Scientology attempts to clean up its balloon mess by clearing beach of syringes - 2020-03-09
Scientology made national headlines when it released hundreds of balloons at the opening of the Ventura ideal org last month. Neighbors and concerned citizens complained, and Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere claimed "The truth is that the City EXPRESSLY FORBID the Church of Scientology from doing this balloon release, and they ignored us and did it anyway. There will be a serious price to pay for this. The Church of Scientology broke our laws by littering and damaging our natural environment, and even worse, they ignored our demands not to do so. I have instructed our city attorney to review these actions and to hold the Church of Scientology liable to the fullest extent allowed by law."
As reported in the VC Reporter, Paul Jenkin, Ventura Campaign Coordinator with the Surfrider Foundation said "Plastic and Mylar can then be mistaken as food (such as jellyfish and other organisms) and is often consumed by marine life," and, "It should be illegal to release balloons, especially at this scale."
Perhaps it should be illegal, but it isn't against the law in California where the law bans only Mylar balloons and metallic ribbons that are known to damage power lines. Scientology representative Debbie Cregan wrote to the city that "In doing research, I found that the balloons that are prohibited in California are Mylar balloons, and we do not use those. We plan to use regular non-metallic balloons and I want to make sure that is okay and approved." She is correct, and the city approved the event permit, including the balloon launch. Mayor LaVere and city officials hastily passed an emergency ordinance banning all balloon releases shortly after Scientology's event.