Wednesday, August 29, 2012



Was I right again, or not?  On August 9, ABC7 reported that Congressman Chris Van Hollen would announce a solution to the Bethesda Post Office parking fiasco "next week."

A long 3 weeks later, we finally got a "solution" yesterday.  And as I warned you, it truly is no solution at all.

I have to think that real people who live in Bethesda, and have to mail things, are going to go ballistic when they hear this.

What is the "solution" Van Hollen and the USPS came up with?

Park in the Adagio garage off Bradley Boulevard.

"He's joking, right?"

Park in the Adagio garage?!

That was free advice the BCC Services Center had offered to try to help residents in the short term.  But it was never considered a "solution."

The only new twist is that your parking will be validated.  But that does nothing to solve the issue of the distance between the customer's car, and the 6900 Wisconsin Avenue Post Office.  This is not a handicapped space a few steps from the entrance.  Not to mention that the Adagio garage can get cramped at certain times of the day.  And holiday crowds.  And no drive-up drop boxes.  And anti-car politicians encouraging people to drive to an out-of-the-way post office.

But if Van Hollen and the media say something, that makes it so, right?

"Parking solution for Bethesda USPS customers" - Gazette headline

"This solution..." - Kelvin Williams, USPS

"I look forward to hearing from constituents as we continue to work on this issue" - Chris Van Hollen

Well, to borrow a line from the new Post Office's neighbor Verizon,


Van Hollen didn't even take action on the post office issue until June 19.  I had already exposed the fact that 6900 Wisconsin Avenue could never work, all the way back on April 4!!

Where was Van Hollen between April 4 and June 19?  And he's not the only one to blame.  Montgomery County councilmembers George Leventhal, Nancy Floreen, Marc Elrich, Hans Reimer and Roger Berliner all represent Bethesda.

Why were none of them involved in the closure and consolidation of 2 post offices, in an area with a large senior population?  And in a county where 1 out of every 10 citizens is disabled?

It was the most bread and butter constituent issue a politician could ever deal with.

We know that USPS was rushed and pressured to get out of the Metro Center and Arlington Road post offices, and that private developers were eager to get started on projects there.

It's long past due for the media to ask Van Hollen, Leventhal, Floreen, Elrich, Riemer and Berliner the following questions:

1.  When were you first informed USPS was closing every post office in downtown Bethesda?

2.  Describe specifically your involvement in the search process for a new post office.

3.  When did you know 6900 Wisconsin Avenue was under consideration?

4.  Were you familiar with 6900 Wisconsin, and the parking issues there?

5.  Did you personally tour the 6900 site, knowing that this would be the only post office for your downtown Bethesda constituents?

6.  If so, did you register a complaint?  Produce a copy of that communication.

7.  If not, why weren't you involved in a search process with such great impact on your constituents?

8.  On what date did you become aware 6900 had no parking?

9.  Itemize the specific actions you took to prevent USPS from finalizing this site.

10.  Did you formally or informally "sign off" on the final selection of 6900?  If not, why weren't you involved?

11.  Have you received campaign contributions from developers of either former post office site, or any entity related to those developers?

12.  Detail any verbal, telephonic, written and/or electronic dialogue you and your staff have had with those developers in the last 12 months.

This is just Journalism 101, folks.  These are the questions that a journalist who questions everything would have asked by now.

So start asking them!

Bethesda doesn't need fake solutions.  We need a post office.  Now.

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