I can’t say I’ve cared much for the way in which location of the F-35’s at Burlington Airport has been promoted by the Vermont power base.
It sounds too much like the manner in which ill-advised development projects have all too frequently been greased through the works on economic arguments, allowing things like “offsets” to inadequately address environmental impacts.
Put simply: I distrust the process.
I have no definite opinion as to whether or not the F-35 basing should be accepted; but I distrust the process.
There is something very uncomfortable in seeing the legitimate concerns of South Burlington persistently minimized by those who won’t have to cope so intimately with the impacts of a possible location.
Now we learn that South Burlington officials have been excluded from a planned junket to Florida to see and hear the planes in action.
Here we have Frank Cioffi’s Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation and developer Ernie Pomerleau, footing the bill to fly Governor Shumlin, Mayor Miro Weinberger of Burlington, and Mayor Mike O’Brian of Winooski to Florida so that they can have a live encounter with the F-35.
That may make some sense for Mayor O’Brian, who maintains that he needs “more information” in order to sign-off on the plan; but if GBIC was planning the trip anyway, wouldn’t it have made more sense to bring along the City Council Chair of the airport’s home City?
Seven Days quotes South Burlington City Council Chair Roseanne Greco who, with the majority of the Council, opposes the F-35 siting in South Burlington:
“I’d like to go only because I’d like to have the opportunity to sit down and talk with the governor and both mayors about the F-35,” Greco says. “Going to hear aircraft in another location that is still in testing to see if I personally find the noise too loud, too soft, just right, is, I think, a waste of time.”
You may recall that back in 2010, when the controversy first came to light, I speculated
… about the “variables.” I’m no scientist, but it occurs to me that the topography, geology and other factors, which are specific to the region over which the F-35’s are to be deployed, might have a critical relationship to how the decibel level might play out in that region.
Perhaps I have missed something, but so far I am unaware of any conversation about bringing the plane to South Burlington’s airspace for a demonstration of the sound experience in various modes, before the very people who will have to live with it.
There well may be constraints on the practicality of such a demonstration; but imagining that demos staged for a select and favorable audience in a location not remotely similar to Burlington should somehow serve to answer critics? That’s utter nonsense.
Not only are the circumstances relatively valueless to the debate but the optics are terrible.
Get a clue, Gentlemen.