Editor’s Note: Following is a version of an email letter that Frank Beeson, a member of the ONA Board of Trustees and group publisher for Ohio Community Media, wrote to the office of Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on short notice earlier this week. We were particularly concerned about an amendment being offered by Sen. John McCain on a Postal Service bill the newspaper industry supports.
While we can’t say for certain that Frank’s letter was the one that made the difference, we do know that the rapid response of many in our industry to key senators played a large role in Sen. McCain withdrawing his amendment the next day. Sen. Portman plays a large role in postal regulations, and we continue to urge ONA members to contact him. If you need information, talking points or contact information, email ONA Executive Director Dennis Hetzel at email@example.com.
The Honorable Rob Portman
U.S. Senator for Ohio
338 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
As a member of the Ohio Newspaper Association Board of Directors and as a Regional Publisher for Ohio Community Media, which owns and operates nearly 60 publications in Ohio (daily and weekly newspapers), I am asking for your support of the bipartisan 21st Century Postal Act, S 1789.
It is my understanding that Senators McCain (R-AZ), and Johnson (R-WI) are promoting the concept of initiating another politically-appointed control board to take over USPS management. Time involved in appointing members, structuring the board, and then reaching resolution could further delay cost-saving measures already established in S 1789 and effectively adds yet another level of management and direction to an already burdensome postal process.
S 1789, sponsored by Senators Collins (R-ME); Lieberman (I-CT); Brown (R-MA); and Carper (D-DE) should be officially proposed tomorrow (April 24, 2012). It will give USPS management new tools to streamline the workforce and lower costs, while keeping essential mail processing facilities open. The proposal will preserve existing mail service, both six-day delivery and overnight services for local newspapers while USPS tackles its high costs.
I am especially concerned with the attitude that “the worst thing I have heard is that people would not receive their newspapers.” This statement was recently expressed by a U.S. Senator hoping to eliminate/reduce current USPS services. If a controlling board is appointed to take over management responsibilities, we could very well be faced with the elimination of USPS-assisted home delivery of newspapers.
In YOUR State of Ohio, Sen. Portman, Ohio Community Media RELIES on next day/same day postal service in MANY of our communities in nearly one-third of the state’s counties where our newspapers are distributed.
I, oversee, directly or indirectly, daily operations in Sidney, Piqua, Troy, Xenia, and Fairborn; as well as weekly operations in Tipp City, Englewood, Vandalia, Huber Heights, Kettering-Oakwood, Beavercreek, Centerville-Washington Twp., Sugarcreek-Bellbrook, and Springboro. Many of these communities are “in your backyard.” ALL of these newspapers utilize USPS for home delivery. All five of the daily operations, along with ALL other daily operations owned by OCM utilize USPS on Saturday for home delivery in one fashion or another.
A number of years ago it was recommended to our company via political leaders that we “go green” and not duplicate delivery service to the same household. With that request, USPS stated that by utilizing its services we would assist in allowing the government-sponsored delivery service to remain a viable entity. The proposition would also conserve on the consumption of fuel required for in-town and/or rural deliveries. On a daily basis, our newspaper group now drop-ships to each USPS location where sorting and delivery of that day’s edition is completed.
Now, after following recommendations, we are faced with a total reformation of USPS and “could” be faced with the appointment of a controlling board which would not only delay problem-solving processes, but could actually add to the escalating costs of mailing our newspapers. Contrary to popular negative opinions, stating that news dissemination is primarily via broadcast and the web, local community newspaper readers GREATLY support the printed product and DAILY go to their mailboxes to receive TODAY’S LOCAL NEWS. International, national, and even state news can be found through the internet, but LOCAL news; news that YOUR constituents care most about; is still found and looked for in the printed product. And, many of OUR readers receive that printed product via our United States Postal Service.
I write to you today asking that you reject the concept of a politically-appointed USPS Controlling Board, and … at the same time, support S 1789. Your consideration for our readers; YOUR constituents would be greatly appreciated.
Frank L. Beeson
Ohio Community Media, LLC