Milwaukee journalist blames lack of Bucks arena deal on dreaded “culture of caution”

Oh, Rich Kirchen, Milwaukee Business Journal writer and man who never met a Bucks arena plan he didn’t like, what have you done now?

The year was 1931 and the place was Milwaukee. The topic – Milwaukeeans’ “sensible” approach to building their city.

“Milwaukee’s citizens (for the most part) are thrifty, conservative beauty-loving Germans; they plod at their play, but drink deep of every emotion; they linger over their drinking and eating — they tarry with reverence at their shrines of music and drama. There is a slow, deep urge to their work and play.”…

But as metro Milwaukee gets down to the business of debating funding for a new downtown arena in 2014, does this long-running culture of caution stunt the effort?

People, we have a new meme attempt: the culture of caution. This is apparently a dysfunctional social behavior, rooted deep in the psyche of Germans, that involves … wanting to think before you act, I guess? Conducting studies before coming up with a plan? Which is un-American, because real forward-thinking types say things like this:

“It is a time for heroes,” [Milwaukee real estate developer Barry] Mandel told me. “It is a time for people to step up and recognize that we are at a critical juncture where we can leapfrog to the future and the 21st century or we can wallow in mediocrity for the next decade.”

Leapfrog to the future. Now that’s something those filthy Germans with their drinking and eating would never say. But it’s how we need to get to the future, which is after all where we’re going to spend the rest of our lives.

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3 comments on “Milwaukee journalist blames lack of Bucks arena deal on dreaded “culture of caution”

  1. Oh for cripes sake. If the NBA loves Milwaukee so much, then the NBA can pay for it themselves & leave taxpayers alone.

  2. Point them to the Oracle situation, where the JPA there did not act with an abundance of caution.

    I’m seeing the same thing in Sacramento, too. The agreement they’re finalizing does not resemble the term sheets from a year ago. They have greatly diverged, and there has been zero debate about it. The arena is smaller than the term sheets said it would be; the bond structure is really radically different; and who’s to say that the lease won’t be way different from the one described in the term sheets?

    Milwaukee: Move with caution. There are multiple examples of why you don’t rush these things.

  3. As a fellow developer, I like the cut of Mandel’s jib. His bullshit smells like roses, mmmmm. Let’s leapfrog to the future where the public money belongs to guys like me… yeehaw!

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