Tag Archives: Berkeley Post Office
Mayor Tom Bates, State Senator Loni Hancock, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, and just about a full complement of Berkeley councilmembers gathered on the steps of the city’s main post office this morning to protest its planned sale.
Bates, Hancock and Skinner jointly signed a letter appealing the decision by the U.S. Postal Service. Bates said it was the beginning of a long fight that will include a lawsuit and appeals to the U.S. Congress.
“We’re not going quietly. We’re going to fight this every step of the way,” Bates said. “We are against it and the people of Berkeley are against it.” … Continue reading »
Update, 5:00 p.m.: Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates issued a statement at around 4:45 p.m. saying he was “extremely disappointed” with the Post Office’s decision and reminding potential buyers that the building’s historic façade needs to be maintained. See below for his full statement.
Original story: The U.S. Postal Service announced today it will sell its historic downtown Berkeley building at 2000 Allston Way and relocate to another location “as close to the current site as possible.”
The decision comes despite an appeal made last month by the Berkeley City Council that USPS wait a year before making a final decision on the relocation. It also follows in the wake of a community meeting held on Feb. 26 at which many members of the public protested the proposed move.
A group called Save the Berkeley Post Office has been lobbying since the move was first suggested in June of last year to keep the building operating as a post office. USPS said that all the public input it received, along with the relocation proposal, was forwarded to USPS headquarters in Washington, D.C. where the final decision was made. … Continue reading »
Wozniak told the council: “There should be something like a bit tax. I mean a bit tax could be a cent per gigabit and they would still make, probably, billions of dollars a year… And there should be, also, a very tiny tax on email,” perhaps one-hundredth of a cent. He said this would discourage spam and not have much impact on the typical Internet user. Wozniak went on to suggest a sales tax on internet transactions that could help, in part, fund “vital functions that the post office serves.”
One Berkeleyside Twitter follower called the idea “unworkable insanity.” Wrote another: “This is just insane. Does the esteemed councilman have the first clue how the Internet works?”
But there’s a history to this idea, however outlandish as it might sound to some. … Continue reading »
The Berkeley City Council adopted a resolution Tuesday night to ask the U.S. Postal Service to press the pause button on its plans to relocate its downtown services and sell the Allston Way facility — for at least one year.
Members of the public who hope to keep the post office open were more subdued than those who attended a meeting in late February, with just a handful of people speaking about the historic building’s importance and why it should maintain its postal services. But they cheered and clapped throughout the meeting as council members expressed unanimous support to fight to keep the building open.
The postal service has said, in a written statement, that the building will likely be sold because of a “26-percent drop in total mail volume over the past three years, brought about by the diversion to electronic communication and business transactions.” … Continue reading »
On Tuesday, the US Post Office listened to around 50 Berkeley residents tell them why they did not want the historic downtown Berkeley post office building to be put up for sale. They witnessed a 200-strong rally with singing and chanting, and were subjected to not a litte heckling and jibes.
Benjamin Franklin made an appearance in the guise of local actor Josh Kornbluth. (“Welcome to Berkeley,” he said. “I think you’ll find Berkeley will work with you and the founding fathers will be behind you.”) Mayor Tom Bates received a rousing round of applause when he said he and the Council — who, in a rare show of unanimity, are agreed on this issue — would fight to prevent a sale. And the two Post Office staffers who had called the public meeting as per protocol outlined, with stark numbers, just how dire the financial situation is for USPS nationally, and why the public organization believes it makes sense to divest itself of a building only a fraction of which is now used for postal services.
Speaking for USPS, Augustine Ruiz and Diana Alvarado said the organization’s ideal scenario would be to stay at the current location, renting space from new owners. … Continue reading »
The United States Postal Service is holding a public meeting tonight to discuss the proposal to relocate the downtown Berkeley Post Office and sell its existing building at 2000 Allston Way.
The USPS says the sale is necessary to generate revenue after the organization has experienced a 26% drop in mail volume over the past three years.
A group of local residents who opposes the sale is expected to hold rally outside the Berkeley City Council Chambers where the meeting is taking place, starting at 6:00 p.m.. Local monologist and actor Josh Kornbluth is participating in the rally and will be at the hearing. The Save the Berkeley Post Office group argues the the city cannot lose a historic, architecturally significant building which was built with public funds. … Continue reading »
On Tuesday night, the City Council’s subcommittee on the main post office met and heard public comment on the proposed sale of the historic building. Berkeleyside was there, live tweeting. Read our Storify on the meeting: … Continue reading »
Last month Liza Lutzker noticed that in the space of a week, three out of her four neighborhood USPS mailboxes, all within walking distance of her Berkeley home, had disappeared.
Lutzker wasn’t the only Berkeley resident to notice that mailboxes were being removed. Councilwoman Susan Wengraf, who serves District 6, said that, beginning in late September, her office started receiving calls from constituents saying that neighborhood mailboxes were disappearing without any notice being given to the community.
Wengraf made several calls to the Berkeley Post Office, and was told there were plans to remove up to 40 collection boxes. Boxes are earmarked for removal if there are fewer than 25 letters a day left in them, she was told. But the Post Master would not provide details on which boxes were affected, saying that was “classified information.” … Continue reading »
Several dozen people gathered outside the downtown Berkeley post office Wednesday to protest both the potential sale of the building by the United States Postal Service, as well as what they see as the organization’s reluctance to hear the community’s views on the issue.
The group held placards with slogans including “Save the People’s Post Office” and “Save Post Office Union Jobs and Services.” They entered the post office building and held a rally on the plaza around the corner on Shattuck Avenue.
When the residents of Venice, CA found out in July 2011 that their 1939 post office was being put up for sale, they rallied to fight it. They protested, handed out flyers, collected thousands of signatures, sent letters to the U.S. Postal Service, and even formally petitioned the Postal Regulatory Commission to overturn the decision.
Nothing helped. The main Venice post office shut its doors on June 15. Movie mogul Joel Silver is now negotiating to buy the building.
The closure of the Venice building is only the latest example of a move by the financially strapped USPS to shutter many of its historic properties. During the past year, the agency has listed 40 historic post offices for sale, including Berkeley’s Main Post Office on Allston Way, and sold about a dozen.
The sell-off of such a large number of historic properties has so alarmed the National Trust for Historic Preservation that in June it put historic post offices on its “2012 List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places.” … Continue reading »
Even given the generally high quality of U.S. post offices, Berkeley’s downtown one is a standout architecturally. It is for that reason, among others, that Berkeleyans should be asking questions about the recent announcement that the public property was going up for sale, argues architectural historian Gray Brechin in an Opinionator piece on Berkeleyside. Wake up to what we are about to lose, he writes.
No sooner did word get out that the Park Station post office at 2900 Sacramento Street would be closing on April 30 than community advocates launched another effort to save it.
Steveanne Auerbach, who has been deeply involved the last 18 months with the fight to keep the post office open, got on the phone and ramped up her email efforts on Wednesday to get postal authorities to change their minds.
“I didn’t want the post office to think nothing was happening,” said Auerbach. “I wanted to bring up the points again to see what they could do.”
The post office announced Monday that Park Station, at the intersection of Sacramento and Russell, would close April 30. All the P.O. boxes and other services will be transferred to Station A on San Pablo Avenue near Addison.
Unfortunately, there might not be enough time to change the minds of post office officials, given that the closing is a little more than three weeks away, according to officials. The last push involved a petition drive, letters, community meetings, and discussions with the offices of Congressman Barbara Lee and Senator Dianne Feinstein. … Continue reading »