Mike Rinder, over at his blog, pointed out last month that Scientologists were celebrating the 25th anniversary of the renaming of North Berendo Street in Los Angeles to “L. Ron Hubbard Way.”
On April 5, 1997, the block-long street that passes through Scientology’s “Pacific Area Command” (PAC) base, known colloquially as “Big Blue,” got its new name, a tribute to Scientology’s founder, with a celebration noted at the time in the church’s propaganda organ, Freedom Magazine…
More than 7,000 came together in Los Angeles to celebrate the grand opening of L. Ron Hubbard Way, a tribute to a man who is considered a true friend by millions across the globe. Describing the April 5 celebration as “The historic recognition of a man who, in all he accomplished, was a profound inspiration to people in this city – and to people everywhere,” was the President of the Church of Scientology International, Rev. Heber Jentzsch. Sharing the stage with Rev. Jentzsch were John Travolta, Kirstie Alley and officials representing the City Council, Mayor and the Governor of California.
Heber took the inaugural stroll down the street with City Council President John Ferraro, City Council Member Richard Alatorre, actor John Travolta, a representative of Mayor Riordan’s office, and RTC chairman David Miscavige who, at this point at least, was still allowing Heber to headline things.
One of the people most visibly fighting the name change at the time was attorney Graham Berry, who, we are happy to say, is still giving Scientology fits today.
Just this week, however, Bunker community member Science Doc discovered something and brought it to our attention: A link to the city’s entire file of information about the name change, including letters sent by members of the public to city council members, encouraging them to rename Berendo. Among them, there were these gems from Scientology’s celebrities we thought you’d want to see…
I have lived in Los Angeles many times over the years and have been living here, in your district, for the last year while working on a number of films. I know that a petition has been submitted to the Los Angeles City Council to change the name of Berendo in honor of L. Ron Hubbard. I wholeheartedly support this. As a Scientologist, I have studied Mr. Hubbard’s works for over twenty years and can say that without the guidance of his works I would not be where I am today. A great humanitarian and a brilliant writer, his works continue to have a profound effect on people the world over. The fact that Hubbard’s bestseller, Battlefield Earth, is being produced by MGM and a number of Hubbard’s other works are active at major studios, is further evidence of Hubbard’s widespread popularity. I hope my letter will assist in your decision to approve this measure as it means a great deal to me. — John Travolta
I have been informed that a petition has been made to change the name of Berendo Street in honor of L. Ron Hubbard. I am writing to inform whoever it may concern that I fully support this. To put it simply the life works of L. Ron Hubbard saved my life. I can attest that the success I enjoy today both in my career, my marriage and my family, I can directly attribute to the knowledge, understanding and sanity I gained from Mr. Hubbard’s works. I would not be where I am today without it. I have spent many years working in communities around the country in the area of education and literacy. Through this I have seen firsthand the effectiveness of Mr. Hubbard’s discoveries in the area of education. The results are nothing short of miraculous. It is well known that Mr. Hubbard founded the Church of Scientology. I have been a Scientologist for over twenty years and a regular participant in the community works of my Church. The naming of one street in honor of this great man and as an acknowledgment of the organization he founded, is the least we can do to thank him for his priceless contribution to mankind. As a lifelong resident of the City of Los Angeles I fully support this endeavor. — Anne Archer
As a part-time resident of your district I wanted to write to you to voice my endorsement of the proposed street name change of Berendo in honor of L. Ron Hubbard. For a man who has given so much to this planet, to name a street after him is a small gesture compared to the work he has done for mankind. I am just one amongst millions who consider L. Ron Hubbard the greatest friend man has ever had. — Isaac Hayes
Also in the file was a letter that Scientology’s Office of Special Affairs (the church’s spy wing) had sent out to church members, urging them to send in letters in a coordinated campaign, and to head off the naysayers.
Certain individuals may oppose the name change…we want to ensure that every Council member gets the true data about who LRH was and why a street should be named in his honor. Several of the council people may not be fully aware of the scope of humanitarian work LRH has done in a wide variety of fields and it is important to fill the vacuum…
What is needed is simple but must occur quickly. Write your council member and let them know from your viewpoint why this block on Berendo St. should be renamed in honor of L. Ron Hubbard…
Please fax a copy of your letter to OSA PAC (without noting this on the letter itself) at 213-953-3228. It is important that we know who has received letters…
DSA LA Day
As a result, the city received many letters from Scientologists who lived in the area. We looked through them, and spotted this one:
I support changing the name of Berendo Street to L. Ron Hubbard Way. Please accept this as my personal endorsement of this name change. I feel it is well deserved.
Shear Perfection Salon
That’s a familiar name to us, because we’ve featured Lynn here in the past. She left Scientology, but she didn’t leave the area, continuing to own and operate her salon just steps away from the Big Blue compound, and daring to post signs in the windows criticizing the organization.
We told her that we’d found her 1995 letter in the city’s file and asked her about it.
“They told us all to send a letter to support it,” she says. “1995 was shortly after I got the shop. And a lot of my customers came from the org, so you know, that’s what I did. It was all a big PR thing. They want to make it out that they’re influential. And well they are. They can buy whatever they want.”
She no longer supports the street’s name change, of course.
“It’s too bad we can’t turn the time back and make a more informed decision. I was just ignorant. I didn’t know about all the abuses and all that.”
We asked if she went to the grand opening in 1997.
“I probably did, I was right there around the corner. But I don’t really remember. I remember them putting the bricks down. Everyone was supposed to put a brick in so that they would feel it was partially theirs.”
And what about today, we asked. Does the Church of Scientology seem to exert as much influence today with the city council, from her perspective?
“I used to be on the neighborhood council for East Hollywood. The org used to send PR people from OSA to the meetings. But then at one point they stopped showing up. It was probably after 2016 or something like that,” she says, suggesting it’s a sign that the church’s influence is waning. But there’s at least one politician the church can count on.
“At the city council level, we’re in District 13, and the council member is Mitch O’Farrell. He always comes out to support their little campaigns. They give him a certificate and he stands up with them, because it’s politics. There are, or used to be, 1,500 Sea Org members and they all vote.”
Lynn says she left Scientology in 2003, but it was several years before she dared look at what was online about Scientology. Then, she was the target of a legal prank: Her name was attached to a lawsuit and it affected her business. She had to pay lawyers to find out that she wasn’t actually a party to the lawsuit at all and had just been the victim of a legal hoax.
“Then I got kind of militant,” she says. “And I found out about Anonymous. My first post on ESMB was about how I am not anonymous, they know who I am and they know where I live. But I didn’t want to run away because I knew they would chase me just to prove they could find me. So I decided just to stay here and stare them down.”
The pandemic has been tough on her salon, as it has for so many. If you’re in LA and want to show a small measure of protest against the renaming of Berendo Street, we recommend you stop on by for a haircut and show Lynn that you support her.
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Did you know you can get an email every morning when we post our daily Scientology story? We know some of the folks who come to the Underground Bunker aren’t here to talk about the politics of the day, and that’s why we created a daily politics feature over at our other blog, The Lowdown, and we ask readers to take their political discussions over there. And if you drop us a line at tonyo94 AT gmail, we’ll put you on the list so you get a morning reminder that a new Scientology story has been posted — and only for our Scientology stories.
“As far as publicity is concerned the general public has been slammed around about Dianetics and they don’t know whether Dianetics is a cough drop or a new cult down in Arizona. Nobody really knows very much about it. Out in the general public they ask you if it is a cult, or if it is this or if it is that. I suddenly woke up to the fact that I was under-evaluating it. I was trying to tell people ‘Well, this is sort of a psychotherapy and it does this and that,’ rather apologetically. And I said to somebody bluntly the other day, ‘Why, Dianetics is the science of handling life; you know, handling life forces!’ They looked at me and blinked and I said, ‘Yes, you know, a fellow starts downhill and starts down toward death. Well, Dianetics picks him back up again.’ They went away in a trance! Actually, isn’t that what we are doing? The new theta-MEST theory makes that so apparent, and the results you get follow in so closely that, actually, we are doing just that.” — L. Ron Hubbard, May 15, 1951
“US STATS HAVE JUST GONE OVER THE MILLION MARK!!! AOSHUK IS OVER $47,000!” — The Commodore, May 15, 1971
“Fifth day on OT IX. There is like a ‘learning experience’ of life in the MEST. Before when I made a postulate, I don’t know how it happened, if it happened at all. I realize now that I was much less conscious. Now I make a postulate and I feel the static energy blossom, as if I am aligning the MEST to get my postulate. It is a conscious feeling. It might be right in my Universe, but no, the thing is happening in the MEST.”
2000: Battlefield Earth was released in the U.S. this week. From Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times: “‘Battlefield Earth’ is like taking a bus trip with someone who has needed a bath for a long time. It’s not merely bad; it’s unpleasant in a hostile way. The visuals are grubby and drab. The characters are unkempt and have rotten teeth. Breathing tubes hang from their noses like ropes of snot. The soundtrack sounds like the boom mike is being slammed against the inside of a 55-gallon drum. This movie is awful in so many different ways. Even the opening titles are cheesy. ‘Battlefield Earth’ was written in 1980 by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology. The film contains no evidence of Scientology or any other system of thought; it is shapeless and senseless, without a compelling plot or characters we care for in the slightest. The director, Roger Christian, has learned from better films that directors sometimes tilt
their cameras, but he has not learned why. I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies. There is a moment here when the Psychlos’ entire planet (home office and all) is blown to smithereens, without the slightest impact on any member of the audience (or, for that matter, the cast). If the film had been destroyed in a similar cataclysm, there might have been a standing ovation.”
“Eva Gabor was awesome in Green Acres, which was one of the most underrated, surrealist shows of all time. It’s worthy of Lynch or Buñuel.”
Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker
— Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Next pretrial conference May 31. Trial scheduled for August 29.
— ‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Last hearing was on January 18, referred to grand jury. Additional charges also referred to grand jury after January 5 assault while in jail.
— Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
— Rizza Islam and other family members, Medi-Cal fraud: Pretrial conference May 20 in Los Angeles
— David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for June 2.
— Joseph ‘Ben’ Barton, Medicare fraud: Pleaded guilty, awaiting sentencing.
— Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.
— Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court.
— Luis and Rocio Garcia v. Scientology: Eleventh Circuit affirmed ruling granting Scientology’s motion for arbitration. Garcias considering next move.
— Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Valerie’s motion for reconsideration denied on March 15.
— Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Next hearing scheduled for June 29.
— 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?
THE WHOLE TRACK
[ONE year ago] Scientology chiropractor Eric Berg called out by son in viral TikTok video
[TWO years ago] Scientology’s center specializing in auditing your infant is back open in Florida!
[THREE years ago] John Travolta’s daughter makes her own Scientology splash at awards ceremony
[FOUR years ago] Scientology files notice of appeal in time-wasting federal court attack on forced-abortion case
[FIVE years ago] DRONE FLYOVER: An even closer look at where Scientology is keeping Shelly Miscavige
[SIX years ago] Scientology takes on the evil psychs at the APA, and more in our weekly social media review!
[SEVEN years ago] Las Vegas attorney Ryan Hamilton makes it 29 lawsuits against Scientology’s drug rehab
[EIGHT years ago] TIZIANO LUGLI: A new short film about Scientology and ‘slavery’
[NINE years ago] Chiropractor in Viral Video Is Posing In Front of His Scientology Certificates
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 2,665 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,170 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,720 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,710 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,601 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 4,907 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,776 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 3,550 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 1,881 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,354 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,670 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,236 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,155 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,323 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 3,903 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,165 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,201 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 2,916 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,441 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 796 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 1,971 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,522 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,671 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 3,991 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,846 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 3,965 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,321 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,624 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,730 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,128 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,004 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,587 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,082 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,336 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,445 days.
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…
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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