The Spin: In Chicago, Buttigieg rallies support for Biden’s roads, bridges plan | Giannoulias rakes in the cash for SOS run | State lawmakers get earful about cybersecurity – Chicago Tribune

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Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg made two stops while he was in the Chicago area today to tout President Joe Biden’s multitrillion-dollar plan to fix and build up the nation’s roads and bridges.

While it has bipartisan support, you couldn’t help but notice this was the Democrats show here in deep blue Chicago with a line of local elected leaders willing and happy to get in the camera shot with Buttigieg.

First on the agenda, Buttigieg traveled to the South Side’s 95th/Dan Ryan Red Line station, which he used as a backdrop to plug the $49 billion in Biden’s proposal aimed at improving public transit across the nation.

The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Democratic presidential hopeful and now Biden cabinet member touted how those dollars would be aimed at providing access to affordable public transit in communities that have long gone without.

Indeed the long-envisioned extension of the Red Line, beyond its 95th/Dan Ryan terminus, has been viewed as a means of reaching those living in a transit desert. But it wasn’t clear whether the president’s infrastructure plan — if passed — would help bankroll the $2.3 billion expansion whose planners are eyeing a 5.3-mile extension to 130th Street with four additional stations.

Meantime, the deadline for candidates to file their quarterly campaign finance reports is here and former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is raking in the cash as he campaigns to replace retiring Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White. With $2.9 million in the bank, Giannoulias has roughly three times the money that his three Democratic rivals have in their war chests — combined.

The primary is less than a year away.

And Illinois saw a massive wave of unemployment fraud during the pandemic that one cybersecurity expert says likely diverted at least $1 billion to thieves whose work continues — a sign that the state must shore up its defenses, the Tribune’s Joe Mahr and Ray Long report.

That’s according to Haywood Talcove, a top executive with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a firm that public and private entities pay to fight fraud. Talcove testified this week before the Illinois House Committee on Cybersecurity.

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks during a news conference in New York, Monday, June 28, 2021. Buttigieg toured the century-old rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey as a long-delayed project to build a new tunnel gains steam. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks during a news conference in New York, Monday, June 28, 2021. Buttigieg toured the century-old rail tunnel connecting New York and New Jersey as a long-delayed project to build a new tunnel gains steam. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig) (Seth Wenig/AP)

Chicago marks the last of the three-state tour this week, including Oregon and Arizona, to rally support for Biden’s infrastructure plan.

His visit here was to at once tout how Republicans and Democrats are coming together to support Biden’s roads and bridges plan, though you couldn’t miss the fact that it turned into something of a Democratic lovefest.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly of Matteson, who also serves as the state’s Democratic Party Chair, U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg, and U.S. Rep. Bill Foster of Naperville, also were among the Dems on hand today as he toured the 95th/Dan Ryan Station. CTA President Dorval Carter also was there.

His message: Funding in the transit plan aims to help more residents, especially those who live in communities that have historically been left out, to gain access to frequent and affordable transit service.

Illinois transportation data points, courtesy of Buttigieg’s office: There are 2,374 bridges and over 6,218 miles of highway in poor condition. In the last decade, commute times have increased by 7.3% in Illinois. Motorists paying just over $600 in costs tied to driving on lousy roads annually.

Illinoisans who take public transportation spend an extra 68.3% of their time commuting. Nonwhite households are 1.9 times more likely to commute via public transportation. Meantime, 21% of trains and other transit vehicles statewide are past their useful life.

Also on Buttigieg’s agenda: His next stop was the CSX Bedford Park Intermodal Yard with Gov. Pritzker, and U.S. Reps. Marie Newman, of La Grange, and Mike Quigley, of Chicago planning to join him.

The event was an opportunity for Buttigieg to talk up how Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for billions in investments to improve freight and passenger rail infrastructure.

The CSX terminal, the nation’s third largest by volume, serves domestic and international intermodal freight. One of every four U.S. freight trains passes through Chicago., according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Gately Park in Chicago on July 6, 2021.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at Gately Park in Chicago on July 6, 2021. (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

The Tribune’s John Byrne writes: “Grassroots police activists and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Friday they will keep negotiating on a deal to establish civilian oversight of the Chicago Police Department, the latest delay in the long-running effort.

“After years of often acrimonious negotiations, the two sides announced just before aldermen were set to again consider their competing plans that they would instead spend the next few days trying again to agree on a single proposal.”

With competing ordinances on the table, the mayor and activists submitted divergent proposals on how much power citizens would have over the department. Full story, here.

Chicago police Superintendent David Brown fails in bid for leniency for two cops in 2018 fatal shooting, the Tribune’s Jeremy Gorner writes.

Former Chicago alderman Proco

Former Chicago alderman Proco “Joe” Moreno arrives at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago on Friday, July 16, 2021. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune) (Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune)

The Tribune’s Megan Crepeau writes: “Former Chicago Ald. Proco “Joe” Moreno, who once made his name as the so-called hipster alderman, pleaded guilty Friday to obstructing justice and giving a false report to authorities after he loaned his Audi to a woman he was dating and then reported it stolen.

“In exchange for his plea, Moreno was given ‘second-chance’ probation, a program for first-time offenders. If he complies with the conditions set by Cook County Judge William Hooks for the two-year probation period, the case as a whole will be dismissed.

“Moreno, 39, was careful to note when asked about the court arrangement by the Tribune that the second-chance probation means that no conviction has been entered, ‘so I am looking forward to moving on with my and my family’s life.’” Full story here.

Alexi Giannoulias in 2010.

Alexi Giannoulias in 2010. (E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune)

Giannoulias, the early leader in gathering endorsements, is seeing those efforts pay off, with unions ponying up donations.

After starting the quarter with more than $2.1 million in cash available, the latest round of quarterly reports showed Giannoulias had more than $2.9 million at the start of July.

Other Democrats in the race include City Clerk Anna Valencia, who reported raising more than $226,000 and had nearly $594,000 in cash available on July 1, the reports showed. South Side Ald. Pat Dowell raised nearly $400,000 and had $416,381 available while Ald. David Moore reported raising more than $16,200 and had $64,219 in cash on hand, the Tribune’s Rick Pearson reports.

More money: Pearson also notes, “In the GOP race for governor, state Sen. Darren Bailey of Downstate Xenia reported $490,700 in cash on hand on July 1, raising more than $165,000 but spending nearly $185,000. Businessman Gary Rabine of Burr Ridge listed $287,325 in available money after raising nearly $345,000 while spending nearly $295,000. Former state Sen. Paul Schimpf of Waterloo raised $83,235 in the quarter but spent almost $137,000, leaving him with $116,280 in available cash, reports showed.”

State Rep. Lamont Robinson outside of Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Oct. 23, 2020.

State Rep. Lamont Robinson outside of Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Oct. 23, 2020. (Youngrae Kim / Chicago Tribune)

Joe Mahr and Ray Long write, “After Illinois endured a massive wave of unemployment fraud during the pandemic, a cybersecurity vendor warned state lawmakers Thursday that fraud fueled by identity theft will become an even bigger problem unless the state hardens its defenses.

Haywood Talcove, a top executive with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a firm that public and private entities pay to fight fraud, warned: “They’re not going to stop at unemployment insurance. They made a fortune.”

Talcove testified to the Illinois House Committee on Cybersecurity, whose chairman, Rep. Lamont Robinson, D-Chicago, called for Illinois to become a national model within five years in stopping thieves from stealing identities and money from government websites.

The price tag to keep up with the latest cybersecurity efforts? About $1 million annually. Full story here.

More pandemic-related news The average number of new daily coronavirus cases in Illinois doubled during the first half of July, even as the state began handing out prizes of up to $1 million to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Illinois averaged 294 new daily cases of COVID-19 during the week ending July 1, according to data from the state Department of Public Health. The average more than doubled, to 636 new cases per day, during the week ending Friday.

As delta variant spreads in Chicago suburbs, mass vaccination sites to close in favor of ‘hyperlocal strategy’ to target areas where inoculations lag. Alice Yin’s got that story, too.

Meantime, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director says the COVID-19 outbreak in U.S. is becoming “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” The Associated Press reports.

Thanks for reading The Spin, the Tribune’s politics newsletter. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox weekday afternoons. Have a tip? Email host Lisa Donovan at ldonovan@chicagotribune.com.