To the Editor:
Your article “Clearwater, Florida Mayor Cretekos Takes Priestly Approach with Scientologists” by Andy Dabilis (published online Oct. 26) misinforms your readers about the Church of Scientology.
The first bit of misinformation – that my Church is creating a master retail district – is fake news.
The Church of Scientology is the largest taxpayer in Downtown Clearwater and visiting Scientologists contribute some $1.5 million in tourist tax, a tax the Church collects and disburses to Pinellas County and the state of Florida for the much-touted Clearwater tourism. The Church of Scientology has been in Clearwater since 1975, almost half the life of incorporated Clearwater.
Greeks number among the over 12,000 Scientologists who travel to Clearwater annually to partake in Scientology religious services at our advanced religious retreat located in Downtown Clearwater. The Church of Scientology has over 11,000 churches, missions, and groups in over 190 countries and 12,000 Scientologists live in the Clearwater area.
We have many wonderful friends who are members of the Greek community in the Greater Clearwater area. In fact, since 2002, the Church has hosted an annual event by the Laconian Greeks in our beautiful Fort Harrison. Additionally, among our good friends downtown are tailor Dino Zompanikis, the tailor and the Chaconas Family, owners of Downtown’s Angie’s restaurant.
Clearwater’s current mayor, George Cretekos, spoke at the Grand Opening of last year’s three-week Winter Wonderland, a free Holiday-themed family festival that the Church has held for 25 years for thousands from every race, color, creed, and religion. Last April, Mr. Cretekos spoke at the Grand Re-Opening of the Community Learning Center, a private, nonprofit humanitarian organization which is supported by the Church of Scientology and has helped over 10,000 children and adults improve their literacy since their establishment in 1998. And, in 2015, at a Centennial celebration for the City of Clearwater, Mr. Cretekos spoke alongside former Congressman David Jolly at an event in the Fort Harrison and to an audience of over 400 from all across Clearwater.
These are just a few of the facts that are missing from Mr. Dabilis’ article. There is much, much more. I invite you and the readers of the National Herald to find out the truth about Scientology at scientology.org, freedommag.org, or standleague.org.
Pat Harney is Public Relations Director, Church of Scientology Flag Service Organization