Editor’s note: This story was updated Tuesday to include a statement from U.S. Postal Service.
IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. — Imperial Beach residents are concerned their only post office will soon close, and they’re taking preemptive steps to fight back.
Raising their voices in advance of what they say looks like the inevitable, union members, postal workers, the mayor and representatives from Assemblyman Juan Vargas’ office want to send a clear message to Postmaster General Louis Dejoy.
Mayor Paloma Aguirre says they are against any modifications.
“We are in opposition to any changes happening at the post office, especially a closure,” Aguirre said during a rally on Monday. “Because as of today, we have not had a clear response that if the lease expires for this post office, they won’t go elsewhere.”
According to Bob Waterhouse, president of the local postal workers union, on Sept. 9, the staff will be cut to two people managing the large, old building at Donox Avenue and Emery Street. It’s been suggested that this is part of the postmaster general’s larger strategic plan to ultimately close all smaller, “low-traffic” post offices in favor of consolidating into larger hubs.
“The Postmaster General Louis Dejoy has rewritten the rulebook on how to close a post office, whereas in the past 50 years or so, the communities have always had the last say on this,” Waterhouse said to FOX 5. “He’s rewritten this manual to give him arbitrary power to just close a post office. He doesn’t have to tell anybody about it nor does he have to listen to anyone about it. So instead of going from the bottom up, when it comes to closing the post office, it goes from the top down. He just points and says, ‘close that post office.'”
Waterhouse says he believes the lease on the land is up in 2025, and that Lejoy will let the lease go.
“You just went from about 25 or so employees in one big building to two employees,” Waterhouse added. “So in a couple years when the lease is up, are they going to keep a building with two employees in it?”
U.S. Postal Service sent FOX 5 the following statement Tuesday:
“The comments by Mr. Waterhouse do not reflect reality and are deliberately deceptive. We are not closing the Imperial Beach Post Office. Period. We have conveyed this message to city leadership as well as to our employees.”