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!
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... :)
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.
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!
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.