Post office struggle

Re: “Residents object to planned post office move from downtown” (Argonaut, July 26).

Residents in Santa Monica are up in arms because they will probably have to travel a few miles away to deliver and receive their mail.

What has led to the prospective closures of area post offices?

The United States Postal Service, which does not subsist on taxpayer dollars but receives backing from the federal government as one of the powers enumerated to Congress and the President in Article One of the United States Constitution.

The U.S. Postal Service has suffered a $25 billion loss over the past five years. The reason? Electronic media and the rise of private shipping firms.

From the days when the postman always rang twice, bringing the mail two times a day, to the growing call to end Saturday service, the U.S. Postal Service is going postal, losing its bearing and sharing in the widespread decline that technological innovation brings to long-lasting institutions.

One reason to reduce the role of the government in our lives: the state cannot renovate its procedures or innovate its business practices fast enough, in large part because the government does not compete with another service for customers.

Furthermore, crushing pension obligations, now reaching $5.5 billion per year, are further sinking its teeth into the ailing department. The power of the public unions has once again undermined their own employers, threatening to bankrupt the hand that has fed and fluffed them for so long.

I find it intriguing and compelling that the state institution of the mail is the number one argument for the role of government offered by liberals, yet the very institution they stand by is crumbling under its own inefficiency.

The art deco-era post offices are a symbol of a long-gone era and ideology, one in which state subsidy and union deserved to hold sway and stay in action for the good of all. After decades of collective action and generous benefits handed to public sector employees, the once sterling example set by these artistic post offices and the pro-labor murals are now hollow, ludicrous shells of themselves, a worn-out image of the former substance which commanded so much power and attention in decades past.

Keep the Santa Monica Post Office as a historical monument to future generations, that the best that the state can offer can never outlast the inexorable laws of supply, demand, consumer confidence and efficiency.

Arthur C. Schaper, Torrance

Other options for Santa Monica Airport land

Since 1987 there have reportedly been at least 14 fatal air crashes and many more non-fatal runway and landing gear mishaps, ocean ditches, mechanical failures, and near collisions of aircraft (one with a Boeing 737), operating out of Santa Monica Airport (SMO). In 1980 former Santa Monica Mayor Pieter van den Steenhoven was killed when he ditched his plane into the ocean.

The latest fatal crash occurred around 6 p.m. Aug. 10 and involved a Cessna. Who knows how many close-calls have been unreported, with all the inexperienced student pilots operating out of SMO flight schools. What will it take for action to be taken; a crash involving massive injuries and deaths?

In 2004 when I was a resident of Sunset Park, a heavily populated residential area right next to the airport, I participated on a forum on airport pollution. I expressed my deep concerns about public safety and the health effects on my infant son.

I have been advocating closing the Santa Monica Airport for over 10 years and was the first candidate for political office to do so.

I was mocked and laughed at by naysayers, and lost my AFA (Association of Flight Attendants) endorsement.

Now however, local, state and national politicians are finally joining me in calling for closure of SMO in 2015 when the lease expires.

It is not enough to simply increase the fines for pollution and noise violations, or to ban large jets, as our gutless City Council is considering.

The airport generates no income for the city; it barely breaks even.

There are lots of ways that city owned land could be put to use while still maintaining a helipad for emergencies. Santa Monica is facing a huge deficit due to fiscal mismanagement.

One way to balance the budget, rather than increasing taxes again, is to utilize the aircraft hangars to industrial-grow medical marijuana, for enormous profit for the city. Why let the tobacco companies and corporate growers (as is being considered in Oakland) make huge profits that could be used for education and other vital programs?

Our emasculated City Council would rather relinquish sovereignty to state and federal authorities, as they have in the past.

Jon Mann, Santa Monica

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