Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-43) has shared her intentions to inspect post office locations throughout the 43rd Congressional District in a interview with 2UrbanGirls earlier this year. It is unknown if Rep. Waters has performed the inspections as the United States Postal Service has taken center stage in the upcoming November elections.
Democrats are crying foul that President Donald Trump is “defunding” the post office through removal of key mail sorters and neighborhood mailboxes, in an effort to slow down the vote by mail (VBM) process. This could be problematic, however, Inglewood residents have faced reduction in neighborhood mailboxes dating back to 2009.
By March 2009 25% of nearly 3,700 collection boxes were removed from the Los Angeles area have been removed, according to Joseph L. Harrison, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s Los Angeles district.
The purging of 930 boxes throughout the area, including in Beverly Hills, Inglewood, Santa Monica and neighboring communities, is part of a nationwide reduction prompted by government cutbacks and the shift to online bill-paying and e-mailing.
A resident in Los Feliz commented about the “disappearance” of their neighborhood mailbox as early as 1991.
By 2011 the Post Office announced plans to close 10% of its 36,000 locations, which would have resulted in a loss of thousands of jobs.
In 2012 Waters introduced the Protecting Post Offices Act which allowed the post offices to expand the services they provided: money orders, passports and the mailing of wine and beer. Waters also was a strong advocate to maintain Saturday service in order to preserve jobs.
Post office revenue has been on the decline for a multitude of reasons which is how 2UrbanGirls was able to interview Waters on this subject: poor customer service and increased mailing and shipping options.
Inglewood post offices are notorious for having poor customer service. Whether it’s opening hours late, not having supplies or encountering angry and bitter employees at the window, it is a no brainer that we are choosing alternatives to the post office for our mailing and shipping needs. Employee morale is low and it is passed onto us, the consumer. The other obvious reason is we have options.
The post office used to be the only game in town. With the ease and flexibility of using UPS and Fedex, who use retail stores for drop off/and pick up of packages, the customer is assured a more pleasant customer service experience. Amazon has their own delivery outlets which include strategically placed hubs that you can find at banks and retail stores which are contactless/self-service which is highly favorable during a global pandemic.
This is why 2UrbanGirls brought this issue to our congressional representative, who is over the funding of the post office, to see if she could provide relief as she has been a consistent supporter of keeping USPS locations open.
“Since the discovery of your outreach to my office, my District Office representative, Mr. Hamilton Cloud, has reported the incident to the Inglewood Postmaster, Araceli Villalobos, and Los Angeles District Manager, Mr. Robert Reynosa. They have taken note of this issue and the need to improve customer service and community relations,” said Waters. “I have also personally spoken with Mr. Reynosa about this issue. While I do not have purview over staffing decisions at the USPS, I have invited Mr. Reynosa to join me on a visit to every USPS location in Inglewood in order to improve community relations and reinforce customer services best practices. We will also conduct visits to other USPS locations in my District in the coming weeks, including post offices in Hawthorne, Gardena, South Los Angeles, Torrance, Lawndale, Lomita, Harbor City, Westchester and other unincorporated areas of LA County that are in my District.”
It is imperative that members of Congress actually go into the post offices in their area to evaluate for themselves. Don’t give empty rhetoric about what you’re going to do, we should hear that you’ve been to these locations.
2UrbanGirls audited many of the locations in Waters district and found that she hasn’t made a single inspection of any of the post offices in her district since our March interview.
Maxine it’s cool to see you jumping out your car to see about constituents being pulled over by the police but when are we going to see you in these post offices addressing the customer service issues?
Voters are TIRED of the empty promises and should continue to explore options for those seeking to represent us and hold elected officials accountable when their actions don’t match the words coming out of their mouths.
In September 2016, months before the election of Donald Trump, the USPS Office of the Inspector General noted there was a decline of mail collection boxes, 12,000 to be exact, between 2011 and 2016, however, the nation was led by President Barack Obama during this span of removal with ZERO public outcry from Democrats.
As you can see, this “phenomena” surrounding mailboxes is neither new nor designed to “steal an election”. It is business as usual for an aging entity called the post office.
Congress is seeking $25 billion of taxpayer dollars to keep the sinking ship afloat. Should they get it?