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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Milwaukee's civic leaders hailed the announcement of $200 million of private funds being committed to a new arena, but work still has to be done.
Milwaukee's civic leaders hailed the announcement of $200 million of private funds being committed to a new arena, but work still has to be done. (Photo: David Bernacchi)

Heavy lifting still ahead for Bucks

There was a whole lot of celebrating going on during the press conference at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, where Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl announced today he plans to sell the team to an investment group led by private equity investors Marc Lasry and Wes Edens for $550 million.

The new owners committed to contributing another $100 million toward construction of a new arena. Kohl also committed to giving a "gift" of $100 million toward the new arena cause. The announcements left civic leaders beaming.

However, that leaves at least another $200 million to be raised for a new arena. And that is where a series of unanswered questions lies:

How much public tax support will be needed to build a new arena?

Will that public support come from the city? From the county? From the region? From the state? (Hint: I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance for regional or state tax support for a downtown Milwaukee arena.)

Who will own the new arena? Although the new Bucks owners and Kohl are contributing a combined $200 million, will they cede ownership to a public entity, as the Bradley Center is owned?

Will the public funding for the new arena be linked to funding for other cultural assets, such as the Milwaukee Public Museum, the Milwaukee County Zoo and the Wisconsin Center?

Will the powers that be seek to sell the naming rights for a new arena? If so, what would be the asking price, and who might be willing to pay it?

Where would the new arena be built?

Will there be a public advisory referendum on public support for a new arena or community cultural asset investment?

Will the new owners keep the Bucks’ current management team intact?

In the public relations and political campaigns that will need to be waged to gain public support, what will be the counter to the kinds of statements we’re already seeing in the Twittersphere: "Why should my tax dollars be paid to help billionaires hire millionaires to play basketball?"

Will the Bucks win the NBA lot…

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For the moment, most analysts believe the stock market rally is poised to continue for the rest of the year.
For the moment, most analysts believe the stock market rally is poised to continue for the rest of the year.

How much do presidential politics affect the stock market?

On March 9, 2009, the U.S. stock market officially bottomed out when the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 673 points, closing at 6,547.05.

Since that day, as the late, great Al McGuire was fond of saying, it’s been pretty much "sea shells and balloons."

Over the past five years, the Dow has grown more than 150 percent. If you left your money in your 401(k), annuity, life insurance policy or individual retirement account invested in the stock market, you not only have recovered your losses from the Great Recession, but you’ve made bank. And then some.

The five-year rally ranks among the five longest-running bull markets in the history of the U.S. stock market.

So, what has fueled this breathtaking rally? I, for one, have always hesitated to link stock market performances to U.S. presidents. After all, global forces and factors such as energy costs that presidents cannot always control often play key roles in the fates of the markets.

However, a recent report by Forbes magazine cited a new book, "Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box," by author Bob Deitrick. Forbes asked Deitrick, "How much credit should Americans give President Barack Obama for today’s improved equity values?"

Here is Deitrick’s response: "Our research reviewed American economic performance since President Roosevelt installed the first Federal Reserve Board Chairman – Republican Marriner Eccles. We observed that even though there are multiple impacts on the economy, it was clear that policy decisions within each administration, from FDR forward, made a clear difference on performance. And relatively quickly. Presidents universally take credit when the economy does well (such as Reagan,) and choose to blame other factors when the economy does poorly (such as Carter.)  But there was a clear pattern, and link, between policy and financial market performance. Although we hear almost no one in the Obama administration taking credit for record index highs, they should. Because the …

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Spring training star Hank the Dog.
Spring training star Hank the Dog.
If Hank ever needs a breather, perhaps Frankie could step in as his double.
If Hank ever needs a breather, perhaps Frankie could step in as his double.

Hey Hank! Meet Frank!

By now, I'm sure you've heard about the Milwaukee Brewers' new little mascot for the 2014 season.

After all, Hank the Dog even has own Twitter handle: @BrewersHank. And the pooch has even been running with the Klement's Racing Sausages in spring training games in Maryvale, Ariz.

The club says it will bring Hank, who has been named after Milwaukee Braves and Brewers legend Hank Aaron, north with them to Milwaukee when the regular season starts on March 31.

Hank the Dog will be added to the growing ranks of Brewers' icons, ranging from Bernie Brewer and the Racing Sausages to Front Row Amy and the Door Man seated behind the visitors' dugout.

So, what's the real story behind this loveable pooch? I asked that question to Tyler Barnes, vice president of communications for the Brewers.

"Last Monday, Hank wandered up to one of the security guards outside of the Brewers Maryvale office building," Barnes said. "The area has a lot of strays, but Hank was different because he had no fear of people. He found us, not the other way around. His popularity extends through the clubhouse, to the front office, to the back offices. At any time, you could see him sitting at a locker with players in the clubhouse, hanging out in the middle of drills on the practice fields, or taking a nap at the foot of someone's desk in the offices.

"He's as friendly and social as any dog you will find. If you're walking him, you need to be patient. He trots up to everyone he sees, looks to be petted or fed a little something, then moves on to the next person. Hank's days as a stray are over. We have discussed plans for where he will live, but we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves."

So, welcome to Milwaukee, Hank.

Oh, by the way: A little cockapoo that looks remarkably like you wandered into my family last year. My wife named him Frankie. He has the same kind of personality. Frankie has to greet every human, every dog and even every cat he encounters on our walks, and his little tail…

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John Haupt's video about Southridge's new bus stop location has gotten the public's attention.
John Haupt's video about Southridge's new bus stop location has gotten the public's attention.

Video fuels outrage about Southridge Mall bus decision

In this harsh Wisconsin winter, a citizen video is sparking public pressure against Simon Property Group’s decision to move the public bus stop 1,000 feet away from Southridge Mall’s entrances.

The video features would-be mall shopper John Haupt, a Wauwatosa resident who suffers from multiple sclerosis. In the video, Haupt chronicles the ordeal of moving from the bus stop to the mall’s northern entrances in a wheelchair.

"No one knows how difficult it is to go uphill in the snow," Haupt told me. "When I got there, I was shocked at how far it was. (With the video) I have received a lot of encouragement. I haven’t received anything that could be conceived as a negative light."

The video says it all, and no further comment from me or anyone else is needed to demonstrate the stupidity of the callous decision that is sure to discourage people with disabilities, the elderly, students and low-income people who ride the bus from shopping at the mall. The video has been picked up and featured on local television newscasts, including WISN-Channel 12.

Furthermore, no spin meister, public relations, marketing wizard, or damage control guru can cast a positive light on Simon’s decision.

It is what it is. Watch the video and see for yourself by clicking here.  Or, watch it below.

To sign a petition to demand that Simon return the bus stop to the entrance of the Sear’s store at Southridge Mall, click here, print and deliver the petition to Milwaukee County Supervisor Pat Jursik.

That is all.