By Greta Cobar
When it came to deciding on Overnight Pay Parking Permits in Venice, the California Coastal Commissioners stayed true to their oath of protecting beach access. It definitely was a breath of fresh air and source of inspiration after losing the long and hard-fought battle with the Postal Regulatory Commission to keep our historic post office.
In the campaign to save the post office we had just as much public support and outcry as we more recently had while fighting Overnight Pay Parking Districts in Venice. However, in the case of the post office the publicly-supported Board of the Postal Regulatory Commission concluded that it does not have jurisdiction over saving a community’s historic post office.
One of the issues the Coastal Commission had to consider before deciding on Overnight Parking Districts in Venice was the Commission’s jurisdiction over parking in the Coastal Zone.
Unlike the Postal Regulatory Commission, which denied its own jurisdiction over post office closures, the Coastal Commission defended its power and relevance by continuing to claim jurisdiction over parking in the Coastal Zone.
The Coalition to Save the Venice Post Office is currently in a lawsuit in Ninth Circuit Court, Washington, DC, claiming that the Postal Regulatory Commission does have jurisdiction over deciding the closure of our post office. Even if we were victorious, the Postal Regulatory Commission’s input to the United States Postal Service would have an advisory role only.
It’s been difficult not to notice the revenue suppression highly prevalent at the new location during the past six months. Habitually out of money orders and stamps, the post office is not even allowed to post signs that popular items are out of stock. The employees get to tell you that personally after you have waited in line for over twenty minutes.
The Postal Regulatory Commission was set up to uphold, amongst others, the Constitution of the United States, which mandates the continuation of postal service to all. Through nation-wide closures; significant reduction in service; and revenue suppression, a unionized reliable service is purposely being exterminated in favor of private, more expensive, nonunionized shipping companies that do not deliver to all, everywhere. Needless to say the disabled, elderly, minority, rural, poor sections of the population are affected most.
It is vital that public institutions continue to advocate for the public, like the Coastal Commission did on June 13, when it upheld the public’s right to enjoy the beach without time constraints.
When a public institution such as the Postal Regulatory Commission denies its jurisdiction over post office closures, decision which in effect destroys one of the cheapest, most reliable services in the country, it is not doing its job of serving the public.
By upholding its ban on Overnight Pay Parking Districts in Venice, the Coastal Commission upheld one of the provisions of the California Coastal Act of 1972: to ensure public access to the coastal zone. This is an example of a job well done!