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Reed Hall is awaiting a reappointment from Gov. Scott Walker.
Reed Hall is awaiting a reappointment from Gov. Scott Walker.

Hall brings stability to WEDC

If asked to return for another term as secretary and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., Reed Hall says he would be honored to serve again.

Like other cabinet members, Hall is awaiting an announcement soon about Gov. Scott Walker’s cabinet appointments for his second term. Walker, a Republican, was re-elected on Nov. 4, defeating Democratic challenger Mary Burke.

"I understand that protocol is that the Governor has to reappoint us to our positions. If asked, I intend to continue to serve but I do need to be mindful of protocol. In response to your question, no I have not heard if the governor wishes me to stay on," Hall said.

Laurel Patrick, Walker’s press secretary, said in an e-mail, "Any announcement about changes to Governor Walker’s cabinet agency teams will be made when we have details to share."

Hall, who had retired as the executive director of the Marshfield Clinic in 2010, was brought in by Walker to stabilize the agency that was in turmoil as Walker transformed it from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce to the WEDC.

The transition was not without drama or turmoil.

Paula Jadin, Walker’s original commerce secretary, resigned in September of 2012 to become the new president of Thrive, which seeks to improve the economy of the Madison era.

The agency was often criticized for questionable loans and grants to private businesses and for not holding the recipients of that state aid accountable for jobs they had promised to create.

Under the leadership of Hall and his public information manager, former journalist Mark Maley, the WEDC has become far more transparent about how it operates and the status of its economic development initiatives. The information is available to the public at www.inwisconsin.com. In addition to full disclosure of its operations plan for fiscal 2015, the agency published its "Annual Report on Economic Development." The WEDC’s board meetings are open and accessible to the public. The web …

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Steve Jagler nominates the old U.S. Postal Center for a potential new arena destination.
Steve Jagler nominates the old U.S. Postal Center for a potential new arena destination. (Photo: Colton Dunham)

Replace Downtown post office with new arena

In recent years, the Milwaukee Bucks have not had much to celebrate when they’ve conducted their annual preview luncheon with the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

This year, however, there was a tangible buzz in the room at the event, which was held at the Harley-Davidson Museum. With a new ownership team, new head coach Jason Kidd, new front-office staff and the first-round draft selection of Jabari Parker, the realization of a new era was readily apparent.

The only question now is will it be the final era of the Milwaukee Bucks? The team is on the clock with the NBA, which says the Bucks must get a new arena built by 2017 to keep the team in Milwaukee.

Peter Feigin, newly appointed team president, went from table to table at the luncheon, introducing himself to members of the Milwaukee business community.

Businesses large and small can expect to hear from Feigin and his staff soon. Feigin said the typical NBA team sells 68 percent of its season tickets to businesses. In Milwaukee, businesses comprise just 15 to 17 percent of the team’s season ticket base.

"I promise you, we will give you a reason to change that," Feigin said.

Feigin brings a depth of experience in both the NBA and the corporate world to the Bucks. As the chief marketing and revenue officer of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, he managed global business units and handled branding across the international entertainment company. Prior to working at Deluxe, Feigin was president and chief operating officer of Marquis Jet Partners and helped lead its acquisition by NetJets.

From 1998 to 2004, he worked for the New York Knicks and rose to become vice president of marketing – increasing profits, season subscriptions and suite revenue during his tenure. Additionally, Feigin has served as a senior advisor to the Milwaukee Bucks since Wes Edens and Marc Lasry acquired the Bucks from former owner Herb Kohl.

Feigin said he was aware that the media and the public are clamoring to…

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"Net neutrality simply means not preferring one type of content to another online," says attorney Michael Overly.
"Net neutrality simply means not preferring one type of content to another online," says attorney Michael Overly.

Net neutrality 101

President Barack Obama took a stand this week by calling for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to preserve net neutrality by regulating broadband service like a utility.

In essence, preserving net neutrality would ensure that all consumers and businesses will have universal levels of access to a fast Internet, not just some preferred customers who would pay for "faster lanes" on the Internet.

We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas," Obama said in a statement released by the White House. "I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online."

However, industry groups that represent ISPs criticized Obama’s plan. "Such a move would set the industry back decades, and threaten the private sector investment that is critically needed to ensure that the network can meet surging demand," the Telecommunications Industry Association said in in a statement.

Political opponents such as Sen. Ted Cruz (R- Texas) criticized the concept of preserving net neutrality. Cruz compared the plan to "Obamacare on Twitter," saying, "The Internet should not operate at the speed of government."

izTimes reached out to our legal resources to help readers understand the concept. Attorney Michael Overly of Foley & Lardner LLP’s Los Angeles office answered the following questions about net neutrality.

BizTimes: Please explain the concept of net neutrality.

Overly: Net neutrality simply means not preferring one type of content to another online. For example, not preferring the speech of a large corporation to that of an individual. Some say this is the entire basis for the Internet: allowing everyone an equal voice. Put another way, an Internet provider shouldn’t be able to stifle speech simply be…

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MMAC president Tim Sheehy spoke recently about the need to raise public financing for the region's cultural and entertainment venues.
MMAC president Tim Sheehy spoke recently about the need to raise public financing for the region's cultural and entertainment venues.

Sheehy's call for taxpayers to fund new arena faces uphill climb

Over the years, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and its president, Tim Sheehy, have been vocal and ardent opponents of new taxes.

That’s why more than a few business leaders were still trying to process the messages Sheehy gave them when he spoke to the Milwaukee Rotary Club recently about the need to raise public financing for the region’s cultural and entertainment venues.

Sheehy took the unprecedented lead for that cause when he formed the Cultural and Entertainment Capital Needs Task Force last year. He has been filling a vacuum created by the lack of any elected leaders willing to fall on that sword.

Milwaukee, Sheehy told the Rotarians, has fallen behind cities such as Denver, Cleveland and even Oklahoma City that have found ways to invest public dollars in their cultural and entertainment venues. Denver has used a regional sales tax, Cleveland has used a consumption tax on cigarettes and liquor, and Oklahoma City has used three referenda to raise public support for investing in its downtown.

In Milwaukee, new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have pledged $100 million toward a new arena to replace the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Former Bucks owner Herb Kohl has pledged another $100 million for the cause. Other private investors have committed at least $50 million, and the team could garner another $50 million or so from selling the naming rights for the new arena. Still, that leaves a gap of about $150 million to build a $450 million new structure.

"This is going to have to come from the community. It’s going to have to come from the region," Sheehy said. "Those communities that play in a regional sandbox are going to be successful, and those that don’t are going to see the sand run out on them. The preference is that we do this on a metropolitan basis."

In addition to building a new arena, the Task Force is proposing to add investments in the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum and W…

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