Save Our Bucks

Thursday Night Update


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


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 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

Save Our Bucks

Tuesday Night Update & FAQ


We are grateful for all the work you have done the last 48-hours. We are making progress on a number of fronts in getting the arena funding bill passed. We put together a new FAQ below to help keep you informed as to where we stand as of 8:30pm on July 7th— and what to do next. Read on!

Q: Will there be a vote in the Senate tomorrow (Wednesday)?

A: Given that the State Senate has not put this on the calendar yet tonight, the bill might not get introduced and heard tomorrow. However, we wouldn’t necessarily read anything negative into that. The GOP has been bogged down trying to sort out their own issues over the Open Records Law and Prevailing Wage the past 24-hours. We wish that weren’t the case, but it is.

Q: Why are we so focused on the State Senate and not the State Assembly?  Both Houses must pass the bill for it to become law–right? Continue reading

Arena Week – Now Is The Time!


EDITORS NOTE (Update Tuesday, July 7th at 8:30pm CT)

We have an updated FAQ on where we stand now posted to the site. Read in conjunction with this piece. 


Let’s begin this piece with some all caps shouting to emphasize the importance of the moment:





We have all talked the arena issue to death for the past six months. We have now reached the critical point where the arena funding bill will be debated in Madison and voted on this week.

Even if you have already called your representatives, you will need to CALL THEM AGAIN starting TODAY, Monday morning, July 6th at 8:00am when their offices open. Below is an FAQ we would like you all to read on how to contact your representative and a timeline of the legislative process we hope results in passage of the bill this week. Continue reading

Legislative Confidential – Our Thoughts


We’ve written at length the past two weeks about what fans can do to help advance the cause of funding a new arena that will ensure the Bucks’ future in Milwaukee for decades to come. Your calls are making a difference. Please keep up your efforts.

In this piece we are going to talk directly to the legislators on both sides of the aisle who are sitting on the fence at the moment.

Here is our advice for the Republicans

Separate Vote – Some of you are saying you might support the arena but are advocating for the funding provision to be done as a separate vote. The idea being that it would force Democrats to vote for the provision since it is safe to assume no Democrats will vote for the final State budget.

Here is the problem with that logic. While it feels good to “force out” the Democrats, by having a separate vote you are also forcing out yourself. The arena spending provision only calls for $4 million in annual debt service a mere 001% of Governor Walker’s proposed $35 billion budget. It is pretty reasonable given those small dollar numbers to include this in the budget. Do you really want to put the State through a summer of debate and rancor with the end result being a separate final vote where everyone, including yourselves now have to go on record? All based on principle?

This is a creative and well negotiated finance plan that was approved by the duly elected Governor, Mayor of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County Executive. Despite what some might suggest, it compares quite favorably to other arena funding plans. Putting it in the budget and getting this behind you also makes a great deal of political sense. Continue reading

When Will They Vote On This?




Here is our FAQ on where things stand right now 

Q: Why am I making all these phone calls?

A: Because right now legislators in Madison are debating whether or not to include the arena funding proposal in the State budget. They are talking about it while you are reading this piece. That is why calls now are critical. Don’t wait to make the calls.

Q: Can’t I just email my State Assembly representative and my State Senator?

A: You can, but legislative staffers tell us that calls carry far more weight than emails. Think of all the spam you delete everyday from your inbox versus someone calling you on the phone.

Q: Are they voting on it yet? Continue reading

Contacting Legislators – A Primer


Members of the Wisconsin State GOP legislative caucus have been talking privately the past two weeks about the arena financing proposal and whether or not to include the proposal in the State’s two-year budget (2015-2017). The thought goes that if the arena proposal is in the State budget to be passed later this month it will be approved more quickly and with less political theater.

There also is a fiscal argument from the standpoint that the State’s portion of the bonding results in an annual debt service cost of $4 million per year. That represents only .001% of the Governor’s overall proposed $35 billion in State spending in FY 2015-2016.

You’d think from some of the hysteria over the past ten days that the arena proposal would comprise 5, 10 or 20 percent of the State’s annual budget. But no, the proposed spending is only .001% of the annual budget. Additionally, that $4 million in state spending on the arena bonds is covered by the estimated $10.5 million the State will annually receive in jock tax money from NBA player salaries in FY 2016-17.

Over the next few days we are going to ask you to contact not only the legislators that represent your district, but key people on the fence that we’ll suggest contacting via updates in our Twitter feed. We may even ask you to do some “flash lobbying” this way in order to focus a group of Bucks fans to contact these folks at certain times.

The Wisconsin Legislature consists of two bodies: The Senate and the Assembly.  Everyone in the State is represented by one of 99 members of the State Assembly AND one of 33 State Senators. Use the link below to go to the legislative homepage and there you will find a query box allowing you to search for the member of the Assembly and the member of the Senate that represent you, based on your address.


There are two ways you can contact them. Either via email or via a phone call. Continue reading

County Board Meeting and Press Conference Tomorrow



June 9th – 5:00pm Press Conference regarding the new arena with the people from Play It Forward

June 9th – 5:30pm  – County Board Public Hearing at the War Memorial Center, 750 North Lincoln Memorial Drive

Here is what you need to know:

1- You can sign up at this Facebook Event Link if you so desire or just show up

2- Wear Bucks gear or Play It Forward arena shirts so that the media and County Board members know you support the arena

3- This is a public hearing with the County Board where they are requesting citizen input on the arena proposal and the sale of Park East land to the Bucks ownership for development. You will not be required to speak if you do not want to. The important thing is that you are there in Bucks gear

4- There may not be another event in Milwaukee that all Bucks fans can come to in order to rally for the arena. After tomorrow night, the action may shift back to Madison. This may be our only opportunity for an event like this.

5- The meeting may run a few hours, but if you can only come for the first hour, even that is helpful. It will be entertaining and interesting to observe.

Mark it down. Tuesday, June 9th at 5:30pm at the Milwaukee War Memorial on the Lakefront.

It will be a beautiful 80 degree night at the lakefront. Come down for the scenery and stay for the meeting.

Go Bucks!


Three losers from today’s Arena Press Conference


Congratulations and thank you to Governor Walker, County Executive Chris Abele, Mayor Tom Barrett, Senator Scott Fitzgerald, Representative Robin Vos, Senator Alberta Darling and all the legislators who came together today to announce a bipartisan plan to fund a new arena that will preserve tax revenues, create jobs and help develop the blighted Park East corridor in downtown Milwaukee, all while preserving our favorite NBA team for future generations to enjoy.

Now on to three losers as a result of this well thought out funding plan introduced today. Continue reading

County Board Meeting June 9th and Other Developments


A great deal of arena news came down today and with it comes our first appeal to you. We’ll need you to come out in force next Tuesday for the special County Board hearing just announced.

June 9th – 5:30pm  – County Board Public Hearing at the War Memorial Center  

Today the news came out that the Bucks’ owners are looking to purchase the remaining Park East acreage west of the river for development of not only the arena but also a new practice facility, restaurants, a hotel, apartments, parking garages, etc. Tom Daykin with MJS first reported it here. This would be a $400 million privately funded development in addition to the arena itself.Park East Arena Development

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele is proposing to sell the 10-acres of Park East land west of the river to the Bucks owners for development purposes for the price of $1. The County Board of Supervisors will need to approve the sale. To that end, the County Board has announced a public hearing on Tuesday, June 9th at 5:30pm to allow the public to weigh-in on the proposal.

The good news is that the location of this hearing will be at the War Memorial Center on the lakefront and free parking will be provided (750 N. Lincoln Memorial Drive.) We anticipate that this hearing will garner significant media coverage. At this hearing there will be a veritable Star Wars bar scene of different people with different agendas. Some will be excited about the fact that Park East land west of the river is actually being developed after being on the market since 2002 with no takers. There will also be citizens who will insist the property is worth more than the island of Maui and that the County board should hold on to the land for another decade or more until they can find a new developer willing to pay an exorbitant price for it.

What we’ll need at this meeting is YOU!  We’ll need you in your best Bucks gear at the War Memorial to represent Bucks fans everywhere. Attendance at this meeting does not mean you will need to speak at the hearing unless you want to. The most important thing for us will be the number of people wearing Bucks gear at this meeting. Supportive signs are good as well.

We’re going to spend the next week in conjunction with the other members of the Bucks online community in getting the word out. This will be the first chance for local and State legislators to see if Bucks fans “care”.  If only ten of you show up? Well let’s just say that will embolden the arena detractors.

Since the hearing is going to start at 5:30pm, we’d encourage you to get there at 5:15pm. But if you can’t be there early, be sure to still come. The session may go on for a few hours.

Mark it down. Tuesday, June 9th at 5:30pm at the Milwaukee War Memorial on the Lakefront.

Follow us on social media for more updates and be listening for our spokesman Paul Henning on local radio this weekend as well.

Our Take on the Last 24-Hours

Many of you are asking where things stand with the arena. You are hearing a lot of hyperbole coming from a number of quarters. That tells us things are starting to get serious. Continue reading