Policy and a Pint: it could work in Northfield

I do consulting work for the Citizens League but I’ve also been a member since 1989. (They also were the fiscal agent for the grant that started the Utne Reader Neighborhood Salon Association that I headed for many years and it was a Northfield salon at my house in 1991 that gave birth to Northfield Citizens Online, the non-profit parent of Northfield.org. But I digress.)

The Citizens League has teamed up with MPR’s The Current to host a series of public policy events called Policy and a Pint. It’s hugely successful, in part because it makes policy stuff fun. Food! Liquor! Socializing! Music! Civic discussion! Yeah, baby!

This week I attended their event called Health Care Handcuffs at the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown and I couldn’t help thinking that we should do a version of this in Northfield. 

Look at the photos (click each to enlarge) and just imagine a similar version of it happening here in Northfield at the Grand Event Center. Who would do it? How about Locally Grown and KRLX? How about Nothfield.org and the Northfield News? How about KYMN and the League of Women Voters? Or other various combinations of the above?


  1. Alex Beeby said:

    I agree. Let’s do it!

    March 10, 2007
  2. Doesn’t anyone know how to have fun without a
    glass of beer in their hands?

    March 10, 2007
  3. Margit Johnson said:

    I’ve forwarded this post to the current and president-elect of the Northfield League of Women Voters. Definitely right up LWV’s alley!

    March 10, 2007
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Glad to hear, Margit.

    Bright, I see people having fun all the time here in Northfield discussing issues without alcohol. Just a few examples: before and after NDDC and LWV forums; before and after council and committee meetings; and around tables in coffeehouses everyday.

    This would be offering something unique: combining the conviviality of a pub/nightclub with stimulating conversation around civic-related issues. Unless you’re of the belief that alcohol use is bad/wrong per se, I don’t see what the problem is.

    March 10, 2007
  5. Alcohol puts a lid on clear thinking. It also removes inhibitions, and not always in a good and not always in a bad way. I am sensitive to alcohol, it makes me feel ill and fuzzy. Not fun for me. Yet, almost every event around here includes alcohol or coffee. Some of the people I saw at events either got all melancholy and self indulgent and confused, or starting chattering so fast about any ol thing, I thought my head would spin right off.

    You may see it as fun, but I can so do without that sort of fun. Moreover, drinkers and non drinkers generally mix together like oil and water…with each
    side tending to reject the other.

    Fun for me would be some music from any source, live or spun, with optional dancing, a fresh spinach apple carrot beet celery juice drink, some nice lighting, a couple of good jokes, and some good, friendly, intelligent, clear give and take conversation…six to eight people at each table top.

    Near the end of the evening, people submit their good ideas on the topic du jour, the Best Idea of the Night is voted in and the winner receives tickets to the next play or something else easily provided.

    No liquor is required unless someone has some sort of
    phobia associated with socializing. Then, maybe some other sort of help is indicated.

    Oh, one more thing, when I was in high school, we girls used to have overnights and there I learned that if someone drank wine at night, the next morning that person could drink a glass of water and recirculate the wine. I did try it once so I know it’s way true.

    I am not saying don’t ever have some events that include liquor, but I think it is relied upon way too much. The other 8 or 9 cities and towns I have lived in, don’t nearly depend on liquor for taxes, raising
    money, or entertainment like Northfield does.



    March 11, 2007
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    Bright, I think the LWV’s 4th Monday series at the library and the NDDC’s downtown forums on the 2nd Tues at the Archer House are similar to what you’re after.

    This would be an alternative.

    March 12, 2007