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San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro

Did partisan politics play a role in President Obama awarding a “promise zone” grant to the east side of San Antonio, Texas, one of only five areas nationwide designated to receive such funding?

In January, Obama announced the neighborhood will receive the designation of “promise zone,” the president’s signature education and anti-poverty program aimed at transforming schools and communities “into vibrant centers of opportunity and excellence” while helping to revitalize the community.

The four other “promise zones” are in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

The mayor of San Antonio is Julian Castro, a rising star in the Democratic Party who is considered a possible 2016 vice presidential candidate.

Castro keynoted the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a prime spot Obama had in 2004 when he was a senator with little national recognition.

Castro’s identical twin brother, Joaquín Castro, is a congressman who represents the largely Hispanic west side of San Antonio.

While Joaquin’s district did not receive the “promise zone” funding, the district falls under the mayorship of Julian Castro and will clearly help demonstrate that his connections benefit the city.

In 2012, the San Antonio Housing Authority also secured a $29.7 million grant from Obama’s Choice Neighborhood program to revitalize the city’s Wheatley Courts area.

San Antonio was the only city nationwide to receive both a “promise zone” grant and funding from Obama’s Choice Neighborhood program.

More promises

It’s not the only questionable funding regarding the “promise zone” program.

As WND exclusively reported last week, the recipient of the $30 million “promise zone” grant to Los Angeles is an affiliate of the radical National Council of La Raza.

A group called the Youth Policy Institute, or YPI, was approved by the Obama administration as the lead agency for Los Angeles when the city was selected by the White House and Department of Education two years ago to receive “promise zone” grants.

With little fanfare, YPI was awarded a $30 million grant in January 2012 as the “promise zone” recipient for Los Angeles.

The organization is slated to receive potentially tens or even hundreds of millions more, with the “promise zone” program pledging up to $500 million in grants over 10 years to help revitalize central Los Angeles neighborhoods.

Unreported by the news media is that the Youth Policy Institute is an affiliate of the National Council of La Raza, or NCLR.

La Raza, which means “The Race, supports amnesty for illegal aliens. Among its affiliates are chapters of the radical MEChA – Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán or Chicano Student Movement of Aztlán – which promotes the “Reconquista” movement. The movement calls for the “liberation” of Aztlan, the mythical ancestral home of the Aztecs, which MEChA regard as Colorado, California, Arizona, Texas, Utah, New Mexico and parts of Oregon.

La Raza is directly tied to the White House. Cecilia Munoz, former senior vice president of La Raza, now serves as director of the White House Domestic Policy Council with specific focus on immigration issues.

La Raza itself highlighted its relationship with YPI in a press release in January boasting about the Obama administration grant.

“NCLR Affiliate Helps Secure Critical Investments for Struggling Los Angeles Communities,” read the title of the La Raza press release.

The release stated: “As part of an initiative to increase economic activity and expand opportunities in impoverished areas throughout the country, President Obama awarded a federal Promise Zone designation to the city of Los Angeles and their lead partner, the Youth Policy Institute, an NCLR (National Council of La Raza) Affiliate.”

According to the release, the central Los Angeles neighborhoods to receive the grant “include many predominantly Latino areas.”

YPI was selected by La Raza in 2011 as its affiliate of the year.

YPI is funded by La Raza, while YPI utilizes La Raza to finance AmeriCorps members working in eight Los Angeles schools. AmeriCorps is a national service organization.

There is also a relationship between La Raza and YPI charter schools, with scores of La Raza fellows teaching in the charter schools.

The National Council of La Raza advocates “comprehensive immigration reform,” calling for “the 12 million undocumented people in our country to come forward, obtain legal status, learn English, and assume the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.”

La Raza has opposed legislation to make English the official language of the U.S.

Former La Raza president Raul Yzaguirre reportedly declared in the 1990s that U.S. English, an organization dedicated to adopting the English language as the official language U.S. language, “is to Hispanics as the Ku Klux Klan is to blacks.”

The Obama administration’s “promise zone” grant to YPI first came under scrutiny last month when the Daily Caller broke the story the organization failed to disclose in IRS forms it spent $140,000 lobbying the White House and other federal agencies.

The extensive Daily Caller piece did not mention YPI’s ties to La Raza.

The Daily Caller revealed YPI’s executive director, Dixon Slingerland, served as a financial bundler for Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, raising nearly $750,000. His name also popped up on White House visitor logs a dozen times since 2009, the Daily Caller reported.

The report comes amid concern from some Los Angeles politicians about the transparency of the “promise zone” selection process and questions as to how YPI was chosen as the official L.A. recipient.

With research by Brenda J. Elliott.

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