The U.S. Postal Service continues to investigate two incidents of apparent mail dumping last week, including one instance in which a contractor appears to have discarded a large amount of bagged mail and packages in a parking lot. Meanwhile, Congressmen Adam Schiff and Jimmy Gomez have formally asked for USPS investigators to conduct a broad inquiry alongside the local probe to identify whether the incidents were isolated occurrences or reflect a larger issue with the institution. The dumping of unopened mail, which was partially captured on surveillance footage, is likely to serve as a lightning rod to ongoing controversies regarding the handling of the USPS ahead of a national election expected to rely heavily on mail-in voting.
Congressman Adam Schiff and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman visited Burbank’s downtown post office on Tuesday in opposition to what they called attempts to “sabotage” the U.S. Postal Service. Schiff, whose district includes Glendale, called on Postmaster Gen. Louis DeJoy to resign following widespread reports that collection boxes and sorting machines were being removed ahead of a presidential election that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, may lean greatly on mail-in ballots. “I don’t say this lightly,” Schiff said. “This looks like sabotage. This smells like sabotage. This is sabotage.” Also on Tuesday, DeJoy released a statement saying that, “to avoid even the appearance of any impact on election mail,” he would be suspending several initiatives, which he expressed had been implemented before he was suspending changes “that have been raised as areas of concern as the nation prepares to hold an election in the midst of a devastating pandemic.” In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly decried DeJoy’s response as insufficient, questioning whether the machines and mailboxes that have been removed would be replaced. Schiff also voiced support for the Delivering for America Act, a proposed piece of legislation that would prohibit the Postal Service from making any changes to operations had on Jan. 1. A House vote on the bill is expected today. Pictures of locked mailboxes in front of Burbank’s post office went viral on social media Monday, with responses ranging from dismissal to fears about voter suppression or cuts to the service. Schiff did not address the posts in his speech Tuesday, but Evelina Ramirez, a district spokeswoman for USPS, explained in an email to The News-Press that the locks are used to deter mail theft and are removed at the start of the day. She also said that, even with the locks, there is a slot on the other side of the collection box where customers can deposit letters.