Residents Oppose Scientology’s Year-Round Weekend Closures of L. Ron Hubbard Way
Los Angeles, CA–Every Friday morning from 6am until Saturday night at 11pm for thepast two years Samantha Franklin, along with her neighbors, have endured a nightmare of street and sidewalk closures for parties, complete with hostile security guards, stages, bright lighting and loud music, plus vendors crowding her residential street.
Construction on the events begins days in advance starting sometimes before 7am and going on past 10pm at night. Loud teardowns occur during the same hours.
These residents who live on the east side of the street known as L. Ron Hubbard Way in the shadow of the big blue building known as Pacifica Base never receive notice of the closures, as required by the permitting process, nor have they ever been petitioned by the sponsoring organization, the Church of Scientology.
“Imagine being told you can’t drive to you garage that you pay rent for? Imagine not being able to get a pizza delivered. Or having friends be able to come over, and all the noise of set up tear down and the parties themselves.” says Franklin.
Los Angeles City Council : Scientology & L Ron Hubbard Way
Often during these events residents must park in a private garage blocks away owned by Scientology. In order to get a pass to park there, the residents had to give not only their driver’s license numbers, but their Social Security numbers and be photographed.
One elderly resident had to carry her dying dog three blocks to her car because Scientology security guards would not allow her to drive on to the street. Another was told her guests would not be allowed to come to her birthday party. And every week there were graduations, special events, and celebrations held by Scientology.
Then came the final straw: Samantha had come home and parked in her garage before a Scientology party and woke up to find her driveway was blocked by a kiosk and the street full of party goers. So along with demanding changes, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I had seen Anonymous and knew about Project Chanology,” she explained referring to the branch of nameless internet denizens who humorously protest the abuses of Scientology wearing masks and costumes.
“I had written Councilmember Garcetti’s office, but until I went public on entubulation.org, I got no action. Anons contacted their councilpeople and things started happening.”
Through Anonymous, Sammi learned that a blanket motion had been put before the city council to close L. Ron Hubbard Way every weekend for a year. Previously, the Church had petitioned on a week-by-week basis. Sammiand Anonymous went into action. Anonymous compiled photos for her of street closures, including the large digitron TVs and speakers stacks that had blasted music in March and April and the stages tents andshipping containers that are part of what she calls, “L. Ron’s Big Top.”
“So I went to city council with a friend and we explained the unbearable hell the residents go through every week. It seems Mr. Garcetti had never been informed that there were people other than Scientologists living on LRH Way. But there are–and some have lived there for over thirty years, before the city allowed the name to be changed from Berendo to L. Ron Hubbard Way.”
The motion to close the street for 104 days of the year was continued, and will be reviewed Tuesday, September 23.
Street closure permits require petitions signed by residents. Since the Scientology-owned buildings on LRH Way are dormitory housing for Church workers, called the Sea Org, it is easy to obtain the necessary signatures without notifying the non-Scientologist residents who live in apartments and single family homes on the street.
According to city-issued permits, the events are supposed to be open to the general public, but security discourages passage. Additionally, the requirement of a twenty foot wide fire lane has be skirted at times, and the street is often blocked at both ends making it difficult for emergency vehicles to enter if necessary.
At press time Scientology officials have told Sammi that they have withdrawn their request for a year of weekend closures. The residents would like that in writing and the number of days the street is allowed to be closed severely limited, with the resolution of the matter entered into council records.
What happened when Scientologists attempted to stop a 61 year old disabled woman in a walker from using the sidewalk to go home (aka “Bad People”).