An intrusion on our home

By Bruce S. Post
FEB. 1, 2016

The passionate disagreements about the F-35 and industrial wind share a commonality: the meaning of home.

“Home is the place,” wrote Robert Frost, “where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Home and hearth are rooted in our soul, private places of respite and retreat from the grinding gears of public life. The expression “if these walls could talk” symbolizes that our dwellings are more than simply structures; they are storehouses of memories, giving us a sense of our individual and familial selves.

That is the romantic vision. Less romantically, we are never completely safe in our homes. We are wary of the stranger at the door, fearful of the burglar and the thief. We fear the sense of violation that comes with a lock pried, window broken and drawers thrown about indiscriminately. We arm ourselves with dead-bolt locks, alarm systems, barred windows and bullets and guns. The claim “I never lock my door” seems naïve and foolhardy. “Be careful,” we caution, “you never know.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

US Air Force orders freeze on public outreach

By Valerie Insinna , David B. Larter , and Aaron Mehta
March 12, 2018

The U.S. Air Force is slashing access to media embeds, base visits and interviews as it seeks to put the entire public affairs apparatus through retraining — a move it says is necessary for operational security, but one which could lead to a broader freeze in how the service interacts with the public.

According to March 1 guidance obtained by Defense News, public affairs officials and commanders down to the wing level must go through new training on how to avoid divulging sensitive information before being allowed to interact with the press.

The effort, which represents the third major Defense Department entity to push out guidance restricting public communication over the past 18 months, creates a massive information bureaucracy in which even the most benign human-interest stories must be cleared at the four-star command level.

Before settling on retraining its public affairs corps and commanders, the service considered an even more drastic step: shutting down all engagement with the press for a 120-day period, a source with knowledge of the discussions said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Unmanned flights are the future of the F-35?

By Alex Lockie
June 5, 2018

China released images of a new, unmanned, stealth-fighter-style jet, and they present a shocking look into how close Beijing has come to unseating the US as the dominant military air power.
An expert who examined the pictures said the drone, called the “Dark Sword,” could give China a big advantage in a fight with the US.
The Dark Sword looks like an unmanned stealth fighter jet that could overwhelm the US with quantity and supersonic speed.
The US thought about making a jet like this, but instead turned it into a tanker, and now it could be falling behind.
China released images of a new, unmanned, stealth fighter-style jet, and they present a shocking look into how close Beijing has come to unseating the US as the dominant military air power.

China has already built stealth fighter jets that give US military planners pause, but the images of its new unmanned plane, named the “Dark Sword,” suggest a whole new warfighting concept that could prove an absolute nightmare for the US.

Justin Bronk, an air-combat expert at the Royal United Services Institute, said the Dark Sword “represents a very different design philosophy” than US unmanned combat jet plans.

Bronk examined the photos available of the Dark Sword and concluded it appeared optimized for fast, supersonic flight as opposed to maximized stealth.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force, state officials stand firm on F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
June 4, 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson has told federal and local leaders that the Vermont Air National Guard has essentially one viable flying mission — the F-35 fighter jet.

Wilson told Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., in an interview last month at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that it was “highly likely” Vermont would lose the Guard base if Burlington doesn’t host the F-35.

Shortly after, Wilson reiterated her position in a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger.

“If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s,” Wilson wrote to Weinberger. “The Air Force is much smaller than it was at the end of the Cold War.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG pilots look forward to new F-35 fighter jets

This story is produced and presented by Pomerleau Real Estate

Following his dreams has taken Captain Clay Shaner to unimaginable heights.

Shaner, 36, already had a successful career in finance on Wall Street in 2008. But when he daydreamed at his desk at Morgan Stanley or drifted off to sleep at night, his imagination didn’t conjure blue-chip stocks and financial windfalls.

He dreamed, like so many of us, of flying.

“It’s something I’ve always been fascinated with, and wanted to do,” he said. “I’ve always been the guy in the window seat on the plane, watching the earthbound world fade away. There’s a sense of freedom to it.”

Now a member of the Vermont Air National Guard, Shaner’s dreams have taken him to the absolute height of military aviation, to a point where he has a clear view of its future. Shaner is on exchange assignment to Eglin Air Force Base in Florida’s panhandle, in a replacement training unit geared toward integrating the very latest in military aircraft technology — the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter — into the U.S. arsenal.

[FULL AD]

MG Cray says “a vote of no” shows support for the Guard

By Elizabeth Gribkoff and Mike Dougherty
February 9, 2018

Vermont National Guard officials spoke out on Friday against a ballot measure that will allow Burlington voters to signal opposition to basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

Maj. Gen. Steven Cray, Vermont’s adjutant general, said at a press conference that the question “misleads the voter into thinking they are supporting the Air Guard.”

The ballot item, which asks voters if they want the City Council to request the cancellation of the planned basing, has been a point of contention.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MG Cray claims ballot item misleads the voters

February 12, 2018

The City of Burlington has added a citizens, non-binding question on the Town Meeting Day ballot regarding whether Burlington voters support, or not, the basing of the F-35 at the Air Guard base at the Burlington Internation Airport. There was much debate about the wording of the ballot question, which eventually was left intact from the original petition (link is external). On Friday afternoon Vermont National Guard Major General Steven Cray held a press conference at the base to discuss the F-35. His opening comments and video are below, as well as the ballot resolution.

Major General Steven Cray: “My condolences to the Pomerleau family. Mr. Pomerleau was a staunch supporter of the VT National Guard and was outspoken about his respect for the men and women in uniform. He is an honorary Green Mountain Boy and will be sorely missed in our communities.

[FULL ARTICLE]

BG Clark says their press conference was held because of upcoming vote on ballot measure

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 1 2018

Vermont Air National Guard officials on Wednesday explained how they are preparing for the arrival of 18 F-35 fighter jets at the base in South Burlington next year.

Training operations and construction projects for F-35 operations at the Guard base adjacent to Burlington International Airport have been underway since 2016, guard officials said. They expect the first of the new fleet planes to arrive within 18 months.

The press event came six days before Burlington voters will weigh in on the basing in a Town Meeting Day ballot measure. Opponents are campaigning for residents to vote “yes” on a question that asks whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the F-35 basing in favor of “low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area.”

Air Guard officials have maintained that the F-35 decision, which the U.S. Air Force handed down in 2013, is beyond the point of no return.

[FULL ARTICLE]

BG Clark says a vote of ‘no’ supports the Vermont Air National Guard

By Todd Shepherd
March 3, 2018

Residents of Burlington, Vt., go to the polls on Tuesday to vote on a non-binding resolution which, if passed, would direct the city council to ask the Air National Guard to find somewhere else to house an F-35 fighter jet base.

The primary objection from opponents of the base is jet noise, although numerous other issues play a role as well, in a struggle that stretches at least as far back as 2013. The vote comes despite the fact the Vermont Air National Guard has already invested $83 million in preparation for the jets.

“It has been ongoing for 10 years, and we’ve taken it very seriously,” Lt. Col. Daniel Finnegan told Vermont Public Radio. “When the first F-35 lands here in 18 months we intend to be fully trained and equipped to receive it.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont Air National Guard gives reporters a tour of base a week before Burlington vote stepping up their outreach efforts. BG Clark called ballot item “inaccurate”

By Liam Elder-Connors
March 1, 2018

A non-binding ballot item in Burlington this Town Meeting Day would advise the City Council to request that F-35 fighter jets not be based at Burlington International Airport — but the Vermont Air National Guard says they’re still getting ready for the arrival of the aircraft.

The fight over the basing of F-35s in Burlington has been going on for years.

Charles Simpson is an activist with Save Our Skies — the group that worked to get the item on the ballot. He’s also running for Burlington City Council.

Simpson said among the concerns is the noise from the new jets.

“The old plane was the F-16. We’re bringing in the F-35 — four times louder, much bigger noise impact zone, which is going to put in jeopardy 3,000 homes,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Col Harder, Wing Vice Commander talks about voting on ballot item during Burlington Neighborhood Planning Assembly

February 28,2018

Col Harder, Wing Vice Commander talks about voting on ballot item during Burlington Neighborhood Planning Assembly in Wards 4/7.
Harder speaks 28 minutes into recording.

[FULL ARTICLE]

158th Fighter Wing Statement to the Burlington City Council by Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder saying ballot item does not support Guard

January 29, 2018

A typewritten statement to the Burlington City Council by Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder saying ballot item does not support Guard

[FULL ARTICLE]

158th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder’s public statement before the Burlington City Council

January 29, 2018

158th Fighter Wing Vice Commander, Col Hank Harder’s public statement before the Burlington City Council

[FULL ARTICLE]

BG Clarks says he hopes ballot item is rejected by voters

By Stewart Ledbetter
March 5, 2018

Burlington voters get their first chance Tuesday to weigh in directly on whether the Pentagon’s new F-35 fighter jets belong at the city-owned airport, an advisory question that continues to generate plenty of heat.

Question 6 was placed on the ballot by a citizen petition drive this winter. It asks whether Burlington city leaders should fornally request the U.S. Air Force cancel the F-35 basing and substitute a less noisy aircraft and mission at the Vermont Air Guard instead.

Save Our Skies, an opposition group, staged a rally Monday outside City Hall.

They quoted from Air Force documents and environmental studies show the F-35 will produce significantly more noise over Vermont’s most densely populated residential neighborhoods that surround the airport compared to the current F-16 jets that fly now.

And that, they argue, risks the health of at least 1,500 children in Winooski and South Burlington.

Dr. John Reuwer, a retiring emergency department physician, said jet noise is no small matter for children.

“(It) causes all sorts of harm to children, primarily — the strongest evidence is cardiovascular risk, that is hardening of the arteries that eventually kills more people than anything else,” Reuwer said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Senior Guard leaders invite the media to base saying they hope voters will vote “no” on ballot item

By Stewart Ledbetter
February 28, 2018

Days before an F-35 advisory question goes before Burlington voters, the Vermont Air National Guard opened its base to media Wednesday afternoon, showing off some of the work now underway to upgrade facilities and taxiways, and its enthusiasm for the new fighter jets.

Senior Guard leaders left no doubt that they hope residents vote no on Question 6 on Tuesday.

The referendum, prompted by a petition drive this winter, asks voters whether Burlington’s City Council should formally request the U.S. Air Force send a safer, less noisy aircraft to Vermont to replace the aging F-16 jets.

The city owns the airport which leases space to the Vermont Air Guard.

Opponents of the F-35 said they’re not giving up, and in at least three other states the Air Force agreed to substitute aircraft long after its initial basing decision.

For now, the Air Force plans to send 18 F-35 fighter-bombers to Burlington sometime in late September 2019.

Opponents point to Air Force studies and documents showing the F-35’s louder engine will aggravate thousands of residents living in neighborhoods near the Burlington International Airport.

Vermont Air Guard Col. Henry Harder told reporters he thinks the noise will be about the same as today’s F-16 jets.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Col Harder, at Burlington city council, calls ballot item unnecessary and disingenuous

By Katie Jickling
January  30, 2018

The Burlington City Council on Monday agreed to allow voters to weigh in on the future basing of the F-35 fighter jets — but not before a lengthy discussion about ballot wording that, in the end, will remain the same.

The Town Meeting Day ballot question is advisory, and is not likely to prevent the planned 2019 arrival of the F-35s. The crux of the debate during Monday’s meeting centered not around the vote itself, but around language F-35 opponents used conveying “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard.

The original question, on a petition signed by 2,700 city residents, asked:

Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont,’ advise the City Council to:

1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?

Three councilors — Jane Knodell (P-Central District), Dave Hartnett (D-North District) and Kurt Wright (R-Ward 4) — proposed an amendment to delete the phrase, “as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont.'”

[FULL ARTICLE]

In unprecedented press conference and behind the scenes tour for the press, VTANG officials say they want the public to know their side of the story

By Timothy McQuiston
March 2, 2018

If the skies seem a bit quieter around Burlington International Airport these days, it’s because the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-16s have been flying fewer sorties. And it will keep getting quieter for about the next 18 months, which will include, starting next March, about six months of no F-16 activity. But for the next few days, the political noise will get louder, and who knows when that might quiet down.

A Burlington ballot question on Tuesday requests the cancellation of the Vermont Air National Guard’s F-35. It’s an advisory vote only. The F-35s that will replace the F-16 at Burlington International Airport are expected to start to arrive in the fall of 2019. VTANG’s F-16 mission will conclude in March of that year.

While a “yes” vote will not cancel the mission, opponents have been steadfast in saying the new aircraft will make a noisy situation even louder.

Opponents also maintain that the new jets will be more dangerous.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG says to show support for the Guard, vote “no” on ballot item

By Darren Perron
March 4, 2018

A progress report on the  f-35, plus controversy  surrounding a ballot question about the fighter jet.

Vermonters will get to see and hear an f-35 fighter jet some time this year.
The guard says it’s bringing at least one or two here for training purposes and to show
its members the plane that will arrive full-time in 18 months.
We’re told the media will also get a look at the plane, so we’ll see just how loud it is.
It’s not clear when that demo will happen yet, but some time in 2018.
Construction continues at the guard to get ready for the 18 fighter jets that will be based
at the Burlington airport, a decision that has sparked nearly a decade of debate.

[FULL ARTICLE]

In-depth coverage of VTANG involvement in the F-35 basing issue

By Jasper Craven
March 1, 2018

In December 2012, Vermont’s then-Gov. Peter Shumlin squeezed into a nine-seat charter jet for a trip to Florida.

Those on board — including Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and then-Winooski Mayor Michael O’Brien — were headed to Eglin Air Force Base. The mission: To hear the noise of the F-35 fighter jet firsthand, and report back to Vermonters.

The trip was paid for by the Greater Burlington Industrial Corp. (GBIC), a business group that has supported the basing of F-35 stealth fighter jets in the Burlington area. One of that group’s leaders, real estate magnate Ernie Pomerleau, also accompanied Shumlin on the trip.

Noticeably absent were officials from South Burlington, the city expected to shoulder the greatest burden when 18 of the jets are scheduled to arrive at Burlington International Airport next fall. They were not invited.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Adjutant General, MG Cray speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform on 10-28-13 asking them to vote against the council resolution


October 28, 2013

Adjutant General, MG Cray speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform asking them to vote against the council resolution during public forum. Starts at 16 minute point in video.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Adjutant General MG Steven Cray’s October 2013 letter to Burlington City Council

By Adjutant General MG Steven Cray
October 22, 2013

Dear Burlington City Councilors,

I am writing this letter to express my support for basing the F-35 at the Burlington International Airport. I have been involved with the basing process since the beginning and am confident the basing of the F-35 in Vermont is in our best interest as an organization, as a state, and as a community. The basing will provide continued levels of emergency capability for the governor, support national defense, secure current level of jobs, preserve economoic benefits, and secture the Vermont Air National Guard’s future for years to come.

Download full PDF

Lt Col Caputo speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform on 10-28-13 urging the city councilors to “vote no” on a council resolution

October 28, 2013

Adjutant General, MG Cray speaks to the Burlington City Council in uniform asking them to vote against the council resolution during public forum. Starts at 46:12 minute point in video.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Citations on VTANG political engagement as cited in the administrative record of the F-35A basing process

Cray to Fick, Clark, Harris, Caputo, Baczewski, Goodrow, Irish, Kleptz (3-9-10) Subject: Media Messages for F35.  “All, Here’s some thought I have regarding the development of our community management strategy.  First I think it’s time to publish a letter to the editor in the BFP as an update on the “facts”.  It’s imperative that we get Sheryl in front of the SB council in April. An invite to the VTANG for meet and greet.  Timing TBD.”  #40684

Goodrow to Abbott (9-2-10) Subject:  Regarding Organizing Efforts for the F-35.  “There are many opportunities out there to promote the possibilities of the VTANG’s bedding down of the F-35 in the future.  That being said, there is great temptation for members of the VTANG to become engaged in a political process that is outside of our legal lanes.  As a military organization it is improper for us to utilize the email systems to push any sort of agendas as an effort to influence our public or the USAF toward any decision process.  That being said, efforts to institute or participate in any “We Support the F-35 Campaign” by way of petition or active participation in efforts toward those means would be improper.  Military Organization are prohibited from solicitation.

If individuals want to get the news out through their personal websites, facebook, email links, etc. they must do it as individuals and should not do it as a member of the Vermont Air Guard or imply that the Air Guard is driving this ship…because we CAN’T and Aren’t driving the ship.

It is totally appropriate for the Air Guard to support requests for information on the F-35 to organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, etc..but we should not be building their agenda for them.  I do believe that it is now appropriate for the VTANG to engage with the Rotary, etc in order to update them on the EIS process, etc, and update on VTANG activities.  This should NOT be an opportunity to tell folks to organize on our behalf but it purely an effort to keep the public informed on the EIS process.  Engaging with the public in this respect is not only appropriate but expected under the EIS process.  If the Chamber wants to bounce ideas off of us…we need to remember that their efforts on our behalf are THEIR efforts and we are only responding to legitimate, appropriate requests for information that could very well be used to support THEIR efforts toward supporting the F-35 in Burlington.  Offers of F-16 flights or positions of honor for organization offering support would NOT be appropriate.

We have been telling the public from day one that this is a United States Air Force Process that we did NOT solicit…although we are grateful for the  acknowledgement the USAF has given us in their selection of the 158FW as a prime location for the F-35.  If we appear to be actively soliciting and behind the scenes activists toward these means, we could impact our credibility with those who we already are on shaky grounds with.”  #44143. NOTE:  PARTS OF THIS EMAIL ARE MISSING AND ARE LABELED “PRIVILEGED”

[FULL ARTICLE]

How War Industry Corrupts Congress (and everyone else)

By Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies
June 8, 2018

Former President Jimmy Carter has called U.S. politics a system of “legalized bribery” in which powerful interests spend billions of dollars on lobbying and campaign funding to ensure that members of Congress pay more attention to them than to the general public. With the upcoming midterm elections, we will see the full force of this tsunami of cash washing over our electoral system.

The human cost of this corrupt system has been searingly rammed home since the Parkland school shooting, as grieving high school students determined to curb America’s gun violence have found themselves in a pitched battle with the “gun lobby,” led by the National Rifle Association (NRA), one of the most entrenched and powerful interest groups in the country.

The gun lobby has already spent over $12 million on lobbying and given at least $1.1 million to members of Congress in this election cycle, 98% of it to Republicans. The gun lobby also wields power over Democrats through lobbying and public relations, and the threat of targeting individual Democrats who take a public stand for gun control.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Will nukes accompany F-35s to Vermont? No one’s saying

By Jasper Craven
June 3, 2018

In an undated internal analysis of press coverage tied to the proposed basing of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport, Vermont Air National Guard leaders detailed five potential media questions “We Hope We Don’t Get.”

The first four dreaded questions were often asked throughout the years-long debate over the controversial plane’s basing, and included “Why is the F35A four times louder?” and “Why would you be in favor of bringing a plane here when the Accident Potential Zone extends two miles into Winooski?”

But the fifth and final question is one that has been rarely discussed, and is almost impossible to answer: “Where are you planning on storing the nuclear weapons that are part of the F-35 arsenal?”

Opponents of the F-35 in Burlington have long raised the specter of nuclear weapons coming to Chittenden County along with the F-35, and the plane was designed with nuclear payload capability. In May 2013, when the plane’s opponents asked the Vermont Air Guard about nuclear bombs being based in Burlington, even military officials seemed unsure of the answer.

“We haven’t talked about nuclear capabilities of the F-35A yet so this may take us some time,” wrote an Air Force public affairs officer at the Pentagon to her Vermont counterpart. “We’re asking about it.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Strong Community Bond Gives VTANG The Strength to Soar

May 2018

Brigadier General David Baczewski (Ret.) recalls how he and his family found the place they call home today

This story is produced and presented by Pomerleau Real Estate [Appeared as an ‘ad’ in this Burlington Free Press article]

David Baczewski has spent most of his life wrapped in what he calls a “blue blanket.”

The 52-year-old Westford resident was born on an Air Force base. He grew up and earned his own appointment to the Air Force Academy, where he met the woman he would marry. Fourteen years of active duty followed, as a pilot and training instructor.

Throughout his Air Force experience, Brigadier General David Baczewski (Ret.) and his family enjoyed the security and support that comes with service in the armed forces. Then he moved to vermont, where he and his family found themselves wrapped in a blanked thicker than they ever imagined.

“It’s almost hard for me to put into words, but I felt more connected to the community here than I have ever really felt, even in the Air Force,” said Baczewski, who went on to spend 12 years in the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) and rise to the position of Commander for the 158th Fighter Wing.

Full ad below:

BFP-Ad-Pomerleau-VTANG-5-31-18

Despite Opponents’ Efforts, F-35s Still Scheduled for Burlington

By Katie Jickling
May 24, 2018

Citizen efforts to halt the arrival of the F-35 fighter jets appear to have come up short.

Secretary of the U.S. Air Force Heather Wilson confirmed this week that the planes are still on schedule to arrive at Burlington International Airport next year.

The letter dated May 22 from Wilson to Mayor Miro Weinberger came in response to a city council resolution that requested the Air Force find a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard. The resolution also included a series of questions about the safety and noise of the planes.

The Air Force’s response? The basing is a done deal.

“This decision was finalized in 2013 after a 48-month review which assessed 205 locations and concluded that the Burlington International Airport was the best Air National Guard option,” Wilson wrote in a letter to Weinberger. “If that decision were to be reversed, the Vermont Air National Guard would likely lose their flying mission upon the retirement of the F-16s.”

With a decreased need for Air Force bases and aircraft since the Cold War, the letter continued, “competition to secure new missions is fierce.” Wilson estimated that the Air Force would make $100 million in capital expenditures in Vermont during the next five years, and would spend $50 million on salaries annually.

Gov. Phil Scott, along with Vermont’s three-member congressional delegation, support the F-35 basing in Burlington.

Citizen opponents have been fighting the jets for five years. They have filed a lawsuit against the Air Force — which was dismissed — held protests, and, most recently, gathered signatures to get the measure on the Town Meeting Day ballot.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decision on F-35 not up to Vermont Air National Guard: Analysis

By Aki Soga
May 24, 2018

Update: Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson sent a letter to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger confirming “We expect the first F-35 aircraft to arrive in Burlington in 2019.”

In the letter dated May 22, and tweeted by Weinberger the following day, thanks the mayor for his “letter supporting the Air Force decision to base the F-35 at Burlington Air National Guard Base.”

Weinberger affirmed his support for the F-35 basing following the City Council passed a resolution in March by a 9-3 vote asking the Air Force to replace the F-35 with an alternative plane.

F-35 alternative not up to VT National Guard
F-35 opponents are finding a reason to hope in the words of Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson, which seem to make clear that the plan to base the stealth fighter with the Vermont Air National Guard was an all-or-nothing proposition.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sen. Lindsey Graham pitches Trump on F-35s during visit to South Carolina’s McEntire Air Guard Base

By Jamie Lovegrove
Oct 27, 2017

In what seems to be an increasingly common occurrence for U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Seneca Republican was in a meeting Friday when President Donald Trump called. This time, the chat focused on airplanes.

While meeting with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, and Air Force Chief of Staff General David Goldfein at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Graham used the president’s call to loop him into the conversation and pitch him on the benefits of F-35 stealth fighter jets.

Known for his hawkish stance on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Graham said he told Trump that he doesn’t want any U.S. military engagement to be a fair fight.

[FULL ARTICLE]

WCAX broadcast on VTANG interference in basing process

By Darren Perron
May 20, 2018

Opponents of the F 35 Jet call for an investigation on the Vermont National Guard.
They’re alleging unethical and possible illegal conduct that resulted in Vermont landing the controversial plane.
A one on one interview with the woman making the allegations, plus we’re going to get the guard’s response. Major James Lewandowski is here, he will discuss the guard’s Charlie company, which will act as a medical evacuation unit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force head says F-35 loss could ground Vermont Guard

By Mike Dougherty
May 17 2018

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson said Thursday that the Vermont Air National Guard would likely be grounded if F-35s are not based at the Burlington Air Guard Station.

During questioning by Sen. Patrick Leahy at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee hearing, the Air Force head told lawmakers, “If the F-35s don’t go to Vermont, the F-16s will eventually age out, and it’s highly likely that Vermont will no longer have a flying mission for its Guard.”

Opponents to the F-35 basing have raised concerns over the environmental effects of stationing the fleet of fighter jets in Vermont’s most populous city.

In public statements and court filings, opposition groups, including Save Our Skies VT, have suggested that the Air Force could assign alternative aircraft to the Guard. VTANG officials have contended that there is no other mission being planned for the Green Mountain Boys.

Wilson’s comment Thursday appears to be the first public statement clarifying the position of the Air Force.

While opponents have proposed that cargo planes like the C-130 would be viable alternatives for the Vermont Air Guard, the secretary’s statement indicates that fighter planes are the squadron’s only aircraft option.

Her statement largely reflects prior wording about the continued use of the squadron’s current F-16 fleet. The Air Force’s 2013 Environmental Impact Statement stated, “If there is no F-35 beddown at Burlington Air Guard Station, the current mission would continue.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

US Air Force: No F-35s would likely ground Vt. Air Guard

By Darren Perron
May 17, 2018

If the F-35 fighter jet doesn’t land here, the Vermont Air Guard would likely be grounded. That’s according to the U.S. Air Force.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson testified Thursday in front of the Senate Appropriations Committee about the 2019 budget.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, took the opportunity to ask the secretary if another mission is possible for the Vermont Air Guard without the F-35.

“If the F-35s don’t go to Vermont, the F-16s will eventually age out, and it’s highly likely that Vermont will no longer have a flying mission for its Guard,” Wilson said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Former Air Force leaders demand probe of ‘unethical’ conduct by Air Guard officials in F-35 basing

By Jasper Craven
May 6 2018

Two retired Air Force officials have called on federal watchdogs to investigate the Vermont Air National Guard over what they allege is unethical and, perhaps, illegal conduct.

Air Force Col. Rosanne Greco, the leader of an activist group that opposes the F-35 fighter jet, and retired Air Force Lt. Col. Roger Bourassa, submitted letters to the inspectors general of the Air Force, Department of Defense and Air National Guard demanding investigations into “unprofessional, inappropriate, and possibly illegal conduct of some senior military officers of the Vermont Air National Guard” that appear “to violate military ethics and regulations.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airport expansion into neighborhood

By Taylor Young
May 1, 2018

The Queen City is one step closer to building a hotel at the Burlington International Airport.

Monday night city officials approved the BTV Hotel ground lease. Alpha Inn Management is partnering with DEW Properties on the project. In the agreement, the two businesses will lease the property to the city of Burlington for up to two years and give the city a $100,000 deposit.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democrats and Progressives Push US War Machine in Vermont – World Beyond War

By William Boardman
February 1, 2018

Donald Trump loves the F-35 and so does Burlington City Council – that is the real state of the union

his is a story primarily about corrupt practices by the Burlington City Council, in its headlong determination to force a neighboring city to be the base for a weapon of mass destruction, the nuclear capable F-35 fighter-bomber (in development since 1992, first flown in 2000, still not reliably deployable in 2018, at a cost of $400 billion and counting). Yes, the premise itself is corrupt: Burlington owns the airport in South Burlington, so South Burlington has no effective say in how many housing units Burlington destroys in South Burlington to meet environmental standards for imposing the quiet-shattering F-35 jet on a community that doesn’t want it and won’t benefit from it. The entire “leadership” of the state of Vermont, mostly Democrats, has spent more than a decade making this atrocity happen, with widespread media complicity. And you wonder how we got Trump as President.

Opposition to basing the F-35 in a residential neighborhood is at least as old as the mindless official support, and the opposition has been much more articulate, thoughtful, and detailed. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Democrat and Burlington native, has been enthusiastic about militarizing his hometown from the start, treating it as if it should be seen as an honorable piece of pork from the military-industrial complex. Independent senator Bernie Sanders, like Democratic congressman Peter Welch, has hedged slightly in his support, but neither has come close to a cogently articulated position, much less opposition. Governors of both parties have been cheerleaders, especially Peter Shumlin, who took a junket to Florida to listen to an F-35 and decided it wasn’t all that loud (which was shortly before he decided universal healthcare wasn’t all that necessary).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski F35 Resolution

April 16, 2018

CITY OF WINOOSKI CITY COUNCIL

RESOLUTION ON THE BASING OF THE F-35S AT THE BURLINGTON INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Whereas the City of Winooski wishes to address the Air Force decision to base F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport, doing so through Secretary Dr. Heather Wilson, and ;

Whereas the City of Winooski remains steadfast in our support and commitment to the value of the Vermont Air National Guard to our community, the region, and the state, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski recognizes the bravery and sacrifice of each member of the Guard and their families, and;

Whereas the City of Winooski formally requests the Vermont Air National Guard continue to have a mission that reflects their high level of commitment and professional expertise each member brings to our service, and;

[FULL ARTICLE]

2018 F35 Resolution

March 26, 2018

Resolution Relating to

REQUESTING THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE MISSION FOR THE VERMONT AIR NATIONAL GUARD AT BURLINGTON AIRPORT

CITY OF BURLINGTON

In the year Two Thousand Eighteen…
Resolved by the City council of the City of Burlington, as follows:

That WHEREAS, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 to 5,238, the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen-initiated ballot item by 55.31% of the total votes cast:

“Shall we, the voters of the City of Burlington, as part of our strong support for the men and women of the Vermont National Guard, and especially their mission to ‘protect the citizens of Vermont,’ advise the City Council to:

1) request the cancellation of the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport, and

2) request instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area?;” and

WHEREAS, the Vermont National Guard provided valuable service to the community and to the country that is gratly appreciated by the City of Burlington;

[FULL ARTICLE from Burlington Free Press, PDF also available HERE]

Meaghan Emery: Replace the F-35 with a quieter, safer aircraft

By Meaghan Emery

April 25, 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Meaghan Emery, of South Burlington, who is the vice chair of the South Burlington City Council.

In 2010 (I was on the council at the time), the first public meeting to discuss the proposed basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport was held in Winooski. Later, when the draft Environmental Impact Statement was issued in 2012, I read with consternation the data indicating a 50 percent increase in the number of homes that would fall in a zone around the airport deemed incompatible with residential use (rising from 1,900 to 2,900 homes, or over 6,600 people). Over the six years since, I have only become more convinced that the F-35 is incompatible with a densely populated, residential area. This remains the case, in spite of the federal judge’s finding last year. As history as shown us — with the suffrage and civil rights movements, for instance — because something is legal does not necessarily mean that it is right.

South Burlington residents object to, if not the noise, then the impacts of the noise and the noise compatibility programs, which have been decimating our affordable housing stock, putting the future of one of our three elementary schools in jeopardy, and overall disrupting the peace of mind and quality of life of many who reside here. We have two federal agencies at work here. Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger has stated and restated his desire to stop the buyout program and pursue other mitigation programs. The regional director of the FAA, however, has stated that, other than home acquisition, no noise mitigation exists to lessen the impact of these high-powered jets. For us in South Burlington, there is no win-win with the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Open letter to Miro about F-35 by UVM sophomore Lena Connolly

By Lena Connolly
April 20, 2018

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Lena Connolly, a sophomore at the University of Vermont and a lifelong Burlington resident.

My name is Lena Connolly. I am a sophomore at the University of Vermont, and I have lived in Burlington for my entire life. Surrounded by a loving and compassionate community, unbeatable natural beauty, and numerous activities both in the city and the outdoors, I am sure you know that Burlington is a phenomenal place to live.

However, like any place, Burlington is not perfect.

My family’s house lies under the flight path of the F-16 fighter jets, based in Burlington since 1986. I remember one day very distinctly, when I was five years old: My sister and I were playing in the backyard of my family’s home on a cloudless day in spring. The usual sounds of a Saturday morning echoed through the neighborhood: The warm breeze blowing through the trees, dogs barking, neighbors conversing, children laughing, and just like every other Saturday morning, the locally stationed F-16 fighter jets taking off for their training drills directly above my house. The noises of the neighborhood were drowned out by the overbearing roar of the planes. The dogs barked louder, the houses shook, neighbors ceased conversation, my sister and I ran inside, covering our ears and crying.

This is just one example from a lifetime of living in the shadow of the F-16s. They have affected my summer job at the Intervale Community Farm, where the noise from the jets terminates countless conversations between my co-workers and I. They have affected the many times I have sought peaceful refuge in Centennial Woods, where the noise of the F-16s pierces the stillness of the forest, disrupting countless animals and ecosystems. They have affected my father, who is highly sensitive to loud noises and whose stress levels rise every time the F-16s fly overhead. They have affected my mother, who supports my family by teaching music lessons to children at our home; the F-16s force her to interrupt these lessons.

Now, it is 2018, I am 20 years old, and the F-16s have the same looming presence in Burlington that they have had my entire life. It baffles me that the city is currently trying to bring to our town F-35 fighter jets that are four times louder, have a higher safety risk, will affect cognitive development in children and the mental and physical health of those within the noise zone, and make thousands of homes uninhabitable, forcing eviction for countless locals.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Corrupt Democrats Trash Constituents Over F-35 Basing in Vermont

By William Boardman
April 19, 2018

Author’s Note: Since the Burlington mayor’s non-veto veto of his city council’s anti-F-35 resolution, two other affected towns have acted. On April 16, the city council in Winooski, which sits in the airport’s flight path, voted unanimously for a resolution opposing the F-35. Also on April 16, the city council in South Burlington voted 3-1 for an anti-F-35 resolution. No Vermont town is on record supporting the warplane.

Burlington mayor betrays majority of constituents for what?
And why?

On April 11, the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, announced that he was betraying a 55% majority of Burlington voters and a 75% majority of his city council that had opposed basing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at the Burlington Airport in South Burlington. The mayor betrayed his constituents in the limpest way, not by vetoing the popular resolution opposing the F-35, but by sending it on without his signature, while appending a dishonest and misleading cover letter inviting unelected leaders to have their way with Vermont. The third-term Democratic mayor has now asked the Air Force to impose its deafening fighter-bomber on a neighboring city for no cogently articulated reason, following a process bereft of integrity, rigor, or honor.

Earlier this year, when Miro Weinberger was in a challenging, three-way race for re-election as mayor of Burlington, he seemed to make promises. He said things that sounded like promises, things that voters reasonably understood to be promises. One of those promises was a deceptively worded non-commitment commitment to reconsider the justice of basing the nuclear-capable F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the neighboring city of South Burlington, even though South Burlington has no say in the matter.

Weinberger was slip-sliding his way along the F-35 question because he has a long, unambiguous record of supporting the military escalation of the airport in the most populated region of Vermont, and this year voters had finally put the question on the ballot, against serious opposition from officialdom. Weinberger, a former airport commissioner, apparently needed to sidestep a question on which he had never shown any official doubt despite health, safety, military, economic and other evidence that the world’s most expensive weapons system was going to do more harm than good to Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Burlington and Winooski city councils oppose F-35 basing

By Gail Callahan
April 18, 2018

The Winooski and South Burlington city councils have joined their Burlington counterpart in passing a resolution calling for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter that are set to arrive at the local airport next year.

The resolution was adopted on a 3-1 vote in South Burlington and unanimously in Winooski, 5-0.

The action Monday night came nearly a month after Burlington’s City Council passed a similar measure, following a Town Meeting Day referendum in which city voters opposed the F-35 basing by 55-45 percent. The council vote was 9-3.

After a period during which Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said he was studying the issues raised by the public and in a VTDigger investigative series, he announced he was sticking to his earlier position supporting the F-35 and declined to sign the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Two Chittenden County Communities Pass Resolutions Asking USAF To Cancel F-35 Basing

By Pat Bradley
April 18, 2018

In the wake of Burlington city voters approving a resolution asking that the U.S. Air Force cancel plans to base the F-35 fighter jet at the Vermont National Guard base, two nearby city councils this week passed similar resolutions to forward to military officials.

The Burlington City council approved the Town Meeting Day ballot item passed by city voters. Mayor Miro Weinberger refused to sign it but did forward the resolution along with an analysis of the ballot question, which calls into question its validity, and a series of questions for the Secretary of the Air Force to answer.

On Monday, both the Winooski and South Burlington city councils considered similar resolutions. Winooski Mayor Seth Leonard described their resolution mirroring the recent Burlington action.  “The city has consistently said we think Burlington should be passed over in this round of basing until those questions can be addressed or answered.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is the wrong fit for Vermont

By Rosanne Greco
April 16, 2018

On a recent warm sunny morning, I had a beautiful daydream. It went like this: I was sitting on my front porch peacefully gazing at the blue sky when I saw an aircraft rising into the eastern sky, after having taken off from the airport in South Burlington. It was being flown by a pilot from the Vermont Air National Guard. I knew what she was about to do … and I smiled.

In my daydream, this is a military transport/cargo aircraft with a mission to provide supplies to our military serving overseas, or to deliver humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people in the United States and around the world. I swell with gratitude and pride, knowing our Air Guard is providing food, water, water filtration devices, clothing, bedding, home rebuilding supplies and maybe even medical assistance to people in need.

Sadly, this is only a daydream. It is not our current reality, nor will it be our future if the F-35 fighter-bomber is based in Burlington. The mission of the F-35 is to attack and destroy. Worse still is that this kind of mission sometimes kills innocent human beings. The purpose of an F-16 and an F-35 is to destroy. That is what pilots of fighter bombers do — in our name.

It doesn’t have to be that way. We can demand a change in the mission of our Vermont Air National Guard. We can demand a mission that is more in alignment with Vermonters’ values.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Request to halt F-35 goes forward without Weinberger’s support

By Katie Jickling

April 11, 2018

Mayor Miro Weinberger will not give his blessing to a Burlington City Council resolution asking the feds for an alternative plane to the F-35 fighter jets. He announced Wednesday in a press release that he will neither sign nor veto the letter, which will be sent to the U.S. Air Force on April 16 without his support.

A veto “would serve little purpose other than extending the divisive debate indefinitely,” Weinberger wrote in a commentary published on VTDigger.org that explained his decision.

It is the first time in Weinberger’s six-year tenure as mayor that he has not signed a council resolution, according to the release. Instead, he sent a letter to U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson explaining his decision and voicing his continued support for the jets.

The council considered the resolution after 55 percent of Burlingtonians, on an advisory Town Meeting Day ballot question, voted to halt the basing of the F-35s and request a new mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington International Airport. The F-35s are currently scheduled to arrive in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council Votes to Request Replacement of F-35

By James Ehlers

April 10, 2018

Here is my position on the F-35. Besides my past study and experience, the DOT&E Report and analysis from the Project On Government Oversight offers further basis for the James Ehlers for Vermont position on this controversial issue.

I applaud the Burlington City Council for their resolution to replace the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport (a site that was not supported by many in the Air Force at the time).

The people of Burlington spoke out on Election Day, and it is essential that we as leaders respect and promote the will of the people. We have to work together to find a reasonable replacement.

We cannot and MUST not allow whole communities–our schools, businesses and homes– to be degraded by massive noise impacts and extreme environmental risks in the event of a crash. Many of the most affected communities had no say at all in the basing process. Let’s invest in Vermonters, not unproven, financially irresponsible weapons of war.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont Congressional Delegation Opposes Vermont Voters

By William Boardman
March 29, 2018

What happens when the lives of citizens get in the way of political egos?

he politics of American imperialism are alive and well in Vermont, where elected officials are defending the military-industrial war-making machine against voters who reject ruling class priorities. At the symbolic center of this democratic confrontation is the notorious F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the world’s most expensive weapons system, designed to kill in many ways, including a nuclear first strike. And the few times Vermonters have had the chance to vote, they’ve voted against basing this loud, health-harming, housing-destroying offensive war machine in the state’s most densely populated area. Now it’s coming to a head in a people versus career politicians face-off.

At a Town Meeting on March 6, Burlington voters chose, by a 55% majority, to ask the Air Force to base the F-35 in some other state. On March 26, the Burlington City Council, by a 9-3 vote, forwarded that request to Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson to “replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record….” For whatever reason, the council request left out the rest of the ballot resolution’s request: “… proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area” (perhaps because that densely populated area is NOT Burlington). The City Council asked Secretary Wilson to respond by May 1.

Vermont’s quisling Congressional delegation – Democratic senator Patrick Leahy, Independent senator Bernie Sanders, and Democratic congressman Peter Welch – made what looks like a cheap shot effort to influence the council vote at the last minute. Late on the afternoon of March 26, Vermont’s “representatives” issued a joint statement saying they stood by their years of pushing for the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport, which is in South Burlington (which has no voice in the decision).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council to ask for F-35 plane alternatives

By Tom Garris
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 in favor of a resolution to send a letter to the secretary of the United States Air Force asking for an alternative mission to the F-35 fighter jets that are set to arrive in 2019.

The measure passed after hours of public comment and council debate and requests a response from the secretary by May 1.

This comes after Burlingtonians voted in favor of a Town Meeting Day advisory question, also known as ballot question No. 6, asking the council to request a cancellation of the planes.

City Council President Jane Knodell said she voted in favor of the resolution because it’s what the voters in her district wanted, but she noted that there is a risk.

She said the Vermont Air National Guard could pull out altogether.

“But they might say that we want the Air Guard to really work very hard on noise mitigation, because people are very concerned about that,” Knodell said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Weinberger could veto city council vote on F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 28, 2018

The Burlington City Council passed a resolution on Monday night requesting an aircraft less noisy than the F-35 fighter jets — but it may be premature for opponents of the jets to celebrate.

Mayor Miro Weinberger can sign or veto the resolution, according to Katie Vane, a spokesperson for the mayor. A veto would then require two-thirds of the council to vote to override the decision.

Weinberger needs to “take action or provide a response” by the council meeting on April 16, according to Vane, and he plans to make a decision by then.

On Tuesday, the mayor indicated that he’ll be deliberate.

“I will use that time as needed to continue the further work on this issue that I promised, and to make this decision with care,” Weinberger said in a statement.

Weinberger, who has previously expressed support for the jets, “is still digging into the repercussions of the city requesting an alternative mission,” Vane said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington city council approves resolution calling for F-35 cancellation

By Kelsey Neubauer
March 27, 2018

The Burlington City Council voted 9-3 Monday in support of a resolution requesting the cancellation of a planned F-35 fighter jet basing at the Burlington airport in favor of an aircraft that is quieter and has a proven safety record.

The City Council vote follows a ballot measure passed by Burlington residents on Town Meeting Day demanding that the City Council ask the Air Force to cancel plans for basing the F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.

The motion states: “the Burlington City Council values the Air National Guard’s contributions to our community and respectfully requests the Honorable Secretary of the United States Air Force, Heather Wilson, replace the planned basing of the F-35 with a basing of a low-noise-level plane with a proven high safety record, consistent with the ballot question previously cited.”

Like the ballot measure, the letter is advisory in nature. With the basing already approved, the Air Guard has the final say on whether to cancel the basing.

“We obviously have no authority over the Air Force, but we are clear on what we’re asking,” said Councilor Joan Shannon, D-South District, who drafted the resolution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council wants F-35 based elsewhere

March 26, 2018

City councilors in Burlington want the F-35 to be based somewhere else.

Public comment on the issue lasted for hours at a packed City Hall Monday night. People on both sides of the debate stepped up to share their opinions about whether the Queen City should support the Air Force’s latest fighter jet set to land in Vermont in fall 20-19.

On Town Meeting Day, voters approved a non-binding ballot item saying they do not want the jets here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington City Council could vote to request cancelation of the F-35

By Katie Jickling
March 26, 2018

The Burlington City Council will take up a resolution Monday that asks the U.S. Air Force to base a safer alternative to the F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

The proposed measure comes after 55 percent of Burlingtonians voted on Town Meeting Day to ask the council to “request the cancellation” of the planes and find a less noisy, less risky option.

“The voters asked us to take action, so we’re going to take action,” said Councilor Joan Shannon (D-South District), who sponsored the resolution.

It includes a lengthy list of questions for Air Force secretary Heather Wilson: whether an alternative mission would be plausible, the safety and environmental risks of the F-35s, how often pilots would use afterburners and whether Burlington is the only populated area where F-35s will be deployed. The resolution asks for a written response from Wilson by May 1.

[FULL ARTICLE]

National Guard dismissed environmental justice

By Maria Powell
March 9, 2018

Last night the National Guard and U.S. Air Force held a “scoping” meeting for the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that must be developed before “beddown” of F35s at Madison Truax military base. The National Guard Bureau (NGB) is managing the EIS process with a consulting firm. The purpose of the meeting was to gather public input on the range of issues the military should consider in the EIS. See more details in Steve Verburg’s Wisconsin State Journal article.

Unfortunately, the NGB did very little to inform or engage the people in neighborhoods very near the military base who are already negatively affected by the F-16s currently at the base, and will be most impacted by the F-35s–especially the low income Truax apartments about half a mile to the southeast the base and the trailer park about half mile west.

According to the Code of Federal Regulations ( §989.18) the NGB is required to follow for the EIS: “Where it is anticipated the proposed action and its alternatives will have disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority populations or low-income populations, special efforts shall be made to reach these populations. This might include special informational meetings or notices in minority and low-income areas concerning the regular scoping process.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Military doublespeak

By Maria Powell
March 11, 2018

How loud will supersonic F-35 fighter jets be? What munitions will they carry?

Throughout the National Guard Bureau’s (NGB) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) scoping session on March 8, a video showed clips of different kinds of F-35 jets, including the F-35A jet that the U.S. Air Force wants to “beddown” at Madison Truax Air National Guard base.

A Madison resident who lives very near the base sat next to me watching the video. Halfway through it she turned to me, noting “it’s interesting they don’t have sound, given that it’s the biggest concern.” “Good point,” I responded. Ironically, all you could hear while watching the video was people at the meeting talking. If the F-35 video had included the actual sound levels produced by these jets taking off, or even flying low overhead, nobody in the room would have been able hear anyone else—they wouldn’t even be able to tolerate being in the room for very long.

I would know. I live about 2 miles west of the base, under one of the frequent F-16 flight paths as they arrive or depart Truax field. When they fly over our house and we are outside on our screened porch (where we spend a lot of our time in warm weather), we have to stop all conversation while they pass over and are some distance away. Since they often fly over in formations of several planes, this means having to start and stop conversations many times for a while until the whole formation has gone over.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Democracy 1, War Machine 0 | SocialistWorker.org

By Paul Fleckenstein
March 14, 2018

Burlington, Vermont, last week approved a referendum directing local officials to oppose the basing of the F-35 warplane at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in Burlington.

While majority opposition to the basing has been clear in neighboring towns, the referendum marked the first time the issue has been put to a popular vote. “This is a huge victory for democracy,” said organizer Jimmy Leas, “All the congressional delegation, the entire political establishment of Vermont was addressed by this electorate today that, with 55 percent of the vote, said ‘Yes,’ we want to cancel the F-35.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lawmakers to military: don’t buy another money pit like the F-35

By Matthew Cox
March 7, 2018

Lawmakers on Wednesday put senior military officials on the spot to explain how current acquisition reform efforts will prevent costly programs such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from becoming “too big to fail.”

Members of the House Armed Services Committee met with acquisition chiefs from the Army, Navy and Air Force to assess how the services are using new congressional authorities to streamline the bureaucratic policies and procedures that often prevent combat systems from being fielded efficiently.

[FULL ARTICLE]

VPR VT Edition on F-35 Burlington vote

By Jane Lindholm & Matthew F. Smith
March 12, 2018

Eighteen F-35 stealth fighter jets are set to come to Vermont next year, but on Town Meeting Day, a ballot question with language rejecting the fighters passed with wide support in Burlington. We’re looking at what that vote means and what happens next for the F-35s in Vermont.

Fifty-five percent of Burlington voters called for canceling the basing of the F-35s at the Burlington International Airport. Ballot Measure 6 now tasks the Burlington City Council to “request the cancellation” of the F-35 basing decision, and “request instead” alternate “low-noise-level equipment” for the Burlington Air Guard station.

After surviving past council efforts to vote down the fighters and a legal challenge to the site selection process, the Vermont National Guard says the vote won’t change their plans to bring 18 F-35s to Burlington starting in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Seven State Legislators Call to Cancel F-35 Basing

March 2, 2018

We are pleased to announce that Burlington Representatives and Chittenden County Senators, have signed a group letter urging Burlington voters to vote “Yes” on ballot question #6 regarding the F35s. The letter follows:

To whom it may concern,

We stand together in favor of Burlington’s ballot question #6 to oppose the basing of the F-35s at the Vermont Air National Guard. The issues are as follows:

1. Noise/Housing: The F-35 is over four times louder than the current F-16, which will put over 6,600 people’s home in a high decibel noise zone that the Federal Government classifies as unsuitable for residential use.1

2. Crash rate: The planes are still new and as such have an eight times higher crash rate than the F-16s. Typically the Air Force chooses a remote base for the new military aircraft. With 1,400 homes in the crash zone, we cannot take this risk. The current runway aims directly at the largest shopping area in Vermont with two dozen big box stores one mile away in Williston. This is not an abstract issue. In 1965, a military jet crashed in Williston. Fortunately, the area was an open field at the time so the casualties were limited to the two people on board.2…

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Ballot Discussion at Burlington’s North End NPAs

February 28, 2018

Each of Burlington’s neighborhoods has its own unique history, resources and problems to be solved, and the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies reflect this diversity. Because many of the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies grew out of existing neighborhood groups, each has a different character and a different approach to resolving issues.

The February meeting of the Ward 4 & 7 NPA (North End NPAs) addresses ballot items for Town Meeting Day, candidates running for office, and other neighborhood issues.

Scroll to 25:00 mark in the video above for coverage of the F-35 ballot item.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder: I knew I was disturbing the peace

March 4, 2018

The co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream knew he was disturbing the peace with a noisy demonstration against fighter jets.

Ben Cohen told the Burlington Free Press that’s exactly the point.

Cohen was one of three activists arrested for disorderly conduct Saturday after blasting jet noise from a mobile public address system in Burlington, Vermont.

He said the goal was to simulate what it might be like for residents living under the flight path of Vermont National Guard F-35 fighters. He tweeted that if he violated the city noise ordinance then the fighter jets will, too.

[FULL ARTICLE]

An F-35 jet blast demonstration leads to noise complaint charges

By Dom Amato
March 3, 2018

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s led a public service demonstration Saturday, simulating the sound of an F-35 jet blast.

Cohen and other organizers were eventually arrested by Burlington Police, and charged with disorderly conduct by noise. The protestors drove a truck with multiple speakers throughout Burlington — to allow people to hear what they say over 6,000 people in the F-35 flight path will hear multiple times a day. Burlington Police issued at least one set of tickets to the organizers for a noise violation as well. Multiple residents and businesses were heavily impacted and complained to the group about the lack of warning.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder arrested in Burlington

By Rebecca Reese
March 3, 2018

A well-known Vermont businessman was handcuffed today in front of Burlington City Hall.

Police say Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested this afternoon. He was taken into custody after leading a public service demonstration intended to simulate the sound of the F-35 jet blast.

Lt. Matthew Sullivan explained a truck with amplifiers was pulled over multiple times throughout Burlington receiving tickets for violating the city’s noise ordinance.

“Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise so they were arrested,” Lt. Sullivan said. “Three protesters were arrested.”

Supporters of the demonstration such as James Leas said arresting protesters for noise proved their point about F-35 jet blasts.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s fame) arrested for noisy protest in Burlington, Vt.

By Lucas Phillips
March 03, 2018

Ben Cohen was reportedly driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport. One of the founders of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested after repeatedly violating noise ordinances in Burlington, Vt., as part of a protest Saturday, police said.

From 11 a.m. until his arrest at 3:20 p.m., 66-year-old Bennett Cohen of Williston (better known to the world as Ben) was driving around the city giving sound demonstrations, purportedly of an F-35 jet, like one that may come to a local airport, according to Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan of Burlington police. Sullivan said Cohen was pulling a trailer with “speakers you’d find in a club . . . probably 6 feet . . . in height” and powered by four generators.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s cofounder arrested during F-35 protest

By Tom Garris
March 3, 2018

The cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream was arrested-along with two other people-Saturday, for disorderly conduct by noise.

Ben Cohen was among a group that staged a political demonstration in downtown Burlington.

They had a pickup truck hauling a trailer with heavy audio equipment, playing aircraft takeoff noises.

It was a form of protest to simulate F-35 aircrafts set to come to the South Burlington Airport in 2019.

“We are sorry to disturb people,” Cohen said. “We don’t want to do this, but it’s a disturbance once for people that are going to hear this demonstration.”

Sound levels peaked more than 100 decibels, and police received complaints about the noise.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben and Jerry’s Homemade Inc. co-founder Ben Cohen arrested during F-35 protest in Vermont

By Jess Aloe
March 3, 2018

Ben and Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen was arrested Saturday in downtown Burlington for violating the city’s noise ordinances while holding a “public demonstration” about F-35 fighter planes, police said.

Activists opposed to the impending basing of the Air Force F-35s in Burlington played jet noise from speakers mounted on the back of a pickup truck at a decible level they said simulated what it would be like to be underneath the flight path of the planes

Cohen was one of three people arrested for disorderly conduct shortly after 3 p.m., said Lt. Matthew Sullivan. Cohen was escorted from a downtown intersection in handcuffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen Arrested for Protesting F-35 Fighter Jets – Breitbart

By Sean Moran
March 4, 2018

Burlington, Vermont police arrested Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen on Saturday after he repeatedly violated a local noise ordinance in a personal protest against the F-35 fighter jet.
Cohen, a supporter of Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign, attached several amplifiers to his car and drove through the city to simulate the sound of an F-35 fighter jet.

The protest began around 11 A.M. on Saturday and was cited numerous times before Cohen was arrested for violating the town’s noise ordinance.

Burlington Lieutenant Matthew Sullivan said, “Because it was the third violation it’s disorderly conduct by noise, so they were arrested, three protesters were arrested.”

Cohen tweeted on Saturday, “Getting ticketed. It’s either legal or it’s not, if it’s legal for the F-35 to make this noise 16 times per day, 52 wks a yr, for the next 50 yrs, it should b legal for us to do this limited demonstration of extreme jet blasts which are the subject of Item #6 on the March ballot.”

Supporters of the protest argued that by arresting the demonstrators, the police proved their point about the dangers of excessive noise pollution.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Save Our Skies VT March 4 Press Release

March 4, 2018

Save Our Skies VT is making public the dire health impacts—both physical and cognitive—to the
children in our area from the noise of the F-35. They will hold a press conference at 11:00 AM

on Monday, March 5, 2018 outside of Burlington City Hall (Church St side). Health care profes-
sionals, teachers, parents, Colonel Rosanne Greco, and Ben Cohen will be present to speak based on their expertise and personal experiences.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Local 22 F-35 press conference coverage

By Torrance Gaucher
March 5, 2018

Tuesday is Town Meeting Day, and Vermonters can head to the polls starting at 7 am.

In Burlington, voters will be voting to elect a new mayor, city councilors, and seven ballot items. Those items range from recommending to raise the age of sale for tobacco from 18 to 21. To the controversial ballot item, whether the F35 should be based in the community.

On Monday, concerned residents gathered outside of City Hall on Church Street to inform voters about the health impacts of the fighter jet.

Also, how the level of noise will disturb way of life.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ice cream mogul Ben Cohen, activists arrested for ‘jet blasts’ in Burlington

By Anne Galloway
Mar 4, 2018

Demonstrators don’t often break the law to get their point across, but on Saturday, three activists who oppose the F-35 basing in Burlington, did just that.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream, Ray Gonda, a military vet, and Richard Joseph broke the city’s sound ordinance to make a point: The F-35s that are coming to the Burlington area are loud. Extremely loud. So loud that when the three men blasted neighborhoods with the jet sound residents emerged from their houses (with their hands over their ears) to shout at the activists to stop the deafening roar.

The noise came from a set of speakers on the back of a pickup truck. It simulated an F-35 fighter jet flying at 1,000 feet — a booming rumble that hits a decibel level of 115 — about four times louder than the F-16, the fighter jets that have been based at Burlington International Airport since the 1980s.

“We cranked this thing up and it’s insane,” Cohen said. “A lot of people were pissed off, how could you make this much noise in front of my house?”

Cohen was apologetic. He said he knew the jet blasts were obnoxious in the extreme, but he said, “It was necessary to do this to prevent a greater harm.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Stop the F-35 March 5 Press Conference

March 5, 2018

TIME STAMPS:

Intro Rosanne Greco (Ret. Air Force Colonel): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM

Fiona Griffin, Winooski mother: https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=2m10s

Bob Walsh on behalf of Kathy Buley (Teacher at Chamberlin School): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=5m8s

Bob Walsh (Retired teacher and former Marine): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=6m16s and earlier at https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXm M?t=4m32s

Sharon Hopper on behalf or Ann Goering (Winooski doctor): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=8m21s

Dr. John Reuwer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=11m36s

Ben Cohen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oimxPvbGXmM&feature=youtu.be&t=13m30s

Closing (Rosanne Greco): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=15m58s

Call and response (Rachel Siegel, Director of Peace & Justice Center): https://youtu.be/oimxPvbGXmM?t=17m56s

F-35 opponents highlight children’s health risks in final ballot push

By Mike Dougherty
Mar 5, 2018

Activists opposed to the planned basing of F-35 fighter jets in Burlington made a final plea to voters Monday to consider the health effects of noise exposure on area children when they cast their ballots on Tuesday.

Question #6 on the Burlington ballot asks voters whether the City Council should request the cancellation of the planned basing and ask for quieter aircraft. Vermont Air National Guard officials and local economic development boosters have stressed that the ballot measure is non-binding and will not affect the military’s plans.

Environmental impact data compiled by the Air Force in 2013 states that the F-35 will be four times louder than the F-16s currently stationed at the Vermont Air Guard base. That volume increase will disproportionately affect young children at area homes and schools, opponents said at a press conference Monday.

Among the dozens of activists gathered at City Hall was Fiona Griffin, who lives under the airport flight path in Winooski. Griffin said that her two children, now ages 4 and 2, have been afraid of the F-16s since they were toddlers.

“Fighter jets have woken my babies while they slept, scared them while they played, and brought them to tears on more than one occasion,” Griffin said. “It’s just really disruptive.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Leahy and staff had role in F-35 basing decision

By Jasper Craven
Mar 5 2018

In December 2012, more than 100 Vermonters gathered outside U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy’s Burlington office to voice their displeasure over his support for a plan to base a squadron of F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport.

While many of the activists in attendance generally agreed with the senior senator’s political philosophy and that of his two fellow Vermont congressional colleagues, they found themselves at odds on the F-35 issue. One woman’s sign read: “Leahy, Sanders, Welch, You’re Breaking My Heart.”

According to a Seven Days report, protesters entered Leahy’s office and demanded the Democratic lawmaker hold a public hearing on the F-35. Leahy’s chief of staff, John Tracy, appeared on the senator’s behalf and dismissed calls for a forum.

Jimmy Leas, a South Burlington attorney long opposed to the planes, pointed out to Tracy that “so far, (Leahy) has only made himself available to speak with supporters of the plane.”

 

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

Already battered by thunderous noise, community braces for arrival of F-35

By Jasper Craven
Feb 27 2018

Conversations in Ray Gonda’s house came to an abrupt halt whenever the F-16s started roaring. As the growling grew louder, Gonda and his wife moved away from the windows, which vibrated as if they were possessed. As the plane took off and flew over their home, family pictures hanging side-by-side on the living room wall shook violently.

“I’d often have to readjust those pictures after the plane took off,” Gonda recalled recently.

For decades now, a fleet of F-16 fighter jets have flown out of Burlington International Airport. While the noise has become routine to many, the impact of the sound hasn’t lost its potency.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington group seeks to put F-35 challenge on March ballot

By Cory Dawson

January 5, 2018

A group of city residents is gathering signatures for a petition that would put an item on the March ballot asking the City Council to oppose basing F-35 fighter jets at the Burlington International Airport.
The move is the latest in a long-running dispute over the new warplanes. Since the Air Force first sent notice in 2009 that it was considering the airport as one of the locations it would send F-35’s, groups of residents have sought to oppose them.

Charles Simpson, a local activist, retired professor and Progressive City Council candidate, is leading the charge to get the ballot item to voters in March. Simpson is part of a group opposed to basing the planes in Burlington.

Several members of that group, along with the City of Winooski, lost a court battle in 2016 challenging the findings of a U.S. Department of Defense environmental study that gave a green light to deploying the planes at the airport.

The Vermont Air National Guard’s current fleet of 18 F-16 aircraft will begin to be replaced with new F-35’s as early as next year. The F-35 will be used in Burlington nearly 5,500 times per year — a slower pace than current F-16 flights — and will be significantly louder than F-16s. Houses closest to the airport have been vacated and sold through a Federal Aviation Administration program that buys homes severely affected by noise pollution.

The ballot item language, which is advisory and non-binding, asks the City Council to request cancelling the warplanes coming to Burlington and to request quieter military equipment.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Toward a Livable City: the F-35 Question (filmed on 12-12-17)


Charles Simpson, retired professor of sociology, sits down with Jimmy Leas, activist with Save Our Skies, Rosanne Greco, retired Air Force Colonel and Save Our Skies activist, and Carol Miller, of the New Mexico based Peaceful Skies Coalition, to pokes a few holes in the message to which Vermont’s political establishment is wed: that the U.S. Air Force’s F-35 fighter plane is a wise investment and an appreciable factor in Greater Burlington’s livability.

What Every Vermonter Should Know about the Decision to Base the F-35s in Chittenden County

The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) conducted by the U.S. Air Force, on the planned F-35 basing
in Vermont states that:

Our area would be negatively affected in the following categories:

Noise, Safety, Climate Change, Air Quality, Socioeconomics, Land Use, Transportation, Environmental
Justice, and the Protection of Children.

More information available in this brochure in PDF format.

F-35s in Boise Idaho

By Sven Berg
October 14, 2017

The first F-35s ever to land in Boise arrived Friday from Hill Air Force Base in Salt Lake City, crew members said.

The two jets were parked Saturday on the tarmac at Gowen Field, the Idaho Air National Guard base that shares the Boise Airport’s runways, for thousands of Gowen Thunder 2017 air show spectators to see.

And the cutting-edge warplanes were a big attraction, even when popular aerial performances were taking place, such as the show put on by the Royal Canadian Snowbirds and the Air Force Thunderbirds. Pilots, mechanics and maintenance experts chatted with people who stopped to ask questions about the F-35s. Security forces monitored the taped-off area around the planes to make sure the public didn’t get too close.

The crowd didn’t hear the F-35s on Saturday, though, because they remained parked for the duration of the show. In order to fly in air shows, the F-35s and their pilots must be part of a demonstration team, Idaho Air National Guard spokeswoman Cassidy Morlock said. Such a team exists and has performed at 14 events this year, Morlock said. Gowen Thunder’s organizers requested that the team come to Gowen Thunder, she said, but were unsuccessful.

[FULL ARTICLE]

From Burlington to Boise, How to Fight the F-35

By Colonel Rosanne Greco Ret.

I’m writing from the Burlington, Vermont area to tell the people of the Boise, Idaho area that you are not alone. Although we are thousands of miles apart, we are close in our shared concern about a threat to our cities: the basing of the F-35. This is not hyperbole. We have seen here in South Burlington the destruction of entire neighborhoods solely because of the noise of Air Force jets. Our airport tore down over 200 homes because of the noise produced by the currently based F-16s. The F-35 is over four times louder, and its scheduled to arrive here in 2019.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-16 and F-35 Bombers Threaten Cognitive Health of Children in Vermont Town

By James Marc Leas
July 19, 2017

A crisis plagues 976 families in a working-class neighborhood of South Burlington, Vermont. Eighteen screamingly loud F-16 fighter bombers based at Vermont’s main airport are the cause. Worse, the number of families in crisis from this jet noise is set to sharply increase in two years when the Air Force says it will replace the F-16s with four-times-louder F-35 fighter bombers.

The neighboring city of Burlington owns and runs the Burlington International Airport, even though that airport is fully located within South Burlington. The city council of South Burlington has so far restricted itself to adopting a series of polite resolutions regarding the health and safety of the 976 families living in tiny affordable homes in the screeching noise zone of F-16 fighter jets. But these resolutions were all dismissed by Vermont’s political elite who instead successfully lobbied the Air Force to bring on the F-35.

Nor did Vermont Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders come to the aid of the largely working-class residents living in the airport neighborhood of South Burlington. Both senators refused even to meet with residents, declaring jet-fighter basing a matter of patriotism or jobs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

With F-35 decision looming, Boise Airport gets federal money to monitor noise

 

By Sven Berg
June 19, 2017

The Federal Aviation Administration will cover 93.75 percent of the $300,000 cost to design, acquire and install a noise-monitoring system at the Boise Airport.

The airport, which the city of Boise owns, will cover the remaining $18,750.

The monitoring system will allow the airport to compare the amount of noise planes produce when they take off and land on its runways to models that predict the impact and reach of that noise.

Some of the noise at the airport comes from military planes, including a squadron of 18 active A-10s that the Idaho Air National Guard operates. The U.S. Air Force plans to decommission all A-10s in the next five years or so, leaving the question of what aircraft, if any, will replace the A-10s at Gowen Field, the Guard’s base

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise officials heard the F-35 up close

By Sven Berg
August 20, 2017

On Aug. 7, Elaine Clegg stood at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah, and listened to the roar of F-35s taking off and landing a couple hundred yards away.

Clegg, president of the Boise City Council, also witnessed F-16s and other planes at the base. She said she couldn’t tell that much difference between the various aircraft.

“They’re jets,” she said Wednesday. “They’re loud.”

Amid a yearslong, sometimes ugly debate over basing F-35s in Boise, the Utah trip was a rare opportunity for city officials to hear in person just how loud the jets are.

Lauren McLean, Clegg’s second-in-command on the council, was at Hill, too. Her impression of the F-35s aligned with Clegg’s.

Clegg and McLean said the F-35s in Utah were using afterburners — acceleration devices that substantially increase aircraft noise.
[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 in Boise: We don’t know what we don’t know

By George Prentice
July 19, 2017

The city of Boise and a grassroots neighborhood group are in a dogfight over proposed mission

Listen to enough people argue about the possibility of an F-35 mission coming to Gowen Field in Boise and you’ll soon realize the only common ground you hear is an agreement that only a fully vetted, Boise-based scientific analysis will reveal how the mission might impact the livability of the community. The divide of opinions over the proposed mission is already as wide as the runway at Gowen Field is long. As an example, comments on an informal online poll by Boise Weekly were strident. “Don’t like the noise? Don’t live near the base,” wrote Mark Dewey. “It’s the sound of freedom, baby,” wrote Todd Woodell.

State of Idaho and City of Boise officials—from Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Mayor Dave Bieter on down—have voiced full-throated support for keeping the Idaho Air National Guard airborne above Gowen Field. Both Otter and Bieter winged their way to Washington, D.C., this past March to lobby on behalf of Boise, one of five cities on the U.S. Air Force’s shortlist, each vying to be the home base for somewhere between 18 and 24 F-35 jets.

A number of citizens, primarily from the Vista neighborhood in Boise, are doing some lobbying of their own. They’ve created a group called “Citizens for a Livable Boise,” punching holes in the effort to lure the F-35 mission.

“It’s a terrible thing. We’ll never get used to it, and if it comes here it would tear this community apart,” said Monty Mericle, retired Idaho Power engineer and CLB member.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MCAS Air Show reflects value of the F-35 to Beaufort, nation

By Shannon Erickson
April 25, 2017

The Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort Air Show reminds us of our community’s proud support for America’s military, and the importance of our military both to national defense and our local economy.

Because of this impact, I led an effort for the South Carolina House and Senate to pass resolutions supporting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, and our county and city councils have joined us in clearly declaring their approval.

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort is one of the only bases in the country to house the F-35, and more squadrons are coming.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Billboards support F-35 in Alabama

By Jalea Brooks
April 25, 2017

You may have noticed them around town – The Montgomery area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring billboards across the city to raise awareness of the effort to get the F-35 to locate here. Leaders of the F-35 Task Force say it’s important that the community be aware Montgomery is in the running as a possible home for a fleet of F-35A jets.

Leslie Sanders, chair of the F-35 Task Force says “community support is one of the areas that is looked at when the decision makers are trying to decide where to put the next installation…it’s also important because it underscores the strong partnership and the value that our community on the military.”

Paul Hankins, co-chair of the task force explains “we’ve really ramped up our efforts to really publicize what the F-35 is all about what this competition means to us in terms of jobs and economic impact”.

The F-35 would replace the F-16 planes currently used by the 187th Fighter Wing based at Dannelly Field. Hankins says “they’re flying some of the oldest F-16’s in the Air Force, those planes are due to be retired over the next maybe 5 to 10 years or sooner”.  Hankins adds that while the community support is vital to getting the F-35 to the, “The best hometown of the Air Force”, he hopes that decision makers consider a number of other factors that set Montgomery apart from the competition.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The F-35 is much louder than the F-16 and A-10

The Arizona Star reported that the F-35 fighter projects 121 decibels (db)
of noise to the ground, 25 decibels more than the F-16, at the same speed
and altitude. Later, the Star corrected the estimate of the F-35 noise to 98 db,
based on numbers provided by Davis-Monthan.

But D-M’s numbers are contradicted by 6 years of consistent Air Force reports.

Five independently prepared Air Force documents show that at most
altitudes and speeds, the noise on the ground below the F-35 will be
an average of 16 decibels louder than the loudest F-16 currently flying
from D-M/TIA (a difference of roughly 60 times the physical energy
& more than three times as loud perceptually).

[FULL ARTICLE]

Anti F-35 Noise Group Launches Website (Boise, ID)

April 14, 2017

In a subtle maneuver that would have any fighter pilot pulling extra G’s, a group organized to fight the noisy F-35 jet has co-opted Mayor Dave Bieter’s favorite line about making Boise the “Most livable city in America.”

CITIZENS FOR A LIVABLE BOISE” now has a central “meeting place” on-line. They even qualified for the “.org” designation.

While rather restrained in their approach, CLB presents information and news stories from around the nation not likely to be produced by local media outlets or shared by proponents of basing at least 18 of the loudest fighter jets in the Air Force at Gowen Field.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Trump claims F-35s flew over Japan undetected: ‘Pretty cool, right?

By Brad Lendon
May 12, 2017

US President Donald Trump thinks the F-35 fighter is “pretty cool,” but he seems to be a bit confused over what the newest US warplanes have been up to in Japan.

In a White House interview with Time magazine published Thursday, Trump said almost three dozen of the stealth jets flew over Japan undetected during a visit to Tokyo by US Defense Secretary James Mattis in February.
“They had 35 of them fly over Japan … and they were not detected by the radar. They flew over and everyone said where the hell did they come from? That’s stealth. It’s pretty cool, right,” Time quotes Trump as saying in the interview.
[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders keeps Vermont press at arms length


By John Walters
Mar. 22,2017

On his way out of the St. Johnsbury Academy gymnasium last Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) stopped in the hallway and faced the media.

For all of two minutes. He answered three short questions and hustled on to his next engagement.

Little did I know that this would be my one and only opportunity to ask Sanders a question. I attended five Sanders events in four Vermont towns last week without ever getting another chance.

But that’s just par for the course.

Sanders rarely interacts with Vermont news media.  He’s a constant presence in national newspapers and on cable news — the very “corporate media” he rails against at every opportunity — but not in this state’s media, most of it locally owned. I guess if you’re looking for the biggest possible audience, well, principle be damned.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letters to the Editor on VTANG pilot crash (Price) and noise maps (Powell)

By Rich Price, and Ellen Powell
Feb. 8, 2017

No-Reporting Zone
I write to express my disappointment in the editor’s decision to run a story about Lt. Col. John Rahill [“F-16 Aviator Must Take Civilian Pilot Exam After Small Plane Crash,” February 1]. Poorly written and mean-spirited, the article appears to be an attempt to bring negative press upon the Vermont Army National Guard during a time when many of its men and women are deployed in the service of our country…

By Rich Price

Noise Map Needed

[Re Off Message: “South Burlington Councilors Want Airport Buyouts to Stop,” January 23; Off Message: “SoBu Council Passes Resolution Critical of Airport Home Buyouts,” January 24; Off Message: “Airport Director: SoBu Council Resolution Won’t Stop Buyouts,” January 24]: There’s a big lack of affordable housing in South Burlington. Due to increased decibels from F-16s, the airport has purchased and demolished more than 150 affordable houses in the vicinity of the airport. There are 40 more homes on the chopping block…

By Ellen Powell

[FULL ARTICLES]

 

Save the Guard – The Big Lie

By Richard Joseph
Sep. 12, 2016

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.
We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Now is the time to Rebel

By Jimmy Leas
March 5, 2017

South Burlington is being roughed up every day by a bully to the north. We must stop collaborating. Now is the time to rebel.

Burlington is the bully. Burlington hosts an otherwise well-regarded tenant at its airport that operates screamingly loud F-16 fighter jets that cause serious health and safety misery, and property losses to families in South Burlington.

The misery is visible: 200 affordable homes near the airport bulldozed since the arrival of the F-16.

The misery is also invisible: The noise is so awful it causes cognitive impairment of half the children living in the remaining 961 South Burlington homes in the F-16 extreme noise zone.

Burlington gets millions of dollars in grants, primarily from the FAA but also from the state of Vermont, to do its vicious deed on South Burlington neighborhoods.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Five-Way-Win Solution to Airport Noise Problems

By Rosanne Greco
March 8, 2017

There is a solution to the airport noise problems in which all of the entities involved — the Vermont Air National Guard, the airport, South Burlington, Burlington and the surrounding communities — will survive and thrive. It’s simple, aligns totally with Vermont values, won’t cost a dime, may result in more jobs coming to the Air Guard, and everyone wins.

Most folks would agree that airport noise is causing significant problems in our area. But to make sure we are all on the same page, I’m providing the information upon which this solution is based. All of the facts I cite are taken from official government documents and can be verified.

Facts related to the impact of the problem: The primary source of the unlivable airport noise come from military jets — not commercial airliners; because of this noise, Burlington is using FAA money to purchase and then demolish homes in South Burlington; home demolition reduces South Burlington property taxes, which then results in tax increases for the rest of the city’s homeowners.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 program capital would be better spent on infrastructure

By William H. Sample
December 21, 2016

There is an increasing concern about the F-35 fighter plane (identified by the Department of Defense as “fifth generation”) and its role in military readiness. Having served for three years during the Korean War, I came to appreciate and understand the armed forces’ importance in American life.

Although I did not remain in the service, I have followed military activities which have been conducted over the years (at the direction, sometimes ill-advised, of their civilian leadership) with competence, loyalty, enthusiasm and pride.

As the 21st century started, I became alarmed about the F-35. I recalled Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s admonition for us to be wary of the excesses of the military/industrial complex. It would be clear to him, I think, that the F-35 project is the military/industrial complex run amok.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont doesn’t need F-35: A Letter to Editor of Burlington Free Press

By Sophie Quest

December 21, 2016

I believe that it’s time to take another careful look at the F-35 warplane (officially called a “weapons system”). Over the 50 year life span of the F-35, America’s newest warplane, we will spend $1.4 trillion on production and maintenance of this one weapons system. That is enough to feed all the world’s hungry ($30 billion per year) and provide everyone on earth with safe drinking water ($11 billion per year).

Even short of provoking war, its production and deployment misdirects vast amounts of precious metals and fossil fuels. This stealth airplane is specifically designed for offensive use. It can carry the B61-12 nuclear weapon deep into foreign territory undetected, making its first-strike use more likely.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Why Didn’t You Ask? A Letter to Editor Seven Days

By Eileen Andreoli
November 2, 2016

It’s patently absurd that reporter Paul Heintz’s second major reflection on Sen. Patrick Leahy’s career in three years does not once mention the extremely controversial F-35 debate in Vermont [“Forty-Two Years a Senator,” October 12].
The F-35 issue has been one of the most divisive of Leahy’s campaign and has tarnished his image for thousands of Vermont residents. Heintz’s piece doesn’t ask any hard questions about Leahy’s decision to trade off the projected damage to the homes, health and safety of thousands of Vermonters for his untenable desire for the basing of the dysfunctional and dangerous F-35s in our residential neighborhoods.
Who is to blame for this glaring omission of concern to many Vermonters? Was it Leahy’s arrogance in refusing to talk about the F-35s or a lack of reporting skills on Heintz’s part?

[Full Article]

What Keeps the F-35 Alive

By David Swanson
November 2, 2016

Imagine if a local business in your town invented a brand new tool that was intended to have an almost magical effect thousands of miles away. However, where the tool was kept and used locally became an area unsafe for children. Children who got near this tool tended to have increased blood pressure and increased stress hormones, lower reading skills, poorer memories, impaired auditory and speech perception, and impaired academic performance.

Most of us would find this situation at least a little concerning, unless the new invention was designed to murder lots of people. Then it’d be just fine.

Now, imagine if this same new tool ruined neighborhoods because people couldn’t safely live near it. Imagine if the government had to compensate people but kick them out of living near the location of this tool. Again, I think, we might find that troubling if mass murder were not the mission.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Fearing Noise Impacts, Residents demand better representation

By Monty Mericle
November 26, 2016

It was made clear again Nov. 16 to the 150 residents attending the Boise Airport Master Planning meeting that the Boise Airport and Boise City officials have no intention of addressing the noise impacts of the expanding airport operations. The recently completed FAA sponsored Noise Study projects the “Not Suitable for Residential Use” zone on private property surrounding the airport will expand from the current 105 homes to 419 homes if F-15 aircraft replace the current A-10 aircraft, and over 1,100 homes if the city is successful in attracting F-35 aircraft to Gowen Field.

Navy pollutes water system

DECEMBER 14, 2016

Navy Contaminates Coupeville Wells from Navy OLF Training Site

Residents Warned Against Drinking, Preparing Food with Their Water

The Navy has delivered bottled water and warnings to the first of what may be many homes with contaminated drinking water that are located in the area of the Navy’s Outlying Field (OLF) near Coupeville.

At least two property owners, some of the first who took the Navy up on its offer to have their water wells tested, were notified by phone that their water contained toxic chemicals above EPA Health Advisory Levels.

The Navy’s testing of private and public water wells followed the October 11 discovery of toxic chemicals in an OLF drinking water well that signaled contamination of the underlying aquifer. The fear that perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) found beneath the OLF had spread beyond Navy property prompted a November 7 letter to more than 100 private and public drinking water well owners in a one mile radius.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon buries evidence of $125 Billion in Bureaucratic waste

By Craig Whitlock and Bob Woodward
December 5, 2016

The Pentagon has buried an internal study that exposed $125 billion in administrative waste in its business operations amid fears Congress would use the findings as an excuse to slash the defense budget, according to interviews and confidential memos obtained by The Washington Post.

Pentagon leaders had requested the study to help make their enormous back-office bureaucracy more efficient and reinvest any savings in combat power. But after the project documented far more wasteful spending than expected, senior defense officials moved swiftly to kill it by discrediting and suppressing the results.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Save the Guard — The Big Lie

September 12, 2016

This commentary is by Richard Joseph, who is an artist, a member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition and a plaintiff in the F-35 lawsuit against the Air Force.

In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act. — Anonymous

The truth revolution faces fierce opposition in Burlington. In fact, during the past four or five years, Burlington has been subjected to a concerted disinformation campaign touting the supposed benefits of basing the troubled F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Burlington’s commercial airport. Lies have been told and repeated by F-35 basing proponents attempting to build public support. Now, in government documents released in conjunction with an ongoing lawsuit against the Air Force, some of the deceit has finally been exposed.

We were told Burlington is the best location for the F-35.

• But the truth revealed in government documents is that Burlington is the worst location from both an environmental and an operational perspective among the sites that were considered.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy said he’d “never put his finger on the scale” to convince the Air Force to select Burlington for the F-35 basing.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Vermont’s Golden Calf

The following is a letter to the editor of VTDigger.com from Roseanne Greco

August 31, 2016

As a child I believed most of the Bible stories I was taught. But there was one story I found hard to believe … until recently, that is. The story was of people (the Israelites) building a statue of a golden calf from their riches (their melted jewelry), which they then worshiped as a god and to which they sacrificed. The Israelites believed this idol would save them from their enemies. They revered those who created and paraded their idol, and criticized those who dared to doubt the idol or its high priests. How could individuals be so enamored of an inanimate object? It was difficult for me to believe that rational people actually believed something built by human beings was a god.

However, over the past few years, I’ve seen Vermonters come to worship an object made by human beings. Devotees adorn their vehicles with images of their idol and post phrases claiming that their idol will save Vermont. They contribute their riches to create their golden calf, to promote its presence, and to proselytize its message. And, they are willing to sacrifice to their god.

[FULL LETTER]

The F35 fight is far from over

f35-protest-2016

Here we go …. Asking you for money … yet again.  I honestly thought that our fund raising effort in August 2015 would have been the last time we would have to ask for money.  At that time, Jim Dumont, our lawyer, had given us his best estimate on what the costs would be for our lawsuit until the end of the process. You were generous and we raised enough to cover all of those estimated costs. In fact, until now, we have always been able to pay all of our bills, including our legal costs.

But in May, the South Burlington city council started discussing joining the lawsuit.  This resulted in more work for Jim and more legal costs to us.  Then the federal judge assigned to our case asked to hear oral testimony from our lawyer and the Air Force lawyer regarding our challenge to the Environmental Impact Statement.  That occurred on July 5th.  On August 10th, the judge issued his ruling against us.  Within days, we decided to appeal this ruling.  However, once we pay what we currently owe Jim, we will have no further legal fees.  Here’s why.

Jim VOLUNTEERED TO DO THIS APPEAL FOR FREE!  All he asked of us is to pay the minor costs associated with making copies of the legal documents.  Jim is enlisting the help of other lawyers (also pro bono ) to help in the legal appeal.

But, currently, we still owe Jim around $12,000.  Jim has consistently billed us at the lower non-profit rate; but he has expenses and bills and staff to pay as well.  Fairness dictates that we pay Jim for the legal work he has done on our behalf.

Some of you have donated frequently.  We are especially grateful for your generosity.  Now, I am hoping that those who have never donated money to help us stop the F-35, will donate now; and that those who have donated only once or twice in the past will now donate again.

Large donations would be ideal.  But if your financial circumstances don’t allow for that, then anything you can afford will help.  Well over a thousand people have expressed opposition to the F-35 basing.  Were everyone to donate $20 we would be able to pay off all our bills, and have a cushion of money to sustain us for the next three years – until 2019 when the F-35 is scheduled to arrive.

So, we are asking for money ONE LAST TIME.  But the “last time” doesn’t mean the struggle is over.  Far from it!

We have both legal and political courses of action still available to us.  Both the courts and our senior politicians can stop the basing.  We are currently brainstorming political strategies.  More about those later.

I hate using militaristic terms like “fighting” “ battling” “battles” and “wars.” But since we ARE talking about the MILITARY basing a WEAPON SYSTEM in our midst, and the F-35 is literally a KILLING MACHINE; I think the terminology is appropriate.  I assure you that the fight is far from over.  The only way we will lose is if we stop fighting.  We have lost many battles, but we can win the war.

This is not just another “cause.”  Morality compels us to continue our efforts. The dangers and impacts to people are just too great.  We cannot accept the cognitive impairment that military jet noise might inflict on hundreds of mostly low income children.  We cannot accept the destruction of more neighborhoods.  We cannot accept the risk of a crash from an extremely toxic fighter-bomber onto a densely populated community.

Thank you for everything you do.  Your continued activism and financial support is vital to saving our citizens and cities.  This may be your last chance to contribute to stopping the impending injustice.  With the help of some money and the outspoken voices of many people, we will be able to stop the F-35.

Rosanne and the Stop the F-35 Coalition

Please make out checks to “Stop the F-35” and send to the Peace & Justice Center, 60 Lake St, Suite #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.  Your check will go further (less processing fees!) or you can also donate online >>>.  Donations are tax deductible.

Tucson, AZ F-35 related information

f35noisedataedwards2013By Bob Logan
July 29 2016

In May, Consultant Lt. Gen. (Ret) Gene Santarelli traveled to Lockheed Martin Co. manufacturing
facility in Dallas to get an update on F-35 noise and safety data.

F-35 Noise data in Comparison to F-16 C/D From Edwards AFB tests Sept., 2013

[FULL ARTICLE – Pages 14-17]

F-35s in Vermont the Elephant in the room by Eileen Andreoli

By  Eileen Andreoli

July 25, 2016

Did you see it? The State of Vermont’s official website now displays the banner, “Welcome to Vermont – Future Home of the F-35 Stealth Bomber/Fighter Jet!!!”

Yes, Gov. Peter Shumlin, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch and all the way down to Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger — all these progressive, pro-environmental, green-loving politicians — have heartily endorsed the virtues of the F-35 basing at the Burlington Airport. They are proud of the basing decision and can’t wait to announce it in their marketing campaigns. All new state promotional and marketing material will carry the new slogan.

The F-35 basing will be the first-ever basing of a newly operational warplane in the midst of our state’s most densely populated residential community. The crash risk from any new warplane in military history is the highest in the first few years of flights. The F-35s will arrive in Vermont in 2019 as immature planes. Despite the dangers and risks to Vermont’s residential populations, these politicians have declared it “an honor” to be chosen.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Air Force expanding into communities

By Stephen Stuebner
Nov. 28, 1994

The Air Force’s decision Oct. 6 to back off on building a new bombing range in the Owyhee canyonlands is a victory – and therefore shocking.

Who would have thought that a coalition of local and national environmentalists, hunting groups and a few members of Congress could stop the military and Idaho’s forceful Gov. Cecil Andrus?

Members of this informal coalition enjoyed clinking glasses to their momentary success. “We toasted in hopes that we had driven the pointy end of the spear through this proposal,” said Bob Stevens, a Ketchum bighorn sheep hunter and former military pilot, who flew many opinion-makers over the remote canyon. “The problem has always been location, location, location.”

A look back at this long-debated project suggests that Andrus may indeed have doomed it by choosing the most environmentally sensitive area in Owyhee County, trying to pull an end-run on Congress and pledging Idaho’s support without asking the people first.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Open Meeting law violated regarding VTANG-called meeting

By Nicole Higgins DeSmet
June 30, 2016

Community members cried foul at being denied entrance to a publicly announced meeting last week.

Vaughn Altemus of Williston, who was not admitted to the Vermont National Guard meeting last Wednesday, wrote of his concerns to Free Press on Sunday following a story written by staff regarding South Burlington’s support of a sound and safety lawsuit against the U. S. Air Force.

“I continue to be unaware of any way I could have gained access to that meeting,” Altemus wrote.

[FULL ARTICLE]

MacKay laments not buying F-35s

By Stephanie Levitz
June 13th, 2016

Buying a fighter jet that’s different from the one used by Canada’s closest allies risks disconnecting the country from the global alliances it needs the most, a former Conservative defence minister said Monday.

Peter MacKay told a Senate committee that in his mind, there’s no question the Lockheed-Martin F-35 is the right plane for Canada — from defending the Far North to helping to confront the threat of terrorism around the world.

MacKay’s government tried to purchase that very plane but questions about its costs and capabilities forced a halt to the process — something MacKay said he regrets.

“I’m very much lamenting some of the to-ing and fro-ing that’s going on currently over the purchase of fighter aircraft,” he said.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Noise information delayed

BY MORGAN TRUE
DEC. 10, 2015

City officials, the Vermont Air National Guard and the Burlington International Airport are making progress toward a joint noise mitigation commission that would include representatives from other affected communities.

Newly released noise exposure maps show more than 2,200 people fall into the area negatively impacted by excessive noise from the airport and the F-16 fighter jets now in use. The maps don’t account for louder F-35 fighter jets that are expected to be based at the airport in 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Surprising similarities between EB-5 and F-35 programs by Eileen Andreoli

By Eileen Andreoli

May 8, 2016

With his recent reversal of his support of the EB-5 program, Sen. Patrick Leahy seemed to declare that he has realized the errors of his ways. His denouncement of the program is admission that the EB-5 project is corrupt and has harmed both the investors and everyday Vermonters.

Now is the time for Leahy to also acknowledge the same regarding his support of the F-35 basing in Vermont!

Similar to the political contributions that Leahy collected from the EB-5 investors, he has accepted thousands of dollars from Lockheed Martin, the manufacturer of the over-budget and poorly performing F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Burlington Free Press My Turn: F-35 decision followed Flint model

By James Marc Leas
June 16, 2016

The F-35 basing decision followed the Flint, Michigan, model – eyes closed to the foreseeable catastrophic consequences.

The Air Force Environmental Impact Study (EIS) says the F-35 is expected to have a crash rate like the F-22, which has a much higher crash rate than the F-16.

The number given in the EIS indicates that we can expect an F-35 crash in Burlington, on average, every 3 years.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding dangers of advanced composite materials

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 15, 2015

Dear Councilors,
Once again, I urge all of you to support joining the NEPA lawsuit, which is simply to get the Air Force to comply with federal law and provide the necessary information on the basing impacts of the F-35. Many people tried – unsuccessfully for years — to get the Air Force to provide this vital information. Legal action was the last recourse.

What we are seeking is not “nice-to-know” information. Literally, this could be life-saving data when we consider the very real possibility of an F-35 crash in our community. The noise of the F-35 will assuredly alter the lives of thousands of people in South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester. But the consequences of an F-35 crash in any of these cities is unimaginable. As horrendous a thought as that may be, given the crash statistics for new military aircraft, the likelihood of that happening is quite real.

Last Monday, you heard from a gentlemen who told you there was no difference in crash consequences between the F-16 and the F-35…or commercial airliners…or even household items. He was wrong. Numerous scientific reports produced by the Air Force contradict his statements.
You may decide to trust him, and disregard the data produced by the Air Force which refutes his opinion. However, if you decide to go with one man’s opinion over the Air Force, then at least, do some research and verify what he said. The arms control admonition is appropriate here: “trust, but verify.”
Through Internet searches, we discovered three Air Force reports from experts in the field of composite materials. All three reports, despite the dates (1995, 2001, and 2015), come to the same conclusion on the dangers of advanced composites and advanced aerospace materials. Because many people are unlikely to actually read the reports, I’ve summarized them using direct quotes, with page references. I will gladly send this to you, if you wish.

And, keep in mind that the Air Force did not disclose these reports or their findings in the EIS or during the comment period! We found these reports on our own. Perhaps there is more information that we have not found.

This is the reason for legal action. The Air Force didn’t inform us of these impacts (and other impacts including noise mitigation measures). The Air Force did give us detailed information in the EIS about the F-35 impacts on migratory waterfowl, and what would happen if an F-35 flare ignited vegetation; but they never told us ANYTHING about what we could expect should an F-35 crash!

Military first responders on an Air Force Base in Guam were unprepared when an Air Force bomber with advanced aerospace composite materials (similar to the F-35) crashed in 2008. This mishap report (along with a link to a video of the crash) appears in the 2015 document. You may choose to believe that our first responders will be better prepared to handle the catastrophe associated with a F-35 crash than the military first responders. Perhaps you will be right. But, what if you are wrong?

Please make your decision based on the truth, the facts, and science; and not on speculation, personal opinions, or emotion. And please, don’t let politics guide your decision. Lives could be at risk. Think of the people. Thank you.

All three Air Force composite hazard reports are attached.

Letter to South Burlington City Council regarding NEPA lawsuit

By Colonel Rosanne Greco, USAF (retired)
June 11, 2016

Dear South Burlington City Councilors,

I would like to first express my gratitude to the council chair for being willing to address the serious issue of the safety and noise impacts of the F-35 basing in our city.

Secondly, I would like the council to know that I support South Burlington joining the NEPA lawsuit as a plaintiff.

Thirdly, I would like to address some of the concerns expressed by councilors, starting with informing/reminding the council of past city actions regarding seeking information from the Air Force on the impacts of the F-35 basing, particularly in light of Councilor Chittenden’s comment “Lawsuits are a last resort, not a first resort.” In light of the actions taken by municipalities and residents over the past four years, any reasonable person would come to the conclusion that every other method to acquire information on the negative impacts of this basing decision had been taken; and that filing a lawsuit was the last resort.

Specifically, on at least five occasions, local municipalities wrote to the Air Force requesting information, primarily related to noise, but also regarding other impacts of the basing. These formal letters came from the SB City Council, the SB School Board, and the SB Planning Commission. The City Council of Winooski twice requested this information from the Air Force. The Air Force did not respond to any of these requests.

Additionally, over the past four years, on numerous occasions, South Burlington and area residents from South Burlington, Burlington, Winooski, Williston, and Colchester requested assistance and intervention from our Congressional delegates, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welch. Our elected representatives chose not to discuss the matter with any of those who were concerned with the negative consequences of the basing. I think it would be foolhardy to expect that, at this point in time, the Air Force, or our Congressional delegates would be forthcoming with information or assistance.

Regarding Councilor Chittenden’s comment that “The Vermont Air National Guard will be constricted in their permitted interactions with us on the important matters of first responder readiness & noise mitigation if we are in a lawsuit suing them on these two issues” the lawsuit is against theSecretary of the Air Force, not the Vermont Air National Guard. The lawsuit is about requiring the Air Force to comply with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) rules. This information can only come from the United States Air Force.

This same answer applies to Councilor Nowak’s comments about getting information from the Guard. The VTANG is not obligated by law, as is the Air Force, to provide this information; and in all likelihood, does not even possess the information we need. However, Councilor Nowak’s comments about our first responders’ fine reputation in past incidents is pertinent to this discussion; as they are among those the lawsuit seeks to protect. We want to insure that they are able to continue their invaluable work by making sure they have the proper information, technology, equipment, protective garments, and training to combat a totally different type of danger than they have experienced in the past.

The material composition of the new F-35 is vastly different from the current F-16. The F-16 is made up of a tiny fraction of composite materials as compared with the F-35, which the Air Force categorizes as a “high-risk aircraft” because of the amount and percentage of composite materials in its airframe. Moreover, the F-16 has no chemical stealth coating. The entire F-35 is coated with these additional toxic chemicals.

Our lawsuit is to get the information on these dangers, so that our first responders are properly equipped and trained to protect nearby civilians, the military members involved, and to protect themselves. Councilor Nowak is suggesting that the city and its taxpayers ought to be the ones to expend personnel time and money researching the magnitude of the dangers and how to address them, and then paying for the needed training and equipment. She also favors spending taxpayer money to identify noise mitigation actions, and seems to trust that the FAA will allocate all the money needed for noise mitigation work. The Air Force is the one who will be causing these dangers and burdens. It is the Air Force’s responsibility, not the residents of South Burlington, to provide noise information and remedies.
Regarding putting a lawsuit decision to a city-wide vote, in my experience on the council that has never happened. SB has never asked the voters to decide whether the city initiates, or joins, or defends itself through lawsuits. Legal matters are one category that Vermont allows councilors to discuss in executive session.

Lastly, I appreciate councilors’ concerns as to the timing of this matter. But, new information only just became available to the council. To ignore that would be a dereliction of their duties as our elected representatives. Good governance requires acting on information in a timely manner. In this case, waiting to gather more information or input, means the council would miss their last opportunity to act in a meaningful manner. As we used to say in the military, ‘complete information coming too late is useless’.

Unfortunately, councilors do not have the luxury of only working on easy issues. Governing sometimes means taking on controversial topics. Once again, thank you for taking on this controversial, but essential issue. The future of our city and citizens depends on your actions on Monday.

Lockheed Martin to get $3 billion from F-35 sale to Denmark

By Peter Levring

Denmark’s government plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets with Lockheed Martin planes in an order worth 20 billion kroner ($3 billion).

The minority government of Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, which still needs parliamentary approval before the order can be placed, wants to spend the money on 27 F-35 jets to replace old Lockheed Martin F-16s, Defense Minister Peter Christensen and Rasmussen said at a press conference in Copenhagen on Thursday. Boeing had also competed for the deal.

Denmark is revamping its fleet at a time when the “world security map has changed, producing new threats closer to Europe and Denmark,” Rasmussen said, highlighting Russia, the Middle East and Northern Africa as areas for concern.

[FULL ARTICLE]

America’s last fighter jet makers scramble to keep production alive


BY MARCUS WEISGERBER
MAY 12, 2016

In the southwest corner of a mile-long assembly plant here, an F-16 fighter jet is slowly coming to life. That plane, being built for the Iraqi Air Force, is far more sophisticated than the first Falcon to come off this production line more than 40 years ago, but it soon could become one of the last.

To the northeast by 575 miles, a similar scene is playing out inside another manufacturing facility. Here it’s the F-15 Eagle and F/A-18 Super Hornet, two more 1970s relics that have been redesigned and modernized heavily over the decades.

Without more orders by the U.S. military or its allies, production of these three planes, which gave America supremacy of the skies for more than four decades, will halt by 2020.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Decades later, sickness among airmen

By Dave Philipps
June 19, 2016

It was one of the biggest nuclear accidents in history, and the United States wanted it cleaned up quickly and quietly. But if the men getting onto buses were told anything about the Air Force’s plan for them to clean up spilled radioactive material, it was usually, “Don’t worry.”

“There was no talk about radiation or plutonium or anything else,” said Frank B. Thompson, a then 22-year-old trombone player who spent days searching contaminated fields without protective equipment or even a change of clothes. “They told us it was safe, and we were dumb enough, I guess, to believe them.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Will Fly Despite Auditor’s Fleet-Grounding Warning

By Patrick Tucker
April 17, 2016

Pentagon officials say the plane can fly without the aircraft’s enormously complex diagnostics system.

Problems with the Joint Strike Fighter’s logistics software will not keep the F-35 fleet from flying, the Pentagon says, contrary to a new Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report that hinted at a possible grounding.

In the April 14 report, GAO officials say problems with one of the jet fighter’s software suites are so severe that “it could take the entire F-35 fleet offline” if there was a failure, in part because there’s no backup to the system.

[FULL ARTICLE]

DOD F-35 program office, breaking the law

By Eric Palmer
April 18, 2016

The U.S. Government Account Office has released two reports on the troubled F-35 program.

One on the program and “new capabilities”. Another, on the F-35s faulty total logistics management system called ALIS.

The one on ALIS has no surprises. The problems have been ongoing for years and, it was years ago that fixes were promised.

The other report? Billions needed to work on Block 4 of the F-35. The problem with this is it is blue-sky marketing. The F-35 program is still in DOD procurement milestone B. That is, after all these years: early development. The primary goal of the F-35 program currently in its system design and demonstration (SDD) stage is to show a fully functional Block 3 capability. Key word: ‘demonstration.’

[FULL ARTICLE]

Flying Public Relations Blitz? Pentagon Finds Only Good Use for F-35

March 26, 2016

With its reputation effectively flown through the mud, the F-35 will seek public approval by performing alongside WWII fighters in an air show tour.

With a price tag of over $1 trillion, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter has been riddled with problems that include everything from cybersecurity issues to basic flight capabilities.

“[The F-35] has already been in development for more than twenty years,” reads a report conducted by the non-profit Project on Government Oversight. “The plane is still years away from being capable of providing any real contribution to the [US] national defense if, in fact, it ever will be.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Pentagon waste hampers military readiness: Citizen-Times Letter to the Editor

By R. Michael Erwin, PhD, Weaverville
February 5, 2016

I read retired Col. Ric Hunter’s guest column (Jan. 31 AC-T) concerning the outlook for military readiness in an era where rapid response is needed in response to rogue forces. He lists a number of serious deficiencies within the Air Force resulting largely from sequestration. Although the Air Force has suffered budget reductions, the same is true for most federal agencies. It is difficult to be sympathetic to the Pentagon when the budget for the military (including Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security) consumes about 70 percent of our annual budget.

[FULL ARTICLE]

The Truth about the F-35

By Eileen Andreoli
Apr. 18, 2016

This commentary is by a member of SaveOurSkiesVT.org.

In recent stories about the accelerated pace for the basing in Vermont of the under-tested and mechanically flawed F-35s, Gov. Peter Shumlin states, “This initiative will benefit the Vermont National Guard, create jobs, and spur economic development in Chittenden County and surrounding areas.”

Shumlin has repeated these same lies for the last three years. When challenged in 2013 to provide the source for his comments that the F-35s would create jobs, his reply was: “The specific quote you referenced should have referred to the more than one thousand direct and indirect jobs attributable to the air base that I strongly believe will be retained if we are chosen for F-35 basing.”

Retaining jobs does not equal creating jobs! Even after he was challenged on these falsehoods, and despite his excuse that he meant to say “retained” jobs instead of creating them, he is back at it again, repeating the same lies. His continued misrepresentation of the facts must be exposed for the outright lies they are.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 is a Feminist Issue

By Rosanne M. Greco
April 15, 2016

I am a feminist. For over 40 years, I have supported feminist ideals. Four years ago, I started learning about the implications of the proposal to base the military’s newest fighter-bomber, the F-35, at the Vermont Air National Guard Station in South Burlington. The more I researched, the more I began to wonder: Is the F-35 a feminist issue?

Feminists work to achieve political, economic, personal, and social rights for women. The F-35 will negatively affect the economic, personal, and social rights of women. Specifically, Vermont women (and their children) are disproportionally the ones who will be affected by the basing of the F-35 at the Burlington airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 Deficiencies (Press Republican Letter to the Editor)

By Joe DeMarco
Feb 18, 2016

F-35 deficiencies

This is information about the F-35 that should interest everyone.

The contract was awarded to Lockheed Martin on Oct. 26, 2001 (15 years ago) for this $1.4 trillion program — yes, $1.4 trillion for one aircraft.

After many years of development and testing, this aircraft has serious maintenance and reliability problems. Testing found that the Marine Corps did not and could not show that its variant “was operationally effective or suitable for use in any type of limited combat operation or that it was ready for real world operational deployment.”

Combat requires a readiness rate of 80 percent, but during demonstrations, the F-35 struggled to maintain a 50 percent readiness level.

[FULL ARTICLE]

 

AF gets more time to respond to lawsuit in Arizona

March 23, 2016

The Air Force has been given an extra month, until late April, to respond to a federal lawsuit alleging that the service failed to adequately study the environmental effects of expanding a military training program at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

Three Tucson residents filed the lawsuit Jan. 22, challenging the Air Force’s finding last year that the expansion of its Total Force Training program would create ‘no significant impact’ and asking the court to order a detailed environmental impact statement.

The Air Force said it needed more time to file a detailed response.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski seeks $5,000 for F-35 lawsuit

By Elizabeth Murray
March 28, 2016

The Winooski City Council unanimously approved spending $5,000 more on a lawsuit the city entered last year regarding the U.S. Air Force’s environmental impact statement regarding F-35 fighter jets.

The additional money was an agenda item at Monday’s council meeting at Winooski City Hall.

The City Council initially approved spending $7,500 on the lawsuit when the city decided to enter the case in April 2015. The council said at the time that if additional money were needed, a motion would come back before the council for public discussion and a vote.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 opposition respects the Guard

By James Marc Leas
March 31, 2016

Supporting our Vermont Air National Guard is one thing. Supporting particular items of equipment is another.

Supporting our Green Mountain Boys does not require supporting the Air Force decision to base F-35 warplanes at the airport in South Burlington.

If our Guardsmen were lousy at their jobs, poor learners, lackadaisical, unprofessional and could only do one thing right, all right, to support them we might have to accept them doing just that one thing, whatever it is.

But, as is indeed the case, our Green Mountain Boys are “the best of the best.” Their skills and achievements mean they will do very well no matter what equipment or mission they are given.

Unlike Air Force bases immediately adjacent to wide open spaces and/or large bodies of water, the airport in South Burlington is immediately surrounded by thousands of homes and tens of thousands of people. Does anyone seriously believe the best of the best will be disbanded if they obtain a mission compatible with their location in the most densely populated part of Vermont?

[FULL ARTICLE]

VTANG has a future without the F-35

By Roger Bourassa
March 31, 2016

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Roger Bourassa, of Colchester, who served in the Marines and is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel. He flew in the F-89, the C-97, and the F-101 and flew all over the world including several missions to Vietnam.

recent letter to a South Burlington newspaper from a retired Air Force colonel who claims to be an expert on base closings predicts the worst for the Vermont Air National Guard (VTANG) if the F-35A takes a pass on this first round of basing. He predicts a closing of the Guard and a local economic recession while offering nothing to support these claims.

A lawsuit against the secretary of the Air Force is on the docket for later this spring in the Federal District Court in Rutland concerning this issue. The decision may result in a reconsideration by the Air Force on basing the F-35 at VTANG.

The primary arguments used by supporters of the F-35A basing are that opponents are either, 1) unpatriotic and anti-military and, 2) without the F-35A, VTANG would be without a mission. The first argument is plain nonsense. There are many veterans numbered among the opponents to the basing of the F-35A, many of whom have served their country with honor with some serving during wartime, including Vietnam.

The second argument is without evidence and, to the contrary, is challenged by official Air Force statements. The Air Force Revised Environmental Impact Statement (RDEIS) states “… if there is no F-35A operational bed-down at Burlington the current mission would continue” (RDEIS Page PA-47). No public official (military, government, or politician) has EVER said the base will close if the F-35A is not based here.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Airplane Noise

By John Vogel
March 29, 2016

Recently I’ve been spending time in the Burlington area and wondering why we have to put up with the ear splitting noise of military planes as they take off and land. The good news is that they’re phasing out the F-16s. The bad news is they’ll be replacing them with F-35s.

In 1951 when the Air National Guard moved to Burlington, it was probably a sensible decision. But 65 years later, the community has changed and so have the planes.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Group vows to fight F-35 delivery

By Keele Smith
April 6, 2016

F-35 jets expected to arrive in Burlington in 2019f16

Air Force officials announced Monday that the first F-35 fighter jets are expected to arrive in Vermont in fall of 2019. But those fighting to keep them from coming here are not giving up hope.

“There are no benefits to the F-35 coming here. All negatives. One more risky and dangerous than another,” F-35 opponent Rosanne Greco said.

Greco has done her homework when it comes to bringing F-35s to Vermont.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Future operations and opposition to the F-35 at Davis-Monthan AFB

By Emily Bregel
March 10, 2016

As Davis-Monthan Air Force Base faces dual threats of cuts to its primary mission – its fleet of A-10 close-air support jets – and the specter of base closures nationally, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said its’future is bright.’

‘I couldn’t be more impressed with what I have seen so far,’ she told local reporterson Wednesday, during her first visit to D-M. ‘This is a very, very busy base.’

James praised the A-10 mission here and said proposals to retire the fleet nationally were rooted in budget constraints. She pointed to D-M’s new drone unit, which remotely flies MQ-1 Predator drones, and nearby training areas as platforms for expansion.

‘I think there’s room for growth, in terms of missions’ at D-M, she said.

James’ whirlwind visit to Tucson comes as D-M supporters tout a new survey showing strong local support for the base and for the controversial prospect of high-decibel F-35s flying more frequently in Southern Arizona.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders’ position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

By Sarah Sicard
Jan. 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry. Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world. But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Backs Trillion Dollar Weapon System

By Ben Armbruster
Feb. 17, 2016

As we all know by now, Bernie Sanders is campaigning on a promise to change American politics in such a way that benefits the middle class and working families at the expense of corporate greed and influence.

“I am asking you to be part of a political revolution,” Bernie told his supporters last summer. “A revolution which transforms our country economically, politically, socially, and environmentally.”

While some have wondered how Bernie’s revolution will stand up to the realities of governing should he win the White House, what’s often been overlooked is the fact that the Vermont Independent has had plenty of opportunities to buck the system as a U.S. Senator. He has not always taken those opportunities, instead siding with big corporations at the expense of the taxpayer.

Nowhere is this more evident than his unwavering support for one of the biggest boondoggles in U.S. military history: the F-35.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Thunder without Lightning: The high costs and limited benefits of the F-35

By Bill French

August 2015

The National Security Network (NSN) is pleased to release a new policy report, Thunder without Lightning: The High Costs and Limited Benefits of the F-35. According to our analysis, the F-35 lacks the capabilities to execute its primary mission, and costs too much relative to its predecessors. The Department of Defense should examine ways to reduce its commitment to this albatross of an acquisition program.

From the report:

“To perform against near-peer adversaries, the F-35 will have to be capable of executing a range of missions, from defeating enemy aircraft to penetrating enemy air defenses to strike surface targets. But the F-35 will struggle to effectively perform these missions due to shortcomings in its design and program requirements, despite costing between three and nine times more than the 4th-generation aircraft it is designed to replace.

The F-35 will find itself outmaneuvered, outgunned, out of range, and visible to enemy sensors. Going forward, full investment in the F-35 would be to place a bad trillion-dollar bet on the future of airpower based on flawed assumptions and an underperforming aircraft. To avoid such a catastrophic outcome, Congress and DOD should begin the process of considering alternatives to a large-scale commitment to the F-35. Staying the present course may needlessly gamble away a sizable margin of American airpower at great expense and unnecessary risk to American lives.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Sanders position on the F-35 contradicts his views on defense spending

Sarah Sicard
January 14, 2016

Though Sen. Bernie Sanders advocates for spending cuts, he also supports the costliest program ever funded.
Democratic candidate for president and Vermont senator, Bernie Sanders, seems to have contradictory policies regarding the Defense Department.

Within his platform regarding the military, he suggests that the U.S. military spends too much money on defense, and is known to staunchly oppose military engagement unless absolutely necessary.

In a town hall meeting in Iowa City, Sanders said, “We know that there is massive fraud going on in the defense industry.  Virtually every major defense contractor has either been convicted of fraud or reached a settlement with the government …We need a strong military, it is a dangerous world.  But I think we can make judicious cuts.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders Loves this $1 Trillion War Machine

Tim Mak
February 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire — Sen. Bernie Sanders has railed against big defense corporations at rallies, but he has a more complex history with the military-industrial complex. Most notably, he’s supported a $1.2 trillion stealth fighter that’s considered by many to be one of the bigger boondoggles in Pentagon history.

Sanders has made his opposition to Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness a cornerstone of his campaign. But he hasn’t exactly been antiwar all his career. When it has come time to choose between defense jobs and a dovish defense policy, Sanders has consistently chosen to stand with the arms-makers rather than the peaceniks—leading to tension with some of the most adamant adherents of progressive ideology.

[FULL ARTICLE]

F-35 total disaster

By Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry
January 27, 2016

The F-35 is an absolute disaster, and it needs to go. The scandals around it are legion.

The supersonic stealth plane called the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter was supposed to be the greatest and best military plane the world has ever seen. While the United States’ stealthy F-22 is an “air superiority” plane, ensuring the country’s dominance over the skies, which is why exporting it is illegal, the F-35 was supposed to be able to do everything, and be the standard fighter-bomber of the U.S. and most countries with which the U.S. has friendly relations. It was supposed to be stealthy, to be able take off and land vertically, and to know everything about everything thanks to its amazing software and sensors. It can’t do any of those things so far.

The program has cost $1.3 trillion so far. By comparison, the Apollo Program, which actually sent people to the moon, cost about $170 billion in 2005 dollars. The F-35 is literally the most expensive military project in history. By 2014, the program was $163 billion over budget, and seven years behind schedule.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Letter to the Editor of the Idaho Statesman, January 26, 2016

“We are among “those that live by the airport.” However, we have never complained about the noise, until this past summer (and only to each other). We’ve lived here 15 years, love the area and being close to everything. We moved in from Meridian after 17 years of the sprawl out there. Our home was built in 1954, 10 years before the first jet service to Boise. We expected airport noise: we did spend eight years on SAC and TAC air bases. But, the noise from the F-15s this summer was terrible. And the City of Boise potentially wants to allow F-35s with considerably more noise at Gowen? There is a reason for Mountain Home AFB: put them there. We tried to read the noise study, but not being a government bureaucrat, we were unable to decipher the data. Has the City of Boise become so dollar hungry that they are willing to sacrifice the quality of life for an expanded tax base? Finally, anyone familiar with USAF aircraft, must be aware of the noticeable noise difference between an F-15 and an A10.”

Al and Patti Crager, Boise

Tucson Residents file lawsuit against AF

By Bud Foster
Jan 26, 2016

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -Three residents who live in midtown Tucson in the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base flight path have filed a suit against the U.S. Air Force.

The suit, filed by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Intereston behalf of Gary Hunter, Anita Scales and Rita Orneles, states the Air Force did not follow required federal protocols in preparing an environmental assessment on the impact its new training schedule would have on neighborhoods in the flight path.

[FULL ARTICLE]

David-Monthan residents sue over F-35 noise

By Caitlin Schmidt
January 23, 2016

Three residents of neighborhoods near Davis-Monthan Air Force Base have filed for an injunction in federal court, seeking to require the Air Force to conduct a more detailed analysis of how increased training flights from the base will affect the community.

Rita Ornelas, Gary Hunter and Anita Scales filed the complaint Friday with the U.S. District Court of Arizona, saying that the Air Force failed to follow federal guidelines when it approved a plan last year to increase the number of operations.

The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, a nonprofit firm that focuses on government accountability, is representing the plaintiffs.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise airport noise concerns

BY SVEN BERG
DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Boise airport noise concerns

BY SVEN BERG
DECEMBER 23, 2015

Some Boiseans believe the deciders have made up their minds to bring louder military jets to Boise.

Many of these people live near the airport, so they’d be most affected by the noise. They suspect their concerns don’t matter to the city government, Idaho Air National Guard and U.S. Air Force. When the authorities reach out and ask for their opinions, they think it’s just for show.

“I don’t like that — the feeling that we’re being manipulated,” said Monty Mericle, who lives on Meriwether Drive just north of the Boise Airport’s runways.

Network of Communities Oppose Military Expansion on Public Lands

The network of communities standing up to current and proposed military activity continues to grow. Organizers from many communities share information, undertake joint projects and focus on the need for fiscal and programmatic accountability from the Pentagon.

Join us in demanding accountability from the Pentagon. It is past time for the Pentagon to pass an audit like every other federal agency. A recent study by Reuters found that the Pentagon cannot document what happened to more than $8 trillion in taxpayer money dating back to 1996.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Resident frustration with airport noise maps

BY MORGAN TRUE
November 10, 2015

SOUTH BURLINGTON — Close to 150 residents packed the gymnasium at the Chamberlin Elementary School on Monday night to take a first look at new noise exposure maps drafted by the Burlington International Airport.

The noise maps were last updated in 2006, and the draft maps released Monday are the first to account for the afterburners on the Air National Guard’s F-16 fighter jet engines.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie and the Jets

by JEFFREY ST. CLAIR
NOVEMBER 13, 2015

As Clintons are wont to do, Hillary laid a political trap and Bernie Sanders, in his Schlemiel-like way, stumbled right into it. In the wake of Jeremy Corbyn’s smashing victory as the new leader of Britain’s Labour Party, Hillary’s super-PAC, Correct the Record, tarred Sanders as a Corbyn-lite renegade who has cozied up to untouchable figures like Hugo Chavez.

About a decade ago, Sanders was part of a delegation that negotiated a sensible deal to bring low-cost heating oil from Venezuela to poor families in the northeastern United States. But instead of defending his honorable role in this ex parte negotiation, Sanders wilted. In a fundraising email to his legions of Sandernistas, Bernie fumed at being “linked to a dead Communist dictator.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Bernie Sanders continues to support the military-industrial complex over Vermonters

From: “U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders” <[email protected]>

Date: November 9, 2015, 5:41:22 PM EST

Subject: Email from Senator Sanders

bernie-sanders

Thank you for contacting me about the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters in South Burlington.  I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your concerns on this very important issue.

Let me begin by stating that I believe it speaks to the commendable record of the Vermont National Guard that the Air Force decided to base its newest generation of planes in South Burlington.  The Vermont Guard played a critical role responding to the September 11 attacks in New York, Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont, and Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast.  And, while I personally have deep concerns about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, there is no question that Vermont Guard members have served admirably and honorably – often at enormous personal cost – when called to active duty.

I do not want to see the role of the Vermont Air National Guard diminished or eliminated, and this decision ensures the mission of the Vermont Air Guard far into the future.  It protects the jobs and educational opportunities for more than a thousand Vermonters while securing the Guard’s significant contribution to the local economy for years to come.  Moreover, a failure to be chosen in the first F-35 basing round would have exposed the Burlington Air Guard Station to the Base Realignment and Closure process, and that is why the Vermont Guard leadership unequivocally believed the best way to ensure their mission was to get the F-35.  I supported that position.

There are residents near the airport who are very legitimately concerned about noise, and I share that concern.  Along with Senator Leahy and Congressman Welch, I have asked the Air Force to address noise concerns.  We have also urged the Guard to work closely with its airport neighbors to reduce noise to the extent possible through operational measures such as limiting afterburner use, flying at less than full military power, modifying take-off and landing patterns, etc.

And, like many Vermonters I have serious concerns about the cost of this plane.  Throughout my career, I have called for cutting military spending and rooting-out fraud, waste and corruption in the defense industry.  At the very least, I believe Lockheed Martin must cover cost overages, rather than the U.S. taxpayer. 

However, whether one likes the F-35 or not, the Air Force is moving forward with plans to replace the F-16 with the F-35.  As long as the F-35 is deployed anywhere, I would rather protect the mission of the citizen soldiers of the Vermont Guard, and maintain 1100 jobs here in Vermont, rather than in South Carolina or Florida. 

Thank you again for contacting me, and please feel free to stay in touch about this or any other subject of interest to you.  For up-to-date information on what I am working on, please sign-up for my e-newsletter, the Bernie Buzz, at http://sanders.senate.gov/buzz/.

Sincerely,

BERNARD SANDERS

United States Senator

F-35 Opponents Appeal to U.S. Supreme Court

BY MARK DAVIS
OCT 29, 2015

Opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base next-generation F-35 fighter planes at Burlington International Airport have taken their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Activists have asked the high court to hear their appeal of a March Vermont Supreme Court ruling, which said the airport did not need to obtain state land use permits to base the new jets at the airport.

[FULL ARTICLE]

South Boise, Idaho residents concerned about F-35

BY SVEN BERG
November 7, 2015

People who live near the Boise Airport are worried the Idaho Air National Guard’s next flying mission will damage their lives, though that new mission is probably years away.

They’re worried the U.S. Air Force will replace Gowen Field’s 21 A-10s, which are low-speed warplanes designed to attack ground targets, with F-15s or F-35s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Dougherty LTE in Boise Idaho on F-35

This appeared in today’s Idaho Statesman newspaper (Boise) and relates to the Idaho Air National Guard’s operations at the Boise airport, also known as Gowen Field.

Michael DeJulis’ letter, Oct.18, confuses me. He talks of F-15s/ F-35s “higher altitude take offs,” “turning left upon exiting the runway,” “deafening noise” and “black exhaust droplets.” I am an Air Force brat, and served 20 years in USAF working as a Crew Chief on fighters, to include the F-15. First, Gowen and the airport share the runways. Keep in mind flight patterns and traffic. The E model 15’s require afterburner longer due to take off weight. Landing requires very little throttle adjustments at or near idle, same as airliners, for proper glide slope. If Michael lives three miles away, then how does he know they don’t turn until Nampa? Black exhaust droplets? If they are from jet exhaust, airliners are now in the jet age too. After a lifetime of living, working, and parking near these jets, I have never seen such droplets on clothes, cars or houses. I have however seen ash from range fires. Now the F-35. The F-15 has two engines, F-35 has one. It can takeoff vertically. Maybe louder on vertical takeoff, landings, and hovering, which would be at Gowen, not on Michael’s street. I have yet to see it fly. Have you?

Bruce Dougherty, Mountain Home

Garritano LTE on Canadian new Prime Minister’s intention to stop participating in F-35 buy

Hooray for Canada!

Liberals have won the majority in Canada’s election which should be front page news in America. These liberals walk the walk unlike the neoliberals that have taken over our Democratic party.

Canada’s new prime minister immediately called for an end to their participation in U.S. misadventures in the Middle East and the wasteful boondoggle that is the F-35 bomber.

Decades of military failure have not changed U.S. policy only strengthened our idiotic resolve. Canada has decided to focus on domestic issues with the money saved. What a concept!

Too bad Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy and Peter Welch don’t see things this way. They appear to have a military industrial complex.

PETER GARRITANO

Shelburne

Andreoli LTE in Seven Days on Rabbi Chasan and Clergy opposition to F-35

[Re “Mitzvot Accomplished,” October 14]: Your article on Rabbi Chasan and his leadership of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue mentioned the 2013 open letter to U.S. senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Gov. Peter Shumlin, in which Chasan and 15 other area clergy and religious leaders expressed concern over the proposed basing of the F-35 stealth bomber/fighter jet in Vermont.

These spiritual leaders beseeched our political representatives to advocate on behalf of the thousands of Vermonters who will be negatively affected by the planned F-35 basing, especially middle- and low-income, minority, and refugee populations. They urged the politicians to use their influence to withdraw Burlington from this first selection process and wait until the next round of basing, by which time the F-35s would have developed a track record on their impact on safety, health and property values.

Sadly, the politicians did not listen and they refused to meet with the clergy or any of those who would be impacted by the basing!

Then in February 2015, Rabbi Chasan and 45 other religious leaders again contacted these representatives to ask for a delay in the basing. “Common sense would direct the placement of these planes to airports with far fewer people in the vicinity; far fewer children whose young ears would be blasted, their learning disrupted,” Chasan said.

And again they were ignored. Shame on our elected officials for refusing to even discuss the clergy’s concerns about the morality and the social justice impacts of the F-35 on the poor and marginalized.

My sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to Rabbi Chasan for repeatedly speaking out about this planned injustice to our residential communities.

Eileen Andreoli
Winooski

Pilots praise survivability and stealth of F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Some pilots who have flown the F-35 Lightning II say its capabilities are “unmatched.”

“This is by far the easiest airplane I’ve ever flown in my life,” said Col. Todd Canterbury, chief of the F-35 Integration Office Operations Division, during a Sept. 18 showing of the aircraft at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland.

“What does that mean? That means that I can now focus on the battlefield, focus on the tactics at hand, rather than try to manipulate and fly the aircraft to where I need it to be,” Canterbury said. “The increased situational awareness that this brings increases my survivability on the battlefield. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s protecting the men and women that are going to fly these airplanes every single day and bringing themback home safely.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

AF to airmen: Defend the F-35

By Phillip Swarts
October 5, 2015

Air Force leaders are telling airmen to “explain why we need the F-35,” according to a leaked internal document from Secretary Deborah Lee James’ office.

The eight-page internal memo, marked “Not for Public Release,” gives airmen a step-by-step guide on how to “debunk false narratives and inaccuracies reflected in news media reporting” about the military’s controversial new plane.

[FULL ARTICLE]

General Blasts A-10 vs. F-35 Debate as ‘Ludicrous’

By Richard Sisk
September 15th, 2015

Air Force Gen. Herbert. J. “Hawk” Carlisle said Tuesday the raging debate over whether the A-10 or the F-35 is better equipped to perform close air support was totally missing the point on the future of the mission.

“What we’ve got to talk about is how you do UCAS (unconventional close air support) better,” rather than which aircraft can do it better, the head of Air Combat Command said. “The discussion of what platform is going to replace the A-10 is ludicrous. We have to talk about how to do it better, and we do it better with technology.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Canada’s Liberals Against F-35 Purchase

Agence France-Presse
September 20, 2015

OTTAWA, Canada— Canada’s Liberal leader Justin Trudeau said on the campaign trail Sunday that he would scrap the purchase of F-35s — the apparent frontrunner to replace the nation’s aging fleet of fighter jets.

“We will not buy the F-35 fighter jet,” he told a rally in Halifax ahead of Oct. 19 elections.

Taking Lockheed Martin’s F35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters off the table would leave Ottawa with three options: the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Dassault Rafale and Boeing’s Super Hornet.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Kendall: Canadian Suppliers Will Continue To Support F-35

By Lara Seligman
September 23, 2015

FORT WORTH, Texas — Amid renewed questions about Canada’s commitment to the F-35 fighter jet, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official said the Canadian supply base will remain an essential part of the program, even if the nation does not buy the aircraft.

“I believe those suppliers are part of the team, I don’t see any reason why they would not continue to be part of the team whether Canada [buys jets] or not,” Frank Kendall, the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for acquisition, told reporters here during a ceremony to celebrate the roll out of Norway’s first F-35. “We make our decisions on participation based on best value, and if Canadian firms are still best value, then they will be part of the program.”

[FULL ARTICLE]

Increase Air Force budget or face consequences: Column

By Deborah Lee James
September 25, 2015

At a time when our nation is slashing defense budgets, we face a security environment that is extraordinarily complex and volatile, and our Air Force is busier than ever.

Over the last year, 25,000 Airmen deployed in support of contingencies around the world. They flew almost 20,000 close air support missions and dropped over 3,800 bombs with a 99{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} hit rate. Airmen flew more than 100,000 mobility and tanker sorties offloading almost 200 million gallons of fuel to joint and coalition forces and performed over 900 medical evacuations, including critical lifesaving surgeries in flight. Airmen collected and analyzed 18 million images and 1.6 million hours of video garnered by our air patrols, performed over 9,000 cyber operations protecting critical networks and launched 11 space missions.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Baloney Meter: Will cancelling F-35 ‘crater’ the Canadian aerospace industry?

By The Canadian Press
September 22, 2015

OTTAWA — “He’s not giving shipbuilding anything; he’s merely talking about cratering our aerospace industry, which is, as I say, bad policy…. I don’t understand where they’re going with this.” — Conservative Leader Stephen Harper on Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s promise to scrap the F-35 stealth fighter program and channel the savings into naval shipbuilding.

One of the cornerstones of the Liberal defence policy is to formally opt out of the Conservative government’s plan to acquire 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets to replace the Air Force’s aging fleet of 1980s vintage CF-18s.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Lockheed considering laser weapon concepts for F-35

BY: JAMES DREW
OCTOBER 5, 2015

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 has not yet seen combat, but already the defence manufacturer is exploring “concepts” for installing and employing a high-power fibre laser weapon on the new-generation combat jet for shooting down missiles and other airborne threats.

The company believes it finally has the right technology to produce modular and scalable fibre laser weapons for trucks, ships and aircraft, and a high-power, 60kW example will enter production for the US Army later this month

[FULL ARTICLE]

Election Will Determine Canadian Role in F-35 Program

By David Pugliese
October 11, 2015

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Whether Canada withdraws from the F-35 program will be decided next week as Canadians select a new political party to form the country’s next government.

Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau says if elected on Oct. 19, his government would remove Canada from the F-35 program and select a less costly aircraft to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CF-18 fighter jets. The savings from such a move would be redirected into naval shipbuilding, according to Trudeau.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Competition in Canadian fighter jet project would benefit taxpayers, industry, says former procurement chief

By DAVID PUGLIESE
October 4, 2015

On Sept. 24 Richard Shimooka had an opinion piece in the National Post arguing that the F-35 is still the best bet for Canada. He stated that a competition would be a costly and largely pointless process “with the outcome likely to be the reselection of the F-35.”

 

Alan Williams, who signed the original MOU committing Canada to the research and development aspect of the F-35 disagrees.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Ten Things You Should Know About the Air Force’s F-35 Propaganda Effort

By Tony Carr
Sept 23, 2015

WASHINGTON — Recently, the Air Force’s F-35 program has been facing fresh skepticism and new scrutiny. Interestingly, it’s not the program’s trillion-dollar price tag, dubious design, or stunted development raising new doubts, but something more fundamental: senior officials speaking for the program are hemorrhaging public credibility with transparently desperate misrepresentations aimed at putting a positive face on a failing program.

Media, members of Congress, thought leaders, and even airmen themselves are growing uncomfortable with the risks lurking in the program, notwithstanding endless streams of reassuring propaganda, much of it paid for with public funds.

[FULL ARTICLE]

Military Carbon Footprint

By Lisa Savage
July 12, 2015

I oppose wars and militarism of policing because they are morally wrong. People suffer from state-sponsored violence in their lives and I do not want to fund it, tolerate it or ignore it.

But “join me in opposing war because it is wrong” is not a very effective message in these times.

One must counter immense spending on propaganda constantly persuading fellow citizens that investment in weapons of mass destruction, and basing an economy on “security” and surveillance, makes everyone safer. Along with regularly orchestrated (and well-funded) terror events and squads designed to keep fear high.

[Full Article]

F-35 Update from Colonel Greco (July 2015)

F-35 UPDATE:  Help crossing the finish line

Dear F-35 activists,

I’m writing to ask your help in crossing the finish line and completing the job many of you started back in 2010 opposing the basing of the F-35A in the midst of our residential communities.  We have been phenomenally successful, and the end of our struggle is almost in sight.

While we were unable to convince our elected officials, we DID convince the U. S. Air Force.  They were about to choose another base, until Leahy forced them to select us.  It is deplorable that despite overwhelming evidence that basing the F-35A in the Burlington area will result in grave harm to the people living near the airport, Senators Leahy and Sanders, and Representative Welsh favored the military-industrial-political complex over the people of Vermont!

So, we took legal action — perhaps not the course most of us would have chosen – but it was the only viable option available to us.  Fortunately, we have the highly respected lawyer Jim Dumont, who is working for us at a reduced rate.  Jim has developed strong arguments and strategies.  Our case is powerful, and we have a good chance of winning.  Let me explain why.

We have two ongoing lawsuits.  The first was filed against the City of Burlington for failing to have the F-35A basing reviewed under Vermont’s Act 250.  Our case was appealed to the Vermont Supreme Court, where the judges ruled against us.  But in an unprecedented move, one of the judges wrote a separate document saying (in lay-terms) that they sympathized with us; but had to rule against us, as they believe Federal government rights trump states rights, BUT that we have a good chance of winning a lawsuit if we sue under the Public Nuisance statute.  (See link below)

However, this loss was actually a win in that it gave us an incredible opportunity.

Jim Dumont was able to convince a prestigious Washington, DC legal firm, which specializes in arguing cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, to take our case – pro bonoWOW!  It is hard to over-emphasize the significance of this.  This firm routinely argues cases before the Supreme Court, and wins.  Their legal fees for a typical case are in the $350,000 range.

And, while it is astounding that they are going to handle our case pro bono, equally amazing is the fact that legal firms of this high caliber don’t take cases pro bono unless they think they can win the case.  DOUBLE WOW!   It gets even better.  Representing us before the U.S. Supreme Court is David Frederick — a former assistant U.S. Solicitor General, an expert in federal preemption law, and someone who has tried over 40 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He will be assisted by a team of lawyers at the Supreme Court Clinic of the University of Texas Law School. Each of these lawyers has served as a clerk to a U.S. Supreme Court justice.  To say the least, this represents an unusually high level of experience and expertise in matters before the Supreme Court.

Our second lawsuit against the Air Force is ongoing.  Jim identified nine counts in which the Air Force in its Environmental Impact Statement violated requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act.  We expect the judge to rule on our case later this year.  And, our success in getting the City of Winooski to join the lawsuit against the Air Force will definitely help.

And, we’ve had more than just legal successes.  A few months ago, over 45 members of our local clergy signed a letter and about 20 of them held a press conference, urging our elected officials to re-think their support for the F-35A basing.

But, wait… there’s morewe received more national media attention.  In January, Al Jazeera America came to Burlington to cover our story, and they broadcast it on their “America Tonight” show on 14 May.  “America Tonight” is a half-hour news program like 60 Minutes, during which they report on two or three stories.  Our story led the broadcast, and took up half of the show that night.  (See link below)

All of this looks very promising…and the end is in sight.  You have done so much with your voices and letters and demonstrations.  But, the time for that is over.  What we need now is money.

To date we have raised over $75,000 in donations from a lot of individuals of modest means.  Your generosity has allowed us to pay all of our bills and legal fees.  Jim estimates that his costs for the rest of this year are between $25,000 and $35,000 depending on whether the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear our case.

In order to complete what we have started, and win this struggle for justice in our community, we need your donations now.  If you are able, please increase the amount you have given in the past.  And, remember donations are tax deductible Donate at www.stopthef35.com.   Or send a check made out to “Stop the F-35” to  The Peace and Justice Center, 60 Lake St, #1C, Burlington, VT  05401-4417.

Victory is in front of us.  We are approaching the finish line.  Your dollars can help us cross it.  Let’s stop the F-35 FOR GOOD!

Colonel Rosanne M. Greco, USAF (retired)

Link to the Al Jazeera America report:

Vermont’s opposition to the F 35 reported on by international news company, Al Jazeera America

by Sheila MacVicar
May 15, 2015

BURLINGTON, Vt. – After years of delays and busted budgets, America’s most expensive weapons system – the F-35 fighter jet – is starting its service.

With its stealthy design and millions of lines of computer code that act as a kind of artificial intelligence, it’s being hailed as the future of combat aviation.

But many Burlington residents don’t see the jet as the future of defense. Instead, they see it as an imminent danger to their safety. The Vermont Air National Guard, based at Burlington International Airport, will be the first unit in the country to get the plane, replacing its aging F-16s. It’s scheduled to receive 18 of the fighter jets by 2020.

[Full Article]

American security psychosis

By Stephen Kinzer
APRIL 12, 2015

WHEN AMERICANS look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.

[Full Article]

The battle to kill the A-10

By Brian Everstine, Staff writer
March 23, 2015

The Air Force is on the attack to eliminate the beloved A-10, insisting that the venerable Warthog is not the only airframe up to the close-air support task.

To press the point, service leaders showcased a group of fighter pilots, who described their CAS missions in other aircraft. But opponents on Capitol Hill, and troops on the ground, aren’t having it, and the service faces an uphill battle to cut the jet and bring its beleaguered F-35 online in time.

[Full Article]

Anon F35 letter from Washington DC area

Anon F35 letter from Washington DC area

Domestic Military Expansion Spreads Through the US, Ignites Dissent

By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

What if you lived in a country that allowed its Navy to fly the loudest aircraft in the world over your home day and night, generating sonic booms that rattled the windows of people living in a neighboring country, and test new weapons in areas that would knowingly harm, or possibly kill, humans and wildlife?

Welcome to the United States, which has a military with an increasing domestic expansion that may soon be coming to your town, city or national forest.

That the US military knowingly tested new weapons on US citizens (possibly in the thousands), wildlife or even its own soldiers is nothing new. Publicly available documents reveal how the US military has even released nerve gas in public areas, as well as farms, to see the effects on civilians and animals. This occurred during the 1960s, when the United States secretly tested both chemical and biological weapons on US soil, including releasing deadly nerve agents in Alaska and spraying bacteria over Hawaii.

Full Article

Stop the F-35 Coalition on Vermont Edition: F-35 Landing In Burlington. Now What?

Rather than ending the debate, the decision may just change the discussion. Supporters and opponents of the decisions will weigh in on the Air Force’s choice.

Listen to full show at http://digital.vpr.net/post/f-35-landing-burlington-now-what

The People Versus the Military Industrial Complex

3-year campaign comes to a head this Monday

The improbable campaign against the basing of the F-35 in Burlington began as early as 2010.

That year, a local official described himself to a Seven Days reporter as “100 percent receptive” to having F-35s at Burlington International.  He infamously said, “I hear the noise the F-16 makes, I think it’s exciting.  I think it’s part of being in a lively community. If you want quiet all the time, you should move to Montgomery.”

This was Gene Richards, a former chair of the Burlington-run Airport Commission—who has now been promoted to Airport Director.  Media reports described Richards as a local mortgage broker, banker, and real estate entrepreneur.  Regional officials, downtown business leaders, airline representatives, and the Vermont National Guard all endorsed Richard’s nomination by Burlington Mayor Weinberger to Airport Director. He has no doubt continued to work closely with Mayor Weinberger and other F-35 boosters, including the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce, and Commercial Real Estate baron Ernie Pomerleau.  All these boosters share 2 things in common: They all stand to economically or politically benefit from the basing, and they all had taken for granted they can decide important matters like the F-35 basing without public involvement and without suffering any of the negative impacts.

Read rest of article:  http://saveourskiesvt.org/the-people-versus-the-military-industrial-complex/

Let’s Make History on the 28th! All Out For the City Council Meeting to Stop the F-35

Stop the F-35 Basing

The Law is on Our Side

Let’s Make History on the 28th!

 

WHAT:          Burlington City Council Public Hearing and Vote on Prohibiting the   F-35 Basing

WHEN:          Monday, October 28. Come early for the “People Before Planes” rally at 5:15. 

                            Public hearing begins at 6:00.

WHERE:        Burlington City Hall, corner of Church and Main

WHY:            This is one of the most significant local decisions of a generation

 

On Monday, October 28, the Burlington City Council will vote on a binding resolution (amended and strengthened based on the recent City Attorney’s legal opinion) to bar the basing of the F-35.

See Resolution to Bar Basing Approved by City Attorney

This is our best chance to stop the basing.

The Stop the F-35 Coalition will hold a rally for People and the Planet Before Planes at 5:15 pm

The public hearing on the resolution begins at 6:00 pm at Burlington City Hall.

A large attendance of people opposed to the F-35 basing from Burlington, Chittenden County, and beyond is essential and will make a difference. We expect a close vote. Bring friends, neighbors, and anyone else you can to stand up for priorities that put people before boondoggle warplanes.

Contact Burlington City Councilors now Ask the City Council to vote for the resolution to bar the basing and oppose sacrificing over 8,000 residents in airport neighborhoods.

Please go to www.stopthef35.com for more information.

New Tactic To Restrict F-35 Gets City Attorney Approval

After reviewing the language, Blackwood said “I don’t see any legal impediment for them to pass that.”
VPR News
Wed October 23, 2013

New Tactic To Restrict F-35 Gets City Attorney Approval

 

By 

A new proposal by Progressives on Burlington’s city council could effectively block the F-35, opponents say.

The resolution, crafted by Councilor Vince Brennan with input from F-35 opposition attorney Jim Dumont and City Attorney Eileen Blackwood, calls on Burlington International Airport director Gene Richards to develop noise and safety standards for the airport.

The resolution (seen here with Blackwood’s markups, which Brennan said he had no problems with) says the new standards must establish that “except for grandfathered uses, no commercial or government airplane using the airport shall have noise impacts from its routine use as measured by the federally recognized DNL noise impact measurement method that significantly exceed present noise levels at the airport. Including any significant expansion of the land area or number of residences within the 65 db or 75 db DNL day-night averages.”

Full article:  http://digital.vpr.net/post/new-tactic-restrict-f-35-gets-city-attorney-approval

 

Pierre Sprey report–Facts about the safety of F-35 Basing in Burlington

FACTS ABOUT THE SAFETY OF F-35 BASING IN BURLINGTON

Pierre Sprey is an internationally recognized expert on military aircraft and critic of the F-35. He was in Burlington on October 22, 2013.

                                                                                                Pierre Sprey   

Download full report here:  Pierre Sprey report–Facts about the safety of F-35 Basing in Burlington-1

 

  1. 1.    All new fighters have high accident rates, much higher than mature fighters and much, much higher than scheduled airliners.
  2. 2.    Basing a new fighter with significantly less than 1 million fleet hours of safety experience in an urban area is likely to expose the residents to accident probabilities that are irresponsibly high.

 

Discussion:

 

The F-16 at 100,000 fleet hours had a cumulative major accident rate (i.e., officially termed Class A Mishap Rate) of 17 per 100,000 hours. By 1 million hours (almost exactly the point when F-16s started operating from Burlington) its cumulative rate was down to 7 and the current cumulative rate at 12,000,000 fleet hours is 3.55. (Note that the current F-16 fleet major accident rate, that is, the non-cumulative rate, is actually running about 1.59, as averaged over the last 5 years).

 

Statistically speaking, there is not much point in looking at the accident rates of fighters with less than 100,000 fleet hours, simply because with such small accident sample sizes, the estimated rates bounce around too much, rendering the estimates too uncertain to be useful.

 

Thus, with only 4500 cumulative fleet hours for the F-35A (10,000 hours for all three variants), no useful direct estimate of the F-35A accident rate can be projected. Note that only F-35A fleet hours are germane to estimating the accident probabilities for Burlington; the accident experience of the F-35B and C is irrelevant because they only have 20{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} commonality with the F-35A. The fact that, so far, the F-35A has had zero Class A Mishaps is certainly commendable but uninformative. And the zero major accident score is certainly offset by having more early fleet-wide groundings to cure safety problems than any other fighter of the last 50 years.

 

 

The Air Force’s EIS agrees that the F-35 accident rate can’t be directly estimated because of the fighter’s newness.  Reasoning by analogy, the USAF does go on to say that the F-35 major accident rate may be similar to that of the F-22 because the size and technology are roughly comparable. This reasoning overlooks two relevant facts, both of which would increase the likely accident rate relative to the F-22. First, the F-35 has only one engine while the F-22 has two. Second, the F-35 flight computer, weapons system, cockpit/helmet display, control system, and cooling system are significantly more complex than the F-22 (for instance, 9 million lines of computer code versus 1.7 million for the F-22).

 

The F-22 cumulative accident rate, whether germane or not, is now running at about 7.34 major accidents per 100,000 hours with a fleet total of about 130,000 hours. At 16 years since first flight, these fleet total hours are remarkably low (at 16 years after first flight, the F-16 had 4 million hours). The F-35A will have similarly low total hours by 2020 for similar reasons: first, because both airplanes are so complex, they spend so much time in maintenance that they fly less than 12 hours per month; secondly, both are so expensive that the DoD budget can only afford to produce them at a slow rate (20 per year maximum for the F-22 at 11 years after first flight and only19 F-35As per year for the USAF out through at least 2014, with probably no production increase for 3 years longer under sequestration).

 

From the point of view of Burlington area residents, the real issue is the probability of a major accident in any given year. That, of course, depends on the fighter’s actual accident rate and how often it flies per year.

 

The current VtANG F-16s fly 2550 sorties per year (same as 5100 flight operations/yr) from Burlington at 1.3 hours per sortie and have a current (not cumulative) major fleetwide accident rate of 1.59 per 100,00 hours over the last 5 years. That yields a .051 probability of at least one major accident per year (Poisson probability calculation)—or roughly 1 accident every 20 years.

 

Just as an illustrative comparison, a guesstimate for the F-35A accident rate could assign it the same major accident rate as the F-16, since the F-16 is the single engine fighter that is closest in size and performance to the F-35.  When it came to Burlington in early1986 with 1 million hours of worldwide fleet flight time, the F-16 non-cumulative rate was about 7 per 100,000 hours, based on accidents experienced during the next million worldwide flight hours.  Assuming this rate for the F-35A and with the F-35A flying 2250 sorties per year (according to the USAF’s EIS Scenario 1) and about 1.54 hours per sortie (current average), the probability of at least one major accident per year would be .215—or nearly one accident every 4 years.

 

For scheduled airliners (no smaller than 10 passengers), the official NTSB Major + Serious accident rate (the rough equivalent of the military Class A Mishap) is .1217 accidents per 1 million hours over the last 5 years reported (2007 to 2011), about 132 times less than the F-16 hourly rate. These scheduled airliners flew 5681 flights (landing + departure) out of Burlington in 2012, averaging 1.53 hours per flight. That yields a .0011 probability of a major accident in a year—or roughly 1 accident every 945 years.

 

There are, of course, large numbers of flights out of Burlington by much smaller airplanes: air taxis (most of them well under 9 seats) flew 8862 flights (landing + takeoff) and private airplanes (most under 4 seats) flew 18522 flights in 2012, according to Sky Vector. These smaller planes need to be considered separately because their major accidents represent far less of an urban area disaster potential than the much larger scheduled airliners or fighters. Just to give a rough indication of accident likelihood for these smaller aircraft, the air taxi accident rate per flying hour is about 8 times that of scheduled airliners, so air taxis would still have a considerably lower major accident probability than F-16 fighters. Small private airplanes, however, have an accident rate about 40 times greater than scheduled airliners and fly 8 times as many flights out of Burlington, so their accident probability would significantly exceed that of the F-16s.

 

 

 

3. The VtANG claims that by 2020 the F-35 fleet will have accumulated 750,000 hours of safety experience and that will be adequate maturity to a) provide a good estimate of the fighter’s accident rate and b) ensure acceptably safe accident probabilities for basing in Burlington. Statistically speaking, 750,000 fleet hours is marginally adequate for purpose a). Purpose b) would be served if and only if the F-35A fleet demonstrated less than 10 Class A Mishaps in the interval between 250,000 and 750,000 hours.  

 

4. The arithmetic that led to the claim of 750,000 F-35 fleet hours by 2020 is wildly in error. In truth, a decision to base F-35As in Burlington in 2020 would be exposing the Burlington area to a fighter with only about 90,000 to 110,000 fleet hours of safety experience.

 

 

Discussion:

 

 

Given that current F-16 operations in Burlington are exposing the area to a Class A Mishap risk of about 1 every 20 years, it would be hard to argue that it is acceptable for a new F-35 fighter to significantly increase that risk, say by a factor of 2 or 3 or more—most particularly if that new fighter also adds the risk of a major toxicity disaster to any crash in a residential area (as will be discussed below).  The success of the F-16 basing in Burlington—arriving with 1 million hours of fleet experience and demonstrating steady and satisfying accident rate reductions thereafter—sets a convincing precedent for a conservative approach to the fleet hours needed to estimate and mitigate the risk to area residents. Thus, 750,000 hours of fleet experience is marginally acceptable.

 

To keep the risk of the new F-35A fighter close to the 1.59 accident rate of the currently flying F-16s means that the new fighter needs to demonstrate less than 2 Class A Mishaps per 100,000 hours during an adequately long period before the date the F-35 is to be based in Burlington. From a statistical viewpoint, a sample of 10 accidents is barely acceptable for forming an adequately accurate estimate of the true accident rate. Thus, to ensure with adequate confidence an accident rate of no more than 2 per 100,000, it is essential to set a threshold of no more than 10 F-35A accidents in the 500,000 hours before the decision date for basing in Burlington.

 

With regards to correctly estimating the number of F-35 fleet hours accumulated by 2020, the arithmetic is quite simple. Our starting point is the 10,000 hours reported this October 13 by Lockheed for all three variants; the F-35A comprises 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the 63 F-35A/B/Cs flying in October and about 45{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the hours or 4500 hours. For those in-service 27 F-35As–plus for every newly produced F-35A delivered thereafter–we calculate that 10 hours per month (present fleet average) gets added to the 4500 hour starting point. The delivery schedule is fixed out to 2017 by the existing LRIP (Low Rate Initial Production) contracts. LRIP-5 delivers 22 F-35As (includes export planes) by second quarter 2014, LRIP-6 delivers 23 by second quarter 2015, LRIP-7 delivers 24 by 2Q 2016 and LRIP-8 delivers 21 by 2Q 2017 (these deliveries may well get cut back by the exigencies of sequestration). For our arithmetic, we assume a slight increase to 25 F-35As per year for the following years, 2018, 2019 and 2020 (even this slight increase may not materialize due to continuing budget pressures and large competing programs in USAF procurement plans). The total F-35A fleet hours by second quarter 2020 therefore total 89,460 hours. Should the monthly F-35 hours improve to 12, the 2020 total would be 107,352 hours. Note that only a quarter of the factor of 8 error in the 750,000 hour calculation is due to the VtANG’s mistake of counting all three F-35 variants as providing relevant accident experience.

 

 

 

5.  All largely composite-based  (that is, laminated plastic and carbon fiber cloth) aircraft—whether new generation airliners or fighters—release large volumes of extremely toxic gases and fibers when the flammable plastic burns unextinguishably in a crash. These gases and fibers can blanket an entire neighborhood or can touch down in “hot spots” as far away as 10 to 50 miles, depending on atmospheric conditions.  

 

Discussion:

 

There is a large and growing body of research and technical papers on the fire dangers of composite airplanes, authored by engineers, toxicologists, chemists and combustion scientists. Based on both laboratory experiments plus the real world experience of the 2013 Dreamliner fire in London and the disastrous 2008 B-2 crash on Guam (which burned for two days despite massive fire fighting efforts), there is direct evidence of the flammability of composite fuselages and wings, and of the dangerous toxicity of the clouds of resulting combustion products.

 

The aircraft that pose this new crash danger are the latest generation airliners (Boeing 787 and Airbus A350) and military aircraft (F-22, F-35, B-2 and almost all current drones), all with 30{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} to 60{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} or more of composite structure. Many older planes (F-16, F-18) have small composite parts—wing and tail tips, fairings and housings–comprising 2{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} to 5{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the structure; these planes are not at issue here.

 

The composite fire problem is simple: the plastic adhesives that glue the carbon fiber cloth layers together (mostly related to epoxies or polyurethanes), unlike aluminum structure, can be ignited at well below the temperature of burning fuel. And once ignited, the inner layers continue to smolder (sometimes for 24 to 48 hours) even after firefighters have extinguished the external fires. Epoxies and polyurethanes and their solvents are high on OSHA’s list of dangerously toxic industrial chemicals, even at room temperature; after burning, the combustion products of these same chemicals can become significantly more toxic and corrosive to the lungs and other organs, as well as more carcinogenic. A further risk comes from the clouds of tiny carbon fibers, breathable like asbestosis fibers and laden with adsorbed toxic combustion products.

 

Viewing a video of any crashed airliner or military aircraft burning immediately establishes that there are towering clouds of smoke from the burning fuel that can easily blanket dozens or even hundreds of blocks of residential neighborhoods—particularly in still weather or, even worse, during an inversion. Then consider the effect of mixing in the toxic fumes of 12,300 pounds of burnt F-35 plastic composites (42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the 29,300 pound empty weight of the F-35 is composites). Just the prompt evacuation problem for residents downwind of such a crash is a nightmare, not to mention the subsequent disastrous load on local medical facilities.

 

Less obvious is the problem of  “hot spots”; these are touchdowns of the crash site’s smoke plume that create locally toxic concentrations many, many miles downwind. Such hot spots have been widely observed in situations as diverse as toxic releases from incinerators or smelters, radioactive plumes from Fukushima and toxic smoke from the Twin Towers of 9/11.

 

At this early point in the history of composite aircraft crashes, the health consequences for people exposed to these toxic gases and fibers are, needless to say, poorly understood or quantified. But the OSHA and toxicological literature do establish some rough safety thresholds for some of the toxins involved, with respect to effects such as pulmonary tissue damage, neurotoxicity and cognitive dysfunction, liver damage, asthmatic crises, kidney damage and/or carcinogenicity.

 

 

 

6. All stealth coatings are highly toxic during manufacture and even more so when they burn, much more so than the already dangerous toxicity of standard composite fires.

 

 

Discussion:

 

There is a long history, dating back to before 1988, of stealth production line workers sickened and sometimes permanently disabled after breathing the toxic fumes of assembly line stealth materials. Some of this history is documented in dozens of lawsuits brought by afflicted workers, most of them unsuccessful because the defendant companies and government agencies invoked national security classification to withhold evidence. The 1980s open pit burning of failed F-117 stealth coating panels at the then-secret Area 51 airbase in Nevada killed two of the pit workers and permanently disabled at least five more who were working at the pits or downwind. This turned into a high profile lawsuit that won a favorable federal court ruling, ultimately blocked by a secrecy directive issued by President Clinton.

 

After the disastrous F-117 experience, the USAF started taking somewhat more responsible health precautions for mechanics repairing B-2 and, subsequently, F-22 coatings. Stealth aircraft manufacturers, however, varied greatly in taking responsible precautions. According to whistleblowers working there, Lockheed was notably irresponsible in exposing F-22 workers, engineers and even office workers to alarmingly toxic fumes from stealth constituents.   As is to be expected, the exact toxic constituents are kept secret by high classification levels. However, it is known that di-isocyanates  and mercury at particularly dangerous levels were involved in the F-22 stealth coatings. Di-isocyanates are one of the most important OSHA listed toxins in the plastics and fiberglass industries, with known long term pulmonary, asthmatic and neurotoxic/cognitive function effects at concentrations so minute that their usually acrid odor can’t even be detected. The F-35 uses yet another generation of stealth coatings, different than the F-22 but known to be very toxic—even though, once again, the constituents are classified.

 

The classification/secrecy problem, in itself, considerably increases the already seriously elevated risks and health consequences of a crash involving the F-35’s stealth coatings. Doctors treating people exposed to known toxins from an unclassified aircraft crash can focus on therapies for specific chemical pathways, particularly as toxicological and medical research in this area continues to make progress. But when a classified aircraft crashes, the doctor is denied knowledge of the toxins released and thus can only treat victims with generic, all-purpose therapies.

F-35 OPPONENTS RALLY AT BURLINGTON CITY HALL: URGE COUNCIL TO BAR THE BASING

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 11.10.38 PM

 

See video:  http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/VideoNetwork/2728206744001/F-35-opponents-rally-at-Burlington-City-Hall&odyssey=mod{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}7Cvideo

FROM JOSHUA ROONEY – SOUTH BURLINGTON

I have to say, I have grown weary of being on the other end of the “that jet noise is the sound of freedom” argument every time I express my concern over the basing of the F-35 here in Burlington.
It is not the sound of freedom. Freedom is a concept, an intellectual construct, and it has no sound. Saying that it is the sound of freedom is a way to make dissenters like myself look unpatriotic and as if we do not care about those who choose to serve in our armed forces. I love the United States and I have the highest respect for those who choose to put themselves on the firing line. I also don’t want the F-35 roaring over my community with any regularity.
The F-35 is louder than the F-16. The Air Force does not dispute this fact. This is from an article on VT Digger:
“The Green Ribbons postcards [in favor of basing the F-35 here] state that the F-35 will create noise levels similar to the current F-16, that there will be 2,613 fewer operations per year, and there will be no health effects on citizens.
The Air Force responded that while this comment will be noted in the decision-making process, the content is proven false by the EIS. The Air Force’s response states that the F-35s are projected to create more noise than the F-16s, and that there would be fewer operations only if 18 F-35 jets were based in Burlington.”
(http://vtdigger.org/2013/09/27/air-force-eis-addresses-public-comments-f-35/)
Anyone who says that the F-16’s don’t fly everyday, or thinks that it’s only noisy for 6 minutes a day clearly doesn’t spend enough time in the flight paths of these jets. I work in Williston, directly in flight path of the F-16 squadrons when they take-off and land. It is consistent; at least two jets, usually four, spaced about 30 seconds apart, and it happens about three or four times a day, during the work week. The sound is totally overwhelming. If you are having a conversation, even inside, you have to stop and wait until the jets are far enough way. It is frustrating and intrusive. Each squadron, coming and going, eats up about 5 minutes per take-off or landing. That is my experience.
The idea that this noise would get louder is hard to imagine. My co-worker jokes when the F-16’s go overhead, that “these are the quiet ones.” Sure, we also hear the commercial air traffic going overhead; however, the noise and disruption of the non-military aircraft produces is nowhere near that of the fighter jets. It’s comparable to the noise of being near a busy roadway.
So, let me say this: Stop with the sound of freedom nonsense. I support our troops. My father is an Air Force veteran. This is not about the quality of the job they do or making sure they have the best equipment. To imply that I don’t support our service men and women is inaccurate and mean spirited. This is about quality of life and whether or not this particular jet belongs in the heart of Vermont’s most populated and prosperous county. This is a highly populated area. It’s too loud for this area and has too unproven a safety record for this area. This jet does not have to be based here. It can be deployed in an area that is not as densely populated as Chittenden County.
There are other ways to support our troops and the VTANG without bringing in the F-35.
If we must assign a sound to freedom, I would like to see more sounds on the list than only those generated by combat vehicles.

Cohen: The Myth of Mitigation

THE MYTH OF MITIGATION

The Free Press’ September 28 editorial on the F-35 – which essentially said, learn to live with it— plays into the disinformation campaign that has been waged by politicians and the GBIC.

They consistently talk about “mitigating” the dangers to our area from basing this fighter-bomber in a densely populated neighborhood.

But the whole problem is that the dangers cannot be mitigated. That’s not an opinion. That’s a fact.

The reason why the Air Force states that 8,000 people will end up living in a zone that is “incompatible for residential use” is because mitigation is impossible. That’s why they conclude, “land acquisition and relocation is the only alternative.”

The fact that intense noise blasts from existing F-16s cannot be mitigated is the reason why many homes near the airport are now vacant. The noise blast from F-35’s will be 3 to 4 times louder.

Not one of the politicians or the GBIC has offered any facts to dispute the harm to residents that is detailed in both the Air Force and World Health Organization reports. They have chosen to stonewall and refuse to meet with residents in the area.

But extreme noise blasts are not the only problem. Newly designed fighter jets have a very high crash rate during the first years after they become operational. The Air Force has confirmed this.

That’s why a newly designed fighter-bomber has never before been based at a residential airport such as Burlington’s. They have always been based at military bases in remote areas until the bugs have been worked out.

The F-35 is particularly problematic should a crash occur because it is loaded with 18,000 pounds of fuel and is made from highly flammable composite materials–42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} by weight–that emit very toxic fumes and fibers when burned. Moreover, the fire produced from composite materials is far different from fire from a burning metal aircraft.

As the Boston Globe reported, Burlington would not have been selected were it not for political pressure from Senator Leahy. He has stated that he believes it is an honor for the Vermont Guard to be the first recipient of the new Joint Strike Fighter.

I support and respect the men and women in the Guard. However, if being the first to have this plane is an honor, it is one that dishonors the people who live near the airport. This is not being a good neighbor. This is not something whose dangers and noise can be “mitigated”. And it’s a strange kind of honor that seeks to have Vermont be the first base for a botched fighter-bomber that Senator John McCain has called “one of the great national scandals.”

I don’t know if it’s a developer’s bonanza, or honor, or pride, or politics that has caused Leahy/Sanders/Welch/Shumlin/Weinberger to act in lockstep, but I am actually shocked at their callousness in failing to protect the children and adults that will be harmed physically, cognitively, and financially.

The Air Force will not be liable for all of these damages, and neither will the politicians. The City of Burlington will be left holding the bag.

As the landlord of the airport, the City of Burlington has the right to prevent its tenant, the Air Force, from basing F-35s on the City’s property. On October 7, the Burlington City Council has the opportunity, the responsibility, and the obligation to act on a resolution to protect the health and welfare of the citizens living near its airport. May they act in a spirit of care and compassion and reason.

–Ben Cohen, Burlington

Greco: A Letter to Vermont’s Congressional Delegation on the F-35

Editor’s note: This commentary is by Rosanne Greco, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel who is now a member of the South Burlington City Council.

Dear Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sanders, and Rep. Welch,

For years, people have been asking you to meet with those who will live in the noise zone of the F-35A, and who have grave concerns about its impact on their lives. Most of us are trying to understand why such caring, social justice-minded men, such as yourselves, are acting so out of character by supporting the basing of the F-35A in our neighborhoods; and why you refuse to meet with us. It is baffling to many to think that you would choose the military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned us about, over the health and financial well-being of thousands of average Vermonters.

People are guessing at reasons for your position. Here are some of them:

Assumption 1: You don’t know the facts, since your statements contradict what the Air Force has stated unequivocally.

Read full article

Residents Speak Out to Stop the F-35 Warplane Basing in Burlington

In coming months the Burlington City Council will be deciding whether to authorize the basing of the F-35 warplane at its airport. The basing of this super loud plane would be in the middle of Vermont’s most populated and diverse residential community. Residents asked the City Council to take action at this August 2013 meeting.

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WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate: F-35 Opponents Take Message To The Street

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

WPTZ-TV reporter, Vanessa Misciagna, reports “hundreds march against the (F-35) fighter jet” (today in a Rally held at Burlington City Hall aimed at Mayor Miro Weinberger. The protestors then marched down Main Street to Congressman Peter Welch’s office, back up Main Street to Senator Patrick Leahy’s office, and down Church Street to Senator Bernie Sanders office before concluding back at City Hall).

Click here to watch Ms. Misciagna’s complete video report here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

BFP: Protesters rally in Burlington against the basing of F-35s

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Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Matt Ryan, reports, “The rally began with a collective booing of Vermont’s congressional delegation, Burlington’s mayor and the South Burlington City Council, who have all voiced support for the basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport. When a woman in the crowd shouted out, “And Shumlin!” the protesters proceeded to also boo Gov. Peter Shumlin.

They also cheered for the Winooski City Council, which voted unanimously Friday to ask the Air Force to remove the South Burlington airport from a first-round list of basing options for a fleet of F-35s.”

Please click here to read Mr. Ryan’s complete article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

BFP: Winooski City Council finalizes vote against F-35 basing

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Friday, July 12th, 2013

Winooski VT

Burlington Free Press journalist, Joel Banner Baird, reports from tonights Winooski City Council meeting that, “The Winooski City Council voted 5-0 Friday evening to ask the Air Force to remove the South Burlington airport from its first-round list to base a fleet of F-35 fighter jets.

The council’s decision — finalized after meetings Monday and Wednesday nights — does not preclude the possibility of basing F-35s in the future, but rejects basing the aircraft at this time. Winooksi Mayor Michael O’Brien also said that he would vote against basing F-35s while the issue is still debated.”

Click here to read Mr. Baird’s entire article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

Center For Media And Democracy: Video Interview of Dr. Jean Szilva on F-35’s Health Concerns to local populations around BIA

Friday, June 12th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Richard Kemp interviews Dr. Jean Silva on F-35 health concerns and health impacts to the local populations around the Burlington International Airport.

Please click here to watch this video interview.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: F-35 critics who say noise harms kids will hold public meeting Tuesday 7pm Chamberlin School in SB

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

South Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press reporter, Sam Hemingway, reports, “Greco and other F-35 opponents are hosting a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Chamberlin Elementary School in South Burlington to discuss the studies and hear from several area doctors on the impact of aircraft noise on young children.

Chamberlin School, on White Street, is less than a half-mile from Burlington International Airport, the closest of five schools in the designated noise zone for the F-35”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

stop the F-35 documentary Movie excerpt: Vermont F-35 Sound Demonstration

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Burlington VT

Film documentarian, Corey Hendrickson, released this short 3 minute 12 second excerpt which details the recent F-35 Sound Demonstration directed at Burlington Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin respective offices in Vermont’s largest city and the state capitol.

Click here to watch the video excerpt.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

The Worker’s Center Video: People Before Planes Stop The F-35 Warplanes

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

The People’s Media Project based in Vermont produced a 9 minute 24 second video for the Vermont Worker’s Center which has just been released for public viewing.

Please click here to watch the entire video:

The producers say, “For over 40 years, the US Air Force has based the F16 planes at the US national guard station at the Burlington airport in South Burlington, VT. The Burlington airport is surrounded by residential neighborhoods, with many families and low income people living in the area.

Five years ago, the air force modified the way the F 16 planes took off, dramatically increasing the noise levels. As a result, many residents surrounding the airport could no longer live in their homes. Through a federal program, 200 homes in South Burlington have been bought and families moved out. These homes now sit vacant.

Now there is a proposal for the Air Force to base the F35 at the Burlington airport. The F 35 is a new warplane under development that would be up to 4 times as loud as the F16s. Basing the F 35s at the Burlington airport would result in 7,700 people living in an area that the Air Force deems not suitable for residential use” In addition, residents in Winooski and Williston would live in the crash zone for the F35.

Millions of dollars from corporate developers and business groups have been spent to bring the F-35’s to Burlington. These developers are interested in expanding the airport and building hotels and other commercial properties. This will be much easier when thousands of working class people are forced to leave their homes because of the impacts of the F 35s.

This is the story of everyday people organizing to stop the F 35s, and demanding that their elected representatives put people before planes and corporate interests.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

 

Vermont Commons: Citizens’ Hearing on F-35 draws hundreds

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Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Burlington VT

(sorry folks I missed this earlier but very well crafted article by journalist Dylan Kelley)

Vermont Commons Dylan Kelley reports on the recent Citizens’ Hearing held to a capacity crowd at Burlington’s Unitarian Universalist Church (atop Church Street) on May 30th, 2013.

Click here for the complete article.

An excerpt: “Most compelling of the speakers on Friday evening was “Gramma” Carmine Sargent, a resident of the South Burlington and emerging leader of the growing movement to stop the expensive aircraft so near to affected communities. “There could’ve been a better way to do this” said Carmine as she acknowledged the false logic of the aircraft’s property de-valuing affect in a region already stressed by low housing availability and homelessness. Emotionally recalling the slow decline of her neighborhood on the 41st anniversary of moving into her home, Carmine recalled the feeling of a community hollowed out “I felt like my little area of the world became little Detroit. I felt like I was a bystander in my own life. The F-35 feels like the final act of bringing the wrecking ball to our neighborhood: Our homes are our greatest assets, we deserve a say in what happens.” In closing, Sargent set a new bar for both the tone of the movement to oppose the F-35 as well as those passionately taking stances on other issues around the Green Mountain State, underscoring the point of the growing movement was not about being anti-military or anti-development, but pro-community: “It’s time to talk about what we’re for, not just what we’re against” she said, drawing enormous cheers and a standing ovation from the packed sanctuary of the U.U.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Correcting a postcard…

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Fox 44-TV ABC Affiliate: F-35 Protestors Play Sound in Downtown Burlington

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Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

Fox 44 Journalist Kristen Tripodi reports, “Protestors with the group Stop the F-35 say they amplified the sound to 115 decibels; the sound level they say an F-35 would create flying one thousand feet overhead.

“There’s no way this is compatible with residential use,” said Richard Joseph, with Stop the F-35.

An issue the Vermont Air Guard has repeatedly addressed; stressing the planes can be flown in a way that minimizes noise.

But protestors say the issue is the day- after day exposure.

“It is the six minutes a day of all these planes taking off all the time. Four days a week at the minimum, 260 days a year that is the cumulative effect, that’s what we need to focus on,” said Chris Hurd, with Stop the F-35.

After the sound was played for six minutes, David Harrison who lives across the street from the demonstration was upset with the disruption.

“The walls were shaking; the pictures were shaking on the walls. I had dishes rattling. But isn’t it the same thing happening with the F-16s?,” ask Harrison. Protestors answered: “Yes, yes it is.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

Marine Corps Times: Vermont F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise at Vermont Governor’s Office in Montpelier

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Washington DC

In this report, Chris Hurd, organizer and member of the Stop The F-35 Coalition says,“Part of the role of government is to protect the people,” Hurd told Gov. Shumlin’s Secretary of Administration, Jeb Spaulding, “and therefore the government should prove the planes put nobody in harm’s way, including children.”

“Why doesn’t the (Vermont) governor come out and vet this entire process?” Hurd said.

Please click here to read the entire article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

Politico: Vermonters Fight F-35 Noise With Noise

Wednesday June 26th, 2013

Washington DC

Politico reports: INDUSTRY INTEL — VERMONTERS FIGHT F-35 NOISE WITH NOISE: Some residents from South Burlington, Vt., are banding together to fight the possibility of the F-35 Lighting II being based in their backyard. Despite support from Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders for the plan to replace an F-16 plant with the fifth-generation Joint Strike Fighters, the South Burlingtonians complain the aircraft will be too loud.

Later today, the group will simulate how much noise the F-35s could make in a demonstration at the South Burlington airport, according to an event invitation circulated by Winslow Wheeler of the Project on Government Oversight. “We don’t want to do this, and we apologize upfront to all Vermonters,” the email says. “Unfortunately, we are forced into doing this demonstration so that you can hear for yourself with 2,200 pounds of extremely sophisticated audio equipment the actual colossal noise generated by an F-35 and so minimized by all our Vermont political, business and military leaders.”

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

WCAX-TV CBS Affiliate Video: F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise at City Hall in Burlington Vermont

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Burlington, VT

WCAX-TV Journalist, Kyle Midura, reports “Burlington residents heard a sample of what people living near the airport may hear if the Vermont National Guard lands the military’s newest fighter plane.

Click here for the full video.

Opponents of the plane blasted recordings of the F-35 for six minutes in downtown Burlington Tuesday morning. They say they set the volume at a level consistent with the level in the Air Force’s environmental impact statement.

Organizers of the event say they want to put things into perspective for those outside the flight path. But not everyone agrees.

“Those folks– this is what they experience right now, with the F-35s coming here. That noise contour will expand to 3,400 that will experience what that gentleman just experienced,” said Chris Hurd, who opposes the F-35.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

 

WPTZ-TV NBC Affiliate Video: F-35 Opponents Sound Off Against Plane – This Time Literally

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Burlington and Montpelier VT

Protestors publicly blast plane sound.

Journalist, Lauren Victory reports, “Members of the Stop the F-35 Coaliton gathered in Burlington’s City Hall Park around 11 a.m. and warned bystanders of a loud demonstration.

They then blared what they said is the recording of an F-35 taking off from a Texas facility. Some grimaced as close to 115 decibels played for six minutes. The group said it was were simulating what people will be exposed to if the F-35s are based in Burlington.

“You’re making so much noise, you’re vibrating the stuff on my walls,” said a very angry David Harrison. He lives across the street and wasn”t pleased with the presentation. “You wouldn’t appreciate if you had this going on at your house,” he said.

“Exactly, exactly! You’re absolutely right! Exactly our point! Thank you!” shouted the group of protestors.”

Click here for the entire story and video.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

Associated Press: VT F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Their Noise at the Governor’s Office in Montpelier

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Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Montpelier VT

Associated  Press journalist, Wilson Ring, interviewed a passerby during today’s F-35 sound/noise demonstration. “Cordelia McKusick, of Shelburne Falls, Mass., was walking by the Statehouse with a friend when they were drawn to the noise. She called it “intensive and disturbing. “It felt like there were airplanes coming,” McKusick said. “It’s just an incredible sound.”

Chris Hurd, a member of the Stop The F-35 Coalition that sponsored the event  said “the speaker system they used could only produce the 115 decibel level for those standing close to the speakers. The planes themselves would produce the 115 decibel level at 1,000 feet, he said.”

One of the opponents carried a sound meter that hit about 115 decibels, making it impossible to hear or speak when standing even about 100 feet in front of the speakers.

Please click here for the entire AP article

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

 

BFP Article: Disturbing The Peace

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington Vermont

Journalist, John Briggs, reports “F-35 opponents blast warplane sounds for six minutes in downtown Burlington, Montpelier; public officials don’t show up.”

Mr. Briggs adds, “Opponents mounted massive speakers on a trailer and cranked a recording of an F-35 taking off at Lockheed Martin facility in Dallas up to 115 decibels — the sound level generated by the F-35 at military power take-off, according to the Air Force’s Draft Environmental Impact Study.”

Click here to read Mr. Briggs’s article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

WCAX-TV CBS Affiliate: VT F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise at City Hall Park

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist, Kyle Midura, reports, “Burlington residents heard a sample of what people living near the airport may hear if the Vermont National Guard lands the military’s newest fighter plane.” Mr. Midura further adds, “opponents of the plane blasted recordings of the F-35 for six minutes in downtown Burlington Tuesday morning. They say they set the volume at a level consistent with the level in the Air Force’s environmental impact statement.”

Click here to read his report and watch the video.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

 

VPR Updated: F-35 Opponents Stage Audio Protest

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Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Montpelier, VT

VPR Journalist, John Dillon, reports “opponents of basing the F-35 fighter jet at the Burlington airport cranked up the volume Tuesday in Montpelier and Burlington to give the public an audio preview of what they say the planes would sound like. Hurd said the sound would reach 115 decibels, what the jet would sound like on take off at about 1,000 feet away.”

Mr Dillon adds, “The supporters of the plane have maintained that six minutes a day is all that this is going to be, and it’s really minimizing what the situation is,” he said. “The impact on hearing is not a single event; it is a cumulative event, the World Health Organization has stated, and that the politicians seem to want to ignore. Today, for this demonstration we’re only going to do six minutes, six minutes a day, that’s all.”

Click here for the complete article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

 

VT Digger: Videos and Article as Activists Blast Montpelier with Sound of the F-35

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Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Montpelier, VT

Journalist, Anne Galloway, reports that Chris Hurd, of Stop the F-35, a group that opposes the basing of the fighter jet at Burlington International Airport, played the roar of jet engines outside the Burlington mayor’s office and the governor’s office in Montpelier.

Hurd prefaced the demonstration with a short speech to reporters in which he castigated the state’s political leaders for refusing to meet with residents that would be in the flight path of the jet fighter.

“Let me first say we don’t want to do this and we apologize upfront to all Vermonters,” Hurd said in prepared remarks. “We don’t want to expose anyone to the staggering noise generated by an F-35 warplane. We don’t believe in it.

Please click here to see both videos and read Anne’s complete article.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

Seven Days Article & Video: F-35 Foes Amp Up Protest in City Hall Park

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist, Kevin Kelley, reports “Passers-by cringed and covered their ears as opponents of the F-35 staged a noisy demonstration in Burlington’s City Hall Park on Tuesday morning.”

It wasn’t the chanting and drum-banging typically heard at protests that was causing those within earshot to wince in pain. It was what organizers said was a replication of the roar the F-35 would produce over downtown Winooski at an altitude of 1000 feet after takeoff from the Vermont Air Guard base at Burlington International Airport.

“You’re making my walls vibrate!” a nearby resident complained to protest leader Chris Hurd at the conclusion of the six-minute-long blast of sound. David Harrison, who lives at 141 Main Street, told Hurd, “You’re disturbing businesses across the street.”

A couple of the F-35 opponents gathered for the media event responded in unison, “That’s exactly the point.”

Click here to read Kevin’s complete article and video.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

BFP: Video of F-35 Opponents Bring the Noise to Downtown Burlington

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Burlington VT

Videographer Tim Johnson of the Burlington Free Press brings you today’s F-35 Sound Simulation at City Hall in Burlington Vermont. Trying to simulate the 115 dB sound level they say the F-35 creates at takeoff, protesters pump jet noise through an array of speakers on Main Street by City Hall Tuesday morning.

Click here to view Tim’s video coverage.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

Air Force Times: VT F-35 Opponents Demonstrate Noise

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

The Air Force Times, A Gannett Company, reports on F-35 sound/noise demonstration simulation at City Hall in Burlington Vermont and outside the Governor’s office in the state’s capital in Montpelier, VT.

Click here to read the article

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

VTDigger: F-35 To Vastly Increase Crash Risk

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Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Montpelier, VT

South Burlington Attorney, Jimmy Leas, states, “the much higher crash rate expectation for the F-35, if more clearly presented, obviously militates against a site like Burlington — with 1,400 homes in the crash zones — accepting the F-35 in the first basing round when anticipate crash risk is at its absolute highest level.”

Click her to read the article

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

BFP: More Errors Found in the Recently Revised Environmental Impact Statement (REIS)

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Burlington VT

Journalist, John Briggs, reports that the revised Environmental Impact Statement released on May 30th, 2013 contains more errors.

The Air Force said that an updated “public comment response matrix and alphabetized list of public commenters” were not included in the updated print and CD versions of the reportreleased in May. Those versions were distributed across the country to “local libraries and citizens who asked to be placed on the mailing list at public meetings.”

“The response matrix allows recipients to view public comments made during the original public comment period,” the Air Force said.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now

Citizens’ Hearing #4

Citizens’ Hearing #3

Citizens’ Hearing #2

film excerpt: Ben Cohen interviewed about the F-35 and jobs. Ben says, “Every F-35 we build is taking jobs away”

Saturday June 15th, 2013

Burlington VT

Please watch this film excerpt from an upcoming documentary of Ben Cohen, entrepreneur, activist, and co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream explaining why the F-35 is bad for the country and bad for Vermont.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

wptz nbc affiliate reports: F-35 opponents receive blank scoring sheets from the United States Air Force

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Burlington VT

WPTZ-TV, our local NBC affiliate, is reporting that opponents request for scoring sheets comparing Burlington to 205 other basing sites around the country were denied under a Frredom of Information Act (FOIA) request. Opponents subsequently received the 205 scoring sheets but upon arrival all information was whited out.

And journalist, David Charns, further reports on deepening opposition emanating from 16 local religious leaders.

See Mr. Charns’s report here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Film Excerpt: Richard Joseph reports on Impacts of Sound Levels, Health & The F-35 Warplane basing at Burlington Vermont

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Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Winooski VT

Please watch this film excerpt of Richard Joseph’s findings of the adverse health and sound level impacts of F-35 Warplanes being based in Burlington Vermont upon her citizens.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP Letters To The Editor: “The Six Minute” Myth by Steve Allen

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Burlington VT

The ‘six minute’ myth

One of the most troubling examples of misinformation, repeated over and over by supporters of the F-35 basing, including Gov. Shumlin, is that it’s only “six minutes a day, four days a week.” This false and misleading statement is then used to demonstrate the impact of the F-35’s as a minor inconvenience.

Here are the facts. The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) states that the basing would involve up to 7,296 operations per year, over 260 flying days. The damaging noise levels would be repeated up to 28 times every day the F-35s fly; during their operational schedule between 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

The EIS does not state that operations are “only six minutes a day, four days a week.” The excessive noise will be a repeated, aggravating presence because of both the frequency of operations and the much higher noise levels. How loud are the F-35s? Over three times louder than the F-16s.

On an equivalent decibel level, the noise produced by these jets is in the range of a jackhammer and a loud rock concert — noise levels so high that both the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration have policies that state that residential uses are “not compatible” in these zones.

An honest debate about the F-35s needs to be based on facts, not misinformation. Don’t accept the myth of “it’s just six minutes a day.”

STEVE ALLEN

Winooski

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

WPTZ: Chris Hurd and Ernie Pomerleau speak out on opposite sides of Andrew Cockburn’s article in Harper’s Magazine

Thursday, June 6th, 2013

Burlington VT

NBC Affiliate WPTZ-TV journalist, David Charns, reports on the magnitude of today’s Harper’s Magazine article by Andrew Cockburn about the basing of the F-35 Warplanes in Burlington Vermont.

Watch the video feed here

A portion of the article reads, “The Air Force and the FAA later acknowledged that the consequent noise rendered nearby areas ‘unfit for residential use,’ which led to a federally funded program for the voluntary buyout and subsequent demolition of almost 200 homes beginning in 2008. The relevant properties were then eligible to be rezoned for commercial use — a most desirable development for such paragons of the local commercial real-estate fraternity as Ernie Pomerleau, president of Pomerleau Realty and uncle to the spouse of fifty-one years of Patrick Leahy.”

“How they connected the dots of Sen. Patrick Leahy and myself doing a thing about building at the airport? I’m actively involved at the airport,” Pomerleau said.

Pomerleau sits on the Airport’s Strategic Planning Commission.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

Video: The citizens’ hearing #1

Video of Reaction to F-35 Environmental Report

FOX44 – Burlington / Plattsburgh News, Weather

Way To Go BFP: Asks Tough Questions of Vermont Delegation, Governor and Burlington’s Mayor on F-35

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Tuesday June 4th, 2013

Burlington, VT

Journalist, John Briggs reports that the Burlington Free Press has sent numerous detailed and specific questions to Senators Patrick Leahy, Bernard Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, and Burlington Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger emanating from a meeting with aviation designer Pierre Sprey, USAF Col. Rosanne Greco (ret.) and Chris Hurd and from Friday’s revised Air Force Environmental Impact Statement. The Free Press has specifically asked for individual responses from Vermont’s top political leadership rather than their unified joint comments with a June 12th deadline for responses.

We wholeheartedly applaud the journalists and leadership at the Burlington Free Press. This is a shining star example of the important role a FREE press plays in our democracy!

Click here to read the entire list of questions the Burlington Free Press sent to Vermont’s Political Elite Leadership all steadfast supporters for bringing the F-35’s to Vermont.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately. We need you to become involved right now!

BFP: Politicians continue F-35 support as Air Force ups number of residents affected by noise

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Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Burlington VT

Burlington Free Press Reports: A joint statement from the congressional delegation and the governor reiterated the group’s support for the plane: “We continue to believe basing the plane in South Burlington will be good for the future of the Vermont Air Guard and for the state’s economy,” the statement said.

These guys can’t be for real. They’re going to go down with the ship.

Come on Vermont. Just say NO!

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

Vermont Commons: Voices of Independence – Citizens’ Hearing Draws Hundreds

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Burlington Vermont

Several hundred citizens of Chittenden County gathered at Burlington’s Unitarian Universalist Church Thursday evening to conduct a “citizens hearing” and express their ever-increasing opposition to the coming arrival of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft. From the moment of BTV’s selection as a home base for the new aircraft, citizens from nearby Burlington; South Burlington; Winooski; and others have been passionately and diligently organizing to prevent the arrival of the world’s most expensive weapons platform at the Vermont Air Guard headquarters of Burlington International Airport.

Read the article here.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

MAJOR BREAKING NEWS!!! BFP EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR AKI SOGA STATES F-35 DECISION MUST BE OPEN PROCESS

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

Burlington Vermont

This morning the largest paper circulated in Vermont, The Burlington FREE Press and their Editorial Editor issued a major article confirming that there are serious implications concerning the F-35’s coming to Vermont and too many unanswered questions. The BFP and Mr. Soga wrote that the time is now for a CALL TO ACTION for an open and transparent disclosure(s) regarding the basing of F-35 warplanes in Vermont. We applaud the Burlington FREE Press and Mr. Soga for their/his courage to take this position and their call for openness, transparency and disclosure at this time.

We ALL need to come together and say NO to the basing of F-35’s here until we have all necessary facts and they have been properly presented via public forums/meetings with all interested parties present including our political, business, military leaders, Lockheed Martin and our citizens.

Perhaps, we should call on the Burlington Free Press to moderate such an event, call it a Citizens’Hearing #2, bringing everyone together to GET THE FACTS OUT so that we can arrive at the best decision not only for Vermont but for our country at such a fragile moment in our economic health. Tell us what you think!

Make no mistake! The door has just widened in a MAJOR way to build deeper opposition to the F-35 basing in Vermont. This call for openness and transparency is what We have been calling for ALL along.

We need you Vermont, one and all, to get engaged on this and “pitch in” to help defeat the F-35 now!! The public comment period is ticking down. We only have until July 15th, which is a legal deadline, at which time the door will permanently close for any citizens to comment in any way with regard to this issue.

WE HAVE NO TIME TO WASTE VERMONT!

WE NEED YOU NOW!

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

 

 

F-35 Opponents Cite Safety, Health and Environmental Concerns

May 29th, 2013

South Burlington, VT

An article by journalist John Herrick of Vermont Digger:

In a neighborhood dubbed, “Little Detroit” by a resident who lives there Vermont residents voiced their opposition to bringing next-generation Air Force fighter jets to South Burlington amid the rain and echo of passing F-16s Wednesday.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

North Country Public Radio: Hundreds Gather in Burlington to Protest Against Basing F-35 Warplanes

May 30th, 2013

North Country Public Radio reports that hundreds gather in Burlington to protest against basing F-35’s in Burlington Vermont.

Once in the article click on the “Listen To This Story” button.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

WPTZ Channel 5 NBC affiliate: Military Designer, Leahy Speak Out on The F-35 in Burlington VT

On May 30th, Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16 and A-10 Warplanes came to Burlington Vermont to speak at The F-35: A Citizens’ Hearing at the Unitarian Universalist Church at the top of Church Street to a packed house to the rafters.

Here is new footage from Channel 5

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb Interviews The Architect of the F-16 Warplane. Calls F-35 “A Combat Turkey”

On May 30th, 2013, Mitch Wertlieb of Vermont Public Radio’s Morning Edition interviewed Pierre Sprey, co-designer of the F-16 and A-10 Warplanes to ask him his opinions based upon his expertise and experience about the F-35 which Mr. Sprey called “a combat turkey”.

Click on this link to open and then click the “listen” button.

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

Pierre Sprey and USAF Col Rosanne Greco TV Interview at Center for Media and Democracy

On May 30th, 2013 F-16 co-designer Pierre Sprey visited Burlington Vermont to speak at The Citizens’ Hearing at the Unitarian Church along with USAF Col Rosanne Greco. This interview entitled, “The F-35 Jet – Dispelling the Myths with interviewer Matt Kelly.

Please watch this important video!

The F-35 Fighter Jet – Dispelling the Myths

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

Chris Hurd’s F-35 TV Interview with Richard Kemp at The Center for Media & Democracy

Filmed on May 24th, 2013 in Burlington Vermont. Mr. Hurd discusses with Mr. Kemp F-35 Warplanes and their impact on the residents, neighborhoods, communities around Burlington Vermont, our economy and “fudging”.

Check out this TV show!

Please call me (Chris Hurd) at 802.238.5256 so I can get your name, email address and phone number so we can be in two way communication immediately.

Major Turnout For “The F-35: A Citizens’ Hearing” Last Thursday Night

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Saturday, June 1st, 2013

With our political, business and military leaders having COMPLETELY IGNORED opposition force’s repeated requests for open, transparent public engagement and dialogue around the basing of F-35  warplanes capable of carrying nuclear weapons, we were forced to take matters into our own hands.

Before a packed house at the Unitarian Universalist Church atop Church Street in Burlington Vermont, citizens heard first hand accounts from a resident severely impacted by their neighborhoods being devastated and turned into what she calls “Little Detroit”. Citizens heard about the morality and serious community consequences of such recklessness from longtime Rabbi Joshua Chasan Rabbi of Ohavi Zedek Synagogue in Burlington.

Please read the article that appeared the next day in the Burlington Free Press.

USAF Colonel Rosanne Greco spoke to veterans about the erosion of benefits and choices of hardware over people. She urged that we PUT PEOPLE  FIRST. PEOPLE BEFORE PLANES.

The keynote speaker, Pierre Sprey, is a co-designer of the F-16 warplane that is currently flying at the Burlington Airport. In addition, he co-designed the A-10 Warthog as well. Both of these planes are currently in the USAF arsenals. The F-16 widely regarded as a superior design, a pilot’s plane.

If you have questions or concerns or want to get involved go to our HOW CAN I HELP? section at this top of this page!! WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU AND WE WANT YOU TO GET INVOLVED RIGHT NOW! WE NEED YOU!

 

Near & Far: Chris Hurd – F-35 Opponent

As jets seem bound for Vt., questions of political influence arise

By Bryan Bender
Boston Globe

[…]

A Globe examination of records, and interviews with Pentagon officials directly involved with the review, show the Air Force — in selecting Vermont over competing locations — relied on inaccurate, excessively low estimates of the impact of the jet blast on the local population.

One of the Pentagon officials said in an interview that the lengthy base-selection process was deliberately “fudged’’ by military brass so that Leahy’s home state would win.

“Unfortunately Burlington was selected even before the scoring process began,” said the official, who asked that he not to be identified for fear of reprisals from his superiors. “I wish it wasn’t true, but unfortunately that is the way it is. The numbers were fudged for Burlington to come out on top. If the scoring had been done correctly Burlington would not have been rated higher.”

Leahy, in an e-mailed statement, reiterated his support for the planes but did not respond to allegations of political influence. The Air Force denied the fix was in for Vermont, even though it now says it is reassessing residential impacts and other factors using updated information — a review that could end in a reversal of its preliminary decision.

Pentagon officials said the first set of sound projections, provided by Burlington International Airport and Vermont National Guard in 2008 to the Federal Aviation Administration, caused the Air Force to underestimate the number of homes that would be affected by replacing the Vermont Guard’s current squadron of F-16s with up to 24 of the more sophisticated, but louder, F-35s.

[…]

In general, the FAA recommends that local authorities not permit the construction of residential homes in the areas affected by high noise levels, but the decisions on how to mitigate problems are left to communities. Homeowners are unlikely to be forced to move, but the FAA’s designation of a sound zone that is “incompatible with residential use’’ makes it exceedingly difficult to sell homes.

“I realize the military needs to advance,” Tucker said, “but there is a community here that needs to be addressed.”

Leahy’s senate colleague Sanders, too, says he wants more information about how the selection of Burlington was made.

“I take seriously allegations that the scoring process may have been flawed,” he told the Globe in a statement Friday, adding that the Air Force should release all of its documentation. “I do believe the process must be transparent and fair.”

SOURCE

F35 Basing Scoresheets: Clear and Serious Errors

These are the Burlington scoresheets for the potential basing of the F-35. This scoresheet is compared against others scoresheets (which have been kept secret by the Air Force) to help determine which locations are the best ones for the F-35 to be located at. The scoresheets are a bit complicted and we’ve tried to clarify them in our comments. We point out the clear and serious errors in the scoresheet below.

Regarding “encroachment” on the scoring sheet, the first two questions (see page 5 for the questions) are:

  • Is there incompatible development in the clear zones and/or accident potential zones?
  • Is there incompatible development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL?

As indicated on the scoring sheet, a check in the box means “yes” and no check in the box means “no.”

Under “encroachment” Burlington got no check in the box and 3 points for having “no” development in the clear zones and/or accident potential zones. Burlington got no check in the box and another 3 points for having “no” development in noise contours above 65 dB DNL.

But Burlington has 32 commercial buildings in the clear zones and 1400 residential properties in the accident potential zones and Burlington has 2944 homes in the noise contours above 65 dB DNL.

Burlington should have gotten a check in both boxes indicated “yes,” to development in both. Burlington should not have gotten 3 points for each. Burlington’s score was boosted by a total of 6 points.

Some more articles about the Boston Globe article

Boston Globe, WPTZ, WCAX, Burlington Free Press, Seven Days, VPR

Meeting at 7pm today at Winooski High School (north wing) to plan action.

“As jets seem bound for Vt., questions of political influence arise,” By Bryan Bender and Globe Staff April 14, 2013
http://bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2013/04/13/selection-vermont-guard-base-for-jets-was-based-flawed-data-raising-questions-political-influence/pmhiPtI1BPWxwC3yK1adAL/story.html

“F-35 basing data ‘fudged’,” by David Charns WPTZ April 14, 2013
http://www.wptz.com/news/vermont-new-york/burlington/Report-F-35-basing-data-fudged/-/8869880/19747334/-/gv95nmz/-/index.html

“Is political influence driving F-35 decision?” Posted: Apr 14, 2013 6:00 PM EDT By WCAX News
http://www.wcax.com/story/21974714/in-a-report-in-sundays-boston-globe-critics-of-the-program-say-its-more-sen-patrick-leahys-political-sway-driving-the-decision-making-rather-than-the

“Leahy’s role questioned in bringing F-35 to Burlington,” by John Briggs, Burlington Free Press, April 15, 2013
http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20130415/NEWS03/304150017/Leahy-s-role-questioned-bringing-F-35-Burlington

“Globe Probes “Political Influence” in Vermont’s F-35 Selection,” by Paul Heintz, Seven Days, April 15, 2013, 8:46am
http://7d.blogs.com/offmessage/2013/04/morning-read-globe-probes-political-influence-in-vermonts-f-35-selection.html

“Leahy Responds To F-35 ‘Preliminary Approval'” by Kirk Carapezza, April 15, 2013
http://digital.vpr.net/post/leahy-resonds-f-35-preliminary-approval

Credit Kirk Carapezza / VPR
Vermont real estate developer Ernie Pomerleau observes a F-35 fighter jet inside a hangar at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida in December

Another petition to sign

Click here.

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Downtown Winooski Map of Accident Potential Zones

Download and Share!

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The Department of Defense (DoD) has brought lawsuits and threatened to move an air base due to development potentially infringing on “accident potential zones (APZ)” around an air base in Florida and one in Virginia. (Sources: http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/oceana.htm and http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/02/26/3254990/homestead-farmer-look-to-settle.html#storylink=cpy)

In Chittenden County, about 1400 homes and many businesses are located in the APZ’s around Burlington International Airport (BTV).

The map below shows the military accident potential zones around BTV, depicted based on the May, 2011, DoD Directive. These same zones can be found in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for basing F-35 at BTV.

If you look at the map and included table, you’ll find that more than 1400 residential properties are located in the Accident Potential Zones (APZ) extending from the ends of the BTV runway into Burlington, Colchester, Williston, and Winooski. It should be noted that these properties represent a much larger number of “dwelling units” since many of them are multiple family buildings. In Winooski for instance, the 974 residential properties in the two APZ’s include about 2600 dwelling units.

The DoD says, “Areas immediately beyond the ends of runways possess a measurably higher potential for aircraft accidents. . . . residential development, educational facilities, and medical facilities are considered incompatible and are strongly discouraged in APZs.” In Winooski, St. Francis’s School is in APZ2, just outside APZ1. You can read the DoD directive and learn more about the restrictions on development which the DoD says should be in place at this link: http://www.dtic.mil/whs/directives/corres/pdf/416557p.pdf.

Around other military air bases, some localities have instituted zoning regulations and building codes to restrict development and formalize the DoD’s recommendations for compatible development prohibitions and noise reduction building requirements in APZ’s and high noise zones. The city of Beaufort, SC, is one example, as you can see at this link:
http://apps.cityofbeaufort.org/depts/planning/udo/amendments/O-40-06.pdf.

In addition it is U.S. Housing and Urban Development policy “not to provide assistance to projects and actions in Runway Protection, Accident Potential or Clear Zones.” Paradoxically, HUD also requires that people buying property with HUD funding sign an acknowledgment that they have been informed that the property is in an APZ. (Source: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=DOC_14225.pdf)

Are aircraft crashes actual possibilities? The Vermont Air Guard has had two Class A crashes since 1965, one of them near Taft’s Corners where, horribly, a pilot and his navigator were killed, the other a “flameout landing” in New Jersey where the plane was destroyed. A Class A crash is one involving “total property damage of $2 million or more, total aircraft loss, or a fatality and/or permanent total disability.” (Draft EIS, p. BR4-44 and BR4-45)

Once again, it should be emphasized that these are the Department of Defense zones and compatible use recommendations.

Imagine 240 more families living right beneath the F-35s!

http://www.wptz.com/news/vermont-new-york/burlington/S-D-Ireland-proposes-new-housing-for-Grove-St-industrial-site/-/8869880/17431208/-/s9acht/-/index.html

Feb 7th Resolution

F-35 opponents take their case to Vt. Legislature

WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

http://www.wcax.com/story/21077414/f-35-opponents-take-their-case-to-vt-legislature
MONTPELIER, Vt. -At a Thursday morning press conference, Winooski Democrat Rep. George Cross announced he’s drawing up a resolution and a bill aimed at slowing the F-35’s possible arrival in Vermont. He had the backing of only a few legislators, but many faces familiar to the Burlington debate.

“We’re not asking that it never come to Burlington, we’re asking that we delay the decision,” Cross said.

The federal government considers Burlington a top option for staging its newest fighter jet. But Cross and others worry the plane’s arrival could bring exceedingly high noise levels and correlated health problems for the thousands living near the airport.

The draft resolution calls for more hearings and the removal of Burlington from the first round of Air Force consideration. The bill proposes creating an adverse impact compensation program composed of a fund to offset residents’ costs and a board to oversee payouts.

“The mechanics of just how the fund will work and where the money will come from have yet to be worked out,” Cross said.

In the draft, Cross floats the idea of fueling the fund with 20 percent of the guard’s state appropriation, and a $20 landing fee at Burlington International.

“I think it’s important to our guard and our economy that they are based here,” said Rep. Kurt Wright, R-Burlington.

Wright says he hasn’t read the drafts yet, but generally supports the F-35’s arrival. He’s not alone either; Burlington’s mayor, the governor, and Vermont’s congressional delegation have all spoken in favor of the jet.

Cross concedes the measures likely won’t move beyond committee, but says the measures deserve a legislative dogfight.

Cross says he expects to finalize and submit his proposed resolution and bill by the end of the week or early next week.

Video: Bill Introduced to Delay Proposal

FOX44 – Burlington / Plattsburgh News, Weather

MONTPELIER, Vt. -The debate continues! Should south Burlington be home to the Air National Guard’s F-35 fighter jets?

As you know, we currently have F-16’s, that are four times quieter than F-35’s. Those opposed want the decision delayed.

What looks like a spec in the sky is creating a whole lot of noise on the ground. The two men who represent Winooski, a city in the flight path, also represent both sides of the argument. Representative George Cross is a member of the “Stop the F-35 Coalition.”

“There’s nothing in the air force draft environmental impact statement suggests that it’s a job creator,” State Representative Cross said.

Representative Clem Bissonnette supports the jets. “I was proud on 9-11 when our jets took off and protected the east coast,” Representative Bissonnette said.

Thursday, the “Stop the F-35 Coalition” asked that the decision to bring new models, the F-35’s be delayed until more is known about the health impacts. This is just the latest argument. Noise and property value have been debated in the past.

“The board of health has concluded that noise is associated with hearing loss, stress, sleep disturbance, heart attack, high blood pressure stroke and delayed reading comprehension,” Doctor John Reuwer said.

I asked Rep. Bissonnette, “what about the argument of cognitive development and hearing loss for children?” He said, “there are people who say that, there’s also studies out there that say just the opposite.”

It’s many of the homes near the airport that are of course in the direct flight path, one side says that you wouldn’t hear noise for more than six minutes a day, the other side says you could hear noise between one and two times each hour. What we do know for sure though is that the jets would not be able to fly between 10pm and 7am.

Representative Cross plans to present a bill asking the state to compensate people who would be impacted by the noise. Representative Bissonnette says there’s no money available.

A decision on whether or not to bring the F-35’s to South Burlington is expected within the next couple of months.

If it’s passed, the jets could be here as soon as 2018.

Just to remind you, the Air Force would first select the location, and then the state legislature would vote.

Burlington Board of Health F-35 Resolution

Click to download the pdf.

Burlington_Board_of_Health_F_35_Resolution_to_CC_w__Cover_ltr_1_14_13

F-35 Resolution Press Conference

There is a press conference scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:00am in the Cedar Creek Room at the State House in Montpelier to publically present the F-35 resolution introduced by Representative George Cross and others. It is expected that Rosanne Grecco will address the press and answer questions. There will also be other speakers at the press conference. This is an opportunity to gain additional public support for the Stop the F-35 and Save Our Skies movement. Everyone is invited to attend, if it can work into one’s schedule. The press conference will probably last no longer than 30 minutes, thus parking on the street is the best option. Parking is metered in Montpelier.
The Resolution will be posted on the legislative web site at some point this week. It basically parallels the open letter signed by 15 members of the clergy. The resolution calls for Vermont to skip this first round of basing decisions so that all can have the necessary time to learn more about the many issues which surround the deployment of the F-35.
Seven Days will carry an article about the resolution and the F-35 issues this Wednesday.
Hope to see you all there.

Open Letter to Leahy, Sanders, Welch and Shumlin

The Sunday, January 6, 2012 Burlington Free Press features an open letter sponsored in part by the Stop the F35 Coalition and Save Our Skies VT.

This letter is addressed to Senators Leahy, Senator Sanders, Rep. Welch and Governor Shumlin and asks them to formally request that Burlington, VT be withdrawn from this round of basings of the F35 stealth bomber/fighter jets because of the growing controversy about the proposed basing. There is mounting evidence that there will be significant environmental and health impact from the bomber/jets. In addition, thousands of homes will be designated as not suitable for residential use, causing considerable negative impact on property values.

In a December 17, 2012 report, the Vermont Department of Health reported on the possible health effects of the F-35 overfly noise. The possible health effects include: hearing loss, cardiovascular damage, annoyance, sleep disturbance, speech interference, and cognitive development. Also, air pollution, fuel dumping, and accidental crashes are more likely to occur, the report said.

That report comes on the heels of a December 14, 2012 letter by 15 Burlington area ministers and clergy members to our congressional delegation, Burlington Mayor Weinberger and Winooski Mayor O’Brien asking for a basing decision delay.

“Given that we are now only in the first of a number of rounds of basing decisions for the F35s, and given the number of unknowns and still unanswered questions, we urge you to advocate for postponing a decision about bringing the F35s to Vermont at this time.”

We need your help to continue the public debate about this issue and urge a delay in this decision until questions about the impact are fully addressed through a transparent and open process.

Please go to www.saveourskiesvt.org to sign our petition, get more information, or donate much needed funds so we can help generate more awareness about this important issue that will negatively impact thousands of Vermont residents, their homes and communities. Thank you for your continued support!

Opposition rally

Click here for coverage of our rally.

Letter from our Religious Leaders

This letter was sent by US mail to members of our Congressional delegation and Mayor Weinberger and Mayor O’Brien.

Concerned Burlington Area Religious Leaders
c/o 209 North Prospect Street, Burlington, Vermont 05401

December 6, 2012

We have listened carefully to the debate about whether or not F35 jets are to be bedded at our airport. Clearly, the community is divided. We appreciate the efforts you have made to sort through all the issues. We have read many of your words and appreciate your clear concern for the well being of all Vermonters.

Given that we are now only in the first of a number of rounds of basing decisions for the F35s, and given the number of unknowns and still unanswered questions, we urge you to advocate for postponing a decision about bringing the F35s to Vermont at this time.

Whatever one’s point of view, it is clear that many people in Winooski, South Burlington and other communities are very fearful of the consequences of the presence of the F35s here in the most densely populated part of Vermont. The seven to nine thousand people directly affected include many low income Vermonters and many people of color, amongst the most vulnerable of our citizens. We know that you recognize the ways in which these Vermonters already are at risk socially and economically. We ask you to increase the weight of this burden vis-a-vis concern for the over-all economy as you continue to reflect on the issue. We also ask you to continue to investigate and study the unanswered questions and concerns about the environment.

We understand the argument for jobs and remain unsure of the economic impact on the region as a whole—as there is much that is uncertain about the effects of bringing the F35s here. Given this uncertainty, given that this is not the last opportunity for the planes to come here, it seems to us unfair to place the burden of this doubt on those who already struggle the most to achieve social and economic security for themselves and their children

This is not a pro-military or anti-military debate. Amongst those most affected are veterans of World War II and Korea for whom the value of their homes is the whole
of their financial equity. We are not asking you to oppose these planes coming to Vermont. We are asking you to advocate for a delay in such a decision by requesting that Vermont be removed from the first round of basing decisions so that we Vermonters can reach a consensus, based on clearing up so many of the questions that remain unanswered in the minds of many residents.
If we can play a role in mediating this debate, we are available. Not to bring the planes now does not necessarily mean that they cannot come. As it is a time for compromise in Washington, it is time for this issue to be resolved, not by decree, but by salient arguments in a civil debate.

Respectfully,

Rev. Jack Bremer
Rev. Will Burhans
Rev. Adrianne Carr
Rabbi Joshua Chasan
Rev. Roddy O’Neil Cleary
Joanna Cole
Rev. Roberta Finkelstein
Rev. Sarah Flynn
Sr. Arlene Gates
The Rev. Mark H. Hatch
Rev. Debbie Ingram
Sr. Pat McKittrick, SP
Rabbi Jan Salzman
The Rev. Robert K. Stuhlmann
Rev. Nancy Wright

Signatories represent themselves and not the congregations or organizations which they serve.

Burlington-area clergy seek postponement of F-35 decision

Burlington_area_clergy_seek_postponement_of_F_35_decision-1

BFP on Florida trip

 

Fighter_jet_opponents_see_Florida_trip_as_junket_-1cFighter_jet_opponents_see_Florida_trip_as_junket_-1a Fighter_jet_opponents_see_Florida_trip_as_junket_-1b

Rally Photos

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Population and Housing Impact Map

Petition

Please click here to sign the petition directly on the change.org site.

 

Winooski is a small, but densely populated city, which lies just across the river from Burlington, VT. It is part of the Greater Burlington Area, a group of connected cities and one third of Vermont’s total population. Winooski’s downtown has recently undergone major improvements and the city has started to flourish. It is filled with young families who have put everything they have into fixing up their houses. In December, a decision will be made that would cause 78{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the homes in Winooski, as well as significant parts of South Burlington, to be considered “incompatible with residential use.” See the red part of the map above. Burlington has been named a preferred beddown site for the F-35 fighter/bomber, and we have only a short time before the decision is finalized. With the right documents, we can show that Burlington should not even be a candidate.

According to the Air Force’s F-35 Operational Draft Environmental Impact Statement, the new fighter jets will cause 2944 homes in the Burlington Area to fall within the 65 DNL zone. Living in this zone has negative health consequences both physical (hearing damage, stress-related cardiovascular disease), and psychological (anxiety, cognitive impairment in children, etc.). Hearing one of these planes fly 1000 ft above you is like hearing a jackhammer or a chainsaw only 3 ft away. Property within the 65 DNL zone should be purchased and demolished, but in Vermont, residents will have to remain in this zone without compensation for their lowered property values. For more info, see the Save Our Skies website and Stop the f-35 website.

So why has Burlington International Airport been chosen as a preferred site when it is so close to a large city center? We believe it was a simple error. The scoring sheet asked if there were homes in the accident and noise areas, and the answer for Burlington was “no,” despite the 2944 homes mentioned in the Air Force’s draft Environmental Impact Statement. Ignoring this error, our Congressional delegates are supporting the F-35 beddown in Vermont. Previous FOIA requests by the Burlington Free Press for the public release of the complete scoring data have been denied by the Air Force. See this video news coverage.

In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, we request the release of the complete scoring data used to determine the preferred beddown sites for the F-35. We also request that you postpone the final decision until after we are able to review the score sheets. We have a right to investigate the error that may ruin our communities with slashed housing values, lower tax revenues, abandoned homes, higher crime rates and declining schools.

 

Save Our Skies Petition

Check out the Save Our Skies petition asking Leahy to come clean with the initial scoresheets for all bases. Please sign the petition and show your support for our communities and our future. We never should have been in the running in the first place. We are not the only group opposed to the F35 in Vermont or in the nation. Make sure to check out http://tucsonforward.com/ to see the rising opposition in Tucson to the F35s there! As always, thanks for your support.

To Senator Leahy on Election Day

Senator Leahy,

Due to your unwavering stance on basing the F-35 in Burlington, I
will no longer support and or vote for you! That goes for any of our
elected officials in Vermont, Welch, Shumlin, Sanders for that
matter. It amazes me how you all can be so easily swayed by big
business and the military. I am unaware of any piece of legislation
that you have ever voted against, when it comes to the defense
budget. Especially the latest F-35 scam.

Do you honestly believe that this will be good for Vermont and it’s
residents? How? In what way? Do you even know where the Country Club
Estates in South Burlington is? Because I’d like to invite you
(again) to come and visit us, we’re only about 3,000 feet from the
runway. And if you think the F-16’s are loud, these new jets are
considerably louder. But you don’t give a crap about our quality of
life, it’s pretty obvious. All you care about is supporting the
military no matter the cost.

There are well over 2,000 homes like ours that stand to be negatively
impacted should this basing be passed. And according to one estimate,
that could mean a reduction in home values anywhere between 10-40{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}!
Many of us aren’t as well off as you and the other politicians who’ve
lined their pockets with their huge war chests and can’t afford that
kind of hit on our biggest investment! But you don’t care, you’ll go
home to your nice house (Charlotte perhaps?) and be able to enjoy the
beautiful scenery and peace and quiet, never giving us “pee ons” a
second thought. If you did care, you would change your position and
show some real compassion for the ever shrinking middle class.

You’ve made a pretty living being in public office Senator, with the
support of folks like me, in the past that is! If I were you, I’d
seriously think about what this will do to our OUR communities, not
yours. I bet if it were going in your backyard you might think
otherwise!

Sell out!!

Harold Skorstad, East South Burlington, Vt.

Open Letter to Harry Chen, M.D., Commissioner of Health, State of VT

September 26, 2012

Harry Chen, M.D.
Commissioner of Health
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry St.
Burlington VT 05402

Dear Commissioner Chen,

I am writing this letter at the behest of Austin Sumner, Chair of the Burlington Board of Health. I presented during the public comment period this month at the Board of Health meeting. He suggested at that time that I contact you and ask you to open an investigation into the public health effects that will be caused if the F-35 Weapon System is based at the Burlington International Airport.
In terms of health issues, noise is just one. The recently published U.S. Air Force draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) states “our area would be negatively affected in the following categories: Noise, Safety, Climate Change, Air Quality, Socioeconomics, Land Use, Transportation, and Environmental Justice and the Protection of Children.” Declines in safety and air quality clearly have negative health effects, and I would argue that all of these categories threaten public health.

In terms of noise pollution, the DEIS shows an increase in maximum sound during a “military power take off” from 94 to 115 decibels (page BR4-18), and the report notes that each additional 10 decibels represents a doubling of sound to the human ear. The 21 decibel difference is more than two doublings of the sound or more than four times louder. The 65 decibel day/night average is “not considered suitable for residential use” according to the Air Force, and yet over 2900 Vermont residences are found within this noise contour

Outside of my workplace in Burlington, I witnessed a Bosnian woman falling to the ground during a flyover of the F-16s, hysterical with fear that she was being bombed after having survived such bombing. This kind of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is particularly common among veteran and refugee populations. In addition to re-traumatizing people living with such experience and resultant PTSD, studies show that this level of noise pollution adversely affects childrens’ ability to learn, causes elevated rates of stroke and heart attack, and causes hearing loss. Eberhard Greiser, an emeritus professor of epidemiology at Bremen University, states that in a study commissioned by Bonn authorities, it was found that women living near the Cologne-Bonn Airport had an increased risk of developing breast cancer and leukemia. (1, 2, 3. 4) These weapons systems also burn more fuel, and release benzene among other toxins that are known carcinogens.

The Washington Post in a 6/5/07 article describes how a study on children near the Munich airport bore out the claim that children suffer from extreme noise. Students living near the airport scored lower on tests of memory and reading than children in the neighborhoods where the airport was slated to move. However, the children living near the new airport saw a decline in scores after the move, while the children that had initially scored lower living near the old airport site had improved scores. One reaction students had to the noise was a type of “learned helplessness” where students just gave up problem-solving when subjected to loud noise.

Elevated levels of cortisol and adrenaline were also measured in groups of children living near the working Munich airports, which could account for these differences. The resulting increase in blood pressure puts these children at a higher risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack later in life. Other studies have shown the resultant immune suppression caused by elevated levels of stress hormones inhibits healing, and even discourages a tendency most people have of generosity towards others. (5)

These bombers are designed for first strike and offensive as well as defensive missions, and indeed qualify as “stealth” weapons systems. They can carry 18,000 lbs of bombs to initiate attacks on countries thousands of miles away, and are equipped, according to the Air Force’s own advertisement, to have the ability to reduce the people in targeted countries to “hair, teeth, and eyeballs”. Despite these targets not being Vermonters, I would assume that a concern for public health would include all people

While the F-35 may be acceptable for other large military bases far from residential neighborhoods (barring moral arguments), 115 decibels is a grossly unacceptable level of loudness at a commercial airport surrounded by residential communities. Retired Colonel Roseanne Greco spoke to an Air Force personnel who said that the Burlington base was given 10 out of 10 points when evaluating the placement, 6 points of which were given in error, as the fact that there are 6700 people residing in the encroachment area would have disqualified us for these very health reasons. These health effects will have a disproportionate impact on low-income people.

While several of our elected leaders state that noise mitigation will be exercised by VTANG, the DEIS mentions that there are no plans by the Air Force, VTANG, or the airport to mitigate the noise impacts of the F-35, and the FAA further states that no noise mitigation methods actually work.
Safety is another health-related issue raised by Colonel Greco among others: “Safety projections for the F-35A are based on the F-22A, which was operationally deployed in 2002. However the F-22 is now experiencing significant safety issues, so much so that Air National Guard pilots are refusing to fly them. Moreover, new aircraft normally have more crashes than mature aircraft. And crashes are more prone to happen on take-offs and landings.” The DEIS states that projected “Class A Mishaps” (the crash rate) during years 2 -5 is 11 times higher than those of the current F-16 (BR4-46 and BR4-47). If the planes are ever loaded with nuclear payloads or depleted uranium, accidents could cause a deplorable level of damage here at home, and I will argue that they cause a reprehensible effect anywhere they are deployed.

Another important safety issue that proponents are perversely silent about is the fact of the greater Burlington area remaining or becoming a terrorist target; this is obviously not conducive to people’s health or wellness.

South Burlington’s school board (7) and city council have already rejected the local basing of these bombers, as has the Winooski school board. As the Board of Health is charged with some statutory responsibility for the “prevention, removal or destruction of public health hazards and the mitigation of public health risks”, and as you as Health Commissioner can authorize an investigation of this issue, I would like to request that you do so on behalf of all Vermont residents.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this issue as part of your duty to the public health.

Sincerely,

*Name Redacted*

Burlington VT 05401

Citations:

1) Findings of a study on airport noise and health commissioned by the German Federal Environmental Agency analyzing data from more than 1 million people: http://www.umweltdaten.de/publikationen/fpdf-l/3153.pdf

and

http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1929071_1929070_1947782,00.html

2) WHO “The Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise”

http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/136466/e94888.pdf

3) International Journal of Epidemiology

http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/content/30/4/839.full

4) University of Oregon Study

http://kungfu.psy.cmu.edu/~scohen/kidnoise80.pdf

5) www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/article/2007/06/04/AR2007060401430_pf.html

6) www.time.com/time/specials/packages/printout/0,29239,1929071_1929070_1947782,00.html
7) South Burlington School Board’s Statement:

http://sbsd.schoolfusion.us/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/483095/File/School{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20Board/F-35{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20Info/F35_board_info.pdf

Additional:

CCTV footage of South Burlington’s City Council rejecting the F-35 can be viewed here: http://saveourskiesvt.org/node/93

Note: Whether you agree with the premise of the website’s title or not, all citations, including a link to the DEIS, can be found by visiting www.stopthef35.com and the link that can be found there to Juliet Buck’s blog, which documents numerous studies, many of which are published by the Air Force itself, as well as the Department of Defense, etc.

This letter forwarded to us by a coalition member.

The People of Vermont versus the Military Industrial Complex

F-35 opponents turned out to the Bernie Sanders Labor Day Picnic in Burlington. The Coalition distributed informational leaflets to over 200 people. Picnic attendees were overwhelmingly eager to learn more about the issue.
protester
(See some of the great placards below.) Unfortunately Senator Sanders continues to dismiss those opposed to the basing by saying that he doesn’t need their votes anyway, and he still refuses to even meet with some of the over 6,000 people who live in the area that will be “incompatible” with residential use if the F-35 is based in Burlington. We believe meeting with us would be very helpful since he clearly doesn’t understand what the effects of the F-35 will be on residents, schools, and neighborhoods, and he continues to repeat unsubstantiated claims about jobs losses if the F-35 doesn’t come to Vermont.
protester
protester
protester

Show Your Support for Your Community

Want to help spread the word about the F35s and support your community? Please download and print this sign to display in your house window, car window or front lawn to show your opposition to the F35 basing in Vermont. Click on the logo to get a large format file!

Click here for our latest brochure that you can print out, fold up and distribute. As always, thanks for your support.

Stop the F35 Primary Election Voting Guide

Friends and Neighbors, Many of you are concerned about the F-35 being based in Vermont. The best
way to encourage debate on this matter (with a Governor, U.S. Senator
and U.S. Representative who have indicated support for the F-35
before any of the important facts were known) would be to take one of
the following actions at the primary elections August 28, 2012:


  1. The coalition strongly urges
    this action. Vote in the primary election on the Progressive
    ballot, including the following write-in votes:




    • U.S. Senator – Peter Garritano
    • Representative to Congress – Rosanne Greco
    • Governor – Annette Smith
    • State Senator from Chittenden County – David Zuckerman
    • We also suggest voting for Richard Jeroloman who is on the ballot for State Senate from Chittenden County.

  2. The coalition supports the following write-in votes, if you decide to vote on the Democratic ballot:

    • U.S. Senator – Peter Garritano
    • Representative to Congress – Rosanne Greco
    • Governor – Annette Smith
    • We also suggest that you vote for the following who are all on the ballot: State Senate from Chittenden County – Philip Baruth, Sally Fox and David Zuckerman

  3. The coalition supports the following write-in votes, if you decide to vote on the Republican ballot:

    • U.S. Senator – Peter Garritano
    • Representative to Congress – Rosanne Greco
    • Governor – Annette Smith


Thank you for supporting your
friends and neighbors, the 2900 homeowners and the 6000+ residents,,
who live in the “noise zone” that the U.S. Air Force in its
Environmental Impact Study has declared is “not suitable for
residential use”

Please circulate this guide to your friends and neighbors and to any
Vermonters on your email lists. Thanks again.

Organizing to Stop the F-35: The Choice for Vermont

Paul Fleckenstein and Alex Buckingham, August 2012

HUNDREDS OF northern Vermont residents are campaigning against U.S. Air Force plans to base the new F-35 bomber at the Burlington, Vt., airport–and they’re getting fierce opposition for their activism from the primary backers of the plan, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy and the rest of Vermont’s Democratic Party establishment.

The F-35 is designed for stealth, first-strike capability and its capacity to carry 19,000 pounds of materiel, including nuclear bombs. As an attack aircraft, the F-35 is promoted [1] as “unparalleled” and capable of reducing its human targets to “nothing but hair, teeth and eyeballs.”

The Vermont Air Guard currently flies a fleet of F-16s out of the Burlington airport, which the F-35s (when they eventually go into production) would replace. Based in the middle of residential neighborhoods, the extremely loud F-16s are widely unpopular. So when the Air Force released an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) regarding the new basing plan that acknowledged that the F-35 is four times louder, local communities were outraged.

While the EIS failed to adequately address numerous environmental impacts, the deafening noise projection alone was alarming enough. The current F-16s are so loud that it’s necessary to pause conversation and sometimes even cover your ears. Juliet Buck, a member of the Stop the F-35 Coalition [2], reported at a recent protest that there is a school across the street from her home. “When the kindergarten class comes in,” she explained, “they do F-16 orientation…because they hear these planes and they freak out. The F-35 is four times louder…That’s why they put military airports in deserts.”

According to the Air Force itself, the louder F-35s would place large swaths of residential housing (over 6,000 people) in zones not “considered suitable for residential use” due to extreme noise levels. In fact, more than half of the low- and moderate-income housing (mostly rental properties) in Winooski, the state’s most racially diverse city would be in the “not suitable for residential use” category.

Two hundred units of affordable housing near the airport have already been demolished because they were in the existing extreme noise zone. The EIS also notes that studies predict a substantial decrease in property values adjacent to the airport, which has been a flashpoint of homeowner opposition.

Research also shows the noise effect on local schools will be substantial. According to the EIS, peak noise levels from the F-35 would be 128 times louder than normal limits for classrooms. Classes are already interrupted daily at several schools by the F-16s, and studies show that this level of noise poses learning issues for children. “German researchers have discovered that people who are exposed to jet noise have a substantially increased risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease,” according to Time magazine [3].

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THESE ISSUES have brought hundreds of people to organizing meetings, rallies and public hearings. Two local school boards passed resolutions against the F-35 basing, and the South Burlington City Council has also condemned the plan. However, to date, Vermont’s senators and its Democratic congressman, Rep. Peter Welch, have continued to promote the basing and have yet to take seriously any of the community concerns. After over two years of trying to meet with the Vermont congressional delegation, we have only recently been granted the opportunity to meet with the delegation’s Vermont staff. To date Vermont’s Senators and Representative have not met with members of the Coalition.

As with other states, the amount of Pentagon spending in Vermont has steadily increased during the past decade and now totals upwards of $1 billion per year. Vermont’s largest newsweekly dubbed Sen. Leahy “Paddy Warbucks” for his success in bringing home the military pork.

At the one official public hearing on the F-35 held by the Air Force [4], the Democratic establishment and a whole contingent of Vermont’s 1 percent (especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors) were paraded out for the first hour to tout the great economic benefits of the F-35.

The dog-and-pony show also warned of dire consequences–all unsubstantiated–for jobs and the local economy if the bombers didn’t base in Vermont. This has been the basis for a fake grassroots, pro-F-35 petition campaign run out of regional gas stations that has collected thousands of signatures under heading “Save the Vermont Guard.”

While the F-35 will drain a projected $1.45 trillion from government coffers, spending on needed infrastructure, health care, green technologies and education would be far more effective at providing needed jobs and benefits to workers.

What’s more, Democratic Party support for the F-35 basing raises a more glaring contradiction. Vermont Democrats campaign on their “antiwar” credentials, but now they are cheerleading a first-strike weapon of mass destruction. Sen. Sanders even deflected questions about his support for the F-35 bomber during a Vermont Public Radio interview [5] by turning to glowing praise for the Vermont Guard’s contribution to the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, presumably including the use of Vermont Air Guard F-16s to bomb Iraq as part of the illegal occupation.

But this shouldn’t come as a shock. Sanders initially ran for Congress in 1990 while supporting the first Gulf War. Sanders has since aligned himself with several U.S. wars, including the 1990s blockade and bombing of Iraq that killed more than 1 million Iraqis, the war in Yugoslavia and the “war on terror.” His views on war and interventions closely mirror those of President Obama.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THIS SHOULDN’T play well with Democratic voters. Forty-one percent of respondents in a recent Gallop Poll think that military spending is too high. The New York Times reported that 69 percent of Americans oppose the occupation of Afghanistan, and in Vermont, these numbers are likely higher, especially among working-class and younger people.

Even an establishment journal like Foreign Policy has published an article about the F-35 entitled “The Jet That Ate the Pentagon.” [6] “The F-35 is a boondoggle,” writes Winslow Wheeler. “It’s time to throw it in the trash bin.” Nevertheless, support from Vermont’s liberal establishment continues.

Through the Stop the F-35 Coalition, hundreds of F-35 opponents have come together to build a movement that has in a matter of months put a significant dent in plans for the basing. The coalition has leafleted and petitioned among downtown crowds, organized through an online local network called Front Porch Forum, and held rallies and protests. More than 100 people came out to a honk-and-wave protest in the busiest intersection in Winooski where signs read “The F-35 bombs property values,” “Money for jobs and education, not $1.45 trillion for bombers,” and “Jobs yes, but not these jobs.”

When a similar-sized mobilization for a Burlington City Council meeting watched as Democrats and Republicans defeated a “no F-35” resolution put forward by progressives, the campaign set its sights on the leadership of Vermont’s Democratic Party, especially the two senators who have the power to halt the basing.

In July, protesters gathered at a Democratic Party fundraiser to send their message loud and clear–money for Democrats is money for their agenda, including F-35 basing. Retired Air Force pilot Roger Bourassa addressed the crowd about many reasons to oppose the stealth bomber. “This is an offensive weapon and the most expensive weapons system the Department of Defense has ever undertaken,” said Bourassa. “It feels like we’ve lost our moral compass.” Indeed, Vermont has a choice to make.

Proponents of the bomber regularly defend it as essential to maintaining U.S. empire–though they often call it something like defending our freedom. But the fact that the bomber has nothing to do with defending “us” at home, it’s obvious that sustaining the empire is the central concern. Obama and the Democratic Party differ more in rhetoric than substance compared to Bush and the pro-war administration they replaced.

At a basic level, the Stop the F-35 campaign is about what kind of future we expect for Vermont and elsewhere–one driven by military budgets, pork-barrel spending and wars at the expense of housing, health care and education, or one where we can successfully bring the pressure of thousands in Vermont and elsewhere so politicians have no choice but to represent our interests.

[1] http://saveourskiesvt.org/f-35-stealth-bomber-not-defense-fighter
[2] http://stopthef35.com/
[3] http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1929071_1929070_1947782,00.html
[4] http://vtdigger.org/2012/05/15/at-hearing-public-divided-over-bedding-f-35s-in-burlington/
[5] http://www.vpr.net/episode/54091/sen-sanders-on-gas-prices-citizens-united-gun-cont/
[6] http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/the_jet_that_ate_the_pentagon

Stop the F-35! Protest at the Democratic Party Fundraiser

Senator Pat Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin (the politicians with the power to stop the basing in Burlington) will all be attending.
Come tell them all, “Stop the F-35! Support and do not destroy neighboring communities.”

When: Thursday, July 19, 5:30 pm (we will be gathering between 5:00 and 5:30)
Where: Ethan Allen Homestead Pavilion, Burlington, VT MAP

Join the Stop the F-35! coalition in protesting some of the biggest supporters of the harmful and wasteful weapons system that has been called, “the plane that ate the Pentagon.”

The Democrats Cheerleading the F-35 Attack Bomber Don’t Deserve Our Money

We will hand each Democratic leader a large check for a negative 700 million dollars for the value of property in Winooski put at risk if they continue their support for putting Winooski in the flight path of the F-35 bomber in violation of the Air Force’s own basing criteria.

We will tell them that we will hold each of them personally responsible for the the hearing loss, the stress, the property loss, including the affordable housing, the educational program loss to children, and the loss to businesses in downtown Winooski.

We think it is wrong for Vermont Democratic leaders to place their political careers (wedded to advancing military interests in Vermont) ahead of impacted communities.

We think it is wrong for them to give lip service to the devastating environmental impacts of the F-35 bomber and then sacrifice schools, health, communities, and property values just the same. The Democrats want our money to run for office when they are promoting $1.45 trillion (Pentagon estimate) for an unneeded, incredibly destructive F-35 attack bomber–while our infrastructure is crumbling and while we desperately need sustainable jobs programs.

We don’t agree that the Democratic Party leaders can simply stand behind the rhetoric of F-35 = jobs, while attempting to hide from the real and significant impacts of the F-35 basing in Burlington.

No official in the Air Force ever said:

· the Burlington Air Guard Station will close if Burlington does not get the F-35

· the Vermont National Guard will lose a single job if it does not get the F-35

· no other vital missions are available

Those arguments have no basis in fact and are pure scare tactics.

Vermonters all know very well that with the increasing floods we need the Vermont National Guard to be equipped to save lives here in Vermont and around New England. The F-35 bomber has no place in such a vital mission and the enormous cost for this buying and operating this plane detracts from the VTANG service we desperately need. Ironically, the massive amount of fuel the plane burns contributes to the global warming problem that causes the flooding.

Pork and Hypocrisy

Noting how hypocritical the Congressional delegation is (claiming to be anti-war and against wasteful spending while cheerleading for the F-35 attack bomber) Garrison Nelson, UVM Political Science professor, commented “Pork is pork…[t}he only way they can spin it is by talking about jobs – high-paying government jobs. Otherwise it’s just pork.” http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/95003/for-vt-delegation-little-political-risk-in-defendi/

We demand that our Congressional delegation and our Governor reconsider their position supporting basing the F-35 in Burlington–tell the Air Force, “No F-35 for Burlington.” Tell the Air Force and Vermont Air National Guard to find a mission compatible with the residential neighborhoods surrounding the Burlington International Airport.

Sponsored by the Stop the F-35 Coalition.

Greco: F-35A Basing Flaws: Scores, Process, and Arguments

After reading the scoring sheet and the accompanying background paper, and speaking with the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the AF (Installations), I’ve come away with new reservations—this time about the process.

I’ve maintained mistakes were made in scoring the Burlington Air Guard Station (AGS), which led to Burlington being selected as the preferred base for the F-35A multi-role fighter aircraft. But I had no reason to doubt the process. However, I now conclude that BOTH the scoring data AND the scoring process are flawed. And after reading some public comments, I think the two major arguments in favor of basing–economics and support of our military–are also flawed.

Scoring Flaw
The scoring sheet shows the mistake. In simple terms, the questions asked are whether there are any homes in the accident and noise areas. The answer given is ‘no.’ But, there are thousands of homes there. Look at the questions, look at the answers, and then look around the airport area. Without a doubt that question was answered incorrectly, and Burlington received more points than it should have. We need the scoring sheets for the other Air Guard bases considered, to see that Burlington was not the top candidate. Unfortunately, the AF will not release that data to us without a freedom of information act request.

Process Flaw
It was during my conversation with Secretary Ferguson, that I learned of process flaws. The AF evaluated a base’s suitability for the F-35A in four categories: cost, mission, capacity, and environment. The first category (cost) seemed to be straightforward, as it reflected the cost-of-living in the area. The next two categories (mission and capacity) evaluated whether the base could accommodate the F-35A. It asked whether the airspace and weather in the area would be suitable for the F-35A mission. It asked whether the runway length could accommodate the F-35A. It asked whether the base facilities (maintenance bays, munitions storage and other infrastructure) could accommodate the F-35A.

However, the questions asked in the environmental category were not related to the F-35A. They were related to the existing F-16. The questions were not whether there would be homes and other structures in the accident and noise areas for the F-35A; but whether there are existing homes and structures in the accident and noise areas for the F-16. Of course, the answer to that question is ‘YES’ (see above). The process the AF followed in this scoring is mind-boggling. For two categories (mission and capacity), they evaluated the base’s suitability for the future aircraft–the F-35A; but for one category (environment) they evaluated the base’s suitability for the existing aircraft—the F-16.

Argument Flaws
Most of the economic impact arguments made in support of basing the F-35A center around the AGS closing. The implied assumption is that if Burlington is not selected now for the F-35A that the AGS will close. No official has ever said that. This basing process is only the first of several rounds for selecting bases for the F-35A. Burlington could likely be selected in a subsequent round. It’s not a “now or never” proposition. But, even were Burlington not selected to base the F-35A in the future, that does not mean the Burlington AGS will close. Despite F-16 retirement predictions, military aircraft often fly years (sometimes decades) beyond their expected lifespan. But even when the F-16 eventually stops flying, that does not mean the AGS will close. The Guard would likely get another mission. As world threat conditions change, military missions change, and bases get new missions.

Others say that supporting the F-35A shows our patriotism and support for the military. I disagree. Giving the Guard an outlandishly-priced weapon system is not the way to show our appreciation. Giving them pay raises, increasing their benefits, insuring they receive adequate health care, insuring their retirement benefits are not reduced, and above all, trying to keep them out of harm’s way are far better ways to support our military members.

We can show our support for the military by opposing the routine practice of paying for extravagant weapon systems by cutting military personnel benefits, salaries, and jobs. The AF routinely reduces the force (fires) military members in order to use this personnel money to pay for weapons. Supporting the F-35A will make senior defense industry executives richer and the average military member poorer.

With all of the above flaws, and the many unanswered questions, many hope it would prompt our Congressional delegates to re-consider their position on F-35A basing. But at a minimum, I respectfully urge them to at least call for a temporary hold on any decision until the scores and the process are reviewed more thoroughly. Without this detailed examination, doubts will forever linger.

Colonel Rosanne M. Greco, USAF, (ret)
South Burlington, VT
8 July 2012

Open Letter to the Vermont Congressional Delegation

I am writing to you to express my concerns about basing F-35’s in the Burlington area.

First of all I’d like to call your attention to the front page article in the June 27, 2012 Burlington Free Press, “Grave Mistakes Made in Choosing Burlington” http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20120626/NEWS02/306270004/Councilor-Grave-mistakes-ranking-Burlington-F-35?

I think you should investigate thoroughly both the data and the scoring model used by the Air Force in determining that the Burlington area is a “preferred alternative” for hosting F-35’s. It’s been clear to me after deciphering the Air Force’s own Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) that local basing of the F-35’s is a disaster both for my community of Winooski and the value of the home I own. So it’s hardly a shock to me that “mistakes” might have been.

Second, I’d like to call your attention to the June 25 front page article in the Burlington Free Press “Life in the ‘Dead Zone.’” Since the boundary that includes homes inside the 65 dB DNL (not considered suitable for residential use) is expanded to include a good part of Winooski where I live, I am very much concerned that this article forecasts the fate of my community.  

Here is what Senator Sanders wrote to me in response to my concerns:

“I have serious concerns about maintaining and protecting the environment and quality of life for people living near the airport where the planes would be based, and believe it is essential to learn what steps will be taken to manage noise pollution and environmental issues, should Vermont be chosen to deploy the F-35s.”

With all due respect this is like trying to reason with the fox once the fox is in the hen house.  What if Senator Sanders finds out that NO “steps will or can be taken to manage noise pollution…..”?  Then what? We deserve better.

To be a bit crass about it, here’s what I hear from Vermont politicians about the local basing of F-35’s:  “It’s military pork!  It’s free money!  It’s all good!  Trust us!”

I have progressive leanings, and I have supported progressive candidates with time, money, and energy in the last several election cycles.  One might think that, since I live in Vermont, I could devote my efforts to supporting as many progressive candidates and issues as I could.  However, the progressive politicians in Vermont, whom I have supported in the past, are now making it difficult for me.  This is the issue:  All of the significant Vermont politicians – Senators Bernie Sanders and Patrick Leahy, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin among others are supporting the basing of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in the Burlington. A total of 2944 homes would be in this noise area including my home in Winooski, Vermont.  In general the local basing of F-35’s would be devastating to communities near the airport.

The Vermont politicians are acting like teenage girls excited about a cute guy in their excitement over the possibility of getting this military pork.  They have been uncritical of the potential damage to communities like mine.  Furthermore they have been uncritical of the F-35 itself.  Winslow Wheeler wrote an article in the magazine Foreign Policy entitled “The Jet That Ate the Pentagon” http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/04/26/the_jet_that_ate_the_pentagon From the article:  “The current appraisal for operations and support is $1.1 trillion – making for a grand total of $1.5 trillion, or more than the annual GDP of Spain.  And that estimate is wildly optimistic:  It assumes the F-35 will only be 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} more expensive to operate than an F-16, but the F-35 is much more complex.” So this is the kind of spending our “progressive” Vermont politicians favor?

I bring this up because there’s a part of me that wants to support Obama and progressive candidates.  But I can’t.  I’m spending all my time fighting the basing of the F-35 in Vermont.  More generally I imagine there are many like me who in this election cycle have been distracted from supporting progressive candidates by politicians who have made “expedient” choices or in some cases have been outright sellouts.

Here’s a map of where I live.  Note that I will be in the zone “not considered suitable for residential use.”

http://saveourskiesvt.org/map

Igor Zbitnoff, Winooski

Resolution – No to basing the F-35A in Burlington

Burlington City Council
Resolution: No to basing F-35A in Burlington

Whereas the United States Air Force issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that states that in July 2010 the Air Force selected Burlington International Airport in South Burlington, Vermont is one of two “preferred alternative locations” for the initial operational bed down of the F-35A; and

Whereas that selection of Burlington occurred nearly two years before the draft EIS was completed and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS, as issued in March 2012, shows that Burlington Air National Guard is not the preferred basing for the F-35A. The EIS states that the “no action alternative”–that is, not basing the F-35A in Burlington–“would be the environmentally preferable alternative;” and

Whereas the data given by the Air Force in its draft EIS details negative impact on the lives of thousands of Burlington and Burlington area residents in the areas of noise, air quality, safety, land use, socioeconomic, environmental justice and protection of children, community facilities, public services, ground traffic and transportation, climate change, and cumulative effects and irreversible commitment of resources; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS shows two basing scenarios, one with 18 F-35A fighter-bombers and one with 24, and the draft EIS shows more negative environmental impacts for the 24 plane scenario; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS states that the “actual number and configuration of aircraft eventually based” has not actually yet been determined, and, therefore, the draft EIS offers no guarantee of the upper limit of adverse environmental consequences; and

Whereas experience with the F-16 illustrates such increasing negative environmental consequences, as after basing the F-16 in Burlington, the Air Force changed its engine, its flight configuration, and its use of afterburners, which dramatically increased its noise level; and

Whereas the EIS reports that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) established a 24-hour average noise threshold of 65 dB as the maximum limit that is compatible with residential living; and

Whereas, under that FAA program, the federal government gave the airport money to buy properties where the noise reached or exceeded that incompatible-with-residential-living threshold; and

Whereas under the FAA program, the airport has so far purchased 120 homes near the airport in South Burlington for demolition because the F16 and other airport noise reached or exceeded that 24-hour average 65 dB threshold, and that once healthy neighborhood of affordable houses has been turned into a wasteland; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS shows that basing the F-35A here will place 1366 additional houses and 2,863 more people in Burlington, South Burlington, Winooski, Williston and Colchester within the 24-hour average noise level that caused the purchase for demolition of those 120 affordable houses; and

Whereas the airport recently announced that it would purchase no more homes; and

Whereas although F-16 noise is quite high, the Air Force draft EIS shows the present-day 24-hour average 65 dB contour from F-16 noise barely skirts edges of Winooski and Burlington while the F-35A will put half of Winooski’s houses and Burlington houses along Calarco, Chase, Rumsey, Barrett, Mill, Grove, and Patchen roads, and along portions of Pearl and Riverside, within that incompatible-with-residential-living contour; and

Whereas the table on page BR4-18 of the Air Force draft EIS shows that the peak noise level for the F-16 is 94 dBA and for the F-35A it is 115 dBA–a difference of 21 dBA–when each plane takes off and reaches 1000 feet above ground level; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS on pages C6 and C9 shows that people hear the 21 dB difference between the F-16 and the F-35A as more than four times louder; and

Whereas according to a table on page C8 of the Air Force draft EIS, the difference in sound levels between the F-16 and the F-35A can be illustrated by the difference between the sound under an F-16 flying at a height of well over 2000 feet and the same F-16 flying at a height of just under 500 feet above ground level; and

Whereas concerning effect on property values, the Air Force draft EIS reports that studies conclude “that decreases in property values usually range from 0.5 to 2 percent per dB increase in cumulative noise exposure;” and

Whereas according to the numbers in the Air Force draft EIS the decrease in property values for houses experiencing the 21 dB increase in loudness is likely to be in the range from 11{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} to 42{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}; and

Whereas the Air Force draft EIS raises serious questions about safety as it states that “it is possible that projected mishap [crash] rates for the F-35A may be comparable to the historical rates of the F-22A” and numbers in the draft EIS show that in its early years the F-22A had a “most severe” mishap rate 7 times higher than the current rate for the F-16; and

Whereas the draft EIS makes clear that the Burlington airport was a preferred location because air quality in the Champlain Valley is in “attainment” with air quality standards and therefore the Air Force can more conveniently bring the F-35A to Burlington than it can to competing Air Force bases whose already fouled air and “non-attainment” status present difficult hoops for the Air Force to jump through to achieve compliance with the Clean Air Act; and

Whereas the draft EIS shows that the negative effect of basing the F-35A in South Burlington will fall disproportionally on low income and immigrant communities; and

Whereas a Pentagon document shows that the total cost to develop, buy, and operate the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35A will be $1.45 trillion and that the cost to buy each plane will average $135 million plus an additional $26 million for the engine; and

Whereas according to a study by professors at the University of Massachusetts, spending on military projects like the F-35A creates half as many jobs as spending on health care, education, infrastructure, and mass transit, and therefore spending on the F-35A while cutting health care, education, infrastructure, and mass transit leaves more people unemployed; and

Whereas the F-35A is described in an Air Force video and in the Air Force draft EIS as a weapon mainly for penetrating enemy air space and delivering 18,000 pounds of air-to-ground bombs and air-to-ground missiles rather than primarily for saving Vermonters during natural disasters, like Hurricane Irene, or defending the US from attack; and

Whereas in the 2005 town meeting, 65{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of voters in Burlington voted in favor of a resolution stating that “we support our soldiers in Iraq and believe the best way to support them is to bring them home now,” and whereas similar resolutions were adopted by over 50 other towns in Vermont; and

Whereas supporting our soldiers is one thing, and dropping bombs and firing missiles at other countries is another; and

Whereas many Burlington voters see a distinction between supporting our Air National Guard engaging in local life-saving activities or sensible national defense and supporting a fighter/bomber, like the F-35A, that is more for penetrating the air space of other countries, as in the Iraq war, and uselessly putting our soldiers in harms way, while depleting our treasury, and harming our democracy; and

Whereas many Burlington voters also see a distinction between defending our country and supporting a fighter/bomber, like the F-35A, that, if based here, would destroy our own houses, neighborhoods, and communities, including a portion of our own Burlington community and neighboring towns; and

Whereas many Burlington voters are likely to agree with the Air Force statement in the draft EIS that the “no-action alternative”–not basing the F-35A in Burlington–“would be the environmentally preferable alternative;” and

Whereas one of the highest ranking military officers in Vermont, retired Air Force Colonel Rosanne Greco, who, according to the Burlington Free Press served as a strategic planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Defense Department, is now Chair of the South Burlington City Council. Colonel Greco prepared a 17 page paper including key points from the Air Force draft EIS and presenting the reasons the South Burlington City Council voted 4-1 to oppose the bed-down of the F-35A at the Burlington, Vermont Air Guard Station; and

Whereas Colonel Greco’s paper states that, “as Councilors our primary concern is about the impacts on our environment and community and not on the mission of the military.” The paper further states, “while economic development is an important consideration we question the notion that there should be economic development at any cost;” and

Whereas Colonel Greco’s paper concludes by stating, “based on the data, South Burlington is not a good choice and it should not be the preferred choice for basing the F-35As.” In its final line the paper states, “if we are not for South Burlington, who will be?” and

Whereas the Burlington City Council has the same responsibility to protect our city; and

Therefore be it resolved that the Burlington City Council urges the Air Force to implement its environmentally preferred no-action alternative and not base the F-35A at Burlington International Airport; and

Be it further resolved that the Burlington City Council urges the Air Force to provide a mission for the well-recognized Vermont Air National Guard that is compatible with the needs of Vermont and with continued habitation of its houses and neighborhoods; and

Be it further resolved that the Office of the Clerk-Treasurer is directed to send a copy of this resolution to United State Air Force Secretary Michael Donley, Vermont National Guard Adjutant General Major General Michael Dubie, the Vermont Congressional Delegation, Governor Peter Shumlin, Chittenden County Senators, Burlington Representatives, and to the Air Force personnel at Langley AFB seeking comment to the draft Environmental Impact Statement.

F-35 Bombs Property Values

Winooski Property Values

Jimmy Leas’ Letter to Governor Shumlin

Dear Peter,
The only argument you raise for supporting basing the F-35 in South Burlington is economic.

However, the issue on the table right now is the environmental impact of the basing the F-35 in South Burlington. I notice that nothing in your response disputes the facts about the devastating impact on South Burlington, Winooski, and Williston and part of Burlington and Colchester that are specified in the Air Force’s own Environmental Impact Statement. Surely these devastating impacts will be felt economically as well as environmentally. Already over 100 houses have been razed in South Burlington. The F-35 will cause 1300 houses, as well as businesses, churches, and schools to fall in the same noise range or a greater noise range that condemned those homes. Is there no economic loss involved?

Furthermore, your economic assessment assumes that the base will close if the F-35 is not based in South Burlington. However, one of the highest ranking military officers in the state of Vermont, retired Col. Rosanne Greco, believes that another mission will be found for the Guard in the absence of the F-35. If another mission is found the numbers you site will remain in place for Vermont. Do you believe Vermonters must put our towns and communities at certain risk based on a speculation of economic damage?

We do not have a full economic assessment of the environmental damage on those communities. Could the economic damage to the communities outweigh any economic benefit? Has anyone done that study? If not, it is premature to draw any conclusions about economic benefit.

Your remarks about the economic benefit not only divert from the issue currently on the table–the environmental impact– they also do not give justice to the full economic impact including the sharp economic negatives to five communities.

I am shocked and dismayed that you would divert from the issue now before us–environmental impact–and substitute speculation about economic benefits that does not include the economic costs to South Burlington, Winooski, Williston, Burlington, and Colchester along with economic benefits to members of the National Guard.

A redo of your consideration of this issue and your response to me and to the public is needed on this critical issue. Before the June 20 deadline for comments on the Environmental Impact Statement issued by the Air Force.

Thanks very much for considering this.
best regards,
James

On 6/1/2012 1:37 PM, Governor Peter Shumlin wrote:
>
> Dear James,
>
>
>
> Thank you for your message concerning the F-35A operational basing proposal for Chittenden County. I know that this is an issue that has drawn strong feelings among both supporters and opponents, and I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.
>
> As you know, I support this proposal. I believe that basing the F-35A in our state would create jobs, spur economic growth, and increase investment opportunities for Vermont businesses. The Vermont Air National Guard has proudly operated in the state for 66 years, bringing with it 1100 employees and an annual payroll of $53 million. These hardworking Guard members are an integral part of our communities, and contribute to the vitality of Vermont in countless ways.
>
> I know there are some concerns about noise and other potential drawbacks of basing the F-35A in South Burlington that are being discussed in the surrounding communities. Though I feel that these drawbacks are outweighed by the extraordinary benefits that this opportunity presents our communities and our state, I do appreciate those concerns. Having listened closely to all sides of this issue, I have concluded that basing the F-35A in Vermont is good for the local community, beneficial to Vermont, and a wise investment in our bright jobs future.
>
> I appreciate hearing your perspective, and regret that this is an issue on which we disagree. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office in the future if I can be of any further assistance.
>
> Sincerely,
>
>
>
> Peter Shumlin
> Governor
> 109 State Street, Pavilion
> Montpelier, Vermont 05609
> 802-828-3333

Invitation to Sign on to Lawsuit

Repost from stop the f35 website

Fri, 09/14/2012 – 12:51pm — odmin

Dear Fellow Vermonter,

Now is the time for action.

We, the members of the stop the F-35 coalition, are preparing a
two-pronged legal challenge to the basing of the F-35 in Vermont. This
legal challenge comes in addition to our campaign of education and
visible public action.

We are gearing up for legal action now because the Air Force recently
indicated that the Final Draft of the Environmental Impact Statement on
this matter will issue in the next four to eight weeks and that final
draft will include its final decision on basing.

We are asking everyone on this list to join in these two legal efforts
now
. Large numbers of people joining this legal initiative could help
influence the Air Force to decide against basing the F-35 in Burlington.
The two legal actions are beginning immediately by our experienced and
well respected attorney, Jim Dumont:

  • a request for public records on the F-35 from the City of Burlington
    (the landlord of the Air base). The request will put the City of
    Burlington on notice that the City can be held liable for damages to
    health, hearing, home value, and nuisance to thousands of homeowners
    and renters caused by the noise its tenant at the airport–the Air
    Force–generates. The enormous liability to which the City of
    Burlington may be held for these damages may encourage the City to
    tell its tenant at the Airport that bringing the F-35, an aircraft
    that is more than four times louder than the F-16, is unacceptable
    and to find an alternate mission. Jim Dumont sent letters requesting
    the public records to a Burlington City Attorney and to the Airport
    Director of Planning and Development on September 13, 2012.
  • Preparing challenges to the F-35 through the local permitting
    process, including under Act 250 and local zoning laws, and under
    the National Environmental Policy Act. These challenges, if
    successful, could put a stop to any plan for basing the F-35 in
    Burlington.

We have made arrangement with attorney Jim Dumont to initiate these two
legal challenges immediately. We urge you to add your name in support of
these two efforts by becoming a client of Jim’s now. The client agreement
is online at http://stopthef35.com/sites/default/files/Stop_the_F-35_Coalition_Retain….

We view the legal challenges as one of the ways to demonstrate broad
public opposition to basing the F-35 in the most densely populated part
of Vermont. We want hundreds of people to participate. That is why we
are making participation in these legal actions as easy as possible. The
key is large numbers of people, and if large numbers participate, we
will make an impact on the thinking of city officials, our Governor, our
Congressional delegation, and the Air Force.

How Much Will You have to Pay? As provided in the client
agreement at http://stopthef35.com/sites/default/files/Stop_the_F-35_Coalition_Retain…
, you can add your name to these two legal actions at no cost
to you
. See below for how we are raising funds to cover attorney Jim
Dumont’s reduced legal fee and costs he may incur.

Will you be held liable for legal fees or costs? No

Who Can Participate? If you are a homeowner or a renter in South
Burlington, Winooski, Burlington, Colchester or Williston (or anywhere
else in Vermont); if you feel that your home or your community is at
risk; or if you feel that the noise impacts of the F-35 should be
subject to local and state level review, we strongly urge you to sign on
as a client of Attorney Jim Dumont, who is pursuing this action.

Is there Risk? While there is, of course, always some risk, the two
kinds of actions envisioned, requesting public records and participating
in local permitting through Act 250 and local zoning and
participating in hearings under the National Environmental Policy Act to
stop the F-35, involve low risk of countersuit.

Strategy to raise the money to pay legal fees and costs: The key to
effective legal action–at reasonable cost to each person–is having
large numbers of people participating. Thousands of people and homes are
at risk in Winooski, South Burlington, Burlington, Williston, and
Colchester. We expect that if large numbers of people participate and
each participant donates whatever amount he or she can, such as $25, we
can raise enough to cover legal fees. With large numbers, each
participant will receive expert legal representation to stop the F-35,
and the money raised from voluntary contributions will be enough to
cover legal fees. Please make your contribution by sending a check made out to “Stop the F-35 Coalition” to
our treasurer, Roger Bourassa, 93 Hannah’s Place, Colchester, VT 05446.

Please review the client agreement at http://stopthef35.com/sites/default/files/Stop_the_F-35_Coalition_Retain…, spread the word to let your
neighbors know about this, and contribute whatever you can. Please follow
the instructions in the client agreement to sign on to the suit.

If you have questions or comments, please contact us. Thanks very
much.

Best regards,

[email protected]
The Legal Committe of the Stop the F35 Coalition:
James Marc Leas, Richard Joseph

From Pentagon, a Buy Rating on Contractors

By JOE NOCERA
At the Cowen & Company military industry investment conference on Wednesday, the breakfast speaker was a man named Ashton B. Carter. A former academic and industry consultant, Dr. Carter, as he likes to call himself — he has a doctorate in theoretical physics, in case you were wondering — is the Defense Department’s under secretary for acquisitions, technology and logistics. That is, he’s the Pentagon’s chief weapons buyer.

This article from the NY Times. Original at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/12/business/12nocera.html.

Cowen is a small firm, but its military analyst, Cai von Rumohr, has been on the beat for more than 40 years. Companies tend not to turn him down when he invites them to his conference. W. James McNerney Jr., the chief executive of Boeing, would be making a presentation later in the day, as would executives from Northrop-Grumman and other contractors. Big institutional investors like T. Rowe Price were out in force.

As was the Defense Department. In addition to Mr. Carter, a top Naval official was scheduled to present the next afternoon.

If you’re wondering what high-ranking Pentagon officials were doing at an investment conference, well, suffice to say that this was not a question on the minds of the people in this room. They’ve gotten used to it. For the last few months, beginning with a secret meeting last October, Defense Department officials have been making the rounds of analysts and investors.

Their main message, to put it bluntly, is that even in an era of tighter budgets, the Pentagon is going to make sure the military industry remains profitable. “Taxpayers and shareholders are aligned,” Mr. Carter intoned on Wednesday. Then he laid out a series of reforms that he said would both increase competition and maintain, as he put it, “profitability over the long term” — a phrase he repeated for emphasis.

He told the assemblage that the Pentagon would frown on mergers among the five giant military contractors — the so-called primes: Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop-Grumman and Boeing. However, he added, the Defense Department was going to encourage mergers among smaller military contractors. And, he said, “we will be attentive” to innovative smaller companies that provide services (as opposed to weapons systems) to the Pentagon.

If you were an investor in the military industry, would you find this useful information? You bet — this is the stuff that can move markets. Although Mr. Carter made several references to “market forces,” the only market for the military industry is the government, which spends some $400 billion a year on weapons systems and other purchases. In economic terms, the Pentagon is a “ monopsony,” a single buyer with life-or-death power over its vendors. If the Pentagon wants the military industry to be healthy and profitable, it can pretty much ensure that outcome.

Not being an industry insider, however, I found myself a little taken aback by Mr. Carter’s “guidance.” Monopsony or not, why should the Pentagon be talking up the stocks, even implicitly, of the companies it buys from? Why was Mr. Carter going out of his way to talk to investors and analysts? Didn’t he have more important things to do?

The answer, I eventually learned, has to do with something that happened a very long time ago, and goes under the category of “Be careful what you wish for.” Let’s just say that banking isn’t the only industry where the government has allowed a handful of companies to become too big to fail.

The year was 1993. Bill Clinton was the new president, and Les Aspin was his defense secretary. As recounted later by Norman R. Augustine, then the chief executive of Martin Marietta, Mr. Aspin called together about 15 C.E.O.’s of the prime military contractors for a dinner at the Pentagon. Mr. Augustine would memorably label this dinner the Last Supper.

Mr. Aspin and several other high-ranking Pentagon officials (including Mr. Carter, who was then an assistant secretary of defense) had brought the group together to send a tough message. With the Berlin Wall gone, the Soviet Union dissolved — and the Pentagon budget flat-lining — the Defense Department was no longer willing, as Mr. Augustine later recounted, “to pay the ballooning overhead” of all those contractors. In no uncertain terms, Mr. Aspin told the group that they needed to start merging.

“The rest is history,” Mr. Augustine later wrote. “General Electric Aerospace merged with Martin Marietta, which combined with Lockheed. McDonnell Douglas joined Boeing. Grumman joined Northrop. When the dust had cleared, there were only a few firms left standing.” Five, to be exact.

The Last Supper has become part of the lore of the military industry — though partly that’s because Mr. Aspin’s prediction about tighter Pentagon budgets turned out to be so wrong. “On the day George W. Bush took office,” said Loren B. Thompson, a well-known military consultant, “defense spending was around $300 billion.” Today it is more than double that amount, around $700 billion. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — not to mention the Pentagon’s voracious appetite for expensive weapons systems, and the lack of competition among the remaining contractors — have been a gold mine for the Big Five.

Not surprisingly, for most of the first decade of the 21st century, the stocks of these companies soared. But after peaking in 2008, they came crashing back to earth. Which, for the Pentagon, has turned out to be a problem. These companies need access to the capital markets, which is more difficult when their stocks are down. And the Pentagon simply can’t allow them get into serious financial difficulty; there are just too few of them. “What we can’t afford from the defense perspective is a sick industry,” said Jacques S. Gansler, a former procurement official for the Pentagon who teaches at the University of Maryland.

There is another problem, too. Having reached that $700 billion mark — which amounts to about half the discretionary spending in the entire budget — there is simply no way military spending is going to keep growing the way it has, not in these difficult economic times. (When the defense budget is released on Monday, it is expected to increase only slightly.) Recognizing that leaner times lay ahead, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates made a speech last May acknowledging that Pentagon budgets were unlikely to rise substantially any time soon, and laid out a plan to create new efficiencies and increased competition among the companies.

Since then, several weapons systems have been canceled. Others are in jeopardy. Military contractors have been told that they have to become more efficient. New military contracts will try to impose some financial risk for the companies — so if there are huge cost overruns, the companies will have to absorb some of the pain. (On the other hand, companies are going to be allowed to pocket 50 percent of any savings they produce.)

Is it any wonder that the stocks dropped so precipitously, and that investors are nervous? Mr. Carter notwithstanding, taxpayers and shareholders are decidedly not in alignment: the tougher the Pentagon gets with its contractors, the better it is for taxpayers and the worse it is for shareholders. And yet it can’t get too tough, because if it is, the companies will start running into financial trouble, which means the stocks will sink even further and the companies will start to have trouble raising capital. This is the bind created by the Last Supper.

Now can you see why the Pentagon has taken to talking up the industry to the investment community? With one side of its mouth, the Pentagon is saying it is going to be more tough-minded in its approach to military contractors than ever before. But with the other side of its mouth, it is telling investors not to worry: the profits will be there, no matter what. Partly, this is political posturing; the Pentagon worries that the contractors and their allies in Congress will push back if the Defense Department doesn’t emphasize industry profit. Still, the Pentagon’s two-sided stance is not a terribly tenable position and requires much papering over. Hence Mr. Carter’s road show.

The sidling up to investors actually began last October, when the deputy defense secretary, William J. Lynn III, held a private meeting for about a dozen Wall Street analysts, laying out the Pentagon’s cost-cutting plans in astonishing detail. Indeed, according to Reuters, which uncovered the meeting, the analysts were sworn to secrecy. Although this would seem to violate, at the least, the spirit of transparency that Americans expect of market participants, notes of the meeting became public only after Reuters exposed it. (A military consultant named James McAleese published his notes on his Web site a few days after the Reuters story broke.)

Whatever the ethics of this meeting — and the Pentagon insists that nothing new was divulged during the session — it appears to have had an effect. If you look at the stock charts of the Big Five, you’ll see that they all started to rise around October. Imagine that.

In December, Mr. Carter and several other Pentagon officials attended a conference thrown by Credit Suisse and Aviation Week magazine. When I first spoke to Mr. McAleese, he casually mentioned that he had organized a private meeting for the Pentagon officials with institutional investors only. Then his cellphone went dead. Four days later, when I spoke to him again, he denied any such private meeting had taken place, and blamed his previous statement on the fact that “I hadn’t slept in three days.” (A Pentagon spokesman also denies a private meeting took place.)

Since then, the stocks have been booming. Maybe I’m putting too much emphasis on the Pentagon’s road show, but it is hard to imagine it’s had no effect at all.

Does the country need a healthy military industry? Of course. It also needs efficiently built weapons. But the Pentagon road show hardly seems like the right way to go about it. Mr. Carter and his minions might be better served taking steps to unwind some of the damage done by the Last Supper, perhaps by letting some of those midsize companies grow into prime contractors, or by taking steps to break up some of the modern behemoths.

But never mind. Next week, there’s an Aviation Week conference where Mr. Carter is supposed to speak. And there’s another conference a few weeks after that. I hear Mr. Carter will be there, too.

Vermont’s Stop the F-35 Coalition Recruits a Veteran Spokesman

As originally posted on Seven Days at http://7dvt.com/2010roger-bourassa-f-35 By Kevin J. Kelley.

Vermonters favoring the deployment of a new generation of war planes at the Burlington airport will have trouble depicting one of their chief opponents as an unpatriotic wimp.

Roger Bourassa, a public face of the Stop the F-35 Coalition, has a red-white-and-blue, star-spangled résumé that includes a three-year stint with the U.S. Marine Corps. He also served 13 years in the National Guard in Vermont, New York and Maine, and another 13 as an Air Force Academy liaison officer, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. Bourassa, 73, took part in the invasion of Lebanon in 1958 and flew wartime transport missions to Vietnam. With Donna, his wife of 49 years, Bourassa raised six children and was active in the Lutheran Church.

A native of Winooski, he grew up seeing and hearing National Guard aircraft soaring and screaming above his home. Those flights inspired Bourassa to become a military pilot himself, but he failed an eye exam and had to settle for a career as a navigator on a variety of fighter planes, including the F-89 Scorpion and F-101 Voodoo.

Those were defensive aircraft, Bourassa notes during an interview in his Colchester condo, where he still hears the boom of National Guard jets as they hurtle into the Vermont sky. The F-35, however, is “an attack plane,” Bourassa says, designed for use in what he calls the “imperialist wars” the United States is waging in Afghanistan and Iraq.

He’ll make those points at an October 13 forum at the Chamberlin School in South Burlington sponsored by the Stop the F-35 Coalition. The meeting is part of an effort to rally opposition to the possibility that two dozen stealth fighters will be stationed at BTV seven years from now.

Proponents of the basing plan, including all three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation, say the F-35s will help protect the country, generate jobs and ensure the continued mission of the Green Mountain Boys. Coalition activists living near the airport tend to argue against the deployment on environmental grounds, charging that it will produce unbearable noise pollution and foul Chittenden County’s air with benzene emissions. Others, such as Bourassa, see the F-35 primarily as an expression of a militaristic U.S. foreign policy.

Describing himself as “extremely patriotic,” the soft-spoken suburbanite explains, “My love of country is based on an America that is an example of democracy in the world, and I think we’re failing democratically today.” Bourassa echoes Dwight Eisenhower, the president under whom he served in Lebanon, in condemning a “military-industrial complex” that encourages aggressive U.S. behavior in the Middle East and beyond.

“Our foreign policy involves using military means so we can remain a very prosperous nation,” Bourassa says. “But we need to be concerned about the global climate and about the billions of people who are living on $2 a day. Our country shouldn’t be accumulating resources but sharing resources.”

A University of Vermont professor deserves some credit for shaping Bourassa’s worldview: Harold Schultz taught a course on American diplomatic history that deeply affected Bourassa 45 years ago. He had enrolled at UVM after leaving the Marine Corps and joined the Vermont National Guard while an undergraduate. Bourassa simultaneously became an opponent of the war in Vietnam, and he brought his antiwar advocacy to the U.S. Air Force Air Command and Staff College in Alabama, where he earned a master’s in international relations.

In keeping with his belief in the transformative power of education, Bourassa became a social studies teacher and later served as a high school principal in both Randolph and Winooski. He held the post of superintendent in the Orange Southwest, Colchester and Franklin West supervisory districts for a total of 17 years.

Bourassa’s father was at least as influential as formal educators on the peace-loving patriot. Joseph Bourassa, born in Québec in 1905, migrated to Vermont as a boy and found work as a factory laborer in the American Woolen Mill in Winooski. Roger grew up speaking French and learned from his father to respect trade unions and the values behind Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.

More recently, he supported the campaign of Barack Obama, but has grown “very disappointed” with the president’s performance, mainly because “his approach to the Middle East is so unbalanced.” Bourassa traveled last year to the West Bank and was teargassed during a demonstration against the Israeli occupation. He has also taken part in protests in Washington against the war in Iraq. He’s now opposed to the “unwinnable war” in Afghanistan as well, even though he initially supported the U.S. invasion as a justified response to the terror attacks of 2001.

Bourassa’s active retirement is not devoted solely to the cause of peace. He’s a member of the Colchester Development Review Board and works with a local chapter of the AARP.

Despite the political clout of the forces arrayed in support of the F-35s, Bourassa says he’s hopeful that the local deployment can still be prevented. Much will depend on the conclusions of an environmental impact statement that the Air Force is preparing for scheduled release in January. The Air Force announced in July that BTV and Hill Air Force Base in Utah are the “preferred alternatives” for F-35 operations, but added that a final decision will not be made until the environmental assessment is completed.

“Vermont is really the last place that should be hosting this plane,” declares Jimmy Leas, an attorney active with the Stop the F-35 Coalition. Pointing to the efforts of Bourassa and other local peace advocates, Leas says the state’s strong antiwar sentiment can prevail over “this weapon of mass destruction.”

War Gains

Vermont’s Pentagon payout: What’s our bang for the buck? | Seven Days | By Ken Picard [11.10.04]

The Pentagon doesn’t discriminate between red states and blue states. The spoils of war come in just one color — green. Like it or not, military spending is on the rise, and the reelection of President Bush all but assures that the trend will continue. Between 1997 and 2003, the U.S. defense budget rose from $296 billion to $379 billion, not including supplemental appropriations; experts say it could surpass $500 billion in 2005. Next year, according to the World Policy Institute, the United States will spend about $1.15 billion per day on the military — or $11,000 per second.

A rising tide raises all ships, and the flood of money that’s flowing from the Pentagon to civilian defense contractors is lifting Vermont, too. Though pacifistic and peace-minded Vermonters prefer not to think about it, the U.S. Department of Defense funnels hundreds of millions of dollars each year into the state’s economy, buying goods and services, funding research and development, providing start-up grants to new high-tech firms, and ultimately, creating new jobs.

While Vermont can’t hope to compete with larger states like California and Texas in manufacturing or research-and-development money, this state often fares better than others of comparable size and population when vying for defense and homeland-security dollars. Largely, that’s due to the influence of Senator Patrick Leahy, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee who sits on the subcommittees on defense and homeland security. Leahy also wrote the rule that requires every state to get at least a minimum share of all homeland-security grants, which in Vermont totaled more than $51 million in 2004.

It’s not easy to measure the state’s exact slice of the Pentagon pie, since defense dollars can flow through a number of different channels, depending upon what the money is used for: research and development, small-business seed money, direct purchases, and so forth. But according to the Federal Procurement Data System, the Department of Defense is by far the biggest spender among government agencies with civilian contracts in Vermont. It drops more dollars on Vermont than four other big-budget federal agencies combined.

Not surprisingly, the military’s Vermont shopping list is growing. In fiscal year 2000, the Pentagon spent about $243 million on defense contracts here; by 2003, the number had jumped to $455 million. In comparison, the second largest federal spender in 2003 — the U.S. Department of Transportation — spent just $25.6 million in Vermont; Veterans Affairs spent $7.9 million.

But even a state-by-state breakdown of defense contracts doesn’t necessarily paint an accurate picture of where the money ends up or who benefits from it. For one thing, the state in which a company is headquartered — and thus where a contract may be listed — isn’t necessarily the state where the company or the majority of its employees or performs most of its work.

Goodrich Aerospace of Vergennes is an example. The company manufactures a wide range of high-tech electronic, fuel and utility systems for both military and civilian uses. Goodrich products can be found on everything from Boeing 727s to Black Hawk helicopters and F-16 fighter jets; their products have been on every manned space flight since the Apollo missions. Goodrich, which has been in Vermont for more than 50 years, currently employees about 700 people as engineers, assemblers, technicians and the like, and about 60 percent of its work is for the U.S. government. But because its parent company, Goodrich Corporation, is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, some state-by-state breakdowns don’t reveal the millions of dollars that Goodrich contributes to Vermont’s economy.

On the other side of that equation –that is, at the top of the local defense-spending list –is General Dynamics Armament Systems of Burlington, the state’s largest defense contractor. Between 2000 and 2003, General Dynamics’ armament division saw its Pentagon contracts jump from $14.7 million to $437 million.

But looks can be deceiving, explains Art Woolf, an associate professor of economics at the University of Vermont. With 550 employees, the company’s impact on the local economy is far less than it was in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the facility — then General Electric — employed nearly 3000 people in Burlington. Plus, Woolf notes, many of the government dollars probably pass right through Vermont to out-of-state plants or subcontractors that now do most of the company’s manufacturing.

A better way to assess the impact of defense dollars in Vermont is to look at employment, suggests Burlington policy analyst Doug Hoffer. How many local jobs do defense contractors provide and what do they pay? It’s also important to look at where these companies buy their supplies and how much business they do with other Vermont firms. “It’s never enough to say how much money goes through the company,” says Hoffer. “You have to say how much of it stays in Vermont, to be recycled in Vermont.”

In this respect, General Dynamics differs significantly from a smaller, less traditional defense contractor in Vermont: New England Woodcraft of Forest Dale. This family-owned and operated-company on the western edge of the Green Mountain National Forest manufactures institutional wood furniture — beds, desks, dressers — that is sold to colleges, universities and the U.S. military. New England Woodcraft has been around for more than 40 years and employs about 100 people full-time, but only began getting defense contracts a few years ago. In 2003, the company landed a $4.2 million contract to build furniture for military barracks. Today, defense contracts account for about half the company’s business.

But unlike General Dynamics, New England Woodcraft does all of its manufacturing in Vermont and buys all of its raw materials from local and regional sources. Moreover, when New England Woodcraft adds jobs, most of the workers are hired locally, not through national searches. New England Woodcraft’s manufacturing jobs don’t pay as well as the high-tech jobs at General Dynamics. But all of the company’s profits go to its Vermont owners, not Wall Street investors.

Another factor to consider is how defense dollars “multiply” in the local economy in terms of creating new jobs and earnings for other Vermont businesses. Hoffer cites U.S. Department of Commerce figures showing that two traditional defense-related categories — aircraft and missile engines, and ordnances and accessories — don’t multiply in the Vermont economy as well as other industries do.

Every $1 million increase in wood-furniture manufacturing in Vermont translates into $1.88 million in total economic output for the state. But every $1 million uptick in ordnance and accessories spending in Vermont translates into just $1.47 million for the Vermont economy.

The same holds true for job creation, Hoffer says. Commerce Department figures show that every $1 million increase in wood-furniture manufacturing adds 20 new jobs in the state. But a comparable $1 million increase in manufacturing of aircraft or missile engines translates into just 14 new jobs in Vermont; for ordinance and accessories manufacturing, 12 new jobs.

Other concerns are the stability of those jobs, and the company’s long-term employment prospects. Does the company produce goods and services that have both military and civilian applications, or does its business rely entirely on a war economy? As Hoffer points out, “if you’ve got one customer that’s 80 percent of your business, you’ve got a problem.”

Mine Safety Appliance employs 120 people at its helmet-manufacturing plant in Newport. In the last year, the Pittsburgh-based company secured three defense contracts totaling more than $78 million to produce more than 230,000 helmets for the U.S. Army. According to a company spokesman, defense contracts account for just 15 percent of the company’s global sales, but all the work done in Newport is for the U.S. military.

The Newport plant may seem vulnerable to the ebbs and flows of U.S. military operations overseas, but the helmets produced in Newport also have applications for homeland security and law-enforcement. And the U.S. Army always needs helmets, even in peacetime. Moreover, according to the company’s spokesman, the Newport production line can be converted to produce similar products, like fire helmets and riot gear.

Some defense contractors in Vermont produce more obvious “dual-use” technologies. The portable hospital units Mobile Medical of St. Johnsbury builds for the U.S. military have a wide range of domestic applications. Other contractors produce military goods that are needed even after conflicts end. For example, Applied Research Associates of South Royalton builds remote-controlled tractors that deactivate and remove undetonated landmines and other ordnances. For better or worse, this technology will likely be needed throughout the world for years to come.

Even after you’ve untangled the economic puzzle of local military contracts, that still leaves questions about the ethics of profiting from armed conflict. “If you’re asking me if defense spending is good for Vermont, I’ll say that it’s probably a regrettably good thing for Vermont,” Woolf concludes. “It’s like saying, is it good for a hardware store when I buy a lock to put on my door? Well, yeah, the hardware store is selling me a lock, but it’d sure be nice to live in a world where I don’t have to put a lock on my door.”

It Pays to Make War Machines

There is something that Wall Streeters and Captains of Industry pay close attention to and it is called The Spade Defense Index. The SDI is a blended index of “publicly traded companies that benchmarks the performance of companies involved with defense, homeland security, and space. The Index is composed of more than 50 firms…with representative…activities including: naval vessels, military aircraft, missiles and munitions, battlespace awareness, C4ISR, network centric warfare, homeland security including border security and biometric and screening systems, and space systems.” (http://www.spadeindex.com/aboutspadedefense.php)


Click on image for full size chart.

Two companies of prominence in The Index are the two leaders of our beloved F-35 project Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. As a whole The Index has grown by 247{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} since its debut on December 30, 1997, which far exceeds gains in the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the broader S & P 500, which increased by 136 and 118{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}, respectively, between then and now. So, it stands to reason that the forced arrayed against our mission are not simply military and political but financial as well given the volatility of conventional investments. There are certain industries that are “recession proof” and the Military Industrial Complex seems to be one of those industries. It not only is buffered against austerity and crisis but thrives in the milieau created after post-crisis Shock Therapy is implemented. In a more volatile world both climatic and economic more and more of Wall Street’s best and brightest will reallocated their money to the MIC and will most certainly push the creation of more and more F-35s as well as even more bloated MIC projects quixotic or not these types of projects socialize the risk and privatize the gain in the hands of people willing to leverage this country’s long-term viability at the expense of short-term wealth aggregation. The data does not lie. As Michael Bloomberg once said “In God we trust…Everyone else, bring data.” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/nyregion/09mayor.html?scp=1&sq=bloomberg{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20in{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20god{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20we{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20trust{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20everyone{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20else{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67}20data&st=cse)

Author: Local TV Coverage from CCTV

For local coverage of the F-35 see the following list from CCTV: http://www.cctv.org/search/node/F-35.

CCTV began covering the issue in April, 2010. See the detailed factsheet for times in the videos cross referenced with statements made by officials.

Thanks as always to CCTV, The Center for Media and Democracy, for great consistent coverage of important local issues.