Post office preservationists continue to gain support

Zombies gather to protest the Postal Service’s plan to relocate operations and sell the 77-year-old la Jolla post office building at 1140 Wall St. Photo by Lorri Sabban
Zombies gather to protest the Postal Service’s plan to relocate operations and sell the 77-year-old la Jolla post office building at 1140 Wall St. Photo by Lorri Sabban
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Zombies gather to protest the Postal Service’s plan to relocate operations and sell the 77-year-old la Jolla post office building at 1140 Wall St. Photo by Lorri Sabban

By Pat Sherman

The Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force gained another victory last week when, at the urging of District 1 San Diego City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, the City Council unanimously voted to sup- port legislation that would give an interested non-profit community group first dibs on purchasing the historic Wall Street post office.

Authored by Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-53), the Community Post Office Relocation Act (H.R. 6238) would give La Jolla and other communities across the country threatened with the closure of their historic or beloved post offices a 30- day advance notice that the United States Postal Service (USPS) intends to sell their post office. The group could then make a bid to purchase the building before it goes on the general market.

The task force also is pursuing a provision that would allow the ympathetic new owner to lease back a portion of the building to USPS, so that postal services can remain on Wall Street. USPS would not incur costs associated with a relocation, creating a “win-win” scenario for the postal service and community.

Congresswoman Davis, Lightner and members of the task force met outside the Wall Street post office Oct. 24 to announce the City Council’s support and discuss the task force’s efforts to date. La Jollans were informed in January that USPS intended to sell the 77-year-old Wall Street building and relocate services to a smaller site, potentially within the Village.

Addressing media in front of the post office, Congresswoman Davis said the community’s “hard work to preserve this iconic building has not gone unnoticed in Washington.”

Davis said she felt compelled to help after hearing about the community’s concerted effort to save its post office, and the lack of a response from USPS.

The congresswoman said she did some investigating and found out there was “no official procedure” for a community to purchase its post office.

Through its efforts during the past 10 months, the task force has achieved a string of victories, including Congresswoman Davis’s legislation, which has bipartisan support from Congressmen Bob Filner (D-51) and Brian Bilbray (R-50).

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Congresswoman Susan Davis spoke outside the Wall Street post office this month, following the San Diego City Council's unanimous support of her legislation aimed at allowing community groups a head start at purchasing their historic post offices. Pat Sherman photos

Based largely on the La Jolla task force’s efforts, the Wall Street post office — and other threatened historic post offices like it across the nation — were added to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Though the task force has successfully bought itself time and prevented the post office from being sold, to date it has received few answers from USPS about the quasi- governmental agency’s plans or intentions.

“E-mail isn’t killing the post office, politics is — and politics can save it,” said task force chair Leslie Davis (no relation to the congresswoman), during last week’s event.

Asked this month whether USPS still intends to sell the Wall Street property and relocate its services — or whether it has even identified a suitable new site for the services — USPS’s West Coast regional property manager, Diana Alvarado, provided the task force with no new information, Leslie Davis said.

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