“It’s An Interesting Case.”

At the hearing on March 26th on the Postal Service’s “Motion to Dismiss” Berkeley’s lawsuit to stop the sale Judge Alsup gave the USPS one week (until April 2nd, 2015) to decide whether to rescind its April, 2013 decision. Rooney, The Post Office attorney, made the claims that the USPS no longer had an immediate interest in selling the building or relocating services, and that in light of the passage of the rezoning ordinance in September, 2014, the Post Office would, in any case, have to reassess its intentions and its NEPA and NHPA analysis.

The Judge directly asked Rooney why, then, the USPS had not rescinded the letter, but did not get a clear answer. He also asked whether USPS would be willing to rescind the letter, but again did not get a direct reply. Alsup ultimately asked Rooney whether USPS wanted the week he was offering them to decide, and Rooney replied in the affirmative.

So…

If USPS decides to rescind the letter, the Judge’s strong implication would be that he would dismiss the suit.

If the USPS decides not to rescind the letter, the Judge would have to decide whose arguments were stronger; whether the suit should be dismissed anyway, as USPS wants, or whether it should be allowed to continue, as Berkeley would like. (That decision might take weeks, even months, as the various threads of the case are complicated and intertwined).

There is also the question of exactly what it would mean, from a legal and procedural point of view, if the USPS did rescind the letter. Would it mean they would be back to square one if they decided to try to sell the building again, e.g., would they have to go through a public comment period, do another NEPA and NHPA analysis, and negotiate another covenant to preserve the building’s historic artwork? Or would it just mean that all they would have to do is issue another “final determination” decision? Or something in between? No one, I suspect, even the judge, really knows.

As Judge Alsup remarked just before the hearing concluded..

“It’s an interesting case.”

For a longer writeup with background.

BPOD to Post Office: Be a Part of Your Community – Supply Water for the Garden of Common Good!

Call the local Postmaster at 510-XXX-XXXX and simply request, or leave a message:

“Please turn on the water for the community garden
at the downtown Berkeley Post Office!”

On January 10th, members of Berkeley Post Office Defenders, First They Came for the Homeless, Save the Berkeley Post Office, Occupy the Farm and a good number of community members came together to create a community garden, dubbed the Garden of Common Good. It’s there for all to see on a small plot of land on Milvia St. right up against the downtown Berkeley Post Office.

Tended carefully, the crops sprouted and flourished. People walk by and smile as they see the green where once was rubbish. At first it was supplied with water from an outside spigot attached to the Post Office wall, using a hose and attachment supplied by the community. Then, at the beginning of March, without warning or explanation, the powers that be at the Post Office turned the water supply off.

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AN OPEN LETTER TO THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL. NO SALE OF OUR POST OFFICE!


“Berkeley’s Main Post Office building belongs to the people.”

Dear Berkeley Mayor and City Council,

We of Berkeley Post Office Defense (BPOD) are grateful to the City of Berkeley and its pro bono legal representative attorney Tony Rossmann, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for suing the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) over USPS’ ongoing attempt to sell Berkeley’s Main Post Office building and relocate its services against the will of the community.  We are grateful, too, to Save the Berkeley Post Office and the National Post Office Collaborate for helping to set the suit in motion and for organizing the public meeting February 19, 2015 that shared information about it with the community.

At that meeting, Mr. Rossmann stated that the City’s position is that the sale of the Post Office should be stopped, a position we share entirely.  He also stated, however, that if necessary, the City might be open to negotiating an alternative whereby the building would be sold and space leased back to USPS for provision of some postal services.  We are writing to make it clear that we consider this latter alternative unacceptable.

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Day 127. The occupation is still standing. The garden is looking good!

All is once again copacetic at the  Post Office Occupation after some trying times these last couple of weeks.  Despite the water being turned off at spigots coming out of the Post Office building, the garden continues to flourish as volunteers haul enough water to keep photosynthesis creating more green.

A couple shots of the garden and here are more pictures.

Videos from the 2/19 Berkeley TownHall on the Berkeley Post Office Lawsuit et al

  • Susan Hammer of the APWU on Postal Mail Processing Center closings.
  • Grey Brechin on the work of the National Post Office Collaborate.
  • Bryan Turner of the the National Trust for Historic Preservation on their Co-Lawsuit against the sale of the BPO.
  • Tony Rossman, attorney for the City of Berkeley, on the City’s lawsuit against the sale.

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Hello to All Who Love Gardens and Post Offices

You can learn more about our community garden here.

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We have designated Saturdays at noon as our garden support day and we also invite people to stop by anytime with some bottled water and give a drink to a thirsty plant.

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Berkeley Post Office Defenders and First They Came for the Homeless usually meet on Mondays at 6 30 pm at the Post Office encampment. All are welcome to join us. unnamed2