More than 600 attended the public meeting about the potential closure of the Cherrybell Post Office processing and distribution center held December 28 at the Leo Rich Theater.
This meeting was scheduled by the United States Postal Service (USPS) at this date and time during the holidays.
Despite requests from both Congresswoman Giffords and Congressman Grijalva to move the date to one, not during the holiday season, but the USPS would not listen.
The USPS rented the smaller Leo Rich Theater, despite two venues, the TCC (Tucson Convention Center) or the TCC Music Hall, bigger facilities, were available at the same time.
In addition, USPS didn’t ask for a waiver for the parking fee, so people who had to park at the TCC, had to pay for parking. USPS officials said they were not going to do so, when asked by my Council office.
To add to it further, the USPS split the meeting into two, with little notice, with businesses and nonprofits meeting earlier and the general meeting held afterward.
Even more, the USPS limited time for public comment for both meetings, despite the contract for the Leo Rich letting have the facility till midnight.
Tucson and Southern Arizona turned out for both meetings, with close to 600 present for the general meeting and 50 business owners for the earlier meeting, visibly surprising USPS officials with the turnout – the biggest for these hearings held across the country on this. More than 1,200 people from Tucson and Southern Arizona wrote letters to the USPS opposing this proposal.
Tucson and Southern Arizona showed that we are strongly opposed to closing the Cherrybell Post Office processing and distribution center.
Here is what is at stake for Tucson and Southern Arizona, in addition to the 300 potential jobs lost from the plant:
Costs to mail packages, letters or otherwise would rise.
Social Security checks and other similar financial measures would be delayed.
Prescriptions would be delayed.
Vote-by-mail would be severely affected. The City of Tucson just initiated this process to conduct its elections in 2011. The Pima County Recorder and the Coconino County Recorder has filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Justice on this proposal, since it would disenfranchise the voting population, especially those using vote-by-mail, which is prevalent in Arizona. The Phoenix postmaster has admitted that the Phoenix Processing Center cannot handle all the vote-by-mail for the state and city elections.
Government costs to mail their various items would increase.
Overnight, two day or quicker delivery for First Class postage would cease for Tucson and Southern Arizona.
More than 23,000 of our local businesses in Tucson and Southern Arizona, who may use mail order and had used Cherrybell, would have to pay more for shipping and postage.
These businesses would also be impacted by the loss of the processing center from all aspects. Tucson’s economic potential would also be impacted with this loss, with businesses looking to expand or relocate, considering the loss of the 15th largest processing center, if it is closed.
Local mail houses would have to charge more for the services. The same local mail houses would lose the discounts by the USPS if this facility is closed, with the resulting increase in costs passed to the consumer.
Relocation of businesses could happen, resulting in further job losses. Potential businesses will not relocate to a city that doesn't have a processing or distribution center.
This is more than just a post office closing; it involves Tucson and Southern Arizona’s livelihood.
I am writing to urge you to not close the Cherrybell processing and distribution center. This facility, as well as many mail houses and printing centers, are located in my Ward.
Changes need to be made but closing a facility that serves more than 1.5 million in Tucson and the entire Southern Arizona area does not make any practical sense. Arizona has more population than Wisconsin, Iowa, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana, South Carolina, but should have fewer processing centers? This current proposal needs to be reviewed and reconsidered.