A Gold Adventure
By Mark Ebner
3 March, 2002
I think it was Don Nots who said that $cientology Gold Base reminded him of something out of the old Prisoner TV series. A fitting description, but, to me, the $cientology real estate in Gilman Hot Springs looked like a poorly designed theme park, maybe a notch up from the plethora of Family Fun Centers dotting the nation's freeways. There's a castle, a boat and a couple of hillside, prefab mansions -one reportedly empty, awaiting Hubbard's return to earth. The only thing missing is miniature golf. Instead, there's the Golden Era golf course -- admittedly a sweet looking, well-groomed 9-hole track down the road from Gold.
An "Open To The Public" sign invites back-road travelers. There's even a restaurant on the premises. But, there was hardly anyone on the links. Strange, for a gorgeous Saturday afternoon. Stranger still, was the Scieno-goon who screeched up in his black Nissan Pathfinder, yelling, "Tory! You're trespassing! Leave the premises." As I walked over to his passenger side, offering press credentials, he barked into his cell phone, "They refuse to leave. Call the authorities." Tory asked guy for his name, and he pulled away -- about 500 ft. He got out of his vehicle and monitored us, calling in his reports.
We approached a gentle, elderly man, fresh off the course, and asked him if he saw what happened. He replied, "What was that all about?" Tory explained her status, and he quickly informed us that "Scientology had leased the property to a private company," and "It was no longer run by Scientology." He winced by the severity of our greeting by the un-named $cientology goon. Then he told us that he was recovering stroke.
(Confidential to Scientology: I exchanged numbers with this man, so I would strongly recommend that you do not so much as breathe in his direction.)
Anyway, I'm kind of reporting our Gold adventure ass-backwards, but the notion of any trespassing going on seems the sticking point here. There was no trespassing, as evidenced by the goon's failure to identify himself, and the confirmation by the Deputy who followed up on the false report filed by Scientology. Though she seemed rather stern when she approached Ida's door, once we explained the nature and circumstances of our visit, the Deputy eased up and explained that her department gets those frivolous calls from the base "all the time." When Ida stepped out and described her increasing stages of cult harassment in far more colorful language than I could muster, I think the Deputy got the picture of what was really going on.
Ida and Tory noticed a white car drive by, and pointed the driver out as the one who was tailing us from Gold to Ida's house in Hemet. The Deputy confirmed that the car had indeed been following us. In that the deputy came looking for Tory and I by name, I will be checking into whether an actual report was filed with the Riverside Sheriff's Department, and proceed from there. The Deputy agreed that such calls from $cientology are an unnecessary burden on her department's resources, when they could be out investigating actual criminal activity in the area - specifically, the illegal manufacturing of methamphetamine.
Anyway, the Deputy left smiling and we got on with our visit with Ida, complemented by home-made Navy Bean soup and Snickerdoodles. No sheet cake was served. None of us was surprised by the visit from the law. We were simply irked by the fact that $cientology has set a pattern of using the police in the same frivolous manner that they use the courts. I suppose the logical next step for those inclined, is a picket centered on informing the public of Gilman, San Jacinto and Hemet about $cientology's wasting of their taxpayer resources by having law officers taken off the beat to investigate false reports. Sure, any private concern can refuse to serve anyone for any reason - and even ask people to leave the premises of their establishments. But, an anonymous, threatening goon has no power to order anyone off the premises of a property that he cannot prove proprietorship of. Again, there was not even an indication of trespassing on our parts. Anyway, I still think that the Golden Era course looks like a sweet track. Foursome anyone?
Now, to the point of our visit to the Gold Base gate....
Yes, right next to a flashing sign advertising "TOURS," a young blonde guard sequestered in a booth told us that there were no tours available. Wow. False advertising before our very eyes! The blonde guy's partner rudely waved us off as I queried further. Noticing the smug look on the young blonde's face, I said, "Nice Scientology smirk. Looks real good on you," and we drove off - tailed all the way through the back roads on our search for the notorious gulag called the RPF, or, Rehabilitation Project Force, to Ida's place about ten miles away in a sleepy neighborhood in Hemet.
On a personal note, it kind of pains me to see young men and women doing $cientology's criminal bidding. Generally what I do when they approach my "marked" van at venues like the Mayfair market across from the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood, is to ask these young guys why they're not out chasing skirts. "Look at yourselves," I say to the pale, gaunt zealots with fire in their eyes. "Why don't you leave the cult, and enjoy the best years of your lives? Billion year contracts were made to be broken kids. What's with it with you? You guys could be getting laid right now!" Every time I do that, I usually get a glint of my words registering with these young men. Maybe one or two will blow as a result of the bad cartoon that is their life under the auspices of the cult.
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