Each week, Reformer Radio goes deep with people at the center of important stories from around our state. We bring you context and analysis to explain not just what happened, but why it happened, who is responsible, and what it means for Minnesota.
Homeownership is declining in the Twin Cities
High demand and record-low supply are pushing housing prices to new heights in the Twin Cities. And developers aren’t building enough homes that most people can afford.
The Twin Cities has historically had among the highest rates of homeownership in the country, but that rate is falling. At the same time, the region confronts a widening racial gap in homeownership, one of the largest in the nation.
If it’s bad now, what will it be like in 20 years?
Libby Starling talks about the present and future of homeownership in the Twin Cities metro. She is the director of Community Development and Engagement at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Previously, she led the development of the Metropolitan Council’s most recent long-range plan for the Twin Cities.
Who is Operation Safety Now?
Facing an existential threat to his department, Minneapolis Police Chief Medaria Arradondo found support among a group of vocal, concerned citizens. A pro-police grassroots movement? Not entirely.
Hundreds of emails obtained by the Reformer show Arradondo coordinated closely with a start-up group called Operation Safety Now devoted to swaying public opinion and showing strong support for a larger police budget.
A city council member called the relationship “unprecedented” and the group’s leader doesn’t appear to even live in the city.
Marathon vs. the Teamsters
127 days ago the Teamsters Local 120 called a strike at the Marathon oil refinery in St. Paul Park alleging unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices. Some 200 workers haven’t returned since.
Marathon says it has rigorous health and safety standards and an exemplary record. Workers say a disaster is all but certain. This week, a 22-year veteran of the refinery explains why he’s so worried and what will get him back to work.
Rep. Betty McCollum on U.S. aid to Israel
U.S. Representative Betty McCollum is a fierce and longtime critic of Israel’s military occupation and human rights abuses. It was once a lonely and politically precarious stance in Congress, before her position was bolstered by a new generation of Democratic lawmakers.
After the latest conflict left at least 230 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead, we talk to McCollum about her advocacy for Palestinians including a bill she introduced earlier this year that would prohibit Israel from using U.S. aid for its settlement expansions or the detention of Palestinian children.
The chaotic and unproductive 2021 session
It was supposed to be one of the most consequential legislative sessions in nearly a decade.
But after debating tax hikes, police reform, COVID-19 precautions, the governor’s executive powers, vehicle emissions standards, marijuana legalization, voter ID, rent control, abortion clinic licensing and other thorny political issues, lawmakers adjourned with only a “numbers only” budget agreement that still needs to be crafted and passed by June 30.
This week, senior political reporter Ricardo Lopez runs down the inflection points of the four-and-a-half month-long session and its anti-climactic finish.
Sammy's survival year
Sammy McDowell didn't set out to create anything more than a restaurant. But Sammy's Avenue Eatery has become ‘the Cheers bar’ for people of all walks of life in north Minneapolis.
Sammy talks about making it through a year that has been ruinous for restaurants, small businesses and Black-owned businesses. He weathered COVID-19 shutdowns and the civil unrest, with neighbors turning his cafe into a hub for donations and volunteer security operations.
And, he talks about becoming an accidental bridge builder when he opened a second location in a predominantly white neighborhood.
Eagerly anticipating Reformer Radio!
Having followed J Patrick Coolican for sometime now, I believe that the work he and his crew produce the best insight, in depth reporting on the Minnesota political scene. Am I excited about their new podcast? You betcha!