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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It’s not a zero sum game. Just because one has made a lot of money doesn’t mean that those less fortunate have had something taken away. Sounds to me like a bit of sour grapes and envy. The easiest thing in the world to do is complain.


Back when we first started building here it took an act of God to add a bathroom. Adequate parking was a pre requisite for any type of development. Did you see the proposed multi-unit “pocket neighborhood” on a 7,500 sq ft RMF lot near this project in your piece ? The ADU + “junior” ADU loopholes coupled with VRBO/”30 day rental” loophole VRBO are going to change every nice neighborhood in the county before long. The need for off street parking and enough water to sustain growth at the old ” SLO growth, come up for air” pace have mysteriously vanished just like getting pneumonia and the Flu.

Jon Tatro

It’s a hotel these visitors aren’t taking over your over rated town, Paso adds a hotel every month and guess what the tax revenue they bring in funds the economy. Boohoo, woke Dell doesn’t want visitors.

Camus Redux

Paso is the Kentucky of SLO County. Don’t know how the two could be compared. People that live in Paso flock to Cayucos as soon as they get the chance. It’s all they talk about all week. That place is an oven, lets face it. Even the cows don’t like living there. They add a hotel every month? Are we talking about roach hotels? Even the roaches in Paso aren’t happy living there.

Jon Tatro

Paso Robles is economic engine of the county. Cayucos is the inbred offspring of Pismo and moron bay. Paso is listed as the best vacation destination in all the travel shows and magazines, Cayucos is the meth destination of the coast.

Camus Redux

You don’t understand what torture it is for us on the coast to have to go up to Atascassippi or Pasodebama for a day. It depletes us physically and mentally – takes us a full week to recover. The food is bad, the heat is relentless, the teeth are, well, few and far between. The only reason we go up is for the outlets and the big boxes – we sure as hell don’t want ’em here.


^^^ I haven’t laughed this hard in a while


Paso is great and has come a long way .The cost/ sq. ft. to purchase a house in Cayucos is nearly twice that of Paso. Templeton, Shell Beach, Paso, Cayucos, Morro Bay, SLO, Baywood, and a few others locally are all great places to live compared to most other parts of the country. Cayucos is as much the current meth capital of anywhere as Santa Maria was the “center of the best” back in the day lmfao- Regardless, the floodgates for high density development are wide open .


Cayucos has always remined me of the Funky beach towns of Southern California from Santa Barbara to San Diego. The surf was always good and life was free and easy, all gone now. Avila Beach used to be that way until it was ruined, same goes for Shell Beach and its recent “Streetscape”. Hang in there Dell and keep fighting for the Funk.

Camus Redux

I like that you capitalized “Funky” – it says a lot about you as a person. Funk should always be capitalized. Funk not only moves, it removes.


Work harder and you can have more money.

Camus Redux

How hard have I worked?


Gruff and opinioated as usual Mr Dell…..I hope you are wrong but your point of view is good to hear. Only time will tell how valid your words will truely be :)


boo hoo, poor cayucos. While your property values go up, we see you all cashing in. buying in Osos or Morro Bay on full cash offers. Your “cayucos” license plate frames still sparkling on the backs of your shiny new cars. Hahahaha

Camus Redux

Who? Are you telling me that there is an influx of Cayucans migrating into Morro Bay and Los Osos, waving handfuls of cash and buying up property right and left? Wait, you’re not talking about all the people living in vans and motor homes down by the Los Osos Library are you? It was on KSBY.

Camus Redux

Hopefully this is about the time the whole California coast crumbles into the oceanic abyss. Move inland. While you still can.

kevin rise

Gentrification and the greed money causes will end the regular lives most of us live. Every single war, pollution and deaths of innocent are problems on earth is the cause of those two. Welcome to the new Slo county. But we just love the free market, which is not free for 99 percent of us.