no, they are NOT kidding
You won't *believe* what the Post Office has done to us now.
Wait until you hear about the million pieces of mail the Post Office just "discovered."
And the five truckloads of "improperly packaged" mail that's driving back and forth between Ohio and Washington.
And the voice mail system that doesn't accept voice mails.
And the new BRE facility that can't be contacted.
As you know, the national office has been suffering from a "Mail Embargo" since October 19.
Because of the anthrax attack and the deadly contamination at nearby Brentwood Post Office, delivery of our incoming mail stopped completely.
For more than three weeks, we didn't get any Business Reply Envelopes (BREs) -- except for one small, hand-processed batch on November 1.
BREs are how we get most of our donations. So the Mail Embargo caused a financial flatline. Zero incoming donations.
After two weeks, we started getting some First Class mail, routed through Virginia and Maryland.
But First Class mail contains only a handful of small donations and new memberships. It's not enough to run the headquarters of a national political party.
Thanks to your generous online contributions and our regular monthly pledgers, we've been able to pay our urgent bills, and stay afloat.
We didn't panic. The Post Office seemed to be taking appropriate steps to resolve the crisis.
After lethal anthrax spores were discovered at the Brentwood Post Office:
* The facility was shut down for decontamination.
* Backlogged mail was trucked to Titan Scan Technologies in Lima, Ohio to get blasted with electron beams.
* New irradiation equipment was scheduled to be installed at Brentwood on November 1, to sterilize new mail.
The Post Office seemed to have a good plan.
We were confident we'd get our mail (old and new) by early November.
This week, everything changed.
* Washington radio station WTOP reported the Post Office has "discovered" an additional one million pieces of mail that needs to be irradiated.
One million! How can you lose a million pieces of mail?
* The Washington Times reported on November 10 that five truckloads of contaminated mail have been sent BACK from Ohio because they weren't packaged properly.
That's right: Eighteen trucks of mail were sent to Ohio for irradiation. Now, five have been sent back.
Even worse: The trucks "sat for TWO WEEKS before being sent back," reported the Times.
Two weeks! How can five trucks sit for two weeks and nobody notice?
Worse yet: The Brentwood facility still hasn't reopened -- because the Post Office can't figure out how to decontaminate it.
According to the Times: "Postal officials say they don't expect Brentwood to reopen anytime soon."
"We're still working out the details of how to decontaminate it," said Deputy Postmaster John Nolan.
Working out the details! Buildings all over Washington are being decontaminated, and the Post Office can't figure out how to do it?
But what about our new BREs? What about the mail that came in *after* Brentwood closed?
It's being processed somewhere else, right?
To find out, LP Operations Director Nick Dunbar called the Post Office.
The phone rang endlessly. Then he got a recording: "No one is available to take your call. Please leave a message."
He pushed the appropriate button. He got another recording: "We are not accepting voice mails at this time."
Nick didn't give up. He called Post Office headquarters. He finally got a live person.
Nick was told that a temporary BRE sorting facility has been set up in downtown Washington, on V Street.
"What's their phone number?" Nick asked. "I need to call and find out when we'll get our new BREs."
"They don't have a phone," he was told.
No phone! The ONE facility processing BREs in Washington -- and they don't have a phone?
Up to this point, we haven't engaged in any Post Office "bashing."
We were willing to be patient because two Post Office workers died from anthrax. This wasn't a phony crisis. It was real. People were dying.
And I thought the Post Office was taking sensible steps.
Boy, was I wrong! Now, they've proven themselves to be just another government agency. Incompetent. Slow. Unreachable. Utterly inept.
Even worse, because they are a quasi-government entity, we have no legal recourse.
If this was FedEx, we could sue them for not delivering our mail.
But this is the Post Office. They're protected from legal liability by law.
Legally, the Post Office doesn't have to deliver your mail -- EVER. And if it doesn't, there's nothing you can do about it. Zilch.
Listen: I didn't want to write another one of these emergency appeals. In fact, I apologize for having to do so.
This is NOT what I want to spend my time doing.
I was positive this crisis would be resolved by now.
It's not. Thanks to the bungling Post Office, there's no end in sight.
Steve Dasbach Libertarian Party National Director
The Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org/ 2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 voice: 202-333-0008 Washington DC 20037 fax: 202-333-0072
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