Great News!!!  

In its amazing and historic vote on Monday, April 20, 2015, the Winooski City Council  agreed to join the F35 lawsuit as a full partner!  The City will use its own attorney, and the city’s contribution will be capped at $7,500.  The city attorney will prepare the paperwork to join the suit, called a “motion to intervene”.  Wow!

Thank you, Winooski City Councilors for your actions on behalf of Winooski and its citizens!  And thank you, Winooski residents and friends who helped make this happen with your activism and support of Article Five!  

 

FAA changes story about F-35 maps

bfp-ffa-changes-story-f35-maps

By Burlington Free Press
February 4, 2017

The FAA could have included F-35 sound information, but chose not to due to a pending lawsuit which community members hoped would halt or at least delay the basing of the new jets

[FULL ARTICLE]

Winooski: Council weighs cost of F-35 lawsuit

The City of Winooski has sought legal advice as it explores options for joining a lawsuit regarding the basing of F-35 fighter planes in Chittenden County — though legal opinions conflict as the city moves closer to making its decision.

Plaintiffs who filed the case in U.S. District Court say the Air Force failed to provide enough information in the report it released in April 2014. At issue is whether the Air Force underestimated the level of noise and its potential impact on health, property values and safety for those in the flight locations.

The City Council addressed possible participation on March 16. Mayor-elect Seth Leonard said he is unsure if the City Council is close to a decision, but that it will continue lawsuit discussions Monday.

By the next meeting’s end, councilors hope to have a proposal on which they can vote April 20.

“I don’t expect this to be a long, drawn-out process,” Leonard said in an interview, adding that the schedule is not completely set.

Winooski residents voted on Town Meeting Day, 572-475, to approve an advisory article asking the city to enter a federal lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. The city would join the Stop the F-35 Coalition and six Chittenden County residents as plaintiffs. Four of the individual plaintiffs are residents of Winooski.

In approving the advisory question, Winooski residents also approved the city’s spending $7,500 on legal services, though lawyer Robert DiPalma says the actual costs of joining the lawsuit could far exceed that sum.

The decision of whether to join is up to the City Council, Leonard has said.

“It’s our fiduciary, moral and otherwise, responsibility to make sure we’re taking care of the city in the best way we can,” Leonard said at the meeting, according to a video recording by the CCTV Center for Media and Democracy.

The city has passed two resolutions on the issue, first in May 2012 and again in July 2013. Leonard said that some of the questions posed in the last resolution have yet to be answered.

Lawsuit lawyer James Dumont pointed out during the mid-March meeting that several of the resolution’s questions align with questions presented in the lawsuit.

A variety of options were presented to the City Council at its meeting by lawyer Robert DiPalma of Paul Frank and Collins law firm. Leonard said DiPalma is one of several lawyers with whom the city works.

Among the city’s options are joining as a full party, filing as a “friend of the court,” passing another resolution, or taking no action whatsoever. Each choice contains a different level of liability for the city, raising questions of how much the city will spend and how influential their entry could be in the case.

While Dumont said Winooski’s entrance will sway the court toward the plaintiffs’ side, DiPalma disagreed.

“The consequences of joining the lawsuit are a little uncertain,” DiPalma said. “It doesn’t appear to me that the addition of Winooski as a party to the case is going to have an impact on the outcome of the case.”

DiPalma: Follow the money

If the city chooses to enter the lawsuit as a full party, DiPalma said he believes the city’s ability to stick to its $7,500 budget “is going to be a real challenge, and very well may not be a possibility.”

According to DiPalma, $7,500 could be spent quickly on lawyer fees and fees that could come up in the discovery process when information is exchanged between parties in the case — though Dumont said the costs would not be very excessive.

DiPalma also raised the possibility of the judge awarding a sum of money to the winning party. If the plaintiffs were to lose the lawsuit, this could be difficult for the city to pay back, DiPalma said.

Councilor Brian Corrigan suggested that the council explore the money issue more at the April 6 meeting.

“I have an issue with us suddenly entering into this lawsuit, and the fees are exceeding, or far exceeding $7,500, and all of a sudden we’re looking at a bundle of cash that we have to come up with in a budget that we were very tight with to begin with,” he said. “I see that as a problem.”

Councilor Robert Millar said the city also should be cognizant of staff time spent on the lawsuit as well. Millar said the council should explore more creative options where the city can participate to a certain level in the suit, but not incur as many fees.

“While advisory, it did send a pretty clear signal,” Millar said of the Town Meeting Day vote result. “I think that exploring more full-participation options is what we’re being asked to do by the citizens.”

Dumont: Swaying the court

If the city enters the lawsuit as a full party, lawsuit lawyer Dumont said the entrance will most likely be factored into federal Judge Geoffrey Crawford’s final decision, motivating him to rule in the plaintiffs’ favor.

Dumont said the judge may see Winooski’s entry as a move to protect its people.

“When a city speaks, you’re speaking as a parent advocating for the interests of your children,” Dumont said. “The judge we have is a very good judge, he’s very smart and he also has a big heart.”

The question at hand — whether the Air Force followed regulations laid out by the National Environmental Protection Agency in crafting its environmental impact statement — is too technical for the city to have an impact on the judge’s decision, DiPalma said.

“If you look at some of the issues before the judge, it’s not necessarily going to pull at your heartstrings,” DiPalma said. “The way I see this case is, ‘Did you comply with NEPA?’ That’s pretty dry. My view is that adding a party, such as a municipality, is not going to move the needle for the judge all that much, but I’m willing to listen to other opinions.”

Councilor Nicole Mace suggested the city look at how passing another resolution or filing a court brief would possibly affect the case. Mayor Leonard said the council could explore that option further at the next meeting.

‘You own the question’

Winooski residents at the City Council meeting urged the council to think seriously the question approved on Town Meeting Day.

George Cross, who presented the original petition to join the suit, reiterated that the lawsuit’s questions parallel questions raised in the city’s past resolutions.

“Those answers have not been provided,” Cross said. “The people of Winooski have spoken. They said we want you, even though it was advice, to join this lawsuit on our behalf.”

“You own the question,” Cross added.

Opinions on the question were fairly split on Town Meeting Day, resulting in a 572-475 vote to approve the article. Winooski had 5,496 registered voters as of this year’s annual meeting. Several residents on Town Meeting Day told the Burlington Free Press that they voted to approve the F-35 question to keep the issue alive, and not so the city would actually join the suit.

Resident Michael Mahoney said the Air Force did a thorough environmental impact study — but only “to a point.”

“The issue regarding the lawsuit is that the EIS is incomplete,” Mahoney said at the meeting. “All we’re asking is that they complete it … I think you as the City Council, representing us, would also want to get the answers to those same questions.”

PREVIOUS COVERAGE:

Mayor Leonard and City Councilor Mace said they are open to all options as they go forward.

Mace said she is “eager to hear what additional information and analysis our attorneys and staff have obtained” since the March 16 meeting.

“I look forward to discussing those options as a full Council on the 6th and am confident that we will arrive at a decision that is in the best interests of the City of Winooski and its residents,” Mace said in an email.

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 651-4835 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LizMurraySMC.

http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/story/news/local/2015/04/03/winooski-council-weighs-cost-lawsuit/70827506/

An Amazing Victory in Winooski, Vermont!

Winooski-65dB-Properties-18F35s-Scenario-1-Horace-ShawOn Tuesday, March 3, the citizens of Winooski voted yes to ask their city to join the federal lawsuit against the F35 basing in Vermont.  The lawsuit was filed by the Stop the F35 Coalition and asks the USAF to set aside its decision until a comprehensive EIS has been completed, and then make a decision based on the facts.  Although this vote was non-binding, it is a very powerful message that Winooski voters demand that due process under the law be served in an effort to protect their community from the F35s.

Thank you to everyone who helped with passing Article Five on the Winooski ballot, starting back in January with the dozens of incredible volunteers in our successful petition drive, to every single person that signed it, to those who educated their friends and neighbors about the article and urged their participation, to those who displayed lawn signs as a public show of support, to those who stood outside of the polls in the cold, and finally to every Winooski citizen who voted yes.

I’m so grateful and proud of our little City and the residents who care so deeply about its future!  It has been an honor to have met and worked with so many that appreciate their neighbors and community and are willing to stand up for Winooski and Vermont.  We are blessed to have such a truly an amazing and inspiring group of people that call our city their home!  None of this happened without the help of many, and I want to express my deep gratitude.

Please stay involved as our new Winooski Mayor, city council and city manager review the legal options to decide its next steps in this process.  This is a great opportunity for us to strengthen our lawsuit and protect our community.

Thank you voters of Winooski!

Petition – Please Sign!

 

Click Here to Sign!

The entire F-35 fleet was recently grounded due to an engine fire, making the F-35 a no-show at a high profile international air show, while Canada just hit pause on their F-35 purchase to evaluate other options.

Over budget and years behind schedule, it’s time to put an end to the most expensive weapons system in history. Tell Congress to ground the F-35 forever.

Lockheed Martin, Pratt & Whitney and other Pentagon contractors are profiting off the taxpayer’s dime and funneling money into campaign coffers and lobbying. Even war hawk Senator John McCain describes the F-35 as the “worst example of the military-industrial-congressional complex.”1

They’re rigging the system so the F-35 wins and working families lose as vital programs like food assistance, infrastructure repair and education are slashed again and again.

So what could we have invested in instead of the most wasteful program in the history of the military? Our friends at Think Progress recently broke down the numbers and found that we could buy every homeless person in the U.S. a mansion, feed every school kid in the country or boost infrastructure funding needed to rebuild America.2

Sign the petition to tell Congress: End the F-35 program so we can invest in an America that works for all of us, not just Pentagon contractor CEOs.

Thanks,

Ross Wallen
USAction

 

1. Foreign PolicyThe Pentagon’s $399 Billion Plane to Nowhere: The next-generation F-35, the most expensive plane ever built, may be too dangerous to fly. Why is Congress keeping it alive?2. ThinkProgressAmericans Have Spent Enough Money On A Broken Plane To Buy Every Homeless Person A Mansion

 

Selection of Vermont Guard base for F-35 jets was based on flawed data, raising questions of political influence

Click here for the link to the Boston Globe article.

Click here to download a pdf. Preview of “Selection of Vermont Guard base for F-35 jets was based on flawed data, raising questions of political influence – Politics – The Boston Globe”

“Selection of Vermont Guard base for F-35 jets was based on flawed data, raising questions of political influence - Politics - The Boston Globe”

Please Help with the 60 Minute Blitz!

Welcome to Save Our Skies VT, and thank you for helping with our CBS 60 Minutes “Blitz”! Over the course of 48 hours, from April 7 to April 8, we hope to generate 1,000 emails to CBS, with your help.

 

We are coordinating an email campaign to urge 60 Minutes to undertake investigative research on the attempt to base the inappropriate and out-of-scale F35 fighter jets/stealth bomber program in densely populated residential areas in Burlington VT, Beaufort SC, and Tucson AZ.

 

These communities will be severely impacted by the destructive and harmful noise impact of the F35. The decision to attempt to base the F35s in these regions by our military and congressional leaders is outrageous and unfathomable.

 

Please choose one of the sample letters below, copy and paste into your email, and send to [email protected] You can send the letter as is, or adapt it with your own comments. Or, use your own words to tell 60 Minutes to help us fight this unreasonable, unfair and unjust attack on our communities.

 

The F35s have no business being located near residential homes and communities, and we need 60 Minutes help to expose the questionable processes by which our cities have been chosen as potential sites for the basings.

 

Please email 60 Minutes at [email protected], and help us grow our impact by sharing this plea with your friends, family and neighbors. By working together, our voices will be stronger and our message clear: the F35s are not suitable for residential use!

 

Please note: You can make a comment to appear on this post using the comment form below, but this will not be sent to 60 Minutes. Please email 60 Minutes directly using your email account. Thank You!!

 

Please click here to download a pdf of the letters, or just copy and paste from the following:

 

 

Dear 60 Minutes,

 

I urge you to highlight the wastefulness and damaging effects of the F-35A program. In particular I’d like to have you investigate the potential basing of the F-35A at the Burlington International Airport. This basing is wasteful and damaging because it is bad for the communities near the airport, in the following ways: (1) Economics – The Air Force DEIS says that thousands of homes will be in a noise zone that makes them “incompatible with residential use,” and the effect will be decreased property values; (2) Health – While the DEIS uses outdated studies on the health effects of noise, recent scientific consensus affirms that excessive exposure to environmental noise, especially jet noise, causes hearing loss, heart attack, stroke, mental disturbance, and impaired cognitive development in children; and (3) Safety – the DEIS offers Crash Zone maps within which there are thousands of homes in the neighborhoods surrounding this commercial airport. Certainly, this overpriced and underperforming weapons system does not belong in the most densely populated area of Vermont.

 

Thank you,

 

______________________________

 

 

Dear 60 Minutes,

 

Wasteful government spending is one of the most important issues facing us today.   I live in Vermont, and our politicians (Senators Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, Congressman Peter Welch, and Governor Peter Shumlin) all have progressive reputations, but are proving to be some of the unexpected enablers of such wasteful spending.  Though they criticize excessive military spending in general, when it comes to the F-35A – an overpriced and underperforming weapons system – they suddenly get transformed into lovers of military pork.  In particular, they want the F-35A to be based in the Burlington area, something the Air Force itself says is NOT an economic or environmental boon for our state in its own Draft Environmental Impact Statement. They refuse to debate or discuss the matter in any meaningful way with the grassroots opposition, who have thoroughly researched the economic, health, and safety problems with the basing.  So while these politicians call themselves “progressive,” they quietly feed at the trough of military pork.  

Please investigate this hypocrisy and contradiction!

 

Thank you,

 

________________________________

 

 

Dear 60 Minutes,

 

I urge you to investigate the denial of a robust, transparent democratic process in the decision process taking place for the potential bedding of the F-35A in Burlington, Vermont. We have two Vermont senators, liberal Patrick Leahy and progressive Bernie Sanders, who have steadfastly refused to meet with the citizens of Winooski, where over 50{33979494efa9b9c28f844b5c37a1ddedf4bb90a2eb3dac7a83ede58b7eac2e67} of the residents’ homes would be designated “not compatible with residential use,” by Federal Aviation Administration standards. The initial scoring data for Burlington has been proven to have been inaccurate, because it reported zero homes in the noise zone and crash zone, while there are more than 3,000 homes in those zones! Numerous requests for information (including 2 Freedom of Information Act requests) have been denied without adequate justification. We do not understand why citizens are being refused access to the scoring data for all the potential bases, while Burlington remains at the top of the list over the other Air Guard bases competing for the F-35A, even though thousands of local residents will be negatively affected, according to the Air Force DEIS. Please investigate!

 

Thank you,

 

__________________________________

 

Dear 60 Minutes,

 

There is a very disturbing controversy taking place in Burlington, Vermont, because of the proposed basing of 18-24 Air Force F-35A’s in the most densely populated area of our state. Vermont big business is essentially buying support for the basing of the fighter/bomber plane at our commercial airport. They have flown our political leaders south to measure noise (by chartered private flight), and in doing so, ignored the $2-million 2-year Air Force noise-metric study, in favor of recording sound on their iPads. Our leaders listened to these aircraft while wearing ear plugs, determining the jet noise to be “surprisingly quiet.” In addition, Vermont big business essentially bought our recent City Council election in South Burlington, where the airport is located. The amount of money spent on this election is astounding compared to every previous election, and the campaigns were characterized by vicious attacks on Council members who opposed the basing in a 2012 Council Resolution. Please investigate the way that business interests in Vermont are controlling and manipulating a process that should be transparent and democratic.

 

Thank you,

 

_________________________________

 

 

Dear 60 Minutes,

 

Vermonters need your help in investigating a very troubling instance of environmental injustice in our state. Burlington Vermont’s commercial airport has somehow been ranked #1 among Air Guard bases for the potential basing of the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, despite the disturbing fact that the most impacted area is comprised of the highest numbers of low-income, minority, and refugee populations in the state. According to the Air Force’s DEIS, there is no question that these vulnerable populations will be “disproportionately” negatively affected by the basing, in terms of health, safety, quality of life, and economic harm. And the DEIS was based on 2000 Census data, even though our Refugee Resettlement Program has increased this diverse population tremendously over the past 13 years. Vermonters wonder why Senator Patrick Leahy, as head of the powerful Judiciary Committee, and now third in line to the presidency as Senate Pro Tempore, can’t or won’t listen to his own constituents, especially when such an injustice has already been confirmed by the Air Force DEIS. Why won’t Leahy apply the same standards of justice to his constituents that he would advocate as head of the Judiciary Committee? And why won’t Senator Bernie Sanders, whose career has been characterized by concern for disadvantaged populations, stand up to defend the quality of life of our vulnerable neighbors? Please investigate!

 

Thank you,

 

_________________________________

 

 

Dear 60 Minutes,

 

In the small state of Vermont, we are witnessing a classic “David and Goliath” battle. On one side, we have both Vermont Senators, its Congressman, its Governor, 2 local Mayors, the Vermont Air National Guard, the business community, and the largest defense contractor in the world, Lockheed Martin. On the other side, we have one short, tree-hugging, animal-loving, 29-year military veteran, retired Air Force Colonel, ex-nun, coal-miner’s daughter, recent City Council Chairwoman. The issue is the proposed basing of the huge trillion-dollar Air Force fighter/bomber (F-35A) in the middle of the most densely-populated area of our entire state. A grassroots opposition movement is steadily growing behind our brave “David,” against the well-funded, powerful “Goliath” forces. But their attacks on anyone who opposes the basing, and especially against Colonel Rosanne Greco, have been vicious and constant. She has been publicly attacked and personally harassed (including vandalism to her home and property). And similar efforts have been made to discredit anyone who opposes the basing. Please investigate this!

 

Thank you,

___________________________________

F-35 Health Report

Click Here to Download pdf

Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 11.43.24 AM

 

VT Board of Health Report

Click to download pdf.

VT_BOH_F35_Report

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

Saturday, Feb. 9th at Montpelier High School

There is an opportunity to speak with Bernie on Saturday, Feb. 9th at Montpelier High School. It’s a Town Meeting to discuss “Senior Issues” with Bernie. Doors open at 12:00 noon, and the meeting starts at 1:00.

Why Senior Issues and the F-35?

— Senior Housing in Winooski, etc. & regulations for sound level that will be violated

— Seniors and veterans benefits (which are being cut while huge amounts are spent on the F-35 to Lockheed Martin)

— Vulnerability of seniors to health harms

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.

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