Similarly, the petition seriously overstates the economic
gains likely to be had from the F-35 basing. The Air Force study estimates these benefits as "none" under
its first scenario and "minor" under its second scenario.
What the economic argument fails to make clear is that such gains as there might be and what benefits as there are tend to be spread across the region, while the risks and costs tend to be concentrated in South Burlington and other proximate communities.
Rejecting Class Warfare is Truly Democratic
In concluding its letter, the city council confronted the arrogance and pressure tactics of supporters of the F-35, as well as their willingness to use coercion and fear where they don't have arguments or facts. The petition was misleadingly titled "Save the Guard," when its clear intent was "Sacrifice South Burlington," in response to which the council wrote:
Your petition stated, "the So Burlington Council's position is wrong." We do not believe that it is ever wrong to speak up for our residents and our community. The majority of the people who would be directly affected by the basing of the F-35A are of moderate to low income (the average Vermonter). These people are at a distinct disadvantage compared to those who support the F-35A. The F-35A proponents have far more financial and organizational resources than individuals or communities. If we do not speak up for the average resident, who will? This is what we have done, and what we will continue to do, even if it means going up against industrial, military, and political interests.
We support the Vermont National Guard, and are willing to work to continue their presence in our area. However, that does not mean we support basing the F-35A weapon system in South Burlington. We believe the best way to "Save the Guard" is to insure their operations are compatible with the surrounding community and region.
When the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation announced its petition in October, with an alleged 10,000-plus signatures, media coverage was as widespread as it was uncritical, and bereft of opposing points of view.
Vermont media have all but ignored the official response of the City Of South Burlington, except for the Burlington Free Press which reported the decision three days later, in a story by John Briggs, who emphasizes the noise issue at the expense of housing, health, safety or any other issue cited by the city.