Marin Independent Journal
Elected officials must help solve post office mess
The seemingly sudden closure of the Bolinas Post Office, a fixture in the oceanside town since the Civil War, creates a priority for Rep. Jared Huffman and Supervisor Dennis Rodoni to find a replacement.
In the latest development, residents and businesses with Bolinas P.O. boxes must go to Stinson Beach to pick up mail and packages. That's a roundtrip of more than 20 miles. Many residents don't have home delivery and relied on the bank of post office boxes that, for more than 60 years, could be accessed at 20 Brighton Ave.
For now, people with Bolinas P.O. boxes can pick it up in Stinson Beach after 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. It's not the end of the world, but it is a hassle.
The closure, which USPS says is “temporary,” is the result of a dispute with the landlord of the post office. The two parted ways over needed repairs, especially the flooring.
“This is a temporary measure until other quarters can be secured while seeking a long-term facility,” USPS reported in its press release.
Still, the change came as a surprise to many locals. For many it's a community hub.
According to one local historian, Bolinas has had its own post office since 1863.
Whether the landlord/tenant fallout can be resolved is unknown, but the post office's closure and ensuring a smooth transition for the public was upended by the brief notice provided — four days.
There also was little communication between the post office and the public.
Huffman, Marin's congressman, and Rodoni need to get involved and keep pressure on the post office to find a new location — or resolve its differences with the landlord, who is also trying to sell the building.
Their problem-solving involvement could help uphold the USPS statement that the interruption will be temporary.
It also could help assure the community that something is being done about it.
Having gotten such short notice from the post office, some are understandably worried about how long “temporary” will be.
An online petition has already got more than 1,200 signatures, impressive for a town of only 1,500 people.
Even finding a temporary location, such as bringing in a portable building, would meet the obvious need for postal services until a permanent location can be found.
Having USPS as a lessee sounds pretty attractive — a reliable, rent-paying tenant that can draw local customers to other nearby shops and restaurants.
The petition drive is a reflection of a strong community consensus that people in town want assurances that temporary doesn't turn into permanent.
Huffman and Rodoni can help bring together stakeholders to help allay that concern, open better communication between the post office and its Bolinas customers and give the 94924 community the local postal services it has relied on for more than 160 years.