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Clearwater Tent Showdown: Scientology Reportedly Getting Ready for Events Next Week

Charlie Frago of the Tampa Bay Times is keeping the Church of Scientology’s plans in Clearwater, Florida under a microscope as church leader David Miscavige prepares for a series of large events.

Yesterday, Frago was like a cat on a hot tin-colored tent with at least three versions of a news story showing up at the Tampa Bay Times website. He reported that the giant “KSW” mural [“Keep Scientology Working”] on Scientology’s massive event pavilion had fallen afoul of Clearwater’s fire marshal, but then said Scientology had managed to mollify the fire department that its draping met fire codes. But then he said the city’s strict signage codes had been violated, and the church was told it would be fined up to $250 a day until it took down the mural.

That’s chump change for Miscavige, and we’ll be interested to see if he caves and brings down the draping, which clearly cost him a pretty penny.

But we’re still asking a bigger question: When is Miscavige going to hold these events? We have some fresh rumors about that, which we have to say are just rumors, but worth publishing, we think.

We want our Clearwater readers to know that we’ve been tipped that the Golden Age of Tech II event will take place Friday night, November 8, and the Super Power Building grand opening event on the following day, November 9, or possibly on Sunday the 10th, or both.

That still leaves the International Association of Scientologists (IAS) annual gala — which the church told the city in August would take place the weekend of November 8-9. UPDATE: We’re hearing from some sources that the IAS gala will take place a week after the Super Power event, perhaps on Saturday, November 16.

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As we previously reported, Scientology has asked the city for no permits for these events. (Frago reports that it has a permit for the tent itself through January 21.) That means that the church is not asking the city for street or sidewalk closures, but as city employee Christopher Hubbard explained to us, that wouldn’t prevent Scientology from having events on private property.

If our tip is correct, then on Friday the 8th, Miscavige will hold a celebration of a new product launch which is Phase II of his original 1995 release, The Golden Age of Technology. Outside of Scientology, the changes represented in these “Golden Age” updates mean little. But our sources point out that any new product launch will mean lots of re-doing of expensive processes, and this one includes a new e-meter.

Miscavige needs to get that event out of the way first because so many people from the “outer orgs” have been in Clearwater for weeks preparing for it — and spending money to stay in Clearwater.

Then, it’s time to finally open the Super Power Building, a huge edifice which first began construction in November, 1998. Critics have pointed out not only that the “Flag Building” has been a fundraising magnet — with something like $200 million raised for it — but it also promises something founder L. Ron Hubbard never really intended. A recent leak of the actual “Super Power” processes by Independent Scientologists suggest that the services delivered at the building are rather mundane and repetitive.

That leaves the IAS gala, which has tended to take place in England in October. It’s a celebration of the year’s accomplishments, and it’s when Miscavige bestows new “Freedom Medals” on two or three exemplary Scientologists. Surely it must happen at some time before the New Year’s event, which is a major date on the Scientology calendar of its own.

Time’s running out to get so many big events wrapped up in the coming weeks. We’re looking forward to more reports from Sunny Sands and our other local correspondents.

 
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Posted by Tony Ortega on October 30, 2013 at 07:00

E-mail your tips and story ideas to tonyo94@gmail.com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. Here at the Bunker we try to have a post up every morning at 7 AM Eastern (Noon GMT), and on some days we post an afternoon story at around 2 PM. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

 

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