The one-percenters are headed to Cayucos

July 14, 2021

Rendering of planned resort in Cayucos

Editor’s Note: The following series, “Life in Radically Gentrifying Cayucos by the Sea,” to be posted biweekly includes the notes, thoughts, and opinions of an original American voice: author Dell Franklin. 

Franklin’s memoir, “Life On The Mississippi, 1969,” is currently on Amazon.


This new plan to build a luxury hotel on the bluff overlooking Cayucos is the beginning of the one-percenters invading Cayucos and turning it inevitably into a playground for the really, really, really super rich.

For the last ten to fifteen years the five and ten-percenters have done their best to transform this last little beach town with a smokehouse and a spattering of ne’er-do-wells into something more appropriate for people with so much money they don’t know what to do with it and are so deeply ensconced in luxury they’ve lost all track of reality and humanity.

These one-percenters hosed the economy during the pandemic, the rich getting richer, the poor getting poorer, and they’ve gotten together and tried to figure out how they can make even more money and create even more luxury for themselves and their friends, always at the expense of the bottom feeders.

They’re checking out Cayucos, which now needs to be a different kind of destination, supposedly for people like those from the Beverly Hills Housewives reality TV show and their likenesses aspiring to such levels of celebrity and grandiosity.

I can see it now, years down the line, when high-end healing retreats replace ranches inland off Cayucos Creek Road, and some of the shabby old motels are razed and replaced by four star monstrosities, and two and three lots at a time are bought up on Pacific so these one-percenters have enough space for eight bedrooms and nine baths and movie rooms, gyms, spas, wine cellars and pools, etc, etc, so they can entertain guests three or four times a year when they’re not at their mansions in Aspen or the Hamptons or Beverly Hills or the Riviera in France.

I can see the Beverly Hills housewives shrieking at their compliant, high-powered husbands: “Honey, where do we shop? Have you seen what they have in this dump—surf shops and antique stores! Tack-eee.”

“Well, honey, Cambria has a few nice shops…”

“No. Any way we can charter a plane and shop in Santa Barbara, say Montecito?”

“Sure, baby, sure.”

“And where do we eat? I wandered into that Sea Shanty, and the men in there look like they haven’t gone a day in their lives without eating two pounds of meat! And the women—they look like they’re out of the old Gunsmoke series.”


Everything will be leveled when these one-percenters, bored and not rich enough, get their paws on Cayucos. The Okie spawn from the Valley won’t want to spend five hundred bucks a night, will have to pitch tents on the beach, but there will be so many new laws popping up on ubiquitous signs that they might not be able to get drunk and cavort like loons on the beach anymore, much less allow their dogs to roam free.

The police will have something to say about protecting the one per centers, even if they’re absent 90% of the time.

Because, the one-percenters insist on being in total control and making the rules once they take over, once they buy off the politicians and everybody else in their way.

Lack of water? Not a problem. Landfill grounds? Not a problem.

There will be stop lights, at least two. Tanning parlors. One of the big wheelers and dealers will make a call after the wives turn their noses up at our eating establishments and say: “Darling, please call Wolfgang and see if he can build a Spago number eight. Honestly, we need one.”

“Got it, babe. That seedy looking tavern on the main drag looks perfect for a remodel. Puck has me on his phone, answers right off no matter how busy he is.”

Ahh yes, a Spago in Cayucos, so the diet-crazed, Botox ridden housewives can have a venue to argue, throw $100-a-bottle wine in each other’s faces, sob inconsolably, hold grudges, make up, and go on with their nonsense while their maids and caretakers get off the buses from Atascadero and Paso Robles.

Why will this new luxury hotel have it’s own eatery and market? Take a guess. And a bar. Right now it would be nice to see Bruce down at the Beach Bum secure a liquor license, but he ain’t a one-percenter, he’s just a guy trying to make a go of things and I’m sure his clientele would feel pretty squeamish watching the real housewives of America throw food at each other in Spago number eight.

This land is our land, peons, live with it.


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I read this purely as prose rather than fodder for political discussion. Early on, I fell for the “triggers” that Dell used , but really I enjoy the art of his writing. He does capture a sentiment ( right or wrong, doesn’t matter) of a certain unexpressed viewpoint of the “tattered, rough locals” fighting to keep a battered little beach town intact. We all know that his expressions are being drowned out by the need to develop California beach property. No debate there. Just read it and enjoy.