All of them, those in power, and those who want the power, would pamper us, if we agreed to overlook their crookedness by wilfully restricting our activities.
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City of Clearwater Commission Hearing: The Church of Scientology
Day 4, introduction
CITY OF CLEARWATER COMMISSION HEARINGS RE:
THE CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
Clearwater City Hall
RIZMAN COURT REPORTING
Charles LeCher, Mayor
Lucille Williams, City Clerk
Michael J. Flynn, Esquire
Thomas Greene, Esquire
Thomas Hoffman, Esquire
May 8, 1982
Commissioners, staff, consultants, members of the audience, those at home, welcome to the fourth day of the hearings, the public hearings, with respect to Scientology. This will probably be our fourth and final day for the City Commission. We do hope that the Scientologists will take advantage of their time, starting Monday, and give their side of the issue and, also, their witnesses. We will be here Monday, anticipating their presence here.
Before we start, I would like to — I would like to start this meeting with a prayer given by Commissioner Jim Calderbank and then, rise, for the Pledge of Allegiance led by Police Chief, Sidney Klein.
Dear Father, we ask you for the strength and the ability to get through these very difficult times. We ask for your love and also your help in deciding what is the best for the people and the citizens of the City of Clearwater.
We hope that we follow your way, and that every day we add a new challenge and we can meet it with great minds and with conviction. Amen.
(Whereupon, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.)
Mr. Flynn, do you have any comments you'd like to make before we start these proceedings?
I do, Mayor.
Mayor LeCher and members of the Commission, I'd like to make some brief comments about some of the things I stated in my opening that are particularly applicable to the evidence today. And that — these comments, basically, relate to the purposes of these hearings which are not prosecutorial. We're not here to collect criminal evidence concerning the Church of Scientology in terms of trying to obtain indictments against individuals or of the organization. What we're here to do is to determine whether or not there've been deceptive sales and trade practices in connection with a number of different items of evidence that have been adduced already before this Commission and will continue to be presented today.
And those, basically, involve: deception concerning Mr. Hubbard's background upon which members have relied or would not have joined if they had known about it; confidentiality of auditing information; deception of purposes, goals, and actions of the organization; deception concerning the article or device warning in the case that I referred to in my opening, which we will be getting in today; and deception concerning legal documents and the legal status of individuals who are entering or leaving the church; the conditions at the Fort Harrison, both as they actually exist and as they are represented to individuals who are coming to the city; and some issues pertaining to the education of children.
With regard to all of those issues, it is important to keep in mind that, in order to prove that the — or to present sufficient evidence before this Commission that those practices have been taking place, the policies of the corporation have got to be examined and they have got to be examined over a long period of time to determine whether they are sustained policies, policies that not only appear in writing but in practice. And the only appropriate procedure for this Commission to follow to determine whether or not those practices — or those policies are actually practiced is to determine whether they're standardized and uniform. And the focus of that inquiry is whether or not they have been taking place over a. long period of time as applied to a different cross section of people by which this Commission can draw the inference that, in fact, they are uniform policies; they're uniformly practiced in many different locations, including the City of Clearwater; and that they do involve — excuse me — they do involve the deceptive practices about which this Commission is concerned.
Thank you, Mr. Flynn.
Do you have a witness?
Will you please be sworn in by the Clerk?
LaVENDA VAN SCHAICK, a witness herein, having first been duly sworn by a Clerk for the City of Clearwater, was examined and testified as follows:
What is your name, please?
MS. VAN SCHAICK:
LaVenda Van Schaick.
Miss Van Schaick, I'm going to ask you the same basic, five standard questions I will ask every witness that we will hear in these proceedings.
Number one: Are you appearing today to testify under oath voluntarily?
MS. VAN SCHAICK:
Yes, I am.
Have you been paid by anyone for your testimony, other than your expenses coming to Clearwater?
MS. VAN SCHAICK: