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In Los Angeles, shilling for Scientology becomes issue in mayor’s race

[Karen Bass and Rick Caruso]

We’ve said it many times over the years: Scientology tries to convince local politicians to come to its events, and some of them do, not bothering to research Scientology’s long history of scandals and abuses.

Now, this has become an issue in the contentious final weeks of a mayoral race in Los Angeles, and we’ve been hearing from television viewers there who have been stunned to see Scientology featured in a new campaign ad produced by billionaire Rick Caruso, attacking his opponent, former US representative Karen Bass.

The ad targets Bass by showing footage of her giving an embarrassingly obeisant address to Scientology as its leader, David Miscavige, opened a new “Ideal Org” in Los Angeles on April 24, 2010. The footage is intercut by Caruso’s campaign with quotes from publications such as Time magazine, which in 1991 said that “Scientology poses as a religion but really is a ruthless global scam.”

This isn’t the first time that the footage has been controversial for Bass.


Two years ago, when word began to spread that she might be on the short list to become Joe Biden’s running mate, the conservative publication Breitbart wrote about the footage and pointed out that Bass had promoted Scientology.

Bass responded by putting out a statement saying that she was a Baptist, that she had gone to the opening of the new facility because it was in her district, and that revelations about Scientology in recent years (such as Leah Remini’s series) had educated everyone about the group.

We then posted a story pointing out that, in fact, the new Ideal Org was not in Bass’s district in 2010, and also that it was ludicrous to say that Scientology’s abuses had only become known in the last few years.

Bass then had to put out another statement, admitting that her previous statement was written by one of her staffers, and yes, that the Ideal Org wasn’t in her district.

It was an embarrassing incident and handled poorly by Bass, who was ultimately not chosen to be Biden’s running mate. However, we also pointed out that Bass was at least criticizing Scientology openly and did not appear to have any ties with it.

Now she’s running for mayor, and local press reports have her leading Caruso after the two of them qualified for a run-off after being the top two vote-getters in a primary.

Both are Democrats, but Caruso was a Republican in the past and his opponents charge him with not being progressive enough in the Democrat-heavy city. Bass has progressive bona fides, but both candidates have been caught up in scandals tied to USC.

With Bass supposedly leading before the November election, she characterized Caruso’s ad as an act of desperation, and told ABC-7 that it was a distortion of her views.

“I am a Baptist. My minister is Norman Johnson, and I have never ever been affiliated with Scientology and absolutely condemn their practices,” she told the station.

ABC-7 asked us about the ad, and we pointed out that it was not unfair to juxtapose Bass’s 2010 speech praising Scientology with quotes from Time’s 1991 article: Bass should have done her homework and avoided lavishing so much praise on Scientology.

However, we told the station that we did think using the footage as a campaign ad and trying to give the impression that Bass still has ties to Scientology did seem unfair.

Here’s the ad. Give it a look and let us know what you think.



And here’s ABC-7’s report from yesterday, which includes Bass’s unequivocal denunciation of Scientology.

Scientology watchers can at least take some heart from this ugly episode: Both mayoral candidates in Los Angeles have openly called Scientology a menace.

Now, will whoever wins end up doing something about it?


Technology Cocktail

“Educating a person in a mass that they don’t have and which isn’t available produces physiological reactions. That is what I am trying to teach you. It’s just a fact. You’re trying to teach this fellow all about tractors and you’re not giving him any tractors — well he’s going to wind up with a face that feels squashed, with headaches and with his stomach feeling funny. He’s going to feel dizzy from time to time and very often his eyes are going to hurt. It’s a physiological datum that has to do with processing and the field of the mind. You could therefore expect the greatest incidence of suicide or illness in that field of education most devoted to studying absent masses. This one of studying the something without its mass ever being around produces the most distinctly recognizable reactions.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1971


Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 14 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers: We check in with Clearwater city councilman Mark Bunker about Scientology’s latest attempts to sabotage progress there. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 13 available to everyone, with such guests as Jesse Prince, Paulette Cooper, Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, Jefferson Hawkins, Patty Moher, Geoff Levin, Pete Griffiths, Sunny Pereira, Bruce Hines, Jeffrey Augustine, and Claire Headley. Go here to get the episodes!



Now with no restrictions: Our podcast series on the Scientology docuseries that never aired

In five episodes, we recently looked at something we’ve been curious about for several years: The potentially explosive television show, produced by Sirens Media, that would have featured L. Ron Hubbard great-grandson Jamie DeWolf as its presenter, and that would have taken an active look at the families ripped apart by Scientology’s “disconnection” policy. Unfortunately, even though the series was ready to air on the A&E network in 2016, it never has. Our podcast series turned out even better than we were hoping, and we’ve made all five episodes available to everyone.


Source Code

“The zygote is very easily injured. Every abdominal pressure affects it. However, an auditor should run the ovum-sperm series three or four days before conception. Although this hasn’t been checked objectively, cases respond much better if you get that series. The time up to before the first missed menstrual period has been checked objectively, because somebody else has this material too, but it is not easy to check conception objectively. Conception is a specific moment and you are not quite sure when it arrives. However, until the time this data is checked objectively, the reality of it is strong.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 27, 1950


Avast, Ye Mateys

“A last minute despatch from Neptune as he left the ship follows: Commodore: I have the honor, Sir, to report that your crew has been (1) Instructed (2) Examined (3) Passed. They are now fully initiated, qualified, called, designated, dubbed, christened, titled and entitled SEA DOGS by my stamp and seal. All sharks, porpoises, whales, fish, squids, minnows, and polywogs must now salute them as brothers of the Sea. (Signed) Neptunis Rex, GOD OF THE SEAS AND OCEANS” — The Commodore, September 27, 1971


Overheard in the FreeZone

“Even the type of wins as an Indie are different, much wider in scope, and MUCH MORE UNIVERSAL AND LESS CULTISH! What a tasty level this NOTs! Endless dishes and menus, some fantastic, some hard to digest (oh yes!), some a piece of cake, but all of them life shaking, life changing. And mood and tone altering, oh BIG time. I started slow and half blind, then got better, and better. And then I was doing difficult, elusive things correctly and more and more RIGHT!”



Past is Prologue

1995: Judge Whyte has ruled similarly to judges in Colorado and Virginia. Scientology has been ordered to return the seized materials to Dennis. Dennis posted this week a list of the items they have not yet returned. “1) Any of the Sekrit Droppings they took from my house on February 13th. 2) The tape backup they took of my complete hard drive. 3) My February bank statement . 4) A transcript of a taped debate between Heber Jentshe and me on KFI radio from 1991. 5) A demo tape of several of my hottest tunes. 6) Various other items that have yet to be determined because no inventory was allowed when the materials were illegally taken from my home.”


Random Howdy

“If you leave or get kicked out they have a big ray gun device called the Hubbard Engram Re-Stimulator that can locate you anywhere on the planet and zap you with a beam that re-implants all the charge you blew.”


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

Criminal prosecutions:
Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.

Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff scheduled to be sentenced on Oct 28.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. 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 a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Where is Scientology in 2021? Outside the US, it’s largely in Taiwan and Mexico
[TWO years ago] SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS, Episode 7: Celebrities who seek godhood through David Miscavige
[THREE years ago] The rise and fall of a Scientology mogul just took another mysterious twist
[FOUR years ago] What a train wreck: The ignominious fate of Scientology’s original flagship, the ‘Apollo’
[FIVE years ago] Bernie Feshbach, 1923-2017: A man who fought against Scientology in his own way
[SIX years ago] ‘Horrifying’ autism ‘cure’ exposed by BBC turns out to be Scientology: Now, the inventor speaks
[SEVEN years ago] Our Pacific Northwest adventure begins this afternoon with a stop in Portland
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton files lawsuit number 21 against Scientology’s drug rehab network
[NINE years ago] Federal Judge Orders Evidence Preservation Based on Narconon Georgia’s “Misconduct”


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 2,800 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,305 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,855 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,845 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,736 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,041 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,911 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,016 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,489 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,805 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,371 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,290 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,458 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,038 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,300 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,336 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,051 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,616 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 931 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,106 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,657 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,788 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,126 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,981 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,100 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,456 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,759 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,865 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,263 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,139 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,722 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,217 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,471 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,580 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 27, 2022 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), 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, 15 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


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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