Sometime in August 2000 Mark Bunker
and I attended a meeting of Citizens for a Better Clearwater at a deli in downtown Clearwater.
We learned there of their project to turn a small alleyway off
Cleveland Street into a park. They were going to sell bricks where
people could place a message on them to raise money, and these bricks would be interspersed through the brickwork walkway in the park.
On September 14, 2000 I wrote a check to Citizens for a Better
Clearwater for $45.00 to purchase a brick for the new park. CBC had
basically one rule about what could be on the brick, that there could
be only one memorial brick per deceased. They later added that a
committee would review each message. My brick
was to say "Remember Lisa McPherson, 1959-1995."
On September 21 I sent an email to Citizens for a Better Clearwater
asking if the Scientology security cameras would be staying in the
park (there were 2 on the Scientology building that makes the west
wall of the park). I got a nice letter back thanking me for my brick
purchase, and they didn't know if the cameras would be staying or not.
On October 7 I sent another check for $45.00 to Citizens for a
Better Clearwater to again purchase a brick to help pay for the park
amenities. This one was for a friend and it was to say "in memory of
Congressman Leo Ryan."
About a week ago I was over by the park and noticed they were
putting bricks in finally. I asked the worker how they were
dispersing the message bricks and he said just as they came off the
pallet and in no other particular order. I was glad and looking
forward to seeing where my bricks might be placed.
The above is the entire extent of my contact with Citizens for a
Better Clearwater, until today. Today I got a letter from CBC dated
February 27 and signed Doug Williams, Treasurer. Here is the letter:
Dear Mr. Jacobsen,
Citizens for a Better Clearwater is a private, non-profit
organization which is committed to improving
the city and forwarding a message of unity amongst its citizens and development for the
We have reviewed your
application along with your correspondence on the matter and do not
feel that we can accept donations for a brick from you and still
maintain the message of community harmony that we seek. We are therefore returning your brick donations.
* * * * * *
First off, what on earth was disharmonizing about my bricks?
Second, why did it take them months to let me know about this
rejection, especially since they had sent a letter thanking me for the
orders previously? Third, what "correspondence" are they talking
about? I only ordered the bricks and asked about the security
cameras, that's it.
I suspect now what I had heard as rumor, that CBC is controlled by
Scientology. What other "community" would be in
disharmony over my bricks?
So now I have a check for $90 and a bitter taste in my mouth.
"The idea that one can 'push' Scientology and
get no penalty is a false one." Russell Shaw
"To punish to the fullest extent of my power anyone misusing or
degrading Scientology to harmful ends" (The original Code of a
"To punish to the fullest extent of my
power anyone misusing or degrading Scientology to harmful ends" (The
original Code of a Scientologist)
--Jeff Jacobsen, March 2001
Page update: 5/16/01. Jeff prevailed in this dispute! See the photo above.
Page update 5/18/01: Related pages
St. Petersburg Times article 4/20/01 . "A secret committee of the Citizens for a Better Clearwater responsible for beautifying an alley next to a Scientology owned property rejected the McPherson brick along with two other bricks ordered by members of a Scientology watchdog group called the Lisa McPherson Trust.
Jeff's speech to Clearwater City Commission of 5/17/01