Outwardly,there does not seem to be much difference between Atherton and the Town of Portola Valley. The people seem to be about the same but Atherton seems to like their walls and gates whereas Portola Valley is a bit more rural with more openness, horse trails, sports fields etc.
Perhaps there is a symbolism in the walls in gates where people want privacy and just go about their business and not get engaged but on any summer weekend there are a multitude of fundraisers, cultural, political and social so surely there are not a bunch of hermits living in Atherton concerned with themselves.
Linked below is a video presentation of how Portola Valley planned and built a new town center complex which was privately funded with over $18,000,000. This truly was a remarkable event and an example of government and citizens coming together.
What is the difference between Portola Valley and Atherton? I would suggest there is a complete lack of leadership and vision in Atherton's town government. Until that changes the rancor and inability to harness the community will continue.
Time for Atherton citizens to come out from behind their gates!