Tuesday, December 18, 2007

TNT Kicks Off Post Office Petition Drive

TNT Kicks Off Post Office Petition Drive
by Ben Malley‚
Dec. 14‚ 2007 Members of The New Tenderloin (TNT) have taken another step to creating positive change in their community. At a rally in front of the large stone walls at the post office at Golden Gate and Hyde Streets, various community organizations and residents kicked off a petition drive to make the post office full-service. For years, the minimum-service post office has served as an open invitation for drug dealing and other criminal activities.

“All great communities have a working post office, and the Tenderloin should be no different,” said Tenderloin Police Captain Gary Jimenez. Attracting a variety of participants from the North of Market Community Benefit District to nearby Hastings College of Law, the petition drive will culminate in the sending of the signatures to postal officials and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Community members want the post office turned into a full-service post office for two reasons. First, and most importantly, the community needs a real post office. The post office at 101 Hyde has only post office boxes and a window for mailing. There isn’t even a drop box. A customer must stand in line to mail their letters. The nearest full-service post office is at the Federal Building, a few blocks away. But at that building customers are searched before they are allowed to enter.

The second benefit would be that a full-service post office would encourage more customers. With more customers and foot traffic in a regularly used post office, crime would be pushed away from the Golden Gate and Hyde corner. “People pay $30 a month for their box here and they are afraid to pick up their mail,” said Elaine Zamora, head of the North of Market Community Benefit District. One man in the crowd held a sign that said, “Pick up your mail… and run.”

“If this were a privately held site,” said Hastings College CFO David Seward, pointing to the post office, “they would be open to litigation from the city for providing an area for criminal activity like this to go on.”

Organizer Jesse Nathan told the crowd that the area had become a federally-funded crime zone and Captain Jimenez said there was only so much the police could do. “We need to do more than just conduct crime sweeps of this area,” said Jimenez. “We need to dissuade people from dealing here, and the way to do that is to maintain security. A full-service post office would do just that.”

No comments: