"My first thought was, "Oh good. We have three people who know nothing about noise going somewhere to not measure noise and spend the taxpayers' money doing it".' [Shumlin] is going to be standing up there with a large group of people who approve of this project. Nobody who's opposed to this project is invited. Nobody who can actually evaluate the quality of that noise has been invited."
While the Industrial Corporation has said it would pay the travel costs of about $23,000, none of the officials have yet said they would return a pro-rated part of their salaries, and any involvement of the Vermont National Guard or the Air Force would mean further expenditures of tax dollars on a one-sided travelling show.
Exploring the one-dimensional nature of the Florida contingent in Seven Days, Paul Heinz talked to the head of the Industrial Corporation, Frank Ciofffi, himself an ardent supporter of the F-35 who organized a misleading petition drive aimed at coercing the South Burlington City Council into backing down on facts he couldn't disprove. Asked about the make-up of his air show audience, Cioffi explained the deliberate omissions this way:
"Basically everyone on the South Burlington City Council has their mind made up one way or the other".I didn't invite them because their minds are made up already. They've already staked out their position and their position is their position."
Contingent's Pre-Trip Bias Goes Unexplained
Cioffi had no explanation why the trip includes so many people on record in favor of the F-35 -- not only Shumlin and Weinberger, but National Guard Brig. Gen. Ernie Cray and Burlington real estate multi-millionaire Ernie Pomerleau. The only member of the delegation who appears possibly outside the military-industrial complex is Winooski mayor O'Brien, whose city council passed a temporizing resolution several month ago, seeking "more information," so it makes sense to head south with people who can offer both "information" and future campaign support.
When Heinz asked Col. Greco about her exclusion from the info-gathering expedition, she responded:
"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". 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."
Bad faith permeates this dog-and-pony exercise, leaving the governor and other elected officials apparently thinking the public is stupid enough to accept a pointless "investigation" that is structurally anti-democratic and without intellectual integrity. On the other hand, that's not really new news.