As you know, our campaign to stop the F-35 from coming to Burlington scored a major victory with the passage of Ballot Item #6 last week, by a solid 55-45% margin. (It got more votes than Miro Weinberger did!)

Now our work truly begins. City Councilor Joan Shannon wrote a resolution for the Council that appears to support our victory (the text is below). The resolution is good but not as good as we’d like. We need your help to amend it and make sure it passes!!

The Council will likely vote on this on Monday, March 26. Please contact Councilor Shannon and both of your Council Representatives to tell them to support Councilor Shannon’s resolution with two changes:

  1. Include the full language of the ballot question in the resolved clauses of the resolution
  2. Remove the entire list of questions (or make it a separate resolution)

Please ask that the resolution be amended to include nothing more and nothing less than what was approved by the voters. If your councilors support this plan, thank them profusely! (Council phone numbers are listed below.)

If you do not live in Burlington, please contact Councilor Shannon anyway. Everyone should feel free to contact Mayor Weinberger as well. We need to make sure that our Councilors take direction from our victory at the ballot box. Please contact them by email or (better) by phone.

AND PLEASE HOLD MONDAY, MARCH 26 ON YOUR CALENDARS. If the Burlington City Council confirms they are voting on Joan Shannon’s resolution, we’ll let you know with an email – we’ll need our supporters to show up in force!

We have a meeting scheduled this Thursday, March 22, 6-7:30 at the Peace & Justice Center. Please join us if you can. Be in touch if you want us to join us via phone.

Peace, Rachel (on behalf of Save Our Skies/Stop the F-35)

 

City Council contact info:

Sharon Foley Bushor (I – Ward 1) –  658-3604 – sbushor@burlingtonvt.gov

Max Tracy (P- Ward 2)  – 373-1968 mtracy@burlingtonvt.gov

Sara Moore (P – Ward 3)  – 540-1711 smoore@burlingtonvt.gov

Kurt Wright (R – Ward 4) –  658-1410 kwright@burlingtonvt.gov

William “Chip” Mason (D – Ward 5)  – 373-8545 cmason@burlingtonvt.gov

Karen Paul (D – Ward 6)  – 863-3817 kpaul@burlingtonvt.gov

Ali Dieng  (D/P – Ward 7)  – 318-2527 adieng@burlingtonvt.gov

Adam Roof  (I – Ward 8)  – 777-3255 aroof@burlingtonvt.gov

Richard Deane  (D – East District)  – 373-7449 rdeane@burlingtonvt.gov

Jane Knodell  (P – Central District)  – 862-2469 jknodell@burlingtonvt.gov

David Hartnett  (I – North District)  – 864-7895 dhartnett@burlingtonvt.gov

Joan Shannon  (D – South District)  – 860-7489 jshannon@burlingtonvt.gov

Mayor Miro Weinberger – 802-865-7272 mweinberger@burlingtonvt.gov

 

Here is the text of Councilor Shannon’s draft resolution with our suggested additions in bold and underlined, and the parts we ask to have removed crossed off:

Resolution Requesting the Secretary of the Air Force provide an alternative mission for the Vermont Air National Guard at Burlington Airport.

Whereas, on March 6, 2018, by a vote of 6,482 to 5237, the voters of the City of Burlington approved the following citizen initiated ballot item:

“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?”

Whereas, during the community discussion of the ballot item, the proponents expressed great optimism for Burlington International Airport’s ability to attract an alternative meaningful mission for the Vermont Air National Guard and that the United States Air Force would be able and willing to provide such an alternative mission to the Vermont Air National Guard, and

Whereas, while the approved question stated “strong support” for the Vermont Air National Guard and their importance to our community, the expectation was that the alternative mission would reflect the value of the Guard to our community and offer a quieter plane, with proven high safety record appropriate for our population density.

Be It Resolved That, 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 cancel the planned basing of the F-35 at Burlington International Airport.

Be it Further Resolved, that the Burlington City Council requests instead low-noise-level equipment with a proven high safety record appropriate for a densely populated area.

Be It Further Resolved, the Burlington City Council respectfully request answers to the following additional questions or claims that were raised by the media and/or proponents of the ballot question and community members, leading up to the vote on the F-35 basing:

•    Is there another mission that would be available to Burlington?

•    Safety concerns were raised about hours of flight time relative to prior aircraft models deployed to Burlington – can you explain why the flight hours are lower with the F35, and is some of that time accounted for through alternative simulated training?

•    Is simulated flight time proven to be comparable to actual flight time?

•    News media reports alleged Burlington was the only populated area where F35s have been deployed, though it appears F35s will also be stationed in Madison WI and Montgomery, AL. Could you clarify if Burlington is the only populated area where F35s have been deployed?

•    News media reports allege the F35 has not undergone any operational testing or dog-fighting exercises, and further indicated such activity would occur for the first time in Burlington. Is it accurate that these tests and exercises have not been completed? Regardless, would the F35 go through such testing in Burlington?

•    Would the stealth coating create additional environmental concerns if the plane crashed as compared with an F-16 or commercial jet?

•    Does the F-35 use the same fuel that the F-16 and commercial jets use?

Be It Further Resolved that the Burlington City Council respectfully requests a written response from the Honorable Secretary Wilson related to the above requests, in writing, no later than May 1, 2018.

[The reason we are asking them to change the resolved clause is to mirror more exactly what was in the ballot question — both part 1 and part 2 as it was written (in particular, the “cancellation”). The reason we are hoping they will amend the list of questions off, is because they were not what the voters asked for. If the council is truly following the lead of the voters (as they should), these questions do not belong here. They muddy the resolution and will likely be used as a delay tactic.]