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Rethink Pojoaque mail decision

Somebody at the U.S. Postal Service has some explaining to do.

For the past four years, the Postal Service had been providing mail service for 500-600 customers in the Pojoaque Valley by making deliveries to a single spot – a big “cluster” of mail boxes on Pojoaque Pueblo, in the middle of the shopping district off U.S. 84-285.

Now the Postal Service says it will stop making home deliveries to “a majority” of those customers – the rest will have to go to a so-far undesignated “local” post office miles away to get mail.

For the information of those in the not-from-here postal hierarchy that doubtless made the no-delivery decision, Pojoaque is hardly a remote rural enclave in the middle of nowhere.

The census, in fact, includes Pojoaque and surroundings in the Santa Fe-Española-Los Alamos nexus that constitutes one of the state’s few bona fide metropolitan areas.

Moreover, Pojoaque area residents in the last several years have already put up with quite a lot of other post office nonsense. First, the Pojoaque post office was closed, in 2008, after nearly 40 years of operation. Then it was reconstituted but only as a “temporary” station. Then the 500 or so boxes in the now-threatened cluster were built, apparently at taxpayer expense, to provide for more efficient mail delivery.

Now what? It’s hard to tell. Who, how many and where those eligible for home delivery isn’t clear; not clear either is why the cash-strapped federal agency suddenly finds it expedient to go back to time-consuming and doubtless more expensive home delivery just a few years after the more economical cluster of boxes was installed.

The postal honchos hasten to clarify that people who don’t qualify for home delivery in Pojoaque can use another handy post office to get mail. Would that be Los Alamos? Or maybe Española? That’s closer to Pojoaque, but it’s also completely out of the way for those hundreds, even thousands, of north county residents whose daily commute takes them in another direction, to Santa Fe or Los Alamos. Santa Fe itself is some 20 away, which amounts to that 40-mile round trip for the mail. Again, that’s only convenient if you happen to also work in the capital city.

Given the national uproar after the post office tried to stop Saturday mail deliveries, we don’t envy the fate of postal officials if any of them show up to meet with north-county residents tonight to explain the termination of convenient mail delivery in their area.

This is one decision that definitely deserves a re-think.

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