Sunday, 11 December 2011


It would be like taking your identity, ripping away a part of you.
For the people of Socorro, closing down its only post office would be a slap in the face.
The city has had tough times lately -- a bitter recall of a mayor, tensions on the City Council, a council member arrested, investigations of police officers and suits against the city.
Now the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing the only post office for miles around.
It's enough to get you mad as hell.
Socorro Mayor Trini Lopez and more than 4,000 people want to keep their post office open, and they are ready to fight.
On Friday, Lopez and a group of Socorro residents met with postal representatives in San Antonio and submitted 4,600 signatures in favor of keeping the post office open.

Lopez is encouraging customers to write letters of support while the future of the post office remains uncertain.
The U.S. Post Office at 10550 North Loop is among thousands of post offices, branches and stations in the country the agency is considering shuttering.
Many of those may be replaced by "village post offices," in which postal services are offered in stores, libraries or government offices.
No other post offices in El Paso have been signaled for closure. Elsewhere in Texas, post offices in Catarina, Armstrong, Belmont and Wrightsboro were closed in the past two months.
U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe announced in July that the agency was going to have to make tough choices because the use

of the Postal Service has dropped significantly.   According to a U.S. Postal Service written statement, the annual mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces in the past five years and is continuing to fall.
Lopez said he will do whatever he can so people in the area have a post office they can call their own.
He has been collecting signatures, seeking the support of lawmakers and meeting with Postal Service representatives.
Lopez has been able to get letters of support from U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas; state Reps. Chente Quintanilla and Joe Pickett; state Sens. Carlos Uresti and José Rodríguez; and El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar.
Closing this particular post office will hurt people from Agua Dulce, Montana Vista, Horizon City and other nearby communities who travel to Socorro to mail letters or to pick up mail and packages, Lopez said.
The closest post office is about four miles from Socorro, farther from other parts.
"There is a lot of people from other communities who rely on Socorro's postal office. It's like a central office," Lopez said.
Albert Ortiz, who has lived in Socorro since 1986, said he helped collect signatures and was surprised to find out how many people used the post office there.
"If they close it here, the next one will be Ysleta or San Elizario. It's the only one we have compared to El Paso that has so many," he said.
Ortiz said the community is growing and a post office is a must.
He said one of his concerns is that handicapped and elderly people will have to travel greater distances to access postal services.
The post office has been open for almost 20 years and has about 50 employees.
As part of a study to evaluate the possible closing of the office in Socorro, the Postal Service mailed a survey a couple of months ago so people could give their opinions, and today is the last day for people to return them, Lopez said.
The mayor is also encouraging people to write letters of support.
Lopez said people must mail the surveys and letters to: District Manager, 1 Post Office Drive, San Antonio, TX 78284.
Sam Bolen, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service Rio Grande District, said public comment will be reviewed and a report will be submitted to the district manager in San Antonio and subsequently will be sent for review to the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C.
If the agency decides to close the Socorro post office, a notice will be posted in the lobby of the post office for 60 days, he said.
Bolen said people opposing the decision have 30 days after the notice is posted to appeal to the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.
It can take up to 120 days to review the appeal, he said.
If no appeal is made, the office will close after 60 days of the initial posted notice, he said.
"No official decision has been made yet," Lopez said. "We have to keep working, and that's why we're asking for people's support."
Aileen B. Flores may be reached at; 546-6362.

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