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When two political longshots spar over Joy Villa and Scientology, everyone wins

[Edwin Duterte]

Rod Keller has a fun look for us inside the madcap attempt to unseat longtime Democratic incumbent Maxine Waters in Los Angeles.

Edwin Duterte is campaigning to represent California’s 43rd District in the U.S. Congress. The district runs south of downtown from Inglewood to Torrance in Los Angeles. He wants to help President Trump make America great again, encourage the creation of high paying jobs in the district, which currently has very few, and he wants to end the tax exemption of the Church of Scientology. The Filipino-American hopes to unseat popular Congresswoman Maxine Waters, a member of the House since 1977. She has earned the loathing of many Republicans for her calls to impeach President Donald Trump whom she calls a “disgusting, poor excuse of a man.”


[Congresswoman Maxine Waters]

The odds are against him, as the race is not considered competitive by most political observers. Waters received 76 percent of the vote in 2016. In that election Duterte volunteered for Omar Navarro in his failed bid to unseat Waters. The two Republicans had a falling out, and now Duterte and Navarro are opposing each other in the 2018 primary race, along with four other nomination hopefuls. Navarro is endorsed by singer Joy Villa, a Scientologist who is exploring a bid to run for the House from Florida.



[Navarro and Villa in “Free Speech”]

Villa and Navarro performed together in a skit called “Free Speech” at an October campaign rally. A video of the allegorical performance piece shows a stand-in for Congresswoman Waters in drag urging performers representing CNN, ISIS, Antifa and “Berkeley” to attack Villa representing freedom of speech. At the end of the performance Villa is victorious as Navarro snatches the drag Waters’ wig and she flees.


Duterte has turned to Twitter to express his position on Scientology and Joy Villa, saying, “They abuse their members and those who attempt to leave… Not many know how much influence the ‘Church’ of Scientology has on CA politics,” and “the church of scientology should lose its non-profit status and be fully investigated!”


“There has to be a way to distinguish between a harmful group and a legitimate religion” in granting tax exemption, Duterte tells us. He would “absolutely” support an investigation into the closing agreement between the IRS and Scientology, the most significant achievement of David Miscavige’s tenure as head of the church. Immigration is an important issue for Duterte, and he opposes H-1B visas that allow workers with special skills to enter the U.S. Although unfamiliar with the R-1 visa that brings many Scientologists to the country, Duterte says, “if it’s anything like the H-1B there should be questions raised about why they are allowed in.”

The 43rd district includes the Inglewood Ideal Org, opened in 2011 and a center for the involvement of the Nation of Islam in Scientology. Duterte has announced he and his supporters will hold a protest at the org on January 26th.


[Inglewood Ideal Org]

Omar Navarro tells us he is friends with Joy Villa, but he is a Christian and not a Scientologist. “I don’t think you can be both. You serve one master or another,” he says. He admits to knowing little about Scientology and tells us, “I haven’t seen any TV shows about it or read any books.” He disagrees with Duterte that Scientology has too much influence in politics. “They have almost no influence. There is not a single Scientologist in Congress and I don’t think there is one in any state legislature.”


[Rep. Waters attends a fundraiser for New Village Leadership Academy]

Navarro has tweeted in response to the issue “I agree that Scientology’s tax exempt status should be re-evaluated and, if appropriate, revoked.” He tells us if there is any supporter of Scientology in the race it is Representative Maxine Waters, who once attended a fundraiser for the New Village Leadership Academy. The school was founded by actors Will and Jada Pinkett Smith as a Scientology-affiliated Applied Scholastics school and operated from 2008-2013. A staff member at Rep. Waters’ office had no comment on the Republican contest or Scientology.

He does not plan to attend the Duterte protest at the Inglewood Ideal Org. “I am running against Maxine Waters and not Edwin Duterte. I plan to be out in the community going door to door with our volunteers.” Both candidates are pinning their hopes on a ground campaign rather than compete against the well funded Waters with advertising. They point to the changing ethnic composition of the district, which was once primarily African-American and now is home to a majority of Hispanic and Asian residents. It would be a huge upset if any Republican wins the district as the Hispanic and Asian majority has been returning Maxine Waters to Congress with huge margins every two years.

— Rod Keller


Paul Haggis suspects Scientology behind allegations

On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter published a statement by director Paul Haggis’s attorney, Christine Lepera, who said about sexual misconduct claims against him that Haggis “questions whether Scientology has any role here, which he notes has been attacking him for years with false accusations.”

We’ve heard from a lot of readers who wonder the same thing. Last month, Haggis sued a woman named Haleigh Breest claiming that she was trying to extort him for $9 million. Breest filed her own lawsuit the same day, claiming that she had been raped by Haggis in 2013. In his suit, Haggis said that he had back surgery shortly before the alleged event and was incapable of doing what Breest accused him of. This week the AP reported that three additional women had come forward with their own allegations of sexual misconduct between 1996 and 2015 after seeing the news of Breest’s claims. Breest added their claims to her lawsuit in an amended complaint.

Breest’s attorney denied to Page Six that Scientology is involved in the claims against Haggis.

Until we see any evidence to the contrary, we’re going to reserve judgment. We simply hope that justice is served as this situation develops.


Make your plans now!



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,987 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 133 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,196 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,970 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,744 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,090 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,584 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,624 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,336 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 862 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,951 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,091 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,411 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,386 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 742 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,044 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,150 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,553 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,425 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,007 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,512 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,756 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,865 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on January 7, 2018 at 07:00

E-mail tips and story ideas to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We post behind-the-scenes updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2017 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2017), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. 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

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | 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


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