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Old 09-27-2013, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,055,147 times
Reputation: 925

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I think the letters of support helped with the decision to this point. Depending on what you read, all the numbers were very heavy in favor of the F-35's. Just averaging all the numbers together, there were about 10,000 people in support and less than 1000 people in opposition. The big opposition websites have less than less than 1000 followers each. The two big ones are at about 500 and 750 followers. Part of this could be that the media made more out of the story than it really was?
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Old 12-05-2013, 12:42 AM
 
Location: Burlington, VT
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It's official, the F35 is coming to Burlington. Money wins. Looks like I left the neighborhood at the right time.
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Old 12-05-2013, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,055,147 times
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I think money had little to do with the decision. The major reasons were the support for the aircraft in the area and the fact that there would be little air support in the Northeastern US once the current aircraft are phased out.
In comparison to the people who opposed the F-35, the amount of support was by far greater. I don't recall the exact numbers, but there were about three to four times more letters of support for the aircraft than those that opposed the aircraft.
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Old 12-05-2013, 05:16 PM
 
41 posts, read 73,174 times
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Money did influence this decision. $25,000 of outside money spent in South Burlington's City Council elections last spring (including significant violations of campaign finance law being investigated by the Attorney General) in order to buy a pro-F35 council, when the most that had ever been spent before was $1,500-$2,000. On the other hand, according to the Boston Globe, Ben Cohen (founder of Ben & Jerry's), has been helping pay for some of the opposition & some of their lawsuits. I'd love to see a direct breakdown of exactly how much was spent by each side, and who contributed what. I still believe that the Stop the F-35 group & Nicole Citro's Essex Junction group; the Chamber of Commerce; the Greater Burlington Industrial Corporation, etc. should all have to disclose exactly how much was spent & who gave what. The Burlington Free Press and the local television networks should call on all of the involved groups and individuals for full disclosure.

As for support for the fighter jet, the Air Force discounted almost 10,000 letters of support since they were all identical, pre-paid Chamber of Commerce-style post-cards that had inaccurate and misleading information on it contradictory to the Air Force's own info (i.e., postcards claimed the F-35 is same noise as F-16, when Air Force itself says it's 3 to 4 times louder). I believe there were, however, other letters of support beyond this. Most of the anti-F-35 letters were individual letters from the grass-roots; not pre-paid by business lobbying groups. But, again, how many people are actually in favor vs opposed is hard to tell when there has been zero financial disclosure by those involved on either side.

Last edited by URob; 12-05-2013 at 05:35 PM..
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Old 12-09-2013, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Winter Springs, FL
1,789 posts, read 4,055,147 times
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Money that was spent on both sides as far as campaigning for or against the jet didn't influence the individuals in the community who supported or opposed the plane. I also highly doubt the city council vote would have mattered much either way they voted. Winooski opposed the plane and it didn't matter. The air force made the decision based on the infrastructure of the base as well as where in the country they needed air support as well as surrounding support bases in Mass and NY. A jet located in Florida will do little to nothing in protecting the Northeast when you take prep time before flight into consideration. There was without question more support from private citizens than those that opposed. The argument that this was a favor for Leahy is also hard to prove. I'm not saying people need to have served in the military to understand the decision, but you can't leave a portion of the country unprotected for even a short amount of time. 9/11 did not happen that long ago for us to forget how important a solid air defense is.
Any wrong doing on both sides is unacceptable and if there are guilty parties, they deserve legal action. We also need to realize that just because a cause is supported by grassroots does not mean it's always on the up and up and just because business supports a cause, does not mean it's dishonest. They both can be on either side of the fence.
The Free Press may have a source and the numbers from the Air Force. Numbers were released in the late summer on both sides. I don't recall the numbers, but the opposition was not even close to those that favored the F-35. I believe those in support had tens of thousands in support and the opposition was less than ten thousand. VPR stated that less than 1500 wrote letters of opposition to the USAF. If it was based on opinion, the story writes itself.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:19 PM
 
41 posts, read 73,174 times
Reputation: 68
This answers some of the questions, although Ernie Pomerleau's refusal to come clean does not look good.

Plane and Not So Simple: Who Spent How Much Arguing For and Against the F-35? | Seven Days
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