Letter to the Editor:
I don't know about you, but I find the brouhaha over building a small store on a small part of a Mill Valley parking lot to be hilarious. But then, I didn't pay a million dollars plus for the lot, only to have the Town Council set vague, emotional and subjective requirements that even the planning department can't interpret. Meanwhile, leaving the owner to make large monthly payments to pay for a lot he can't use.
There is only one explanation. The parking lot must be some ancient sacred ruin - an Anasazi parking lot! After all, those Chacoan roads have to lead somewhere - maybe the MV Depot is built over the foundation of a Miwok Shopping Mall! Now if the owners agreed to preserve this sacred relict, and to reconstruct the parking lot, chunck by asphalt chunk, at another location, perhaps then they could use their property. Of course, the new Sacred Asphalt Lot would have to be properly blessed and purified by the Mill Valley Ecumenical Council of Spirit Guides and Shamen (oops, Shapersons). Or we could just wrap all of Mill Valley in Saran Wrap and stick it in the freezer, to preserve it unchanged for eternity. Or at least until the freeze-wrap expiration date.
It is nice to be able to leave the scenes of my childhood and to return to find them unchanged. However, preservation can also be carried too far. Downtown MV now reminds me of Lenin's corpse - perfectly preserved in its appearance and unchanging year after year, yet lacking in vitality and life. The people sitting their on their chairs and benches, day after day, as if embalmed in cappuccinos.
Having been born in Marin and attended Mill Valley schools, I can understand your desire to preserve what it once was. But it's too late. You're already here.
Back to Essays | Home