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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.
We heard back channel from a few legislative aides that they were truly surprised so many fans of the MIlwaukee Bucks came out of the woodwork to contact them in support of this deal. There were many Senators who from the start wanted to support this bill simply because it made so much economic sense for the State. But even those initial supporters still needed reaffirmation from you, their constituents, that you wanted the arena built. If the calls were running significantly against this bill, it would not have passed the Senate today.
We were excited and pleased to see a group of Democratic and Republican legislators work together on a bipartisan bill that has benefits for everyone in the State, City and Milwaukee County. Our 21 representatives who voted “Yes” stepped up and put politics aside, while perhaps creating a new model for partnership and cooperation on an issue by issue basis, as it should be. Long live the new paradigm!
We do it all over again shortly with the 99 members of Wisconsin State Assembly. The arena bill needs to garner a simple majority there (50 votes) to approve the package and to then send it on to the Governor for signature. Word tonight is it may take a week or two for Assembly Speaker Robin Vos to get the Assembly back to Madison for a vote due to logistics. We’ll help you gear up with what needs to be done to lobby the Assembly in the days ahead.
Certain components of the funding also will need approval by the Milwaukee City Council. We are uncertain of the schedule of votes there, but will keep you updated. Our spokesman Paul Henning and a some of you were at the arena presentation last night at the Milwaukee Public Library as the City gears up to implement their pieces of the project.
Before anyone frets about these two additional steps, let’s put in perspective the fact the Senate vote today was an earthquake in the positive sense. We’ve now got the wind at our backs and we will head forth accordingly, determined and resolute to get this arena built.
Get a good night’s rest. You all deserve it. You’ve done good!
Your SOB Editor
aka/ @Paulpressey25 on twitter