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Groups wants to talk about Scientology

Title: Groups wants to talk about Scientology
Date: Thursday, 27 July 1989
Publisher: St. Petersburg Times (Florida)
Author: Curtis Krueger
Main source:

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CLEARWATER — A group of former Scientologists wants to speak to city commissioners about what they say is the "hypnotic and satanic content" of Scientology.

Former member Margery Wakefield wrote a letter to Mayor Rita Garvey saying she and a small group of former Scientologists would like to demonstrate various practices the organisation uses among followers.

Ms. Wakefield said she was prompted to make the suggestion because city commissioners next week are expected to consider a site plan for a $3.5-million building the organization plans at the Sandcastle Hotel, 200 N Osceola Ave.

Garvey said she thinks the discussion is needed.

"I still think Scientologists and their behavior are still an issue, and it's not a positive one for the city," Garvey said.

However, she said it probably would not affect her vote on the site plan. Commissioners interviewed Tuesday said their vote on the site plan probably would be strictly based on whether the plan conforms to the city's building and zoning codes.

Two commissioners, Bill Nunamaker and Don Winner, questioned whether the session was needed. Nunamaker said the commission already has heard criticism of the Scientologists.

Several commissioners said they first want to ask the city attorney whether it would be legal for them to listen to Ms. Wakefield. Ms. Wakefield settled a 1982 lawsuit she filed against the Church of Scientology, and one of the terms of the settlement is that she wouldn't comment on certain aspects of the organization.

But Ms. Wakefield says she never thought that provision was fair. She recently spoke on radio stations about the techniques used by Scientologists. Subsequently the organization asked a federal judge to jail her, fine her and make her repay $240,000 from an out-of-court settlement.

Scientology spokesman Bill Daugherty could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

City commissioners are scheduled to consider the site plan during a formal meeting Aug. 3. The matter also could come up at a commission work session Monday.