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Jamie, Both Buyer and Seller in Mill Valley, CA

What happened to Mill Valley?

Asked by Jamie, Mill Valley, CA Sat Jul 31, 2010

I just moved back to Mill Valley after being overseas for 15 years. While it is still one of the most beautiful towns in the country, it sure has changed! The natural beauty is still the same... maybe even better.. but the people have really changed. It seems like the town has been taken over by conspicuous consumption and entitlement. Not only are people driving their $80,000 SUVs like jerks, but they actually seem to feel like these SUVs make them special. You would think they might realize they could get a really nice car in the 20k price range, but instead they need a monument to their ego. Mill Valley used to be full of interesting people, artists, musicians, etc. Some of them are still here but it seems like the town is being taken over by boring stock brokers and their Stepford wives. You run into them on the street and they don't even say hello. They yell at the people at the Depot if they are too slow and they drive like maniacs while they take their breedlings to school!

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Hi Jamie,
While some may disagree, you definitely make some valid points about the changes in Mill Valley. You are right that it is still one of the most beautiful towns in the country, with fantastic access to hiking, biking, sailing, kayaking, etc. And it is just minutes outside of San Francisco, one of the greatest cities in America.

We have noticed some of the things you mention. It is sometimes sad to see people wasting so much money on an automobile when they could drive a perfectly good (and more fuel-efficient) car for a lot less money. Some people just need to feel special or stand out from the crowd. It would be fun to convince them to buy a normal car and give some of that extra cash to earthquake victims in Haiti instead of wasting their money, but such is life we guess... But there are also some great people in Mill Valley... If you can avoid getting run down by a Mercedes SUV, (or the Hummer we keep seeing downtown... hard to believe...) you may find a really interesting person on the other side of the road. If they do not say hello to you, you might have to say hello to them first... we see this a lot too. You get a fair amount of East Coast transplants here and a lot of them are more "reserved" than people from the Midwest, for instance. But if you talk to them you often find out they are nice people.

The most important thing is to focus on the positive things here in Mill Valley: some of the best weather in the country, great public schools, fantastic access to outdoor recreation, and only minutes away from a great city. Ignore the conspicuous consumption and you can find some really great people here. And the next time you see someone yell at a worker at the Depot just tell him to remember he is in Mill Valley and not Manhattan!
Web Reference: http://www.keyserhomes.com
4 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 31, 2010
Wow! I am not sure anything I said would indicate I feel "hatred" for anyone! And when i read through my question I am pretty sure that it would be hard to argue with what I say. But I do agree that Mill Valley Beerworks has been a welcome addition, as the town really needed something after Sweetwater shut down. But, of course, I have heard that they have had a lot of complaints from neighbors for noise issues, which is not surprising given the changes in town. It just seems like people want to make it more and more boring. (I did see Bob Weir in Whole Foods, which was kinda fun) I disagree that people driving $100,000 automobiles "doesn't mean anything." In fact, it means a lot. Many of those automobiles are not fuel efficient, contribute more than their fair share to global warming, and are a total waste of money when those same people could buy a much more fuel-efficient car for a lot less money. Why not buy a more reasonable car and give the rest to charity, as was suggested? It is wasteful consumption. That money could be doing good things instead of propping up your ego.
3 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jul 31, 2010
I would chalk part of it to the "ebbs and flows" of life. I grew up in MV mostly in the 70's and moved away with family in '79. Back then it was a different scene. I imagine this current scene will also run it's course. My personal feelings are the younger generation are not so materistic, they don't want expensive cars or huge homes. So this may cycle through in time. I'd like to move back with my own family if we could only afford it. As an aside, we drive a beat up 96 Toyota Corolla. I hope they don't sneer at us!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat May 18, 2013
I'll bet most of you in this discussion who want others to donate to charity instead of spending money on themselves, are not aware that the CEO's of charities take salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Right after 9-11 I was amazed to see that the head of Red Cross was paid $400,000. That is where your donations go, into the pockets of people at the top - guess how much the head of United Way makes??
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Jun 20, 2012
I think mill valley is absolutely gorgeous! Although I would never live there. These comments spell out the reason why. I currently live in Los Angeles and look forward to moving to Pennsylvania soon. I love the look of all the seasons and enjoy the great outdoors. Although the comments here have made it very clear that the tree huggers want it all to themselves. I am all for nice people and a clean place to live. But people will never tell me what I should do with my money. Who is to say that I don't give to charity already? And I still drive my huge gas guzzler! My full size SUV is just big enough to transport my kids kids to and from school and all their activities! We are safe! Two years ago we were in a double fatality crash. Ihad my monster car and the morons that were drunk driving hit me and unfortunately passes away. They were in a Prius, we were unharmed. Just FYI.... Liberal progressives are often the ones who are considered rude..... You get as equally mad driving around in your plug in cars. You are just mad that your car doesn't go more then 50 mph!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Dec 21, 2010
Hey Jamie,

Just looking at this part of your more recent post:

Many of those automobiles are not fuel efficient, contribute more than their fair share to global warming, and are a total waste of money when those same people could buy a much more fuel-efficient car for a lot less money. Why not buy a more reasonable car and give the rest to charity, as was suggested? It is wasteful consumption. That money could be doing good things instead of propping up your ego.

One could replace "automobile" and "car" in that statement with "house" and "home" and come up with an equally valid point. At $500 /sq.ft., an extra 1,000 sq. ft. in a house is an extra $500,000.
Does a 2-4 person family really need 3,500 sq.ft. to live comfortably, or would they be just as happy as the same size family in a 2,500 sq.ft. home? Or better yet, a 1,500 sq.ft. home? (An average 4-person family in Japan has a home about 1,300 sq.ft.)

If one could afford a $2,000,000 house in MV but instead bought a $1,500,000 smaller house in MV and sent a monthly check to a charity for the difference in your monthly mortgage by not having spent the extra $500,000 on a house, you'd be doing as much good as those who chose not to buy that expensive SUV.

How does that saying go? People who live in glass houses... :)
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Sep 8, 2010
I'll be most of you in this discussion who want others to donate to charity instead of spending money on themselves, are not aware that the CEO's of charities take salaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Right after 9-11 I was amazed to see that the head of Red Cross was paid $400,000. That is where your donations go.
Flag Wed Jun 20, 2012
Jamie,
As a few posters have observed, you are definitely hitting a topic that resonates with many here. The truth is, Southern Marin has been overrun with what some of us call "Finance Douchebags." They expect everyone to move out of the way for them, they act like they own the whole place, and they drive the most obnoxious, ostentatious, wasteful, "look at me" cars they can find. Several posts and letters to the editors in the Pacific Sun and other papers, like the one I am posting below, have also hit on this, so you definitely are not the only one to feel this way. Mill Valley used to be a mellow, cool place to live, but now these finance douchebags come along and just ruin the place. If you want to find the old laid-back vibe now you really have to go to Fairfax, which is much more mellow. There are still some cool people in "Me Valley" but the finance douchbags are really making it less fun. When we go for hikes or walks in Mill Valley we encounter people almost *every* time that don't even look at us or say hello. And they almost never smile. So much of the community aspect of Mill Valley has been torn away and now these unfriendly, douchy people are just ruining it. I sure hope the last poster is right... it would be great if these douchy people would move back to the East Coast. One of the other great ironies here is that people up here love to hate LA and Socal, which are admittedly not nearly as nice as Marin, but the majority of people in Socal are SO much more friendly it is just unbelievable.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
Hi Jamie

I have only lived in MV four years, so I do not know what it was like before, as im from abroad, but I have taken time to speak to many of the older generation here who agree with you wholeheartedly, including a couple I met recently on the ferry..they were in their 90's and were recalling park school when they attended, as my kids do now...so fascinating. I get the sense that this town was built on certain values and attittudes that have been masked in the last few years by some of us newcomers....btw I do drive a sensible 20K car, and do not give a hoot about following the crowd or concerning myself with the affluent here,....Id much rather talk to the original folk of MV...you might find comfort in the fact that the current economic climate is rough and in my opinion it will take its toll on MV very dramatically this fall....I already know of several hedge fund and finance people that have moved back to the East Coast for work reasons. BTW im not a realtor, but I love these realtor comments.....looks like Kelley agreed with you the most, Kevin and Jovana neutral and Liz clearly does not value getting your potential business!!! LOL......good luck to you!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Sep 4, 2010
I think our current economic climate has pushed people to their limits. Many of the people that are driving these large SUVs can no longer afford them or their home and are likely on the edge of a melt down. This will take care of itself in time.

Jamie, you say your are a buyer and a seller. I don't know where you are selling, but you are here at the right time if you are buying.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 7, 2010
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