MAY 22, 2018
Before resigning to run for Congress, the mayor of America’s fifth-largest city gave a political open-borders ally millions of taxpayer dollars to complete a job in an area it suspiciously has zero experience in. Under the shady deal, the radical La Raza group Promise Arizona (PAZ) will receive $2.4 million from the city of Phoenix to conduct “Business Assistance” during construction of a light rail extension. Some Phoenix City Hall insiders believe it’s a payoff by the outgoing mayor, Greg Stanton, to support his upcoming congressional run. Stanton, who will resign on May 29, and PAZ Director Petra Falcon are close political allies fiercely opposed to immigration enforcement and border security. “PAZ has zero experience in business anything,” said a veteran Phoenix official. Another Phoenix government staffer called it a prime example of race-based political payback. “PAZ is no more qualified to provide economic development input than a fox is fit to provide chicken and egg care for a henhouse.” Judicial Watch reached out to Stanton’s office for comment, but messages went unanswered.
PAZ’s mission and accomplishments indicate that it is not qualified for the Phoenix job. The $2.4 million are supposed to go to an organization or firm that assists businesses along the new rail line with building and marketing strategies. “The grant will fund comprehensive, proactive business assistance that will include business owner workshops, detailed inventories and needs assessments of the businesses in the corridor, and development and implementation of individual business assistance plans,” according to documents obtained by Judicial Watch. “In addition, the grant provides the resources to engage and work with the community to gather extensive input and understand perspectives on the current and desired conditions of the station areas to generate a long-term vision for the corridor. The visioning work will be captured through interactive design workshops that will yield conceptual urban design plans for the areas surrounding each station. The community engagement, visioning, urban design work, and an action plan will be documented in a TOD policy plan specific to the South Central corridor, which will serve to attract, guide, and prioritize strategic investments in infrastructure, housing, economic development, and other areas to achieve the shared vision for the future.”
PAZ’s specialty is “building immigrant and Latino political power” that it claims brings hope, dignity and progress. In fact, the “who are we?” question on is website is answered like this: “Promise Arizona has been at the forefront of the fight for immigrant rights for 5 years.” The organization strives to promote and harness the power of the Latino community in Arizona, according to its website. “Promise Arizona aims to unite the millions of Arizonans who reject the divisive politics of immigrant-baiting, millions who believe in treating their neighbors with fairness and dignity,” the group proclaims. Among its goals is “training businesses and individuals about the values of open borders, sanctuary cities and divisive race-based politics.” PAZ recently sued the federal government to keep an Obama amnesty program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Its website openly recruits young Latino and immigrant leaders who are ready for action, grounded in a history of social movements. When Arizona’s Supreme Court ruled recently that DACA illegal aliens could no longer receive discounted in-state tuition at public universities and colleges, Falcon said “this ongoing assault on immigrants is destroying our communities, especially our vulnerable immigrant families, and it has to stop.”
There’s no other sensible explanation for PAZ receiving the “Business Assistance” grant other than its director’s close political ties to Stanton, who steered the public funds her way. There is a stark difference between PAZ and the other company, Callison RTKL, that submitted a bid for the grant money to help businesses through the rail construction. Callison’s expertise includes architecture, brand building, change management, workplace strategy and environmental graphic design. The reputable firm’s projects include revitalizing a neglected area in Shanghai, overcoming challenges in a Washington D.C. office building, the transformation of a northern California medical center and a multitude of national and international projects. There is no comparison between Callison and PAZ. Nevertheless, led by Mayor Stanton the Phoenix City Council passed a measure last week to give PAZ $2.4 million to perform a job it clearly isn’t qualified to do.
Last year Judicial Watch exposed another outrageous allocation of taxpayer dollars by the city of Phoenix. In that case public funds helped pay for a controversial billboard depicting President Donald Trump as a Nazi. The massive billboard caused a ruckus when it was unveiled in downtown Phoenix Arizona last year because it features a menacing portrait of Trump surrounded by mushroom clouds—in the shape of laughing clowns—and swastikas modified as dollar signs. A pin of a Russian flag appears on the president’s lapel. Judicial Watch uncovered records that show the billboard was commissioned by an “arts advocate” who gets thousands of dollars in grants from the city, in part to organize an annual art event where the offensive billboard made its debut. The publicly funded annual art celebration is touted as having “a diverse slate of activities created by local artists and art venues to celebrate the growing, vibrant Phoenix arts scene” and is described as “…one of the most important events in Phoenix’s calendar” by Mayor Stanton.
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