Malibu experiences late mail deliveries


Although service in the city is not as late as what other areas of Los Angeles County is experiencing, some residents say getting mail at 6 p.m. is too late.

By Hans Laetz and Max Taves / Special to The Malibu Times

Malibu residents who are getting their mail deliveries after dark are joining others in Southern California voicing unhappiness with the United States Postal Service.

Mail sorting operations for western Los Angeles County have been moved from a postal sorting facility near Marina del Rey to a large facility at Central and Vernon avenues in South Los Angeles.

As a result, trucks bound for Malibu are getting stuck on the Santa Monica Freeway, and arriving later each morning, letter carriers said.

Larry Dozier, the Los Angeles spokesman for the Postal Service, acknowledged that residential mail deliveries are later in the day in what he called “pockets” of the L.A. basin. But anecdotal evidence indicates the entire western part of the county is seeing residential mail deliveries after sundown this winter.

Some Calabasas residents quoted in the Los Angeles Times said their mail was being delivered regularly as late as 11 p.m., and newspaper and magazines were reported being delivered a month late. And while Malibu residents are not reporting that, a random survey at the Malibu Post Office found a dozen postal patrons unhappy about late deliveries.

“We’re getting the mail around five or six o’clock,” said Big Rock resident Cindy Hodosh, a retiree. “If the checks don’t get here on time to get to the bank to deposit them, we have to wait an entire day.”

Carbon Mesa resident Robin Morgan said her deliveries are arriving at 6 p.m. as well, but that sorting delays add to her frustration.

“Everything seems to be being delivered a day later,” she said.

The lone person who said his mail has been on time said he picks his mail up in a post office box.

“For the most part, most of our customers are getting their mail as usual and they’re pretty happy with it,” Dozier said in a telephone interview. “But we do have these pockets that we have to concentrate on.”

Letter carriers union members had fiercely fought plans to close a mail processing center on Alla Road near Marina del Rey, which was the sorting location for zip codes 90200 through 90400, until that effort was moved to South Los Angeles.

Now, mail sent from one Malibu address to another is trucked an additional 15 miles through city traffic before and after sorting, Dozier said. Mail trucks are now forced to use the Santa Monica Freeway in the morning, when westbound lanes are nearly at a standstill, resulting in carriers getting a late start on their routes.

“We’re looking at adjusting employee times, routes and adjusting proper staffing as necessary,” Dozier said.

But he said customers in Malibu have not been complaining like postal patrons in Calabasas, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, where delays appear to be longer.

Malibu residents who wish to discuss mail delivery problems are invited by Dozier to call the USPS Consumer Affairs branch at 323.586.1250.