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USPS to Dismiss Congressman Waxman's Appeal of Santa Monica Post Office Closure

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By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

October 19, 2012 -- The United States Postal Service filed a motion to deny Congressman Henry Waxman's appeal of its decision to close Santa Monica's historic post office Friday, claiming that it is not being closed, but rather, relocated.

Waxman, in a letter to the secretary of the Postal Regulatory Commission dated September 20, claimed that the USPS did not follow proper procedure when deciding to close the post office, which has been in operation since the Great Depression, at 5th Street and Arizona Avenue in Downtown Santa Monica.

“In its decision to close the 5th Street Post Office, USPS failed in a number of instances to comply with 39 CFR 241.3, which establishes the rules governing USPS’s decisions on post office closures,” Waxman wrote to Shoshana Grove, secretary of the Postal Regulatory Commission. (“In Decision to Close Santa Monica Post Office, USPS Did Not Comply with Regulations”, September 21, 2012)

However, the USPS filed a motion to dismiss Waxman's appeal, claiming that the 5th Street location is not being closed. The services provided are being relocated to a facility on 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard, according to USPS officials.

“The building will close but the services will be made available less than a mile away,” said Maher.

The USPS does not consider this process a closure “as long the same number of facilities and the same level of services are provided,” he said.

Currently there are three post offices in Santa Monica, Maher said. After the move, there will still be three post offices, since the Seventh Street facility -- currently only a sorting station -- will function as a full post office, Maher said.

According to the motion to dismiss, Waxman's appeal to the Regulatory Commission is invalid since the Regulatory Commission does not have jurisdiction over decisions to relocate services.

“Petitioner’s appeal is not within the scope of the Commission’s jurisdiction under 39 U.S.C. § 404(d) and in any event was not filed by a customer of that office as the law requires,” the motion reads.

Waxman is not deterred, however.

"“I am pleased the Postal Regulatory Commission has accepted and received my appeal," Waxman said. "I plan to submit additional arguments to the Commission and will emphasize the overwhelming opposition of both the community and the Santa Monica City Council to any relocation or closure of the Santa Monica Post Office."

"This facility is an important resource for the community, and I will continue my efforts to fight the decision to close it,” he said.

The USPS announced that a final decision had been made to close the 5th Street location on October 4, despite protests from residents, many of whom claim that the 7th Street location is inconvenient and not a reasonable alternative.

All across the country, the USPS has been selling off its more valuable properties in order to help stem a rising operating deficit.

The Postal Service's year-to-date net loss is $11.6 billion, compared to $5.7 billion for the same period last year, Maher said in August, when the decision to relocate the post office was still being discussed.

The USPS estimates that it will save approximately $300,000 a year by closing down the historic post office and it is still unknown how much the property will sell for.

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