Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Most recently he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.


The hardest job

By: - August 20, 2021

After helping her disabled brother start his morning routine, Nora Clark rides the bus an hour and arrives at Scott Sema’s house at 9 a.m. She brushes his teeth, shaves his face, showers him and then starts making his breakfast. She makes about $1,000 a week working 68 hours for Sema and her brother. Not […]

apartment building

Here’s the rent control question St. Paul will vote on this fall

By: - August 19, 2021

The St. Paul City Council unanimously approved the rent control ballot language that will be put to voters this November. If passed, the measure would institute one of the country’s most rigorous rent stabilization policies and the state’s first. The ballot language — drafted by city staff to reflect a citizen-led petition — would limit […]

High rise window cleaners go on strike for higher wages, apprenticeship program

By: - August 16, 2021

Nearly 40 workers who clean the windows of Twin Cities high rise buildings hung up their squeegees and harnesses on Monday and began an indefinite strike after failing to secure higher wages and an apprenticeship program. The workers, organized with the Service Employees International Union Local 26 (SEIU 26), began picketing early in the morning […]


The wild politics of the zombie deer disease

By: - August 13, 2021

Since chronic wasting disease was first found in wild deer in Minnesota in 2010, it’s shown up in more deer and in more places across the state. Preventing the so-called Zombie Deer Disease from spreading is especially difficult because the vector — a folded protein called a prion — can contaminate plants and soil for […]

North Minneapolis pastor and gun rights group sue to allow guns at State Fair

By: - August 10, 2021

Citing fear of an increase in violent crime, a Black Twin Cities pastor, as well as a long-time gun rights activist and the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus filed a lawsuit on Tuesday asking a judge to allow people with Minnesota gun permits to come armed to the Minnesota State Fair. Rev. Tim Christopher, who lives […]

Lawmaker looks to drive down housing costs by overriding local zoning laws

By: - August 10, 2021

The so-called five L’s of homebuilding — land, lots, lumber, labor and laws — have driven new home construction prices in the Twin Cities far beyond what the typical household can afford: The median price of a new house in the 7-county metro area is $472,000. Rep. Steve Elkins, DFL-Bloomington, outlined a comprehensive housing affordability […]

Minneapolis mayor vetoes one rent control ballot initiative, allows second to go to voters

By: - August 6, 2021

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey vetoed one rent control ballot initiative approved by the City Council on Friday but will allow a second to advance without his signature. That means city residents will vote on allowing the City Council to draft a rent control policy, which they could approve as an ordinance or send back to […]

family evicted nevada

Evictions tick up as state phases out moratorium

By: - August 5, 2021

Weekly eviction filings have about tripled since Minnesota began rolling back its moratorium put in place nearly 18 months ago, although they remain just a fraction of pre-pandemic levels because landlords may not yet evict tenants for missing rent. Beginning on July 14, landlords could resume evicting tenants for material violations of lease agreements — […]

They came to swing hammers. We came to talk housing policy.

By: - August 4, 2021

A bipartisan group of Legislators tried out swinging hammers and working drills for a morning with Habitat for Humanity on Tuesday in St. Paul. Chris Coleman, CEO and president of the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity, said the event was meant to bring lawmakers together to show what they have in common: housing for families. […]

Police invited to just 10% of National Night Out events in Minneapolis

By: - August 3, 2021

National Night Out began in the 1980s with the aim of building relationships between police and the people they serve through small block parties in cities across the country. But in Minneapolis this year, the vast majority will go on without them. And that’s by choice. Organizers of just 134 — or about 10% — […]


Finding recovery (abstinence not required)

By: - July 30, 2021

When Tiffany Irvin lost her five children to child protective services, she was at the height of her addiction to opioids. It took her two years to get them back, an agonizing period made longer she says by not having any support to get sober. Irvin is now seven years into her recovery and leads […]

Minnesota lawmakers begin deliberating how to distribute $250 million to frontline workers

By: - July 28, 2021

A small working group of Minnesota lawmakers and cabinet members on Wednesday began deliberating how to divvy up $250 million for bonuses for the hundreds of thousands of frontline workers who risked exposure to keep essential services running during the pandemic. The group — made up of three representatives, three senators and three commissioners — […]