GRAY BRECHIN [email]
HARVEY SMITH [email]
Brechin is founder and project scholar of the Living New Deal Project. Brechin has written a series of articles, including “Selling off the Post Office: Berkeley calls out Richard Blum” and “Congress to Postal Service: ‘Drop Dead!‘”– which states: “The fire sale of our post offices is accelerating while the media remain largely asleep at the wheel.” Smith is president of the National New Deal Preservation Association and an organizer for the Committee to Save the Berkeley Main Post Office. He wrote the piece “Post Office Sale is a Surrender to Corporate Interests.”
Activists will be protesting Tuesday and have distributed a flyer headlined “Richard Blum Philanthropist, Opportunist, Thief of our National Heritage!” and stating: “Save the Berkeley Post Office is leading a Rally and March to Blum Capital and Senator Feinstein’s Office. …
“Towns and cities throughout our entire country are losing historic post offices. The giant real estate company CBRE advises the USPS on what post offices to sell and then profits as the listing agent. University of California regent Richard Blum is the chairman of CBRE. Blum is married to California Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“The USPS proposes to sell Berkeley’s beautiful 1914 Main Post Office. It has two priceless New Deal art works. Our grandparents paid for this building and countless others in the country that are on the USPS hit list. Over 3,700 post offices are at risk of sale or closure. Sold post offices have morphed into restaurant and offices.
“At some we must ask permission to see our public art work. The USPS was established in Article I of the Constitution. Benjamin Franklin was our first Postmaster General. Until 1971, the Post Office was under Congress, and funded by taxpayers. Since 1971, the USPS has received no federal tax dollars.
“Congress’s 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act transfers $5.5 billion each year from the USPS to the U.S. Treasury. The media reports that the USPS has defaulted on their annual payments. But no one reports that as of September 2012, the Treasury held $45.3 billion in the Postal Service Retiree Health Fund, a one-year increase of $1.5 billion. In four years, the USPS has cut the number of career employees by nearly 20 percent … a loss of 129,000 jobs.”
The website SaveThePostoffice.com is a general resource; see the article about real estate profiteering: “Eureka! The Postal Service finds gold in California,” which states: “The Postal Service has been actively selling off historic post office buildings for over a year now. About forty have been sold or put up for sale. They’re scattered around the country, but for some reason more than a third of them are in California.”
Also, see IPA news release “Nader: Post Office Crisis ‘Manufactured’.“