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City won't proclaim 'Dianetics Month'

Title: City won't proclaim 'Dianetics Month'
Date: Thursday, 12 April 1984
Publisher: Clearwater Sun (Florida)
Author: Jeff Mangum
Main source: link (104 KiB)

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Clearwater City Manager Anthony Shoemaker has said thanks, but no thanks to a Church of Scientology request to declare May "Dianetics Month" in honor of sect founder L. Ron Hubbard.

"I am most appreciative of your letter concerning Mr. L. Ron Hubbard and your request that the city honor Mr. Hubbard with Dianetics Month," Shoemaker wrote this week to Pamela Schwartz of the Los Angeles-based "L. Ron Hubbard Office of Public Relations."

"I must, however, respectfully decline on behalf of the city of Clearwater since it has been proven through a series of public hearings held before the Clearwater City Commission that the plaudits to which you allude are totally false."

Submitted with the request was a proclamation issued Jan. 19 by the city of Avalon, a resort community on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of Southern California.

The proclamation cited "millions of people" who were "helped to lead better lives" through Dianetics and Hubbard's "writings in the fields of drug rehabilitation, education, art and business management. ..."

[Picture / Caption: L. RON HUBBARD]

Hubbard, who has not been seen publicly since 1979, wrote "Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health" in 1950. The book formed the basis for the counseling and courses offered by the sect, which was founded in 1954.

The Church of Scientology moved its international retreat headquarters to Clearwater in 1975, triggering an ongoing controversy.

"The situation in Clearwater is not indicative of the sentiment across the country," Ms. Schwartz said Wednesday.

She said she saw nothing extraordinary about asking Clearwater to honor Hubbard.

"He has many friends across the United States in various positions of authority," Ms. Schwartz said.

Numerous cities were contacted by the Los Angeles office in conjunction with Hubbard's 73rd birthday March 13, she said.

An Avalon City Council member said Wednesday her city's proclamation stemmed from the sect's gift of a bound copy of Hubbard's work honoring the 70th anniversary of the town library.

[?] he thought it was a super deal," Councilwoman Carol Rapson recalled. "I was kind of appalled, but we were kind of in a box."

Avalon's mayor was unavailable for comment.

Clearwater sect spokesman Richard Haworth referred to Shoemaker's objection as being based on "Flynnisms," material introduced by Boston attorney Michael Flynn during May 1982 City Commission hearings into Scientology activities.

Former Scientologists testified about abuse and harassment at the hands of the sect. After the hearings, the city adopted a charitable-soliciation ordinance aimed, in part, at the sect. The measure was struck down last month as unconstitutional.