Say Goodbye to Nuisance Post Offices

By Matt Baume
|  Wednesday, Jan 5, 2011  |  Updated 12:00 PM PDT
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Say Goodbye to Nuisance Post Offices

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NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 20: People wait on line to mail packages ahead of the Christmas holiday at the James A. Farley Post Office in Manhattan December 20, 2010 in New York City. Today is traditionally the post office's busiest day of the year with officials expecting 800 million pieces of mail to be handled, 40% more than the average. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Expect even longer lines and unbearable waits, thanks to the Postal Service's novel plan to cut back service at Post Offices around the Bay Area.

Healdsburg and Petaluma are first on the chopping block, but budget constrains may force the Postal Service to reduce even more.

In Petaluma, the Postal Service may close a processing center and move some jobs to Oakland in a cost-cutting move. The center handles packages for Sonoma, Marin, Mendocino, and Lake counties.

Postal Service employees are understandably opposed to the move, which could eliminate or reduce hours for several dozen jobs. Residents are also worried that mail service might be delayed. That is, more so than usual.

A study determined that mail service won't be affected by the move, but whether that's borne out by reality is anyone's guess. According to the Postal Service, the exact details of the closure will be posted on USPS.gov, a website that is perhaps even more labyrinthine and unhelpful as a post office.

Meanwhile, in Healdsburg, the Postal Service will attempt to avoid re-building a fire-damaged Post Office, despite the community's wishes. They would prefer to move postal operations to a neighboring town, located along a dangerous traffic sewer and out of reach of many of Healdsburg's residents.

Rebuilding the facility would cost over a million, and the post office lost many millions more in the last year. If it hadn't burned down, it would have continued bleeding the government dry indefinitely.

The silver lining is that the Postal Service's monopolistic days are numbered. For now, it remains illegal for anyone to create a mail-delivery service that competes with the USPS under the Private Express Statutes. But as use of physical mail continues to dwindle, it's only a matter of time before citizens start wondering why they're paying tens of billions of dollars for Post Offices that nobody uses.

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