Sorry, Not Sorry

Scientology’s recent grand opening event in Ventura made a huge splash in the community, but not for any of the right reasons. Once again Captain Miscavige demanded theatrics and fanfare as he yanked his ribbon and nothing gets in the way of his will.

Beginning as they intend to go on, COS defiantly released hundreds of balloons in spite of having clearly been told not to do so.

From the statements made by the City, Scientology was informed about the issue and knew balloons were not to be released however, in typical Hubbardian style, they created their own truth and ran with it because of an innocent mistake.

Scientology’s defense is that the release of balloons and confetti was ultimately on their application and the permit was approved. Which is technically true, however they knew beforehand what was expected of them.

Just because one can do something doesn’t always mean one should.

Honest, ethical people would have acted according to the truth. They knew full well the City’s position. Instead they gleefully grasped at the loophole to do exactly what they wanted.

COS moved into this new location and has immediately acted to alienate their new community.

Of course after the fact, once Miscavige had gotten his own way, an apology was issued. Of sorts.

“We’re sorry but they approved our permit and balloons were on it so…”

One is rendered speechless by the overwhelming emotion.

Just how apologetic is COS?

An opinion letter posted in the VC Star on March 9, 2020 makes one think, not very.

Steve Vaughan from Ojai slams the Mayor saying of the incident; “This is a lawyer tactic by the mayor to deflect blame to others. He has put the focus on others instead of owning up and taking responsibility for the failure.”

Harsh and hypocritical words from someone apparently part of an organization who embraces this very accusation, elevating it to an art form.

In spite of the fact that Scientology was told not to release any balloons they did it anyway because they knew they would get away with it. These are not the actions of an honest, ethical religion but rather sneaky, underhanded manipulation by a selfish bully.

Vaughan defends Scientology with an attitude of blind righteousness, pointing out the lack of a ban on plastic straws. Apparently this justifies the thousands of balloon pieces now placing wildlife at serious risk.

Par for the course thinking; where Scientology is involved, two wrongs make a right.

“…the mayor should be disclosing the results of a root cause analysis that allowed the sign-off and approval of the permit (as written).”

In other words, Scientology did something blatantly wrong but it’s the mayor’s fault.

According to reports the words “Balloons/Confetti” were part of the document. The question is in the overall interpretation of the spirit of the permit when Scientology’s entire scope of the interaction with the City is taken into consideration.

In fact this very supposition was touched on in news reports of the incident, “A junior staffer signed off on the permit thinking the church would take heed of the city’s original stance on the balloon release, according to LaVere.”

If “Balloons/Confetti” are the options available on the form and COS was informed verbally that balloons were off the table, that logically leaves confetti as their only choice.

Scientology could have opted for honesty erring on the side of caution, especially as newcomers trying to establish good relations with their community.

Vaughan’s letter to the VC Star doesn’t indicate whether he is a Scientologist or not, however that he so vehemently defends their actions, choosing instead to attack the Permit Department and Mayor LaVere in classic COS style leaves little doubt.

Further, blaming everyone except Scientology for the debacle flies in the face of the apology issued by Scientology Spokesperson Karen Pouw. On the face of it, what has been reported in the media does not appear very apologetic. Perhaps a sincere “We are truly sorry” was given in private. Publicly what is seen is Pouw acknowledging something amiss, but making certain that the Permit Office is clearly ultimately responsible.

Her diluted attempt at PR recovery takes a fatal hit with Steve Vaughan’s angry letter.

Vaughan comes out swinging, making demands, telling the Mayor what he should be doing and dismissing the repercussions of the balloon release in favor of pointing out other lapses in the County’s protection of the environment.

These actions are far from sorry, rather they go far in portraying Scientology as defensive, belligerent and arrogant.

One would think that in the interest of public relations in their new location Scientology would be anxious to do whatever it takes to heal and breach this rift.

Instead it appears that they’ve reluctantly offered a halfhearted verbal acknowledgement lacking even the semblance of real regret.

An attitude unmistakably bolstered by this new and recent letter in the VC Star.

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