Marybeth Jacobsen | A Letter to Garcia on Postal Service

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An open letter to Rep. Mike Garcia on his inaction to the United States Postal Service crisis:

I am in receipt of your email letter in response to our USPS catastrophe. Thank you for your reply.

I am, however, extremely disappointed to hear that you voted “no” on H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act, at this critical time in our nation’s history: Worldwide pandemic claiming more than 180,000 American lives, record-high unemployment, nationwide climate disasters including record-breaking, devastating California fires displacing more than 100,000 people. As I stated in my previous letter to you, these citizens and thousands more will certainly need to depend on the USPS for delivery of life-saving medicines, paychecks, unemployment checks, other financial resources and the right to a secure, safe, reliable and timely mail-in voting ballot.

You write, “the USPS has recently stated that it will be suspending previously instituted, cost- saving reforms.” These “reforms” implemented by the newly appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy included on Aug. 29 eliminating overtime for mail carriers, reducing post office hours and removing postal boxes and sorting machines four months prior to our November elections. Suspension does not ensure reinstatement. It has already been reported by the postal service that hundreds of sorting machines have indeed been removed throughout our country, including eight in Santa Clarita that have been padlocked and dismantled. DeJoy himself said he “will not” return mail sorting machines.

My deep concern and research led me to additional questions. According to the USPS website, on Dec. 20, 2006, President George W. Bush signed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act. The USPS Governors Board, who are chosen by the president and approved by the Senate, are to represent the public interest generally and cannot be representatives of special interests. Not more than five of the nine governors may belong to the same political party. Currently, the USPS only has seven members serving on the board, five of whom are Republicans. DeJoy as late as May 2020 was in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention as well as a $1.2 million presidential campaign donor. I do not think this is what President Bush had in mind when representing the public interest and not special interests.

The U.S., including the 25th Congressional District, will have to decide if something’s rotten in the state of Denmark this November, or, is that the smell from the rotting produce, meat and dead animals found in the South L.A. sorting facility? You write that the USPS says it has “ample capacity” to handle the increase in mail-in ballots, yet they are already behind with delivery of time-sensitive shipments.

The USPS has been reporting continuous annual deficits in the billions prior to and throughout this administration, exacerbated this year by the pandemic. You state that, “should additional funds be needed, the CARES Act provided a $10 billion line of credit to the USPS that they have yet to utilize.” The CARES Act, which passed prior to you taking office, was in response to the COVID pandemic. The bulk of this overwhelmingly bipartisan bill was to help provide relief to American workers, families and small businesses. Millions of checks, by the way, delivered by the U.S. Postal Service. This USPS line of credit alone could in no way be a surrogate to the much-needed $25 billion “Delivering for America Act,” on which you voted no, passed by the House on Aug. 22, and endorsed by 26 of your fellow party members to save our postal system.

Rep. Garcia, you say you “stand with the men and women of the USPS who are entrusted with our nation’s mail.” If so, why do you not stand in solidarity with them protecting them from a hazardous work environment and securing their health and pension benefits? According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office the USPS has missed $48.2 billion in required postal retiree health and pensions benefits as of Sept. 30, 2018.

Why do you want to throw the baby out with the bath water? Our postal system is rooted in our history and our democracy. Without our first postmaster general, Benjamin Franklin in 1775, we would have most certainly lost our fight for independence. The responsibilities of establishing post offices and postal roads are embedded in our Constitution, and according to The Harris Poll in June, Americans rank the U.S. Postal Service as their No. 1 essential service!

People over politics. This is where my vote will lie.

Marybeth Jacobsen

Santa Clarita

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