relies only on sales of postage, products and services to fund its operations. “Total mail volume declined to 39.8 billion pieces compared to the same time last year which was 40.9 billion pieces, a decrease of 2.6 percent thus far,” she said. 

They are examining 3,000 offices throughout the country. 

Crowley is currently co-sponsoring a bill, along with another Bronx congressman, Rep. Eliot Engel, that would provide fiscal relief to the USPS. The bill, H.R. 1351, would use the surpluses in certain accounts over the next decade to cover current deficits. 

“I’m very proud so many people came out. You continue to support the rallies, continue to support our politicians who are supporting us to keep it open” Single Source’s Ellie Minor told the crowd. “We are going to win because of you.” 

The Bronx offices slated for review are: Botanical, Castle Hill, Clason Point, Cranford, Dreiser, Einstein Loop, Esplanade, Fieldston, Hillside, Hunts Point, Melcourt, Morrisania, Spuyten Duyvil, Stadium, University Heights, Van Cott and West Farms. In Westchester, Yonkers South and Sandford Sta in Mount Vernon will be studied. 

Clarice Torrence, president of New York Metro Area Postal Union, said the USPS is ignoring the communities in the city and doesn’t understand the burden they would place on seniors especially if they close offices. 

She also isn’t surprised about the lack of notices they have been giving the communities to alert them of public forums to voice their opposition to closing certain offices. For the Fieldston Post Office, less than four days notice was given about the forum, stifling any public outcry. 

Residents, however, can go to a post office and request a form to fill out that they can send to the USPS to announce their disapproval of closing certain offices.

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