Ranked Choice Voting - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


Ranked Choice Voting Considered for Brooklyn Park

Tuesday, June 16     6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social     
       6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N


In Brooklyn Park, candidates for Mayor and City Council now compete in a primary election in which very few voters participate. Then the two people with the most votes in the primary face off in a general election.

The City of Brooklyn Park Charter Commission is currently working on a proposal for Ranked Choice Voting to present to the City Council for a Vote later this year. In RCV, all the candidates run at one time and voters are asked to pick and rank the best.

According to Wy Spano, Director, University of Minnesota-Duluth Center for Advocacy and Political Leadership, "The difference between these two approaches is staggering. Instead of voting against the worst option in a two-person head-to-head contest, we’re ranking the best in a group."

To use Ranked Choice Voting for city elections, the City Council would have to approve the Charter Commission's recommendation unanimously, or it would have to be placed on the 2016 election ballot and approved by a majority of the voters who voted on RCV. If approved through either method, Brooklyn Park's Mayor and City Council members would be elected using RCV starting in 2018.

For June, we will hear from three people regarding Ranked Choice Voting:

david g. williams

 David G. Williams - Professional Engineer and 41 year Brooklyn Park Resident


Mr. Williams will speak on the Charter Commission's work so far on Ranked Choice Voting and will describe the timetable for getting the Charter Commission's recommendation on RCV to the City Council.

jeanne masseyJeanne Massey

Executive Director of Fair Vote Minnesota

An Overview of RCV, How It Works, and What the Benefits Are
The Experience in Minneapolis and St. Paul




linea palmisano

Linea Palmisano

Minneapolis City Council Member for Ward 13


The Benefits and Challenges of Running as a Candidate under RCV


‏A “Q and A” will follow the presentations.


Radio African will record the forum for later broadcast on Radio Africa.


Sponsor:  Think Again MN


Cosponsors:  Fair Vote Minnesota and the Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center Chapter of the League of Women Voters 






Achieving Health Equity through Development along the Bottineau Light Rail Line PDF Print E-mail


Think Again Brooklyns Forum Highlights


 lrt and apartment bldg



Larry Hiscock, Program Officer for Transit Engagement at NEXUS Community Partners, gave the main presentation on “Achieving Health Equity through Station Planning” at the Think Again Brooklyns forum on May 19, 2015.  Mr. Hiscock told us that 27,000 people were expected to use the Bottineau Light Rail Line by the year 2030, but transportation wouldn't be the only benefit of LRT. During the coming years and decades, there will be extensive development along the line. For every dollar spent on the transit line itself, we can expect $7.00 in development investment around the station areas. The challenge for communities along the line is to guide this development so it can contribute to health equity.


larry hiscock"Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to realize their health potential, that is the highest level of health possible for that person without limits imposed by structural inequities." Hiscock noted that 30% of a person's health is influenced by a person's life style, and the other 70% is influenced by structural factors such as a person's education, income, the percent of income spent on housing, and availability of transit.


photos from equity in development along bottineau line tab 51915

While the average household income in the Brooklyn Park area is $68,000, for black residents, it is $32,395. While 50% of the residents in Brooklyn Park are white, 80% of the jobs are held by white people. People with a lower income have to spend a much higher percent of their income on rent or house payments, not only due to lower incomes, but also to the practice by banks of limiting who could get loans by redlining districts from the 1930's to the 1970's and more recently by directing black and Latino homebuyers to subprime loans. Redlined districts declined socially and economically and continue today to have higher rates of infant mortality.


Low income families also have to pay a high percent of their income on transit. A recent study at Harvard University found that the availability and cost of transportation had a greater impact on families than did income and being a one parent family. Thoughtful development around the light rail which meets the needs and provides opportunities for people of all backgrounds can help reduce the disparities.


structural racism speaker


For a quick overview of the many factors which contribute to structural racism, watch the following 6 minute video. It might take a minute or two to load.










Development along Bottineau LRT Can Contribute to Health PDF Print E-mail


Development along the Light Rail Can
 Contribute to Healthy Communities


Tuesday, May 19     6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social     
       6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, Brooklyn Park City Hall
5200 85th Avenue N


The way we plan and design our communities plays a big role in our physical, emotional and financial health. The Bottineau Light Rail Transitway Health Impact Assessment found that the transit line offers real potential to improve health for people in communities near the transit stations as well as for transit users. Careful planning can improve physical activity levels, job access, traffic safety, education access, and available healthy food as well as reduce housing and transportation costs. Since Brooklyn Park residents know a lot about which features would benefit them the most, the public will be invited to a workshop in early June to give their suggestions for development around the light rail stations. This forum will inform you on how the planning process works, and provide background for those who'd like to participate in the process.

Denise Engen

Hennepin County Community Engagement Coordinator

The Process of Station Area Planning

Todd Larson - Senior Planner, Planning Division of Development Department, City of Brooklyn Park or Emily Carr - Development Project Coordinator for City of Brooklyn Park

What Station Area Planning Means for the Long Term Development of Brooklyn Park

Larry Hiscock – Program Officer, Transit Engagement at NEXUS
Former Program Director – Harrison Neighborhood Association

Larry Hiscock's presentation will focus on how the station area planning can be used to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in Brooklyn Park.


Issa A. Mansaray - Editor, The AfricaPaper

Nelima Sitati - Executive Director, Summit Hill Association, Former Housing Coordinator for Harrison Neighborhood Association

What's Needed Along the Light Rail and How Can Diverse Groups Benefit?


Take a 7 minute Virtual Tour of the Bottineau Light Rail Line on You Tube.

Sponsor:                                             Co-Sponsors:



The Rapid Growth of Solar Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail


At the Think Again Brooklyns forum last week, Lynn Hinkle, Policy Director for the MN Solar Energy Industry Association, noted that nationwide just 20% of homeowners have roofs appropriate for solar panels. However, anyone can invest in solar energy through Community Solar Gardens in which Minnesota is a leader. In the last five years, Minnesota's solar industry has expanded from $150 million to a billion dollar industry. 

Jamez Staples, President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, told us about his program for getting people from marginalized communities prepared for solar energy careers averaging $50,000 a year through combined work and study at Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other Technical Colleges.  Mr. Staples noted that growth in the use of renewables could eventually keep the $18 billion dollars currently sent to other states for coal and gas in our own state.

              The Growth of Solar Energy in MN, Think Again Brooklyns, 4/21/15 - Linda Freemon

For additional information on MN's clean energy progress, see the articles below.





MN's Solar Energy Growth - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail
Think Again Brooklyns


Earth Day:  Support Expansion of Renewable Energy in MN

Big Benefits of Solar Energy:  Clean Air, Good Jobs,

Lower Costs, and Dispersed Local Ownership


solar rooftops facebook header

Tuesday, April 21     6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social     
       6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N


Please RSVP and Share on Facebook


Wind Energy has been rapidly growing in Minnesota for some time, and now solar energy is also beginning a steady climb. The rapidly increasing use of wind and solar energy is a result of falling prices for renewable energy production together with federal and state incentives. Farmers can participate in the ownership of wind turbines, churches, businesses, and homeowners can have solar rooftop panels installed, and apartment dwellers can buy shares in community solar gardens. Come to our Think Again Brooklyns Earth Day forum to find out how you too can participate in the ownership of the source of your electricity.

chris eatonSenator Chris Eaton – State and Local Government Committee Vice-Chair and Member, Environment and Energy Committee.  Senator Eaton will discuss the 2015 MN Clean Energy Plan and its prospects in the legislature.

lynn hinkle solar Lynn Hinkle ‪-‬ Director of Policy Development for the Minnesota Solar Energy Industry Association (MNSEIA).  Mr. Hinkle will speak on the benefits the 2013 Solar Energy bill is bringing to MN, including increased jobs and lower energy costs, and on the savings homeowners, churches, and cities make when they install solar energy panels.  He will also discuss the future of clean energy in MN and its contribution to MN's economic growth‪.‬

jamez staples

Jamez Staples - President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, a company that is developing the green infrastructure and renewable energy market through the use of people from marginalized communities. Mr. Staples will speak on how homeowners can finance rooftop solar energy, what subsidies are available, and the affordability of solar energy‪.‬

‏A “Q and A” will follow the presentations.



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MN Nonprofits' Leadership in Public Policy PDF Print E-mail


Research    Message    Education    Coalition    Advocacy

Tuesday, March 17
6:00 p.m. - Pizza and Social               6:30 p.m. Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N

This forum showcases the very important role that nonprofit organizations play in public policy development in Minnesota.  Minnesota's nonprofits lead the way to progressive policies that meet needs and provide opportunities for a broad range of our citizens.  We have asked leaders in a few nonprofits to describe their nonprofit's activities, but there are dozens of others engaged in similar activities that influence public policies.


nonprofit  collage

                   Nonprofits are where you'll find the excitement of making our state a better place for everyone.


Please Share and RSVP on Facebook



Jeanne LeFevre - League of Women Voters Action Co-Chair

Jeanne LeFevre will speak on ways that nonprofits influence legislative outcomes. She will give a presentation on the issues the LWVMN is supporting at the legislature this session, on how the LWVMN carries out its support of legislation, and on how citizens can keep informed and participate in issue advocacy.

The League of Women Voters work has traditionally focused on candidate forums and registering voters.  In recent years, the LWVMN has expanded its work on research, education, and public policy advocacy on issues ranging from voting rights to sexual violence against children, renewable energy, immigration, and equal opportunity in MN's schools.

sarah walkerSarah Walker - President, Impartial Justice Coalition and Founder, Minnesota Second Chance Coalition, a coalition of 60 justice reform organizations

Sarah Walker will speak on the progress of the Restore the Vote Campaign, which aims to get legislation passed to restore the vote to people who committed a felony once they complete their prison sentence.  She will explain how persistence over time and coalition building can lead to legislative success.

Sarah Walker's public policy work has received many accolades. She was the recipient of the 2010 Minnesota Council of Non-Profits Statewide Advocacy Award, 2010 Hennepin County Bar Association Advancing Justice Award, 2010 and 2011 winner of the Politics in Minnesota’s Leaders in Public Policy Award.   In 2012, the Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health granted her its Outstanding Service Award for her work in Juvenile Justice. 

Sarah Walker was born in Zambia.  She spent most of her childhood in Texas and graduated from Carlton College.  She is currently working on a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Minnesota.

A Question and Answer session will follow the speakers' presentations.


lwvbpomg tamn 2nd chance bp diversity





"My Brother's Keeper" - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


children reading and hs grads

A Challenge to Communities  to Improve 

Life Outcomes for All Young People

Tuesday, February 17

6:30 p.m.  Pizza Buffet and Social       7 p.m. Program


Brookdale Library, Rooms ABC
6125 Shingle Creek Parkway, Brooklyn Center


Please note that our February forum will be at the Brookdale Library because the City Council is meeting that day.  We just heard from the Library that we can have Room C at 6:30 for pizza and the social.  Rooms A and B might not be ready that early.  If so, enter Room C along the passage to the right.

Please RSVP and Share on Facebook

antonio smithAntonio Smith - Brooklyn Park Community Outreach


Just back from a trip to Washington with Mayor Jeff Lunde to exchange ideas on President Obama's "My Brother's Keeper" program to inspire  boys to reach their life goals


The Goals of the "My Brother's Keeper" Challenge

How the City of Brooklyn Park and other Communities are Contributing to Improving the Life Outcomes of Youth


sally nault maurerSally Nault-Maurer - Early Childhood Program Coordinator at Osseo Area Schools

Osseo Schools' Preschool and Early Childhood Family Education Programs

How Early Childhood Learning Contributes to Long Term Academic Success


gale cannonGale Cannon - Family Life Educator




Park Buddies Program at Park Haven Apartments for Children and Families at Park Brook Elementary School




stephen wreh-wilsonStephen Wreh-Wilson - Executive Director, Pro USA

Helping high school students to set goals and work with mentors who will guide them in reaching their goals


samuel mwangiSamuel Mwangi - Executive Director, Global Fatherhood Foundation

How fathers can make a big contribution to their children's success in school and life





Civil Rights: How Far Have We Come? PDF Print E-mail
It's 50 Years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 Passed!
An Update for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 20
6 p.m. Pizza Buffet and Social            6:30 p.m.  Program

Hennepin County Technical College,  Cafeteria
9000 Brooklyn Blvd., Brooklyn Park 55445

RSVP: Click here to RSVP and Share on Facebook.

martin-luther-king-march 63
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at March on Washington, 1963

   jean maierhoferModerator - Jean Maierhofer                       
Chief Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer                     
Hennepin Technical College   


Civil Rights when Stopped by Police         
Joshua Newville - Civil Rights Attorney, Madia Law

joshua newvilleJoshua Newville will speak on racial disparity trends for stops and arrests in Minnesota and Brooklyn Park, on the impact disparities have on people of color, on citizens' civil rights when stopped by the police, and on actions  citizens can take to reduce crime and assure just policing.
As a civil trial attorney focusing on employment law and civil rights litigation, Joshua Newville is a passionate advocate for victims of discrimination and unfair treatment. Josh serves on the Board of Directors for the Minnesota chapter of the National Employment Lawyers Association and on the advisory board for Orrery Consulting. An active member in the community, Josh has also served as a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and has provided pro bono legal advice to various community organizations.  Hw also has over six years of teaching experience, including at the University of Minnesota Law School and Political Science Department. 

michael birchardA Story on a Police Stop

Michael Birchard
Chief Diversity and Affirmative Action Officer
North Hennepin Community College


paula van averyResponding When Stopped
Brooklyn Park Police/Community Liaison Program
Paula Van Avery
Brooklyn Park Police/Community Liaison

linda freemonHow to Address a Discrimination Problem
The Human Rights Police/Community Relations Committee

Linda Freemon
Chair, Brooklyn Park Human Rights Commission

Question and  Answer  Session

Parking and Directions: Student Lot 4 - See Campus Map:

Enter the large door marked J2.  The cafeteria will be to the right.

RSVP: Click here to RSVP and Share on Facebook.





MN Department of Human Rights, Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail



Equal Opportunity in the 21st Century


Tuesday, November 18
6 p.m.  Pizza Buffet & Social              6:30 p.m.  Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers
5200 85th Avenue N
Please RSVP and Share on Facebook
or RSVP to Carol Woehrer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



Though it is a half century since the U.S. passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there is a lot of work to be done by both citizens and government officials before our state and nation comes close to reaching a goal of freedom from discrimination and racial disparities. 

kevin lindsey mn hr commissionerCommissioner Kevin Lindsey

MN Department of Human Rights

Commissioner, Kevin Lindsey manages the Department whose mission is to make Minnesota discrimination free. The Department of Human Rights investigates approximately 1,000 charges of discrimination a year. It ensures that large state contractors who do business with the State of Minnesota provide equal employment opportunity, and it helps the Governor of Minnesota develop policy to reduce disparities that exist in the areas of education, employment, health, criminal justice, public accommodation, and public services.

Commissioner Lindsey's discussion will include updates in the legal requirement for diversity and inclusion in state hiring and in state contracts with large employers as well as recent legislation such as Ban the Box and the Women's Economic Security Act. He'll talk about recent instances of discrimination in employment and education that have arisen due to the ebola crisis. He'll describe the requirements for filing a claim and the assistance that is available for filing a discrimination charge.

A question and answer session will follow Commissioner Lindsey's presentation.  Please bring your observations on the kinds of disparities to which you think our state needs to give attention and your ideas on the policies and programs which could reduce or eliminate the disparities.


Kevin Lindsey was appointed Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights in February 2011. He had previously served as a civil litigation attorney in the Office of the Ramsey County Attorney, and has 20 years of experience in resolving complex legal and public policy questions.

Sponsored by Think Again MN, The Brooklyn Park Human Rights Commission, the Brooklyn Park Diversity Team, and the Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center Chapter of the League of Women Voters.


mn  dept of hr   lwv tamn radio africa bp hr com bp div




Your Vote Makes a Difference PDF Print E-mail



Be Inspired by our Speakers and Pass the Inspiration on!

Your Vote Makes a Difference


Tuesday, October 21
6 p.m. Pizza & Social 6:30 p.m. Program

Brooklyn Park City Council Chambers, 5200 85th Avenue N

RSVP and Share on Facebook

or RSVP to Carol Woehrer, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

david schultz office photoDavid Schultz - Author and Professor of

Political Science at Hamline University

Why It's so Important to Vote and the Consequences of Not Voting

David Schultz teaches classes in American politics, public policy and administration, and ethics. Professor Schultz has authored 28 books, including his two most recent, Election Law and Democratic Theory (2014) and American Politics in the Age of Ignorance (2013).  A Fulbright scholar who has taught extensively in Europe, Schultz is the winner of the national 2013 Leslie Whittington Excellence in Public Affairs Teaching Award.  He is a favorite speaker at forums in the  west metro suburbs, who has shared his expertise and wisdom for many years.



bobby joe championjim abeler at capitol

Senator Bobby Joe Champion


Jim Abler

Former MN Representative


Just What Do Legislators Do?



Winning an election is just the beginning.  Two popular Minnesota legislators will give us insight on just what the MN Senate and House do and how the legislature's decisions  affect our lives.  Senator Bobby Joe Champion served for four years in the MN House and has been in the MN Senate for 2 years.  He is an attorney and award winning choir director.  Jim Abeler was a MN Representative for 16 years and is a chiropracter.

Senator Champion and former Representative Abeler will explain the committee process a bill goes through before it comes to the floor to be voted on in the Senate or House.  They will discuss why the two branches of the Legislature don't always both vote on a bill or pass a bill and what happens to it then.  They will also describe how the MN Senate and MN House reconcile their two different versions of a bill and what is involved in the negotiation that takes place between the Legislature and the Governor.



Please invite your friends. Everyone is welcome.

Thank you to our sponsors, Think Again MN, the Brooklyn Park Diversity Team, and the Brooklyn Park, Oseeo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Park Chapter of the League of Women Voters, and to our recorder and broadcaster, Tmz Radio International.



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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon


steve simon


Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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