Marilyn Monroe Postal Office? Van Nuys Neighborhood Council Meeting Begins Campaign

12/13/2012 02:36 pm ET | Updated Feb 12, 2013
  • Susan Abram Los Angeles Daily News

She's carried the name sex symbol, bombshell and Hollywood legend since her death 50 years ago.

Now, a local neighborhood council hopes Marilyn Monroe's name will also be stamped on a federal building.

A proposal to name a San Fernando Valley post office after Monroe was expected to be discussed Wednesday night at the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council meeting.

Council President George Thomas said Monroe's link to Van Nuys is an important one, because the actress said living in the area was the happiest time of her life.

"Marilyn Monroe is an American icon, and renaming the post office after her is going to be a part of our ongoing efforts to bring light to the history of Van Nuys," Thomas said in a statement. "Our community has a rich heritage of which many Valley-ites are unaware."

Monroe attended Van Nuys High School in the 1940s. She was living with an aunt after an unstable childhood spent in foster homes and as a ward of the state.

Thomas said Van Nuys High School, founded in 1914, boasts many celebrity alumni including Robert Redford, Jane Russell and Natalie Wood. Monroe went on to star in 29 films and had three ex-husbands, including baseball great Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. She died in 1962.

George said after the neighborhood council discusses the effort, it will submit a proposal to newly elected U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas, who's already on board.

"I think this is a wonderful idea, especially if it's coming from the community," Cardenas said. "Marilyn Monroe is an icon, and my youngest daughter happens to be a huge fan."

Cardenas added, though, naming a post office should be one of his more straightforward tasks after he's sworn in.

"I don't want anyone thinking it will be the only policy I'll be pushing forward. I plan to do some heavy lifting from Day One."

To name a post office, Cardenas would draft legislation and, according to the House Government Reform Committee, all members from the state where the post office is located have to sign on as sponsors of the bill.

The post office that could be named after Monroe, however, has yet to be occupied. The mail center at 6200 Van Nuys Blvd. will be moving to a space at 6513 Van Nuys Blvd., which is the one the neighborhood council hopes will be named after Monroe, Thomas said.

"We will also be looking into making a life-size statue of Marilyn Monroe for either the front of the post office, or along the Erwin Street mall," Thomas said.

The naming of post offices after individuals is a relatively recent practice in the history of the postal service, with the first legislation passed by Congress in 1967.

But since then it has become increasingly common. In the 2003-05 term, one in six laws passed by Congress was for post office naming, according to a 2005 report by the Congressional Research Service. Federal rules say post offices can only be named for an individual who has been dead for at least 10 years, with the exception of deceased presidents and postmasters general.

In 2011, there were 45 congressional bills introduced to name post offices after local heroes, fallen servicemen or women and others. So far this year, there have been more than two dozen bills introduced.

While most of the bills pass, the new name doesn't always stick in the public mind, noted U.S. Postal Service spokesman Richard Maher.

Most people continue to use the geographical name of the post office, postal officials noted.

Thomas said the neighborhood council wanted to get involved with the project to help teach local students the process of how a bill becomes law.

"Most of the reason we wanted to do this is teach the civic classes in high school how this works, from bill to a law, said Thomas, who owns the Van Nuys News Press.

"We plan on doing a series of articles on the process, then speak before the government classes at the local high school, especially Van Nuys High School," he said. "I also am working with the Boy Scouts in the area as a merit badge counselor for citizenship and civics. The fun part of this is going through the entire process. If it takes a year, so be it."

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