We have an interesting document for you today. It’s the response from Frederick County, Maryland, to Scientology’s appeal of a zoning decision that is preventing its drug rehab network, Narconon, from building a boutique rehab center with 20 beds in a fishing camp known as Trout Run.
Quick recap: We’ve been reporting that Scientology leader David Miscavige has responded to Narconon’s ongoing legal problems by relaunching the network, which includes opening up a new set of smaller rehab centers that seem to be more about public relations than about solving the scourge of illegal drug use. He’s rapidly opened a number of new centers in places like Mexico, Denmark, and California. But Miscavige has been stopped in other locations where local residents have fought back in zoning fights — in Australia, Canada, and in Maryland.
The Maryland situation is particularly odd. Trout Run is an old fishing camp that stood in for Camp David for some scenes in The West Wing. It’s not zoned for a rehab center. But Scientology learned that if Trout Run could be designated as a historic place by Frederick County, a drug rehab “group home” would then be allowed to operate on it. So Scientology bought the parcel through one of its subsidiaries — Social Betterment Properties International (SBPI) — and then set out to convince the officials of Frederick County that its fish camp was a gem of historic significance.
Despite lining up various local experts and county boards to go along with the maneuver, in June the County Council shot down SBPI’s proposal with a 6-1 vote.
But David Miscavige does not give up so easily. So Scientology filed a legal appeal last month.
Scientology’s appeal can be summarized pretty quickly. It claims that despite its efforts to line up various locals who agreed that Trout Run was historic, the County Council itself, swayed by religious bigots who didn’t want to see Scientology move in, went against their own experts and made up false excuses for their 6-1 vote against naming Trout Run historic.
Now, county attorney John Mathias answers, and the first thing he notes is that it was Scientology that made the genius decision to spend $4.85 million on a parcel of land with the intention of using it for a purpose it wasn’t zoned for. When Scientology attempted its cute end-around past local laws, it assumed all the risk.
And as the county attorney explains, from the very beginning, at least one council member objected to the idea that Trout Run should really be considered historic. Mathias also points out that it was one of SBPI’s own attorneys who first mentioned Narconon to the Council, and not the other way around.
Ultimately, however, the Council had to make up its own mind, and it really wasn’t beholden to what other county bodies might have found, Mathias notes.
The decision whether to add the property to the Frederick County Register was within the sole discretion of the Council. The applicant (Petitioner) not only had the burden of production — to produce sufficient evidence demonstrating that the property met the criteria to be included in the Register of Historic Places, Petitioner also had the burden of persuasion — to persuade each Councilmember that its property should be added to the Frederick County Register of Historic Places. If Councilmembers were not fully persuaded to take the affirmative action to approve Petitioner’s request, they were free to decline to take action — which is exactly what occurred.
Scientology just didn’t prove its case, he explains.
Petitioner erroneously asserts that the County Council was obligated to approve its application to be added to the Frederick County Register of Historic Places, simply because it put forth some testimony and documents containing self-serving assertions that the property contains what some individuals viewed as “historic” structures.
As Mathias points out, other individuals didn’t agree with that assessment at all, including locals who asserted that the structures at Trout Run had all been built after 1945, and that there was nothing particularly historic about a fishing camp.
There’s more to the argument, of course, and we look forward to seeing what you find interesting about the document. Let us hear about it in the comments.
Babywatch, day nine: Lisa McPherson in Room 174
On Monday, November 27, 1995, David Houghton, the soon-to-be licensed Sea Org dentist, made another visit in the late afternoon to Room 174 to check up on Lisa McPherson.
This time, his impression was that she was flushed, like she’d been very active. She was still talking incoherently, non-stop. And this time, Houghton had a tougher time doing what he had two days before.
Using a large syringe with a curved plastic end, he attempted to force a stream of orange juice, Benadryl, and crushed aspirin into McPherson’s mouth, down along the side of her tongue. He managed to get it in, but it was more difficult than the time before.
It also didn’t appear to work as well this time. He stayed around for about an hour to see if it made her drowsy. Instead, she walked around for a while and then sprinted for the bathroom, where she stood in the toilet.
Meanwhile, caretaker Valerie Demange reported that Lisa was violent for two hours in the evening.
Jonny Jacobsen makes his first appearance on Media Mayhem
We’re so glad we put Jonny together with Allison Hope Weiner…
We didn’t get a chance to include photos in our book, so we’ve posted them at a dedicated page. Reader Sookie put together a complete index and we’re hosting it here on the website. Copies of the paperback version of ‘The Unbreakable Miss Lovely’ are on sale at Amazon. The Kindle edition is also available, and shipping instantly.
Our book tour is concluded for now. (But you can re-experience it through this nifty interactive map!) We’ll let you know about future appearances. Previous events: Santa Barbara (5/16), Hollywood (5/17), Orange County (5/17), San Diego (5/20), San Francisco (5/22), New York (6/11), Chicago (6/20), Toronto (6/22), Clearwater (6/28), Washington DC (7/12), Hartford (7/14), Denver (7/17), Dallas (7/20), Houston (7/22), San Antonio (7/24), Austin (7/25), Paris (7/29), London (8/4), Boston (8/24), Phoenix (9/15), Cleveland (9/23), Minneapolis (9/24), Portland (9/27), Seattle (9/28), Vancouver BC (9/29), Sydney (10/23), Melbourne (10/25), Adelaide (10/28), Perth (10/30)
Posted by Tony Ortega on November 27, 2015 at 07:00
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Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…
BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of LA attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts
PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer
The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill
The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ
Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield