Image 01 Image 03

New public planning approach: Less service, more tracking

New public planning approach: Less service, more tracking

While news of a myriad of sex scandals in major American cities offers summer distractions, a few other items caught my eye:

With the US Postal service bleeding money after the explosion of social media, the agency is looking to end at-your-door mail delivery:

The U.S. Postal Service is marching towards a more “centralized delivery,” where residents pick up their own mail from clusters of mail boxes located in their neighborhood. Local postmasters are sending hundreds of letters to fast-growing communities, warning that cluster boxes will be the way mail will be delivered to new developments.

In the past year, the cash-strapped Postal Service has been asking companies in industrial parks and shopping malls to also adopt this form of mail delivery.

But Rep. Darrell Issa, the California Republican leading the House effort to save the postal service, wants more. He has made doing away with doorstep delivery a key part of his bill, which would require everyone to get mail at a curbside box or from a cluster box.

I think it is sensible to look at more cost-efficient approaches to mail delivery, especially as more people rely on email and other forms of social media to advertise and otherwise communicate. Contrast this with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which is spending millions to detail the racial diversity of every neighborhood in America as part of proposed new ‘fair housing’ rule.

As part of a proposed rule, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), would provide detailed demographic information on every single neighborhood in the country in an attempt to get a better understanding of segregation, integration and poverty, the agency said.

This racial mapping will be done as part of the new Fair Housing rule proposed by the agency….

The more modern approach to tackling today’s discrimination issues should be able to help HUD lessen disparities such as African Americans learning about 11 percent fewer available rentals and 17 percent fewer available homes to bu[y].

This inequality comes from real estate agents showing fewer available properties to minorities than to equally qualified whites, Donovan explained, adding that “because of the subtle nature of this discrimination, often times, they don’t even know they have been subjected to this abuse.”

The fact that millions of taxpayer dollars are being plowed into an electronic citizen tracking system is extremely disturbing, especially when it is coupled with the recent discovery that the locations of millions of Americans are being tracked and stored via their license plates (regardless of whether they are involved in a criminal case or not).

Another disturbing aspect of the HUD plan: Given the Obama administrations penchant for race politics, what is to stop if from punishing cities and states for not meeting “diversity” objectives by selling homes “stupidly”?

As the age of Obamacare dawns, I can’t help but worry about our healthcare system as implemented by a bureaucracy that has less service and more tracking as its template.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.


sometimes I forget many people have mail delivered to their door LOL
I built the mailbox stand at end of our private road for the 8 houses here. 1 person donated special metal stakes I needed (ledge at 2 feet so I needed to drive retainign stakes in ) another helped with the lumber, the mailman himself donated the 4×4 posts) but (like normal) most of the $$ (2x12x16 PT x4 and 2x6x16 PT x8 is expensive) and all the labor came from me.
but mail is delivered there and we drive up to end of road to get it.
postmaster general will not allow carrier to drive down private road.
however, if there is a package, he disobeys and does it, hes a really good guy.
anyways I digress.

    SoCA Conservative Mom in reply to dmacleo. | July 25, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    You’re mailman is much better than ours… we get nasty little official post master notes when we legally park a vehicle on the street in front of our own mailbox. Also happened when we parked in front of the neighbor’s box. I’ve been told that it takes too much time for the mailman to park his truck, walk 18 feet to the mailbox and then back again. I think the mailman is lazy.

How about opening up first class mail service to open competition like long distance (FEDEX, UPS, etc.)? You know it would work great and then the post office could just service those areas where there is no market. Even though that would be a cost it couldn’t be anywhere near as costly as the money pit of a post office we have now.

The NDCBU’s or cluster boxes are a great way for the USPS to save money. Carriers can deliver to more addresses in a shorter period of time.

Another good way for the USPS to save money is for the congress to stop raiding their accounts every time they start making money.

2nd Ammendment Mother | July 24, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Thanks for combining the two topics I’ve been pondering today….

Our neighborhood has had cluster boxes for nearly 20 years. Service is still slow and unreliable – we usually don’t get our mail until around 6pm in the evening. We’ve been told that there are 26 residential delivery routes from our substation – only 22 are delivered each day. The neighbors usually get together once a week to swap incorrectly boxed mail with each other. Our substation only has one clerk on duty from 10am to 4pm for package pick up – packages are not sent out on the routes. There is one clerk counter clerk for any business you might need to conduct in person. Likewise, all of our business locations have cluster boxes although they do have a 50/50 chance for package delivery.

Regarding the neighborhood mapping – I’m curious how my upper middle class neighborhood would get rated. We have roughly 480 homes in our development – (based on observation) we’re 95% Hispanic, 3% African American, 1% Asian, 1% Anglo. All schools in our neighborhood are at least 92% Hispanic. While we have the usual McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King – I can throw a rock from my front door and hit an ethnic eatery – including Hawaiian, Korean, Chinese, and Soul Food.

I suspect that these HUD policies are aimed at the suburbs and rural communities; consider the impact of HUD getting involved in subsidizing the purchase of farms/ranches with a couple of hundred acres.

2nd Ammendment Mother | July 24, 2013 at 7:31 pm

And I just had my son hand me today’s house mail which is typical of most days. 12 pieces – 11 unsolicited junk that will be thrown away without opening and a statement from our insurance company that could just as easily have been sent via email (especially since I’ll be using my scanner to make a digital copy and then shred the original).

I think we’d be doing much better to eliminate the junk mail rates. Businesses can still send it but they have to pay full price. Then they’d have an incentive to only mail to customers who are interested in their products. And we’d significantly reduce the amount of mail delivered on a daily basis.

2nd Ammendment Mother | July 24, 2013 at 7:34 pm

And while I’m on the topic – we need to get rid of the government’s discounted mailing rates – supposedly the USPS is not a government agency – therefore they should charge our Congressmen full price to send out their junk mail.

I have a P.O. Box AT my local Post Office. Gets toooo crowded, they put in a yellow slip in the box, and I pick up my overflow mail at the front stations.

Now that HUD has lost Detroit, they’re moving on to greener pastures.

Elilla Shadowheart | July 24, 2013 at 8:24 pm

This is already the semi-norm here in Canada, generally any new subdivisions here built in the last 15 years you’ll see this. Though it’s been happening since 1985 when Canada Post had the super-massive reorganization and downsizing. Anywhere else, you’ll still get postal delivery to the door. The real problem of course is that if a business is shipping a package, chances are they won’t deliver it to your door, and you’ll need to goto the nearest 7-11 or Shoppers Drugmart(similar to walgreens/cvs) to get it. After 5pm, and perhaps on the same day…if you’re lucky.

Most of the places I’ve lived out west either had cluster boxes, or PO Boxes (when a town is really small the post office is the cluster box.

If it saves me (the taxpayer) money then I have no problem with it.

The HUD ‘racial mapping’ is very very scary – in the leftie’s minds, that will be followed by ‘mandated racial balance in every neighborhood’, with federal funds witheld if quotas are not met.

Think ‘Bussing for real estate’.

Wow. You will be TOLD ‘what neighborhood you must buy in or can not buy in’ based on your race. And subsidies handed out to the favored minorities – black and hispanic.

What’s the, Mr White Man ? You want to buy a house in this nice neighborhood ? Sorry, no can do. You’re white, and this neighborhood needs more blacks. We have some LOVELY openings in the hood you might be interested in ….

EXACTLY like ‘bussing for real estate’.

I think we should all say we are “Mixed Race.” We have mixed feelings about giving the government information on race.

Doug Wright | July 24, 2013 at 9:17 pm

Let’d do away with the USPS monopoly and allow private businesses to deliver that mail under rules that would allow for competition for that service and absolutely forbid exclusive delivery zones established by governmental decree!

    Sanddog in reply to Doug Wright. | July 24, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    There’s no money in delivering to small rural areas. Companies would cherry pick the metropolitan areas and everyone else would be pretty much out of luck. Universal service is the only thing that guarantees mail delivery to rural areas.

    Unlike the vast majority of what the fed does, at least the post office is an authorized function.

Me… I don’t have a problem with the ‘clusters’ (been using them for 5+ years); and, if I get a package, the USPS will bring it to my door.

As to HUD’s little scheme, (in my area) they’ve been shutting down urban Section 8 housing and transplanting the inhabitants into outlying suburbs… whether they want it or not.

The result: increased crime, formerly quiet communities become shooting galleries as gangs sort out their turf… and increased ‘racial diversity’.

And yeah, this administration has LOTS more wonderful ideas to inflict on us…

    Uncle Samuel in reply to CPT. Charles. | July 25, 2013 at 6:24 am

    This is what happened in Sanford, FL – and epidemic of burglary, violence, etc. – hence the epidemic formation of PD-sponsored Neighborhood Watch groups. Hence, Zimmerman and others were watching and (gasp) profiling…even getting out of their cars and (horrors) following.

So, HUD is going to decide who my neighbors will be? Didn’t I just read an article on the internet – one of this site’s links in fact? – that announced that global warming and white people had made the dildo and the dodo extinct? They’re not extinct. Their range has been restricted, though, to the halls of the Federal government.

Actually, the box clusters is a good idea, but they’re late; our development got two of them when the second house – mine – was built and that was in ’96.

I live in a small town (4,500) and have been in my house almost 25 years. We have not had door-to-door delivery since I have lived here. All mail boxes are at the curb.

In all the new housing complexes in the county, there are the cluster mail boxes at the entrance of the subdivision. Same with apartment complexes.

If you have a package, the USPS leaves a note in your mail box telling you where you can pick it up (Duh? We only have one post office). The only reason I get mine is I watch for the mail carrier and know what time she comes.

The problem is that most of my mail is junk mail. Most people pay their bills now either by automatic debit (utility bills) or by internet. I decided to do an experiment and not get my mail for a whole week. When I did retrieve it from the mail box, it was jammed full and not one piece didn’t wind up in the trash or the shredder due to credit card junk mail. Not one piece of mail that was important.

Well, I guess it must be **really, really** expensive to photocopy every envelope that travels through the system. I’m sure Ben Franklin would approve …

So those of us who live in rural areas are to do what…Drive into town daily to pick up mail? To the post offices in small towns that have been closed? Or to the post offices that have 8-4 hours? Where are these post offices going to put all these new boxes or files for us to pick up mail?

Sorry guys, not everyone lives in a subdivision.

The US gov. can do all kinds of things and spend all kinds of money on researching bizarre beetles, spend $700 million dollars trying to sell Obamacare, etc. but one of the few functions spelled out in the Constitution is far too expensive to manage.

    janitor in reply to Uh Huh. | July 25, 2013 at 1:38 am

    Those of us who do live in more densely populated areas try to avoid standing in the 45-minute lines at the post office. I can hardly wait… we’re turning into a third-world country.

NC Mountain Girl | July 24, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Look uo the history of RFD- Rural Free Delivery. It is a huge money loser for the post office and no private service company will ever pick it up. Where I live there are no overnight guarantees from Fed Ex, et al. Yet six days as a week I get mail delivered to my mail box out on the public road. So do people three miles up the mountain where the road is a rutted one lane dirt path. 50 years ago there were a lot more post offices-usually manned by part time postmasters- spread all across rural America. Rural residents got their mail when they went to those post offices. This was considered unfair. No, it was economically smart. There is not way to provide daily service to rural America without subsidies from those who live in far more dense areas.

The private services don’t refuse t deliver out here, they just don’t offer any guarantees as to overnight or even 2 day service. It gets here when it gets here.

The government spends money on all kinds of crap.

I don’t count the postal service in that. The whole point of a collective government service such as a fire or police department, or the postal service, is that not everything is supposed to be profit-making. It costs a heck of a lot more to FedEx a letter or a check than to mail one — for obvious reasons.

I suspect that there is going to be some biasing in the majority of comments on internet sites, where there are more electronically-oriented people. However, there still are a considerable number of people who don’t do on-line banking, billing, mailing, social media and so forth. Some are elderly, and some just don’t like it. I’m one. There are security issues and additional risk inherent in putting “everything” on-line, subject to hacking or acts of God that affect these communications.

What about the NSA, etc? So much for privacy or security in the content of ANY of our communications. And so much for Christmas cards. Guess I’m just an old curmudgeon, stuck in my ways…

    MSO in reply to janitor. | July 25, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I’m with you. I’ve reduce my web usage to shopping and information gathering. I pay all my bills via USPS with a check. I really like priority mail for packages as that service is cheaper and faster than either FedEx or United Parcel Service.

    There are many (some would say too many) folks here living in their ‘lake cabins’ pretending that their not on welfare. If city services are desired, live in the city or pay the price.

[…] PJ Tatler: President Jobs Pivot To Drop Almost $700 Million To Sell Obamacare In Next Few Months Legal Insurrection: New Public Planning Approach – Less Service, More Tracking Volokh Conspiracy: Court Orders Nebraska Police To Return $1 Million Seized From Former Exotic […]

Bruno Lesky | July 25, 2013 at 6:00 am

How is it possible that unelected HUD staff “propose” a rule with such sweeping consequences and spend millions to collect preliminary data? Isn’t congress supposed to pass laws like this?

Memo to House Republicans: put this HUD activity on your list of stuff to defund.

    ‘Memo to House Republicans: put this HUD activity on your list of stuff to defund.’

    That would be another exercise in futility, just like voting for Republicans.

    Conservatives should learn from the liberals and primary DINOs within the Democratic party. Let’s take advantage of all the low information voters out there.

This will knock your socks off. It even includes a solution.

Birthdate, ObamaCare and Information Privacy

“There is an old saying among gentlemen that goes, “never ask a woman her age.” In the age of Big Data, here is a new nugget of genderless common sense for everyone: “Never give your Birthdate, EVER.” When you give someone your birthdate, sex and zip code they can identify you. If they combine this information with publicly available data, they can identify you by name.”

SoCA Conservative Mom | July 25, 2013 at 12:53 pm

HOA’s in CA have been putting in clustered boxes for many years. It may be a requirement of the post master in San Diego county or California, not sure but, they do work out well. There is no requirement that the boxes have to be a certain size, so get the larger ones. That way, packages can be delivered.

One thing though, getting the clustered boxes repaired can be a PITA. The post master (maybe Federal law?) requires the mailman and box owner of the damaged box to be present when any repairs are done that require opening the bank of boxes. The mailman generally will not be there at any time other than when he is delivering mail and only briefly. Coordinating the mailman, box owner and repair man can be tricky when you take into consideration that the mailman may only be there for 10 minutes.