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Saturday, August 19, 2006

30 Seconds Over Burlington

A Saturday Afternoon Musing:

Who would have thought back in 1981 that electing a screaming socialist the mayor of Burlington, Vermont would lead to a crackdown on noise?

But it did.

The administration of Independent Mayor Bernie Sanders (1981-1989)  will be remembered for many things - for those who lived here at the time, the new noise ordinance will be one of them. The Sanderistas' crackdown on noise (out-of-control college partying, mostly), was one of the hallmarks of what the U.S. Conference of Mayors said in 1988 was America’s “most livable city."

So it was no surprise that more than a few people were taken aback by the "noise" from the Thunderbirds and other military aircraft that have been practicing and performing along the Burlington Waterfront over the last few days. A lot of people we ran into downtown told us they had no idea it was happening.

About 1:30 p.m. at the crowded Farmers Market in City Hall Park, we met one farmer who appeared pleased to see a reporter he could talk to.

State Rep. David Zuckerman is a Burlington Progressive who farms in the Intervale. He's a five-term lawmaker under the Golden Dome, but he only just turned 35 last Wednesday. Last winter he had an "exploratory committee" looking at a possible statewide bid for the U.S. House seat Bernie Sanders is finally vacating to move up to Senate. He eventually decided not to run and clear the track for Democrat Peter Welch, the guy with the dog. Zuckerman’s also the current chairman of the House Agriculture Committee. (A lot of delectable-looking musk melons were left over today.)

What’s been the public's reaction in Farmers Market Land to the aerial spectacular?

“There’s been a few people coming though who were excited and going down there to watch it,” said Dave the Prog. “Most folks who live in town have been dismayed at the noise. My own baby was crying a couple hours yesterday because of the noise and the vibrations from these planes.”

So, what’s the personal reaction of the farmer/politician?

“My reaction is that in a time of war like we have today, it’s appalling! To people in the war zones around the world, these sounds could mean instant death,” said Zuckerman, “and for us to take pleasure in looking at them is unfortunate. We really need to think about what these things mean.”

“Technologically, they’re fascinating," said Farmer Dave, as two more roared overhead. “But in a time in the world we’re in today, it is inappropriate to get excited watching war machines.”

But are you not proud of the Vermont Air Guard? It’s their 60th Anniversary!

“I support the individual work of the troops,” replied Rep. Zuckerman. "They do incredible things in our community. It’s just very unfortunate they have to be overseas right now.”

Ol’ Davey was in the zone.

“Unfortunately," he continued, "our Air and Army Guard have been misused by our federal government, and because of that, they now symbolize what’s going on overseas. To use these planes to get people involved in what is a misuse of our troops,” said the farmer/politician, “that I think is inappropriate.”

Agree with him or not, it’s always a pleasure to hear a politician take a clear stand, isn’t it?

The Vermont Air Guard Air Show may well have performed a service to the community the Vermont Air Guard was not anticipating. It's made a whole lot of folks, including this writer, stop and ponder the roaring jet noise. Inescapable. It's drowning out the TV set (PGA Golf Tournament from Medinah - Illinois, not Saudi Arabia). Just imagine what hearing this every day and every night would be like?

Especially if they were armed and from another country? And blowing up the Lake Champlain Ferry boats and the Water Treatment Plant and the Burlington Square Mall and the parts of town their intelligence forces had been told are hiding nationalist rebels?

Thank God it's our boys flying them, eh?

P.S. Burlington, Vermont is officially  an antiwar city.




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Comments

Cedric

"P.S. Burlington, Vermont is officially an antiwar city."

Uh... no, it's not.

"WHEREAS, the City Council cannot speak for all residents..."
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Burlington City Council: 1. HEREBY reaffirms the articles..."

I'm not for the war either, but this resolution doesn't purport to speak for the City as a whole, only the City Council. It's very clear about that.

one_vermonter

While we are making efforts to drive hybrid vehicles and burn bio-diesel, these planes are burning how much (taxpayer funded) fuel -- just for show ???

Krishna

I would like to thank the bike riders who rode throughout downtown today protesting the war and the celebration of the Thunderbird war machines.

Bikes not Bombs

SnarkyBoy

Oh yeah, and it would be even better to see a so-called alternative publication columnist take a stand, too. But, then again, that might interfere with you interjecting yourself into EVERY story.

How, for example, did your buddies Bernie, Leahy and Jeffords feel about the noise and the crowd reaction? God forbid you would ask them such a "tough question." Didn't you report earlier that "all" the politicians were going to be there? Well, instead of sucking up to them, why don't you ask a tough question once in a while? It would have, for example, been marvelous to hear how Sanders/Leahy/Dubie/Tarrant/Rainville would have responded to this inquiry: How do you feel about these jets 'terrorizing' the citizens and visitors of Burlington in a so-called time of war?

Hey Peter, can you say: RETIRE.

P.S. For a good time, go to SnarkyBoy.Org

Haik Bedrosian

Those freakin' planes are loud! They're scary enough without dropping bombs. I hope all those watching thought about what it would be like to be in Beirut or Baghdad. Would terms like "precision guided" make you feel better? Doubt it.

Future Tense

So, I biked through the Air show before the rains came Saturday afternoon. It was a bombs and bullets lovefest, as prime campaigning ground for any Republican as you are ever going to find inside the city limits of Byrlyngtyn.
So away up at the north end of the waterfront, in a little patch of field, stood Tarrant, and some short, weasel of an aide or intern or whatever, standing off by themselves, looking frankly, clueless, lonely and like a pair of fish out of water. A racecar roared at the screaming jets overhead. Crowds of people talked and ate and laughed and...ignored (or worse yet, didn't recognize) the candidate. And, for all the world, it looked like the Rich candidate couldn't buy himself a handshake.

JayVos

Peter, good post.

On Thursday last week we got a prelude to the loud noise when the jets were practising their assault on Burlington. I phoned the Mayor's office to complain (left a message on Bob's voicemail) and then I bothered the BPD, too. A nice officer phoned me back to say that the noise ordinance did not apply to the weekend event because the sponsors had a permit to do it. "I don't want to sound cold," he said, but there was not a thing BPD could do. He told me I couldn't even get the President of these United States to stop it if I wanted him to. I ranted a bit about traumatised children, pets and aged and infirm people who might not have a clue about what's going on. Of course, it's all about potential income to the city's businesses with the masses coming into town to see this extravaganza of military entertainment. Indeed money talks.

I missed the 'Bikes Not Bombs' ride yesterday - I got separated from my friend whom I was to acompany. But I ended up biking on my own. I wore my t shirt I'd purchased at the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit at the UU Church. The reactions to my shirt (imprint on the shirt: "War is costly" & "Peace is priceless") of some of the warmongers in attendance at yesterday's event were not heartwarming; some were were downright abusive. I just responded by smiling and making the peace sign.

Dave Zuckerman's comments were spot on.

Kevin Ryan

Looks like the vote is in. 40,000 people, attending the Air Show, loved the planes, while 15 or so protesting, were opposed.

rowvee

F16 = dead children.

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