Letters for the week of April 7-13, 2004 

Wilson Ogg responds to our coverage of Pinebrook, which he characterizes not as a sham, but legitimate family.

"Send in the Clones," Bottom Feeder, 3/10

What would SpongeBob say?
This letter, as you will see, will hopefully assist you in your future exploits of defamation of things that you know not of. I was stunned to see that someone who claims such huge allegations about my election to the Alameda County Central Committee as a LaRouche Democrat, using such language as "cultish" and "jackasses," would not have done more research. There are a number of fallacies (which isn't surprising, considering it is after all the Express), of which I will only go into one particularly humorous aspect.

I quote this section of your article "Send in the Clones": "Democrats are notorious for favoring women, which might explain the success of LaRouchies Sylvia Spaniolo and Summer Shields ..."

I don't think that it would have been particularly taxing to figure out what my gender was, if you were truly a dedicated journalist. As for the rest of the "facts"? Who could possibly refute any further, a publication that decided to put an ad for a "Clitoris Celebration" event in the kids' section, right next to SpongeBob SquarePants.
Mr. Summer Shields, LaRouche Democrat, Oakland

"Who's Your Mama?" Bottom Feeder, 3/3

A tiger on my side
I feel compelled to come to the defense of attorney Carol Amyx, who received negative, one-sided treatment in the article, as well as a gratuitous ad hominem (or the female equivalent) slur from Professor Joan Hollinger.

Carol represented me in my divorce and custody issues fairly, ably, and inexpensively. I have since recommended her to scores of friends. She honored all of my wishes for compassion and justice toward my ex. Together she and I crafted the divorce action, settlement, and custody issues. She gave great advice, too, at a stressful time. I appreciate the advice of experts in whatever profession I am engaging.

Carol is even-handed in warning clients about the dangers of being too nice up front to potentially deadbeat dads or moms. She should wear Professor Hollinger's sour grapes/sore loser name-calling as a badge of honor.

Believe me, I want a tiger on my side in the courtroom. The law is a majestic instrument which can be wielded for good or ill. Carol is an advocate of the former; of that I am 100 percent convinced. She knew what was ahead in my post-divorce future through her years of experience: If only I had listened to her MORE!
Wendy Schlesinger, Albany

"So, How Do You Feel About That Scene?" Feature, 2/25

Original journalism
I just read your wonderful article on cinema therapy. My first reaction was "Only in the Bay Area," and my second was, "Who has not felt this way about a film?" As wild as it is, it's no more so than any other approach to mental health and harmony. You should seriously consider doing an additional piece for Premiere or Entertainment Weekly, et al. It's hard to find an original story in today's polluted airways, and you did just that.
James Dalessandro, San Rafael

"Dogging Mr. Ogg," Bottom Feeder, 1/28

The view from Pinebrook
Your staff writer, Will Harper, has written a column with apparent malice intent to mislead the readers of your publication, and apparently without a good faith belief on his part in the truth of his libelous language and, in fact in a cynical disregard of the truth. The following language is defamatory:

1. Language to the effect that I am one of the kooky landlords who dodge rent controllers. No facts are cited, and no facts could be cited, to support this libelous language.

2. Language to the effect that Naomi Brandes accused me of failure to repair a "gas leak." Brandes never made such a claim. Her false claim was not that I refused to repair a gas leak but that she asked me to turn off the gas, and I refused to do so.

3. Language to the effect that I called the cops to report a "contemplated trespass." When an illegal inspection of Pinebrook was planned, an inspection that would violate my privacy and the privacy of family members other than Brandes, I used two police officers to be impartial witnesses that I did not use force to prohibit the inspection but relied solely on the fact that under the law a single-family house cannot without cause be inspected without the owner's consent. I explained to Harper the real facts, but he apparently become so dedicated to assisting Thomas Ostly, counsel to Brandes, in the building of a case against me that truth became irrelevant to him.

4. Language to the effect that family members pay me a monthly fee to live at Pinebrook. This statement is libelous and defamatory for the reason that charging such a fee would be highly improper and inconsistent with the Pinebrook Family Sharing Agreement. Family members do reimburse me, in part, for expenses of Pinebrook maintenance based on the fair-use value of the quarters they occupy at Pinebrook, which usually has been less than their allocable share of expenses.

5. Language to the effect that family members provide me "thousands of dollars of nonrental income" is absurd, asinine, and defamatory on its face. By using the words "nonrental income," Harper is apparently accusing me of failure to report rent as income, a very serious crime under federal law. Moreover, I have always lost money as a result of my ownership of Pinebrook. It has always been a labor of love on my part, and I have always allowed other persons to share the beauty and former peaceful nature of Pinebrook, now destroyed by the actions of Thomas Ostly and Naomi Brandes.

6. Language to the effect that the city considers Pinebrook to be "a triplex at the very least" is false and defamatory. It was for the reason that the city considered Pinebrook a single-family house that the housing inspector was prohibited from inspecting Pinebrook.

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