Common Ground Southeastern Wisconsin
Press Release

Common Ground Focused on Public Funding

Offer Congratulations to New Bucks Owners and Thanks for Interest in Milwaukee

By - Apr 22nd, 2014 11:36 am

“We congratulate Mr. Wesley Edens and Mr. Marc Lasry, new owners of the Milwaukee Bucks. Common Grounds thanks them for their interest in Milwaukee,” commented Jennifer O’Hear, Common Ground Member and chair of the Fair Play campaign. “As we have consistently stated, Common Ground is not opposed to a new arena. But if public taxpayer money is used to build a New Bucks Arena, we demand a say in how our money is used, and that means investing in our children through Fair Play. New ownership does not change that.”

In 2013, Common Ground’s Fair Play campaign conducted a survey of the outdoor athletic and recreational facilities at 278 public schools in Milwaukee County. The group released a report demonstrating that $150 million to $250 million is needed to bring all facilities up to an acceptable level. Over 65% of Milwaukee County athletic facilities are far below standard.

On April 8 over 630 Common Ground members and guests crowded into the Hamilton High School gymnasium.

Members of Common Ground were asked to vote on a resolution to support public funding for a New Bucks Arena if a $150 to $250 million investment in Fair Play is included and to oppose it if not. After deliberation, the assembly approved the motion by an overwhelming majority, and in addition, pledged to come back with 1000 people for a Fair Play rally in October.

“We welcome Mr Edens and Mr Lansry to Wisconsin. If they want public money for their New Bucks Arena then we hope they will support public money for the athletic facilities of our children. Its Fair Play” Mrs. O’Hear continued.

We would be glad to meet with them and give them a tour of Milwaukee County athletic facilities.”

ABOUT FAIR PLAY: Fair Play is Common Ground’s campaign to insert itself in the discussion about the use of public funds to build a new arena for the Bucks. It is our position that if public money is used to create a new arena for the Bucks, then at least $150–$250 million must be invested to upgrade and build public athletic facilities and playgrounds for children in Milwaukee County. If the Bucks get a great place to play, then our kids get great places to play.

ABOUT COMMON GROUND: CG is a community organization that works toward igniting positive change within the Greater Milwaukee area. With the power of the collective voice, we have a strong history of facilitating significant and meaningful improvements within our community.

By working together, we develop leaders who identify issues that need fixing, develop solutions for them, and take action to create change.

For more information on Common Ground or the Fair Play campaign, please visit
http://www.commongroundwi.org or
http://www.fairplaywi.org.

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One thought on “Common Ground Focused on Public Funding”

  1. East Slider says:

    OK, I won’t disagree that having decent playgrounds and athletic facilities for kids is a laudable goal, nothing wrong with that at all and I’m still really unsure of whether or not I will support public funding of any sort for a new arena. I certainly like the idea of Milwaukee having a NBA team, I’m not one of those that sees no benefit from having the team, it does help to keep our city-or really our metro area among the ranks of the “big cities”, even though we’ve been steadily losing ground every year to other, faster growing metro areas and rank at or near the bottom population wise for NBA metro areas.

    I see the intangible benefits of having the Bucks, although at the same time I also just have trouble even beginning to fathom the idea of ANY new tax for ANYTHING! As we all know damn well, WI is a tax hell, has been for as long as I’ve been around and even if things have been improving the last few years, we have a looooonnnnngggg way to go on that and anyone living in Milwaukee County gets whacked extra hard with our ridiculous property taxes and make that double extra hard if you happen to live in any of the nicer parts of the city of Milwaukee, where the mill rate is as high as anywhere and the assessor is very keen on keeping assessments on the nicer areas as high as he can. I just don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get over that hump, especially knowing that even without any new taxes, the taxes we already have are sure to keep going up!

    My last hurdle on any public financing is that I also don’t buy in to the artificial market that the NBA (as well as other pro sports, although I think the NBA is the most egregious) has created where they’re basically demanding publicly financed arenas and arenas that are replaced quickly at the first sign of “aging”, unless a city happens to be lucky enough to have an owner wealthy enough and willing to privately finance one, which I’m not sure has even happened lately. So, because of this artificial market and demands from the NBA, we either have to give in and publicly support bigger and better arenas long before the current ones are really “obsolete” or else we’ll lose the team. I don’t appreciate being blackmailed in any way, including to pay for new arenas. Part of me keeps thinking that at some point, some of these cities have to start taking stands and saying “NO” to such blackmail.

    Having said all of that and especially after voicing my opposition to blackmail at any level, groups like this one, demanding that IF we fund a new arena that we also MUST fund their pet project, in this case playgrounds, can go fly a kite as far as I’m concerned. Where in the world they get the idea that they can piggyback on the Bucks arena funding is beyond me, takes some chutzpah and honestly, while I already said having decent playgrounds is certainly a laudable goal, I’d sure as heck say we’ve got quite a few issues far more important and urgent that that one!

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