Probe: January 11, 2002

January 11, 2002

QUESTION: Even if the mail arrives at the El Centro post office by 4 a.m. it will not be delivered until the following day! And the U.S. Postal Service has the gall to announce it will raise the price of a stamp in June! No wonder everybody is using e-mail! The employees have been told if they talk to reporters, they will be fired. — Snail Mail Consumer, El Centro

Your salvo was news to us but only because we were not paying attention. Both the El Centro and Calexico post offices have been holding late-arriving mail until the following day for over a year.

It was no secret. It was spelled out in the 922 service improvement plan. By the way, 922 represents zip codes that start with 922. That's most of the zip codes in the Imperial and Coachella valleys.

However, the plan to hold the mail was announced in August 2000. It covers only the 15 largest post offices in the 922 area.


It was tested five years ago in Needles, where it was a big success, according to Michele Brammer, Postal Service customer service representative.

If you mail a letter at a local post office by late afternoon, it will be trucked to the mail distribution center in San Bernardino. There it will be sorted and bundled. A few hours later, barring mishap, it will be returned to post offices around the Valley.

The mail truck arrives most days at the El Centro post office at 3:45 a.m. and the mail will be delivered the same day. If it arrives 15 minutes later, it will be held until the next day.

"We've learned that if the mail is even a few minutes late, there is a problem. In that case it will be very late. Our carriers get to work at 7 a.m. and we try to get them on the streets by 9 a.m. Adhering to the strict schedule means we provide a more consistent delivery schedule for consumers," Brammer said.

BIG MEAN DOGS — Tell Shrink in El Centro that people have big, mean dogs to protect themselves and their property. But my problem has nothing to do with big mean dogs; it has to do with a big mean cable company that allows its employees to drive the company service trucks into my back yard without asking for my permission.

When I have approached them, they act like they own my property. They are darn rude. When I call the cable company, I can't get past "Dawn" who is just as rude!

Every time I deal with the cable company, my blood pressure goes sky high! These people have disrespected me. Do they have the right to drive through my yard when I don't subscribe to cable! — At War, Brawley

The cable company has an easement to work on its cable lines but the easement is a narrow corridor. It does not cover your entire back yard.

What's happening is when you call the cable company, you reach Dawn at an Adelphia cable service center in Colorado. She doesn't know a supervisor or the manager in El Centro. The next time you call, ask to speak to the Imperial Valley Adelphia manager, Tom Mixon.

Dawn won't connect you but she will e-mail Mixon, who will call you back. Good luck!

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