Commentary: At What Price Redevelopment?

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, September 1, 2006

The formal name is Texas Mexican Restaurant. Everyone I know calls it Tex Mex. The modest eatery sits on eighth street between K and L in downtown Sacramento around the corner from the Greyhound bus depot, a very high risk location.

Despite that, Tex Mex thrived. It served good food at reasonable prices. It attracted both free spending lobbyists and budget minded sales clerks. It was a favorite hangout of reporters, too.

I found it a welcome relief from the hip, pricey new eating establishments that have popped up all over downtown, places where the cheapest lunch will set you back $20 bucks or more.

Sadly, Tex Mex closed this week - a victim of downtown redevelopment. The city offered to help them relocate, but rents anywhere downtown would've been two to three times higher. So Tex Mex served its last burrito Wednesday. "We're the ones keeping downtown alive," one of the owners told me in disgust, "but we're the first to go when money starts coming in."

And how's this for irony? Tex Mex owners got a letter from Mayor Heather Fargo asking support for Measures Q and R, the arena tax. It will bring in more jobs and businesses and spur redevelopment, the letter said. Tex Mex won't be joining the Q and R team. They've already been redeveloped - out of business.


Ginger Rutland writes for the Sacramento Bee Opinion pages.