Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

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A year after motorcycle crash, Jim Lumley still thanks his helmet

Patrick Sullivan - April 29th, 2013  

It happened that same day a year ago when, all of a sudden, motorcycle drivers in Michigan could legally ride without a helmet.

Jim Lumley was on his way to work on his Kawasaki Ninja 650. He had selected that model because it offers a more upright stance to see the road better.

It was about 7:30 a.m., and even though the sun was up, Lumley had his lights on -- not so he could see the road, but so other drivers could see him. Lumley considered himself a safe, experienced driver.

He approached the intersection of Parsons and Hastings roads in Traverse City, heading east, at around 25 miles an hour, and there was a car there facing him, waiting to make a left turn.

As he reached the intersection, Lumley believed the driver had seen him. He proceeded through.

“I saw him sitting there. There was no indication that he didn’t see me,” Lumley said.


That other driver, however, didn’t see the motorcycle coming his way. He started to make a left turn into Lumley’s path.

Lumley hit the car just as it began its turn. He struck the right front side, and went over his bike and onto the hood. His leg caught his handlebars and his head crashed into the windshield.

“I’ve ridden a motorcycle for a long time,” he said. “I always thought that I could lay it down if something was going to happen.”

The low-speed crash turned out to be high-stakes for Lumley, who suffered a serious injury to his knee. He also believes he owes his life to the helmet that cracked when it hit the windshield.

It was a high-end, $350 helmet, with an air cushion that inflated to further protect his head. The helmet was destroyed in the crash.

“Literally, I could have legally been riding without a helmet, but I chose to wear a helmet,” he said.


The Michigan law that repealed the helmet requirement for bikers took effect April 13, 2012, the day of Lumley’s crash.

The law allows riders age 21 and over to ride without a helmet if they have had a motorcycle endorsement for over two years or pass a safety test, and if they carry at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits insurance.

A University of Michigan study estimates that since the law took effect, helmetless motorcycle riding has led to 26 more deaths and 49 more serious injuries in the state, according to an Associated Press report.

The U-M study has prompted a call from insurance and medical groups to reestablish the state’s helmet law, but proponents of the repeal argue it’s too early to draw any conclusions about the data and note that last year’s remarkably long period of warm weather led to more motorcycles on the roads.

Lumley believes helmetless motorcyclists in Michigan have a disadvantage compared to drivers without helmets in many other states.

In Michigan, motorcyclists can typically get out on the road for only four or five months of the year.

This means drivers of other vehicles in Michigan have much less time to get used to motorcyclists sharing the roads and are less likely to stay on the alert for the presence of bikers.


Now, on his phone, Lumley carries a gruesome photo of his leg, which was slashed open at the knee as he went over the handlebars.

He carries it to show people how serious the crash was and how lucky he is that he was wearing a helmet that day.

A witness later told Lumley what she saw at the intersection that morning and it gave Lumley a better understanding of how the crash occurred.

The woman explained that she was driving a late model Chevy Camaro, painted bright bumble bee yellow with black stripes.

She told Lumley that the driver who turned in front of him was looking at her car instead of the road.

The ordeal left Lumley an outspoken opponent of the helmet law repeal.

“I think it’s ridiculous, personally,” he said. “They’re saying (helmet laws) take away our choice, but the burden this accident has put on people...”

There is the time spent away from work and family, the cost of medical treatment, the cost of lost lives.

Lumley said he also feels bad for the guy who hit him and cites him as one example of what the repercussions of a crash can be.

That driver felt so bad about causing the crash, Lumley said, he couldn’t go to work for several days. Imagine how bad that guy would feel if he would have killed someone?


There are so many reasons to wear a helmet, Lumley said.

Think of all of the distraction drivers have today -- phones, text messages, navigation systems.

He recently passed someone -- in his car -- and looked over and saw the driver typing a text message. That person could easily swerve into another lane and cause a motorcycle to crash.

There are so many ways for drivers to take their eyes off the road, to swerve for a second into another lane.

“If it’s a car (hitting a car), we bump and we exchange phone numbers,” he said.

It’s been a little over a year since the crash.

For the past eight months, Lumley has been in physical therapy to get back the use of his leg.

He’s rehabbed at Superior Physical Therapy in Traverse City and after spending the first couple of months after the crash laid up, he’s made a lot of progress.

The 54-year-old used to play basketball three times a week and raced mountain bikes. He’s just recently gotten back in the court.

Lumley, a CAD tech for Gosling Czubak Engineering in Traverse City, has married his girlfriend since the crash. In addition to his 25-year-old twin daughters, he is now also the father of three step children, ages 11, 14, and 17.


Along with his leg, his old life is coming back.

Back in February, when registration for Mud Sweat and Beers mountain bike race was still open, Lumley decided he wasn’t sure whether he would be ready for the May 4 event.

Now, a few days before the race, he wished he would have signed up.

“I actually probably could have done it this year,” he said. “I hesitated, and I wish I would have just done it.”

But there is one thing he won’t do. He won’t ride a motorcycle again. “My wife says no,” he said. Besides, he believes the odds are stacked against motorcycle riders in Michigan because of the lack of attention drivers pay them.

“I’d love to (ride again), but I don’t know if I trust the drivers,” he said.

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