The deadline for USPS to receive comments on the proposed sale of the Wall Street post office building and relocation of its services is May 26.
USPS Diana Alvarado c/o USPS Pacific Facilities Services Office, 1300 Evans Avenue, Ste. 200. South San Francisco, CA 94188-8200
By Pat Sherman
Though members of the Save the La Jolla Post Office Task Force have received letters of support from a handfull of public officials, including, most recently, state Sen. Christine Kehoe (D), the group wasn’t quite as auspicious in engaging Democratic U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.
At its May 18 meeting, Task Force Chair Leslie Davis said Boxer’s office sent what she considers “a negative response” to the office of Dist. 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, stating Boxer’s preference not to get involved.
Feinstein’s office would only say they were “monitoring the situation,” Davis said.
La Jolla Music Society board member Katherine Kennedy, who was in attendance, noted two prominent La Jolla philanthropists and music society supporters who have a personal relationship with the senators and could possibly help persuade them.
“They could pick up the phone and talk to both of those people — and would,” said Kennedy, who also said she would reach out to former Congresswoman Lynn Schenk on the issue. “We need to buy time and they’ve both donated to and been involved in (the senators') campaigns heavily. … We might as well use their influence.”
Task force member Joe LaCava hand-delivered letters to the offices of local congressional representatives Brian Bilbray (R-50th), Susan Davis (D-53rd) and Bob Filner (D-51st), asking them to insert language into the 21st Century Postal Service Act of 2012 (S.B. 1789), which would allow the La Jolla Historical Society right of first refusal to purchase the post office building with a leaseback provision of 10 years. USPS would then become a paying tenant, providing a revenue stream for the society to pay off the Wall Street building and potentially fund the activities of other nonprofits using the space. The letter also asks that the legislative amendment afford the building historic designation.
“It’s certainly aggressive,” Davis said, “but I think at the least we will get in a good conversation, based on those requests — and with conversation, usually that’s where solutions are found.”
Government lobbyist and task force member Jim Lantry said Bilbray’s office was “still debating internally what they want to do and how far they’re willing to go.”
Davis noted the “happy coincidence” that Bilbray’s cousin, James Bilbray, is a member of the USPS board of governors.
“We will see if it’s happy or not,” Lantry said.
Conversations with representatives in the offices of Filner and Davis produced less substantive results, Lantry said.
“We need at least one of them to put that (amendment) in writing,” he said, noting that the most likely suspects would be Filner, who is running for mayor, and Bilbray, who is seeking an additional term in Congress.