Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cherrybell Post Office Processing Center Facts (By Matthew Laos)

Facts about Cherrybell Post Office and Processing Center (From Matthew Laos)

The Tucson Metro Region’s population is approximately 33rd in the Nation and 2nd largest in the State; therefore the Cherrybell facility simply does not warrant being on the list due to its population size and geographic location. 

Cherrybell serves not only Tucson but Southern Arizona, covering a vast area and a population of close to 1.5 million people. It is the 15th largest processing center in the U.S. Postal Service system of more than 480, and it should be closed over ones in Wisconsin or Iowa? Closing a facility that serves more than 1.5 million in Tucson and the entire Southern Arizona area does not make any practical sense. Arizona has more population than Wisconsin, Iowa, Oregon, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Louisiana, South Carolina, but should have fewer processing centers. 

There are only 2 processing centers in Arizona: Phoenix and Tucson; so to close Cherrybell means all Southern Arizona mail must be driven up to Phoenix for processing adding a 2-3 day delay for Tucson and up to 3-5 days rurally.

The County estimated minimum losses are up to 400 jobs, $30 million in economic activity, and a $4.8 million loss in Federal, State, and Local tax revenues. This will only be magnified Statewide.

Any supposed costs savings that will be eaten up by increased delivery costs of trucking mail from Southern Arizona up to Phoenix.

Cherrybell processes over 3.2 million pieces of mail daily which contradicts any argument that it is not cost effective for USPS to operate. The idea that Phoenix can absorb capacity lacks reality as Tucson often takes on Phoenix overflow especially during critical periods of Holiday mail and Elections.

During a meeting with postal officials, Mike Varney who leads the Tucson Metro Chamber of Commerce posed the question about how the postal officials reached a conclusion that the 33rd largest city in the nation in the 15th largest state with a growing population, should have less processing facilities than the state of Wisconsin, with a declining population, for which under their proposal, would have five. The postal
officials could not answer this question.

This irrational closing means every business and non-profit loses bulk mail discounts and Tucson itself loses overnite mail delivery leaving the entire Southern Arizona region at a substantial economic disadvantage for retaining business and promoting new one.

Delivery service delays will dramatically affect Tucson Veterans, Seniors and disabled populations who rely on their needed prescriptions by mail and it will be worse for those living in Marana, Sahuarita, Nogales, Sierra Vista and the Tohono O’odham Nation. Arizona has a higher proportions of these groups then other States due to its climate and services for those populations. This action will degrade those services.

In Dec 2011, the USPS totally discounted the turnout of a beyond capacity crowd of over 700 Tucsonans at the Convention Center who came to express their anger to include local officials and business leaders. There were 1200 written comments and later a petition online with 1600 names and promises of more forums from USPS which never occurred.

Cherrybell directly impacts the University of Arizona, Pima Community College, Raytheon, Davis-Monthan, Ft. Huachuca, as well as, National Guard and Reserve Units, Homeland Security’s Border Patrol and Customs, Southern Arizona Veterans Administration, and other critical agencies from Federal, State, Counties and Cities. The loss of the Tucson postmark or misdirection of critical mail could be serious issue for these institutions and agencies.

The only argument a USPS representative provided to the AZ Daily Star for Cherrybell’s closure was that Phoenix has enough capacity supposedly to handle the closing and not vice versa. The USPS did no real study to suggest Phoenix is cost efficient for the entire State and can actually do the job required.

Arizona is more reliant on Vote by Mail for local elections then most states and it is considered a cost efficient and it has become highly popular form of doing elections by all political parties. No study has been done on this matter.

Prior Congressional bills affecting Cherrybell (Tucson P&DC) closure include H.R. 2309 Rep Issa, and S 1789 Sen Lieberman. The Senate version offers a comprehensive BRAC like closing process which would clearly demonstrate that Tucson should not be on the closure list if properly evaluated with objective criteria.

City of Tucson Hires International Economic Development Specialist


The City of Tucson is pleased to announce the hiring of Juan Francisco
Padrés as the new Economic Development Specialist for International
Trade.  This new position fulfills Mayor and Council's directive to
further the City's trade position with Mexico and other countries.

Vice Mayor Regina Romero said, "I am very happy.  This is an
important step for the City of Tucson.  The Mayor and Council
the importance of developing our business relationship with Mexico.
is an important economic development step for the City of Tucson and I
look forward to a productive relationship with Mr. Padrés.

Mr. Padrés currently works for a major bank in the Phoenix area, but
has many ties to Tucson including both undergraduate and Master of
Business Administration degrees from the University of Arizona.  Mr.
Padrés also owned a small business in Tucson giving him first-hand
experience with government regulations and permitting.  A native of
Nogales, Sonora, Mr. Padrés maintains many important relationships in

"It's a great opportunity for the City of Tucson for long term
sustainability," said Ward 5 Council Member Richard Fimbres.  "We
now have to compete globally and this is a move in the right

As Economic Development Specialist for International Trade, Mr. Padrés
duties will include increasing direct foreign investment from Mexico
in Tucson, assisting Tucson businesses to expand their operations into
Mexico, and identifying economic opportunities with other countries in
addition to Mexico. Mr. Padrés will begin his appointment on February
4, 2013 as part of the City Manager's office of Economic Initiatives.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


“I am proud to support the President and Vice President’s effort to combat gun violence in our country. In the aftermath of the tragic Newtown shooting, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), together with the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the FBI have worked to identify measures that could be taken to reduce the risk of mass casualty shootings. In the coming days, DHS will expand and formalize coordination of ongoing efforts intended to prevent future mass casualty shootings, improve preparedness, and to strengthen security and resilience in schools and other potential targets. DHS will work with partners at all levels of government, to address five critical areas intended to reduce the risk of mass casualty shootings in the United States: Prevention, Protection, Response, Education, and Research/Evaluation. DHS will also work with law enforcement to refresh, expand and prioritize the implementation of nationwide public awareness efforts such as the “If You See Something, Say Something™” campaign. This is a critical issue that requires immediate attention and I look forward to supporting the President and this Administration as we move ahead.”

Ward 5 Holiday Recognition Event


Summary of Current Events

This past Friday, January 11, the Caballeros del Sol held a celebration at the U of A Grand Ballroom to mark fifty years in existence and their work facilitating and promoting business relationships between Tucson, Arizona communities, neighboring states, and Mexico; provide a networking and business development vehicle for members; and make periodic trips to communities to promote commerce.

Congratulations to the Caballeros del Sol, and specifically to Mike Feder, Scott Polston, Tom Fisher and the oldest active member of the Cabs, Bob Webb, for their work and success.

On Thursday January 17, 5:30 to 7 pm, at the Quincie Douglas Center 1575 East 36th St., the Transportation Department will be holding an informational open house.  Join City of Tucson Transportation Department staff to learn about proposed striping changes to two road segments in the area:

36th Street between Campbell and Country Club, Park Avenue between Irvington and Valencia.

With the ongoing Pavement Preservation Program, the Department of Transportation has an opportunity to improve traffic safety through the re-striping of roadways.  Staff will make a presentation on the proposed changes and will be available to answer any questions.  Staff will also be on hand to discuss the other projects in the area including:

22nd Street & Kino Boulevard, Bridges Mixed-Use Master Planned Development at I-10 and Kino Parkway and The Retreat Student Housing

For more information call 791-2639.

On Thursday, January 10, the 273rd Adopt a Park was held in Ward 5 at the Pueblo Gardens Park.  Thanks to the work of the Rising Star Baptist Church Evangelism Team, the Park is a better place for all.

The Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association will be holding their 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Breakfast, January 19, at the Holmes Tuttle Boys and Girls Club
2585 E. 36th Street.  Doors open at 7:15 a.m., Breakfast served at 8:00 a.m., Program begins at 8:30 a.m.

This event is donation and raffle funded with funds, for which the proceeds are used to help young people with summer school, programs, band camps, etc. and to keep Dr. King's dream alive.  The Pueblo Gardens Neighborhood Association is the only neighborhood in the city to hold this event to honor the work of Dr. King.

The 2013 Martin Luther King Day March will take place on Monday, January 21, starting at 9 am on the University of Arizona Mall.  I hope to see you all there to walk to honor the work of Dr. King.