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How long can Imperial Beach keep its post office?

Donax Ave. location operations planned for Eastlake

Donax Ave. location on Yelp. "It's not a Starbucks coffee shop," said councilmember Jack Fisher.
Donax Ave. location on Yelp. "It's not a Starbucks coffee shop," said councilmember Jack Fisher.

Imperial Beach is ground zero in San Diego County for changes being made to the United States Postal Service delivery network, and the city plans to fight back.


On August 16th, the city plans to adopt a resolution denouncing any modifications of service or operations to the Imperial Beach post office. 


The biggest change involves moving letter carriers from post offices to large sorting & delivery centers. In this case, from the only post office in Imperial Beach, located on Donax Avenue, to the main post office in Chula Vista where mail is sorted.


While the US Postal Service isn't saying the city's 18,000-square-foot post office will close, mayor Paloma Aguirre said in a recent council meeting that attempts to communicate haven't gone far since the city tried to find out more about the changes after hearing from the postal union and others in June. So the questions fly. 


Will mail be delivered on time? Or at all on any given day? Will there be a line out the door?


"You're gonna lose your post office," said Bob Waterhouse, president of American Postal Workers Union in the San Diego area, which represents more than 1,400 postal employees and retirees.


"I rise to speak about what began in Imperial Beach and will soon spread across the United States." It happened last week with the temporary closure of the post office in Rock Cave, West Virginia, he said, and it's going to continue like an avalanche.


Aguirre said local post office leadership declined the city's request to discuss operations or attend the council meeting. Instead, a general statement was provided about the sorting and delivery center initiative, which was unveiled in 2022 and is one of the changes in the Postal Service's Delivering for America plan. The 10-year plan is meant to "achieve financial stability and service excellence."

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The city sought help from Rep. Juan Vargas, whose 52nd District includes Imperial Beach, but the mayor said the postal service's "lack of communication and transparency" continues to unnerve the community.


As Vargas said in a July 28 letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the fear is that relocating mail carriers will result in the post office closing entirely once the building lease expires. When only a few employees are  left, residents see closure as the end game.


"In my conversation with the representative I did ask about the lease and he said that's between us and the leasor," Aguirre said. "Our city manager has been in contact with the landowner and we're trying to find out more," she added.


"What is very clear in our community is that we want zero changes."


The sorting and delivery centers are intended to reduce transportation and mail handling costs, and will still function as a destination delivery unit, “except on a larger scale and with much greater efficiency, operational reliability and staffing flexibility.” 


But efficiency is hardly what residents will face if the post office closes. Or if the changes instead require people to pick up packages at the Eastlake post office, as the city has heard from rumors. The Imperial Beach location is 5.6 miles from the main post office in Chula Vista, while the one in Eastlake is 30 miles roundtrip. Either way it's a burden for residents without cars, and city officials said there are no clear bus routes that make it all the way to Eastlake. Even if there were, getting on the freeway and going to an entirely different city can't compare to walking a few blocks.


"This isn't something that's an extra amenity, it's not a Starbucks coffee shop," said councilmember Jack Fisher. "This is a necessity."

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Donax Ave. location on Yelp. "It's not a Starbucks coffee shop," said councilmember Jack Fisher.
Donax Ave. location on Yelp. "It's not a Starbucks coffee shop," said councilmember Jack Fisher.

Imperial Beach is ground zero in San Diego County for changes being made to the United States Postal Service delivery network, and the city plans to fight back.


On August 16th, the city plans to adopt a resolution denouncing any modifications of service or operations to the Imperial Beach post office. 


The biggest change involves moving letter carriers from post offices to large sorting & delivery centers. In this case, from the only post office in Imperial Beach, located on Donax Avenue, to the main post office in Chula Vista where mail is sorted.


While the US Postal Service isn't saying the city's 18,000-square-foot post office will close, mayor Paloma Aguirre said in a recent council meeting that attempts to communicate haven't gone far since the city tried to find out more about the changes after hearing from the postal union and others in June. So the questions fly. 


Will mail be delivered on time? Or at all on any given day? Will there be a line out the door?


"You're gonna lose your post office," said Bob Waterhouse, president of American Postal Workers Union in the San Diego area, which represents more than 1,400 postal employees and retirees.


"I rise to speak about what began in Imperial Beach and will soon spread across the United States." It happened last week with the temporary closure of the post office in Rock Cave, West Virginia, he said, and it's going to continue like an avalanche.


Aguirre said local post office leadership declined the city's request to discuss operations or attend the council meeting. Instead, a general statement was provided about the sorting and delivery center initiative, which was unveiled in 2022 and is one of the changes in the Postal Service's Delivering for America plan. The 10-year plan is meant to "achieve financial stability and service excellence."

Sponsored
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The city sought help from Rep. Juan Vargas, whose 52nd District includes Imperial Beach, but the mayor said the postal service's "lack of communication and transparency" continues to unnerve the community.


As Vargas said in a July 28 letter to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, the fear is that relocating mail carriers will result in the post office closing entirely once the building lease expires. When only a few employees are  left, residents see closure as the end game.


"In my conversation with the representative I did ask about the lease and he said that's between us and the leasor," Aguirre said. "Our city manager has been in contact with the landowner and we're trying to find out more," she added.


"What is very clear in our community is that we want zero changes."


The sorting and delivery centers are intended to reduce transportation and mail handling costs, and will still function as a destination delivery unit, “except on a larger scale and with much greater efficiency, operational reliability and staffing flexibility.” 


But efficiency is hardly what residents will face if the post office closes. Or if the changes instead require people to pick up packages at the Eastlake post office, as the city has heard from rumors. The Imperial Beach location is 5.6 miles from the main post office in Chula Vista, while the one in Eastlake is 30 miles roundtrip. Either way it's a burden for residents without cars, and city officials said there are no clear bus routes that make it all the way to Eastlake. Even if there were, getting on the freeway and going to an entirely different city can't compare to walking a few blocks.


"This isn't something that's an extra amenity, it's not a Starbucks coffee shop," said councilmember Jack Fisher. "This is a necessity."

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The latest copy of the Reader

Please enjoy this clickable Reader flipbook. Linked text and ads are flash-highlighted in blue for your convenience. To enhance your viewing, please open full screen mode by clicking the icon on the far right of the black flipbook toolbar.

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