Paula Mielke for Falcon Heights City Council
Why I am running for City Council
My name is Paula Mielke, and I believe that my energy, enthusiasm and leadership can help Falcon Heights move forward. I have lived in Falcon Heights since 1990 and have been active in the community in many ways.
For the past eight years I have represented Falcon Heights on the Ramsey County Library Board and was chair for two years.
When my sons attended Falcon Heights Elementary School, I developed the first Read-a-Thon, which is still the school’s main fundraiser. Along with other parents, I worked to lift the ban on biking to school and helped secure a solar powered pedestrian light to make it safer for students to cross at Hamline and Garden. I was PTA president, chaired the school carnival committee, started a cartridge recycling program and initiated an annual back-to-school parade.
I served on the Parks and Recreation Commission from 2006 to 2008. My husband Bruce helped form the Neighborhood Commission (now Community Engagement Commission) and has been a neighborhood liaison for more than a decade. We encouraged our sons to be involved in the community as well. Both were summer Parks and Recreation volunteers and staff. One served on the Parks and Rec Commission and the other on the Environment Commission.
Moved to action after Philando’s death
The morning after Philando Castile was killed I brought cookies to city hall. I knew from my career in public relations and crisis communications that it was going to be a tough day for staff. That afternoon I brought sidewalk chalk to Fry and Larpenteur so people could express themselves.
Like most of us, I never expected a police shooting to happen in our city. I kept thinking, “We can do better.”
I had t-shirts printed and brought them to the memorial walk organized by the Falcon Heights school staff.
At the first library board meeting after the shooting I proposed holding an event to talk about race. The Racial Equity Team arranged for Sun Yung Shin, editor of A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, to speak. More than 200 people attended.
I thought our small city, with a five-person council and little bureaucracy, could be responsive and move quickly to bring about change in policing. I began talking with other residents and we started to meet regularly to discuss how we could help our council. We wrote a letter requesting St. Anthony Police Department Chief Jon Mangseth attend a council meeting and answer questions about police training and department procedures. We drafted a resolution proposing a citizen task force to research policing practices in other cities and make recommendations. Another resolution suggested reducing revenue from traffic tickets in the 2017 budget to show moving away from broken tail light policing. We organized a panel discussion for residents on community policing and another one on implicit bias.
On April 1, we knocked on doors in all the quadrants in Falcon Heights and posted an online petition. Nearly 450 people signed the petition asking our city council to end the contract with St. Anthony Police. The council never did; St. Anthony City Council passed a resolution on July 11 to end the contract.
So why run for city council?
Our city’s Inclusion and Policing Task Force, with input from community conversation participants, developed community values. I want to use these values to guide all decisions, such as strategic planning, policies and procedures, and budgeting. As a city council member, I can help oversee implementation of the task force recommendations. I also want to improve the experience of being on a commission and engage more people in the community. And I will listen to residents and guests.
My professional background
For 30 years I worked in public relations and marketing, serving a wide range of organizations, including General Mills, the Executive MBA Program, Manufacturing Technology of Minnesota, 3M, Children’s Minnesota St. Paul Hospital and Cerenity Senior Care. Nearly four years ago I launched a new career when I purchased Grahn’s Upholstery in Minneapolis, a small furniture restoration shop with two full-time employees.
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United for Paula Mielke
1868 Arona St.
Falcon Heights, MN 55133
Tom Baldwin, former Falcon Heights Mayor
Beth Mercer-Taylor, former Falcon Heights City Council Member
Laura Kuettel, former Falcon Heights City Council Member