Berkeley Choate 
Member since Oct 31, 2007


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Recent Comments

Re: “Uptown's New Loring Cafe Falls Short

Wow, quite the snarky review. I had a far different experience. I found the food excellent. The service was good but not great. The design elements are great fun, and a refreshing change from the ubiquitous "modern" styled establishments springing up all over. BTW - best bathroom around.

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Berkeley Choate on 04/12/2013 at 4:24 PM

Re: “Oakland Hills Residents Freak Out (Again) About Crime

I'm sorry that the author feels it necessary to paint hills residents as a bunch of whining 1-percenters. Most of us are working class people. We pay the highest tax rates in the city and use very little services. We don't live in Contra Costa county because we value the rich cultural environment of Oakland (and the great weather, landscape, values, et cetera). Yet when we are justifiably concerned about a crime wave, we are mocked. I like to think that the East Bay Express is a better publication than to take indisriminate pot-shots, but evidently that isn't always the case.

25 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Berkeley Choate on 04/09/2012 at 3:15 PM

Re: “Gimme Shelter

The locals have legitimate beefs. I do not contest that. I just do not buy the whole "The poor Rivards are victims" line of bull. They have a huge property, yet they chose to build right next to the track. They tear up their land and criticise the track for its environmental impact. They have tried to buy the track themselves. These items are all a matter of the public record. The Rivards could sell their property to the track for a handsome profit and move to a much quieter spot (Not next to a freeway perhaps?) But they choose to wage war. Why? In part it is due to the antagonistic actions of the track management, but I think that the Rivards have always wanted to own the track, and if they can't, they'd like to see it shut down. I have much more sympathy for the other neighbors of the track, who do not own a Mcmansion on 150 acres of land, who aren't media-savy like the Rivards, and who have lived in the area for far longer than this conflict has gone on.

Posted by Berkeley on 10/26/2007 at 6:02 AM

Re: “Gimme Shelter

I’m very disappointed that you left out some very salient facts in your article. I expect the Express to be better than that. A- Practically the first thing that the Rivards did upon purchasing their property was to build a motorcross track there. They let many people use the track, to the point where they had to post that the track was in fact private because people they didn’t know were just showing up to ride. The point is that these are hardly your basic quiet-loving countryfolk. They use heavy equipment to tear up their land, and then make copious amounts of noise with their motorcycles. B- If you visit the Rivard’s website on this issue, you’ll find that they push the environmental issue heavily. They speak about how the racetrack isn’t in keeping with the natural habitat of the area, and the opening page has a pretty picture of a wild fox. The problem is that the racetrack sits next to the intersection of two freeways – hardly a natural wonderland. It’s also highly hypocritical of off-road motorcyclists to criticize paved-track operators over their environmental impact. C- No mention is made of how the Rivard’s tried to buy the racetrack. It seems to me that there may be a serious case of sour grapes that somebody else beat them to it. It stands to reason that may well have been in the Rivard’s plans all along. Otherwise, why did they build their house overlooking the track? D- The author made the point that having legitimate venues available for drifting makes that activity less likely to occur on public streets. This point is important and meaningful, as people die daily from street racing, and thus, providing a safe place to indulge their passion provides a public safety service. I acknowledge that the track management has been arrogant and dismissive at times. Condon and his crew have made enemies of people that came prepared to give them the benefit of the doubt. But if you snoop around this issue it’s pretty easy to see that the Rivards are hardly pure as driven snow. They did a classic “Build next to an airport and complain about the noise” scenario, and the location of their house coupled with their own motorsports background suggests that this power struggle isn’t just about good or bad neighbors, but about power and control. The East Bay Express may have allowed itself to be a pawn in this battle by not adequately providing a complete picture.

Posted by Berkeley on 10/24/2007 at 9:23 PM

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