On Monday, April 20, at the City of Tucson Ward 5 Council Offices. Congresswoman Martha McSally and I co-hosted a roundtable discussion about the future of the Cherrybell post office and processing center and its impact to our economy and community. More than 40 people were present for the forum.
Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild was present, as well as State Senator Andrea Dalessandro and State Representatives Chris Ackerely and Rosanna Gabaldon.
Governor Doug Ducey’s Southern Arizona director, Juan Ciscomani and his Deputy Director, Becky Barry, were in attendance.
The three business chambers were present as well, Lea Marques Peterson, President/CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Robert Medler, the Government Affairs Director of the Tucson Metro Chamber and Clarence Boykins from the black chamber of commerce.
George Kalil of Kalil Bottling, Doug Martin of Good News Communications, Alma Gallardo of Arizona Bilingual were three of many business owners present in attendance, along with Mark Clark, President/CEO of the Pima Council on Aging, Ethan Orr from the University of Arizona and Richard Lemons, the Commander of Disabled American Veterans – Tucson and Clarissa Geberkoff, with Tucson Troop Support were in attendance.
We heard many accounts from business owners and indviduals, of how the changes made by the post office in January has delayed mail even further, costing one veteran his benefits, businesses losing potential offers and checks being delayed because of the situation with Cherrybell. Individuals talked about now having it take a week to mail a letter in Tucson to another address in Tucson.
From these accounts, it was decided that a community survey of business, groups, organizations and individuals will be conducted with my staff working with Congresswoman McSally’s office to gather further stories for Congresswoman McSally to present to those committee chairs, hearing bills on postal reform.
Also from the roundtable, it was learned that the United States Postal Service has now put the Cherrybell post office and processing center on the TBD (to be determined) status.
Cherrybell was supposed to have closed on July 11, but the pressure being exerted is paying off and there is not a closing date.
I want to thank everyone who was in attendance, who spoke up about the importance of Cherrybell. I also want to thank the City of Tucson’s lobbyists in Washington, D.C., Tracy Tucker and Terry Bracy for their work on the Cherrybell Postal Processing Center issue.
I want to give a special thanks to Congresswoman McSally for co-hosting this roundtable and helping to lead the fight to save our post office and processing center for the 26,000 businesses and 1.5 million people, veterans and seniors.
At the Mayor and Council meeting on April 21, the City of Tucson IGR Office updated the Mayor and Council on pending postal legislation, which included:
Two bills that have been introduced in the House relating to the Postal Service. House Resolution 1501 would prevent the Postal Service from closing or consolidating facilities without the approval of Congress. (Rep. Grijalva is a cosponsor.) House Resolution 784 would direct the Postal Service to reinstate the service standards that were in effect on December 31, 2011. Reps Grijalva and Kirkpatrick are cosponsors and,
Senator Bernie Sanders introduced an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution in support of the Postal Service. The amendment requests a moratorium on closing of mail processing facilities, the return of overnight mail delivery, and a number of other things. The budget resolution is non-binding, and is meant to establish guidelines for congressional appropriations.