Last week. Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) spoke at the full committee mark-up of the Financial Services Appropriations Bill. She voiced her strong support of the recommendations included in the OIG and ACHP reports related to the USPS’s sale of historic post offices. The language that was included is copied below and is the result of close work with Ranking Member Jose Serrano (D-NY):
"The Committee appreciates the work of the Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) in reviewing the Postal Service’s relocation and disposal process for historic properties. The Committee believes the Postal Service should refrain from the relocation of services from historic post offices, and should suspend the sale of any historic post office until it is has implemented the recommendations of the OIG and ACHP.
Title 39 of the U.S. Code requires the Postal Service to provide the public with notice prior to closing or consolidating a post office. The Committee understands that it is the Postal Service’s policy to inform Member of Congress’ district and Washington, D.C. offices when the public receives notice. The Committee directs the Postal Service keep Members of Congress informed of Postal Service activities impacting their constituents and expects the Postal Service to ensure that Members of Congress are appropriately informed simultaneously or prior to all public notices."
In a letter of response to the ACHP report, Tom Samra (USPS Director of Facilities), discounted the ACHP recommendations citing that the USPS was conforming to required procedures relative to the disposition of historic properties. You can read his letter here.
The NPOC has prepared a response to Mr. Samra's letter with specific reference that discount his claims. (Read our response here.)
You can help save our historic post offices. Reach out to your Congress member or Senator and request that the support the recommendations of the ACHP and OIG. We can only preserve these important American assets through our judicial system and through legislative pressure. Donate to the NPOC to help us continue to fund our fight through the court system!
American art and architecture tell the rich story of the triumphs and tribulations of our great nation. Many of these historic buildings and landmarks are protected by Federal Law.
Yet, in large and small towns all over America, some of our treasures are being ripped from the American landscape…forever. Our Historic Post Offices
From New York to Minnesota, Texas to California post office buildings that are part of our American legacy are being given away. And it is proceeding at lightning speed. They are being sold with minimal restrictions on development and they are being privatized, abandoned and allowed to decay or destroyed. It is time to stand up and stop this Great American giveaway!!
These impressive buildings were built to show the American people that they were important to their federal government. In large cities and small towns post office buildings are often located at the center. Built to serve the whole community - people, businesses, city governments and schools. No wonder developers are swooping in…
Many of these post office buildings include art from our finest New Deal artists. Our taxpayer dollars paid for this art that shows the personality and heritage of our communities…Art that chronicles our journey…Art to inform and enrich this generation and every generation yet to come. Art that belongs to the people that is part of a public trust.
And our Post Offices represent more. Benjamin Franklin started the postal service in 1773 and it is written into our constitution. It is not supposed to be a private business for profit. Today, there is no cheaper way to send a parcel or letter. The Post Office made us proud as it was the first to welcome veterans, women and minorities into the workforce to serve the public and it paid them good wages.
It is not too late. Civic leaders, artists, historians, and citizens are rallying to put a halt to this engine of destruction. While over 70 of our historic Post Offices have been sold and are no longer accessible to the public, there are many to be saved.
We must all work in our communities to keep our American landscape vital. We must think about creating new public/private uses for our post offices, revitalizing our downtowns, and celebrating the Post Office's valuable services that are part of American life. And we must ask ourselves: What America do you want to keep for yourself, your children and your grandchildren?
You can make a difference! Act now to build the future American Landscape, one that includes our historic Post Offices. Demand that revitalization involve rethinking the role of the Post Office buildings, challenge leaders to innovate new ways to live with the present while embracing history.
Donate to the National Post Office Collaborate. Your contribution will help us take legal action to stop the give-away, fund community awareness, foster public/private partnerships and work with historic preservation groups.
Historic Post Offices have long been owned by the American people and were continuously maintained for our generation. Tell the story of YOUR Post Office. Appreciate the art and history and promote its story. It's our turn to save these buildings for generations to come. Help us in our fight to ensure that these buildings continue to grace our American Landscape.
On October 28, 2013, Judge Arterton of the United States District Court in Connecticut issued a 39-page ruling in favor of the National Post Office Collaborate’s complaint against the USPS sale of the historic Stamford Connecticut Post Office to a local developer.
The preliminary injunction could have far reaching implications in our battle to save our historic post offices and keep them open to the public. The USPS is not challenging the charges that they must comply with NHPA (National Historic Preservation Act) procedures and NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) requirements regarding the proposed Stamford sale. This could change the way properties are valued and make the USPS take a second look at all the post office sales because NEPA requires that a potential change of “use” and its environmental impacts be considered before a transaction is concluded.
It is a battle “won” in our bigger war to ensure that our historic post offices stay open and available to the public that paid for and rightfully own them . But we need your help to continue achieving these “wins” through future litigation and constant vigilance of USPS activities.
Please consider a donation, “like us” on Facebook, and “tweet” on Twitter. We need a growing enlistment in our army as our battle will be long – but we will persevere with support from all of you!
Help us save our historic post offices and keep them open!