In Buzz Commentary

Sheldon Adelson controls big purse strings and hates the idea of a Kenosha casino.

Adelson is pulling the strings on Walker's Kenosha casino decisions

Two big developments this week in the ongoing discussion of the new arena that's going to be built in Downtown Milwaukee – one about Scott Walker, the other one about San Francisco.

Let's deal with Walker first, since he is running around the world pretending that he's a real presidential candidate, including being the first to open a campaign office in Iowa.

As we all know the Menominee tribe, which wants to build a casino in Kenosha, offered to pay $220 million toward the new arena. Walker thumbed his nose at the offer, preferring to use taxpayer bonding strength to raise the same amount of money.

I say this without fear of contradiction, until someone can prove me wrong: Walker is opposed to the Kenosha casino because Sheldon Adelson told him to be opposed.

Adelson is the casino emperor who is the huge supporter of Republican candidates. Adelson obviously let Walker know that people from Wisconsin and Illinois are two of the largest groups that go to Las Vegas in the winter to gamble and he's worried that Kenosha casino would have an impact on that.

In addition, less than two weeks before the election in November, Adelson donated $650,000 to the Wisconsin Republican Party and three days later the Walker campaign got a $450,000 contribution from the party. Coincidence? I think not.

Last election cycle Adelson and the infamous Koch brothers backed different candidates. They are trying to get behind one candidate this time around and Walker is on the short list for that largesse.

So, Walker turned the casino down the first time and now he's rejected this $220 million offer from the Menomonee. If he wasn't laboring under the delusion that he could be president, he would most likely have accepted the offer with open arms. He got a threatening letter from Evangelical groups in Iowa saying if he OK'd an evil casino he could kiss their support goodbye. And he assured them he was on their side.

Walker is finding he has to bow to lots of different groups. The only group he seems to be ignoring is Wisconsin taxpayers.

Just a couple of days before the Menominee made their offer you could almost hear the chortling and the "I told you so's" this week after it was learned the San Francisco is going to get a new basketball arena without any public money.

I can only imagine how joyful the reaction was from Common Ground, Citizens for Responsible Government, the Park People and such precise and deep thinking minds as Ald. Bob Donovan and County Supervisor Gerry Broderick.

You can see these men and women howling about how San Francisco is getting a $600 million arena and a couple of billionaires are paying for it themselves. Why, the locals wonder, can't our own billionaires, Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan, pay for their own damn arena and leave us taxpayers alone?

First off, Milwaukee is not San Francisco. Or to put it another way, San Francisco is not Milwaukee.

San Francisco is one of the great cities in this country, even one of the great cities in this country and one of the great cities of the world. Milwaukee isn't.

Maybe Milwaukee, with its wonderful lake, beautiful countryside and nice people will be a great city at some point in the future.

Even though we aren't there yet, that's no reason to stop trying. We may never be as great as San Francisco (that sounds kind of stupid) but we could be a lot greater than we are. But one thing stands out. I don't think there is a widespread belief in this city that we can actually achieve greatness.

Rather than having a "can do" attitude throughout our city, we have a "can't do" from far too many politicians and citizen groups.

In Milwaukee we ought to be looking for big things. Big ideas and big stuff. We don't want to nibble around the edges of progress, we want to take big bite. Let's not bother comparing ourselves to San Francisco.

The only comparison we need is to compare where we want to go to where we are now. If we do that, the answers are going to become much clearer.


Talkbacks

TheyThink | Feb. 12, 2015 at 10:05 p.m. (report)

Let me see if I've got this straight....Ol' Dave says that as long as Milwaukee (well, Kenosha) gets a casino, then we'll be on our way to greatness like San Francisco, which, by the way, doesn't have a casino. Ok, got it.

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fetlarpo | Feb. 12, 2015 at 5:43 p.m. (report)

I am glad you expanded on Ms. McBrides hunches from a moth ago on why Walker is against the Casino. Could it also be that Potawatomi has a hundred million dollar war chest that it could use to goose the gov.

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