PRESS RELEASES


Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke Protests potential closings affecting 8 post offices in Baltimore City

Release Date: August 4, 2011

Cites bias toward urban, low-income
and African-American population.

Issues “Call to Action” in protesting to Congress.

Statement by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke on Ill-Conceived Review to Close 8 Baltimore City Post Offices:

The Waverly Post Office in the 14th Council District is one of 8 Baltimore City post offices under review by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for closure in its current nationwide proposal to close 3,200 post offices nationwide and 41 in Maryland. Post offices under review have not yet been officially proposed for closure, and we seek to stop that possibility in its tracks.

If Waverly and the City’s other 7 possible closures are any example, this entire review process should be “Returned to Sender” for the adequate postage of transparent fiscal planning, geographic balance and criteria for change which reflect the special reliance on traditional post office services by our City’s and our nation’s minority, low-income, non-vehicle owning and urban populations - which are disproportionately affected in the Baltimore City proposal. 

Waverly Post Office serves a population of 52,530, the 2nd highest post office service area in the City (after Arlington) and more than 5 times the national average population of 10,000 people served by local post offices. In general, the average post office slated for closure in Baltimore City serves 3.5 times that national average per post office. These post offices are:

City Council Districts:

Carroll  340 South Loudon Avenue 21229 , 8th  

Clifton East End  4200 Shannon Drive 21213, 13th

Druid  1826 Pennsylvania Avenue 21217, 11th

Franklin  2401 Ashton Street 21223, 9th

Hamilton  4901Harford Road 21214, 3rd

Market Center  130 North Greene Street 21201, 11th

Walbrook  1908 North Ellamont 21216, 7th

Waverly 3000 Homewood Avenue 21218, 14th

The total population served by these 8 post offices under review for closure is about 275,000, substantially more people than the entire population of Harford County. On the “urban discrimination” front, the USPS is considering the closure of 11% of its post offices nationwide but 36% of Baltimore City’s.

In a City where only 36% of Baltimore households own cars, all 8 post offices on the chopping block have between 11,224 and 24,975 potential clients within ¼ mile walking distance.

More than half the post offices at risk are in communities where between one-fifth and two-thirds of the residents live below the poverty line. Seven locations serve African-American populations of 61 to 88%.

This protest does not ask that equally arbitrary closures be considered in lieu of the 8 Baltimore City post offices under review for closing. Rather we urge that the USPS and its Congressional overseers consider alternatives to closures in neighborhoods across the nation which, according to The Sun, will produce a national savings of only $200 million of the USPS’s annual projected deficit of $1 billion to $3 billion a year.

(“Neither sun nor rain…,” Sun, July 31, 2011, page 20.)

We cannot afford to wait for official closure recommendations. We must act now, through our Congressional delegation, to be exempted from the preliminary review process so as to avoid any subsequent appeal process as required upon formal recommendation for closure. That formal appeal process itself is so difficult that, when USPS closed 676 post offices between FY1998-2007, only 25 appeals were submitted nationwide, representing only 3.7% of the closures.

In his August 2009 recommendations to Congress, Congressional Research Service Analyst Kevin Kosar suggested that, “Congress may wish to solicit the USPS’s and PRC’s opinions on why so few post office closures have been appealed.” (Post Office and Retail Postal Facility Closures: Overview and Issues for Congress, Congressional Research Service, August 7, 2009, pp. 18 & 19.)

Although no longer supported with taxes, the USPS is a government-owned corporation, and, in establishing the USPS in 1971, the Congress remains obliged to ensure that USPS provides the public with adequate access to postal services.

“The United States Postal Service shall be operated as a basic and fundamental service provided to the people by the Government of the United States, authorized by the Constitution, created by Act of Congress, and supported by the people. The Postal Service ….shall provide prompt, reliable, and efficient services to patrons in all areas and shall render postal services to all communities.” (Emphasis my own. 39U.S.C. 101(a))

In its current review, USPS eliminates 36% of our City’s post offices and provides no plan or resources for relocating their services, thereby violating post office access and equity guarantees for minimal budget savings and putting Baltimore City’s remaining post offices at risk of doubling-up, over-capacity and denial of the entire City’s “efficient service” guarantees. 

We call for an immediate halt to this process in its entirety. We call upon  Baltimore City residents and organizations to voice their objections to the inclusion of our 8 post offices in the current review process. We call upon our Congressional delegation to ensure proper consideration of all protests and objections received by their offices.

Special thanks to Andy Timleck, Better Waverly resident, and Peter Duvall, Old Goucher resident, for all their help in researching this information and to Andy for the maps and federal documents.  

To protest review status for potential post office closures, please contact

our City’s Congressional representatives:

Go to website, click CONTACT and follow directions, or call.

Senator Barbara A. Mikulski -www.mikulski.senate.gov

(410) 962 - 4510

Senator Ben Cardin-www.cardin.senate.gov

(410) 962-4436

Congressman Elijah Cummings-www.cummings.house.gov

(410) 685-9199

Congressman C. A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger-www.dutch.house.gov

(410) 628-2701-

Congressman John Sarbanes-www.sarbanes.house.gov

(410) 832-8890

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