Just a few more posts on why placing Public Banking in Post Offices is PROGRESSIVE POSING by Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals. Remember, the US Post Office will be the only means of communications for most citizens as online access becomes too expensive to afford so we DO NOT WANT TO LOSE OUR PUBLIC MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS UNDER THE GUISE OF PUBLIC BANKING.
The Postal unions spent several years protesting the closing and outsourcing of the Post Office knowing its goal was privatization. Everyone knows the Post Office is having financial problems because the Post Master General of the Post Office these Clinton/Bush/Obama have been people WANTING TO PRIVATIZE THE POST OFFICE including the current Donahue. These few decades have seen the most revenue-generating services outsourced to private corporations at great loss to our Post Office. Then Congress a few years ago started allowing a PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP with corporations like STAPLES where the Post Office was located in STAPLES removing a brick and mortar building-----AND MARYLAND POLS BROUGHT THAT STRUCTURE HERE BECAUSE----they intend on privatizing our Post Office. The second thing that burdened the Post Office as regards revenue was Congress passing a law that stated the Post Office must set aside ALL OF ITS EMPLOYEE PENSION BENEFITS in a lump sum----something never done before and certainly not to private business. This sum was hundreds of billions of dollars of Post Office assets now sequestered in a Wall Street investment fund. Sure, the use of email has lowered letter volume but the Post Office had a strong package volume and ways to increase that letter volume to stabilize itself. Think how many Post Offices have been closed and where? Underserved communities in US cities and in rural areas where many of the lowest income citizens live and that is where other coming closings will occur as well.
YET THE PROGRESSIVE POSING ON THIS ISSUE---ALWAYS AIMED AT HELPING THE POOR----IS THAT PLACING A BANK IN THE POST OFFICES REMAINING WILL HELP BANK THE POOR.
I chose to show how this global privatization of public Post Offices is happening in the few nations having them----here is South Africa-----the UK led in this under right-leaning neo-liberals Thatcher and Blair. Look what this union says-----STOP OUTSOURCING THE POST OFFICE----and giving all that revenue to corporations.
"They are not able to operate without owing anyone. They have to implement the turnaround strategy and bring back the services into Post Office, so that whatever they generate as an income is their own money not money owed to somebody else.”
'Stop outsourcing', parliament tells Post Office
- South Africa
- Friday 30 October 2015 - 5:12am
The postal service only paid employees a portion of their salaries this month due to ongoing financial problems.
It said it will settle the outstanding amounts by the end of the month.
Mmamaloko Kubayi from the Postal Services Portfolio Committee said, “What Post Office needs to do is to (be) having (its own) services (running), but with the current situation where Post Office is operating, it has outsourced most of its services.
"They are not able to operate without owing anyone. They have to implement the turnaround strategy and bring back the services into Post Office, so that whatever they generate as an income is their own money not money owed to somebody else.”
The Communication Workers' Union (CWU) said government interventions have had no impact on the crisis in the South African Post Office.
The union held an illegal one-day strike, marching on the offices of the public protector and Gauteng Premier David Makhura on Thursday.
The group, of about 1,000 protesters, said they want public protector Thuli Madonsela to release her report on the Post Office.
She started investigating the parastatal in 2011, following allegations of maladministration.
The CWU also wants government to bail out the Post Office.
See more in the video gallery above.
With the US controlled by Wall Street global pols for now outsourcing at all levels of government has soared under Clinton/Bush/and Obama super-sized this so do we really think that any policy of installing PUBLIC BANKS IN POST OFFICES will not be OUTSOURCED?
Of course it will and that is the goal as the UK has been doing it that way for two decades and the American Wall Street global pols have been installing all that is UK only a decade behind.
As we see here------the format is simply the same as today's credit unions ----is that what the most bank-challenged in our cities really need? Of course not-----Wall Street global pols know they are sending credit unions into bankruptcy with this coming economic crash and their policy of PUBLIC BANK AS POST OFFICE looks just like our credit unions.
Public Banks for social Democrats have always been about citizens having a save place to place their money cheaply ----a simple checking and savings account ----with an ability to attain PLAIN VANILLA personal and small business loans ----for those who qualify.
THAT IS ALL THE POOREST OF CITIZENS NEED----AND IT IS WHAT MOST AMERICAN CITIZENS WANT AS WELL.
When you get into ATMs-----online banking----tiered levels of loans----the cost of operations goes up for no good reason----when that money could be heading out into the community. The only reason a bank wants all of the above is COMPETITION and PUBLIC BANKS ARE NOT IN THE BUSINESS OF COMPETING WITH ANYONE.
We KNOW the current Wall Street global pols who have worked hard these few decades for Wall Street will simply outsource to private banks any PUBLIC BANK IN POST OFFICE.
Below----This is NOT a government-owned bank----it is a retail bank
BANK OF IRELAND-UK
Bank of Ireland (UK) plc is a separately incorporated subsidiary of Bank of Ireland Group, which has been a leading retail bank in Ireland since it was established in 1783. Bank of Ireland UK currently employs c. 2,200 staff.
We have a highly valued and successful partnership with the Post Office, which has developed for more than 10 years.
Together we serve c.2.4 million Post Office customers, providing simple and flexible financial products, including savings, mortgages, credit cards and personal loans.
- Our partnership has developed many new customer propositions, including our involvement in the UK’s Help to Buy Scheme, where we champion first-time buyers in conjunction with over 100 Post Office mortgage advisors
- Together, we hold a market leading position in the consumer foreign exchange market, with 24% market share. Our popular Travel Money card app has passed over 250,000 downloads
- We run one of the largest ATM networks, with over 2,500 free-to-use ATMs located across the Post Office branch network
It is a partnership that is challenging the big UK retail and commercial banks, by offering consumers a genuine and accessible alternative they can trust.
We see all kinds of progressive posing on MICROLENDING as what was once a REAL social progressive banking issue was taken by venture capitalists and is now part of those COMPLEX FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS being used for leverage and fraud.
India was the home of the creator of this idea and we hope his intent was genuine and that he would not like the current progression. The concept was always simple----and perfect for a REAL PUBLIC BANK. If Baltimore has a PUBLIC BANK with all the city's revenue----all Baltimore Public sector union assets maybe----and citizens' accounts-----then that branch in each community would lend small amounts to citizens in a community to build a small business. Regular small business loans mixed with micro-lending for small business and VOILA----we are building a small business economy in each community.
THAT IS WHAT MICRO-LENDING HAD AS A GOAL WHEN IT WAS SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC---AND NOT AS A WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE PROFIT-MAKING TOOL.
We don't want this version------
Updated Oct. 26, 2009 12:01 a.m. ET NEW DELHI -- Despite last year's global financial meltdown, the microfinance industry has continued to boom in India because of an influx of private equity and bank funding, according to a new study.
An Indian fisherman throws his net as he tries to catch fish in northeastern Tripura state capital Agartala. AFP/Getty Images Microlenders recorded a 60% increase in clients in India, to 22.6 million in the year ended March 31, 2009, from 14.1 million the previous year, according to a report from Access Development Services, a New Delhi-based nonprofit serving the microfinance industry. Microlenders lend small amounts of money to groups of poor people, mainly to help foster entrepreneurship and trade.
This article does a good job talking about what micro-lending looked like at first and then ends by telling us why it is not what it used to be----they simply turned this local process into a Wall Street bank format. Take a look and imagine what a Baltimore City PUBLIC BANK in each community would be able to do with micro-lending knowing the employees in this bank would be directly involved in helping to make these small businesses a success. I had a friend say to me Baltimore Development Corporation executives didn't even know what micro-lending was-----and I believe that. If they do find out you can bet it will be tied to a Wall Street bank for profit-making.
Please glance through this long article to the next
We want this version of micro-lending-------------
GLOBAL ENVISION-----EXPLORING MARKET-BASED SOLUTIONS TO POVERTY.
By Administrator_v, May 12, 2006
Microlending has proved that a small loan can become the start of a virtuous economic cycle -- the benefits of which extend beyond individual borrowers and into the community.
Development organizations have long grappled with the question of how to lift millions of people out of poverty. For decades, funds earmarked for the poor were funneled to local governments or international agencies. Money was poured into large construction projects designed to build infrastructure and improve living conditions in developing nations. New roads, dams, and bridges dotted the landscape of countries in which the poor remained alienated from the formal economy and depended on handouts to survive.
The idea of lending capital directly to those who needed it most seemed too risky or impractical. The poor were unfamiliar with the workings of the credit system and lacked assets to use as collateral for loans. Without jobs or steady income prospects, they could hardly be expected to pay back the original amount.
Or so the thinking went until the mid-1970s, when an economics professor in Bangladesh who was frustrated with conventional approaches set out to prove that lending on a small scale could have a broad and lasting impact.
Mohammed Yunus began by lending a small sum to help a struggling furniture maker and then went on to found Grameen Bank, an institution that has made business loans to people with no other access to the financial system. The bank has distributed more than 4 billion USD in small loans to millions and has grown to employ more than 11,000 people in more than 40,000 villages. Grameen Bank also has inspired thousands of imitators around the world and pioneered a practice commonly known as microlending and also called microcredit or microfinance.
The great majority of microlending's beneficiaries include people working in the informal, or underground, economy, and residents of remote rural areas.
As its name suggests, microlending essentially consists of the disbursement of small loans to people locked out of the banking system, the idea being to help them to start or expand small businesses that generate income -- for example, a one-cow dairy. Some loans are as small as 2 USD but typically they range from 50 to 1,000 USD and are made without conventional credit checks or collateral requirements.
The great majority of microlending's beneficiaries include people working in the informal, or underground, economy, and residents of remote rural areas. Many lenders have targeted women, traditionally discouraged from engaging in commercial ventures. Grameen Bank, for example, reports that 95 percent of its 3.12 million borrowers are women.
For the most part, microlending has proved that a small loan can become the start of a virtuous economic cycle, the benefits of which extend beyond individual borrowers because their businesses generate jobs and help improve living standards in their communities. Grameen's founder has seized on microlending's success to argue that credit should be at the top of the chain of other universally recognized human rights such as the right to food, the right to work, and the right to shelter. Once access to credit is established, Yunus has said, the individual recipients of a loan have the means to make the other rights possible through their own efforts.
Other microlenders, however, note that people lacking food and shelter are unlikely to benefit from their services. The Bangladesh Rural Action Committee, that country's largest microlender, has found that the very poor drop out of its program and that for many people microfinance is not a viable alternative to direct aid. Research in Bangladesh and elsewhere has found that until an appropriate level of economic security is reached, the poor are unable to risk taking on credit in order to generate income through small business activity. They need to be healthy enough to run a business, after all, and their customers -- often, neighbors or people in nearby villages -- also must have money to spend, even if it is a very modest amount.
Research in Bangladesh and elsewhere has found that until an appropriate level of economic security is reached, the poor are unable to risk taking on credit in order to generate income through small business activity.
Studies in Bangladesh also have shown that microcredit borrowers tend to use their loans for the same limited range of small-scale activities -- setting up a teashop or husking paddy, for example -- and that they soon reach a ceiling on the amount of income they can earn. In any given place, there is a limited range of economically viable small-scale activities available to poor people with limited skills and limited demand for their products or services.
Even so, microlending has dispelled the notion that those on the lowest rungs of the income ladder are not able to follow basic rules of commerce. Rather, the poor have proved that they are as entrepreneurial as graduates of top business schools and fully capable of launching a business and earning profits.
Despite early misgivings and a few setbacks, discussed below, microlending has turned out to be good business, boasting loan repayment rates -- as high as 97 percent for some institutions -- far in excess of those seen in commercial lending.
Because their business has been so far removed from the worlds of high finance, microlenders in a number of developing countries weathered financial crises so deep and widespread that they left almost no domestic commercial banks standing in their wake. In a few cases, as in some Andean nations, microlenders emerged as the only source of private sector funding after financial crises obliterated almost every commercial lender operating in the market.
Most microlenders have developed a loyal following among their customers. Not only have they become the sole source of funding for entire communities, they also lend at interest rates below those charged by traditional local moneylenders. Because they are part of the community and know their customers, microlenders can generally make an educated estimate of the risk involved in lending and they are able to contain that risk by organizing clients in groups or by operating revolving funds within a neighborhood. Thus, borrowers feel pressure from the community to repay the loan on time and can risk social isolation if they do not.
Industry Growth Sparks Debate About Goals and Directions
There is no clear consensus on the best approach for microlenders, especially when it comes to striking a balance between profits and the loftier goal of poverty eradication.
Growth and diversification in the microlending industry has sparked debate about its mission and the direction it should take. There is no clear consensus on the best approach for microlenders, especially when it comes to striking a balance between profits and the loftier goal of poverty eradication.
Some microlenders have emerged as competitive banking powerhouses in the countries where they operate and have expanded their services to include savings accounts, debit cards, consumer loans, and retirement funds. Grameen Bank, for example, has sought to finance all its operations from its own funds and has gone beyond banking to offer telecommunication and health services in Bangladeshi villages.
While many microlenders are run as nonprofit organizations, relying on aid donors and development banks for funding, others have sought to attract investment. Bolivia's BancoSol, for example, issued a 5 million USD bond in 1996, opening the way for other institutions such as Mexican microlender Compartamos, which placed a 10 million USD issue in 2002. BancoSol was incorporated in 1992 as the first licensed bank exclusively dedicated to providing microcredit. Since then, it has attracted 60,000 customers, more than any other bank in Bolivia, and it now offers full banking services.
Across the world in Asia, Bank Rakyat Indonesia, a state-controlled microlender with 2.5 million borrowers, sold a 30 percent stake through an initial public offering in 2003.
For some who follow these developments in the industry, this kind of growth and pursuit of investment isn't just an interesting evolutionary aside. Rather, it represents the best hope of expanding microlending's benefits to an even larger public. Demand for microcredit outstrips current demand, they reason, so it becomes necessary for microlenders to achieve financial sustainability, to diversify their business, and to borrow from investors in order to enlarge their operations. In addition, it is thought that the process of raising investment capital will help microlenders -- already among the most effective financial intermediaries in their markets -- to achieve greater efficiency. WRONG DIRECTION FOLKS!
However, others question how a microlender preoccupied with becoming a full-blown financial entity can stay focused on its original mission of providing loans to the poor. In their view, the requirement that microcredit institutions be financially sustainable and preferably profitable has favored strictly financial programs at the expense of those which combine loans with training and other services to help people start and build their own businesses. Such broad-based programs can offer the best hope of creating jobs in the community but their costs and risks run higher than those of more narrowly focused microlending schemes. As a consequence, the broad-based initiatives attract less investor interest.
Tips for Covering Microlending
-- There are thousands of microfinance institutions throughout the world and they use distinct approaches. Since there are few generally accepted guidelines to measure performance, it can be difficult to get past an institution's good intentions to find out if it is well run and to gauge the impact it has on the ground. Reporters who have physical access to the microlender's area of operations should question actual loan recipients about their experiences. How much have they benefited? How do they keep up with loan repayments? Was the money used as intended and if not, why not? (Some women have reported, for example, that their husbands took the money they borrowed, nevertheless leaving the women liable for repaying the loans. Some lenders have developed ways to protect their customers against such losses; others have not.)
-- Most microlenders say they enjoy very high repayment rates. Although this may be true, it is important, when reporting on the financial performance or sustainability of a microlending institution, to look at the extent to which that institution remains dependent on donor funding. It would not be surprising for a fairly new institution to rely quite heavily on donors not only to provide it with lending capital but also to subsidize its daily operations. But is this also the case for older, more established institutions? If so, why?
-- On a related point, how do donors or investors choose which microlenders to support or invest in? Financial accountability is an obvious criterion but how much weight do donors and investors attach to impact in terms of actual poverty reduction, and how do they define and measure this impact? The answers to these questions can help explain the relative strengths and weaknesses of different microlenders.
-- Finally, if microlending is supposed to help the poor build wealth and become creditworthy, then how many borrowers actually ''graduate'' from microlending to mainstream banking? Apart from providing a critical framework in which to look at the industry as a whole, this question can provide a useful starting point for examination of trends within the industry or within a specific country or region.
State and local government have since FDR create Small Business Association----SBA been awarded from the Federal government a bolus of funds to dispense to citizens for small business development and for several decades it did just that. Then Clinton/Bush/Obama made SBA about startups and global market businesses and all of the money that used to go to building small business economies in each community is now going to this global market startup policy that wastes most of these funds and creates almost no real businesses----but organizations tied to this Wall Street global corporate neo-liberal policy give great events.
Cindy Walsh for Mayor of Baltimore as with any social Democrat will fight to have this SBA funding come to the city and into these funds and PUBLIC BANK to be distributed the original way intended-----this is how we create the revenue sources to build our local economies. In each case citizens getting these loans are paying a percentage of interest which helps generate the capital needed to maintain these structures, to pay a 3-5% interest on savings, and to lend more to citizens.
THIS IS HOW GOVERNMENT WORKED BEFORE CLINTON WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS AND REPUBLICANS DISMANTLED IT.
As Mayor of Baltimore Cindy Walsh would push Baltimore Urban League away from Wall STreet global corporate neo-liberal policies bringing no value to small business economies in each community because they are too busy with innovation, incubation, and global markets---into this social Democratic structure that actually does build a local economy.
Government Small Business Loans
Government small business loans help put your own business within reach. First there’s the quest for a decent location, then comes building a customer base, followed by all the initial hiccups of generating a cash flow before your business grows roots and gains momentum. The beginning of a business is crucial because it’s when you gain or lose market credibility. If you disappoint your customers, they may not give you a second chance. If your business gets off to a rocky start (most do), and you believe you can recover but need further financing to make this happen, you can apply for government small business loans.
Why Government Loans?
For-profit lenders are reluctant to issue loans to anyone who does not have a strong credit report and financial history. That is not the case with government small business loans. Obviously, a decent credit report is important, and you will have to follow the guidelines regarding the repayment period and the interest rate set by the government, but usually the interest rates charged by government loans are lower than those you could expect in the private sector.
More about Government Small Business Loans
Government loans are typically offered through banks and credit unions that partner with the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA is a U.S. government body, with the motive of providing support for small businesses and entrepreneurs. For each loan authorized, a government-backed guarantee offers serious credibility, since the lender knows that even if you default, the government will pay off the balance. These loans can be applied to a number of uses, such as:
- Purchase of new equipment, machinery, parts, supplies, etc.
- Financing leasehold improvements
- Commercial mortgage on buildings
- Refinance existing debt
- Establishing a line of credit
Different SBA Government Loans
The SBA extends financial help through various lending programs it has to offer. Some of the more popular loans are:
- 7(a) Loan Guarantee Program: aimed primarily in helping a small business start or expand its services. The maximum size of such a loan is $5 million.
- MicroLoan Program: mostly used for short-term purposes, such as purchase of goods, office furniture, transportation, computers, etc. The maximum amount is fixed at $50,000.
- 504 Fixed Asset Program: featuring fixed-rate and long-term financing, these loans are aimed at applicants whose business model will benefit their community directly, either by providing jobs or bringing needed services to an underserved area. Again, the maximum amount is $5 million.
- Disaster Assistance: under this program, loans are sanctioned to renters or homeowners with a low-interest, long-term plan for the restoration of property to its pre-disaster condition.
If you can imagine reversing the Wall Street global corporate hold on national organizations for labor and justice across the board-----and to do that starts locally as in Baltimore City-----then the funding that the Federal government is now sending to these groups for development projects now going to what this article below describes-----we can then move those funds as well into our Baltimore Public Bank in each community where these funds would actually create small businesses and build economies in each community.
This used to be the case for several decades and you can see why our local economies were buzzing. Revenue resources are plentiful if a Mayor of Baltimore not working for WALL STREET BALTIMORE DEVELOPMENT would encourage these funding flows towards community economies. We have organizations tied to women, labor, disabilities all moving money to Clinton neo-liberal development that should be moving through these BALTIMORE PUBLIC BANKS.
Corporate Funding of Urban League, NAACP & Civil Rights Orgs Has Turned Into Corporate
LeadershipSubmitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 08/10/2011 - 14:44
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
“Not only is Bill Gates a cousin,” gushed academic Henry Louis Gates at the Urban League convention in Boston last week, “Bill Gates a brother.” Bill Gates, of course, is the founder of Microsoft, and one of the wealthiest men on earth. Invited to deliver the keynote address at the National Urban League’s annual meeting in Boston last week, the billionaire lectured the assembled on education and poverty, although Gates is not qualified to teach an hour in any classroom in the land, and has certainly never been poor.
Corporate Funding of the NAACP, Urban League and Civil Rights Orgs Has Turned Into Corporate Leadership
by BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
Bill Gates has never been a friend of black people anyplace on earth. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a large investor in Monsanto, the company that invented genetic engineering, actuallycreates hunger on the African continent and undermines the food security of African nations by pushing genetically modified crops upon reluctant African farmers and their governments. If African farmers can be locked into planting patented crop varieties, instead of planting and saving their own seed as they have the last ten thousand years, they will be obliged to buy the expensive and environmentally destructive pesticides these frankenfood crops require, along with paying yearly license fees.
Inside the US, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a key player in the drive to privatize public education. Gates Foundation staff helped write the guidelines for the Obama Administration’s Race To The Top program, under which states and school districts, in order to receive any federal education funds at all, had to hire consultants, often from the same Gates Foundation to write the detailed plans for closing thousands of neighborhood public schools, implementing high stakes testing and turning teachers into the cowed, insecure and casual WalMart style workforce preferred by private, often for profit charter school operators.
So how did the National Urban League become the mouthpiece and cheering section for corporate experiments on black school children at home and the hijacking of the global food system in Africa? The answer is that like the NAACP, the National Committee on Black Civic Participation, the National Council of LaRza, the National Conference of Black State Legislators and even the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, the Urban League is now and has for some time past been completely dependent on corporate donations to keep going. Those that pay the bills, call the shots.
This is the new model of African American leadership – a leadership that covets, courts, kowtows and accomodates to power rather than speaking truth to it. This is why whenever the interests of ordinary black people conflict with those of corporate America, a great number of our well-funded black misleaders will inevitably side with their corporate sugar daddies rather than their constituents. It’s why the Congressional Black Caucus and Operation PUSH assisted in foisting subprime mortgages on countless black families, and why the NAACP speedily forgave the predatory loan practices Wells Fargo and Bank of America. It’s why Sharpton, the NAACP and the Urban League all endorsed the merger of AT&T with T-Mobile and Comcast’s swallowing of NBC.
It’s time to turn the page on the venerable civil rights organizations, whose model of corporate funding has allowed them to be utterly taken over by corporate interests and used against us at every opportunity. It’s time for something completely different. For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Bruce Dixon. Find us on the web at www.blackagendareport.com.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a member of the state committee of the Georgia Green Party. Contact him via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Heaven forbid a social Democrat reverse the total dismantlement of all that is public including public green spaces and buildings by her rebuilding each community plan that includes a MUNICIPAL BUILDING IN EACH COMMUNITY bringing each Baltimore City agency out into our communities! I hear Wall Street Baltimore Development say its time to sell the Baltimore City Hall building----and they are right if this International Economic Zone Master Plan continues and Baltimore Development and global corporations are controlling all public policy and revenue----WHY DO WE NEED THE BALTIMORE CITY HALL BUILDING?
Municipal buildings used to be in each community and in Baltimore they are always those buildings with the most historical architectural beauty------and guess who has moved into them all? CORPORATE FOUNDATIONS/NON-PROFITS.
Public Works is charged with maintaining our public buildings and would do so with our COMMUNITY MUNICIPAL BUILDING IN EACH COMMUNITY. This is where a BALTIMORE PUBLIC BANK WOULD BE IN AN OFFICE BEHIND A SECURITY STRUCTURE AT THE FRONT DOOR. Is it a hardship for someone in Remington to come to that central municipal building when they want to bank? Of course not---people simply need to move away from all the conveniences of ATMs and online banking IF THEY WANT AN ACCOUNT AT A BALTIMORE PUBLIC BANK.
Pleasant Street Library
Bank Street Armory
Pine St. Veterans Center
Water Works (under the Direction of Water/Sewer Divisions)
New Police Station
Office of Animal Control HQ (N. Fire Station)
North End Station
Stanley Fire Station
North End Garage
Globe Fire Station/Chew Field
Central Fire Station
Candais Fire Station
Eastern Ave. Fire Station
Father Travassos Park
Ruggles Park (no facilities)
Where will all those POST OFFICE PUBLIC BANKS GO? Oh, I know-----they will move what used to be a Post Office right into an existing Wall Street bank.
Grim outlook for post office buildings
Andrew S. Ross
Published 6:57 pm, Friday, February 8, 2013
The United States Post Office in Berkeley, Calif. is seen on Tuesday, August 7, 2012.The U.S. Postal Service's move last week to end Saturday mail delivery can't bode well for efforts to save a number of historic post offices being sold in California, with possibly more to come.
Currently, at least 12 post offices have been sold or put on the block in Northern California. A public hearing on a contested proposal to sell Berkeley's main post office is scheduled for later this month.
Along with the move to five-day mail delivery, selling post office buildings is part of the Postal Service plan to save $20 billion over the next three years. More than 600 buildings have been "earmarked for disposal" nationwide, at a savings of $2.1 billion, according to the Postal Service's 2012 report to Congress.
"Selling larger facilities is a means of getting cash flow and reducing our expenses," explained James Wigdel, a Postal Service spokesman in San Francisco.
In charge of selling the facilities for the Postal Service is CB Richard Ellis Group, one of the world's largest real estate companies, chaired by San Francisco financier Dick Blum. CBRE, which has worked with the post office since 1997, was awarded the exclusive contract to market Postal Service facilities in 2011. Blum is married to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., a relationship some critics of the post office have duly noted.
"Historically, USPS has worked with multiple real estate service providers. The new contract enables USPS to consolidate these activities with one service provider," CBRE said in a statement at the time.
On its website, CBRE shows 57 post offices nationwide listed for sale or in the process of being sold. They include Sausalito's main post office, priced at $5.2 million, two in Fresno for a combined $2.9 million, and one in Los Angeles for $8.3 million. The main post office in Modesto, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, sold for $1.02 million in 2011 to a developer who plans to convert it to lofts, The Chronicle reported in August.
Other Bay Area post offices on CBRE's website, and confirmed by Wigdel, are in Burlingame, Half Moon Bay, San Rafael and Palo Alto. Berkeley's main post office, which dates to 1915, is "being considered for sale but still in due diligence or the public process," he said.
Berkeley, as is its wont, is putting up a fight. The City Council, Mayor Tom Bates, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, and a number of community groups oppose the plan to sell the Allston Way building.
In December, protesters opposing the sale rallied outside the offices of Blum Capital in San Francisco's Financial District, and a delegation later met with staffers at the San Francisco office of Feinstein.
As for accusations of a conflict of interest and suspicions that Feinstein may have influenced the awarding of the contract to her husband's firm, Feinstein's office strongly denies the charges.
"Sen. Feinstein is not involved with and does not discuss any of her husband's business decisions with him. Her husband's holdings are his separate personal property. Sen. Feinstein's assets are held in a blind trust.
That arrangement has been in place since before she came to the Senate in 1992," said Brian Weiss, Feinstein's communications director. In 2012, Feinstein voted for an amendment to a postal reform bill that would have temporarily halted post office closings. The amendment was defeated in the House.
Both the Postal Service and CBRE insisted the 2011 contract was competitively bid. The Postal Service is an independent agency that reports to Congress, but there is no indication Congress plays any role in the awarding of contracts.
While CBRE handles the transactions, it does not advise the Postal Service which facilities to put on the market, I was told by both sides.
"This can be a long but transparent process. We have to find suitable buyers and make sure we have good retail space to relocate our facilities into," said Wigdel. "Some of the buildings may come off the list."
At the public hearing hosted by the Postal Service in Berkeley on Feb. 26, there no doubt will be many in attendance hoping to have their beloved Italianate post office taken off the list.