Despite more than a year of united community resistance, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) announced its final decision to sell La Jolla’s 1140 Wall St. post office and relocate its services and operation to a yet-to-be-determined location nearby.
According to a notice posted on the building’s facade on March 22, the new location will be “as close to the current site as possible” and there will be no change in PO box numbers or zip codes.
Despite the USPS’s assurances of an easy transition, community members, congressional leaders and residents involved with the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force say they will not give up hope for the preservation of the historic 1935 building and its services.
“The task force remains committed to appealing the relocation of our Wall Street post office. It is disappointing that after submitting our own business plan alternatives to the post office almost a year ago [and] multiple outreach phone calls and letters to USPS, that a notice of their decision is posted without the courtesy of contacting our task force and we are given less than 15 days to appeal when they took almost a year to decide,” said task force chairwoman Leslie Davis.
The relocation and building sale is said to be part of a greater effort by the federal postal service to cut costs and generate revenue in response to net losses of $25 billion over the past five years.
Davis, however, called this claim “misleading at best.”
“It was a 2006 congressional act which put the burden of paying off 75 years of future employee health care benefits over just five years,” she said. “This requirement is unlike any in the history of public or private business finance procedures. It is misleading the public into believing the USPS is in trouble.”
Although the decision to relocate allows the USPS’s real estate broker, CBRE, to list the property and enter escrow, the USPS cannot close the sale before confirming a relocation site.
In the meantime, task force representatives are drafting an appeal of the closure and relocation and hope to raise sufficient funds to engage an attorney for their efforts.
“It is clear our hopes to resolve this administratively are all but lost,” Davis said. “The resistance from the community is not over.”
Additionally, Congressman Scott Peters recently reintroduced legislation initially proposed by Congresswoman Susan Davis last year that would give an established community organization the right to purchase the building at fair market value and re-lease a portion of the building back to the post office for its services.
“I will personally appeal the decision and do everything in my power to support the community’s effort to preserve our post office,” said Peters. “The La Jolla post office is not only treasured by neighborhood residents and businesses, it’s treasured by the greater San Diego area.”
In a show of united support, Congressman Peters, Congresswoman Davis, City Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner, task force vice chairman Joe LaCava and La Jolla Historical Society executive director Heath Fox held a press conference at the post office on March 28 to protest the proposed sale and relocation.
“We have pleaded with the postal service to slow down and explore the opportunity of selling the post office to an established community group with the promise of leasing back the space to the post office for a nominal fee. Who could say no to that?” said Lightner. “Well, if the postal service won’t slow down, neither will we.”
The task force urges community members to help:
• Contact Rep. Darrell Issa at (760) 599-5000 to urge him to stop the relocation of the post office and approve HR 1016: Community Post Office Relocation Act
• Donate to the Save the La Jolla Post Office Preservation Fund by mailing checks to the La Jolla Historical Society at PO Box 2085, La Jolla CA 92038
• Send letters of appeal to Tom Samra, vice president of facilities, at 4301 Wilson Blvd. Ste. 300, Arlington, VA 22203 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org