Tag Archives: Tom Barrett

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 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

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

When Will They Vote On This?


QUICK LINK TO FIND MY LEGISLATOR: http://legis.wisconsin.gov/


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

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

A few thoughts for @SykesCharlie (Part II)


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.

Continue reading

Save Our Bucks

The Elements of the Deal


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


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

Save Our Bucks

Walker’s Arena Proposal: Thoughts and Questions


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!

Continue reading

Scott Walker Steps Up


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