The Norman Transcript

April 15, 2013

Postmaster, stop meddling

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

I live in a 60-year-old neighborhood south of Lindsey Street.

In February, neighborhood residents were notified by the local postmaster that we had to install curbside mailboxes within three weeks or lose our home delivery.

This is a well-established neighborhood with a mixture of owner-occupied and rental housing. Some of my neighbors are quite elderly and have lived in their homes since they were built.

My understanding, both from stories published in The Transcript and my own research, is that residents of established neighborhoods cannot be required to install curbside mailboxes and thus change their mail delivery from door to curbside.

Despite circulation of this information in the neighborhood and the story in The Transcript, many neighbors, particularly owners of the rentals, complied.

Now our street is a mismash of mailboxes with some at the door and some on the curb. And, just as I feared, the curbside boxes are not an attractive addition to our street.

To my dismay, I learned today that the local postmaster is at it again. Neighbors on a nearby street received letters from the postmaster telling them they need to install a curbside mailbox by June and that he aims for 90 percent compliance.

I must say I am extremely confused. I thought Oklahomans were independent-minded and opposed to government meddling in their lives.

Oklahomans want no restrictions on gun ownership, no regulations on home schooling and no requirements regarding recycling.

Yet when it comes to gun ownership, education of children and trash disposal, decisions are made by people we have elected to represent us, and there is an element of the public good involved.

So why do Oklahomans comply when a government functionary, the local postmaster, orders them to install curbside mailboxes at the owner’s significant expense and inconvenience?

Is there any public good involved? Could it possibly be, in the postmaster’s words, so letter carriers can “drive more and walk less?” Should there be no public representation in this decision?

Personally, I am outraged that someone who does not answer to the public can dictate a change that is so fundamental to the character and appearance of our neighborhood, may result in elderly neighbors moving from their homes, and costs residents some real cash.

Ellen Wisdom


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