Picket Report, Mark Bunker
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Clearwater >Picket Report, Mark Bunker
From: "Mark Bunker"
Subject: Al Buttner wants me to "Go Away!!!"
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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 23:21:12 GMT
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Today I attended the meeting held by the folks hoping to develop
Clearwater's Bayfront. It was a quite interesting time.
As I entered the conference center for the meeting, I met a man on a cell
phone who seemed excited to see me. "Are you filming for a guy named Bob?"
he asked. I pretended I had trouble hearing and asked him to repeat it but
he said "nevermind" and I continued on my way.
As one of the early arrivals I got a choice seat near the front. The
presentation was beginning as I looked back to see Al Buttner seated in the
The developers laid out a rosie picture of what life will be like when they
convert the bayfront into a bustling downtown area with businesses, cinemas,
parks and a botanical garden. The key was to get people to live downtown in
the new beautiful, exciting Clearwater. Without people residing downtown,
they explained, none of this would work.
When the floor was opened to questions, I asked if any studies have been
done to see if people are reluctant to come downtown because of Scientology.
The developers were prepared for this question and it seems someone had
asked it at the early morning session as well.
They explained that now the Scientologists are the only ones downtown so if
you go there it is natural to feel uncomfortable. But when the development
is done 10 - 25,000 people will be milling around downtown and the
Scientologists won't even be noticed.
I then asked about the housing. I said that the folks who want to live
downtown are the Scientologists who come from all over the world to their
Mecca. They will be glad to snap up all the housing to be near Flag and
others will remain at a distance. The developers thought this was nonsense.
Since we were on the topic, I also mentioned that none of the fancy drawings
or computer animations of the downtown area included the new Scientology
Super Power building, the tallest in the city with a giant Scientology cross
designed to be viewed from anywhere in the city. The developer said it
wasn't added because they are not building it, others are.
After the meeting, a reporter from the St. Pete Times came over to ask for a
further quote about Scientology. As we spoke, Al Buttner came over and
stood by our sides. I introduced the Rev. and he stood and listened as I
spoke but after ten seconds or so, the reporter told him she couldn't
concentrate with him there and told him to leave. He did so as I explained
that I felt the city was spending an enormous amount of money and it was
largely going to benefit Scientology who would continue to dominate the
She then went to Al Buttner for a comment and he immediately told her I was
arrested in Chicago and had a restraining order against me.
As Al talked to the reporter, I mingled with the crowd, several of whom told
me that I said what many people were thinking and thanked me for speaking
While talking to two nice women, I was explaining how Scientology uses
religion as a shield. Buttner was by then listening from the side and he
raced over, very indignant, and proclaimed "I have been a devout
Scientologist for 20 years and I am offended to hear such a thing."
He then looked me right in the eyes and very strongly said "Why don't you
I said "That's the difference between us, Al. I ask "Why don't you just
tell the truth and you ask why don't you just leave."
Al said "I always tell the truth."
I swear to you that I didn't burst into laughter at this...but I stood my
ground. Al was getting visibly upset and in his right hand he was holding a
cup of coffee and it was shaking violently.
I asked him, "Why can't you speak to me without your hand shaking? Can't
you use your OT powers to stop your hand from shaking?"
A scientologist woman near Al let out a gasp and said "Oh, that's a low
"Perhaps it was," I replied "but I meant it."
Al looked at me and said "If Hitler was here you would be his good friend"
or words to that effect. One woman winked at me in support.
When I came back to the office and shared my report we decided to take back
a little bit of Clearwater and stage a picket. So around 5:30, armed with
frames of the video I shot in December when the cult painted red dots on the
sidewalks, we went out to protest on the church's side of the street for the
first time in months. Using the pictures as guides, Bob and I made sure to
stay outside of the area Scientology had once illegally painted on the
Peter and Patricia came along as well and we managed to get a LOT of support
from passing motorists. The loud honking of horns was heard throughout the
area as we blanketed Cleveland in front of the Bank Building for an hour
during dinner, driving Al Buttner to distraction as he tried to deal with
the SP's who just won't leave.
This page was last updated on July 10, 2003.