Why is the middle class fleeing San Luis Obispo County?

September 9, 2018


I recently read an article that the Central Coast is one of the worst places in the United States for small business owners. As a small business owner myself, I have at times assumed as much, but could it really be true?

I decided to start doing some research. I learned that not only is it true that the Central Coast is one of the worst places in the United States for small business owners, but that middle-class families are leaving San Luis Obispo County at one of the highest rates in the nation. Why is this happening?

Those leaving cited the high cost of living, lack of good-paying jobs, and shortage of affordable housing. And it’s not just our families – entire companies are leaving our area too. In order to keep a healthy economy and to encourage businesses to stay, we need to place a priority on keeping head-of-household jobs in the County.

Sue Rodeck is a 27 year resident of Templeton.

Ben Daho

Are any of YOU leaving?




Good article, one of the things not expressed, when I talk to local government employees, many of them plan on leaving the area as soon as they retire. They can live like Kings on their $100,000 a year or more pension if they leave the State!!!

Pretty naive to expect the people that benefit from the problem to do anything to fix the problem:(

I guess we’re headed to becoming a county of mansionairs and the little people who service them, living in shelters and creeks:(


What is it you think they can do to fix it? Sounds like you have how you say “penis envy” being stuck in Ca. $100K a year penion, ha,ha, I wish. Try a third of that after 45 years of hard work. Yes we ran not walked from SLO and Ca. It was either leave or work till I dropped dead in the work boots. So who do you blame for homes being $500K and up for a pile of termite infested crap? of gas being close to $4 a gallon, and taxes being four fold of other states, of vehicle registration being 500% higher than other states? Isn’t the ones who mow your lawn or wash or fix your car or pick up after the damn tourists who trash the cities every day of the summer so YOU can have a profitable business and live in what you think is paradise. See the problem is greed and it not from the small guy trying to make a living and feed his family. Who put the likes of Jerry Gruber or Pavvo Ogren or Katie Lichted in place? wasn’t the little guy it was you who voted these BOD’s into power who then turned around and screwed the public. I lived there 30+ years, the wife and her family always and its been on a road to hell since day one. Stop whining and suck it up or get the hell out.  The public who created the mess now deal with it or vote out the bums who ruined SLO and Ca.


The problem is that they’ll move to where you are at and vote the same type of people in that messed it up here.

A prime example is Robert (his first name isn’t Beto-he is Irish) O’Rourke vs Ted Cruz in TX.


About everyone I know has discussed leaving SLO at some point. I have, and maybe soon. It’s nice here, but it’s not THAT nice. There are fantastic options in other areas, states. Did the Dems do it? No, but the policies they promote have accelerated it. The current climate at the SLO City Council only represents a small, wacky group. Taxes go up, the mentally ill homeless roam menacing the folks just trying to get to work and shop, and new rules worsen every month. It does not feel like a free society here any more. Yes, going soon.


In Nov 2024 DCPP Unit 1 will shut down, 9 months later Unit 2 will Open the breakers for good. 75% of thoses jobs are gone.

“This is a loss of an employer that contributes an economic impact of over $1 billion to our local economy every year, touching nearly every aspect of our community,” said Mike Manchak, executive officer of the county’s Economic Vitality Corp.”…….

Just Wait ….you aint seen nothing yet ! Mothers for Peace got their wish ……Now they walk away . Crickets are responding.


Lets see for the business there are taxes, mainly from non govt agencys, carb and our own air board here in SLO county, then the DMV has raised vehicle fees,quite a bit,fuel taxes have gone way up, so for a company that has a fleet of vehicles this is hard to work with, then the county places all kinds of taxes and fees on new housing so that becomes unaffordable, and as Paso citizen said its dammed expensive to go out and eat on date night. The citys can spend big bucks to get the toursits to come here but can’t do anything for those of us here.


The outward migration of ‘middle-class’ families should be of no surprise to anyone. It is fact, for all the reasons you state, and others. My belief, based on seeing what our elected officials actually do (not say), is that SLO county has morphed into a tourist attraction for the ‘higher-than-average income” people from LA or the Bay area and elsewhere. Not touristy like Disneyland, but ‘yuppie’ tourists that have no difficulty paying $300/night for a hotel room, $200 or more for dinner, $20 or more to go wine tasting, then $35 and up for a bottle of wine. If you take the time to do a little research on Napa Valley from the late 1960’s to the mid 1990’s, I believe you will find a lot of similarities to what has taken place here in SLO county over the past 10-15 years.

What is so unfortunate is that our elected governments (city and county) see this as very good, without spending any real effort on understanding what this dependence on the tourist industry is doing to our cities and county and what the long term impacts are going to be.

There has been a lot talk about attracting businesses here that can pay the salaries that are needed for people to live here and raise a family; but nothing has really be done. In fact, as you state, businesses have left and went elsewhere.

So, the big, $64,000 question is – What, if anything, can be done to turn this around? First, and foremost, the citizens of this county must want, really want, this to turn around. And then, we must elect city and county governments that will really do something, not just talk about doing something.

And then us citizens have to hold them to the fire and make it absolutely clear that actions are the only thing that count. If all of this sounds impossible – then I can only offer the last choice – sell your house to some ‘yuppie’ that has made a lot money in the Bay area or in LA and leave Dodge. Lots of luck.


Soon enough it’ll just be a bunch of people with money and a million homeless. Sad to see the place I was born and raised and hoped to one day raise a family turn into an unaffordable chaotic mess.


The American dream has died in San Luis Obispo County, or better said was killed…


just move, don’t wait for something to happen (it won’t). just let the “new deplorables” have it.