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.