Letters to the Editor: Catalina Islander, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

 

Concerns over Conservancy

It is with great concern that I write regarding what appears to be misdirection in leadership and a point of crisis in Avalon.

As boater, we frequently sail to Avalon where we play golf, see movies, dance at the New Year’s Eve ball, attend concerts, shop and dine.

Our “overtown” home is adorned with artifacts from Avalon and Catalina Island as whole.

Concerns over Conservancy

It is with great concern that I write regarding what appears to be misdirection in leadership and a point of crisis in Avalon.

As boater, we frequently sail to Avalon where we play golf, see movies, dance at the New Year’s Eve ball, attend concerts, shop and dine.

Our “overtown” home is adorned with artifacts from Avalon and Catalina Island as whole.

Perhaps what has attracted us the most about Catalina and Avalon is its uniqueness, that which represents all that Los Angeles and Orange counties do not—that is the quaintness of Avalon with it sense of inclusion and community and the solitude, openness of nature in the rest of the Island.

Recently, we have read of the resignations of several Conservancy Board members and the reasons for their removing themselves from the Board.

To us this serves as a “red flag” that something very wrong is happening on the Island.

Recently, a close friend who works on the Island informed us of proposals to tear down buildings in order to build a spa and suggestions to take over other buildings for equally upscale attractions.

All of these ideas apparently intend to attract tourism.

A brief look at the “tourists” disembarking from the numerous Express boats should give the Conservancy, Island Company, or Chamber of Commerce an idea of their clientele.

While we feel that some of the newer attractions may be very popular (such as the zip line), other changes and proposals for change seem over the top (such as private cabanas or lounges or spas).

We feel that many of these changes will drive boaters in particular to the Isthmus, which will, unfortunately alter the nature of that end of the Island.

Obviously the last four or five years have been difficult for destination travel.

This is true for mainland destinations, too.

However, to change the very nature of Avalon and Catalina is to destroy the charm of the Island and the vision, and commitment to its preservation.

Surely maintenance and upkeep is essential, but we do not endorse changing the very nature of the Island or the town.

We know that we speak for many in taking the time to write to you and trust you will take this under submission in decision-making.

Carlyn  K W Nelson

Dana Point

 

To Avalon Postmaster

I would like to comment on the letter that you placed in our boxes dated Jan. 9.

First, in Avalon we are penalized by not having mail delivery to our homes—U.S. residents living many miles from a Post Office receive mail delivered to their homes, sometimes by private contractors.

For some reason in a one square mile town, we cannot have our mail delivered.

Secondly, most of us have physical addresses listed in the phone book.

We have no such book for P.O. Boxes so it is difficult to mail anything to an Avalon resident.

We have to have a P.O. Box for which we have no resource to find, nor does anyone else that may want to send something to us via the USPS.

Third, because we live on an Island with limited shopping, we order items on the Internet.

Many websites do not have an option for adding the four digits after the zip code.

They may have two address lines but only one line will print on their shipping labels and they do not always disclose or know at the time how an item will be shipped.

If it is shipped by FedEx, UPS or another non-postal method and has a P.O. Box, it will be returned.

Or, we are told an item will be shipped FedEx but then it comes FedEx Smartpost.

We have provided a street address and then the item is shipped by USPS without a P.O. Box and as you state the item will be returned, even though I believe that most of your employees (who are very helpful) know our P.O. Box number and are happy to place the item in our box.

Fourth, as you may know, most credit card companies will not issue credit cards to a P.O. Box holder– they require a physical address.

So, we provide a physical address and (1.) We don’t receive the card and (2.) Usually we have already charged something and then don’t receive the bill because there is no P.O. Box and don’t realize it until the upsetting phone calls begin regarding no payment received.

Due to having several instances of very important mail and packages having been returned, I called the 800 number listed in the phone book a few years ago. I don’t believe that the local number was listed.

I immediately got a call from the former Postmaster, also not a long term resident, explaining that when P.O. boxes are not included on an address there was the danger of mail getting placed in the wrong box.

If there is a question of certainty, then yes, return it.

But many of us have lived in Avalon a LONG time, many residents were born and raised in this one square mile and have had the SAME P.O. Box for 50 or 75 years.  Finally, I believe that most of us make a sincere effort to inform senders of the acceptable requirements; however, I also believe that I speak for most residents when I say that we would appreciate some basic customer service and consideration on your behalf and request that you deliver our mail to us when you know our box number even if it is not listed.

It seems that it would take more time to stamp and return a letter or item than it would to just put it in our box.

According to the media the Postal Service is struggling, both financially and in customer satisfaction.

Customer service is not costly but can improve sales and is greatly appreciated by the recipient.

We in Avalon already are compromised by weather conditions that either cause mail to be late or not arrive at all.

You should know that this policy of the Avalon Post Office has caused many problems and much extra expense to many of us.

Kate Olsen

Avalon

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