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  1. Opinion

Just postmark it "Tampa Bay"

Published Feb. 24, 2012

It should come as no surprise that St. Petersburg is losing its postmark. The U.S. Postal Service is losing money, and it's closing the St. Petersburg distribution center and moving those operations to Tampa. Closing another local post office would be more irritating.

The nostalgia for checking postmarks on envelopes is understandable. But they have about as much to do with a city's identity these days as train stations and telegram offices. The postmark in the era of e-mail, texting and tweeting is an anachronism, and there's no reason for St. Petersburg city officials to fret.

After all, the St. Petersburg postmark still will be available for those who ask for it at the counter of a city post office. And the answer for how to postmark mail processed at the Tampa distribution center should be obvious, even to postal officials: Tampa Bay.

In fact, there's no reason why mail from throughout the region shouldn't be postmarked in the same fashion. The area's three big-league sports franchises are named for Tampa Bay. The University of South Florida is incorporating Tampa Bay into its logo designs, and you're reading the Tampa Bay Times. Buy an airline ticket to fly from here on Southwest Airlines, and the departure city says Tampa Bay.

There are plenty of qualities and quirks that give Tampa, St. Petersburg and the area's other cities and communities their unique personalities. A Tampa Bay postmark would be recognizable worldwide and accurate for letters dropped into any mailbox on either side of the bay.

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