Category Archives: Articles

A few thoughts for @SykesCharlie (Part II)

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When the conversation got rolling on a new Bucks arena in April of 2014, Milwaukee talk radio commentator Charlie Sykes came out with significant critiques as it related to public financing for a new downtown arena. With the details of a new plan leaking out today, he’s back at it again both on his talk show and at this link via his Right Wisconsin digital platform.

Last year in the spirit of good debate, we did a piece addressing some of his concerns. We’ll take a crack at his concerns raised today with the new financing plan. Before reading this piece, we’d recommend that for background you read our piece from last night – The Elements of The Deal if you have not already done so.

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The Elements of the Deal

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The news leaked out earlier this afternoon. First from local Milwaukee talk radio personality Mark Belling and then quickly followed up by the reporters at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The elements of a deal are in place to finance a new Milwaukee arena complex.

We are going to give it our best shot at explaining what the key moving pieces are and what to look for next. Before we begin, we’d like to offer our condolences to the family of Don Walker, the MJS reporter covering the arena issue, who passed away unexpectedly last week of a heart attack at the age of 62. Don and I (your SOB editor) had many email conversations on all things Milwaukee Bucks and the arena project over the past two years. I had known Don from assisting him with some prior stories on Miller Park many years ago. He was a very hard working reporter who was respected by all. As the excitement of the arena takes shape, we do so not only without Don, but also Bradley Center Chairman Marc Marotta, who unexpectedly passed away last month as well. The sad irony is that a key driver of the project (Marotta) and the key reporter covering the project (Walker) are not with us to shepherd things as we enter the home stretch. That said, we know they will be there in spirit when the first Bucks home game is played at the new building. Condolences for the families of both men.

Not a Done Deal Yet

When the specific details are announced in the next week, it is important for Bucks fans to realize that this is simply “the plan” for financing the new arena. This plan has many moving parts and will need a number of different constituencies to sign off on things. If some of these groups fail to go along with the plan, there might not be an arena. Thus it is critical that arena supporters convey to your elected representatives in the coming weeks that you want them to support the project.

Here are the important takeaways based on the deal specifics as outlined by MJS reporters Dan Bice and Patrick Marley this afternoon: Continue reading

A Wisconsin Tale – Part I

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Once upon a time there were three brothers, Christoper, Tom and Scott. The three boys had grown up on the shore of Lake Winnebago, raised by their loving parents Henry and Karen, who owned a beautiful house on the Lake. As youngsters the boys loved the lake and all it had to offer. Fishing, boating and swimming. One of their favorite activities was going out walleye fishing in their uncle Lloyd’s 16-foot Lund Fishing boat. The memories of those days on the lake were imbedded in them all. The three brothers agreed that as they grew up and built families of their own, they would always share this boating legacy with their children.

Lund Fishing Boat

Over time each of the boys married and transitioned into the stresses of normal adult life. Scott moved to Madison where he had built a lucrative career, Christopher moved into downtown Oshkosh, Tom elected to stay on the lake, inheriting the family home after the passing of their parents.

One day the three brothers were gathered at the park in Fond Du Lac for the annual boat show. A beautiful 24-foot pontoon boat with a 200 horsepower Mercury motor powerful was on display. The dealer was going out of business next-month and offering them a once-in-lifetime price of $22,000.

The three brothers knew Uncle Lloyd’s old Lund wasn’t cutting it anymore. They each had teen children who wanted to not only fish but waterski and inner-tube. Given the size of the families, it was impossible for them to all use Uncle Lloyd’s small fishing boat at the same time. Further, the families all wanted to have that boat that could be used for more than just fishing. The model on sale could also be used for water sports and cruising on the big lake. Scott suggested that he had the money to buy the boat, but it would need to be kept at the Tom’s house on the lake.

Pontoon Boat Water SkiChristopher seconded the idea and offered to purchase the lift, trailer and handle winter storage at his garage in Oshkosh. Continue reading

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State Budget Hearing – Support The Bucks

State Budget Public Hearing

Before the state budget goes to vote in April, the state holds public hearings to give the public an opportunity to comment, support or oppose parts of the state budget. There will be four such hearings coming up and we will be focusing on the one in the Milwaukee area at Alverno College, next Friday, March 20th at 10am. If you live outside the Milwaukee area and are able to attend a different hearing, we encourage you to attend and show your support for the Arena Funding Plan to support a new arena in Milwaukee.

We will be arriving before 10:00am on Friday, March 20th, and they are expected to deal with the New Arena Funding Plan of the state budget early so you will likely need to only stay an hour or so. We encourage supporters to wear Bucks gear, SaveOurBucks shirts or we will have PlayItForward shirts available to show your support.

For more information or to let us know if you are coming, please check out our Facebook page for the event at this link:

Here is the information on all the public hearings. Spread the word and show your elected officials there is support for the Walker Arena Funding Plan!

MADISON – The co-chairs of the state’s budget-writing Joint Committee on Finance, State Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and State Representative John Nygren (R-Marinette), are announcing four public hearings on Governor Walker’s 2015-17 budget proposal:

THIS IS THE ONE THAT WE HOPE TO HAVE BUCKS SUPPORTERS AT:

Friday, March 20 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Alverno College
Pitman Theatre
3400 South 43rd Street
Milwaukee, WI 53234

OTHER HEARINGS AROUND THE STATE

Wednesday, March 18 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)
Brillion High School
Endries Performing Arts Center
W1101 County Road HR
Brillion, WI 54110Monday, March 23 (10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

University of Wisconsin-Barron County
Fine Arts Theatre
1800 College Drive
Rice Lake, WI 54868

Thursday, March 26 (9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.)
Reedsburg High School
CAL Center Auditorium
1100 South Albert Avenue
Reedsburg, WI 53959

Bucks Owners Honor Long-term Plan

Paul-Henning

By: SOB Spokesman Paul Henning 

Follow Paul on twitter @brewcitypaul

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The Milwaukee Bucks pulled off trade deadline deal that surprised fans and the basketball community by trading starting point guard and fan favorite Brandon Knight to the Suns and in return getting back 2014 Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter Williams from Philadelphia 76ers and PG Tyler Ennis and PF/C Miles Plumlee from Phoenix Suns.

This trade stunned not only fans but members of the national media who have been closely following Milwaukee’s Cinderella season led by new head coach Jason Kidd and the much improved play of the team led by Brandon Knight. Firmly entrenched in the Eastern Conference’s 6th spot with a chance to move up, many expected the Bucks to stand pat. But with Knight’s impending restricted free agency, it appears they made a move to get back assets instead of run the risk of losing him this summer to an offer sheet they did not feel like matching. Knight is widely expected to get a max contract offer from another team for his improved play this season and rising salary cap next season.

At face value, many fans are wondering ‘why’ or ‘how’ we could trade our starting point guard and risk ruining the chemistry right before we make a run at this years playoffs. Our owners know we are not winning the NBA championship this season. While the playoff run will certainly be enjoyable, we must look ahead and put down the foundation for a championship level caliber roster. That means making tough decisions. That means understanding your assets & their valuations. Buy low & sell high is a mantra in the financial world. A world in which Lasry & Edens attained their success. They sold high on Knight and bought low on longer term assets in MCW, Ennis & Plumlee who are all under contract for between 2-4 more seasons on rookie scale contracts. Continue reading

Q & A: Tribal Gaming and the New Arena

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EDITORS NOTE: Since we published this piece earlier this morning, a spokesman for the Governor said the decision to not approve the Kenosha casino is final and will not be revisited. For those looking to understand all angles of this decision, this Q&A is still helpful for many trying to learn more about a complicated issue. Since initial publication, we’ve added a spreadsheet below to weigh out the benefits and risks. 

By now you’ve all heard the report from WISN AM1130’s Mark Belling that reportedly the two tribes involved in the proposed Kenosha casino project will offer to pay the public portion of a new arena, which could be as much as $220 million dollars or more. In exchange for this “donation” to the new arena, Governor Walker would need to reverse his decision last month and approve the Hard Rock Kenosha Casino project that is being sponsored by the Menomonee Tribe of Wisconsin in conjunction with the Seminole Tribe from Florida.

We could have written a 10,000 word essay on the history of tribal gaming and how we arrived at this point, but for now let’s go with this Q&A.  Please read it in its entirety as we try to walk through the entire situation in a logical flow.  Continue reading

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GOP Stakes Out Arena Position

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In the week after Governor Walker set forth his arena funding proposal, a number of key GOP legislators have now offered their thoughts on the chance for passage as part of the 2016-17 State budget.

The viewpoint of most can be summed up in this interview that Channel 12’s Mike Gousha just posted with State Representative John Nygren. In the interview, Nygren highlights that he thinks Walker’s plan makes fiscal sense and has merit. However, he also makes clear that he views it important the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County come up with some financial aid as well. Nygren notes that he’d prefer the State funding component be $100 or $150 million dollars rather than the $220 million proposed by Walker. Here are our brief thoughts on where things stand. Continue reading

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Walker’s Arena Proposal: Thoughts and Questions

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It was an exciting day for Bucks fans as Governor Scott Walker presented his arena financing plan this morning. Does this mean we are home free? Is NBA basketball now secure in Milwaukee for decades to come? Not yet. There are still some battles to come in the coming months. We will need all of you to be ready to have your voices heard with your State and local legislators. We will have details shortly on some events that you can participate in to show your support for the project, so we’ve got some work to do.

All that being said, if you assume Bucks fan angst over the team relocating is a malady that began around 2003 when Senator Kohl almost sold the team to Michael Jordan, we are probably 95% through this. We’ve still got to get through that last 5% that will entail LED outlining their site plans and the politicians lining up to hopefully make this funding plan a reality.

We have a few thoughts and questions from this morning’s press conference. So let’s get this started!

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Scott Walker Steps Up

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For those of you just catching up on the news, the concept of the Bucks remaining in Milwaukee for the long haul just had its single most important day since Senator Kohl announced the sale of the team last April.

As reported by Rich Kirchen in the Milwaukee Business Journal, Governor Walker’s proposed 2016-17 State budget will include provisions for state income taxes paid by NBA players to be used to fund the principal and interest payments on tax-exempt bonds to be issued to fund an estimated $200 million dollar public contribution to a new arena. This is what has been referred to in the media as the “jock-tax”.

Most observers had expected Walker to be the last domino to fall in the sequence of events to allow for a new arena. Conventional wisdom called for the Bucks to propose a plan, the public and politicians to debate it, and, at the end of that debate Walker to weigh in with his thoughts. Continue reading

New Arena Sites Narrow – Our Thoughts

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Don Walker has a new piece up noting that the Bucks are narrowing the new arena site choices down to areas in Park East and vicinity. We encourage you to read the piece as background before you read our thoughts on the options being considered. The site location debate is coming to a head and most parties expect some announcement to be within the next 30-60 days. As always, we’ve some opinions on things, so let’s go! Continue reading