Letters from Leona Valley area residents, regarding the Narconon Conditional Use Permit proposal.
Dear Mr. Hartl,
Thank you for the helpful letter of January 31, 2006, in response to my corrsepondance with (LA County Supervisor) Michael D. Antonovich regarding the subject CUP requests.
My husband and I attended the Town Council "Narconon Informational Meeting" at Leona Valley on 3/6/06 anxious to learn about Scientology's Narconon program and its potential impact on Leona Valley. Although this was billed as a Town Meeting for area residents, the back of the room was filled with admitted Scientologists and Narconon members who became very vocal, disruptive and intimidating when speakers presented data that was not favorable to Narconon.
I was prepared to judge the merits of Narconon in my community on its own, but as demonstrated by the Scientology people at our Town Meeting, I realized the two could not be separated.
Frankly, these people troubled me. The disrespectful and intimidating way they bullied and shouted down local folks who were opposed to Narconon told me these were not people I want in my community.
I concluded from this meeting, that there is no benefit to Leona Valley or to my family or me. Proponents offered not one bit of provable or credible evidence that Narconon's presence would be benign or a welcome addition to our current quality of rural, friendly, and safe lifestyle.
While there are many uses available to property owners under the CUP process, I feel Narconon's Drug Rehabe Center is not an appropriate compliment to the communities of Leona Valley, Green Valley or the Lakes.
Attn: Mr Hartl,
On Monday, March 6th, the Leona Valley Town Council held a Town Hall Meeting, The purpose of the meeting was to provide information to the community about Narconon. They were prepared to present both pro and con about Narconon, so that the community would have a better understanding. Narconon/Scientology packed the back of the room and whenever anything about them was brought up, they became very disruptive. They never would let anyone speak if it was not in their favor. They would yell and call out until the person gave up and sat down. They were very intimidating both during the meeting and after when the residents tried to speak with those that had something negative to say. I do not call this good community neighbors.
Also Narconon introduced a person that was from a security company that they had hired. They implied that this persons company would handle all the security. It turns out that all he does is consult with them on what type of security they need. When questioned by two people from the audience that have police background, he was very vague. What they intent to do is hire his company to train their people for security. I believe it should be required to that they hire a professional security company to provide the security 24/7 for them. I do not feel comfortable with them using their workers in this capacity. They should be required to have any company they use to provide credentials for the company.
Narconon continues to state that they will not have any applicants with criminal records, but find it hard to believe they can make background checks to assure this. I would request that they not be able to accept any applicants that come from the courts.
My biggest concern is fear for me and my family's safety. With the intimidating behavior they display and the false statements they make, they give me cause for concern. Leona Valley has always been a very safe and trusting community. It is down home America and we all enjoy the country life. We have no gang problems, and crime is next to nil. This type of facility goes against everything this community is about. I hope that with this additional information you will reconsider your approval of this permit.
Dear Supervisor Antonovich,
I have been a homeowner in Bouquet Canyon since 1992. This letter is in regard to teh proposed CUP for the Narconon facility to be located at the old Canyon Oaks School located on Bouquet Canyon Road at Spunky Canyon Road. I have attended several community meetings in Leona Valley where Narconon representatives were present and I attended the CUP hearing in Los Angeles on January 4, 2006. Throughout this process, I have continually expresses my opinion that a drug rehabilitation facility is not wanted in our community. Attached is a copy of the letter I sent to Regional Planning prior to the hearing outlining the reasons this facility is not appropriate for our community. However, since the hearing, there have been additional issues that need to be brought to your attention to show the extent of deception and misconduct during this approval process.
Issue: Lack of Honesty by Petitioners for CUP
1) At the Leona Valley Town Council Meeting in January, Narconon stated they are checked on by the State of California every 6 months to every year. This was their attempt to indicate they are highly regulated. However, I contacted the Dept. of Alcohol and Drug Programs in Sacramento and Diane indicated they are only checked once every 2 years and when there are complaints.
2) At the Leona Valley Town Council Meeting in January, Narconon stated they check the backgrounds of those they take in as "students." They indicated they question the postential student and the family members. When asked directly by a community member if they accessed DOJ criminal records, they stated they did. However, when I contacted Diane at the Dept of Alcohol and Drug Programs, Diane stated that only law enforcement can access DOJ criminal histories and Narconon does not have that access. When Narconon was confronted with this information at the February Town Hall meeting, they recanted and said they misspoke. It cam out that Narconon directors were either lying to the community or they are ignorant about their own program.
3) At the CUP hearing in January, Narconon was DIRECTED to make contact with the community members. They have failed to do so. The residents who live closest to the proposed facility have a Saugus address and have minimal access to events in Leona Valley which is the closest town. As such, we are not always informed as to the activities of the community which should put the burden on Narconon to actually contact the residents of Bouquet Canyon which are the community members affected by the CUP, not the Town Councils of Leona Valley or Green Valley which are located in separate canyons.
Issue: Procedural Misconduct by Regional Planning
1) During the January hearing on the Narconon CUP, 13 people testified in favor of the CUP and six testified against it. Of those who testified for it, two were from Narconon and one was a resident of Bouquet Canyon for the last 6 months. The remaining people who testified for it had no standing on the issue. They were neither petitioners or residents. They were people, many who do not even even live in LA County, who were allowed to testify regarding the effectiveness of Narconon and not in regard to the CUP and the suitability of using the old school as a drug rehab center. There were several outbursts by the members brought in by Narconon and they essentially were involved in a filibuster until one commissioner finally closed down their testimony since it was not addressing the issues. The 6 residents of Bouquet Canyon testified AGAINST having a drug rehab facility in thir neighborhood. However, when we received a letter from Regional Planning, they basically said since 13 members testified for the CUP and 6 testified against it, they would approve the CUP. How can non-stakeholders opinions be counted against the residents who are stakeholders? Isn't the purpose of the CUP hearing to obtain input from the COMMUNITY and base the decision on the standing of the community? Why were non-stakeholders allowed to have input on our community.
2) This brings me to my second allegation of misconduct. In the CUP hearing just prior to the Narconon hearing, there were two people who testified for a CUP to sell beer and wine at a convenience store. One testified for and one against. However, one of the commissioners stated he was a resident of that same community and knows the community didn't not support having another establishment selling alcoholic beverages. Based on the lack of community support, he suggested the CUP NOT be granted and the rest of the commission agreed. Why is it that the opinion and concerns of the community mattered when it was from his community but was TOTALLY ignored when the voice of our community was overwhelmingly against a drug rehab facility in our neightborhood? This shows their decision making was arbitrary and capricious and thus not valid.
Issue: Possible Perjury
1) During the CUP hearing, the Narconon petitioners were asked if there had been any problems with their facilities, especially Warner Springs. They stated on record, and under oath, "Not to my knowledge." They only disclosed one "walk away" who was found 200 feet away at a pay phone. These same people (Catherine Savage) were at the February Leona Valley town meeting when they then described some of the problems at the Newport Beach facility. Now I am in the process of obtaining official documents from the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs to ascertain the five year complaint and compliance history of Narconon. Upon receipt of those documents, we will be able to ascertain the types of problems at Warner Springs which were not disclosed to Regional Planning. At the March 6th meeting in Leona Valley, it was disclosed there were in fact three complaints at the Warner Springs facility since it opened in 2002 and an additional 57 complaints for all the other Narconon facilities in the last five years. It appears either perjury was committed at the Regional Planning hearing or those who testified were ignorant of the problems at their facilities and thus incompetent as witnesses. Based on that, their testimony should be struck.
"Comparing Scientology to a motorcycle gang is a gross, unpardonable insult to bikers everywhere. Even at our worst, we are never as bad as Scientology." -- ex-member, Thunderclouds motorcycle "club"