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    Letters to the Editors

    Tax dollars should not go to Narconon


    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 13, 2003

    Re: Detox center seeks acceptance, story, March 30.

    Narconon, a Scientology drug treatment program, wants taxpayers' dollars by having the local court system order people into the program at a cost of $7,500 per client.

    The article goes on to state that the "political elite" -- such as Clearwater Mayor Brian Aungst, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judges Linda Allan and Linda Babb (how can judges endorse a $7,500-per-client religious program?) and County Commissioner Susan Latvala -- are impressed, and Pinellas Public Defender Robert Dillinger said he "could envision courts sending offenders there."

    The article states that insurance is not accepted at Narconon. What insurance company would pay $7,500 per client for a religious-based treatment program "incorporating the same concepts and principles one encounters in introductory Scientology courses at a church mission"?

    Cheryl Alderman, the director of this Scientology program, is a Scientologist herself who invested $100,000 of her own money to make a profit. According to the story, "Drug treatment became a priority for Alderman, she said, after an immediate family member failed to get help from several treatment programs." That vast knowledge of chemical dependency, plus a "staff of five that includes a certified addiction specialist and a registered nurse" equals no validation of the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for competent treatment performance.

    As a former director/counselor in chemical dependency treatment programs at a state prison for the Florida Department of Corrections, I just put this disgraceful, dishonorable catastrophe in perspective. My salary was $28,000 per year, with a minimum of 50 inmates on my case load at all times. For $7,500 I could treat 50 inmates continuously for three months and give myself a $500 bonus. That's correct, I said former director/counselor of treatment programs for the Department of Corrections because Gov. Jeb Bush cut funding for state prison treatment programs as of Jan. 1, 2002.

    Now taxpayers are to pay $7,500 per client as a recruitment tool for Scientology.
    -- Michael J. Kelly, Dunedin

    Narconon drug treatment program is cult recruiting tool

    Re: Detox center seeks acceptance, story, March 30.

    Scientology intends to open its drug treatment program called Narconon. In no way should our schools, courts or community be involved with this program. The cult has tried this in many areas of the country. The Boston area concluded, after the cult infiltrated the school system, that it is an unproven and possibly dangerous program.

    The methods that Narconon uses are very antipsychiatric because that is the cult way. Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard was antipsychiatry for obvious reasons. The $1,200 detoxification program called the "purification rundown" is unproven and may be harmful -- and $1,200 for a sauna, vitamins, treadmill and cooking oil? This often is the first step in the cult's high-priced teachings. According to the Food and Drug Administration, the only things the procedure removes from the body are salt and water.

    According to the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health, Narconon's program is not safe. There are no scientific, independent, well-controlled studies that document its safety. Yet according to Hubbard, the purification rundown can cure, among other things, radiation sickness! Narconon only appears to have decent results for two reasons. One, it doesn't take addicts that would require professionals to treat them, and two, the patients are declared cured by unqualified members of the cult.

    The cult has always been looking for ways to get at our children in the public schools. Don't our elected officials and judges care about the welfare of our kids and citizens? If they did, they would not endorse this program.

    The bottom line is, you can't give taxpayer dollars to what is essentially a cult recruiting tool. You have to understand the cult's only goal is to sell expensive programs and expand. It doesn't do anything unless it benefits the cult.
    -- David Rodman, Dunedin

    Do city officials know about golf course's 'quicksand?'

    Re: Glen Oaks golf course and proposed soccer fields.

    I think it is a marvelous idea to provide soccer fields for our young people. Soccer is much safer than football.

    However, I'm not so sure that the Clearwater city commissioners have put much thought or research into the use of Glen Oaks golf course. Do they know, for example, that the golf course was built on "quicksand?" A tremendous amount of fill was put in there, and if you walk on it, it is still soft, wet and spongy.

    I think the taxpayers of Clearwater are going to be amazed at the cost of filling and leveling (the land) and cutting down those huge and beautiful trees. They are going to find it far too expensive, and former City Commissioner Fred Thomas will get his wish after all: Let's see if condos and houses don't appear on the horizon because taxes are far more important than recreation.
    -- Gordon Bradbury, Clearwater

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