Economic Magic: USPS Makes Tenderloin's 'Full-Service Post Office' Disappear

Eh, it's a little-known fact that if you lost as much money as the Post Office loses in a day, the coins would fill all the couches in America -- that ever existed. It's true, Normy.
Is it possible to miss something you never had? That's a question Elaine Zamora is pondering right about now.

Not quite a year ago, SF Weekly reported on how the postal service's district manager gleefully announced via press release "The community asked us to consider upgrading the Civic Center Post Office to a 'full-fledged' retail center, and we listened" -- neglecting to note that her original plan was to shut the damn place down. This resulted in Zamora, the director of the Tenderloin Community Benefits District, gathering over 1,000 signatures, a peeved Supervisor Chris Daly making a call to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Pelosi's folks spelling things out for the post office, and voila! That's what it means when the government reports that the people talked and it listened.

Well, now money talks. And the post office listened. Citing financial projections that could make even a Big Three automaker wince, Winifred Groux, the USPS' district manager, informed Zamora, Daly, the mayor's office, and Pelosi that there will be no upgrade to the post office at 101 Hyde Street.

"All I know is they're pulling the economy card as the reason for everything," said Zamora, who has attempted to remedy this situation with calls to the mayor, Daly, and Pelosi. "We made all our arguments, they had their counter-arguments, they weren't willing to do it, then they were -- and now they're not. I'm at a complete loss."

Post office spokesman James Wigdell said that this is not a case of the USPS latching onto the convenient excuse of massive financial losses preventing them from doing something they really didn't want to do anyway -- they really are losing shitloads of money.

"Numbers are numbers. We lost $2.8 billion last year. This year it's expected to be double that. We lost $570 million in January. That's $20 million a day. So, our finances are dire," he says -- meaning, for what it's worth, the USPS could have upgraded the Civic Center/Tenderloin post office from its current status of urine-soaked P.O. Box shack to full-service post office for the amount of money the Post Office loses in an hour or two.

As well as not upgrading the Hyde Street post office, Wigdell confirmed that the Fox Plaza post office, originally scheduled to be shuttered and moved, will stay where it is, as will the office in the basement of the Federal Building (in other news, there's a post office in the basement of the Federal Building).

The latter post office, to the best of Wigdell's knowledge, is the only one in the city in which patrons are required to pass through a metal detector before entering. 

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