May 17th, 2015

Book Cover

Where I live -

This week I was up at the Civic Center at a meeting before the planning commission as we again try to bring sanity to where we live.  It is tough to fight developers as this piece by Peter Coyote shows.  We moved to our home in Mill Valley in 1978.  Everything could be bought locally.  We had a hardward store within walking distance, groceries, clothing, and a stationary and general store nearby.  Now there are art galleries and salons.  Traffic is often grid-locked.  I have to add fifteen minutes to any trip I take.  Because tour busses flood Muir Woods, this beautiful natural area with marsh, mountain, hills, and bay is treated like Disneyland.  People pour in and out missing the point.  This is home for plants and animals and us.

Peter Coyote has this to say on why he is leaving Marin:

Speaking of time, you’ve lived in Marin for many years. But now you are moving. Why?

Yes, I am moving to Sonoma County. I’ve had it with Mill Valley. It’s become so crowded, so much traffic, and so little responsibility has been devoted to the carrying capacity of the area. We are seriously overpopulated just with respect to water. As far as I’m concerned, every successive group of supervisors and commissioners have been bought off by developers. I saw some of that with my own eyes. I first came here in 1965, and loved it, and then moved to Zen Center in the city. I returned in 1983, as my daughter was getting mugged for her lunch money in the Fillmore.

Twenty-five years ago I participated in a series of meetings called ‘Take Back Our Town.’ Over 700 people showed up, and we wanted to use water as the basis of determining population. Wanted to cut down traffic. We even ran people for office, but the developers outspent us six to one, and have been building ever since.

Now traffic has reached critical mass, IT money is coming in and bidding houses for hundreds of thousands over asking price, all cash. It feels like the town is filling with people who ruined and fled the last place they lived. I walk on the marsh path with a plastic bag picking up organic yogurt cups and Kleenex and all sorts of trash our newly enlightened denizens fling away at will. I’ve seen people in Whole Foods yelling at a young mother for being too slow to move her cart due to trying to corral two children, and so many times people honking and screaming at one another in their cars for no reason—IN MILL VALLEY! Well, they’re all stressed because it takes so much money and so much work to live here. Couple that with the entitlement that dictates that we are entitled to the best of everything and you have a toxic broth in a paradisiacal setting. I have friends here who are not that, but we are like the proverbial frogs in the water that is being heated slowly. Meanwhile I am spending too much time in traffic, and it’s maddening. The water issues will only get worse.

I feel I’ve spent 40 years fighting for this great place, trying to preserve it, and I’m going to spend what is likely my last vigorous decade not fighting anymore, perhaps helping others, and leave before I get cooked.

I'm not ready to leave.  Our house is isolated. We have land, and we have peace.

I spent yesterday at Commonweal, heaven on earth.  They are located by the ocean on sacred land.   They offer wonderful programs to restore those with cancer, and they teach how to live in communion and harmony with the land.  I toured their gardens and am still enchanted with the relationship with land and plants.  They are looking at what pesticides do to us, what they have done and are doing.  They have a juvenile justice program that is incredibly successful, and they offer and do much, much more.  I am inspired and restored by my day spent there.

The land of Marin is sacred, truly sacred.  Native peoples lived here peacefully,.  How do we now fight the developers who only see money to be made?

Thankfully GGNRA is saved.  It is harvest; it is gift. That land can't be touched, and we need land like that, brought back to healing and a natural state.

Here is information on Commonweal and their gardens.  Commonweal can be visited during the day.  I think a reservation may be needed for a tour of the gardens, but, if you can visit, definitely do.  I will go back to walk the labyrinth and sit by the sea.