L.A. MAIL DELAYED FOR SIX DAYS, SAYS REPORT POSTAL SERVICE OFFICIAL DENIES SLOW SERVICE.
WASHINGTON -- An internal U.S. Postal Service report confirmed Thursday what many Angelenos already know: Mail service can be lousy.
The report -- sent anonymously to Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles -- provides a snapshot of a single day at the mail-processing plant in South Los Angeles.
On that day, May 4, first-class mail was delayed six days and periodicals were delayed as much as 10 days as postal officials consistently and significantly underestimated the amount of mail requiring processing, the report shows.
Waxman, who has battled the situation for months amid complaints from constituents, demanded Thursday that officials review the delays and recommend ways to fix the problem.
``For some time now, constituents in my congressional district and surrounding districts have complained of receiving first-class letters and magazines late,'' Waxman wrote in a letter to U.S. Postal Service Inspector David C. Williams.
Waxman aides said the Los Angeles plant long has suffered transportation problems and staffing shortages.
But postal officials defended service, saying the report was outdated and the delays cited in it were due to equipment changes and maintenance problems.
``We have since minimized delayed mail at the plant and continue to monitor mail volume levels so that we can keep to our service commitments,'' said Don A. Smeraldi, a U.S Postal Service spokesman for the Pacific region.
``Mail is moving out to Los Angeles area post offices for delivery to our customers as quickly as possible,'' he said.
Postal officials did not provide a more current report on the status of mail delays.
Smeraldi, however, said the latest report on operations since Saturday shows no delays at the Los Angeles office for either first-class or priority mail.
He did acknowledge, however, that there were some two-day delays for periodicals and five-day delays for standard mail service.
The internal report for May 4 obtained by Waxman showed at least 78,000 pieces of first-class mail were delayed at the Los Angeles plant on May 4, 2006. The plant had estimated only 1,000 pieces of mail would be delayed.
That underestimation resulted in delays of up to six days, though it is unclear what percentage of mail was delayed that long.
Similarly, periodicals were delayed 10 days.
Mail delays have been an ongoing issue in the Los Angeles area.
In March, Waxman met with Postmaster General John Potter, and a congressional hearing on postal delivery problems nationwide could be held later this year.
But Waxman said residents in his district have seen little improvement.
``In fact,'' he wrote, ``recent reports from my constituents have included receipt of mail as much as 14 days after their postmark.''
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Aug 4, 2006|
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