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Mitch Perry Report for 4.7.15 — John Travolta finally comments on ‘Going Clear’

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

First today — condolences to the friends and family of former Fox-13 reporter Warren Elly, who died yesterday of adrenal cortical carcinoma, an extremely rare form of cancer. He was only 64. It’s a big blow to the Tampa Bay area, where he contributed so much with his journalism and his friendship and his tutoring to so many people over the past three decades. RIP, Warren.

Moving on, if you’ve seen the documentary Going Clear, you know that director Alex Gibney and journalist Lawrence Wright conclude at the end of the film (and in countless interviews pimping the picture) that they believe that actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta have a responsibility to speak out about the well-documented record of abuses in the Church of Scientology.

“We hold people like Tom Cruise and John Travolta and others responsible for not demanding change inside that church,” Wright told Variety in January after the film screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

That’s obviously not going to happen, as Travolta tells the Tampa Bay Times’ Steve Persall this morning that all of his experiences with the church have been positive, so how could he dare say anything negative?

“It wouldn’t make sense, nor would it for Tom, I imagine,” he said. ‘I’ve been so happy with my experience in the last 40 years…that I really don’t have anything to say that would shed light on (a documentary) so decidedly negative.”

Take that for what it’s worth, though the documentary claims that Scientologists hold a “blackmail file” on Travolta to stop him leaving the faith, which includes “damaging material” from his sessions with auditors at the church.

There is so much more to say about this….but we’ll leave it there.

In other news…

We took a look back at David Jolly’s first full year in office (posted the day after he announced he’s getting married).

Tampa attorney Brian Willis announced he’s running for the districtwide Hillsborough County Commission District 6 race.

St. Petersburg civic activist and airline pilot Ed Montanari announced he’s running for the St. Petersburg City Council District 3 race.

Charlie Justice is running for re-election next year for Pinellas County Commission.

Patrick Murphy has recently announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Florida next year. But progressives prefer Alan Grayson.

Eighty-four percent of Floridians say they support legalizing medical marijuana, though it comes from Quinnipiac, which last year published a survey that said 88 percent of Floridians supported that proposal. (It ended up getting 58 percent of the vote.)

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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