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]