Gabe Cazares at Clearwater City Council meeting, 2/17/2000
Good evening, I'm Gabe Cazares. I live at 2581 Countryside Boulevard in Clearwater's countryside. I used to live on Clearwater Beach's beach when I moved in in 1966 after 28 years of military service. I have seen many changes in Clearwater and I have contributed in every way I could to make this a better place to live for all. I'm here tonight to speak on the letter to the editor in the "St. Petersburg Times" of February 13 that stated in part, quote, "Neither Mr. Bob Minton nor any of his followers are good for Clearwater. They're all from out of town and don't care for Clearwater or any of its citizens." This is an outrageous lie. Mr. Minton did not lie when he came to Clearwater, nor did he try to hide his assets. His doors are open to anyone, any time, without police escorts. I was here in 1976 when the United Churches of Florida lied and took over the Ft. Harrison Hotel before admitting that they were the infamous Scientology cult. They were all from out of town. How many in this room are from out of town? That doesn't seem to be an indictment of a person. I remember standing before the City Hall flag pole in 1979 proclaiming that Clearwater was not for sale at any price. I was wrong. As of last October the Scientologists own more than 37 properties in Clearwater with just a--with a just value of more than $40,143,900 with a tax-exempt value of at least $23,674,500. No wonder our taxes are at an all-time high. The long-existing coalition of Scientologists, City of Clearwater officials, zoning lawyers and the Greater Clearwater Chamber of Commerce has now been confirmed without commission or media objection. Only the citizens and true citizens in, in Clearwater can put an end to this unholy alliance. The city owes Mr. Minton at the least an apology. Concerned citizens and religious institutions and veterans groups owe Mr. Minton their prayers and thanks for coming to Clearwater and trying to save this community. Thank you.