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Scientology attempts to clean up its balloon mess by clearing beach of syringes

[Cleaning up the beach in Ventura]

Scientology made national headlines when it released hundreds of balloons at the opening of the Ventura ideal org last month. Neighbors and concerned citizens complained, and Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere claimed “The truth is that the City EXPRESSLY FORBID the Church of Scientology from doing this balloon release, and they ignored us and did it anyway. There will be a serious price to pay for this. The Church of Scientology broke our laws by littering and damaging our natural environment, and even worse, they ignored our demands not to do so. I have instructed our city attorney to review these actions and to hold the Church of Scientology liable to the fullest extent allowed by law.”

As reported in the VC Reporter, Paul Jenkin, Ventura Campaign Coordinator with the Surfrider Foundation said “Plastic and Mylar can then be mistaken as food (such as jellyfish and other organisms) and is often consumed by marine life,” and, “It should be illegal to release balloons, especially at this scale.”

Perhaps it should be illegal, but it isn’t against the law in California where the law bans only Mylar balloons and metallic ribbons that are known to damage power lines. Scientology representative Debbie Cregan wrote to the city that “In doing research, I found that the balloons that are prohibited in California are Mylar balloons, and we do not use those. We plan to use regular non-metallic balloons and I want to make sure that is okay and approved.” She is correct, and the city approved the event permit, including the balloon launch. Mayor LaVere and city officials hastily passed an emergency ordinance banning all balloon releases shortly after Scientology’s event.


[Scientologists volunteer on Ventura’s beaches]

Despite holding a valid event permit and having the law on their side, littering the area with deflated balloons is a public relations disaster for Scientology. They have embarrassed the mayor and city council who now have to explain to their constituents how the release came to happen. Scientology is trying to turn a negative into a positive by sending members out to pick up trash on the beach.


[Source: Surfrider Ventura County Chapter]

Photos of the event show no deflated balloons being collected, but plenty of used syringes. When the Surfrider Ventura County Chapter held 12 beach clean-ups during 2016 they found 28 syringes, which were a small percentage of the trash collected. Scientology seems to have found that many in a couple of hours with a smaller team. It could be they were just lucky, but evidence of illegal drug use in the area is very convenient for the church as it attempts to ingratiate itself with the community as being anti-drug activists. They have announced plans to join the Saturday beach clean-ups organized by Councilman Steven Gama, which are also attended by members of the Surfrider Foundation. We’ll keep an eye out for how these groups work together to clean Ventura’s beaches.


[Phoenix Ideal Org opening, 2012]

[Kansas City Ideal Org opening, 2019]

Ideal Org openings sometimes feature balloon releases, sometimes confetti or streamers, or a combination of these. With two Ideal Orgs opening in the near future, will Scientology tempt fate with balloons in Austin and Chicago? Both orgs should have ceremonies in the next few months, and neither city has laws against balloon releases. Coming so soon after Ventura’s balloon-gate we suspect it will be some kind of paper rather than the latex used to make balloons. The only ideal org on the horizon that might run afoul of local laws is Plymouth, England where it is illegal to release balloons from city council owned land. Fundraising to renovate that org is very slow and it will be years before they have to face the issue.

— Rod Keller


Bonus items from our tipsters

Time to clear Ventura…




Source Code

“I blew up a whole writing class one time. It’s a wonder they all didn’t leave school. Actually, they relegated it to sort of getting the professor to reprimand me. It was the short story class of Harvard — excuse me, ‘Hah-varrd.’ They made the mistake of having a series of lectures from successful writers. And each one of these gave them a short series of lectures. And all of these people were in a class called Creative Writing. And they were very nicely dressed children. And so my lectures were very well received, and so forth, right up to a point….Because what I told the class that caused them to completely blow up was, I said, ‘Well,’ I said, ‘when you’ve written a few hundred thousand words, why, then you’ve got a style. And it’s taken me about I think, about a hundred thousand words before I had any inkling of any kind of a style.’ And I suddenly noticed, I looked around, I had a class in front of me that was in a state of shock!…It had never occurred to those damned fools or that professor that writers write! And this had nothing whatsoever to do with their education. I know that’s an unbelievable experience. It left me in a state of shock. ‘Well, Hubbard’s an awful bad fellow.’ Never forgave me. I was probably used as a horrible example in that school for years.” — L. Ron Hubbard, March 9, 1965


Overheard in the FreeZone

“I relate to Beingness as the primary assumption of a Cycle of Existence, Here and Now which may then be differentiated by relative location in space. For me time is relative location in space. Reality is Here, beyond the dissolution of the mechanical conditions of existence, Mind and the separateness of Identity. Reality as Agreement is exactly that: MEST Agreements and Allegiances. In truth reality is a condition of Isness beyond existence and it is composed of everyone. The reality of people. Life is a product of Imagination, identity I, You, He, She, It, We, You plural, They and Mind which generates the Void of Potentiality and results in Existence through the assumption of Beingness as Source.”


Random Howdy

“Hey, a free trip to America and free rice and beans probably sounds pretty good to a fairly large segment of the world’s population.”



Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:
Jay Spina: Sentencing set for April 3 in White Plains
Hanan and Rizza Islam and other family members: Trial set for April 14 in Los Angeles

Civil litigation:
Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Waiting for an appellate decision from the Eleventh Circuit
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Hearing on motion for reconsideration set for April 16
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology: March 11 (plaintiff attorneys pro hac vice, defense motions to quash), March 20 (demurrers by Masterson and Scientology), March 27 (motions to compel arbitration)
Jane Doe v. Scientology (in Miami): Jane Doe’s attorneys have asked for discovery, March 19 depositions (Warren McShane, Lynn Farny), April 20 hearing set (motion to compel arbitration)
Matt and Kathy Feschbach bankruptcy appeal: Oral arguments on March 11 in Jacksonville
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Complaint filed.


Start making your plans…

Head over to the convention website and meet us in St. Louis!


Scientology’s celebrities, ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and more!

[Alanna Masterson, Terry Jastrow, and Marisol Nichols]

We’ve been building landing pages about David Miscavige’s favorite playthings, including celebrities and ‘Ideal Orgs,’ and we’re hoping you’ll join in and help us gather as much information as we can about them. Head on over and help us with links and photos and comments.

Scientology’s celebrities, from A to Z! Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Scientology’s ‘Ideal Orgs,’ from one end of the planet to the other! Help us build up pages about each these worldwide locations!

Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society!

Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in our weekly series. How many have you read?



[ONE year ago] William Burroughs at Scientology’s ‘Saint Hill Manor’ in 1968, before his discontent
[TWO years ago] Scientologists bombarded to attend Hubbard birthday events, and this is our favorite flier
[THREE years ago] As Louis Theroux’s ‘My Scientology Movie’ hits U.S., troubling news of co-star Marty Rathbun
[FOUR years ago] Scientology ‘disconnection’ billboard to be a block from David Miscavige’s office & residence
[FIVE years ago] Scientology documentary ‘Going Clear’ participants getting harassed, threatened
[SIX years ago] Video Vault: When Scientology basked in the success of giant cucumbers
[SEVEN years ago] Scientology Mythbusting with Jon Atack: Xenu the Galactic Overlord, Part 1!
[EIGHT years ago] Scientology on the High Seas: A Bunch of Dope Smokers, Say the Greeks!


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 1,872 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 2,376 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 1,896 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 916 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 807 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,114 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,982 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 2,756 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 3,530 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,876 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 11,442 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 7,361 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 3,529 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,110 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 3,371 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 2,409 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,122 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 1,647 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,174 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 5,737 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,877 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,197 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,052 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,172 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 1,527 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 5,830 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,936 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 2,338 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 2,210 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 1,793 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 2,288 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 2,542 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 13,651 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on March 9, 2020 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post 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 new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2019 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2019), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 14 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

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


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