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173A.r.s Week in Review - 3/23/2003

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  • Rod Keller
    Mar 23, 2003
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      Week in Review Volume 7, Issue 50
      3/23/2003 by Rod Keller [rkeller@...]
      copyright 2003

      Alt.religion.scientology Week in Review summarizes the most significant
      postings from the Usenet group Alt.religion.scientology for the preceding
      week for the benefit of those who can't follow the group as closely as
      they'd like. Out of thousands of postings, I attempt to include news of
      significant events, new affidavits, court rulings, new contributors,
      whatever. I hope you find it useful. Like many readers of a.r.s, I have a
      kill file. So please take into consideration that I may not have seen some
      of the most significant postings.

      The articles in A.r.s Week in Review are brief summaries of articles
      posted to the newsgroup. They include message IDs for the original
      articles, and many have a URL to get more information. You may be able to
      find the original article, depending on how long your site stores articles
      in the newsgroup before expiring them.

      Free A.r.s Week in Review subscriptions are available. Subscriptions are
      also available on Yahoo. Email weekinreview-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or
      see http://groups.yahoo.com/group/weekinreview. PDA channel available at

      Week in Review is archived at:


      > Clearwater

      The St. Petersburg Times reported in articles on March 18th and 23rd that
      a group of Scientologists have purchased one of the large office buildings
      in downtown Clearwater, Florida.

      "A group of international investors who frequently visit the Church of
      Scientology's downtown religious retreat have purchased a nine-story
      office building one block away. Despite its proximity to the church, the
      building anchored by the AmSouth bank will not be leased or sold to the
      church, said Tom Wright, a spokesman for the investors. The white
      building, which overlooks Clearwater Harbor, sold for $8.2-million March

      "Its location and position as one of downtown's largest buildings have
      created a buzz about what the future holds. That buzz intensified as word
      spread that the new owners are Scientologists. The church has no plans to
      buy or lease any part of the building, said church spokesman Ben Shaw. 'I
      can assure you, the church has no interest in it,' he said. 'These are
      just businessmen, and from what I understand, very successful

      "On Monday, Assistant City Manager Ralph Stone said the city is anxious to
      hear what's in store for the AmSouth building. 'We certainly want to meet
      with them and see what their plans are,' he said of the new owners.
      'Because that's a key piece of downtown property.' Tenants said they were
      assured they wouldn't have to move.

      "Last week, Kevin Burke, one of the new owners, made the rounds at the
      AmSouth building to introduce himself. He told Martin Richardson of
      Corporate Sports Marketing Group Inc. to expect 'business as usual,'
      Richardson said. 'Our first thought was, 'Do they want all
      non-Scientologists out?' Richardson said. 'That doesn't seem to be the

      "The other investors are Roberto Santos, Elias Jaffif and Marcos Salame,
      according to corporate records. The investors bought the property from
      Decade Gulfcoast Office Partners, headed by Jeffrey Keierleber. Records
      from the county Property Appraiser's Office show Decade Gulfcoast bought
      the property in 1996 for $3.1-million."

      "Forget the nine-story AmSouth building, the real gem in the recent
      purchase of 400 Cleveland St. by a group of international investors
      appears to be the parking lot that came with it. On that paved lot, the
      investors tentatively plan to build a high-rise, said Lee Arnold, whose
      real estate firm helped broker the AmSouth purchase.

      "Arnold said he met two weeks ago with Elias Jaffif, one of the four
      investors, all of whom are Scientologists who noticed the property while
      visiting Clearwater for Scientology services. Arnold said Jaffif told him
      the investors are interested in developing some mix of uses in a
      high-rise: perhaps condos and hotel rooms or offices, atop a parking
      garage and street-level retail stores. Jaffif also seemed very interested
      in including a movie theater, Arnold said.

      "News of the prominent building's sale last week to a group of
      Scientologists resulted in a range of reactions. 'There are definitely
      different camps in town,' said city Commissioner Frank Hibbard. One camp,
      he said, had this reaction: 'Oh, no, they (Scientologists) are buying
      more.' The other camp thought it irrelevant that the buyers are
      Scientologists, he said, so long as they are committed to improving the
      downtown. 'I would just like to see this land stay on the tax rolls and be
      around for larger overall development,' Hibbard said.

      "Some downtown business owners said who bought the building, and what they
      may plan to do with it, is less important than the city's commitment to
      the downtown. 'To me, it (the purchase) doesn't mean anything,' said Terry
      Tsafatinos, who owns five commercial properties downtown, several of which
      he rents to Scientologists with small businesses. 'I don't think
      Scientologists, by themselves, can save the downtown.'

      "A lingering negative attitude about the Church of Scientology's large
      downtown presence is one big reason some people won't invest there, he
      said. 'That's why we suffer,' Tsafatinos said. 'People, they discriminate
      against each other. Some people are afraid of Scientologists for no reason
      at all. They have to stop that.'"

      The St. Petersburg Times reported on March 22nd that a candidate for Mayor
      of Clearwater was introduced to a group of Scientologists interested in
      her campaign.

      "Several weeks ago, political consultant Mary Repper told mayoral
      candidate Pam Iorio that several friends wanted to meet her. But the
      introduction came with a warning. Her friends included prominent members
      of the Church of Scientology, Repper said. 'They were interested in my
      candidacy,' Iorio said Friday, adding she doesn't ask supporters about
      their religious backgrounds. 'I viewed them as individuals who lived in
      Tampa and knew of my record and wanted to offer support. I truly treat all
      people the same and all people with respect.'

      "Years ago, Repper said, she would have never introduced a mayoral
      candidate to a group of Scientologists. The church was too much of an
      issue. Now, Repper said she has invited Hillsborough County commissioners,
      City Council members and other elected officials to meet Scientologists.
      'I work with a lot of elected officials who turn to the church,' Repper

      "Repper said the Scientologists who held the fundraiser for Iorio also
      helped her opponent, Frank Sanchez. Campaign finance records show the
      three Scientologists gave a total of $800 to Sanchez."

      Message-ID: <rPFda.18330$gU.773025@...>
      Message-ID: <6i_ea.18364$gU.782745@...>
      Message-ID: <3e471c14.0303230527.7f0e9ea3@...>


      > The Way to Happiness

      An email sent to Dutch Scientologists urged them to collect copies of The
      Way to Happiness by L. Ron Hubbard for shipment to Iraq.

      "I received the following order from Int management: 'Collect 10.000 Way
      to Happiness booklets from The Netherlands to send to Iraq.' The threat of
      war in Iraq increases by the hour. My father and brother are at this
      moment in Israel. They have sealed the houses, a gasmask lies next to
      their chair. Despite the reports there is much fear that Saddam Hussein
      will attack Israel with chemical weapons. The Org too has been blinded and

      "There are thousands of WTH booklets in Arabic printed and lying ready to
      be sent out in Copenhagen. The Netherlands has the quota of 10,000. One
      booklet can prevent a wrong decision and can trigger a decision to not
      commit a murder. See what you can do and mail or call me back. It's gotta
      be quick! We have no time to lose. This is a 'call to arms'!

      "Omri Paz,
      Head, Books Department
      Amsterdam Org"

      Message-ID: <vjfi7v8a7i2svsf8e5iir5v6abpsreto5a@...>


      > Taiwan

      Reuters reported on March 20th that the government of Taiwan has
      recognized Scientology as a religion.

      "'At this time of world peril, our recognition in Taiwan reflects a
      country where diversity is celebrated rather than politicized,' Rev. Heber
      C. Jentzsch, president of the Los Angeles-based Church of Scientology
      International, said, adding that Taiwan is the 100th government
      acknowledgment or recognition of Scientology internationally."

      Message-ID: <3e471c14.0303220604.5737551d@...>