Tracey McManus - Pinellas County Commission, Scientology and Clearwater Reporter

Pinellas County Commission, Scientology and Clearwater Reporter

I cover Pinellas County with a focus on the workings and impacts of government, environmental issues, the City of Clearwater, the Church of Scientology, animal welfare and other topics. Before joining the Times in 2015, I spent five years with The Augusta Chronicle in Georgia. I've wanted to be a journalist pretty much since I was old enough to read the newspapers my dad kept stacked near the kitchen table every day. That's never changed. I was born in Brooklyn but grew up in south Florida and graduated from University of Florida in 2010 with degrees in journalism and Spanish. When not on deadline, I'm usually out running with my two dogs Tiger and Ollie, both strays I found in Georgia.

  1. The Pinellas County Commission moved closer Tuesday to granting a total of $20.6 million to three museums: the Salvidor Dali Museum (top), the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center (bottom left), and the St. Petersburg Museum of History.
    The Dalí Museum, St. Petersburg Museum of History and Tampa Bay Watch are on track to receive bed tax dollars for expansions.
  2. Morton Myers, 40, is an entrepreneur, a lifelong Clearwater resident and now a candidate for mayor who comes from a family of Scientologists. He says he is not a practicing Scientologist and is running to bring change and representation to all residents.
    Morton Myers says he’s not an active member. But with family on Scientology’s staff, he says he’s uniquely positioned to find middle ground with the church.
  3. The Church of Scientology released an issue of Freedom magazine one day after the Times published an investigation about land deals tied to the church in downtown Clearwater.
    “Is this legal?” one resident asked about the 4 a.m. drop off.
  4. La Iglesia de la Cienciología llegó a Clearwater en 1975 con planes de poner en marcha un modelo de crecimiento sostenido.
    INVESTIGACIÓN EXCLUSIVA: El Tampa Bay Times halló que miembros y empresas vinculadas a la Cienciología realizaron operaciones inmobiliarias para controlar el casco urbano.
  5. Scientology’s international spiritual headquarters in downtown Clearwater is anchored by the Flag Building, on left. An elevated walkway connects the building to the Fort Harrison Hotel, the church’s first purchase in the city in 1975.
    The mysterious deals could reshape downtown Clearwater.
  6. Clearwater City Council members react to Tampa Bay Times reporting showing companies tied to members of Scientology bought 101 acres of downtown commercial property in three years. Times  |   (2017)
    We showed the politicians a map of the land now owned by buyers tied to Scientology. Here’s what they said.
  7. About 400 demonstrators protest the Church of Scientology in front of City Hall in April 1980. The church has a complicated history with the city, from its secret arrival in 1975 to its recent flood of downtown property purchases.
    The church arrived in secret in 1975. Here’s what happened next.
  8. A Church of Scientology staff member, left, crosses Cleveland Street while Miami tourists Elena Norma, left, and Martha Suarez, center, explore downtown on May 4 2017. A majority of candidates associated with the Church of Scientology were elected to the Downtown Development Board on Tuesday, a body tasked with setting culture and promoting downtown. The church established its international spiritual headquarters downtown in 1975 and is the largest property owner.
    The results are believed to be the first time the church has had a majority presence on an elected city body.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates.
    The 30-year-old man remained in critical condition on Saturday
  10. A Church of Scientology staff member, left, crosses Cleveland Street while Miami tourists Elena Norma, left, and Martha Suarez, center, explore downtown in 2017. Three of the five candidates for Downtown Development Board are business owners who are also members of Scientology, bringing the potential that a majority of parishioners will fill the board tasked with supporting downtown revitalization.
    Though it has little power, the Downtown Development Board shapes culture downtown, where Scientology has its international spiritual headquarters