Former Clearwater mayor dead at 86
Gabe Cazares was a civil rights activist and vocal enemy of the Church of Scientology.
By MIKE DONILA and ROBERT FARLEY
Published September 29, 2006
CLEARWATER — Former Clearwater Mayor Gabe Cazares, a civil rights advocate, champion of the disadvantaged and arch-enemy of the Church of Scientology, died Friday (Sept. 29, 2006). He was 86.
As a politician, Mr. Cazares led the local Democratic Party and won public office at a time when few Hispanics even lived in Pinellas County.
As a community activist, he worked to help the poor and build bridges in Clearwater during the early years of integration. But after the Church of Scientology came to town in late 1975, Mr. Cazares became an outspoken critic, prompting Scientologists to hatch plans to smear him with sex allegations and a phony hit-and-run accident.
Mr. Cazares questioned the church’s motives, its quiet purchases of downtown property and the way its security guards carried billy clubs and Mace.
“I am unable to understand why this degree of security is required by a religious organization, and my concerns are shared by many other citizens,” Mr. Cazares said in January 1976.
Within months, Clearwater was enveloped in a hostile, polarized environment marked by spying, sharp rhetoric, protests and smear tactics — some of them targeting Mr. Cazares.
Federal investigators later found Scientology internal memos outlining plans by church leaders to control public opinion in Clearwater, concoct a sex smear campaign against Mr. Cazares and infiltrate the local media and other institutions.
Scientology documents also revealed that church members had staged a phony hit-and-run accident with Mr. Cazares in an attempt to discredit him.
The criminal investigation led to prison sentences against 11 high-ranking Scientologists for breaking into federal offices in Washington.
When the smoke eventually cleared, a $1.5-million defamation lawsuit filed by Mr. Cazares and his wife against the church was settled out of court in 1986. It was one of several suits between Mr. Cazares and the church over the years.
“Gabe saw Scientology as a threat to the city and very aggressively pointed those potential problems out to the electorate,” said Ron Stuart, a former editor of the Clearwater Sun, who was also targeted by Scientologists.
“He quickly got on the Scientologists’ enemy list,” said Stuart, now the spokesman for the Pinellas-Pasco judicial circuit. “That was the atmosphere in the city at the time. Gabe didn’t let it faze him. He stayed on it.”
In the end, Mr. Cazares’ work as a civic leader will be his legacy, family and friends say.
“He was just part of the community — wherever he was,” said Mayme Hodges, who worked closely with Mr. Cazares over the years.
“When you get involved in causes and people, you don’t look at anything but the cause. You’re thinking about the good of the community and the good of people. Period. And I think that’s what Gabe was focusing on.”
Mr. Cazares mingled with everyone he could, from marching in the poorer North Greenwood area to honor Martin Luther King Jr. to chit-chatting with the affluent.
“No matter where we went, his hand was always there to give a shake,” said Clearwater police Lt. James Steffens, who became Mr. Cazares’ godson in 1974.
“He was a giant amongst men who chose to be humble,” Steffens said. “I’m going to celebrate his life. He’s the real deal.”
Mr. Cazares once gave a key to the city to a Florida State University student who had been taunted with racial remarks. And he always supported farm workers.
“Gabe, he just kept going on forever,” said Norm Bungard, who worked with Mr. Cazares through Pinellas Habitat for Humanity projects. “Causes for the downtrodden, the poor — Gabe was there.”
Mr. Cazares collected food, clothing and personal hygiene items and distributed them by the carload to migrant workers in Dade City in rural Pasco County.
“I don’t think very many people knew about that,” said his longtime friend and former attorney, Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Walt Logan.
Gabriel “Gabe” Cazares was born on Jan. 31, 1920 in Alpine, Texas, one of nine children, and reared in Los Angeles, where he worked in the Civilian Conservation Corps.
At Los Angeles City College, which he attended on a track scholarship, he set a record for the junior college 2-mile run that stood for 11 years.
He also studied at Fresno State College and Texas Christian University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, and the University of Maryland. He received a master’s degree in business management from Jackson College in Honolulu.
Much of his college work was done in the military. He joined the Army Air Forces in 1941 and rose to lieutenant colonel, retiring from service in 1966 to become a stockbroker. He moved to Clearwater a short time later when, as he once said, “you could count the number of Hispanics on one hand.”
“Stockbroking was a way for him to make a living at the time, but caring for people has always been his life,” said Anne Garris, a reporter and editor for the Beach Views newspaper during the 1970s.
Mr. Cazares met with white and black leaders throughout the city “to show compassion for anyone who was underprivileged,” she said.
“We never had a real racial rupture in Clearwater and I think that was because of the work Gabe did,” Garris said. “Gabe and the other leaders in the community were always talking.”
For more than two decades he was a major public figure once described as an anomaly in conservative Pinellas County. He was a Democrat in the Republican courthouse and a Hispanic in a county where minorities had trouble winning elections.
In 1975, Mr. Cazares jumped into the Clearwater mayor’s race, drawing support from civic associations and organized labor. Although he was untried in politics and his chief opponent was a veteran city commissioner, Mr. Cazares surprised many people with a resounding victory.
He ran for Congress twice, losing in 1976 to U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, R-Indian Shores, and in 1986 to Rep. Mike Bilirakis, R-Tarpon Springs.
Mr. Cazares resigned as mayor in April 1978, but he was back in public office from 1980 to 1984, this time serving as a county commissioner. He lost a bid for re-election to George Greer, an opponent of the plan to build the Florida Suncoast Dome stadium in St. Petersburg. Mr. Cazares had supported building the stadium now known as Tropicana Field.
At one point in his career, Mr. Cazares claimed membership in 20 major community organizations, ranging from the Gray Panthers to the NAACP to the Fraternal Order of Police. He was one of the first men to belong to the National Federation of Business and Professional Women.
In recent years, Mr. Cazares scaled back his involvement in the NAACP and the League of United Latin American Citizens, but he remained vocal about the welfare of minorities, especially Hispanics.
In October 2005, for example, he spoke out after watching CNN break away when Gov. Jeb Bush began issuing warnings about Hurricane Wilma in Spanish. Mr. Cazares saw that as showing disregard for Spanish speakers in Florida.
It was not the first time he had taken a stance on such issues.
In 1998, his complaints against a Taco Bell commercial featuring a talking Chihuahua were quoted around the world. Some people found the commercial demeaning to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.
Mr. Cazares saw the ad as a tongue-in-cheek way to raise awareness of the poor.
“He told me: 'Any time I can raise a fuss and call attention to the plight of the farm workers, I’m going to do it,’ ” said Bungard. “That was his purpose.”
Mr. Cazares is survived by his brother, Arturo Cazares; nieces Gloria Romero, Lee Jennings, Cynthia Cruz, Tiffany McConnell, Xoch Tuck, Cookie Hotard; nephews Ed Pawlack, Greg Albino, Johnny Pawlack, Chris Cazares; godson James Steffens; goddaughter Larri Gerson; 12 great-nieces and -nephews; and 12 great-great-nephews and -nieces.
His wife Maggie died in 1989. His wife Velma died of cancer in 2004 while he was undergoing heart surgery. Moss Feaster Funeral Home in Largo is handling arrangements.
Times obituary editor Craig Basse contributed to this report.
"Arnaldo Lerma" posted:
A collection of news clippings and correspondence by Mayor Gabe Cazares regarding the Scientology problem arrived in my mail recently.
Your efforts to expose scientology for what it is were ahead of their time. Thanks for everything you did. A collection of news clippings and correspondence by Mayor Gabe Cazares regarding the Scientology problem arrived in my mail recently.
On September 30, 2006 "Auld Lang Syne" posted a link to the Saurly Yours Blogspot:
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Gabe Cazares: Dead at 86
This is how I best remember the famous Gabe Cazares. This is very much the way he looked when he attended my wedding in the 80s.
I never knew Gabe very well (he was a friend of my parents). In 1976, he got his reputation due to forces outside of his control.
Gabe was mayor over a little-known seaside town named Clearwater when a group calling themselves "United Churches of Florida" bought The Fort Harrison Hotel and set armed guards to patrol the rooftop, carefully watching the citizens below as they went about their daily business.
Alarmed, Gabe began demanding to know more about this mysterious and overtly threatening group. At this point, the "United Churches of Florida" came clean: They were The Scientologists, a little-known cult (that hadn't been classified as a "religion" by the IRS yet) which had chosen Clearwater as their new headquarters.
Although they're still classified as a "religion" in the U.S., The Scientologists are banned in other countries. But because we believe in the freedom of religion, and they are classed by the IRS as a religion, they are here to stay.
I will say quickly that not all Scientologists are bad people. I know many, and they are charming and personable; eager to reach out to a community that their predecessors once tried to sabotage. But their initial foray into Clearwater set them up for decades of hatred and mistrust from the local citizens.
Because Gabe Cazares challenged The Scientologists, they struck very hard, and they struck very fast. The typical Scientologist method of war was dragging a chosen victim through the American court system; a long, expensive, and arduous task. They immediately threw a lawsuit at Gabe claiming libel, slander, and violation of civil rights.
Then "A June 6, 1976 “Guardian Programme Order” by Scientology’s Guardian’s Office (their own CIA) was created and dubbed “Mayor Cazares Handling Project.”
This secret project was designed to “remove him from public office and discredit him as an opinion leader.” This included forming letter-writing campaigns against Cazares, working for any political opponent of his, asking him embarrassing questions at his political rallies, registering all Scientologists to vote against him, filing suit against him, placing an operative in the Cazares campaign, and many other such actions."
Some of the Scientologists' many illegal and unethical actions included an elaborate attempt to set Gabe up in a staged hit and run accident, and falsified allegations of an affair. (For more on this fascinating story, please click on the links above).
Happily, good prevailed over evil and eventually all was revealed and Gabe was exonerated from the allegations which were made against him. He went on to live a long, healthy life and continued to be a champion against Scientology until the day he died.
I remember Gabe as a warm, friendly, big man with a hearty handshake and an engaging personality. People loved Gabe. He was at home in the boardroom, in a debate, or relaxing with family and friends. He lived up to expectations and made good on his promises. He will be missed.
P.S. If you'd like to read a short biography on Gabe Cazares, go to today's story in The St. Pete Times
"Mark Bunker" wrote:
I have also added some comments to my blog. I'm digging out some more Gabe footage and uploading what I can to Google. I shot a nice video of his 80th birthday party but I'm not sure if all the family members would want that up on the web.
I added a short stub of an article about Gabe on Wikipedia. Feel free to expand the article with more information:
Gabe was a great man that was respected by many people. He did a lot to help expose the evil cult of Scientology, but he also was involved in civil rights pursuits and he did what he could to help the poor and disadvantaged.
Message ID: email@example.com
Message ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
Message ID: email@example.com
Message ID: j1yTg.10097$tO5.3893@fed1read10
Message ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
On September 26, 2006 the National Council Against Health Fraud reported:
Delicensed chiropractor sentenced for insurance fraud.
Former chiropractor Markell D. Boulis, has been sentenced to 41 months imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1,100,000 Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation and ten insurance companies that he and two of his companies cheated in a fraudulent billing scheme between 1999 and 2003. Boulis was also ordered to pay restitution to Medicare and the Internal Revenue Service. In April, Boulis and two of his companies, Practice Solutions, Inc., and National Insurance Auditors, LLC, pled guilty to one count of health care fraud. Court documents indicate that Boulis set up a "practice management" consulting business for chiropractors about three months after the state of Pennsylvania suspended his chiropractor's license. Practice Solutions, Inc. would sponsor "practice building" seminars for chiropractors throughout the country. During the seminars, participants were told that National Insurance Auditors, LLC, was a separate, independent company comprised of "experts" in the review of patient records. This company could help attendees identify "lost" income resulting from services which had not been properly reimbursed by insurers due to incorrect coding, or a failure to bill for the services. Chiropractors were encouraged to contract with National Insurance Auditors, LLC for "back-billing" services as a means to generate additional income. As part of the scheme, Boulis's associates promised to audit the chiropractors' records to look for services that had been performed but not billed. However, government investigators found that the auditors merely copied the records and the billing company billed for new or additional services that had not been performed. [Chiropractic consultant sentenced for defrauding private insurance companies and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation. USDOJ news release, Sept 19, 2006]
United States Attorney Gregory G. Lockhart
Southern District of Ohio
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Fred Alverson
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 19, 2006 614-469-5715
http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/ohs FAX: 614-469-5503
CHIROPRACTIC CONSULTANT SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING PRIVATE INSURANCE
COMPANIES AND OHIO BUREAU OF WORKERS' COMPENSATION
41 months imprisonment and $1.1 million restitution
COLUMBUS - Markell T. Boulis was sentenced in United States District Court here today to 41 months imprisonment and ordered to pay restitution of $1,100,000 to eleven insurance companies including the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation that he and two of his companies cheated in a four-year fraudulent billing scheme between 1999 and 2003. Boulis was also ordered to pay restitution to Medicare and the Internal Revenue Service.
Boulis and two of his companies, Practice Solutions, Inc., and National Insurance Auditors, LLC, pled guilty to one count of health care fraud on April 7, 2006. Gregory G. Lockhart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Lamont Pugh, III, Regional Inspector General, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General; Timothy P. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation Cincinnati Field Division; Ann Womer Benjamin, Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance, William Mabe, Administrator, Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation, and Kelly A. Caudill, Executive Director of the Ohio Chiropractic Board, announced the sentence handed down today by Senior United States District Judge John D. Holschuh. The agencies began investigating Boulis in November, 2002. The investigation uncovered that Boulis set up a "practice management" consulting business for chiropractors roughly three months after the state of Pennsylvania suspended his chiropractor's liscense. Practice Solutions, Inc. would sponsor "practice building" seminars for chiropractors in Ohio and throughout the country. During the seminars, participants were told that National Insurance Auditors, LLC, was a separate, independent company comprised of "experts" in the review of patient records. This company could help attendees identify "lost" income resulting from services which had not been properly reimbursed by insurers due to incorrect coding, or a failure to bill for the services. Chiropractors were encouraged to contract with National Insurance Auditors, LLC, for "back-billing" services as a means to generate additional income. Boulis never told attendees that he owned both companies.
"This was a brazen attempt by Mr. Boulis and his cohorts to circumvent the law to defraud insurance companies and the government," Director Womer Benjamin said. "I commend the members of the joint investigation for their commitment and for ensuring this type of behavior is punished to the fullest extent of the law." Lockhart commended the cooperative investigation by agents and members of the Southern Ohio Health Care Fraud Task Force. Lockhart urged anyone who suspects health care fraud to contact the Inspector General's Hotline at 1-800-HHS-TIPS (447-8477). Consumers and insurance professionals who suspect insurance fraud should contact the Ohio Department of Insurance's fraud hotline at 1-800-686-1527.
Message ID: email@example.com
Since some folks seem to insist dehydration had nothing to do with Lisa's death, I decided to plug the fluid intake numbers from the watch logs and police investigation summary into a spread-sheet and see what they looked like. A comma-delimited version of what I came up with, that can be imported into the spread-sheet of your choice, follows below the dotted line.
One thing I noted was "Protein Drinks/Shakes" was listed as if they were the equivalent to water intake. In fact, they add to the required daily water intake requirement.
I contacted several protein drink manufacturers and three local dieticians. All recommended adding at least one, or more, 8oz glass of water per protein drink to the recommended eight 8oz glasses of water daily. To account for this in the spread-sheet, I list protein drinks as a negative number that has to be offset by increased water consumption.
On a related note, there are several instances with the package of powder used to make protein drinks is mixed with mashed banana and fed to Lisa. Even though not if fluid form, I list these occurrences in the FLUID INTAKE column as the negative impact on her water requirements is still created.
There are also references to Half & Half containers in the logs. If these were pints or half-pints, I would expect them to be described that was. Or as glasses or cups if poured out. So my assumption is 'container' refers to the small 1oz peel-top containers used by many coffee shops. If anyone knows for sure one way or the other, please advise and I'll update the spread-sheet.
There are several days where either no intake information was recorded, or the logs are missing. Even assuming a zero DIFF OZ sum, e.g., 64oz required, 64oz received, for those days makes no difference to the outcome.
And keep in mind, this spread-sheet doesn't take into consideration the calorie intake shortfall that was also happening at the same time.
The spread-sheet columns are:
Message ID: hx5Rg.13613$GY5.firstname.lastname@example.org
UMS Banking Established in 1987, UMS Banking has become one of the top companies in its industry to provide Credit Card Services to business owners. Due to the rapid growth of our company we are looking for individuals who want a stable, fast paced work environment. With benefits options, such as Medical, Dental, 401K and on-going training. This IS your ideal place to work!
Some familiarity with Hubbard Admin Tech, good organizational and communication skills, high aptitude, willingness to learn and create on your job, and professional appearance.
We are seeking an individual with good ethics presence, who knows and applies L. Ron Hubbard Study Tech for our standard courseroom. Excellent organizational and administrative abilities are also key. Word Clearing training and/or auditor training are a plus.
Message ID: beb84$45175c84$cf70671f$19899@PRIMUS.CA
Message ID: email@example.com
[Ron the Researcher -- How he achieved clearing]
"The makers of Kools claimed that their brand would keep a person's head clear and protect against colds."
And Kool smoking L. Ron Hubbard in Dianetics the Modern Science of Mental Health in 1950:
"Clears do not get colds."
Message ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Tucson Auditing newsletter, 1956]
http://www.lisamcpherson.org/scans/AandP/AandP_1-1.pdf [pdf file]
http://www.lisamcpherson.org/scans/AandP/AandP_1-2.pdf [pdf file]
http://www.lisamcpherson.org/scans/AandP/AandP_1-3.pdf [pdf file]
http://www.lisamcpherson.org/scans/AandP/AandP_1-4.pdf [pdf file]
There were several independent auditor newsletters around in the 1950s. This one was from Arizona! Pretty cool. It's good historical information to see what things were like in the early days of Dianetics and Scientology.
Kristi also has the Aberee up at http://www.aberree.com/
The more the history of Scientology can be documented, the better.
Message ID: email@example.com
On September 27, 2006 "Eldon Braun" posted:
Just posted on alt.fan.landmark: a 2003 TV program about Landmark with the following comments. In Part 5, a former Scientologist and a cult expert discuss similarities.
This video takes you inside Landmark Forum with a hidden camera so you can see what they do to you.
Show your friends now so they can know it when someone tries to make them go
This is the video, with English subtitles, that showed on France 3 TV. Soon after, Landmark left France!
Message ID: firstname.lastname@example.org
On September 29, 2006 "Buffalo Bob" posted a link:
[Daily Show; This Week in God: OT 3 (Scientology)]
http://youtube.com/watch?v=unR7laj-SL4 [video file]
Daily Show - This Week in God - Scientology
http://youtube.com/profile?user=funshare [video file]
Message ID: email@example.com
A.r.s. Week in Review is compiled by anonymous critics of CoS for your benefit. This collection is organised for WWW by Andreas Heldal-Lund.