Letter to the Editor by Tyrone Dumas
There was a problem with the Community Journal’s front page editorial in last week’s October 30 edition according to the paper’s associate publisher, columnist, and former editor Mikel Holt.
While it touched on all the right things to “say” (i.e. “rhetoric”) about the “epidemic” (as we called it in the editorial) of fatal reckless driving, he said it failed to offer what the entire point of the editorial was supposed to be about: “solutions” that could go a long way in thwarting reckless driving on neighborhood streets, and the fall-out that sometimes accompanies it, “road rage.”
Ironically, community activist, former educator, and elder Tyrone P. Dumas sent us a copy of a letter he has written to the Common Council and Mayor Tom Barrett offering solutions to the crisis of reckless driving that has claimed numerous lives; most recently the lives of two sisters, ages four and six-years-old.
The following is Dumas’ letter in its entirety with some minor editing for clarity.
Dear Milwaukee Alderman/Common Council/Mayors Office and the Press (media):
I submitted these suggestions to the Mayor and Council in the past two-three years. Please let me know if you think they can be put in place in Milwaukee before the 2019-20 Winter begins.
I am resubmitting them because of the recent/past deaths associated with reckless driving…I am pissed that these driving issues have reached a major milestone in regards to public safety and loss of life in Milwaukee. Over the last few months I have seen people run stop lights, stop signs, pass in the turn lanes (left and right) at high speeds while people driving regularly are being threatened by some of those driving recklessly and ignore the police/MPD (Milwaukee Police Department) as they drive by. My wife stopped me from getting out of the car recently to confront those stop sign/red light runners.
I hope you will weigh in on how you can put some of these policies in play on Milwaukee’s streets, roads and highways with MPD and the County Sheriff. It is time to send a message to all of those—young, middle-age, women, men and old folk, regardless of race, creed, age—that this behavior is unacceptable and has to stop or feel the consequences of the system that protects all of us from these maniacs before someone else gets killed and/or injured.
I would like to make some recommendations on how to handle the current driving issues in Milwaukee:
- When people are caught intentionally running a red light and/or a stop sign should be given a ticket and their car towed-away and held for a minimum of 30 days.
- Enforce all the laws with people driving cars with no rear view mirrors, no license plates, badly damaged or non-drivable cars, etc.
- New tow cost of $100 per day for tow storage should be added to the current charge and a 30-day waiting period before offenders can get their car back. Also, sell/trash/scrap the car if the driver is caught for a second or third time running a red light and/or stop sign.
- Those who are drag racing should also be given a ticket and their cars towed. If they are caught drag racing for the second or third time, the car should be seized by the city and sold or scraped.
- The word will soon get out about the crack down and then other cities take notice and do the same.
- Drivers license suspensions should also be on the table. A person driving with no license should go to jail for a minimum of 30 days.
- If you really want to push the envelope, do this: ”No cars can be sold to anyone without a drivers license.” If you purchase a car for someone who doesn’t have a drivers license, then the purchaser assumes the liability and will be charged appropriately if their is an accident.
- Require all car sales/dealerships to, nightly, place all of the car lot keys in a locked/bolted down safe so car thieves can’t gain access to them.
- Place cameras at stop lights.
- Fund more comprehensive driver education programs whether in Milwaukee Public Schools, or through Employ Milwaukee or other non-profit youth agencies.
I am fed up like many of you, and think we need to drop the hammer on those who would use their cars as ultimate weapons of destruction and mayhem in our community/neighborhoods, and on our city’s streets. It has come down to life and death for citizens in South East Wisconsin when it comes to driving.
I worked hard for almost a decade on the issue of drivers licenses and their impact on job acquisition in Milwaukee and South East Wisconsin, but this new crisis has taken on a criminal philosophy of “don’t care and who gonna stop me.” We together are gonna stop them!
Regards and God Bless,
Tyrone P. Dumas