“The DDB requests that the Clearwater City Council appoint one council member to serve
as an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the DDB at the next available meeting.
PASSED AND ADOPTED this 7
th day of April, 2021.
Paris Morfopoulos, Chairman”
City of Clearwater’s Downtown Development Board has a Scientology majority amongst the members.
DDB is comprised of 7 voting members; 5 Scientologists, 1 who works for Scientology’s go-to legal firm, Johnson Pope, and one non-Scientologist.
The board also has two ex-officio members, Mark Bunker and Clearwater Mayor Hibbard, neither of whom have a vote. Of the two, Mayor Hibbard would have the senior position as he is the only one who can actually speak for the City.
On the evening of April 7, 2021, one hour before the DDB was to assemble for an official meeting, Mark Bunker received an email outlining an argument for removing one of the two ex-officio members from their positions.
Paris Morfopoulis was certainly not targeting the Mayor.
This addendum was announced too late to allow Bunker to receive any public support, a calculated move on Morfopoulis’ and Cassano’s part.
Why bother going through the motions in this situation at all? Bunker has no vote, no decision making powers.
Paris Morfopoulis was adamantly against Bunker, a well known critic of Scientology, from the beginning.
In an email obtained through a FOIA request, Morfopoulis’ objections are clearly because of Bunker’s criticism of COS.
So what is the point?
Attempting to have Mark Bunker removed from his seat on the DDB would appear to serve a three pronged objective.
First is Morfopoulis’ personal vendetta against Bunker. Second, it is reasonable to assume that Miscavige wants Bunker “handled” just on principle, an attempt to make a point. Neither of these constitutes a valid reason to have Mark Bunker removed.
A third consideration looks to the near future for the Scientology majority DDB board.
Smith-Levin intends to announce his candidacy for a seat on the Council in the next election. For Scientology and Miscavige, having one critic (Bunker) involved is bad enough. The potential for two would be an untenable disaster of monumental proportions.
Laying the groundwork for Bunker’s removal, however unlikely, is one thing. One cannot help but wonder whether COS is also looking forward in an attempt to hinder Smith-Levin’s ability to land in their midst as well.
Paris Morfopoulis’ inconsequential, frivolous move is absolutely about Scientology.
Not the City of Clearwater.
In the video for the meeting Elise Winters, paid attorney for the DDB, is asked by Bunker where this idea originated. Winters replies that she brought the suggestion to Morfopoulis. Whether this was an attempt to deflect responsibility away from the Chairman on to herself is unknown. Bottom line is that ultimately Morfopoulis would have to approve both the item Elise was suggesting be brought before the board as well a payment for the billable hours she spent working on it. If the end result turns out to be either Bunker’s removal or the blocking of Aaron Smith-Levin’s future appearance it would be time and non-Scientology money well spent as far as COS is concerned.
Currently the City of Clearwater is undergoing a concerted revitalization effort. So why does Morfopoulis choose now to reduce the input of a position that is to be a communication point between the DDB and the city? As the above email states, the seat is to “listen and represent the city organization point of view”.
Is it in the City’s best interest to reduce such representation in the midst of a vitally important time of revivification?
Now, more than ever, Clearwater’s growth and improvement should foster inclusive partnership between all concerned City Officials. There should be more involvement, not less.
Given the totality of the circumstances surrounding Scientology’s goals for the City of Clearwater, Paris Morfopoulis’ actions cannot be seen in any light but one.
The addendum presented to the board is not about what is best for the City or even the DDB.
Surely no one capable of intelligent thought involved in this debacle can be confused about the motives.
It’s about Scientology.