Gabe Cazares

Gabriel "Gabe" Cazares (January 31, 1920 – September 29, 2006) was a mayor of Clearwater, Florida, a Pinellas County commissioner, a civil rights advocate, and a critic of the Church of Scientology. He died September 29, 2006 in Clearwater at the age of 86.[1]

Gabriel "Gabe" Cazares
Gabe Cazares
Gabe Cazares at a rally
Mayor of Clearwater, Florida
In office
Preceded byH. Everett Hougen
Succeeded byCharles F. LeCher
ConstituencyClearwater, Florida
County Commissioner
In office
Succeeded byGeorge Greer
ConstituencyPinellas County, Florida
Personal details
BornJanuary 31, 1920
Alpine, Texas
DiedSeptember 29, 2006 (aged 86)
Clearwater, Florida
Political partyDemocratic

Early history

Gabriel "Gabe" Cazares was born to Mexican parents on 31 January 1920, in Alpine, Texas, as one of nine children. His family moved to Los Angeles, where he worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps. He attended Los Angeles City College on a track scholarship, where he set a record for the junior college 2-mile run which stood for 11 years. He also attended Fresno State College and Texas Christian University, where he earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, and the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his master's degree in business management from Jackson College in Honolulu, Hawaii. Much of his college work was complete while he was in the military. He joined the Army Air Forces in 1941 after the attacks on Pearl Harbor and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

Political career

Cazares retired from military service in 1966 to become a stockbroker. He moved to Clearwater, Florida soon afterwards.

In 1975, Cazares was elected mayor. His resounding victory was noteworthy because he was a Democrat and Hispanic in a largely Republican city then home to few Hispanics. He twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress, in 1976 against U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, and in 1986 against Rep. Mike Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs.

Cazares resigned as mayor in 1978, but was elected county commissioner in 1980. He held that post until Republican George Greer defeated him in 1984. Greer would later receive national attention as the judge in the controversial Terri Schiavo case. In 1991, Cazares was elected to the Common Cause National Governing Board.

His 1998 complaint that Taco Bell's television advertisements featuring a Spanish speaking Chihuahua dog were offensive and demeaning to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, gained attention in the newspapers.

In 2005 he criticized CNN for cutting away from Florida Governor Jeb Bush's speech just as he began to repeat a warning about Hurricane Wilma in Spanish - after the warning in English. Cazares called it dangerously insensitive to Florida's large Spanish speaking population.

Criticism of Scientology

Investigation of church

Cazares became an outspoken critic of Scientology after the church decided in 1975 to move major operations into Clearwater. Cazares was suspicious of the group, which was buying property under the name "United Churches of Florida." The church leaders told Cazares that they were an ecumenical group that planned to improve the ethics and morality in the Clearwater area. Cazares wondered why church folks from Los Angeles, California would travel all the way to Florida to provide Clearwater with moral guidance. Cazares investigated the United Churches of Florida and discovered that the leaders of the group lied about their intentions. They told Cazares they were renting the historic Fort Harrison Hotel from a group called Southern Land Development Leasing Corporation. Cazares discovered that both groups were controlled by Scientologists.

Lawsuit by Church of Scientology

Cazares was sued by the Church of Scientology for $1 million after he said that the city was being taken over. Cazares' suspicions about the group were investigated by local newspapers. On 3 November 1979, the Clearwater Sun ran a headline "Scientologists plot city takeover" and later stories said that the Scientologists had plans to take over the world.[2] The St. Petersburg Times won a Pulitzer Prize for one story exposing the wrongdoings of the Church of Scientology.[3] A 1977 FBI raid on Scientology headquarters uncovered internal documents marked "Top Secret" that referred to their operation to take over Clearwater as "Project Normandy." The FBI uncovered information about "Operation Freakout," an operation intended to get Scientology critic Paulette Cooper committed to a mental hospital. The raid revealed "Operation Snow White," where the Church of Scientology planned to infiltrate federal and state government offices in order to steal documents which reflected negatively on L. Ron Hubbard, or the Church of Scientology. The raid resulted in 11 top leaders of the church in jail. Cazares said it was odd that a religious group would use code names for a project to take control of a town, and called the project a "paramilitary operation by a terrorist group."[4]

Harassment of the Church

The Church of Scientology planned to smear Cazares.[5] Cazares questioned the church's motives, its purchases of downtown property using fictitious names, and the way its security guards carried Billy clubs and mace.[1] At the Church of Scientology, federal investigators found internal memos outlining plans by church leaders to control public opinion in Clearwater, concoct a sex smear campaign against Cazares and infiltrate the local media and other institutions called the "Mayor Cazares Handling Project"[6] and "Speedy Gonzalez."[7] These Scientology documents also revealed that church members had staged a false hit-and-run accident with Cazares in an attempt to discredit him.[1]

Cazares and his wife sued the Church of Scientology for $1.5 million. The church settled with Cazares in 1986.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Mike Donila and Robert Farley "For the disadvantaged and against Scientology: Gabe Cazares spoke out, whether it was as Clearwater mayor, to promote civil rights or to fight Scientology." St. Petersburg Times September 30, 2006
  2. ^ Clearwater Sun "Scientologists plot city takeover" 3 November 1979
  3. ^ Charles L. Stafford; Bette Orsini (1980-01-09). "Scientology: An in-depth profile of a new force in Clearwater" (PDF). St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original (PDF, 905K) on 2016-01-24. Original (18M)
  4. ^ Gabe Cazares video interview for a Clearwater historical society.
  5. ^ United States of America v. Mary Sue Hubbard, et al. Archived 2007-10-06 at the Wayback Machine, Sentencing Memorandum, Criminal Case No. 78-401 (1979), pp. 60-62. Dead Link
  6. ^ "Mayor Cazares Handling Project". Archived from the original on 2010-08-12.
  7. ^ "Speedy Gonzalez". Archived from the original on 2010-08-05.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
H. Everett Hougen
Mayor of Clearwater, Florida
1975 – 1978
Succeeded by
Charles F. LeCher
Preceded by
County Commissioner, Pinellas County, Florida
1980 – 1984
Succeeded by
George Greer
1986 United States House of Representatives elections

The 1986 United States House of Representatives elections was held on November 4, 1986, in the middle of President Ronald Reagan's second term in office while he was still relatively popular with the American public. As in most midterm elections, the President's party—in this case, the Republican Party — lost seats, with the Democratic Party gaining a net of five seats and cementing its majority. These results were not as dramatic as those in the Senate, where the Republicans lost control of the chamber to the Democrats. Notable freshmen include future House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL), future Senators Jon Kyl, Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Jim Bunning, Ben Cardin, Jim Inhofe, and Tim Johnson , former Governor of Maine Joseph E. Brennan, future Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy, future Administrator of the Small Business Administration Pat Saiki, and former Chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee John Lewis.


Cazares is a surname originating in Spain. Notable people with the surname include:

Dino Cazares, American musician

Gabe Cazares (1920–2006), American mayor

Hugo Cázares (born 1978), Mexican boxer

Juan Cazares (born 1992), Ecuadorian footballer

Clearwater, Florida

Clearwater is a city located in Pinellas County, Florida, United States, northwest of Tampa and St. Petersburg. To the west of Clearwater lies the Gulf of Mexico and to the southeast lies Tampa Bay. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 107,685. Clearwater is the county seat of Pinellas County and is the smallest of the three principal cities in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area, most commonly referred to as the Tampa Bay Area.

Cleveland Street is one of the city's historic avenues, and the city includes Spectrum Field and Coachman Park. The city is separated by the Intracoastal Waterway from Clearwater Beach.

Clearwater is the home of Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where bottlenose dolphins Winter and Hope live.

The worldwide headquarters for the Church of Scientology is located in Clearwater.

Epilepsy Foundation

The Epilepsy Foundation, also Epilepsy Foundation of America (EFA), is a non-profit national foundation, headquartered in Landover, Maryland, dedicated to the welfare of people with epilepsy and seizure disorders. The foundation was established in 1968 and now has a network of 59 affiliates. The foundation's programs aim to "ensure that people with seizures are able to participate in all life experiences; and to prevent, control and cure epilepsy through research, education, advocacy and services."

The Epilepsy Foundation came into existence as the result of a merger of the Epilepsy Association of America and the Epilepsy Foundation in 1967. It has since been joined by the National Epilepsy League. In December 2012, it merged with The Epilepsy Therapy Project. The new mission of the Foundation is to "stop seizures and SUDEP, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy through efforts including education, advocacy and research to accelerate ideas into therapies". Programs included educational, counseling, referral, and employment assistance. In addition the EFA has advisory and youth programs, training grants and programs.

List of Guardian's Office operations

From its establishment in 1966 to its demise in the early 1980s, the Guardian's Office (GO) of the Church of Scientology carried out numerous covert operations and programs against a range of perceived opponents of Scientology in the United States and around the world. The GO sought to discredit, destroy or otherwise neutralize – or "depower", in Scientology jargon – any group or individual that it regarded as anti-Scientology. Instructions for such operations were distributed in the form of individually numbered "Guardian Program Orders", abbreviated as GPgmOs, which were distributed from the GO leadership to GO branches in Churches of Scientology and ultimately used to task agents.

List of Mexican Americans

Mexican Americans are residents of the United States who have Mexican ancestry. The list includes Mexican immigrants and those who lived in the southwestern United States when the territory was incorporated in 1848.


OT VIII (Operating Thetan Level 8) is the highest current auditing level in Scientology. OT VIII is known as "The Truth Revealed" and was first released to select high-ranking public Scientologists in 1988, two years after the death of Scientology's founder, L. Ron Hubbard. OT VIII is only delivered to members of the Church of Scientology in one place—aboard the organization's private cruise ship, the Freewinds. OT8 is also available in the Scientology Independent Field. There are a few advanced auditors that are able to deliver the level to those who meet the prerequisites.

"This Solo-audited level addresses the primary cause of amnesia on the whole track and lets one see the truth of his own existence. This is the first actual OT level and brings about a resurgence of power and native abilities for the being himself. The CoS does not currently deliver LRH's OT 8 but an eclipsed version of one part."

Operation Snow White

Operation Snow White was a criminal conspiracy by the Church of Scientology during the 1970s to purge unfavorable records about Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard. This project included a series of infiltrations into and thefts from 136 government agencies, foreign embassies and consulates, as well as private organizations critical of Scientology, carried out by Church members in more than 30 countries. It was one of the largest infiltrations of the United States government in history, with up to 5,000 covert agents. This operation also exposed the Scientology plot 'Operation Freakout', because Operation Snow White was the case that initiated the U.S. government's investigation of the Church.Under this program, Scientology operatives committed infiltration, wiretapping, and theft of documents in government offices, most notably those of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. Eleven highly placed Church executives, including Mary Sue Hubbard (wife of founder L. Ron Hubbard and second-in-command of the organization), pleaded guilty and were convicted in federal court of obstructing justice, burglary of government offices, and theft of documents and government property. The case was United States v. Mary Sue Hubbard et al., 493 F.Supp. 209 (D.D.C. 1979).

Project Normandy

Project Normandy was a top secret Church of Scientology operation wherein the church planned to take over the city of Clearwater, Florida, by infiltrating government offices and media centers. Gabe Cazares, who was the mayor of Clearwater at the time, used the term “the occupation of Clearwater.”


Scientology is a body of religious beliefs and practices launched in May 1952 by American author L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86). Hubbard initially developed a program of ideas called Dianetics, which was distributed through the Dianetics Foundation. The foundation soon entered bankruptcy, and Hubbard lost the rights to his seminal publication Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health in 1952. He then recharacterized the subject as a religion and renamed it Scientology, retaining the terminology, doctrines, the E-meter, and the practice of auditing. Within a year, he regained the rights to Dianetics and retained both subjects under the umbrella of the Church of Scientology.Hubbard describes the etymology of the word "Scientology" as coming from the Latin word scio, meaning know or distinguish, and the Greek word logos, meaning "the word or outward form by which the inward thought is expressed and made known". Hubbard writes, "thus, Scientology means knowing about knowing, or science of knowledge".Hubbard's groups have encountered considerable opposition and controversy. In January 1951, the New Jersey Board of Medical Examiners brought proceedings against Dianetics Foundation on the charge of teaching medicine without a license. Hubbard's followers engaged in a program of criminal infiltration of the U.S. government.Hubbard-inspired organizations and their classification are often a point of contention. Germany classifies Scientology groups as an "anti-constitutional sect". In France, they have been classified as a dangerous cult by some parliamentary reports.

Scientology and the occult

Scientology is suspected or alleged by some observers of being inspired by, or sharing elements with, a number of esoteric or occult systems.

Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard claimed to have had a near-death experience in 1938 that inspired him to write Excalibur, an unpublished manuscript based on the revelations from the experience. In 1945–46, Hubbard was briefly involved with and defrauded Jack Parsons, an American rocketry pioneer who was also a devoted Thelemite and member of the Agape Lodge of Aleister Crowley's magical order, Ordo Templi Orientis, in Pasadena, California. In 1950, Hubbard published Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health, and in 1953 he organized the Church of Scientology.

The occult (from the Latin word occultus "clandestine, hidden, secret") is "knowledge of the hidden". In common English usage, occult refers to "knowledge of the paranormal". It also describes a number of magical organizations or orders.

Hugh B. Urban, a scholar on religion who has written much about Scientology, writes that while some writers, such as Jon Atack, assert that Crowley's ideas on magic are at the core of Scientology, others, including Roy Wallis and J. Gordon Melton, have dismissed the connection between occultism and the Church. He argues further that the occult elements are combined with concepts in Eastern religions, science fiction, pop psychology and Hubbard's own thoughts, while confirming that there is one element that is related to the occult in the religion.

Scientology controversies

Since its inception in 1954, the Church of Scientology has been involved in a number of controversies, including its stance on psychiatry, Scientology's legitimacy as a religion, the Church's aggressive attitude in dealing with its perceived enemies and critics, allegations of mistreatment of members, and predatory financial practices, for example the high cost of religious training:191 and perceived exploitative practices. When mainstream media outlets have reported alleged abuses, representatives of the church have tended to deny such allegations.

Scientology in the United States

Scientology was founded in the United States by science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard and is now practiced in many other countries.

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