This is Photojournalist Fred G. Haseney with his eye on Scientology.  For this report, I visited the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the Church of Scientology’s West Coast headquarters.

On January 31, 2016, El Nino arrived in Los Angeles for the second time this winter. Close to 100,000 homes lost power as winds that clocked in at over 100 mph ravaged the L.A. area. High winds toppled trees and a large Vons supermarket sign in the Los Feliz neighborhood; that district borders Sunset Boulevard and L. Ron Hubbard Way, home of PAC Base. PAC Base is in the city of L.A. (although that area is sometimes referred to as “East Hollywood”); the day after El Nino’s visit, 40,000 homes still had no power.


Photo (1) Caption: Exterior view of Los Angeles from Mount Hollywood (height: 1,625 feet), in Griffith Park. Taken at 3:30 PM, Monday, January 31, 2016, this view is looking south with the skyline of downtown Los Angeles in the distance. El Nino storm clouds rumble, hovering over the L.A. basin. The red circle indicates the Pacific Area Command Base (“PAC Base” or “Big Blue”), the Church of Scientology’s West Coast headquarters. To the right of PAC Base and along the edge of the picture, is Griffith Observatory.


Photo (2) Caption: Both pictures show the exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s parking lot, along Sunset Boulevard, between L. Ron Hubbard Way and Catalina Street, in Los Angeles (specifically, the northwest corner of Sunset Blvd. and Catalina St.). The picture on the left, taken January 16, 2016, shows the sign that used to be posted at that corner (“Open House—All are Welcome,” and the same statement in Spanish, “Casa Abierta—Todos son Bienvenidos”). The picture on the right, taken on February 2, 2016, shows that the sign is gone, evidently the culprit of El Nino’s wrath. From the center of that photo, and extending to its right, are Los Angeles Org and American Saint Hill Org, part of PAC Base. Along the left side of both photos is part of the Kaiser Foundation Hospital—Surgery Department.


Photo (3) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s parking lot and sign on January 16, 2016, along Sunset Boulevard, between L. Ron Hubbard Way and Catalina Street, in Los Angeles (specifically, the northwest corner of Sunset Blvd. and Catalina St.). This close-up shows how that sign had been held in place (as indicated by the red arrows) before El Nino arrived on January 31, 2016.


Photo (4) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s parking lot and sign on January 16, 2016, along Sunset Boulevard, between L. Ron Hubbard Way and Catalina Street, in Los Angeles (specifically, the northwest corner of Sunset Blvd. and Catalina St.). This close-up shows how that sign had been held in place (as indicated by the red arrows) before El Nino arrived on January 31, 2016.


Photo (5) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s parking lot and sign, along Sunset Boulevard, between L. Ron Hubbard Way and Catalina Street, in Los Angeles (specifically, the northwest corner of Sunset Blvd. and Catalina St.). This close-up shows how that sign had been held in place (as indicated by the red arrows) before El Nino arrived on January 31, 2016.


Photo (6) Caption: The exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s parking lot, along Sunset Boulevard, between L. Ron Hubbard Way and Catalina Street (specifically, the northeast corner of Sunset Blvd. and L. Ron Hubbard Way), in Los Angeles. This close-up shows the frayed cords (as indicated by the red arrows) that had once held in place the now-missing sign before El Nino arrived on January 31, 2016.


Photo (7) Caption: Exterior view of the sign for the Church of Scientology’s Los Angeles Organization, located along L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles.


Photo (8) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s Los Angeles Organization, located along L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. Notice the reflection of the east side of LRH Way in the windows just north of the LRH Way entrance to LA Org. From the street, I could see the displays inside LA Org, those DVD players, etc., that have been set-up for new people, proclaiming how “great” Scientology is. Granted, I couldn’t see a lot, what with the reflective windows, but of all the people “flooding” Scientology these days looking for “salvation,” I saw only one such person. Earlier, at the corner of Sunset Blvd. and Vermont Ave., I didn’t see any Body Routers from LA Org. By the time I approached the corner of LRH Way and Sunset Blvd., however, I saw two male Sea Org Body Routers. One of them saw me and reversed his tracks, no doubt making a beeline for the nearest Receptionist at LA Org in order to report my presence to Security. The other Body Router had just given two non-Scientologists “free” Personality Test tickets. I pointed to the tickets, telling them that they’re Scientology. “Please see the HBO documentary, “Going Clear” before making your decision about whether or not you should go to the Church if Scientology. Then, please throw those tickets away.” I had just returned from a job interview and wore my “Sunday best” (dark pants, spiffy shoes, long-sleeved white shirt and tie). Dressing in this fashion actually lends an air of authority to Photojournalistic adventures around PAC Base.


Photo (9) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s Los Angeles Organization, located along L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. This close-up reflects a statue of the Virgin Mother Mary across the street from LA Org.


Photo (10) Caption: Exterior view of a statue of the Virgin Mother Mary across the street from the Church of Scientology’s Los Angeles Organization, located along L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. The Virgin Mother Mary, set up by a neighbor who doesn’t appreciate Scientology’s noise and traffic along her street, doesn’t appear to have sustained any damage from El Nino.


Photo (11) Caption: Exterior view of the northeast corner of Vermont Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. To the right are two people entering an elevator to Metro’s subway station. Seated are two people apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: the man on the left is most likely a public person; the woman on his right is his “coach”; notice that she holds a pen and a clipboard on which she notes her observations as well as the man’s comments and originations.


Photo (12) Caption: Exterior view of the northeast corner of Vermont Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. Seated are two people apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: the man on the left is most likely a public person; the woman on his right is his “coach”; notice that she holds a pen and a clipboard on which she notes her observations as well as the man’s comments and originations.


Photo (13) Caption: Exterior view of the southwest corner of Catalina Street and Fountain Avenue, in Los Angeles. The people are apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: the man on the left is most likely a public person; the woman on his right is his “coach”; notice that she holds a clipboard on which she notes her observations as well as the man’s comments and originations.


Photo (14) Caption: Exterior view of the southwest corner of Catalina Street and Fountain Avenue, in Los Angeles. The people are apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: the man on the left is most likely a public person; the woman on his right is his “coach”; notice that she holds a clipboard on which she’s writing down the man’s comments and/or originations. Behind them and to the right (walking south along Catalina St.) is a male Sea Org member. The building on the southwest corner of Catalina St., has two floors: the first floor used to be home to the Scientology Front Group, Survival Insurance, before it went belly-up. The second floor used be home to Division 3, the Treasury section of the Office of Special Affairs of the United States (“OSA US”); I worked there as a public Scientologist for two years in the mid-1980’s.


Photo (15) Caption: Exterior view of the northeast corner of L. Ron Hubbard Way and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. There are two people standing side-by-side, apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: the man in the foreground (the “coach”) is giving the man to his left instructions, such as “Look at that person across the street,” etc. Notice the metal frame that used to house one of two signs facing Sunset Blvd. (“Open House—All are Welcome,” and the same statement in Spanish, “Casa Abierta—Todos son Bienvenidos”), both of which apparently blew away during El Nino.


Photo (16) Caption: Exterior view of the parking lot behind Kaiser Foundation Hospital’s Surgery Department, along L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Sunset Boulevard and Fountain Avenue, in Los Angeles. There are two people apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: the man on the right (the “coach”) is giving the man to his left instructions, such as “Touch that sign,” etc.


Photo (17) Caption: Exterior view of the entrance to the Church of Scientology’s Main Building, located at 4833 Fountain Avenue, between Catalina Street and L. Ron Hubbard Way, in Los Angeles. There are two people apparently doing drills from the Survival Rundown: a female Sea Org member (the “coach”) holds a clipboard as the man shares a comment or origination. As soon as they saw that I had taken their photo, the duo left.


Photo (18) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s American Saint Hill Organization, located on L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. A female Sea Org member walks north along LRH Way.


Photo (19) Caption: Exterior view of the Church of Scientology’s Pacifica Cafe, located on L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. There are two people apparently taking a break from the Survival Rundown: a male Sea Org member (the “coach”) holds a clipboard; the man to his left carries a beverage.


Photo (20) Caption: Exterior view of the parking lot behind the Church of Scientology’s Advanced Organization of Los Angeles, located on L. Ron Hubbard Way, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. A female Sea Org member walks across the street toward Pacifica Cafe and the Main Building. A man in a brown suit stands in the sidewalk on the east side of LRH Way.


Photo (21) Caption: Exterior view along Catalina Street, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. Two female Sea Org members are walking south on the sidewalk.


Photo (22) Caption: Exterior view along Catalina Street, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. A female Sea Org member talks on a cell phone.


Photo (23) Caption: Exterior view along Fountain Avenue, between Catalina Street and L. Ron Hubbard Way, in Los Angeles. Two female Sea Org members are walking east on the sidewalk, apparently on a break from work, course or auditing. The woman to the right holds a cigarette in her left hand and exhales cigarette smoke.


Photo (24) Caption: Exterior view along Catalina Street, between Fountain Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, in Los Angeles. A female Sea Org member attempts to block her face as I take the photograph, but my camera has captured her bangs and left eye. Although I had headphones in place, indicating that I might be listening to music, the woman approached me rather aggressively, most likely strongly against having her picture taken. After she made an inaudible statement, I replied, calmly and quietly, “I’m on a public sidewalk. I can take pictures of anything I want to.”

All images © 2015—2016 Fred G. Haseney. All rights reserved.

 

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