Re: Must be a way to work together | letter by Ralph Rugo, Sept. 4
Scientologists don't help area
It was interesting to read the letters from the "non-Scientologists" defending the Scientologists against the fines handed to them as a result of years of delay in completing their building. Of most interest was Mr. Rugo's comment on downtown Clearwater.
Let me relate a tale. Last New Year's Eve, as is our tradition, my wife and I went out for an early dinner in downtown Dunedin. Along with us was our grandson, also part of the tradition. Dunedin was packed. Couples and families were walking the downtown area. All the establishments in the area were open and bustling with business. We noticed that a nightclub across from our restaurant had a line of people waiting to get in.
After a short walk, we left for home. Entering downtown Clearwater along N Fort Harrison Avenue — nothing. Not a soul. Turning onto Cleveland Street, all we witnessed was about five or six homeless people huddling on the sidewalk and in storefronts to keep warm.
The Scientologists may be good neighbors, but they provide no basis for an economy in downtown Clearwater. If they spent any money, there would be restaurants, bistros, etc. They scurry around during the day, and then they are gone, not to be seen until the sun comes up again. With all those folks in or near downtown Clearwater, where were they that night?
In my opinion, the Scientologists are parasites. Clearwater, particularly downtown, would be far better off without them.
Dave Cordes, Clearwater
Re: Scientologists seem to help city | letter, Sept. 4
Fine reveals power of 'church'
After reading this letter and its companion letter, Must be a way to work together, I have come to the conclusion that both writers of these letters obviously do not frequent the downtown Clearwater area or they would have seen the "eyesore" Scientology building before it was finished. That building sat there for several years with an ugly, gaping hole in its side. It was a blemish on the downtown landscape for years. In the interim, the Scientologists completely gutted and renovated Oak Cove and several other projects.
Had this been any other business or "church," they would have been fined, without all the publicity, and they would have quietly paid what they owed. But we are dealing with a multi-billion dollar entity that will pay far more than the $413,000 fine in lawyer fees to make this fine go away, just like they made the IRS break-ins of the late 1970s and the Clearwater Sun newspaper go away.
They are not your friends, so you should not be fooled by the pretty pictures they paint.
Mike Jones, Clearwater
Fired school chief epitomizes greed
It seems that former Pinellas school superintendent Julie Janssen was a good teacher and then principal for many years, but didn't pass muster as a superintendent and is being replaced after three years. For failing in her role, she wants $621,000 — on top of a $100,000 annual pension.
It looks like many of us who chose corporate careers picked the wrong "industry" to pursue. Can we now hear a little less about "corporate greed"?
Peter Ford, Tierra Verde