P.O. October Overview

BCG Post Office Report

Updated Oct. 18, 2023

John Borg / Save Bolinas Post Office




This report updates status and review of the Bolinas Post Office crisis, which I originally presented at the Bolinas Civic Group meeting, Oct. 11, 2023. It addresses key facts, presents some troubling findings related to how we got here, objective analysis on how the situation has been handled, and ends with next steps we’re taking now -- and further potential actions we’re preparing for -- should the closure continue with no clear plan or timeline for resolution. We apologize for this long-form summary, which is about a 20-minute read, but it’s a complicated issue, we’re at a critical point, and there is a lot to review and document for the public record.



To Save the Bolinas Post Office, our immediate goal continues to be establishing an interim postal facility at Mesa Park, as we work towards the longer-term objective of securing a more permanent facility in town. After a month of very promising feedback and progress with USPS facilities staff on our interim facility proposal, the plan was inexplicably stalled last month, due to previously undisclosed -- and, some might suggest, excessive -- new size requirements. The size and specs of our original plan had already approved by the USPS Real Estate, Facilities and Architect team to meet current and future demand. We were close to securing a lease to get the project started. The last-minute objections that stalled our plan were completely were unforeseen. The new size specifications required for our proposed emergency interim postal facility now actually exceed the square footage of the previous Brighton Avenue space. Regardless, we immediately updated our plan to meet that demand. We’re working via multiple channels to get the interim plan back on track, but so far the USPS has been slow to respond. 



While our main goal is to re-engage and get a post office back, at this point in the crisis, it is also incumbent on us to take a closer look at how this all transpired, and gather additional stories and data related to mismanagement and performance-related problems that have delayed real progress towards our reasonable and achievable goals. This documentation will support further investigation, and more drastic actions that we may ultimately be forced to take, should we face further delays and burdens.


Given severe impacts, lack of progress, and questionable decisions and priorities by our postmaster and postal officials, we’re seeking additional formal Bolinas citizen documentation regarding any misinformation, mismanagement, lost mails, impacts of degraded service, or suspicious interactions with officials over the past year. We have developed a few new online forms that you can complete for this effort, and we may need to follow up with respondents and further consolidate reporting plans moving forward. We appreciate that so many citizens have already attended meetings, written letters, filled out forms, and sent us notes and reports. Unfortunately, the additional level of documentation is required to bolster existing data, hold officials more accountable, and ultimately help us achieve our objectives.



It’s important to present this report in depth -- given seemingly unending, unforeseen, and perhaps unnecessary delays and setbacks -- as well as questionable justifications and alternative narratives that’ve been cultivated on this matter, which should be countered.


Over a period of eight months of personal experiences and observations, countless documented reports from impacted citizens, review of hundreds of social media posts, written correspondence and postal service complaints, extensive outreach and research, and engagement with qualified Postal Service experts who’ve advised us on this matter, the citizens most deeply involved in this issue have seen a pattern emerge among local Postal Service representatives, including: poor performance, mismanagement, questionable priorities, burdensome and arbitrary decisions, avoidable delays and lack of urgency, inadequate clarity and communication, ignoring feedback from elected officials and impacted patrons, lack of engagement where it’s most needed, failure to consistently represent the welfare of all customers, and failure to protect and provide reasonable access to our mail, parcels and retail postal services, according to the stated mission and obligations of the USPS. We are investigating additional issues that we cannot yet publicly report.



We’re grateful that the Postal Service maintains a public commitment to return a physical post office to Bolinas, but it all seems very tenuous. Securing a new permanent Bolinas post office using standard postal facility sourcing protocols could take years, due to our lack of available commercial space. We advised the postal service of this long ago, and with great clarity. After all we have faced, and with respect, it is reasonable for our community to press for more urgency from the USPS. We request specific goals and a projected timeline on establishing a new facility, so the situation is not so open-ended, and we have baseline milestones to target and track.


We’ve clearly communicated our priorities and the challenges and impacts of this closure on our citizens, including our most vulnerable residents. We’ve tried to be pragmatic problems solvers, deliberately minimizing public criticism of how this matter has been handled, despite many troubling reports to us from citizens. We’ve appealed sincerely and overwhelmingly with our hearts, in the interest of maintaining a positive relationship with USPS decision makers. In retrospect, recent developments seem to suggest that our strong public engagement campaign, and our choice to refrain from calling out questionable decisions and handling of this issue, may have actually emboldened even more operational antics, burdens and delays that crush consensus priorities and support competing solutions favored by the USPS. Our postmaster, who many believe is at the heart of this crisis, has actually been recently promoted and given even more power, authority and control over operations. So, we now feel compelled to address criticisms and concerns head on.



If there are credible responses to our analysis from USPS officials, we’re willing to hear them. But based on opaque, unclear and guarded agency responses to date, our level of trust has already been compromised. We understand and sympathize that times are tough for the USPS. But after the unnecessarily burdensome and prolonged way this issue has been handled and miscommunicated from the start, Bolinas postal patrons deserve to see real action, timelines and results. We urge the USPS to focus harder on expediting our plan for an interim -- and then permanent -- postal facility, in Bolinas. And, any other possible changes to our delivery protocols, including so-called “home delivery” or installation of cluster boxes, should be further considered or advanced only after plans for a new post office are approved and underway. We urge residents and businesses, for the time being, to reject these solutions as well until more information is provided. Our interim facility plan should be in progress, and the full implications of these other changes should be more clearly scrutinized and understood by the entire community before we can support them on a consensus basis.


By addressing this delicate issue head-on, we make ourselves vulnerable to criticism. If recent tendencies continue, our observations here will likely be picked apart in a quibbling fashion, dismissed as misinformed, denounced as unjust personal attacks, or condemned as a lack of cooperation by the community. We will likely hear responses or excuses framed in “lease dispute”, “mail service improvements”, “operational needs”, “issues beyond our control”, or otherwise obscured in an impenetrable bureaucratic void that postal officials involved know is nearly impossible for Bolinas citizens to pierce or confirm. We have accumulated facts, as best we can, and will to continue to collect data, piece together the timeline, and prepare for potential further actions down the line -- should they be required.


We only wish our friends at the post office would be as public and clear as we are. Had there been more public engagement and transparency, as we had requested from the start, we most certainly would not be where we are today.



We acknowledge that the circumstances of our “temporary post office closure” aren’t normal, and represent a complicated set of issues to resolve in a period of postal restructuring. But after our towns' unprecedented organization, engagement and clarity on creating an achievable and affordable plan prioritizing the restoration of a physical post office facility in Bolinas -- we should, absolutely, by now be well on our way to a new interim Bolinas post office. 


Instead, the sign leading into downtown Bolinas now reminds us that it’s been 230 days and counting without a post office -- and, STUNNINGLY, we are moving backwards, and further away from service, with mail pick up moved back to Olema. 


Beyond all the issues we’ve already faced, and after the recent brutal mandate forcing us again to travel further out of town just to pick up our mail, recent reports surfaced that hundreds of Bolinas citizens have lost, or are at risk of losing, their PO Box -- with NO CHANCE to get a new Bolinas or Stinson Beach PO Box. 


This is yet another in a disturbing trendline of hasty, arbitrary, and poorly communicated operational decisions, apparently orchestrated by our postmaster, with support from the USPS District 1 office. No matter what the formal public justification, it’s bewildering under the circumstances that the post office would make these kind of continued punishing decisions -- literally taking away service amidst a crisis in such a subjective and questionable manner. We have heard of Bolinas citizens, who held the same PO box for decades, being told that their box has been cancelled and permanently lost -- with no reasonable or effective prior warning or notice. Again, this latest episode requires further investigation. We urge the postmaster and postal service to immediately review this matter, and work to remedy the situation and return PO Boxes to any impacted citizens.


Despite leading with compassion, spending hundreds of volunteer hours creating a positive Bolinas-style Postal Service appeal campaign -- including close to 1700 signatures on a viral petition, well over a thousand individually-written appeal letters, countless public meetings, a passionate and well-attended local rally, a forceful proclamation by the full Marin county Board of Supervisors, backing from our elected congressional representative in DC, multiple editorials and press coverage supporting us across all media … AND…despite developing flexible and informed turn-key interim facility plan, lining up support and consensus from all relevant agencies, officials, neighbors and even postal facility staff … DESPITE ALL THIS, and MORE…we’ve been seemingly blocked at every turn, with a blanket response to “sign up for home delivery” shoved down our throats.


We have emphasized from the start that we want to work with all levels of the U.S. Postal Service to resolve this matter in a transparent & collaborative public planning process -- where Bolinas citizens are given clear and timely information, and an opportunity to provide relevant input on decisions -- as is legally required by postal service guidelines, under normal circumstances, when a post office is suspended, discontinued or targeted for closure. This has not happened. Why?



While our debilitating “temporary closure” may involve unique circumstances, and has been framed by officials as an “emergency” measure, we have information that suggests that it may have been mishandled from the start. Perhaps we all could have avoided this entire mess if more thoughtful and prudent courses of action were taken, or the public was given more reasonable warning.


Did the postal service do all it could to resolve any lease disputes and renew the lease? It’s hard to know because the USPS has provided very little information on this issue. What it has disclosed about vacating the space is carefully worded and somewhat misleading, essentially placing all the blame on the landlord, which may not be fully accurate. Since suspending operations at Bolinas, why hasn’t the postal service arranged for more regular clarifying written updates -- or even a single public community information meeting? Regardless of how or why the closure transpired, under these extremely burdensome circumstances and after exhaustive community reports on impacts and efforts to engage on a viable path to resolution, why has the USPS not acted with more urgency? Why has it not been more accommodating and flexible in responding to our viable solution for a local facility that provides mail and retail services with ease, convenience, and security for all?



With respect, and without getting personal, when one objectively explores the timeline and series of events of this crisis, we see a pattern of mismanagement, incompetence, questionably justified decisions, and misplacement of priorities. 


There is no question that our postmaster and district officials have countered our clear priority requests to return our Bolinas post office with an absolute and unending emphasis on so-called home delivery and cluster boxes -- which, in truth, have complicated our efforts, rather than complimented them. Every single USPS formal public response, every time our service is further compromised or a formal postal patron complaint has been registered, there has been a clearly coordinated talking point emphasis on “…if you are unhappy with Bolinas postal service, you can help us solve this by contacting your postmaster for home delivery…” No emphasis on our more critical interim facility plan!


We don’t doubt that our postmaster is hard-working and his position is challenging. But his handling of this crisis is certainly very questionable, and it’s somewhat shocking that after the chaos we have faced here he’s actually been rewarded by superiors, who gave him a recent promotion and even greater power, responsibility and authority in West Marin. As of mid-August, he is postmaster of BOTH Bolinas and Stinson Beach.


Many neighbors personally like Roosevelt. He’s charming, personable, smart, experienced and appears confident and credibly informed on postal issues and protocols. He even delivers mail directly to select business and individuals, which burnishes his image among some -- but, unfortunately, has also led to some unnecessary division in our town. The friendly public face and hopeful rhetoric reflect a commitment to serving our Bolinas, but the empty promises, questionable explanations and statements, lack of robust public engagement, and troubling handling of this crisis behind-the-scenes reflect otherwise. Some have suggested that his operational decisions speak to an emphasis on delivering fiscal and service cuts prioritized by the beleaguered postal service -- such as cluster boxes -- rather than serving the more vital and immediate postal needs of this vulnerable little community. 


Our postmaster has wide discretion and operational authority, and limited oversight in our unincorporated town. Under his direction, we’ve experienced a series of arbitrary and rigid adherence to some USPS rules and regulations in ways that further inconvenience us -- and that, coincidentally, also dishearten Bolinas postal patrons and could gin up interest in the postmaster’s aggressive drive for cluster boxes.  Some of these postal mandates -- often framed as “service improvements” -- actually ignore the fundamental mission of the postal service, which is to allow every community to have a post office and reasonable and accessible levels of postal service.




Most Bolinas residents can only pick up mail at their Bolinas post office box. Cluster boxes, or so-called “home delivery” solutions, have been prioritized by the postmaster. These alternatives may be part of a broader restructure in town and may work for some and in parallel with our consensus priorities. However, they’ve never been presented in detail publicly or in writing -- unlike our own interim facility plans. The pitch for cluster boxes has been made almost exclusively to individuals, who may not be told the full story or understand the full implications. Again, our critical priority is returning our post office, not installing cluster boxes around town. We believe they should not be considered until our interim facility is on track and more complete information is provided.


Parts of the largely unpaved street grid in Bolinas is less suitable for conventional home mail delivery. But for decades portions of Bolinas have had and continue to have roadside mailbox home delivery. An example is the series of mailboxes seen along Olema-Bolinas Road, from the Nursery to the Peace Barn. This type of Bolinas home delivery is managed by a contracted outside carrier, not by USPS employees, drivers, or letter carriers. 


Our postmaster asked residents to sign up for “home delivery” after the post office closed. Many residents filled out inquiry forms more than 7 months ago. Yet, so far, to our knowledge, no new formal “home delivery” routes have been established. Our understanding, from postal experts advising us, is that there is a specific process for the USPS to expand or update rural delivery routes, like the existing one in Bolinas. But it appears more than 7 months into this crisis, the contracted Bolinas delivery carrier has not been involved in expanding the existing Bolinas home delivery route, as would be expected. Instead, the postmaster established his own unofficial Bolinas mail delivery route, separate from the existing contracted route, which serves select homes and some influential local businesses and organizations. He provides this special service to limited customers that he personally chooses, spending hours each day as a carrier, delivering mail throughout Bolinas in a postal jeep. This is not a standard way to do things. It suggests the promise of “home delivery”, but is not a permanent or sustainable solution. It certainly benefits some residents who needn’t travel out of town for mail -- but it does not benefit all, nor equally. It’s yet another questionable use of the postmaster’s limited time, resources and priorities. The unclear and suspect execution of this “home delivery” issue requires further scrutiny, review of why the existing contract mail street service has apparently not yet been involved, and we are looking into it. 


What’s more, some Bolinas postal patrons who signed up for “home delivery”, have instead been lobbied by the postmaster for permission to install a cluster box unit (CBU) on their property. Cluster boxes are not the same as “home delivery”, but the term is still sometimes confusingly used to describe this mail delivery option. The post office defines cluster boxes as free-standing, pedestal mounted metal mailboxes containing, 8, 12, 16 or more individual mailboxes. They can be scattered around town and require permission to be installed on private property. The postal service has told citizens and elected officials that so-called “home delivery” and cluster boxes are an important part of solving mail problems in Bolinas. As noted, the postmaster has been enthusiastically lobbying public and private property owners for permission to install them on their land as the crisis has continued. According to public reports, installing permanent cluster boxes is one way the Postal Service can change legacy delivery protocols and cut both staff and costs. The agency has reportedly been pushing for this altered delivery approach in rural areas throughout the country. 


We have been assured repeatedly by our postmaster that these cluster box plans will not impact the return of our post office -- yet representatives in the real estate and facilities departments have told us, flatly, that if enough cluster boxes are installed in town it could absolutely jeopardize a return of our post office. 


The longer we are without a post office in town, the harder it will be to return. For all we know, the Postal Service could eventually abandon its commitment to return a permanent post office if the closure continues, if our interim facility plan is ignored or further delayed, and if a new facility can’t be secured over some arbitrary period of time.


There is misinformation being spread to citizens, and maybe even to higher level postal decision makers, that our town “does not want an interim post office”, or there are various “problems” with our interim facility plan. Some who don’t know the full story may believe this. We know that a small minority of Bolinas residents, who have been given direct personalized home delivery and special attention from our postmaster, have been encouraged to express this. 


We invite all citizens to look at this issue and our proposal in depth. If anyone questions anything this grassroots community group is doing, please reach out to us, objectively review our campaign, our plans, our flexibility and our consensus. This type of division and cultivated disinformation is simply untrue for the vast majority of our town.




Our detailed, 11-page Mesa Park Interim Facility plan was developed by citizens in conjunction with the Bolinas Public Utilities District. It was informed by our town’s mail volume requirements, and direct feedback from USPS representatives, community agencies, emergency services, and a renowned national expert and CEO of a company that leases 600 locations to the USPS. The plan was reviewed by our postmaster during a design committee meeting in early June, and he expressed general support and no critiques or concerns to the plan during an ensuing June 14 public meeting. He continued to mainly lobby his separate solution for cluster boxes and so-called home delivery. Our plan was elevated to the highest level of the postal service. It received encouraging USPS feedback. It garnered momentum, including weekly meetings with officials from USPS Real Estate, Facilities and Architect Team. This Postal Service team actually scoped, sized, planned and approved our Mesa Park Interim Post Office plan. It met current and future functional and operational requirements, according to the experts involved, and we were days from getting a lease draft. Then, suddenly and mysteriously, the effort was put on hold, due to previously undisclosed “operational” deficiencies. It seems these objections should have been addressed by our postmaster, in charge of local operations, earlier. Or, if he really supported the project, he could have intervened on some level to express support. We have since updated the proposal, but the delay has been a significant setback.



Here are select facts and findings on decisions to vacate the Post Office and subsequent performance issues we have seen:


• Mishandled Lease Dispute --It appears the USPS was never formally evicted, had a case to fight any potential eviction proceeding or delay vacating the space, and could have negotiated with more urgency to stay in the original Post Office building and avoid this whole mess.


This is the original sin that led to a cascade of problems. Yes, there was a lease dispute, including a letter threatening to force out the post office, after it had occupied the same leasehold space since it was built, more than 60 years ago. Such negotiating tactics are not at all uncommon in real estate, according to attorneys and professional leasing agents with whom we have engaged. This kind of language is a common way to get leverage in negotiations. The owner of the building may have had reasonable concerns, and is known to be a tough negotiator. But no matter the level of bluster, the communication that the postal service sites for ceasing operations and vacating was not binding. The lease still could have been resolved. While there were, indeed, issues to work out, to our knowledge, there was never a formal eviction notice or process, which would be required to force the post office out. Our understanding, based on the most recent information from the landlord’s attorney and others, is that the dispute could have potentially been resolved. Instead, the postal officials made the decision to end negotiations, suspend operations, and move out -- and they have since continued to blame this whole fiasco on the lease dispute.


Let’s explore this a bit closer.


On February 10, our postmaster was advised by an attorney in writing that the Bolinas Post Office could not be locked out based on a warning letter during a lease negotiation. He urged the postmaster and postal service to stay in the space and defend any formal eviction proceeding, should one ever occur. To force removal, the landlord would need to send an eviction notice, file an unlawful detainer suit, serve it, and then go to court and get a judgement of possession. This would take time, and because postal facilities have special lease protections, there was a strong case to remain and work it out. Any eviction suit could be defended for several reasons, including the need for our town to have essential postal service, and recent improvements made to the property by the postal service to stay in the lease. Even if such a defense ultimately failed, assuming a formal eviction notice was ultimately served, it would have bought months of extra time to warn residents, or pursue alternative service solutions in Bolinas, such as our interim facility plan.  


On Feb 16, our postmaster replied to the attorney: “I have yet to hear of any official notice from the landlord’s attorney in regard to the lease. Our mindset is business as usual here at the Bolinas Post Office. Thank you for the information.”



The very next day, Feb. 17, the postal service sent out a press release stating that our post office was closing and moving to Olema.  


To reiterate, on Feb. 10, our postmaster is advised of viable legal reasons to stay in the space. On Feb. 16 our postmaster tells the advising attorney, he has had no notice on the lease from landlord, and it’s business as usual at the Bolinas Post Office. And the very next day, on Feb. 17, the postal service announces to the public that it is vacating the space!  


Walking away from lease negotiations and calling it “failing to secure a lease” is a choice that is not the same as being evicted. Further, plans to vacate a post office and arrange relocation to a different facility 15 miles up the road does not happen in one day, nor without the direct involvement of the postmaster in charge. 


The departure plan was obviously in the works. The postal service’s lack of full and timely disclosure about the lease dispute and discussions, and the postmaster’s deceptive response to the advising attorney, is typical of a pattern of misleading information provided to the public on this matter. Our postmaster has been careful to limit written communication to patrons, preferring verbal responses that he knows are harder to document and leave no paper trail. We have this particular exchange in writing.


Further, in late May, the landlord’s attorney told the Marin Independent Journal that the landlord had been open to negotiating a new lease agreement, but the USPS “never acknowledged or responded to our terms for a new lease.” Instead of trying to stay and work it out -- given the predicted dire repercussions we have since faced once they left -- the postal service chose to cease communications, suspend operations, and vacate. The postmaster intimated in subsequent verbal explanations with postal patrons that they were forced out, and that it was a sudden decision by the landlord, and out of their control. This murky series of events has led to a chain reaction further diminishing service to Bolinas customers, including a lack of proper facilities, lack of adequate parcel storage, shortage of functional Bolinas PO Boxes, and a slew of other problems that have made matters much worse and could have potentially been avoided or delayed, if handled differently. 


• Not telling Superiors about challenges finding new location in Bolinas, or having an accessible Bolinas alternative lined up.


Our postmaster had served in his position since 2018, and knew the dynamics of Bolinas well before the protracted lease negotiations on the Brighton Avenue space. He was aware that Bolinas had very limited -- really no -- viable options for a new post office location. This should have been part of the calculus of how to handle any lease dispute, and avoid the crisis in the first place. Yet, based on a phone conversation we had in April with a USPS district official, our lack of viable real estate was, remarkably, not even a consideration.


Roosevelt may not have been directly responsible for lease negotiations, but he had been communicating directly with the landlord’s attorney. Questions remain as to whether he ever properly informed his superiors or the leasing team of the lack of viable commercial real estate options in Bolinas before they moved out, or the severe long-term service disruptions that would likely result.


• Mishandling Transition from Bolinas to Olema and Stinson Beach.


Despite being on a month-to-month lease for a year and a protracted dispute, as well as options to remain in the space for reasons stated above, there was less than 2 weeks public notice of closure. There was no clearly identified alternative location. No information on duration of closure, and no easy path to bring the post office back home. Lack of information led to chaos and confusion. Moving to Olema, then Stinson Beach, and then back to Olema, after months of clear objections to the inconvenience, are questionable decisions. It further burdened postal patrons and ignored our best interests and pleas to work towards other, less drastic, alternatives. After months of impacts, and our unprecedented engagement and support with key stakeholders, there should be a stronger focus on prioritizing the Mesa Park interim facility plan.


•High Degree of Returned Mail and Packages.


The postmaster instituted a somewhat confusing new policy for how to address letters and mails to Bolinas prior to the closure. There may have been justifiable reasons to minimize misaddressed mail, but the fact is, postal patrons cannot always control how mail and parcels are addressed -- even if they specifically request that third party senders address mail exactly as detailed in this new requirement. Further, some vital public services, such as Pacific Gas & Electric, and many online product ordering platforms, simply do not allow the delivery address to be filled out exactly according to these new rules. 


The postmaster has discretion on how to resolve misaddressed mail, and whenever possible or practical, the priority is resolving the matter rather than returning or destroying the mail. In the past, if goods were delivered to the post office, but misaddressed, they could be rescued by staff and put in system for pick up by customers. For example, previous Bolinas postmasters, and postmaster Jim in Stinson Beach, did this whenever possible. There have been many, many complaints about this issue. Post offices have a database of all residents and patrons who hold a post office box, including their related physical address. Postal clerks are trained that if a misaddressed package or letter is received at the post office, but the recipient is known, has a PO box, or if it’s easy for staff to resolve, then the item should be forwarded to the associated PO Box and delivered, rather than returned. Goods are already in hand, the mailing was paid for by the sender, the PO box was paid for by the recipient, and retuning mail and parcels or sending them to be destroyed actually costs the postal service more money and time. 


The vast majority of lost, returned, and destroyed mail complaints we have reviewed involved individuals who held a PO Box, but their item did not follow the exact rules Roosevelt set. Many of these individuals are known by the postmaster and staff. Their mail could have easily been redirected to their name and PO Box, or cross-referenced with their street address. By vacating the Bolinas Post Office before exhausting all efforts to stay, it created space scarcity in Olema and Stinson Beach -- and elevated challenges in handling and storing mail and packages. This space issue is cited as one of the reasons for the higher level of returned mail, but other less drastic solutions could have been instituted. Some residents who have experienced a high degree of lost or returned mail feel it’s some arbitrary form of punishment. The discretionary returni or destruction of mail and parcels that are not perfectly addressed may have “by the book” bureaucratic justifications -- but it’s also an unnecessary degradation of service, ignoring the most fundamental USPS obligation to deliver mail -- especially during a crisis where access to mail is already arduous. This subject deserves more attention.


• Discontinuing post office boxes without adequate warning or explanation. Cancelling PO Boxes if payment is questioned or delayed. No ability to reinstate cancelled boxes or acquire a new Bolinas PO Box.


As noted earlier, this poorly handled added level of service disruption and cancellation is appalling. Some citizens have questioned the requirement to pay for a PO Box when they cannot get real home delivery, or an actual physical PO box in the temporary facilities currently serving our town. To cancel PO Boxes with inadequate or ineffective warnings when service is already compromised is hard core and cold. For the record, we recommend patrons pay and document their payment, as we cannot control our postmaster’s actions to deny your box. This issue  deserves further attention.


•Withholding or delaying information from the public, misleading the public. 


Over the past few weeks, if pick up mail in Olema and ask a staffer why the interim facility is stalled, your answer will likely be a photo that our postmaster gave to staff, showing puddles at Mesa Park, implying that our preferred interim site floods. This is a joke, considering our published Mesa Park site grading and preparation plans, and the history of severe flooding at the Olema Post Office. Go to the social platform, Nextdoor Bolinas, and you’ll see many instances of people reporting misleading or inconsistent answers by the postmaster related to our Post Office. The manner in which the closure was communicated indicates that some key information may have been purposely delayed or withheld from the public. For example, very basic operational data, such as pick up times, has been withheld or delayed or poorly communicated. In his infrequent written or public statements -- and in one-on-one verbal interactions from behind the counter or while serving as a postal carrier on his private Bolinas delivery route -- we have reports of answers that are inconsistent, unclear, incomplete, and often phrased in misleading ways. We deserve unambiguous answers to our questions about this matter. We have documented examples of questionable verbal communications, and are collecting more.


• Not supporting our clear community consensus plan for an Interim Facility at Mesa Park.


Postal insiders have told us that it is outrageous that our postmaster would not work with us, and for us, to achieve our reasonable goals to resolve this crisis. Rather than supporting our plans, it appears that he may have actually undermined them, or at least not supported them ways that would actually help them proceed expeditiously. If our postmaster had any operational issues with our plan, he had ample opportunity to advise us directly, instead of any objections filtering out to superiors in a way that delayed it and led to many more challenges.


• Forcing his own agenda -- cluster boxes & home delivery -- and questionable handling of Bolinas home delivery requests.


Almost every formal communication by the USPS and postmaster has stressed “…talk to post master about home delivery.” How many residents have signed up for home delivery and not gotten it? Why are some individuals getting home delivery, but not everyone? Why has our postmaster created his own home delivery route for some, while ignoring or not responding inquiries from others?  Has the postmaster ignored typical agency protocols for the third party carrier service to have the opportunity to expand its contract for home delivery in Bolinas? There is questionable activity going on in this area. We are further investigating. 



We surveyed the online portal of USPS.com to find official written U.S. Postal Service employment duties for a rural postmaster, including the most basic responsibilities and service requirements.  What follows are some listed fundamental performance obligations that our postmaster has fallen short of during this crisis. We believe we have clear data to support every failing listed here. There are additional pending postmaster performance issues that could be added to this list, as our scrutiny of his timeline of decisions, conduct, and communication continues.


• FAILURE to show a satisfactory level of decision making and problem solving -- and not adequately resolving problems that occur during post office operations.


•FAILURE to properly and consistently service all customers and conduct operations with an attitude of responsive service to customers.


•FAILURE to ensure proper safeguards are instituted for the welfare of customers and the protection of mails.


•FAILURE to provide clear, timely or fully accurate answers to questions.


•FAILURE to escalate critical issues with superiors 


•FAILURE to sell ideas, positions and recommendations to others.


• FAILURE to communicate relevant information, both orally and in writing.





1)    We provided the revised interim facility plan to USPS officials via Congressman Huffman. We are waiting for reengagement. Despite recent setbacks, we’re still hopeful that our plan will be executed.  However, if we do not get proper engagement soon, we will consider other actions that will elevate our documented concerns to higher levels of oversight within the USPS and the executive level of the federal government.


2)    As noted, we are looking to collect and consolidate more data regarding any service complaints, grievances, or personal accounts of mismanagement, incompetence, misinformation, inconsistent information, or questionable behavior by any of the operational people involved in the Bolinas post office. We appreciate any information you can provide. 


3)    We have also created a survey to understand impacts and opinion regarding the way our post office box renewal has been handled. There are forms that you can fill out on the BCG website.


4)    We urge you to use online complaint forms with the USPS - although the complaints appear to be a dead end at the district level, with answers implying issue resolve, but it is still good to rack them up.


5)    If there are any residents who have the bandwidth to help us on taking this to the next level, if needed, please reach out to us. We can find a role for just about anybody.


6)    While we prefer to avoid resorting to higher-level government filings or legal entanglements, if we continue to be denied we are prepared to explore additional potential remedies and consider, including:


• Higher Level complaints with the Office of Inspector General, a government oversight agency for the Postal Service, which requires more detailed level of grievance and filing protocols -- which we have already begun to research and document.


•Seek support and action from various postal unions. The Post Office is the largest union employer in America. There are several postal unions that may have interests in this matter, which we could potentially get involved. We have already started some discussions there.


Engaging a third party high-level investigative journalist to look into this story. While the story of how the closure of the Bolinas post office took place is extreme, it is also indicative

of broader trends and issues with the USPS. We have interest from at least one high-level investigative journalist, but before they can commit to exploring the story or we can pursue other reporters, we need to piece together a timeline, sources, and categorized buckets of information. 


Potential Legal Action could be considered down the line if we continue to be denied service, but this is not something we would peruse at this time, because it could complicate further negotiations on our new post office. If our problems persist, and engagement continues to be cut off, we could file an injunction to persuade a judge to force the postal service to meet its obligations to providing essential postal services in town. 


There are other possible actions that we may review further.


It’s a pretty dark time, we are all exhausted, but we will keep up this fight. We hope our town can remain united, and everyone can do what they can to help expose problems and get our post office back. It is astonishing that we need to keep going, but we will get this done.