All Roads Lead to Greece (and Greivis)

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Last week’s resignation by John Hammond to take the Orlando GM job was viewed as a shocker by the local media and a portion of the fan base. Many lamented the loss of the man who drafted Giannis and who they were convinced would take the Bucks to The Finals in the years ahead.

Meanwhile another group of fans were relieved to see Hammond move on after nine years as GM. A period in which the team failed to win a playoff series or post a 50-win season, two common benchmarks of NBA success.

How do two subsets of fans of the same team have such different perceptions of the Hammond era? It comes down to his complicated tenure which can be summed up in two words: Giannis and Greivis. Continue reading

FTA’s and the Rise of Giannis

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Happy New Year! Or soon to be New Year!

As noted last summer, this website will occasionally put out a piece or two when your SOB Editor finds the time and motivation to pen some thoughts to add to the fine Bucks blogosphere. The past two weeks have been a celebration of all things Giannis, highlighted by Bill Simmon’s piece last week where he proclaimed Giannis as the NBA’s next great superstar.

The superstardom of Giannis prompted some thoughts as to perhaps the key statistic relating to his rise to prominence. Namely free throw attempts per game (FTA or FTA’s). Many NBA players have produced very impressive seasons with high scoring, rebounding or assist totals. But few of those players become the superstars capable of carrying their teams to an NBA championship. The ability to get to the line seems to be one of those correlating factors. Are FTA’s a byproduct of a great NBA player? Why yes, yes they are.

This is why it is important to take stock of where Giannis ranks compared to historical Bucks and recent NBA superstars in the category of free throws attempted per game. As most veteran NBA watchers know, getting to the free throw line can be a major strategic advantage for a player and their team. Not only do you get two free shots but you also rack up the fouls against your opponent, potentially neutralizing their ability to tighten up the defense down the stretch and/or depleting their lineup via foul trouble.

There is a fairly significant correlation between how often a player gets to the free throw line and their impact on the court as evidenced by the current top 20 in the NBA in this category. Note Giannis is ranked ninth overall this season. He’s rising up that list quickly. How quickly you may ask?

For his career, Giannis is averaging 4.4 FTA per game.

For this current season that rises to 7.7 FTA per game

For the month of December that rises to Continue reading

Beware the Ides of Small Sample Sizes

 

8-3

8-4

6-6

Can anyone guess as to the significance of the number pairings above? Probably not, but if you were told it has something to do with the four-year, $52 million contract Miles Plumlee is receiving from the Milwaukee Bucks you might be closer to the correct answer.

Before starting in with specifics, a few housekeeping items are in order. As noted a couple months back, this website will continue to occasionally put out a piece or two when your SOB Editor feels the time and motivation to write something. This site will not be a regular source of Bucks content, as there are many great blogs and podcasts out there doing that on a regular basis. As a note to that, our spokesman Paul Henning, is currently doing active Bucks blogging at his site BrewCityBucks.com, a worthwhile visit if you have not already.

Despite the avalanche of excellent Plumlee commentary out there, your SOB editor occasionally stumbles across a thought or two that the Bucks online community either didn’t address or didn’t fully develop in long-form discussion afforded by this platform. The Plumlee contract brought on a gold rush of historical context thoughts regarding the Bucks and restricted free agency that hopefully you find worth reading. We commence the piece below with the negative aspect of the deal, i.e. how the Bucks once again failed to use the power of restricted free agency to re-sign a bench player. Then we’ll pivot to a possible point of light as to how the Plumlee contract might be useful in the future, ala Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks.

Numbers, Lies and More Damn Statistics

Here are the backstories to the numbers cited above. Continue reading

How Milwaukee built the NBA Champion Warriors (and other stuff)

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Greetings from your SOB Editor! These pages have been silent for almost a year now, but from time to time certain topics arise related to the history of the Bucks that deserve some commentary.

With the Bucks future in Milwaukee secure and the new arena groundbreaking coming up this month, it is a great time to be a Bucks fan. We can now emotionally invest in the team without the existential threat of relocation that hung over the franchise for much of the past decade.

That said, Bucks fans witnessed enough front office dysfunction the past quarter century that it is instructive from time to time to revisit some of the events of the past, to help guide a better path in the future. To that end, this piece will take on two topics. The first is how the Milwaukee Bucks, Herb Kohl and John Hammond were integral in building the NBA champion Golden State Warriors roster. Most in the media aren’t aware of how these two franchises intersected during the 2010-2012 period with personnel moves. We’ll also debunk a bit the recent blurb where former Bucks GM Mike Dunleavy relays how he had a tremendous deal in place to draft Kobe Bryant back in 1996 but was vetoed by owner Herb Kohl.

How the Bucks helped the Warriors grow

A decade ago, when Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks were atop the Western Conference, it was a common theme for NBA announcers to proclaim: “Boy, I bet the Milwaukee Bucks wished they never dealt Dirk Nowitzki to the Mavericks“.  The reality of that story is a little more complicated, as the Mavericks made that 1998 draft day trade with the Bucks contingent on Nowitzki being available to them. Dirk had a strong relationship with the Mavericks front office and always was going to be a Maverick. He was never on the Bucks radar nor would he likely have come over from Europe to play for the Bucks.

That said, we haven’t heard much commentary from NBA announcers regarding key trades and decisions made by our Milwaukee Bucks that helped the current Warriors team come together (trade links courtesy of BasketballReference.com) :
Continue reading

Victory! Bucks Plan Passes Final Hurdle!

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With today’s 12-3 vote in the Milwaukee Common Council, the Bucks arena plan has now cleared its last legislative hurdle. All the major stakeholders involved have approved the measure and we head into the design and development phase.

We want to thank the State, County, City, Bucks organization and taxpayers for negotiating this exciting partnership that will secure the future of the team in Wisconsin for many years to come. We also want to thank you the fans who supported the project via the many letters, emails and phone calls to your respective elected officials over the past six-months. There were a few points along the way where things got a bit dicey and you helped stiffen the resolve of the politicians as to the benefits of this project. We hope this project can be a case study for bipartisan cooperation as political leaders on both sides of the aisle took courageous steps that made the new arena a reality.

Also take some time in your day to remember two partners we all worked with in this process. Marc Marotta, former chairman of the Bradley Center board and Don Walker, longtime reporter with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. These two were as involved as anyone with the new arena but unfortunately were taken from us unexpectedly last Spring at too young an age. We know somewhere they are both smiling upon today’s events.

Most importantly we want to thank Senator Herb Kohl. This website began two years ago with one important goal and that was change. Change in the status quo. As fans we knew that our organization was living on borrowed time and something had to happen to set things on a different path. While this site was not without controversy, our goal was to initiate a much needed conversation on the future of the team.

Senator Kohl reflected on the situation and made some critical decisions that made today possible. He located a top tier ownership group and creatively transitioned the team in such a way that ensured the franchise would remain in Milwaukee. Along the way he made sure the new seeds he planted would take root with his $100 million contribution for the new arena. He can now enjoy the Bucks future in Milwaukee and his personal legacy in securing that future for a new generation of Bucks fans.

With today’s vote, we will wind things down here and start to enjoy the actual basketball games soon to come. This website will keep going with the occasional tweet or update during the construction process. As a word of caution, projects this large always seem to hit a few snags. So be prepared for a lawsuit, construction delay or political squabble as specifics of the arena lease or other issues such as the potential closing of 4th street are decided in the months ahead. This is a normal part of the process with a project this large and with this many stakeholders involved.

On a personal note, as your SOB editor I want to thank Paul Henning and Paul Cousins who played huge roles that helped make the SOB movement possible. Paul Henning who most of you already know was our spokesman and the key driver at endless meetings, rallies and talk show appearances to keep the momentum going. He was the man on the ground helping to tie all of you together in a relentless effort to Save Our Bucks.

Less known is Paul Cousins, a Bucks fan from Australia who runs a website development company and has donated countless hours of time, expertise and hosting capacity for everything that SOB has done online. I knew when this thing started we needed a website that wasn’t flashy but at the same time helped present our message professionally and reliably. Paul Cousins continues to donate his efforts there. Our goal is to get him over here to the States for a Bucks game in the new arena after it opens.

Finally a thank you to the Milwaukee Bucks online combillboardphoto-editmunity at over at the RealGM Forums. The SaveOurBucks.com website germinated from ideas stemming from long discussions that took place in the RealGM forum over a period of years. The posters over there helped at every step of the way in driving this movement, including the creation and funding of as Darren Rovell called it “Bucks fans controversial billboard“. Kudos to all at RealGM who stepped up and assisted whenever and wherever necessary.

Training camp begins next week and the first exhibition game is only two weeks away. The team enters the season with arguably as much momentum as any time since the 1980’s. The new ownership group has done a magnificent job in transforming the organization both on and off the court. We are thrilled that we can now 100% emotionally invest in the Bucks knowing they will be in Milwaukee for generations to come!

Go Bucks!

PaulPressey25
@PaulPressey25

Your SOB Editor

 

One last push – State Assembly Vote July 28th!

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It is expected that the 99 members of the Wisconsin State Assembly will discuss and vote on the arena bill this Tuesday, July 28th.

We are only TWO days away from successfully concluding things at the State level. We need a simple majority or 50 votes for this to pass and have the arena bill move onto Gov. Walker’s desk for signature.

Q: IS THIS THE LAST SET OF CALLS I NEED TO MAKE?  

A: Elements of the plan still need to be approved by the Milwaukee Common Council, but that vote isn’t until September. The belief is that Milwaukee will support the plan when it comes to a vote there.

One regional note for those living in Milwaukee -> State Senator Tim Carpenter (D- Milwaukee) who voted AGAINST the new arena last week is now running for the Milwaukee Common Council in a special election on August 18th to fill a vacant seat. As many of you recall, Sen. Carpenter made a blanket statement that “his constituents were against the bill”.  If you live in his district in Milwaukee you may want to research whether he would vote “no” on the arena plan in September should he be elected to the Milwaukee Common Council. Find out if you live in the 11th Aldermanic district at this link.

Q: DO I REALLY HAVE TO PUT MY ADDRESS IN AT THE LINK AND CALL AGAIN?

A: All involved in the process in Madison said that YOUR calls from two weeks ago were what made the difference in the successful passage of the arena bill in the Senate last week. Our guess is that as we come closer to Tuesday’s vote there will be plenty of political hijinks. Reinforce with your representative that you do not want them playing politics. Vote “Yes”! Continue reading

The Petak Paradigm Dead – Long Live the Fans

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Your SOB editor promised his wife and children he’d keep it brief tonight. So here it goes— Thank you to the 21 fabulous Wisconsin State Senators who stepped up today and voted “YES” on the arena funding bill.  Milwaukee Bucks nation is forever grateful to you for doing your part in securing the future of our NBA franchise in Wisconsin – where it started and where it belongs.

We hope that with today’s Senate action we can once and for all put an end to the Petak Paradigm. For those of you too young to remember, in August of 1995, then State Senator George Petak (R-Racine) cast the deciding vote to approve the funding and construction of Miller Park in the wee hours of the night. Miller Park went on to be a resounding success but before construction could really get underway, Senator Petak was recalled from office by certain voters in his district. More than that, control of the State Senate shifted from Republican to Democrat with his recall. It created a situation where all legislators in this State would become paralyzed whenever the issue of public funding for sports facilities was to be brought up.

The arena deal approved today could have provided $50 kazillion dollars in benefits to the State and we still would have some legislators cautious about whether or not to vote for the deal because of the Petak Paradigm. Where YOU came in was providing critical air cover for those 21 who voted “Yes” today. All the jobs, benefits, economic development and lobbyists in the world couldn’t have gotten this past the Senate unless you the voters/Bucks fans weighed in. Continue reading

The Senate Vote on Wednesday – The Final Push

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It is expected that the 33 members of the Wisconsin State Senate will discuss and vote on the arena bill this Wednesday, July 15th. We do not yet have a time when they will take the floor. It is expected that both the Democratic and Republican caucuses will meet tomorrow (Tuesday) to discuss where things stand and set a time to meet.

We need 17 votes for this to pass and move on the State Assembly. While there are other approvals required, the conventional wisdom is that if the arena measure passes the Senate, the other needed approvals will fall into line. The Senate has always been our toughest step in the process.

Right now the feeling among arena supporters in Madison is that they may indeed have the votes. This feeling was further buttressed by a positive tweet that Sen. Lena Taylor sent out earlier today that she feels she may be close to voting “Yes” on the bill.

We need to take this optimism and momentum and use it for one last day of calling your State Senators. As Mark Cuban learned with DeAndre Jordan, things can change at the last minute. Let’s not take that chance.

What can I do tomorrow (Tuesday)?

Call your State Senator and afterwards call other State Senators. Call them all if you have the time. If not, then call the State Senators in your region (see below).

Let’s go all out! Don’t worry about getting in theoretical debates about stadium funding with British comedians or trying to convince your uncle Louie this is a good deal. We are past that point with only 36-hours to go until this hits the Senate floor. This is all about reinforcing in the minds of each State Senator that they have constituents who really care about this issue and that you will follow through in the voting booth on this matter in the future (either positively or negatively)

The script for tomorrow is easy.  Call your (and other) State Senators and say the following:

“My name is ______________ and I live in/at ____________(address).  I would like Senator _______ to know that I strongly support the arena funding bill that will be debated tomorrow in the State Senate.

I would like Sen. __________ to vote FOR this proposal as it makes great economic sense for our State.  I will be very disappointed if Senator _________ is not able to vote for the arena funding proposal “

That’s it. That’s all you need. Thank the staffer for the time and move on to the next call.

If you’ve called already, you have our permission and encouragement to call again as this time the actual bill is now in place. No reason why you can’t makeWisconsin Capitol Bldg that second call to cement things. For those whose Senators have publicly said “no” already? Make them re-think their decision with your calls. Chris Paul was able to sway things back with DeAndre so you can as well.

IF YOU STILL DO NOT KNOW WHO YOUR STATE SENATOR IS, HERE IS A QUICK LINK TO FIND YOUR LEGISLATORS: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/

Just call the State Senator that comes up at the link after entering your address. We will call the Assembly person later after we clear the Senate hurdle.

FOR THOSE THAT WANT TO CALL ALL THE SENATORS OR GROUPS OF SENATORS BY REGION, CONSULT THE TABLES BELOW – >

Milwaukee Metro – Let’s go 9 for 9 with these folks on a “Yes” vote!

Tim Carpenter (D-Milwaukee, District 3) – 608-266-8535

Alberta Darling (R-River Hills, District 8) – 608-366-5830

Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee, District 33) – 608-266-9174

Nikiya Harris Dodd (D-Milwaukee, District 6) – 608-266-2500

Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee, District 7) – 608-266-7505

Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin, District 28) – 608-266-5400

Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville, District 20) – 608-266-7513

Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee, District 4) – 608-266-5810

Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa, District 5) – 608-266-2512

SE Wisconsin

Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau, District 13) – 608-266-5660

Richard Gudex (R-Fond du Lac, District 18) – 608-266-5300

Devin LeMahieu (R-Oostburg, District 9) – 608-266-2056

Steve Nass (R-Whitewater, District 11) – 608-266-2635

Van Wanggaard (R-Racine, District 21) – 608-266-1832

Robert Wirch (D-Kenosha, District 22) – 608-267-8979

Madison Metro

Jon Erpenbach (D-Middleton, District 27) – 608-266-6670

Mark Miller (D-Monona, District 16) – 608-266-9170

Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville, District 15) – 608-266-2253

Fred Risser (D-Madison, Dstrict 26) – 608-266-1627

SW Wisconsin

Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green, District 17) – 608-266-0703

Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse, District 32) – 608-266-5490

NW Wisconsin

Janet Bewley (D-Ashland, District 25) – 608-266-3510

Shelia Harsdorf (R-River Falls, District 10) – 608-266-7745

Terry Moulton (R-Chippewa Falls, District 23) – 608-266-7511

Jerry Petrowski (R-Marathon, District 29) – 608-266-2502

Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma, District 31) – 608-266-8546

NE Wisconsin

Robert Cowles (R-Green Bay, District 2) – 608-266-0484

Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay, District 30) – 608-266-5670

Frank Lasee (R-De Pere, District 1) – 608-266-3512

Roger Roth (R-Appleton, District 19) – 608-266-0718

Tom Tiffany (R-Hazelhurst, District 12) – 608-266-2509

Central Wisconsin

Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point, District 24) – 608-266-3123

Luther Olsen (R-Ripon, District 14) – 608-266-0751

Remember, be polite, clear and concise. And if the staffer tells you that they aren’t taking down your name since you might not live in the district of the Senator you are calling, tell the staffer you understand that, but you feel this issue is so important for the ENTIRE STATE that you felt compelled to call.

Let’s Do This!  One Final Day!  One Final Push!

Go Bucks!  Go Arena Funding Bill!

Your SOB Editor

 

 

 

Save Our Bucks

Thursday Night Update

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Here is the news update for July 9, 2015.

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) has informed the 33 members of the State Senate that they should report to Madison next Wednesday, July 15th. Presumably it is because he wants to see the arena funding plan introduced and voted on. This is big news in that it is the first time we’ve had a definitive schedule from the State Senate. So here is our Q & A for tonight.

Q: Does Fitzgerald scheduling something mean the Senate has the votes to pass this?

A: We have no idea. As of tonight no Democratic State Senators have publicly said they support the plan. This is the major holdup right now. Read more about how you can contact these Democratic Senators and urge them to support the plan from our update last night at this link.

Q: Is it good for the Senate to vote even though they might not have the votes?

A: We think so. As long as there is no deadline, these Senators who are on the fence won’t feel any need to declare a position. We’ve debated the issue to death. Time for people to show their cards. We have a scorecard of who we think supports the arena funding bill at this link, but this is very unofficial and speculative.

Q: Could the State Assembly vote on this next week also?  Can they pass it?

A: Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) was on with Mark Belling tonight on WISN 1130. Vos told Belling he believes needs 15 Democratic Assembly votes to get the measure passed. That said, he thinks the Assembly can and will pass the bill IF the Senate can approve it. Again the Senate is where the stalemate on the bill has been for some time now. This is why we want you to focus on calling the 33 State Senators this week and next. If we can’t get this through the Senate, approval by the Assembly is a moot point.

Q: We are hearing from some Democratic leaders they don’t like the bill. Will there be changes to it?

A: Vos tonight said that he has been in contact with minority leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and that Senator Fitzgerald has been talking with Senate minority leader Jennifer Shilling (D- LaCrosse).  We don’t know what was discussed or what if anything might be changed in the bill. What we do know is that any changes that shift more of the costs to the State of Wisconsin will risk the bill losing support of certain GOP legislators who are now on board.

Q: Since we are focused on calling, is there anyone in particular we should call tomorrow?

A: For tomorrow, let’s focus on three things:

1. Find two friends or family members who support the arena and the Bucks. Have them read our tutorial (link here) on how to call your legislators and guide them through the process. If each of you can get just TWO more people to call their reps, you’ve increased your influence on the process massively.

2. We heard tonight on the Mark Belling Show that Milwaukee Suburban State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) is leaning towards voting “No” on the bill. She’s in a very safe Republican district and given the many Bucks fans that reside in her district and the fact many of her constituents work downtown should make her a “Yes” vote.  We need a targeted calling effort with her office tomorrow.

Find out if you live in her district at this link:

But even if you do not live in her district but live in the Metro Milwaukee area, give her local office a call at (414) 425-9452 or her Madison office at (608) 266-5400. Let her know that the new arena plan is essential for the entire Metro Milwaukee area, including residents of her district.

3. We had a few of you call Mayor Barrett’s office today. The feedback we received was that the Mayor says he supports the arena funding plan. That we expected, he helped craft it.

What we need you do though is ask the aides at Mayor Barrett’s office what he plans to do to help get Democratic State legislators onboard with voting for his plan. Will his aides have an answer? We don’t know. The point of the exercise though is YOU letting the Mayor know we need him visibly involved in this process.

You can suggest to Mayor Barrett that he invite the 11 Democratic Milwaukee area State Assembly members and 4 Democratic Milwaukee area State Senators to dinner tomorrow night. The Mayor needs to ask the 15 of them what they intend to do if the plan is put to a vote. What is their end game? How do they plan on making the arena and the related development, property tax base and union jobs happen if they vote down this current funding plan?

You can contact Mayor Tom Barrett at  414-286-2200

With all of these calls, please be very polite and courteous. Our calling effort will be negated if some of you aren’t courteous and respectful. Please report back on twitter how these efforts are going as it is helpful for all of us collectively involved in these efforts. Additionally, expend your effort working with fellow Bucks fans and elected officials versus getting involved in Facebook/Twitter debates with some of the “trolls” out there. You aren’t going to convince the guy with the Sonics logo in his avatar of the merits of the plan, nor do we need to.

Our spokesman Paul Henning just wrapped up a one-hour radio show on 105.7FM The Fan. The station should have the podcast up at this link shortly. The show will run every Thursday at 6:00pm until we get this arena approved. Give it a listen and give Paul a call next week.

We wish we could have spent more time today celebrating the two major free agent signings the Bucks made, but there is work to do. We appreciate all the time and effort you have devoted to keeping your team in the State of Wisconsin. Keep the faith and let’s make sure our politicians know we are watching them. Reach out and contact them.

Go Bucks!

Your SOB Editor

Save Our Bucks

Wednesday Night Update

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The Senate approved the budget last night and has adjourned. Senate Majority leader Fitzgerald has told the Senators they should hold their calendars open for a special session that might take place next week to vote on the arena funding package.

The only way that session happens though is if some Milwaukee area Democratic legislators publicly come forward and support the funding plan. To date, none have.  We predict if a few key ones would come forward, the floodgates would open and this project would quickly be approved with a bipartisan majority. 

We aren’t sure where this political game of chicken will lead us, but it might lead the Bucks to Seattle.

We’ll need your help tomorrow calling your legislators as you’ve done but also calling the Milwaukee based State Senators. For many of you, they are one in the same as you live in Milwaukee or Milwaukee County.

Focus on calling:
Sen. Chris Larson (608) 266-7505

Sen. Lena Taylor 414-342-7176 or 608-266-5810

Sen. Nikiya Harris Dodd (608) 266-2500

Sen. Tim Carpenter 608-266-8535

Based on today’s calling efforts, these folks are starting to realize many of you want this project approved before everything runs off the rails and legislators head home for the summer. They are hearing you and your calls. But perhaps we need another day of it.

Be polite, be respectful, but let them know you don’t want them playing politics with something that will be a huge economic success for Milwaukee and the State of Wisconsin. We frankly do not understand how a $1 billion dollar economic redevelopment project that will be constructed with union labor and Milwaukee labor is being allowed to flounder like this. The Park East has sat vacant for years and now we have the new Bucks ownership group who want to come in and develop  it.

We also do not understand how the the Milwaukee legislative contingent will explain their lack of arena plan support to thousands of children in the city who are fans of the team and future stars such as Giannis and Jabari, should the team leave. More importantly, we want those children to grow up in a thriving Milwaukee community with business and jobs, things this project will contribute greatly to.

Let these Senators know they can be the hero and save the day for us all. If they wanted to hold out for more State funding, unfortunately we don’t see that happening. Governor Walker tried to get the entire thing funded. That got push back to the point where the best option on the table is the current plan, which by the way a majority of GOP legislators in both houses support, just not a large enough majority to pass the bill.

If the Milwaukee area Senators want credit for coming in and saving the day, yes, we CAN and will do that! We aren’t asking you to compromise your values but rather embrace a rare bipartisan win-win project. Leave the other battles for a different day.

For our SaveOurBucks.com supporters, after you’ve made your calls to your reps and the Senators above, then find two friends or family members who support the arena and the Bucks. Have them read our tutorial (link here) on how to call your legislators and guide them through the process. If each of you can get just TWO more people to call their reps, you’ve increased your influence on the process massively.

Thank you for all of your work. This isn’t easy, but worthwhile things never are. You’re crushing it, and we’ll need you a few more days it looks like. We’ll get there.

Go Bucks!

Your SOB Editor