If you receive your Northshore Star by mail, you probably won’t read this message until Friday.
That’s because the U.S. Postal Service has told us to change the way we’ve been delivering your newspaper through the mail. Although various postal officials first authorized us to take the papers directly from the press to Lago Vista, we have now been told that Lago Vista only has a postal station — not a post office — so it cannot accept publications sent as bulk mail.
Delivering directly to the Lago Vista station before 6 a.m. enabled local postal employees to put the Star in the hands of carriers right away so you would have it only hours after it was printed.
Now we must drive through Lago Vista to the Leander Post Office where the newspapers are unloaded and processed. Rather than leaving them for the postal service to ship to Austin, sort and then send to Lago Vista, we reload and take them ourselves to avoid any further delays.
However, because the Leander Post Office will not process bulk mail — including newspapers — earlier than 10 a.m., we cannot possibly return to Leander before carriers have left on their routes.
But before you blame the U.S. Postal Service for this stupidity, you need to know more.
And when you begin asking questions, you will learn, as we have, that this kind of business-hostile bureaucratic waste is actually an unintended — we hope —- consequence of Congressional micro-management. Although it hasn’t managed to repeal a legal requirement that projected postal pensions be prepaid 50 years in advance — an insane practice that has cost the service tens of billions and may be its greatest obstacle to solvency — Congress has found time to decide exactly how mail should be handled.
If thought preceded this legislation preventing smaller postal facilities from handling bulk mailings, it apparently involved the possibility that a dollar or two might escape if they did not rigorously administer the multifarious regulations the USPS is struggling under.
So while the postal service is trying to increase revenue and efficiency, Congress has it discouraging new revenue for the kind of small facilities people are struggling to keep open, shipping time-sensitive mail like newspapers all over the country when they could be delivered faster, easier and cheaper, and forcing business people to consider taking their delivery business elsewhere.
We have appealed this issue to regional postal authorities in San Antonio. However, their arguments that they have little flexibility are convincing.
The Northshore Star is your newspaper. You understand the importance of a newspaper to the future growth and vitality of your community and you came together to make sure you have one. To make sure it fulfills its potential, we encourage you to join us in asking your Senators and Congressman to rectify this problem by allowing newspapers and other timely mail to be processed at the point nearest their delivery.
Roy E. Bode
President & Publisher
How to reach your federal representatives:
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, 517 Hart Senate Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20510, Phone: 202.224.2934, Fax: 202.228.2856 or Austin Office, Chase Tower, 221 W. 6th Street, Suite 1530, Austin, TX 78701, Phone: 512.469.6034, Fax: 512.469.6020
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, 185 Dirksen Senate, Office Building, Washington, DC 20510, Phone: 202.224.5922, or Austin Office, 300 E. 8th. Street, Suite 961, Austin, TX 78701, Phone: 512.916.5834
U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, Dist. 25, 1122 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 25015, Phone: 202.225.9896, or 1005 Congress Ave. Suite 928, Austin, TX 78701