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Learn To Live With It...
     State Boys Say Chilocco Is A Done Dea

NEWKIRK, May 11, 1989 - About 80 persons appeared at the Newkirk City Commission meeting Monday evening for an informational session on the Chilocco Indian School project. Present at the meeting were Mr. Howard Miles, designee of the Commissioner of Health, who presides over the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission; Mr. Leroy Bridges, public affairs specialist with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health; and Mr. William Mehojah, chairman of the Kaw Tribe, along with several members of the Chilocco Development Authority. Mr. Miles, Mr. Bridges, and Mr. Mehojah were at the meeting at the invitation of Mayor Garry Bilger.

Mr. Miles explained to the group the purpose of the Health Planning Commission, which is to oversee the growth of health services in the state so that they occur in an orderly fashion and along guidelines of an existing 4 year plan. He said the operators of the proposed Chilocco project have complied with the existing rules and regulations of the State of Oklahoma, and that they have been issued a Certificate of Need, that the statutory period of objection is over and that the certificate is not subject to recall, even in court.

The next step, Mr. Miles said, is for the Oklahoma Health Department to issue a license, which, in the case of alcohol and drug abuse facilities, concerns only the physical facilities. The buildings. Plans are presented to the State Health Department, which assigns an architect, who approves the plans. Then the work proceeds, and when finished, the State Health Department inspects the facility for compliance with the approved plans. If the facility is approved, it is licensed. The State Health Department license applies only to the physical facility, and has nothing to do with the program or staffing. That falls under the Department of Mental Health, which certifies the program and staffing, and is Mr. Bridges' department.

Mr. Bridges said that plans for the Chilocco project were submitted and will go through the regular process just like any other project in the state. He said that once the facility has been licensed by the State Health Department... when the facility has been approved... the State Mental health Department will send an inspection team to the site to approve the program, if it complies with the normally accepted standards for such facilities in the State of Oklahoma.

He said that according to documents submitted to his department by the operators, the staff would consist of "certified alcohol and drug counselors, certified drug counselors, medical doctors, and nurses... This is the kind of program that all of the people comply with before they are certified in the State of Oklahoma.

Concerning the patients, Mr. Bridges said "All of 'em will be referred from other states into here except the local Indian people who will be given a chance to have first choice on beds out there if they are not able to pay. The local Indian people. All the rest of them will be from other states. Nobody from Oklahoma except the Indian people."

Mr. Bridges pointed out that if the program and treatment proposed for the Chilocco center does not violate the laws of the State of Oklahoma, the state can not refuse to issue a Certification from the Mental Health Department.

He said he called Mr. John Wilson, of the Alcohol and Drug Authority of the State of California, who reported they "had no problems" with the organization. He presented several other instances of reference checking his department had made in regard to the matter, and reported that no negative information had been received.

Following the presentation by Mr. Bridges and Mr. Miles, there was a question and answer session.

In response to a question about prior notice, Mr. Miles pointed out that notice was published in the Newkirk Herald Journal in January of this year that the operators had applied for their Certificate of Need, well in advance of the hearing.

To a question concerning the unanimity of the decision to lease Chilocco, Miles said he couldn't answer, but that the documents his department received were in order. He said the Bureau of Indian Affairs had approved the lease contract, but that he didn't know if the decision by the Chilocco Development Authority had been unanimous or just by majority, and that he had no information concerning any internal problems of the CDA.

If the validity of the CDA's decision to lease Chilocco comes under question, then the matter would be in the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts, he said. One person suggested that the authority of a tribal chairman was in question due to an election dispute.

Another questioner was assured that no Indian Health funds would be used, that no money from any governmental agency would be used in establishing the center.

"They're a legitimate service, and they've received a legitimate hearing, and a legitimate authority to proceed." according to Mr. Miles, "If they do what they said they were gonna do, they'll be all right. And if they don't do it, there is a process that works that will usher them across the state line."

He added, "Let's just assume there is no such thing as Narconon, and all we re talking about is the Church of Scientology. What difference does it make?" If they do what they've applied for, and they do what they've been approved for, he said, then they have complied with state law.

"Now, if they start making it into something more than that, they start doing things that exceed their authority, if they violate the laws of the state in any manner than they have to answer for that."

"All we can go on is the history of what they've done, the record they've made in the United States and their statements they've made..."

Miles said the terms of the agreement between the operator and the CDA were none of the state's business. "The business arrangements... are not a function of our commission."

In response to the question of law enforcement and state regulation, Miles said, "Well, first of all let me say that there is control. The Chilocco Development Authority and Narconon both, have placed themselves under the jurisdiction of the State of Oklahoma for operation of a health care facility."

"They are not functioning as Indian country he said, "The county sheriff will have police jurisdiction there, State Highway Patrol will have jurisdiction there, State Bureau of Investigation will have jurisdiction there, the investigative staff of the State Department of Health... will have jurisdiction there. So it will not he without government controls."

They could have sought exclusion from state laws, and in light of court decisions recently, they could have gotten exclusion, he said, but instead, they voluntarily placed themselves under state jurisdiction.

Mr. Bridges responded to a question about payment for services at Chilocco. He said that all patients will be from out of state, except local Indians who do not have the ability to pay. "Nobody pays for it"

"They have provided 25% of the beds for the local Indian people, and nobody pays for it. They would be provided that opportunity."

A prison was a possibility at one time at Chilocco," one member of the audience said, "but the problem was jurisdiction. They couldn't waive jurisdiction then, so I don't see how the state can change jurisdiction now."

Dave Baldwin, a member of the CDA answered that the State of Oklahoma couldn't afford the $17 million to construct the prison, jurisdiction was not the problem.

One lady said she would have preferred the prison, "I know something about the Church of Scientology, I know a lady and her son is in it - and I know what happened to them," she said. "That's why I am so concerned." She received a round of applause.

Another in the audience asked if patients would be restricted to the Chilocco facility. Mr. Miles said State law prohibits restricting movement of residents. Mr. Bridges said there were already three treatment plants in Kay County, and saw no reason to be concerned about the freedom of movement that Chilocco patients would have.

"Chilocco - they are somewhat isolated, these are not prisoners." Bridges said they are just people like us who have alcohol or drug problems, who have insurance. He said they just want to come here for treatment and go back home.

Mr. Bridges pointed out the CDA members in the audience, Dave Baldwin, Cynthia Stoner, and Mr. Mehojah. He noted that Bill Grant, who was not at the meeting, had told him just last week what a wonderful program Chilocco was. Bridges asked Mr. Mehojah to confirm Grant's attitude, which he did.

"A lot of the workers out there will be local Indian people, they're gonna be trained and brought on." Bridges said. He suggested there was nothing to fear from them.

Miles responded to a radio reporter's question about the alleged connection between Narconon and the Church of Scientology: "the answer we received was that there was no direct relationship between the Church of Scientology and Narconon. That there were members of the Church of Scientology who had been involved in the creation of Narconon, but the two organizations are totally separate. We questioned whether or not the philosophy of L. Ron Hubbard would be used, because they were mentioned in the application. And it was pointed out that only 4 methods, not the philosophy, would be utilized. Those methods with the exception of sauna, are common to all alcohol and drug treatment procedures. The sauna, well we don't have any feel for it..."

He then referred to the lady who said she knew someone in the Church of Scientology, "I've shared the same experience and I think my reaction probably was very similar to hers." But that experience, he said, was not grounds for refusing permission to operate in the state.

Bridges told the radio reporter that counselors will be certified in Oklahoma "by a local certifying group that certifies all the alcohol and drug counselors."

Some of the members of the CDA told of being in a Narconon facility last week in downtown Los Angeles, and gave glowing reports of what they saw there. They told of people cured of addiction in only 10 weeks, and of a five year follow-up program.

Miles said that most Narconon facilities are out-patient clinics, and that the Los Angeles program is the only in-patient program in operation. He said the OHPC had checked with state people in several states while gathering information for the certificate of need hearing.

As an example of how the investigation works he told an anecdote about a nursing home operator who wished to locate in the state, but when investigation proved the man's previous operations had been closed by health officials in six states, he was refused a certificate. "He had no standing because his history was all negative."

"We try to check deep enough to try to determine something about the character of the applicant Miles added.

How many doctors, someone asked, and from where, and how often will the state check the facility? Bridges answered that most places like this contracted with local doctors. "Quite often," he responded to the query about inspection.

Miles added that the facility would be inspected at least 6 times a year, unannounced. He said the program meets the legal requirements of the state, and "that's the end of it"

Kaw Tribal Chairman Mehojah reviewed the history of Chilocco for the group, and said the CDA had been working to find a use for the land. He said they had tried to do what they felt best for the economic benefit of the Indian people, and to provide jobs. He said the contract they have entered into has a 5 year review clause, but that a corporation needs a long term lease in order to recoup their investment. He said the BIA had approved the contract as a sound document that would protect the Indians. He also told of his visit recently to the Los Angeles facility where he observed people undergoing treatment.

Following Mehojah's comments, Miles informed the group that if they had any reason to believe that the operators were not complying with state law that they should contact the State Attorney General, the Commissioner of Health, or the Commissioner of Mental Health.

Miles and Herald Journal Publisher Bob Lobsinger sparred a bit over an editorial, for which Lobsinger offered apology. Then they sparred again over references in a recent story. Miles suggested Lobsinger had misread the material, but changed his mind when Lobsinger produced the magazine and showed him the passage in question.

This segment of the meeting ended, and commissioners proceeded to other items on the agenda.

Editorial Comment By RWL - 11 May 1989

Well, now. Haven't I been put in my place.

I guess now I know better than to mess with big, important folks from LA.

Narconon, it turns out, is a wonderful program after all. They said so. And that, of course, is what AP reported last weekend, gutsy organization that they are.

Now, we already had enough of Narconon's own material to tell you what they would say about their program. Of course it's wonderful. What else would you expect them to say?

We thought you had a right to know what they weren't saying. And we found plenty they were staying quiet about.

There is no shame in not knowing the difference between an ugly duck and the goose that laid the golden egg. The shame is in not changing ones thinking when one finds out the difference.

Mr. Miles, from the Health Planning Commission is a likable individual in a tough spot. His head is not hooked to an E-meter after all. He simply has to live by somebody else's regulations. Mr. Bridges is a fine fellow, too, with a sincere, personal interest in trying to help the Indian people. But he's in the same situation. Which boils down to the fact that the state can do nothing about the situation because everything is quite legal.

Narconon says it is not connected in any way with the Church of Scientology. Fine. It was just started by Scientologists, and Scientologists run it. But that is a coincidence of nature...

Suppose that next week, Doc S. announces he is going to start a Birth Control Clinic that adheres to the methods of John Paul II. What are you to believe about his operation?

This deal is no different. A consistent history and long term reputation, documented in print doesn't change just because one refuses to read it or check it out. No matter how many times you "play it again, Sam," the record stays the same.

We'd all like the Chilocco project to be the grand and glorious establishment it's makers say it will be... helping humanity and providing economic assistance to the Indian people as well.
But I'm afraid if it looks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck, it's probably a duck.

Planned Newkirk Drug Clinic May Be World's Biggest

By Michael McNutt
Enid Bureau
May 18, 1989

NEWKIRK-Backers of a drug rehabilitation center scheduled to open later this year on the Chilocco Indian School grounds north of here say the facility has the potential to be the biggest of its kind in the world.

However, residents in this northern Oklahoma town eight miles from the Kansas border are concerned Narconon International is a front for the Church of Scientology, and, instead of rehabilitating alcohol and drug addicts, it will recruit new members and raise money for the controversial group.

The person overseeing renovation work at Chilocco for Narconon is identified as an "experienced purification rundown in charge" by the Church of Scientology's official newsletter.

"Trained Scientologists to staff huge Oklahoma facility," reads a headline in the February 1989 issue of "The Auditor," a copy of which was made available to "The Oklahoman." Narconon, the article states, gets Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's "technology applied broadly in the society."

Meanwhile, state officials who approved a certificate of need for the facility say it should not matter who operates the facility as long as they follow accepted practices and standards in the field.

Representatives of five Indian tribes who stand to earn $16 million over the next 25 years by leasing the Indian school campus to Narconon say they have visited Narconon's drug rehabilitation facility in Los Angeles and are satisfied the organization is legitimate.

Harold Miles, with the State Department of Health and a member of the Health Planning Commission which approved a certificate of need license for Narconon in January, said no one opposed the organization then and now it is too late to appeal the state decision.

Narconon still must get a license and be certified by the state, Miles said.

Unrest over Narconon developed after the Newkirk newspaper published two stories quoting various publications that Narconon was associated with the Church of Scientology, which often is referred to as more of a cult than a religion.

Betty Cook of Enid, with the Oklahoma Cult Awareness Network, said Narconon is a "front group" for Scientology.

And in the September 1981 issue of "Reader's Digest," then-senior editor Eugene H. Methvin called Narconon "Scientology's biggest social reform gimmick."

Miles said state officials could find no link between Narconon and the Church of Scientology and that California officials were satisfied with Narconon's 25-bed drug rehabilitation center in Los Angeles.

According to published reports, the joint Narconon-Chilocco Development Authority received $200,000 from the Association for Better Living & Education, an organization identified in "The Auditor" as part of Narconon.

Miles and Leroy Bridges, with the State Department of Mental Health, tried to assure about 100 people who jammed into a public hearing held here last week that the state would inspect regularly the facility once it opened.

Renovation of several buildings on 165 acres of land leased by Narconon is underway with the facility scheduled to open in August or September.

Once opened, the program will be veiwed by Mental Health Department workers for certification, Bridges said, and will be reviewed continuously at least six times a year.
Miles said Narconon is subject to punitive action if workers operate outside the law or its program outlined to the state.

"Narconon is a legitimate enterprise, proposing to do a legitimate service," he said. "If they do what they said they're going to do, they will be all right, and if they don't do it, there is a process at work that will usher them across the state line."

John Duff, president of Narconon, said the 23 year old agency is not directly connected with the Church of Scientology.

"It's a non-issue question," he said.

But Duff said the church is a supporter of Narconon and provides volunteers.
Hubbard, Duff said, once gave Narconon $75,000 because Narconon uses five of his methods-complete withdrawal, supplements, balanced diet, exercise and using a sauna.

Hubbard, a science fiction writer who started Scientology in 1953, died in 1986. Advertisements for his 1950 book, "Dianetics; The Modern Science of Mental Health," still can be seen on television.

At first, the Narconon facility at Chilocco will use five or six of the 80 buildings on the campus in developing a 75-bed facility.

Renovation costs are expected to cost at least $400,000, Duff said. About a dozen Indians have been hired to do the work and three Narconon staff members are at Chilocco.
Duff said 25 percent of those beds will be set aside for indigent Indians who suffer from chemical substance abuse.

Chilocco is being developed as a national program and most of its clients will be referred to the facility from Narconon offices throughout the country and will come from other states and Canada, Duff said.

Duff said he expects Narconon will employ a staff of about 35 and said he did not know if Edna Fulton, now serving as project director at Chilocco, will continue in that capacity.

However, "The Auditor" article stated that Tom Armstrong, identified by Cook as a Scientologist leader, will be in charge of the Chilocco project and that Fulton will be a member of the core staff.

Duff would not discuss the specifics of the contract with the five Indian tribes that make up the Chilocco Development Authority-Pawnee, Ponca, Otoe-Missouria, Kaw and Tonkawa-saying only the tribes would divide $16 million over the next 25 years with an option to renew the lease another 25 years.

Sounding OFF
Letters To The Editor - May 11, 1989

Narconon Official speaks Out...

To The Editor:

Our society today is faced with a battle against drugs that can literally destroy our future generations.

There are 500,000 or more people dealing drugs in the United States alone selling billions of dollars in drugs each year and our children are the customers.

Narconon International is in the forefront of the battle against drugs and is saving lives around the world through its' drug prevention and rehabilitation programs.

Over the last 23 years Narconon has successfully rehabilitated tens of thousands of drug addicts and has spoken to over 1/2 million students in schools, parents, teachers and professionals in the community through the Narconon drug education program.

In Spain an outside study was done that showed 69.2% of those that completed the Narconon program were successfully off drugs after 2 years. In Sweden an outside study found that 78.6% of those that finished the program were successfully off drugs after 2 years.

We have recently acquired a 25 year lease of the former Chilocco Indian Agricultural School from the Chilocco Development Authority made up of representatives from the Kaw, Otoe-Missouria, Pawnee, Ponca & Tonkawa Northern Oklahoman Tribes.

A national drug rehabilitation program is being set up at Chilocco with 75 beds and we are currently in the process of complying with the Oklahoma State Department of Health - fire, safety & health codes.

This facility represents a powerful tool against those that are pushing drugs and there will be those that will not want Narconon to succeed at Chilocco because they are for drugs and are on the other side in the battle against drugs.

A recent article in the Newkirk Herald Journal critical of Narconon and our efforts to stop drugs was simply a collection of old articles and opinions. If the writer of this article was to have done an article in 1933 about a Jewish project in Germany based on research in newspaper articles back then, what would have this article said? Put them in the oven" If his "research" consisted of paraphrasing articles about Native Americans written 100 years ago what would his article have said?

It is very simple. Narconon is a non-profit public benefit corporation with the job of saving lives and getting these former drug addicts back into society as productive drug-free members. This is our job and has been for the last 23 years. Our success is based on hard work and a drug rehabilitation program that was developed by L. Ron Hubbard, on of the most acclaimed and widely read authors of all time. The Board of Directors of Narconon International adopted this program because it is highly successful and has proven itself over the years. Only those that are in favor of a drug ridden society or those who are directly profiting from the drug racket would oppose such a program.

We look forward to the Narconon Chilocco New Life Center becomes a bright spot in society bringing new life to those addicted to drugs and it has been an honor to us to be able to work with the Kaw, Otoe-Missouria, Pawnee, Ponca, Tonkawa, the Oklahoma Indian Business Development Center and the Oklahoma Health Planning Commission.

We invite you to call or visit our facility once we are underway and as employment is available we will be notifying the local papers. If you have questions about Narconon I would love to hear from you. Please write: John S. Duff, President, Narconon International, 3540 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 300 Los Angeles, CA. 90010.

Respectfully Yours,

/s/ John S. Duff
Narconon International

Editorial Comment By RWL - 11 May 1989

We're Pretty 'Clear' On That!

We have this terrible urge to refer to the writer of the above letter as "Duffy Duck", but we won't, simply because we feel a certain sympathy for individuals so taken in by the ruse of Scientology. Beyond that, personality is not at issue, no more than is qualified and appropriate drug rehabilitation, or freedom of religion.

What is at issue is the long and spurious reputation of Scientology. Documented in print since the imagination of the first "Thetan.".

"Old articles," he calls them, without refuting their accuracy. As old as Scientology itself. And as new, too. Scientology's own magazine, The Auditor, in it's February 1989 edition further confirms our opinion. "Trained Scientologists to staff huge Oklahoma facility," brags the headline of one article. And yet with straight face they tell us there is no connection.
Americans will tolerate practically anything one chooses to believe in the name of religion, if they are convinced it is a religion to begin with. Scientology is science fiction. Unlike religion, it was science fiction at its conception, albeit good enough science fiction that the naive amongst us began to believe it was real science.

Only when the scientific community in mass began to debunk it did it decide to become a "religion." And that, my friends, is why it has been so poorly tolerated in spite of the legal manipulations it has undertaken to make it look like religion. It remains what it has always been. Science fiction. Accepting the occasional abuse of religious freedom is still preferable to limiting religious freedom.

Scientology is a successful business enterprise. It accepts people who are, or think they are, in trouble. Often it even relieves them of their real or perceived problems as it allows them to brainwash themselves down the unending path of L Ron's "unique methods and technology."

Narconon is simply one of many methods Scientology uses to get their "technology applied broadly in the society," as The Auditor gently puts it. Hubbard said it more bluntly in a 1960 Communications Order to his followers: "It is a maxim that unless you have bodies in the shop you get no income. So on any pretext get the bodies in the place..." If the "shop" can offer a service, like drug detox, along the way that will be paid for by insurance or some other third party, then so much the better.

We have little doubt that the Narconon drug detoxification methods work as well as any other dry-out clinic. We find it interesting that L. Ron Hubbard claims patent to food, exercise, and vitamin therapy. We'll concede sauna baths may be his own idea. And we will give him full credit for the "counseling and training" sessions that go along with it.

What is unique about Hubbard's methods is not that he feeds his patients, or exercises them, or gives them vitamins. The "unique" part is that his counseling and training methods dissipate dependency on drugs while creating dependency on Scientology. And maybe that's not all bad, if only they were straight forward enough to admit it.

It would be interesting to know how many Spanish Narconon patients were Scientologists after their treatment. That would tell us an awful lot more than cure rates. We suspect the number is about 69.2%.

These are some of our concerns about Narconon and Scientology. But in a fashion true to their historical reputation and background, they have failed to address them, and instead resort to calling our citizens drug racketeers "in favor of a drug ridden society..." for questioning their motives.

It's a duffy... I mean daffy world they want us to live in, we're pretty "clear" on that.

Renovation Underway At Chilocco Indian School

08 June 1989

NEWKIRK, - Renovations have begun on buildings at nearby Chilocco Indian School, according to Simon Hogarth, a representative of the Association for Better Living and Education (ABLE) which owns Narconon, the proposed drug rehabilitation center to be located on the grounds.

A press release issued Monday by Hogarth said that Narconon has obtained a Certificate of Need from the Oklahoma State Planning Commission to establish a 75-bed facility at Chilocco for drug and alcohol abusers.

The center is currently employing 25 people and now has one local volunteer. Edna Fulton, the Executive Director, is from Los Angeles, California. Mr. and Mrs. Jamie Culleeney recently arrived with their two children from Glendale, California. Mr. Jim Davidson is from Bristol, Virginia. The volunteer was not named.

Sixteen local residents are employed on the renovation crew and five local residents are working in the office and are beginning on the job training, according to the release.

"We have been working closely with the Native American Leaders at the Chilocco Development Authority," Miss Fulton said, "and look forward to bringing back life to the Chilocco facility."

According to it's promoters, "The Narconon program, which has proven successful throughout the world, utilizes the drug rehabilitation technology developed by L. Ron Hubbard, philosopher, humanitarian and one of the most acclaimed and widely read authors of all time."

The release continues, "Narconon's program is a completely drug-free method of helping abusers to kick the habit. It combines a regimen of vitamins with the use of sauna and exercise, which enables an individual to rid his body of toxic drug residues. The program not only safely gets a person off drugs, but eliminates the adverse effects of drugs that continue long after such substances have been ingested."

Narconon's release continues, "The Chilocco program will service people from all over the United States who wish to free themselves from the debilitating consequences of drug and alcohol abuse."

Miss Fulton predicts the renovations will cost in excess of $1 million and the program plans to provide more jobs for local residents. Visitors are invited to tour the grounds during daylight hours, seven days a week. Opening of the facility is now scheduled for September, according to Hogarth.


Changing Strategy -
Scientology Now Steps Right Up To Controversy

By Stephen Koff
St. Petersburg Times
Reprinted 13 July 1989

CLEARWATER, FLA. Dec. 23, 1988 - After years of sparring with the townsfolk and veiling itself in secrecy, the Church of Scientology has succeeded in turning Clearwater into its spiritual mecca. Scientologists quietly run teen nightclubs, schools, day-care centers, management consulting firms and other businesses, records and interviews show.

Now the strategy of the organization, longtime observers say, is to confront controversy, gain converts and make money - lots of it. Scientology's Clearwater operation brings in $1.5-million to $2-million a week, say church watchers who include Clearwater police, former Scientology security chief Richard Azneran and former Scientologist-turned-author Bent Corydon.

Fee schedules show how the dollars add up: 12 1/2 hours of basic Scientology counseling in Clearwater costs $8,000, not counting meals and accommodations.

Scientology brochures boast that Clearwater has the "largest community of Scientologists in the world," with more than 1,000 Scientologists served by "several hundred" staff members. Authorities cannot confirm those numbers, but the claim itself is a dramatic change from the secretive Scientology of 1975, when the organization used an assumed name - United Churches of Florida, Inc. - to buy the Fort Harrison Hotel for $2.3-million in cash. Armed guards ringed the downtown hotel, and for weeks the church would not reveal its true identity.

The stealthy move was followed by deep suspicion between the Scientologists and community leaders. Church documents seized by the FBI later would show that Scientologists tried to frame then-Mayor Gabe Cazares with a hit-and-run accident, and Bette Orsini, a St. Petersburg Times investigative reporter, was targeted as a Scientology "enemy" and harassed.

But some things have changed in 13 years - among them the way Scientology presents itself. "It's obvious that there's some effort to be less visible, in terms of either making attacks on people or in terms of making more of a splash around here," said Jim Sheeler, Clearwater's community development manager.

"They want to be part of the community," said C. David Carley, Jr., chairman of the Citizens Bank of Clearwater, "And you cannot blame them for that."

Scientology officials, most notably spokesman Richard Haworth, are frequent guests on local radio shows and a prime=-time staple of Vision Cable's community access channel. "They have a public relations campaign to present themselves as the person you work with, your friend, or the person next door," said Randy Kabrich, programing director for Q105-FM, a station on which Haworth has denounced Scientology's detractors. "And I am not aware of any other religious group, cult or non-cult, that has gone to that extent."

Scientology officials and their lawyers would not comment for this series of articles. Asked again for comment (after last week's story first appeared) chief Scientology counsel Earle C. Cooley of Boston said, "The article that appeared... is the most vicious and malicious perversion of the truth that I have seen in 32 years."

Suprised by sponsors

Sometimes, it's hard to tell when the Scientologists are involved in an event or promotion. Some visitors say they were invited to Clearwater by innocuous-sounding groups that turned out to be promoting Scientology principles or programs.

For instance, leaders of American Indian tribes were brought to the Fort Harrison in February (1988) by the Concerned Businessmen's Association of America. Their invitations mentioned programs for drug and alcohol abuse prevention, but said nothing about Scientology, according to Indians who received them.

The Concerned Businessmen's Association, based in Glendale, Calif., is a group of Scientologists.

"I thought it was going to be a group of concerned businessmen who had money to help Indian tribes," said Raymond Reyes, then executive director of the Coeur d'Alene tribe in Idaho and now director of Indian education at Gonzaga University. "I thought it was going to be a group of fundees who could meet funding sources, Instead, it was all this L. Ron Hubbard stuff."

The Concerned Businessmen's Association did not respond to repeated calls and a letter from the St. Petersburg Times.

U.S. Rep. Floyd Flake, D-N.J., accepted a trip to attend a black history and arts seminar at the Fort Harrison last year. He said he thought the sponsoring group was called Celebration of the Arts.

"We did not know it was Scientology," said Flake's press aide Edwin Reed, who also attended. "We didn't really realize that, but with L.Ron Hubbard's (pictures) all around, (we thought), "What in the heck is this?""

Taxes and public relations

That's a question many Clearwater residents are still trying to answer, despite Scientologists' attempts to fade into the mainstream. Former mayor Cazares said, "Just the fact that they're quiet doesn't mean that they're not active. The nature of the beast has not changed."

Longtime residents "still believe that something is going on," said current Mayor Rita Garvey, "The general public is still leery and would like to see them out of town, which of course is not a reality, but the public's still concerned."

So are Pinellas government officials. The City of Clearwater and the church are in the midst of a five-year legal fight over an ordinance that, if enforced, would require Scientology to disclose extensive information about its finances. The church says the law is unconstitutional.

Then there's Scientology's tax bill; with more than $21-million in assessed property, the Church of Scientology is the biggest property owner in downtown Clearwater. Since moving to Clearwater, the organization has assembled 12 properties on nine parcels of land. It hasn't paid property taxes since 1981, and its tax bill to date stands at $2.84-million, said O. Sanford Jasper, Pinellas tax collector.

Pinellas Property Appraiser Ron Schultz argues that Scientology should have to pay the taxes. To that end, County Attorney Susan Churuti said in court documents that the church's Clearwater operation is merely an "alter ego: of California-run Scientology operations - which, according to a federal judge, helped enrich the group's founder, L.Ron Hubbard. The Pinellas tax battle may be settled in court in 1989, said Circuit Judge Howard P. Rives. Several years ago, the church offered to pay its tax bill in a display of public spirit - as long as the money was considered a "gift" rather than a tax. But Schultz said he was in office to assess taxes, not gifts. He declined the offer, and insisted on calling taxes just that: taxes.

Community influence

While the church presses its tax case in the courts, it continues to extend its influence in the community and court public opinion. The church's own publications reinforce the theme of a community-minded public relations strategy.

The scientology magazine Impact recently recycled this message from group founder Hubbard: Hit for the key sports by whatever means, the head of the women's club, the personnel director of a company, the leader of a good orchestra, the president's secretary, the advisor of the trade union - any key spot. Make a good sound living at it, drive a good car, but get your job done, handle and better the people you meet and bring about a better earth."

Scientologists hold key spots in a variety of ventures around Pinellas, and several private businesses in Clearwater - Snow Software, Arlene's Childcare and Making Magic, Inc., a distributor of velvet art, among them - are run by church members, according to a Scientology directory. These businesses' owners would not talk to a reporter, saying their religion has no public relevance.

Three Clearwater enterprises, however, have stronger ties to the church: True School, Jefferson Academy and Singer Consultants.

True School, at 1831 Drew St., and Jefferson Academy, 1740 N. Highland Ave., are private "Hubbard Method" schools that use an approach developed by Scientology's founder.

Vivian Godfrey, one of two teachers at Jefferson, said that "Hubbard educational technology deals only with education ... The school has absolutely no connection with the Church of Scientology."

Ms. Godfrey and the other teacher, Sandy Mesmer, are listed as "participating members of the Church of Scientology" in Who's Here?, a directory of church members around Tampa Bay.

As for True School, an advertisement in Who's Here? lists "child auditing" among the school's programs. Auditing, a form of counseling, is the basis of Scientology practice. True School officials did not respond to a reporter's requests for an interview.

Singer Consultants, 1001 S. Myrtle Ave., is a management consulting firm catering to chiropractors. Like California-based Sterling Management Consultants (dentists) and Uptrends of New Hampshire (computer professionals), Singer is licensed by Scientology to teach Hubbard "management technology." Marketing, billing and staff development are emphasized and clients say Scientology is touted as a self-improvement option.

Singer managers did not return a reporter's calls, but last year said they don't recruit for the church. However, a recent Singer advertisement in a directory of Scientologists said that "more people have been moved onto and up the Bridge" - a term referring to fulfilling Scientology's goals - "by this group than any other in history, and this is just the beginning."

Elsewhere around Clearwater:

Muriel McKay, once a Scientology public affairs official, serves on the executive committee of the Pinellas County Republican Party and represents a Clearwater voting precinct.

"She conducts herself admirably," said Edrie Kennedy, the GOP's parliamentarian. "She is officious, she is not pushy, she is a really good member." Ms. McKay did not respond to several telephone messages from a reporter seeking her comment.

The teen nightclubs Off Limits, in Clearwater and Brandon, are owned and operated by a partnership of at least two Scientologists. Off Limits serves no alcohol and "provides a safe place for kids to have fun," said part owner LaVonna Applebaum.

County licenses and state corporate records show that the partnership that owns the clubs is named Tone 40 Limited. "Tone 40" is a term distinctive to Scientology: it is the ultimate level on Scientology's "tone scale" of existence, which runs from 0.1, for dying, to 40, for "serenity of beingness," according to the Dianetics and Scientology Technical Dictionary.

"The church has absolutely no connection with the business, just as the Catholic Church has no connection with businesses owned by members of that church," said Ray Cassano, listed on state records as the sole director of Tone 40 Limited.

Richie Stone, 18, is a former bouncer at the Clearwater club, 14100 U.S. 19 S. He said Ms. Applebaum used to tell employees, "Why don't you all go to the classes with us? It's good for your attitudes. It's good for your tempers."

Ms. Applebaum said, "Quite frankly, if I can find a way to help somebody, I try to help - if they ask for it. If they did not ask for help, I would not offer it."

Stone said he did not seek that advice.

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