Author Topic: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs  (Read 5248 times)

Offline ethercat

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Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« on: December 16, 2009, 00:00 »
Well, ok, they can occupy the building, but they can only occupy it in the same way they always could have before they spent piles of money on attorney Woodson Galloway.  The fourth floor, the enclosed basement, was denied, or rather, not even voted on.  The scientologists spent a lot of money, and didn't get their way, not with whining, not with phoney compromises, and not even with legal threats!

The city made the best move they could have, strategically speaking.  By not denying them outright, they took the wind out of any sails a RLUIPA lawsuit will have, and made it purely a property usage issue.

http://www.myfoxatlanta.com/dpp/news/sandy_springs_votes_on_church_move_121509

Quote
Sandy Springs Votes on Church Move

Updated: Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009, 11:12 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 15 Dec 2009, 10:27 PM EST

Reported By: Julia Harding | Edited By: Leigha Baugham

SANDY SPRINGS, Ga. (MyFOX ATLANTA) - For the last 10 months, a show down has been brewing between the Church of Scientology and the city of Sandy Springs. The church wanted to move into a new building, and on Tuesday night, the city council passed the motion. However, the church's plans to expand were still denied.

The Church of Scientology wanted to expand and move into a building it purchased on Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.  Opponents of the plan said the move would make a busy area that much more congested.

Opponents said the church's classes would go all day and well into the evening, causing traffic overflow and accidents to spill over to nearby streets.

The city planning board said there was inadequate parking for the church.

The issue was to be taken up in a city council meeting back in October, but the vote was deferred.

On Tuesday, the Sandy Springs city council voted to pass the motion which would allow the church to move into the new location. However, the city council also passed a new motion which denied the church from adding on to the new building, thwarting expansion plans.

Church members said they will take their fight to federal court.

There is video at the link above, but the best video is yet to come, from SocialTransparency and the Reaching For the Tipping Point YouTube channel.  A couple of the outgoing City Council members let loose with questions and had the local critics who attended LOL-ing.  Galloway stepped in something smelly (smelled like cult) and got it all over his shoes.

Watch this space.
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Raven

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2009, 06:37 »
The sci lawyer kept messing up again.  He was asked who can access the building and its different parts.  Galloway on his own said something about you have to pass security to get into it including hte museum and bookstore.
A councilmen asked why and Galloway responded (as i best remember this) they have "brutes" that protest them and cause damage to their buildings, send anthrax in the mail and then the usual line of cult crap to go with it.   The councilman  asked it these threats should be a reason not to let the cult in to Sandy Springs.  After all this sounded very dangerous.  Galloway then back tracked a bunch.  Everyone around me exploded in laughter. 

Offline ethercat

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2009, 08:03 »
Lawsuit coming, despite Sandy Springs' OK of Scientology church
http://www.ajc.com/news/north-fulton/lawsuit-coming-despite-sandy-242245.html

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By April Hunt

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Scientology is coming to Sandy Springs – but a federal lawsuit is coming first.
Enlarge photo
Church of Scientology's vice president Bob Adams speaks during the council meeting at Sandy Springs City Hall.
Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com Church of Scientology's vice president Bob Adams speaks during the council meeting at Sandy Springs City Hall.
Enlarge photo
Hundreds of neighbors and members of Church of Scientology showed up for the council meeting Tuesday night at Sandy Springs City Hall for the vote on moving the Church of Scientology's current state headquarters in Dunwoody into a Sandy Springs office building it owns.
Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com Hundreds of neighbors and members of Church of Scientology showed up for the council meeting Tuesday night at Sandy Springs City Hall for the vote on moving the Church of Scientology's current state headquarters in Dunwoody into a Sandy Springs office building it owns.
Enlarge photo
Sandy Springs resident Patty Burns shows petitions opposing the Scientology project as council members (from left) Doug MacGinnitie, District 1, Dianne Fries, District 2, and Rusty Paul, District 3, look on during the council meeting at Sandy Springs City Hall.
Hyosub Shin, hshin@ajc.com Sandy Springs resident Patty Burns shows petitions opposing the Scientology project as council members (from left) Doug MacGinnitie, District 1, Dianne Fries, District 2, and Rusty Paul, District 3, look on during the council meeting at Sandy Springs City Hall.
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“Absolutely,” said attorney William Woodson Galloway, when asked if the Church of Scientology will pursue a religious liberty lawsuit following a vote Tuesday that limited the size of the church in Sandy Springs. “We are not happy with the result.”

The result was a 3-3 vote by the City Council on Tuesday night that tried to find a common ground between outright denial of the rezoning of the office building at Roswell Road and Glenridge Drive and agreeing to the church’s request to add a fourth floor to the building.

In the end, the tiebreaking vote went to Mayor Eva Galambos, who supported the staff and Planning Commission middle ground that allowed the church in, but without the additional space.

Council members Dianne Fries, Ashley Jenkins and Rusty Paul also voted in favor, while council members Tibby DeJulio, Doug MacGinnitie and Karen Meinzen McEnerny dissented.

“We can’t make everybody happy,” Galambos said. “We did the best we could with our zoning ordinances and all the recommendations before us.”

That was cold comfort to the standing-room-only crowd that showed up to argue against the rezoning, based on concerns about parking and traffic.

Opposition was massive. More than 700 residents signed petitions against the rezoning, and 16 neighborhood associations formally opposed the move.

more at the link above.
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Offline ethercat

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #3 on: December 16, 2009, 08:07 »
Atlanta Public Broadcast has a link to listen to their broadcast from before the vote.

Sandy Springs to Vote Tuesday on Scientology Rezoning Request
http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wabe/news.newsmain/article/1/0/1589142/Atlanta/Sandy.Springs.to.Vote.Tuesday.on.Scientology.Rezoning.Request

Quote
ATLANTA, GA (WABE) - The Sandy Springs City Council tonight votes on a controversial rezoning request by the Church of Scientology. It's a plan that has hundreds saying "Not in my back yard." WABE's Jim Burress reports.

Those opposing the rezoning say they don't have a problem with Scientology, but with parking and traffic issues.

The church wants to expand an existing building by adding an extra floor.

It's already amended its application to deal with some of residents' concerns.

Legally, the question could now center on discrimination, says WABE legal analyst Page Pate.

"Is the City Council treating this application differently because it's a church?"

If the council would likely approve the proposal for a business, but not the church, Pate says Scientologists could sue based on the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.

"There haven't been a lot of individual lawsuits filed by religious institutions. I think they use it as saber rattling in these council meetings."

Still, Pate says, a challenge could prove tough--and costly for Sandy Springs.

The council votes tonight at six. Jim Burress, WABE News
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Offline 4truth

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #4 on: December 16, 2009, 12:25 »
One thing that has been bugging me in this zoning issue is why the residents of Sandy Springs and Fulton County have not (at least from what I've been able to gather thus far) protested Scientology's numerous human rights abuses? I'm a semi-regular poste on OCMB, and Gumby has started a number of threads there about the zoning issue in Sandy Springs but I seldom see this point come up.

When I attended a protest at Scientology's current GA HQ in Chamblee last year, most of the Anonnymous protestors were informing the neighbors of Scientology's evil and destructive practices, and most of them were grateful about being informed as to their true intentions as well as the lives they have destroyed.

Why has this element been absent in the zoning debate? I don't buy the "religious freedom" angle Scientology and its apologists spew forth when criticized. EVERY major religion and their respective abuses have been scrutinized in recent years, from Islamic terrorism to Catholic priests' molesting young boys. The main difference IMO is that those abuses have nothing to do with the tenets of Christianity or Islam, but it is IMPOSSIBLE to seperate lies, fraud and abuse from Scientology since Hubbard CREATED it that way!

Sandy Springs residents have the right to know that the devil is in their back yard.

Offline Ultrapoet

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2009, 12:41 »
One thing that has been bugging me in this zoning issue is why the residents of Sandy Springs and Fulton County have not (at least from what I've been able to gather thus far) protested Scientology's numerous human rights abuses? I'm a semi-regular poste on OCMB, and Gumby has started a number of threads there about the zoning issue in Sandy Springs but I seldom see this point come up.

Because they tried that tactic in Chicago and it FAILED MISERABLY.  Zoning meetings have to be about reason and not emotion.  If we had made a big deal about the "Church" and its practices, that would have run the risk of strengthening the "religious discrimination" argument.

Quote
Sandy Springs residents have the right to know that the devil is in their back yard.

Oh, trust me, they know.  I describe it as the elephant in the living room--we can't point to it directly, all we can do is try to clean up the poo it leaves on the floor.

Offline wynot

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2009, 14:14 »
Appropriate behavior at a picket outside their retail outlet is not the same as at a zoning meeting. Any mention of the cult's wacky beliefs, or prior bad acts by the council members, or by those speaking against the zoning variance might have given grounds for the lawsuit they had already threatened. By focusing on parking and traffic exclusively of all other issues, the city has been able to rule in a way I think the cult will have a very hard time overturning, no matter how well their lawyers lie...

'til next time;
wynot
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Offline Elizabeth

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2009, 20:44 »
This is what impressed me:
Quote
Opposition was massive. More than 700 residents signed petitions against the rezoning, and 16 neighborhood associations formally opposed the move.
Wow! You guys are awesome! I know from local politics that if you can get a huge turnout of opposition on local matters they almost always give the people what they want. These local politicians are directly elected by those 700 people and have to face them in their community. Whoever motivated that kind of opposition, deserves the credit for this.

I think the council did exactly the right thing. They cannot be accused of discriminating against a religion, yet they have thwarted their expansion. Failure to renovate does not give Davey Miscavige any kind of win. How can he have a grand opening and big Idle Org event there, without the building done the exact way he wants it? He's probably been having a massive hissy fit over this and has probably already beat someone up for it. Now if you can keep a large Anonymous and critic/protest presence going on there, Scientology might feel very unwelcome and eventually just go somewhere else.

Offline Lorelei

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Re: Scientology loses in Sandy Springs
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2009, 08:06 »
4truth: We chose to stick to zoning-related concerns partially because Chicago failed to win their objections when bringing up the human rights abuses, but also because the primary issue and concern of the residents and the council is, indeed, ZONING.

The only party even mentioning the religion angle was Scientology. They wanted special favours and to get zoning guidelines ignored in their favour. They were granted special favours, and whined about religious discrimination. They were the ONLY people even MENTIONING their religious beliefs, and they did so frequently, probably HOPING that someone would bite the hook and complain about their culty ways.

No one bit the hook, and they are still going to try to sue, because they are stupid.

To recap:

Scientology bought an overpriced white elephant of a building unsuitable for their needs.
Scientology let it rot, much like they let all their properties rot.
Scientology decided it was time to move into the overpriced white elephant building.
Scientology discovered belatedly that their grand plans would not work in the building "as is".
Scientology asked for the zoning rules and guidelines--that other entities in the SS area have to abide by--be changed especially for them.
The residents objected to the proposed zoning rules being changed specifically for Scientology.
The residents noted that the building looked like crap, and that Scientology refused to address any exterior repairs they planned to do.
Scientology told everyone how they had cool new HDTVs and wood paneling on the interior.
The residents noted that parking is inadequate, and that the Scientologists outnumbered the available parking slots, even when including the slots they share with a government building (a Post Office), which may be sketchy anyway, given that a State business probably should not be giving favours to any Church of any kind.
Scientology claimed that their congregation was small, and would not use all the parking.
Residents noted that prior events held at the property filled the lot, and overflowed into nearby neighborhoods, and they were not happy.
Scientology claimed that their congregation was large, and needed the expansion.
Residents asked for hard numbers and Deb Danos and Woody Galloway could not or would not give a straight answer. The congregation was small when it suited them on the parking issue, and large when it came to begging for exemptions to the zoning laws so they could expand; small when talking about increased traffic in the area and large when it came to their supposed popularity and clout in the community.
Scientology claimed that their large / small congregation coming and going at all hours of the day and night would not consitute a hardship on the residents.
The residents respectfully disagreed, and whereas Scientology tried to worm out of pinning down their operating hours, they finally had to, and these were deemed excessive, and they were told that they could not be "open for business" for so many hours a day without reducing the quality of life for residents. Further, they were forbidden to have anyone stay overnight in the building, a restriction you can be sure they will ignore once they move in.
Scientology claimed it would not set up stress test tables or book sale tables in the parking lot.
Residents pointed out that they already had done so.
Scientology claimed that the building was fewer square feet in size than it actually is.
Residents with appropriate professional credentials revealed that this was not true, and when Scientology insisted on sticking to the lower (and incorrect, but favourable to them) numbers, refused to let them fudge the numbers at the expense of the truth.
Scientology claimed that the building would not draw additional traffic / need more parking because they had no plans to invite the general public into the building, and then in the same breath discussed a bookstore, classes and videos on those expensive HDTVs that no one cared about that were targeted at the public.

And so on.

Basically, Scientology ignored all the legitimate concerns of the council and community while not giving a straight answer about their congregation size, hours of operation, intentions for the property, intended outreach to the public, number of large events / parties / fund raisers they planned to hold on site that would increase the number of people / cars on site, and so on.

They TRIED to make this a religious discrimination case by labeling parts of their building with "churchy" words like "sanctuary" and then revealed that they function more like a consulting business, with mostly one on one auditing / counseling / regging and small classes, and no real scheduled group services.

Scientology is used to getting its way by screaming about religious discrimination and wearing local residents and councils down with delaying tactics, not filing papers in a timely manner, dragging things out, not being straightforward about their statistics, promising things they know the locals will have a difficult time enforcing after the fact and which they have no intention of complying with once they get their way, by ignoring legitimate concerns to waffle about stuff no one cares about (such as the spiffy new interior redesign, while ignoring the crumbling roof and overgrown grounds and peeling paint on the exterior), by bringing in big bullies from out of town to pressure locals and council members, by importing Scientologists into meetings to imply there is greater support for them than there actually is in the community, by using "religious language" to scare people away from legitimate concerns, and so on.

Obviously, bringing up their record of human rights abuses, fraud, and practicing medicine / therapy without appropriate licences  and medical malpractice, their front groups, their attempts to infiltrate governments, their attempts to indoctrinate children, their attempts to indoctrinate addicts and alcoholics, their habit of taking money for services not rendered, their disdain for non-Scientologist rules and people and communities, and all the other things that make the cult a vile entity would not be useful when the purpose of the opposition was to deny them special zoning exemptions.

It would only give them an excuse to whine about discrimination, when the residents and council themselves were VERY careful not to even BEGIN to "go there," specifically so they would not try their usual legal threats. In this case, let them threaten. They have even less of a case than usual. Sandy Springs saying, "No, we will NOT give you special favours," or "you have failed to convince us that you will abide by our zoning guidelines even if we WERE to give you the special favours you want" is NOT religious discrimination. They bought a building unsuitable to their purposes and could not bully or threaten or lie to get their way, and they are sulking now. Tough to be them.
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 08:11 by Lorelei »
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