Privatizing the postal system—a declared goal of the Republican Party — has led to the sale of hundreds of historic post offices, over 1,100 of which were built under the New Deal. Public opposition to the scheme has been growing nationwide, with the Living New Deal playing a significant role.
In response to the outcry, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has issued a report to Congress expressing “significant concerns” about the lack of transparency and accountability by which the USPS is transferring public property to private ownership.
The Council’s recommendations include a moratorium on the sale of historic post offices around the country and greater protection for the New Deal artworks ornamenting many of the 1930s post offices that, the report notes, “captured the American scene and transformed the post office into a truly democratic art gallery.”
CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate company, has an exclusive contract to sell USPS properties, valued at around $105 billion. A recent expose found that CBRE is largely owned by Richard Blum, husband of Senator Dianne Feinstein and has led to several Inspector Generals’ investigations.
Widespread citizen action to preserve the postal system includes a landmark lawsuit brought by the National Post Office Collaborate in Berkeley, California that blocked the sale of the historic post office in Stamford, Connecticut.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Berkeley has become the epicenter of opposition to the sell off.
The ACHP is comprised of presidential appointees, but as its name implies, is merely advisory. It remains to be seen whether its prestige will alter the rouge course of the USPS.