Promise Zones announced by Obama

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CNN: Promise Zones are areas where the federal government provides tax incentives and grants to help communities tackle poverty. Obama first announced the initiative during last year's State of the Union speech.

On Thursday, Obama will announce the first Promise Zone locations. They're in San Antonio, Texas; Philadelphia; Los Angeles; southeastern Kentucky and the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

I can't help but notice that the one city that needs help in all aspects, Detroit, didn't make the list.

Being a long term resident of San Antonio, I am perplexed as to where in San Antonio that it is so impoverished that it garners intervention of the federal government. True, we do have a higher than average crime rate, but this wasn't always the case. The crime rate spiked with the relocation of Katrina refugees to the city, many who never left. Further, much of the crime problems can be linked to illegal immigrants and drug cartels. Our crime problem is nothing compared to what goes on blocks from the White House or in Chicago... Or Detroit!

We have a 5.6% unemployment rate, on par with Houston and Dallas metro areas (rated 9 of 50 ) . We have a strong military community, always growing medical training facilities, a tremendously strong tourist and convention sector and the Eagle Ford Shale project created 116,000 high paying mid skilled jobs in 2013 and a 61 billion economic impact on the region. This is all despite the federal government.

We have rougher areas, but what major city doesn't. There is nowhere in this city that I wouldn't go 24/7. This doesn't make sense to me. It screams of political payback for all that our Mayor did for the re-election of Obama.

I wait to see if and how I can take advantage of this Promise Zone to benefit my RE investing.

My guess is political payback and/or big Obama donors in San Antonio who want to take advantage of the program.

If its going to be administered by the federal government it will be a train wreck, as usual.

@Donald Hendricks

"I can't help but notice that the one city that needs help in all aspects, Detroit, didn't make the list."

In response to your comment about Detroit it probably was not on the list because of the large amounts of recent aide, ongoing investment, and the bankruptcy being in midstream. These are only the first 5 zones, maybe Detroit will be selected later after some of the bankruptcy situation plays out specifically the pension situation. Also below are links about some Detroit's current funding and investment and where its going.

Detroit to get $300 million in federal help - Sep. 27, 2013 - CNN Money

Ford Foundation donates money to help Detroit manage its federal grants

Bill Pulte: From Home Builder to Detroit's Unlikely Blight Buster

Gilbert: Tear Down All Of Detroit’s Abandoned Homes At Once

Plan to eliminate blight in Detroit may top $1 billion, task force says

Detroit bankruptcy judge orders company to stop collecting casino revenue (Access to about $180 million a year that was flowing to creditors from its casinos)

Federal, Foundation, City and Corporate Investment Areas in Detroit

The Auto Industry Bailout


Obama’s ‘Promise Zones’ Picked For Their Strategic Value To Democratic Party

January 9, 2014 by Ben Bullard

President Barack Obama designated five areas Thursday as Economic Promise Zones: three in cities, one in rural Kentucky and one on the Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma – and nearly all of them offer Democrats stronger political inroads with resistant local voters.

Obama described the ‘Zones as places where kids would, with the Federal government’s help, have the same opportunities to realize the American Dream as kids in more affluent parts of the country.

“They’re neighborhoods where we will help local efforts to meet one National goal: that a child’s course in life should be not by the ZIP code she’s born in, but by the strength of her work ethic and the scope of her dreams,” the President said.

The cities selected for the first zones are Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Antonio, while the Kentucky zone covers a multicounty region in the southeastern Highlands area. Obama said the program will be expanded to 20 locations Nationwide during the next three years.

“And each of these communities is designing from the bottom up – not the top down – what it is they think they need, and we’re working with them to make that happen,” he said. “And each of these communities is prepared to do what it takes to change the odds for their kids.”

The president said the idea was born from his own experience as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side and on the work of people like Geoffrey Canada, who formed the Harlem Children’s Zone.

As Breitbart observed Thursday, most of the five announced locations have “interesting connections” that suggest their selection wasn’t arbitrary, nor solely based on the President’s altruistic desire to end poverty:

One of the main priorities in the 2014 election for Democrats is unseating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), so Southeastern Kentucky, where the voters are heavily GOP, is a target which may allow Democrats to make some inroads.

San Antonio’s targeted district is the home of Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro, the twin brother of San Antonio mayor Julian Castro who is marked as a future star for the Party. That district, according to the Cook Partisan Voting Index, is only scoring a D+3, so Joaquin Castro could be in trouble.

Although Philadelphia is a Democratic stronghold, there are three suburbs nearby where GOP incumbents may be replaced by Democratic opponents: the Sixth and Eighth, which are both R+1, and the Seventh which is a tossup.

Oklahoma’s Second District is one of the five Promise Zones, and it includes the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Obama has been trying to reach out to the Choctaw nation for some time; Deborah Powell, Native American Development Specialist for the Housing Authority of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, was a guest in Michelle Obama’s box for Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address.

The "Promise Zone" program will be administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and will dangle tax incentives and grants in front of the selected communities in order to create a dependence partnership between local government, businesses and agencies and the Federal government “to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities, and improve public safety.”

The UPI contributed to this report.