Congressman Scott Peters, Congresswoman Susan Davis and Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner today joined together with concerned community members to protest the proposed sale and relocation of La Jolla's main post office.
The U.S. Postal Service recently announced it was going forward with its plans to sell the historic post office despite the community's repeated efforts to work collaboratively with the Postal Service to find a mutually beneficial solution. Located on Wall Street in the heart of La Jolla Village, the post office serves as a civic and economic hub for the community.
Congressman Peters said the Postal Service needs to give the community more time to explore its options. He recently re-introduced legislation that would allow the Postal Service to sell any post office subject to closure or relocation to an established non-profit community organization at fair market value.
"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. "Earlier this month, I reintroduced Congresswoman Susan Davis's La Jolla Post Office Bill to allow the community a right of first refusal to purchase the property if it is indeed sold. The La Jolla Post office is not only treasured by neighborhood residents and businesses, it's treasured by the greater San Diego area. The support for La Jolla to keep their post office is growing, and I look forward to continuing our efforts."
Congresswoman Susan Davis said she understands the Postal Service is facing tough economic times and is looking at selling post offices throughout the country to generate much-needed revenue and streamline operations. But, she said, the Postal Service needs to be cognizant of the impact these closures have on communities and the local economy.
"What seems like good business to the Postal Service's national headquarters is something all of us here in La Jolla know is a quick win now for the Postal Service but will be a big loss for both the Service and the community in the long run," said Davis. "This decision is truly penny wise and pound foolish."
Council President Pro Tem Lightner said it is unfortunate that the Postal Service is dismissing the hard and thoughtful work done by the community, especially by the La Jolla Historical Society and the Save the La Jolla Post Office Task Force, to come to a creative yet common-sense solution.
"The community has always been crystal clear that any solution would have to make economic sense for both the Postal Service and for La Jolla," said Lightner. "For the Postal Service to move forward with the sale is just the type of bullheaded bureaucratic bungling that gives government a bad name."
Leslie Davis, chair of the Save the La Jolla Post Office Task Force, was outraged that the Postal Service would move forward without even reaching out to the community and civic leaders.
"Over the past 14 months we held community forums, collected more than 2,000 petition signatures, wrote alternative business plans, wrote an Historic nomination, held rallies, hosted letter writing campaigns, drafted legislation, met with USPS officials, so to find a sheet of paper taped to the front door notifying the community of their decision to relocate is disappointing to say the least," said Davis. "And now we have just 15 days to appeal the decision. I'm sure the realtor is very happy. It's really demoralizing and shocking that this is the new American way."
Built in 1935, the Spanish-style building also contains "California Landscape," an original 1939 Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural of the La Jolla Cove and Village painted by noted artist Belle Baranceanu. In January, the La Jolla Historical Society succeeded in one of their goals in getting the post office listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This designation provides an additional layer of protection for the historic building.