Blog: Clearwater on the Brink - 2017-03-13

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F376.png Clearwater on the Brink March 13, 2017, Mike Rinder, Something Can Be Done About It

A couple of recent articles in the Tampa Bay Times: Scientology leader to visit Clearwater officials a week before vote on property purchase and Dynamic of City Council meetings with Scientology leader a rarity, and an analysis of the property situation in Clearwater yesterday on Tony Ortega's blog make for interesting reading.

I cannot help but draw parallels between what is happening with downtown Clearwater and David Miscavige's history as the supreme leader of scientology.

Miscavige has long prided himself in his ability to "get things done" that others believed impossible. He began building his mystique when he removed all competitors to his dictatorship after the untimely death of L. Ron Hubbard. Though he was NOT the anointed successor to Hubbard, he assumed power and ruthlessly got rid of anyone he saw as a potential threat to his throne. He then cemented his undisputed position with the 1993 IRS ruling that scientology is tax exempt and money given to its organizations is deductible as a charitable donation despite a US Supreme Court ruling to the contrary. In the wake of Lisa McPherson's death he moved to Clearwater to direct the defense of scientology against charges brought by the States Attorney. Miscavige personally met with Bernie McCabe and the lawyer for County Medical Examiner Joan Wood and successfully convinced them to drop the criminal charges against the church. At that time, he wooed City Attorney Pam Aiken and City Manager Mike Roberto (who resigned amidst scandal in mid 2000, replaced by Bill Horne who became the new pet target of Miscavige's affections). He plays the long game, and in person can be charming and solicitous. But only as long as he thinks you are moving in accordance with his plans.