2006-03-16 / Community

Calabasas goes postal over mail delays

Problem shows improvement
By Michael Picarella pic@theacorn.com

Neither rain, sleet, snow nor hail stops the United States Postal Service from delivering the mail- except in Calabasas, it seems.

Several Calabasas residents complained recently that they're receiving their mail as late as 11 p.m. on delivery days. Some residents say they've even received other people's mail. The disruption in service has infuriated many.

"As far as I'm concerned, reliable mail delivery is a fundamental utility," Mayor Barry Groveman said. "We've had, for well over a year, very poor quality mail service throughout the community."

Perry Krauss, a 28-year Calabasas resident, said his mail comes late at night or is delivered to the wrong address, and that he sometimes receives mail belonging to other residents.

"And (the mail) wasn't just going next door," Krauss said. "Anyone could make that mistake. I'm talking about (the mail) going to places half a mile away, and not close to the right names or streets or anything."

Krauss said he went to the Woodland Hills Post Office, which channels the Calabasas' mail, to register a complaint. One evening about 10:30 when the carrier finally arrived at his home, Krauss asked why the mail was arriving so late. The carrier acknowledged there were problems and said the post office was addressing them.

Krauss and others worry about identity theft since many of their personal bills, such as credit card statements, are going to the wrong addresses.

Calabasas Mayor Barry Groveman said he received over 100 e-mails from residents throughout the city with similar complaints about the mail service.

Groveman contacted the Woodland Hills office, but said he received no explanation as to why the service was so sporadic.

The Calabasas City Council said it would send an official letter-using Fed Ex or UPS, not the U.S Postal Service-asking Postal Service Regional Director Kerry Wolny to attend a public hearing about the matter on March 22 in Calabasas. Also invited is U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) of the 30th District. Waxman's office has discussed the issue with federal officials in Washington D.C.

"There are lots of problems that people are experiencing with the mail throughout the district," said Karen Lightfoot, Waxman's communications director. Waxman has been working with Postmaster General John Potter in Washington D.C. to solve the problem, Lightfood said.

"Your whole life is off kilter if you can't rely on your mail, in terms of your bills, your payments, you magazines, your communication-this is a fundamental service provided to every member of our society," Groveman said.

"I've been frustrated (about the mail service in Calabasas) for many years," said James Bozajian, city council member. "The excuse that I've gotten in the past is that we're an annexed post office that was originally designed for a rural area when it opened 35 years ago and it is purposely not a full service post office. I think one of the first steps we should take is demand that it be designated a full service post office and branch away from the Woodland Hills post office."

Stacia Crane, a spokesperson for the postal service district, said said the mail issues have improved over the last six weeks and that all carriers are finishing their runs by 5 p.m.

Jamie Daugherty, president of the Braewood Calabasas Homeowners Association, agreed that the residents in his community have been receiving mail in a timely manner. He said the change came about after some 60 homeowners sent complaint cards to the post office.

Crane asks residents to call her directly at (661) 775-6681 if the Calabasas mail problem resurfaces.

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