Thursday, February 28, 2013

Rally for the Green Mountain Boys - Green Ribbons for the F35 creator Nicole Citro's speech

Hi, My name is Nicole Citro and I am the creator of the Green Ribbons for the F35. 
Thank you so much for coming here today to not only show your support for the basing of the F35 in VT but also to say Thank You to our Green Mountain Boys. This is awesome.   I know all of us have been looking for the opportunity to show how significant our support is.  I know we have all been frustrated by how much attention the opponents always receive, but you have to remember, even though their antics may make A story…it is not THE story.  THIS is the real story, this is the truth…all of you here today showing not only that this community resoundingly supports their Green Mountain Boys, but also this community wants the F35 for Vermont.

I knew when I tied a green ribbon on my front porch last summer and launched the Green Ribbon campaign that the silent majority needed a voice.  I wanted to give all of us who would never pick up a protest sign or march on a Senator’s office a way to show our numbers were mightier than theirs. And one green ribbon at a time you have responded.  I remember the first time I was driving down the street and saw a green ribbon tied to a mailbox. I had not put it there. And it was in front of a home of someone I did not know…I almost cried I was so happy.  I realized then that you were embracing this green ribbon idea, and you wanted to be heard too.  Since July, I have personally cut and distributed over 2,000 ribbons (and have hugged more trees than I care to count tying up some of those ribbons) As of today, 2,700 Green ribbon decals have been purchased. Over 1,300 followers on Facebook. And there have been numerous times where a post of a F35 Fact or really cool picture of a F35 on our Facebook page has reached over 30,000 people. This is not the kind of support that can be denied.  I cannot thank you enough for helping me take the Green Ribbons for the F35 campaign to where it is today.  Another very important reason I started this campaign was for the members of the Air Guard.  It was very upsetting to me to think that all the negativity surrounding this basing possibility was letting you believe for one minute you were not being appreciated by the residents of this state. This notion was unacceptable. I wanted this campaign to send you a special message, that when you drove down the street and saw a green ribbon tied to a mailbox, you would know…that your community, the people you  work so hard to protect and sacrifice so much for, are here for you, we are behind you. Actually….We’ve got your 6.

And so does our congressional delegation, and our governor….and the mayor. We thank them for holding firm and expressing the wishes of the majority of their constituents.  Every one of us agrees this new jet is right for the Guard and right for this community. We have all heard the rhetoric but we will  not fall victim to the hype.  We exercise our common sense. We know our property values will not plummet.  They haven’t in the past and they will not in the future.  And we know that 6 minutes a day 4 days a week will not have adverse effects on our health.  This base has been here for over 60 years.  We trust our good neighbor, the Vermont Air National Guard, we know when they are awarded this new jet they will continue to balance our needs with what is necessary to keep up safe.

And that is why it is so frustrating that there is a group of people do not appreciate what our military does for us.  They live in an existence of denial about the realities of the world we live in post 911.  They do not want to allow for our defense to be strong against enemies who detest us just because we are Americans. Before that September morning, none of us could have imagined a scenario where evil would invade us on our soil and strike us at our heart.  On that day the fear and uncertainty was unlike anything we had experienced before.  Our Nation was under attack and the threat was unknown. But the brave men and women of the 158th fighter wing did not hesitate for a milli-second to put in place all that they had trained and prepared for.  And in those days after the Twin Towers fell, when the skies were void of airline traffic, the only sound we did hear were the F16’s coming and going from their patrols over the east coast. I remember how comforting it was to hear those jets, how anyone can describe that sound now as annoying or hurtful…I don’t understand…that is the sound that makes us feel safe, that is the sound that confirms for us we are being protected, that is the sound of our freedom.  We must make sure our Air Guard has the equipment necessary to defend us and we must never forget.

It amazes me that there are those who do not realize what an incredible base we have in our midst. The Vermont Air National Guard is a preferred location for the F35!! You have worked so hard to achieve this level of consideration.  We are so proud of you.  This is the mission you have prepared for and you deserve this.  This is your time….the F35 belongs with the 158th Fighter wing!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

South Burlington Government, in dire need of change…

Where do I start?  So many starting points to pick from but I’ll keep it short and to the point.  The F-35 vote, to begin, was a terrible, non-productive, irrational, and hasty decision based on a DRAFT report without regard to the majority of the constituents.  It’s not a secret that good, productive, well-thought out, and successful decisions are based not solely on draft reports but also on input from constituents, experience, expert testimony, weighing pro’s and consequences, calculations and good all-around dialogue with stakeholders.  It’s also no secret that the majority of Vermont supports the F-35 Fighter (not Bomber – it is a Fighter hence the “F” please!).  In a recent issue of The Other Paper, a constituent implied F-35 supporters to be financially motivated.  Not true.  The men, women and families of the Air Guard live in our communities and have a tremendous right to be considered.  This decision affects their safety, security, morale, impact and survivability.  God forbid should a future conflict arise and they’re deployed. I will gladly sacrifice a few moments of passing jet noise so that they have technological advantage, stealth and high survivability on their side rather than equipping them with antiquated, tired 35 year old technology that will increase their exposure to harm exponentially. The “Stop the F-35” coalition led by Greco and Juliet Buck could care less about our troops whether on the battlefield, in a conflict, or at home.  To them our troops are expendable on foreign and home soil.

    Second, the interim-zoning speaks for itself.  Everyone is talking about it…Many are disappointed. It’s pretty evident that Greco and company are hell-bent on forcing and instituting their delusional vision on our city.  They are adamantly opposed to growth – business growth, financial growth, technological growth.   I ask one question : Is South Burlington not a City?  Cities grow do they not?  It’s safe to say that their primary goal seems to be to reduce our city to a town or village if you will.  Make no mistake, Greco, Engels and Dooley are committed 100% to reverse growth, impede technology, and dissolve the Vermont Air National Guard Base.

    Third, the anti-F35 council members have been pushing the phrase “Children Safety” (without backing of course – yep what a shocker) in their crusade against the Air Guard.  They continue to spend considerable amounts of time, effort and resources fighting the F-35.  They hired an attorney. However, when an announcement is made that a methadone clinic is opening next to 2 of our schools, they do and say absolutely nothing although a good number of constituents signed a petition against the clinic location.  I trust that at the very least this should have merited some sort of questioning, dialogue, response from the Council on the grounds of “Children Safety”.  Seems to me the phrase is being used to propel more exaggerations (rather than genuine care) in the Council’s crusade against the F-35. Otherwise surely genuine care would have surfaced with regards to the methadone issue as well.  Hmm, sounds hypocritical in nature.

Fourth, Greco hires an  already fired manager, gives him 117k per year of taxpayer money, gives him a severance pay of 117k again of taxpayers’ money in case they were to fire him, fires him and is now looking to hire a new manager at 117k (they cannot offer less) which effectively turns into 234k for one year with the severance + new hire.  All this and my property taxes are going up.  Outrageous, and appalling is it not?

Many more issues to list however if I were to list them all, I would be here until March…

To conclude, change is needed and welcomed.  It is in our best interests to vote on March 5th, to vote for Pat Nowak and Chris Shaw.  This is our opportunity to take our city back, back into the control of taxpayers.  Last time I checked, this is a democracy however I do not sense it in South Burlington…  Pat Nowak and Chris Shaw – for the people! 

Faruk Hurer
South Burlington Resident

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Shumlin Visits Eglin AFB

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin arrived at Eglin Air Force Base on Wednesday to check out the new F-35 in action.
“It’s an amazing plane,” he said from the flight line after seeing the Air Force’s variant of the new fighter jet take off, do several flybys and then land. “It’s a real privilege to be able to see it.”
Shumlin, several staff members and two local mayors made the trip to Eglin to see how the noise level of the F-35 compares to the F-16, which is currently housed at their National Air Guard Base in Burlington, Vt.
The base is a top contender for an operational F-35 fleet sometime in the next few years.
Many Vermont residents have raised concerns about the F-35 creating more noise at the base, which is located near the largest residential area in the state.
Shumlin’s entourage brought instruments to measure the sound of the planes. They stood next to an idling F-35 and an idling F-16 and then went to the flight line to see and hear both jets take off.
Shumlin’s conclusion: the F-35 would be quieter than their F-16s.
“Listening to this has been a real eye opener,” he said. “It’s a different sound, but it’s surprising how quiet the F-35 is.”
He said the F-35 would not have to use noisy afterburners like the F-16 does and that would result in less noise.
“I feel very strongly the F-35s make sense for Vermont, but I also have an obligation to listen to critics,” he said.
He said he wanted to come to Eglin and hear the F-35 in person so he could report back to residents. He believes the plane could be flown, with certain restrictions, without affecting residents’ quality of life.
He said the F-35 would create a large number of jobs for their state.
He and Vermont National Air Guard Brig. Gen. Steve Cray said the F-35 would help the guard stay relevant as the F-16 is phased out.
When the Air Force first proposed bringing the F-35 to Eglin, some residents expressed similar concerns about noise, especially in the Valparaiso area.
Valparaiso Mayor Bruce Arnold said Wednesday that residents haven’t been able to completely assess the noise impacts of the F-35 because the full fleet hasn’t yet arrived at Eglin.
He said at least so far, the effects have been mild.
“There’s been a lot of noise here, but it’s not that disagreeable and it doesn’t continue all day long because there are a limited number of flights,” he said.
But, he said, residents are still concerned about possible impact in the future as more planes arrive.
Col. Andrew Toth, commander of the 33rd Fighter Wing, said noise complaints seemed to be waning as the community has again grown accustomed to having fighter jets fly overhead. He said Eglin reported 40 noise complaints during the last three months and only 10 involved F-35s.
Toth was pleased to have the governor visit.
The 33rd Fighter Wing hosts the country’s first training school for all branches of the military to learn to fly the F-35. Tours of the facility are common, but Toth said he believes Shumlin is the first out-of-state governor to visit.
“I hope more governors will come here and see this first-hand,” Shumlin said.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Vermont was selected as the number one alternative base to host the new F-35 and would be the first Guard base to fly them.

A recent Environmental impact study done by the Air Force has been published and contains large amounts of information containing the F-35.

Opponents of the F-35 are using this study and twisting the facts to try to scare people into joining their cause, but it is not working. Their number one complaint is the noise, but that complaint has been already proven wrong

  1. The F-35 has a stronger engine then the current F-16 which allows it to take off without the use of afterburner
  2. The F-35 can climb to altitude quicker thus mitigating the noise at take-off
  3. The number of sorties flow will be reduced 

Another fact they try to skew is the number of new homes that fall within the 65 DNL zone and are now classified as "uninhabitable" by the FAA. They are trying to say that it will drag down the housing prices and those individuals will leave Vermont.

  1. 60-65 db is the average decibel rating for normal conversation.
  2. The increased houses that fall within the range are due to new development of the area since the last impact study was done.
  3. F-4's were extremely loud when they were based in Vermont and yet the Greater Burlington Area grew
  4. F-16's are loud, but still Burlington grew.
  5. If individuals were so concerned about the noise and the impact on the housing, then why does the population of the Greater Burlington Area still increase year after year?
Those who don't support the F-35 "demand" that our representatives hold a public hearing. Well guess what, they know that the majority of the people in Vermont support it and they are not going to give into "demands"

For a list of F-35 FAQ's go here