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No Subway in Mill Valley: Revenge of the Yuppies

Mill Valley's closet conservative offers thoughts on Subway's rejection.

How do we “preserve” our small town character of Mill Valley?

That was one of the questions raised at the in which the City Council deliberated over an appeal by a a location of the deli chain downtown. (The council .)

This event took place to the great delight of the large crowd that packed the council chambers. While there is a part of me that agrees with the ultimate decision, I also shake my head in disgust at the pompous, NIMBY, insincere, irrational, and knee jerk attitudes of far too many citizens of Mill Valley.  

Small-town character? I’ve lived in Mill Valley for more than 40 years. This town only slightly remembers the town I grew up in during the 1970s. Through the Mill Valley Historical Society, I’ve met dozens of “old timers” who lived here in the 40s and 50s. Not only does the town I grew up in not resemble their "old town,” but the current Mill Valley is like a different planet to them.

Sure, it’s the money. Yet, just because Mill Valley is loaded, with most families making six-figure (or more) incomes, it does not explain entirely why and how Mill Valley has changed. Those reasons are complex and deserve another story to be written. My point is more that it seems laughable that citizens of today claim they want to “maintain the Mill Valley character.” Many who claim this are imports from other counties or states. What do they know about our town's history and small-town charm it has long since lost?

Hats off to councilman Ken Wachtel, who was quoted as saying he went into the meeting undecided. That gives me solace that at least one of our councilmembers can maintain an open mind and not be a simple rubber-stamper for the mob-like, anti-chain mentality of our populous.

While I do in fact support the from Mill Valley, I’d like to acknowledge that if the decision were reversed, I would not have picked up my marbles and gone home. Quite frankly, downtown can use a few more options for eating that won’t break the bank. Thank goodness we have for a reasonably priced burger and the deli for a moderately priced sandwich. 

Perhaps these two would have suffered from the competition, but is that a reason to turn down a proposed business? Opponents listed a number of criticisms of the proposed Subway, including traffic, trash and poor quality food. Oh please! Hold the insincerity and snobbish attitude. (Now, THAT is something I truly miss about old Mill Valley – I promise you, there were far fewer snobs in the 1970s and I suspect even less in the 1940s).

Traffic and trash? How would it be any different from what was there before () or any other local deli that might take its place? Quality of food?  This sounds like the same rubbish I hear from those who’d turn down an In-n-Out Burger. (Oh, we had that battle already!)

News flash to the whining yuppies of Mill Valley… the small town character was lost the day you arrived in your BMW and Land Cruisers.

In conclusion: I want my Baskin-Robbins back!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mill Valley Neighbor May 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Well written and right on the point. As a Mill Valley resident who can trace my Marin roots back to the 1800’s in Point Reyes I wholly hearty agree these NIMBY’s are killing our small town.
Rico May 16, 2012 at 02:16 AM
I would have to agree about the low quality meat that Subway sells. I bought a pastrami sandwich at the Tam Valley Subway. I decided to inspect the meat that I was eating (like I always do). It was blubber, I had to toss 70 percent of the so called pastrami because it was garbage fat. Anything that is un-chewable does not get eaten by me.That is the only reason that I oppose and do not shop at Subway. I have lived in Mill Valley for over 40 years, and I agree that the people and place have changed, but that is a completely different subject.
Mill Valley Neighbor May 16, 2012 at 04:12 AM
The real question is why did we not let the free market dictate if we could support a Subway or not. If the residents of downtown Mill Valley did not shop at Subway it would go out of business. We complained about the traffic (any shop will have traffic), the trash, and the fast that we don’t like the hours of operation, rather that supporting the project with modifications to the CUP we shot it and the OSH down. We would rather have vacant space than a thriving business, if the property owner can’t pay their mortgage we might find it sold to a developer and multifamily in its place. At which point we would be complaining/ appealing to city council that we would rather have a sandwich shop there not housing. Be careful Mill Valley, you might end up with high density housing quicker that you know it.
RD May 16, 2012 at 04:23 AM
Thanks for the article. A few comments: MV still has character! (despite changes since 40's) and though some people "are imports from other countries and states" they recognize this and want to live here and keep it this way. When you say "mob-like" I think grassroots democracy! When you say "anti-chain" yes that's right - we have plenty of chains already and do not want them to completely take over! (it hurts the charm factor). Tim I can sense from your article that you like MV, and I would say we may not be as we were in the 40's or 70's however, MV still has character. Lets not let it go completely, and work to make it better! I think we are doing it! p.s. I count more Prius' than BMW at last count!
jerry slick May 16, 2012 at 02:39 PM
OK, under the guise of preserving small-town character, we defended the Mill Valley Market. Now get those ugly shopping carts off our sidewalk.
Jim Brinton May 16, 2012 at 05:47 PM
Is it really the yuppies complaining about a Subway? I have a hard time believing that. It strikes me as something more likely to come from "old timers" like you who just like to protest change.
Brendan sugrue May 17, 2012 at 06:45 PM
The article seems to argue that the reasons people wanted subway out of downtown mill valley were premised on an erroneous belief that Mill Valley is still the same small town it once was. Mill Valley is of course a very different place than it was 40 years ago. And one can debate whether it is better or worse than it once was. However, I don't think these questions are relevant to the issue at hand. I think the question is whether or not we are better off with or without the proposed Subway. The city council determined that we were better off without it. I agree with their decision.
Paul Colnett June 21, 2012 at 04:51 AM
I grew up in Mill Valley. Went to Tam High and graduated in 1976. I miss it. Some things I do not miss! You can never go back however and that is the way it has always been.
Nick Castro June 30, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Wow, I actually agree, for the most part, with the 'closet conservative' (though I do take issue with you reappropriating queer-identity political terms, like 'out' and 'closet,' to seem like a persecuted minority, pretty poor taste on your part). The only parts of this article that are a bummer are the selective idealization of the past, and the opposition to what you call 'outsiders,' especially since you look to the past, but only up to a point. Because if you go back any farther you would see white people are the outsiders and the 'charm' of the area had a pre-white history as well. As for the idealization part, let's not forget the general levels of racism and bigotry inherent in white society, especially of yesteryear. I hear you on the lack of affordable food though. Two Whole Foods (or as I like to call it, Whole Paycheck)? Really Mill Valley? Two? In case one runs out of organic flax seed? Ayayay. Ironically, I moved to the über-rich Marin because SF was getting too expensive, which is like saying you moved to Beverly Hills because Hollywood was getting too expensive. Huh? It is strangely strange, yet oddly normal these days. Good article (I am from LA, so have regional pride about In N Out, right on).
Nick Castro June 30, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Listening to friends who grew up here, it seems pretty unanimous that Mill Valley was WAAAAYYYYY better in the 70s. I have often heard it referred to as the "grooviest place on Earth." And I think there is ample evidence to back that up. David Crosby, Mimi Fariña, the original Sweetwater, etc...unless of course if one prefers the yuppie plastic covered and white washed mini-mall it now is, then one may disagree.
Nick Castro June 30, 2012 at 07:22 PM
Prius, BMW; six of one, half a dozen of the other. I can barely believe I am defending the persecuted conservative in two places on this post, but for the sake of accuracy, he did say 'counties,' not 'countries.' 'Countries' would have been too overtly racist, 'counties' is much more subtle and ambiguous. And yeah, I know my 'defense' reeks of accusatory sarcasm. Maybe I am defending accuracy more than Amyx.
Anne Tique July 10, 2012 at 12:31 AM
Back in those long-gone groovy days, a child's modest pocket money was enough for a purchase. There were hardware stores and five-and-dimes for actual necessities. Now, unless you're in the market for a latte or an expensive nicety, chances are it's not for sale in Mill Valley. Patch published the transcript of the council meeting where the decision on the Subway question was finalized, and, to my horror, unchallenged was the argument that a Subway would encourage teenagers to hang out downtown, echoing the sentiments my teens encountered as they grew up in the same - yet entirely different - town I did. Mill Valley is still a wonderful place compared with so many. But compared with its past, the present pales.


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