Another F-35 opponent joins the debate - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Another F-35 opponent joins the debate

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A new anti-F-35 sticker seeks to change the argument against the fighter jet. You may have seen them slapped on telephone poles or other places around Chittenden County. A new black sticker with a strong message: "F the 35."

"We wanted to join the coalition in a way that hopefully brought new perspective to it," explained Albert Petrarca, who created the sticker. 

Petrarca and a group of four others came up with the design recently.  It shows a strikeout through the jet, a poison symbol on the wing, and the names Shumlin, Sanders, Weinberger, Leahy and Welch in the jet's exhaust. Petrarca says the message to leaders is to stop supporting the jet, not just in coming to Vermont, but in being produced altogether.

"What we are not for is a view of this country as one of perpetual endless war and that is what the F-35 is about," Petrarca said.

That's a broader message than the organized coalition Stop the F-35 has put out. Petrarca is not part of that group, which often takes the "not in my backyard" approach, criticizing the impact on the environment and on home values.

"I don't think it has a place in the discussion for Burlington," Nicole Citro said.

Citro has run the organization Green Ribbons for the F-35 since the debate began one year ago. She says the local focus shouldn't be on the bigger picture, but on supporting Vermonters in the guard.

"If you have a problem with military spending, that's a question to have with your delegates. This shouldn't be placed at the feet of the Vermont Air Guard," Citro explained.

Citro's group also has its share of stickers and other marketing items like hats and T-shirts. But she says those are all given out on request.

"That's not cool-- defacing public property. Be respectful," Citro said.

But Petrarca said he doesn't want to control the way his message is spread.

"We pass them out and we ask people not to put them up on people's personal property and to use discretion on where they stick them. After that we let free speech be the judgment of the sticker holder," Petrarca explained.

The anti F-35 stickers haven't been around too long, but Petrarca says he's already given out 200 and has plans to order more. In one year Citro has given out more than 10,000 stickers in support.

The decision on where to stage the planes is ultimately up to the Air Force and is expected to be made this fall.

Click here for more stories on the F-35.

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