Saving the ‘St. Petersburg Postmark’

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The headlines in the St. Petersburg, err, Tampa Bay Times scream from the front page, “Postmark to fade into the past.”

“Mail sent from here will soon lose the St. Petersburg postmark, writes Emily Nipps. “Instead, mail will be stamped with a postmark that either says “Tampa” or some other name reflecting the Tampa Bay region.”

Haven’t we heard this before? Actually, yes.

“Despite talks of consolidating St. Petersburg and Tampa mail-sorting operations and eliminating the city’s postmark, it’s not likely to disappear any time soon, if at all, said Gary Sawtelle, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service’s Suncoast District,” wrote Mary Jane Park in 2006.

The ‘St. Petersburg Postmark’ was saved after then-Mayor Rick Baker negotiated a compromise with Tim Healy, the USPS Suncoast District Manager.

Now with the ‘St. Petersburg Postmark’ threatened again, it’s time for the Mayor of St. Petersburg to spring into action.

The announcement came as news to St. Petersburg Mayor Bill Foster, who said it was his understanding that the postmark would not change with the closure of the city’s center, reported the Tampa Bay Times.

“To me, it would be very important for the fourth-largest city in the fourth-largest state in the nation to have its city name on a postmark,” Foster said. “It’s not just ink on paper.”

In a conversation months ago with Russ Racine, the postmaster assured Foster that the city would retain its postmark after the center closed, Foster said. The mayor tried to call the postmaster’s office Thursday to discuss the issue but received no answer, he said.

When Foster reaches Racine, he should try to determine why this issue is coming up again now. This is a settled matter. A dual postmark ‘Tampa – Saint Petersburg” was created when this issue came up in 2006.

And don’t let anyone tell you this is a cost-savings issue.  Enola Rice, a spokeswoman for the USPS, confirmed that me.  After all, mail from St. Petersburg has been stamped “Tampa – Saint Petersburg” for five years now.

Again, why is the USPS doing this?

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.