I wanted to take a minute to salute my blogging colleague Peter Schorsch at Saint Petersblog for leading the clarion call to keep the Saint Petersburg postmark. I’ve been counseled by other friends that this is a community-building issue, a real point of pride, and that unlike my decision to comment on the name change of the St. Petersburg Times to the Tampa Bay Times, I’m better off letting this one go.
Very well. My sincere congratulations to Peter, and the community of Saint Petersburg.
But I will leave you with two bits to consider: the first is this: postmarks do not a community make, and all the residents of St. Petersburg better get used to it. Fast. The postmark along with the entire U.S. Postal Service, as Peter and the rest of us well know, is dying a slow, painful, public and truly awful death, almost wholly because of the Internet.
As Emily Nipps reported in her previous article on the postmark issue:
The changes will happen sometime after mid May, when the U.S. Postal Service begins a nationwide consolidation of mail processing and distribution centers. The St. Petersburg center, a 174,000-square-foot building at 3135 First Ave. N, as well as Lakeland’s center, will be closing and moving their operations to the Tampa distribution center.
Thursday’s announcement to consolidate mail processing and distribution centers nationwide came after the Postal Service studied 211 centers and decided 183 of them should close to cut costs. A second study is taking place, looking at the possible closure of more centers.
…close to cut costs. The consolidation of the postmark amounted to moving a building to Tampa simply to cut costs.
But since Peter was victorious in his advocacy efforts — for now — it’s neither here nor there.
My second point is this:
28,821 children in Pinellas County live in poverty.
In Florida, a child dies before his or her first birthday every 5 hours. That’s nearly five children in the extra day it takes your non-St. Petersburg-postmarked mail to get from your house to its destination.
Pinellas County has the highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the state. In 2010, a Pinellas County resident died every 36 hours with oxycodone either present or the cause of death.
Pinellas County has the highest removal rate of children from the home in the state of Florida. (Embarrassingly for us, things are better in Miami.)
And some data on a different sort of stamp…
Food stamps — that old reliable GOP boogeyman — saw a 36% increase in Pinellas County household usage from 2009-2010.
Now let’s have a conversation about community.