Thursday, July 20, 2006

God Bless the Town of Novato

Why does the town of Novato get disparaged so much by the rest of Marin?

It's no secret that it happens. Be honest, you know that it does. It doesn't happen in the mainstream media. It's only amongst ourselves in private, at parties and other social gatherings, where, when the topic of Marin towns comes up, the negative comments are made and noses are pointed skyward with a haughty sniff.

Is it because working folk live there in greater abundance? Although affordability has reached crisis levels all across the Bay Area, Novato should be praised for doing what it can to house Marin's workforce which, as has been pointed out elsewhere on this blog, has been shamefully offloaded to other counties for the most part.

Is it because Novato allows convenient shopping to be built (e.g., Costco, Target, etc.) whereas the rest of Marin does not? How many south Marin residents do you think shop at these stores? Probably quite a few.

Is it because Novato actually builds housing? What can I say? God bless Novato for allowing new houses to be built.

I think it is nothing more than elitist Marin snobbery and prejudice against a town that has a sense of independence, pragmatism, and vision. Such animosity betrays a shallow, insecure, and inward-looking nature that harbors a deep-seated fear of change.

Share your thoughts if you'd like.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with Novato!?! NUTHIN!

...AND it's only getting better...after all, we're getting a Whole Foods! So There!!

Jul 20, 2006, 6:13:00 PM  
Blogger B. Durbin said...

My sister lives in Novato, and my whole family lived there before I was born (and still went there for orthodontia long after, before they fixed up 37), so I have to say I'm biased in Novato's favor.

Jul 20, 2006, 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger 49erFans said...

Novato used to have a stop light on the 101. It was a pit stop. When I was little Novato hardly had any sidewalks. People actually rode horses! Then the housing boom happened and left many really dizzy.
Until a Realtor showed me the new downtown I didn't know they had one. I don't feel like a Marin County Snot - I grew up in San Rafael when people were just plain folks. So good for Novato for building, but, honestly, the planning could have been much, much better.

Jul 20, 2006, 6:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading your blog brings back all the (mostly) good memory of the brief one year that I lived in Novato (May 2002 to May 2003). After relocating from San Antonio, Texas, we bought a house (in a "lucky" lottery draw) in Pointe Marin (the Centex development off Ignacio Blvd). 2 weeks after we closed in December 2002, my company decided to relocate my job from Marin to Virginia, so we had to tearfully sell the house. The house was 1,900 square feet, but in the fall 2002, it still costs us an arm and a leg (north of $650K). We sold it in May 2003 for just north of $700K and counted ourselves lucky for coming out whole (my company's relo package paid the commission). Astoundingly I later found out that the same house was appraised north of $800K in 2005.

I must say we loved the house. Centex then built a very solid house, and had great customer service.

I agree w/ your post about Novato's somewhat exceptional more "middle-of-the-road" feel compared to the elitist other parts of Marin. I certainly don't feel at home south of Corte Madera! And I consider myself a Texan!

Jul 20, 2006, 8:31:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

OMG /hug Navato... Moylans! the maker of THE BEST, that's right THE best ale ever...

Try it if you haven't, a lot of posters on this blog including the blogger him/herself need a good beer to help ease their pain of this soon to be economical apocalypse.

Great now I have to go to Scotty's and get me some....

I like Indian Valley Golf Course too, not too expensive and a nice hard course...

Jul 20, 2006, 8:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Novato is a trailer-trash town for the working class. I can't stand the garbage conservative Americans that live there. Southern Marin (Sausalito, Mill Valley, Belvedere, Tiburon, Larkspur, Kentfield, Ross) + San Francisco (Pacific Heights, Marina, Presidio Terrace) = the only decent parts of the Bay Area

I stay away from the other areas.

Jul 20, 2006, 9:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sausalito Resident--I dare say you are missing the point. Or rather, that you are the point.

Jul 20, 2006, 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stay away from the other areas.

It sounds like you've chosen your punishment--and thank goodness for the rest of us.

Jul 20, 2006, 11:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Novato is great for me.
I've got gunracks in my old Ford truck and I keep a couple of fixer cars in my front yard.
It gets hot here, but a couple of six packs can fix that too.

Jul 21, 2006, 1:28:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will admit when I lived in Marin (sausalito) I did go to Novato to shop at Target and Costco and yes I had the view that Novato was not as nice as the rest of Marin

Of course the joke is on those living in Southern Marin (and by way of a similar situation people in Carmel where my folks live) since, as I now tell my folks, unless there is a huge inheritance or unless I manage to make $400k or more a year I won't be living in their neighborhood as long as they continue to support zero growth policies. The joke part -- even with zero growth policies if you look at population stats the population growth in Southern Marin and Carmel continues -- albeit without the infrastructure and planning to support it as Novato (and I would argue places like Laguna and Dana Point down south) have done. So yes, I do have liberal bent on politics and yes I don't love some of the politics in places like Novato and Laguna / Dana point but where would I rather live -- in an area where only the super rich can live where buildings are old, grocery stores crowded with narrow isles and you can't hire workers at any decent rate -- or in an area with new stores, large parking lots and the ability to truely live in an economically integrated area. I love the people in Southern Marin who support the middle class folks with their politics -- just as long as they don't live there.

Jul 21, 2006, 9:11:00 AM  
Blogger cajun100 said...

Without Novato and Petaluma, the police and fire departments of many, many communities south and east of Marin would be much, much different in terms of racial mix.

Some of the all-round best and most rational people I know have lived or do live in Novato -- by choice. Including a couple of families that once lived in Mill Valley or Corte Madera, and ran screaming from the avalanche of wealthy selfish snobs especially from "points east".

Whenever I visit Novato, I do feel sympathy for all those people in all those cars painfully snaking their way north every day through southern Marin. It's a sad and ironic fact that at least some of this congestion is due historically to the elitist attitudes so prevalent south of San Rafael (Why improve the road system??? Why allow utility extensions into pasrts of west Marin??? It will only INDUCE GROWTH -- and so on).

Jul 21, 2006, 9:28:00 AM  
Blogger marine_explorer said...

...ran screaming from the avalanche of wealthy selfish snobs especially from "points east".

I've run into that annoying "social clique" mentality, and I can only hope these people keep to themselves. Best thing for everyone really.

Jul 21, 2006, 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger sf jack said...

Hey snobalito -

You must have missed it, but in a recent survey it was shown that the "garbage conservative Americans" quotient was higher at Smitty's and The Deuce than at any similar places in the Bay Area.

Those people are your neighbors.

Another study found the asshole quotient higher in Snobalito than anywhere else in California.


Jul 21, 2006, 12:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do all us Novato homeowners a favor and just focus your blog on Southern Marin. We have a great thing going up here in Novato.
I grew up in East Corte Madera and you really had a community. In the summer we played out to 10:30 when our parents would make us come in. (They were usually at one of the neighborhood houses for cocktails.) We have some of that going on up here and it's great. We watch each others kids, just like the old days. Southern Marin for the most part has none of this community sprit that I can see.
We are Ok being the red headed step child of Marin. You southerners keep chugging down there. We doing just fine, Thanks

Jul 21, 2006, 12:55:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

lol you guys just took the troll bait. Now get the hook out of your mouths.

When I was looking for an overpriced POS I didnt even look in Novato, I remember saying "is Novato in Sonoma"? Anyway, that commute can suck the troll bait you guys are eating. Driving less = hapiness.

Jul 21, 2006, 3:39:00 PM  
Blogger sf jack said...

fred -

It's not obvious my reply is in kind?

Jul 21, 2006, 4:54:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

jack, any response to a troll is deamed feeding. so... don't feed the troll. :D

Jul 21, 2006, 7:10:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

so yeah, I can't spell...

spell check for blogs FTW.

Jul 21, 2006, 9:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'all need to read a great book on
white collar trash like yrselves its called "White Like Me"

Jul 22, 2006, 6:14:00 PM  
Blogger rejunkie said...

This thread is hilarious. As a 9 year resident of Novato (more or less -- spent two of them in Sydney), I have never found this town particularly charming. Having said that, I grew up in Terra Linda, which is frankly, no better. I had a former co-worker refer to this place as having a high CPY ratio (that is "cars per yard"), although that was in 1994.

I know stereotypes take a long time to die. Yes, there are still a few trailer parks here (as there are in Greenbrae, wink, wink), there are still some well furnished front yards and there will probably always be The Viking (hey, Larkspur has the Silver Peso) but things have improved immensely in the past decade. And conservative? WTF? Most (if not all) of the city council are Democrats.

Anyway, given that it is the only place left in Marin that is affordable to double income white collar job-holders, the demographic mix here has definitely changed in the past 9 years. It is one of the most ethnically diverse towns in Marin (and not just our latino friends -- Tiburon residents: when was the last time you saw an Asian or black family living in your midst?)

I have to say that people here are friendlier, especially the way you are treated in the stores. Shout out to Pini Hardware -- best hardware store ever.

Compared to the rest of Marin, Novato has some catching up to do, no question. Compared to most places elsewhere in the Bay Area, Novato is far superior in terms of setting, weather, crime and schools. It is all relative, really.

Having Trader Joe's and soon, a Whole Foods (and those lovely new pink sidewalks) is no guarantee of success, but they are steps in the right direction.

However, I would not call the development of faux French Estate/Colonial/Spanish McMansions that fill Ignacio and Hamilton a triumph of city planning.

Speaking from firsthand experience, though, it is quite easy to get permits here. I have heard horror stories from other towns that hold homeowners hostage when they want to build new retaining walls, for instance.

Would I prefer to live in Tiburon if I could foot the bill? Absolutely. Would I want to live among the Tiburonians? No thanks.

To paraphrase Novato Lover, if Novato offends you, feel free to avoid it.

Jul 22, 2006, 10:40:00 PM  
Blogger rejunkie said...

OK, not all Tiburonians. Just like we aren't all toothless, beer swilling, truck drivers, not everyone in Tiburon is a cold snob.

Jul 22, 2006, 11:24:00 PM  
Blogger fredtobik said...

"Silver Peso"

Awesome.. I love that place, some old drunk always manages to beat me at shuffleboard....

Jul 23, 2006, 8:08:00 AM  

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