NATHAN LAMBRECHT INLAMBRECHT@THEMDNITOR.COMGrant Zinnecker, above left, protests Wednesday morning with other residents of the Retama Village in front of the U.S. Postal Servicebranch located on Business 83 in Mission. The residents say the post office refuses to deliver mail to the individual boxes inside theirretirement community. Kathleen Adams, below, points to her mailbox at the Retama Village that the post office refuses to deliver mail to.» RETIREES PROTEST POST OFFICE By SARA PERKINSSPERKlNS@THEMONlTOR.COMGABE HERNANDEZ I GABRIELH@THEMDNITDR.COMIMISSION - E. H. Cary eyed the protesterswith distaste."I've never seen this kind of thing at thepost office," the Winter Texan said, nosewrinkled. "They should be taking (theircomplaint) to the proper authorities."He stopped, out of curiosity, to take aflier fi·om the picket line. Nearby, one protestorvvith a neatly lettered sign on whiteposter board reminded another not totrample the Mission post office's grassborder.See PROTEST J 88MdII\WIf1r-\ I,.H " .....,.,...---..... . . - -'
• From l'age 1 BAbout 20 retirees from theRetama Village subdivision,on the southwest end oftoV\'I1, staged a protest at thepost office Wednesdaymorning, demanding thatthe U.S. Postal Servicereconsider its decision toclassify their neighborhoodin the same category as RVparks.They say they will returnto protest - politely every business day until thedecision is reversed."We're all standing as onecommunity, saying, 'This isstupid,"'said KathleenAdams, the group's spokeswomanand herself a retiredmail carrier and supervisor.The "transient" classificationgiven to Retama's RVfriendlylots · means mail isdelivered to all the residentsin a bulk drop, unsorted,while each of the more traditionalhomes - the "stickand brick" kind - gets asorted packet of bills andletters delivered to its box atthe subdivision's centralfacility.The RV'ers say they owntheir lots, are year-roundresidents and have small"efficiency bungalows" builton their land beside theirwheeled residences.Once the subdivision'sbuilder, Rhodes Enterprises,finishes construction on allthe lots, responsibility formanaging the mailboxes willrevert to a homeowners'association - which willhave to hire someone to sortthe mail, Adams said.A small concession, but itrankles those who hadhoped to establish themselvesas permanent residents,not just "winter visitors,"while holding onto thefreewheeling lifestyle representedby their massive RVs.Retama Village was builtspecifically to cater to thiscompromise: Newer structuresgoing up on the backsof the lots feature highroofedcovered spaces forRVs, connected to smallhouses.The residents and thedeveloper went through theproper channels, appealingthe local postmaster's decisionup the ladder and askingU.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar,D-Laredo, for help. But thePostal Service stood firm."Postal policy providesfor single-point delivery asthe prescribed mode ofdelivery for recreationalvehicle parks where the lotsare temporarily occupied orrented and consideredtransient or seasonal, eventhough some families maylive in them for an extended.period of time," AustinUSPS spokesman JimCoultress wrote in an email."The presence of smallpermanent buildings doesnot change the situationsince those structures arenot designed to be a permanentresidence, but aresmall buildings designed tocomplement the livingspace of the RV."Coultress did notrespond to a follow-up email, asking whether thefact that the propertieswere owner-occupied, notrented, had been factoredinto the decision.Back at the protest, a generationof men and womenin their 50s and 60s who satout the social uph eavals ofthe 1960s got their first tasteof what they had passed up."My son said, 'Call me ifyou need to be bailed out,Mom,'" Gail Gurksnis saidwith a laugh. "We did decidewe weren't going to burnour bras."Adams researched all therelevant rules for a peacefulsidewalk protest, ensuringthe group did not need anycity permits. On Wednesdaym orning, she carefullyreminded her neighbors tostay off the post office property,including the grass.Gurksnis' husband, Tom,offered passing motoristsfliers explaining the group'sposition but said he wouldnot force them on anyone."There's a whole lot to it,"he said. "You can't get it allout in a five-second spiel."David McCarron marchedwith his sign high above hishead and a friendly smile onhis face. But he said he feltemotionally involved in theissue."(Mail) is like water," hesaid. "You turn the tap onand you expect water. ...They made a dollar decisioninstead of a servicedecision."Sara Perkins covers Mission,western Hidalgo County, StarrCounty and general assignmentsfor The Monitor. You can reachher at (956) 683-4472.the rescue.