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Appeal to Save Historical Downtown Santa Monica Post Office Dismissed

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article stated that the Postal Regulatory Commission had received about 100 letters of protest from Santa Monica residents. The letters were submitted to USPS officials.

By Lookout Staff

December 20, 2012 -- The Postal Regulatory Commission has denied an appeal by Congressman Henry Waxman that would have saved Downtown Santa Monica's historic post office, which the United States Postal Service (USPS) hopes to sell early next year.

The appeal, which was filed in mid October, was denied because the Commission maintains that the 5th Street location is not being closed but rather, the services are being transferred to a location in the vicinity of the current location.

“The Postal Service is transferring retail operations from the Santa Monica post office to the Santa Monica carrier annex, a facility located in the same community less than 1 mile from the post office,” Commission officials wrote.

“The Commission has held on numerous occasions that the relocation of retail operations within a community does not constitute a closing or consolidation within the meaning of section 404(d),” officials said.

The 5th Street location would be closed while the services would be relocated to a facility on 7th Street and Olympic Boulevard, according to USPS officials.

“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 September.

USPS officials receieved some 100 letters of protest against the move in August when the USPS solicited public comment about the proposed move.

The USPS is facing a dire financial sitauation, according to officials, which is why locations like the Depression-era building in Santa Monica's downtown will be auctioned off.

The Postal Service's year-to-date net loss is $11.6 billion, compared to $5.7 billion for the same period last year, USPS officials said in August.

Officials estimate that moving the services from the 5th Street location to the 7th Street location would not only save the USPS $300,000 a year, but the sale of the 74-year-old building would also benefit the organization, though the exact amount won't be known until the USPS puts the building on the market early next year.

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