Daily Digest: Cybersecurity and the state

Good morning, and welcome to Wednesday. Here comes the Digest:

1. Gov. Mark Dayton told a gathering of cybersecurity experts in Minneapolis Tuesday that he has trouble sleeping when he dwells too long on the possible damage hackers could do to state government. He said the obsolescence of many state computer systems has ironically protected them from attacks. Dayton got only a fraction of the spending he proposed for technology and cybersecurity upgrades last session. He plans to try again next year. But he told reporters after his speech that it’s been a tough concept to sell. “It’s hard when it’s in competition for funding with somebody’s rundown bridge or a needed new college library or even a new snowmobile trail to compete and get that level of priority and funding that it needs.” Some Republican lawmakers say they were willing to spend the money, but Dayton sent it to state employees instead. (MPR News)

2. Today is the 15th anniversary of the plane crash that took the life of Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone, 11 days before the election that would have decided whether he would serve a third term.  The plane crashed in the woods near Eveleth on the Iron Range. On board were Wellstone, his wife Sheila and daughter Marcia, three campaign aides, and the two pilots. There were no survivors. Near the crash site there’s a quiet memorial honoring Wellstone and his legacy. Nevada Littlewolf, a Virginia, Minnesota city councilor, says she often takes her kids there. “I try to talk to them about the Wellstones and the work that they did, and help them understand the work that I do and why it’s important.” (MPR News)

3. A burglary at the home of St. Paul mayoral contender Melvin Carter in August is cropping up as a campaign issue in the final stretch of the race. Carter reported two handguns, a bag of ammunition, a video game and a box of cigars missing from the break-in. Some of the items were recovered later in an SUV police stopped on the east side. But the handguns remain missing. The Ramsey County Attorney’s Office charged a 24-year-old St. Paul man last week with breaking into Carter’s home. Now, the city’s police union, which has endorsed one of Carter’s opponents, is faulting Carter for not better securing the weapons and for not offering detailed information about the weapons, including their serial numbers. Carter’s campaign called the letter dated Tuesday an election season smear and an attack on people of color. (MPR News)

4. Fifteen people are challenging Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, and the problem of racial inequity permeates discussions of everything from affordable housing and education to public works and the police department. In speeches, at the city DFL convention and at public forums, candidates have repeatedly argued for municipal reform aimed at closing the wide disparities between white people and people of color. Hodges ran on ending racial disparities in 2013 and today calls for further “transformative change.” The surprise candidate of the campaign, state Rep. Ray Dehn, has built his platform on the message that the American system is based on “white supremacy” and the city needs to include those “traditionally left out of the process.” Nekima Levy-Pounds calls for a “paradigm shift.” Council Member Jacob Frey calls for the city to close “opportunity gaps.” Tom Hoch advocates “growing an inclusive economy.” (Star Tribune)

5. If you’ve ever wondered who’s behind some of the groups trying to influence the way you vote in the upcoming Minneapolis election, this is the piece for you. The committees operate independently of the candidates, which means they are allowed to help or hurt whomever they want. But the reporting required by law makes it hard to figure out who is behind a particular effort. The committees are required to register with Hennepin County within two weeks of when they get or spend more than $100. But depending on timing, most can exist through the heart and heat of the election without having to provide much information at all about their contributors or expenditures. In fact, if they register after the August reporting deadline they can raise and spend money without any disclosure to the public until the next reporting deadline, on Oct. 31. And that’s just the start. (MinnPost)

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