Residents Fight Sale Of Historic Post Offices05:08
Download

Play
Berkeley, Calif., residents protest outside Berkeley Main Post Office in July 2012. (Daniel Parks/Flickr)
Berkeley, Calif., residents protest outside Berkeley Main Post Office in July 2012. (Daniel Parks/Flickr)

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is in trouble. Saturday mail delivery is set to end in early August, but for some communities, the government agency's troubles are more visible.

The USPS has been putting some historically and architecturally significant post offices up for sale.

Many are depression-era buildings decorated with murals from the Works Progress Administration (WPA), one of the most famous programs that was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal plans to put Americans to work.

The mural inside the Berkeley Main Post Office (click to enlarge). (Wayne Hsieh/Flickr)
The mural inside the Berkeley Main Post Office (click to enlarge). (Wayne Hsieh/Flickr)

Steve Hutkins, a literature professor who teaches "place studies" at the Gallatin School of New York University, has created the website "Save the Post Office," which shows photos of the buildings for sale and a map of their locations.

One of the post offices to be put up for sale is the Berkeley Main Post Office at 2000 Allston Way in Berkeley, Calif.

Plans to sell the building have been in the works for some time. In June of last year, residents received a letter announcing the sale. A public comment period on the sale closes Wednesday, Mar. 13.

Last week, the Berkeley City Council passed a resolution asking the USPS to put the sale plans on hold for at least a year.

In 2011 the USPS awarded the real estate company CBRE - of which Richard Blum, the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the chairman of the board - exclusive management of it's "strategic corporate real estate solutions nationally."

David Welsh, a retired letter carrier in Berkeley, has been organizing some of the protests against selling the post office in Berkeley.

He told Here & Now's Robin Young, that he's outraged that "our public patrimony would be used for private profit."

Guest:

  • David Welsh, retired letter carrier in Berkeley, Calif.

This segment aired on March 12, 2013.

Support the news

+Join the discussion
TwitterfacebookEmail

Support the news