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We’re Scaring Black Entrepreneurs Out of Minnesota

Plus immigrant paperwork woes, a very good dog, and downtown parking's profits nosedive in today's Flyover.

Clarence Bethea, founder and CEO of Upsie.
Upsie

Welcome back to The Flyover, your daily noontime(ish) digest of what local media outlets and Twitter-ers are gabbing about.

This Black CEO had Enough of Minnesota’s Bullshit

Twin Cities Business recently published a Q&A with Clarence Bethea on what it’s like to be a Black tech business owner in Minnesota. Turns out it’s… bad. Very bad. So bad, in fact, that the Upsie founder has moved to Dallas after 19 years in Minnesota. Bethea mentions one scary encounter with a police officer who pulled him over with his kids, and asked his (white) wife if she was okay. “There’s a heightened stress with everything happening in Minnesota,” he told TCB. “I feel like I’m going to get shot by a police officer one day. That’s the level of anxiety. Running a business is hard. I’m worried about my family all the time, and then I’ve got to worry about driving to work or the convenience store.” Upsie, a warranty website worth $18.2 million, will stay in St. Paul. Meanwhile, Bethea is personally thriving in Texas. “In 10 days in Dallas, I’ve seen more diversity than in all my years in Minnesota,” he says. Meanwhile, over on Twitter, David Sandbeck, Minnesota Green Party’s Fourth Congressional District Co-Chair, had this oddly aggressive, bad take on the story:

License and Consternation

Sahan Journal recently took a fascinating and frustrating look at ID laws—specifically, the ways in which they keep immigrants from finding stable housing. In it, we meet D.N., a Minnesotan with a “nearly impossible to solve” problem: Her family lost her birth certificate during the First Liberian Civil War. She’s been unable to replace it, which is a problem because she needs it to get a new Minnesota ID and eventually clear up some pending Hennepin County Court charges and apply for housing benefits. And she’s one of many people for whom bureaucratic problems like needing a state-issued ID become a barrier to safety and stability. D.N.’s story is a prime example of how unnecessarily complicated and impossible to navigate so many of our social systems are. If American-born citizens had to deal with immigration bureaucracy for a day they’d burn the country down. 

No One’s Parking Downtown Anymore

Pre-pandemic, finding parking in some areas of town was a Sisyphean task. Nowadays, you have a good chance of finding a metered spot on the street. But fewer cars parking in the street means less money for the cities and for lot and ramp owners. According to a recent Axios report, parking revenue for Minneapolis dropped from $52 million in 2019 to $27 million in 2020. St. Paul is also making less on parking, with revenue falling from $22 million to $12 million. Will revenue go up as people return to the office? Who knows!

Hero Dog Reunited with Family

Here’s a little glimpse into the house style of Racket: Any non-violent dog that makes headlines, regardless of context, will be referred to as a “hero dog.” One such hero dog is Vic, whose hero journey saw him survive a damn auto theft. Vic’s owner, Lucas Albers, left his 50-pound black lab inside his black Chevrolet Malibu outside of a Richfield Liquor store on Friday afternoon, according to police. Then a non-hero thief jumped inside the running vehicle and took off with Vic! The car was found Saturday near St. Paul’s Hamline University—without Vic. But, on Sunday, a man at a St. Paul park discovered Vic walking around doing dog stuff, which eventually lead to the hero dog’s reunion with his family. “Thank you to everyone as well as The Retrievers organization so very much for all your efforts in helping me get my buddy home to me. You really helped ease my mind with all the supportive messages and sharing of information to help aid in his recovery,” Albers said via Facebook. “This mission has been a success.” We love you, Vic!