These days, the mail carrier drives right past Mike Haas' house and those of several of his neighbors. They say it's the strangest, most infuriating thing.
Postal authorities "want to do away with door service, that's what they want," Haas has concluded. He's a retired CHP officer who has lived all his life on the same Santa Rosa street and until recently had his mail delivered by carriers who drove up, parked at the curb and carried the mail to the box attached to the house.
The Postal Service ceased delivering Haas' mail a week ago because he failed to comply with a written request that he place a mailbox at the curb by March 16.
The request came to him in a form letter sent also to at least nine of his neighbors on Winding Ridge Road, Winding Ridge Court and Stonewood Drive. The neighborhood occupies a hill off Hidden Valley Drive, between the Town &amp; Country district and Chanate Road.
The letter, from Gurpreet Kaur, customer service supervisor at the main Santa Rosa post office, declares that "safety issues" have recently come to her attention.
"Currently the letter carrier is required to drive up and turn around/back up in your personal driveway to service your mailbox," the letter from Kaur says.
"Due to the limited amount of space for the carrier to maneuver the vehicle the Postal Service feels that this is a potential safety hazard." The letter then requests that the resident "relocate your mailbox to the street."
Haas swears that when he read it, he thought it was a simple mistake. He phoned Kaur and informed her that carriers have always walked up his short drive and he has never, ever seen one drive up it.
He said Kaur was not persuaded. "All she says is, it's safety; you have to move your box."
Though Haas and his neighbors were not told that home delivery would be suspended unless they erect mailboxes at the curb, those who have not complied have not received delivery since the 18th. They must pick up their mail at the downtown post office.
Haas said the situation is all the more confounding because everyone on his street has always had their mail delivered to the door, but only some of them have received the letter demanding that they move the box to the curb.
Pointing to the house across the street -- the house, coincidentally, that he was born in and grew up in -- he said the carrier parks in front of it and walks the mail up, exactly the same as at his house. But the residents of the house across the street did not receive the move-your-box letter.
Three of Haas' other neighbors, who did receive the "safety issues" letter, said their carriers have for decades driven up their fairly long, wide driveways, carried their mail to the boxes by their front doors, then returned to their vehicles, made easy U-turns and proceeded back down the drives.
Dan Fitzsimons said he, like Haas, was perplexed to receive the letter from Kaur declaring that a safety issue has emerged. He said the carriers who have for decades driven up and then down his driveway have never encountered a problem.
"The fact is, there is no safety issue," Fitzsimmons said.