Scientology is No. 1 with No. 2! Or, how the Church of David Miscavige stinks up Clearwater - 2017-04-15
We're getting very excited about Thursday's city council vote in Clearwater, Florida which may be that town's last opportunity to rescue its downtown from becoming Scientology's fortress against the outside world.
The council will be voting on whether to purchase a 1.4-acre parcel for $4.25 million that lies between City Hall and a couple of important Scientology landmarks, including the Fort Harrison Hotel, the centerpiece of Scientology's "Flag Land Base." The city wants the parcel to help build tourism and pedestrian traffic downtown. The last thing Scientology wants are outsiders near its facilities, and church leader David Miscavige has offered $15 million for the parcel if the city will vote against buying it.
One of the ways that Scientology tries to sway locals (and it appears to be working, judging by our conversation with one local business owner, Leif Oskarsson), is by claiming that, against all visual evidence to the contrary, the church is actually a boon to the local economy and the tax-exempt organization still somehow pays more property taxes than anyone.