Sunday, September 25, 2011

Around Town: So what about a 9.10.12 event?

Last Saturday’s “once-in-a-century” citywide 9.10.11 event was awesome. Why don’t we do it again next year?

On Saturday, Sept.10, the city’s ZIP code matched the date. To celebrate, there were open houses, with free admission at Descanso Gardens, the Crescenta-Cañada Family YMCA, Lanterman House and Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The La Cañada Thursday Club, of course, hosted a tea. There were also volunteer opportunities throughout our town.

The 9.10.11 event was so much fun, let’s schedule a repeat on 9.10.12.

The ZIP code for the La Cañada Post Office is “91012.” That’s a great excuse for another party.

The only hitch is the United States Postal Service, which recently announced that it is on the verge of a default. Already projected to lose more than $7 billion this year, the USPS, according to Politico, “is maxed out on its $12 billion line of credit with the Treasury Department and could default on a $5.5 billion payment it must make to a retiree health benefits fund by month’s end.”

If the United States Postal Service is still in business next year, we could have a 9.l0.12 celebration. If the USPS defaults next month, we will be out of luck.

There are a lot of retirement funds to cover because there are more than 574,000 USPS employees. The postal service is the second largest employer in the U.S.

How could this happen? How did the postal service get into hock? Don’t they get royalties from “Men in Black II,” “The Postman Rings Twice” and “Seinfeld”? Don’t they make money selling stamps?

Plus the junk mail, the ultimate money maker. According to Ad Age, “Junk mail may be the last hope for saving the USPS.” That’s why La Cañada Flintridge, a direct-mail marketing paradise, is single-handedly saving the postal service.

I can’t walk down to the mailbox empty handed. I need a trash bag for the junk mail. Except for the Restoration Hardware catalog and the Dish coupons, the junk mail is a total waste. Maybe JPL should invent a way to use junk mail as biofuel, which would be simpler than soaking it in the bath tub to make junk mail fireplace logs.

Unlike street delivery, which is always addressed to the 91011, the post office boxes, which use the 91012 ZIP code, do not have this junk mail problem. The postal service workers will stuff the P.O. boxes with junk, but the direct marketers dislike post box addresses. For the exceptional flier that slips through, there’s a trash can a few feet from the entrance, which is easier than standing on the street, next to the rural mailbox, sorting out the junk mail.

Hope is on the way. The White House wants to include the USPS in the deficit-reduction package that it will submit to Congress. This will help the post office survive until at least Sept. 10, 2012.

We can celebrate again, next year. On 9.10.12.

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