Rich Means Memorial Service

The Celebration of Life virtual service for Richard K. Means will be live-streamed on YouTube on SATURDAY January 30 at 1 pm CST. This Celebration service will include some of Rich’s favorite music, photo montages, poetry, eulogy, and tributes from selected family members and friends.

The service will be available on YouTube here. It will be activated for the live-stream about five minutes before the 1 pm start time. You do not need a password, nor is any registration required for the YouTube portion.  This is a public event. The video will be archived on the Unity Temple (UTUUC) channel, so you can even go back and view it later if you miss the live-stream version on Saturday. The Order of Service for the Celebration of Life for Rich is attached here.

Immediately following the YouTube service, Rich’s family will host a more informal “reception” on Zoom, where guests will be invited to share – if they wish to do so –  brief (e.g. one minute or less, to keep things flowing) remembrances about, and/or toasts to, Rich. The Zoom Reception can be accessed here. IVI-IPO members can contact iviipo@gmail.com for the password.

IVI-IPO Statement on January 9 Insurrection

Civil society is only possible when people feel connected to each other, and feel that they have a stake in each other’s success.

The insurrection was a movement of people who felt that the institutions of our nation no longer represented them. They no longer believed that our government was “we the people,” but “they the people.” For much of this new century our nation has been moving towards a fractured uncivil society, in which policy emerges from one simple question: “does this come from us or them?”

The new administration promises to bring a welcome team of qualified, progressive, and adult professionals. The victory of the first African American senator and the first Jewish senator from Georgia not only affirms the historic coalition that worked to bring civil rights to the deep south, but gives a sliver of breathing room for the new administration.

These developments allow us the hope that our government will be able to resume functioning. A qualified team can begin to bring an effective response to the pandemic. Many of the most egregious atrocities of the outgoing administration can be halted. Many of the terrible policies can be suspended, and the work of replacing them can begin. The hijacking of the census to disenfranchise much of America will be blocked at the federal level.

The fracturing of our nation, however, will not be easily healed. We have no common set of facts, and no ground for dialogue. We have no appetite for listening and seeking common ground, only an increasing aptitude for spiking the ball on each other in social media.

Our differing communities seem to believe that the key to our nation’s health is the total capitulation of the other side. Even our progressive communities are separated by those who demand purity and those who seek incremental change.

What we can do in these times is work. Join organizations like the IVI-IPO with a mission to lead and heal. Our charter is to expand dialogue, seek qualified and effective leaders, and engage our neighbors. These are the tasks I have set before our board for this year.

We cannot do this work alone. To begin, each one of you who reads this should reach out to one person who could join with us. Each person reaches another person may seem like a small way to begin such a mammoth undertaking, but it is the kind of small step that begins the most important of journeys.

Josef Michael Carr, Jr.
State Chair, IVI-IPO

Bereavement Notice: Rich Means

It is with great sadness that IVI-IPO notes the passing of Richard K. Means, our State Chair from 1991-1993, of COVID complications. Rich was a fighter for justice and a standard bearer for open, honest government. One of the top election lawyers in Illinois, respected by attorneys and activists of all political persuasions, he helped innumerable candidates navigate the web of ballot access laws and clear the hurdles of petition challenges.

Rich devoted many years to IVI-IPO both before and after his service as State Chair. He was a regular fixture of our A-Z Campaign Workshops as producer and presenter of our most popular class: “How to Get on the Ballot – and Stay There!” Any candidate who took that class came away with a wealth of knowledge, especially recognition of the importance of that earliest phase of a campaign. Rich never used the opportunity to sell his services, but he always stressed how important it was for candidates to get legal assistance – because if they didn’t get on the ballot none of the other skills we were teaching for the rest of the campaign would help them! He communicated with passion and with humor and many current office holders owe their political start not only to his skills, but his patience and kindness.

Rich also advocated for legislation and judicial action to increase government transparency. Public access to government documents, online debate and voting records of the state legislature, lobbyist disclosure, and campaign financial disclosure, are among the good government policies that came to fruition through Rich’s efforts. He twice won IVI-IPO’s coveted Legal Eagle Award, for his work in both election law and redistricting reform. Rich was involved in many political and legal efforts including LEAP, Common Cause, the Chicago Council of Lawyers, and most recently as President of the Northeastern Illinois Chapter of Americans for Democratic Action. He was an honest, ethical, principled champion of the independent movement and we will miss him greatly.

Memorial donations can be made to Americans for Democratic Action https://adaction.org/, Beyond Hunger https://www.gobeyondhunger.org/ or the UTUUC Abundance Fund www.unitytemple.org

Read Rich’s obituary and sign the guest book at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/chicagotribune/name/richard-means-obituary?pid=197322052

Thank you to the sponsors who made our Spirit of ’76 Gala a great success!

Sustainer

Rebecca Janowitz

Defender

Dr. Bapu Arekapudi
Stephen Stern

Benefactor

Josef M. Carr
Tyrone Forman
Hon. Mattie Hunter
David K. Igasaki
Jesus Salazar

Sponsor

James A. Garfield
Hon. Leonard Murray
Hon. Debra Shore
Hon. Lawrence J. Suffredin

Supporter

Sandrew Cannon
Calvin Holmes
Shiller Preyar Jarard & Samuels Law Offices

Daniel Shomon
Juliet Sorensen
Hon. Gilberto Villegas
Herb Ziegeldorf

Participant

Deidre Baumann
Alex Breland
Hon. Cameron Davis
Hilda Frontany
Lance Gough
Kevin Jackson
Willie Mack
Betty Magness
Grace Chan McKibben
Dixon Romeo

Military and International Issues

IVI-IPO supports the normalization of relations with Cuba. IVI-IPO favors U.S. participation in the International Criminal Court and the international treaty to ban landmines. IVI-IPO opposes fast-track authority to negotiate trade agreements, and opposes NAFTA, CAFTA and any trade agreements that fail to protect workers and the environment. IVI-IPO opposes the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and its implementation in any form, in whole or in part, under the World Trade Organization, or separately.

IVI-IPO opposes the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and military intervention in Iran. IVI-IPO opposes military aid to any country not meeting high standards for human rights. IVI-IPO favors release of all U.S. documents pertaining to past U.S. involvement in Chile, Guatemala, and Honduras. IVI-IPO opposes funding of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and the National Endowment for Democracy. IVI-IPO opposes increased militarization of the “war on drugs.” IVI-IPO supports a stringent code of conduct for weapons transfers, barring shipments to countries that abuse human rights. IVI-IPO favors government divestment of holdings in companies that conduct business with the murderous Sudanese regime.

IVI-IPO opposes authorizing any money for “Star Wars” missile defense systems. IVI-IPO favors expedited agreement on much deeper cuts of nuclear weapon stockpiles and production. Pending a comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty, IVI-IPO supports continuing the moratorium on nuclear tests. IVIIPO opposes all “first strike” weapons. IVI-IPO opposes covert military actions. IVI-IPO favors reducing the military budget by 10% each year for five years and favors using the savings for education, social services and other domestic needs. IVI-IPO supports the closing of “terrorist” detention centers and bringing detainees into the judicial system.

Health and Human Services, Housing

IVI-IPO favors a universal, single-payer health plan. IVI-IPO favors increased funding for AIDS research, education, voluntary and confidential testing, and patient care. IVI-IPO favors funding for child daycare, job training, transportation and other services to help workers find and keep jobs. IVIIPO favors mandatory cost of living increases for public aid recipients, increased accessibility of food stamps and greater state responsibility for housing the homeless. IVI-IPO supports a federally funded public housing system for those at or below the poverty level, creation of a national Public Housing Trust Fund and legislation at all levels of government prohibiting discrimination based on source of income. IVI-IPO opposes demolition of existing public housing units without new or rehabilitated replacement housing on a one-for-one basis. IVI-IPO supports inclusionary zoning to mandate set-asides for affordable housing in new developments as defined by local median income. IVI-IPO favors state and municipal legislation to protect tenants’ rights.

Economic Issues

IVI-IPO favors raising the federal income tax rate on higher incomes and taxing dividends and capital gains at the same rate as earned income. IVIIPO supports adoption of a graduated state income tax for Illinois. IVI-IPO favors the use progressive income taxes at the state, county and city levels of government, in lieu of property and other regressive taxes, consistent with the Illinois constitution and home rule authority. IVI-IPO opposes the establishment of TIFs in non-blighted areas. IVI-IPO supports a moratorium on new TIFs in Chicago unless alternative revenue streams are identified to replace the funds lost to the TIF district.

IVI-IPO favors an open and transparent budget process at all levels: city, county, stale, and federal, and opposes proposals to cut spending that do not .specify which programs will be cut. IVI-IPO favors publicly funded programs that prioritize workforce investment benefiting the unemployed, the underemployed, and those no longer eligible for public assistance. IVI-IPO opposes privatization of Social Security. IVI-IPO opposes expansion of casino gambling unless supported by voters in a statewide referendum. IVI-IPO opposes structural adjustment programs (SAPs), whether at home or abroad, because they remove control of the economy from the public and reduce services without regard to need. IVI-IPO endorses the principle of international debt forgiveness to help the world’s poorest countries break the cycle of poverty.

Ethics, Election Reform, Government Reform

IVI-IPO favors public financing of election campaigns, abolition of PAC and “soft money” contributions, complete disclosure of party finances and lobbyists’ expenditures, and prohibition of conflicts of interest by elected officials. IVI-IPO opposes solicitation of campaign contributions from public employees and favors a ban on campaign contributions from vendors and contractors. IVI-IPO opposes patronage and “double-dipping.” IVI-IPO supports broadening the Open Meetings Act and strengthening the Freedom of Information Act.

IVI-IPO favors secrecy of voter party preference within an open primary and moving the primary to Mayor June. IVI-IPO supports equal ballot access for independents and minor parties and opposes higher signature thresholds and different filing times than are required for Democrats and Republicans. IVI-IPO supports the restoration of cumulative voting for the election of the Illinois House of Representatives and the institution of instant runoff voting in Illinois.

IVI-IPO favors a seat for independents on the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. IVI-IPO supports appointment of one independent judge of election per precinct, to be appointed by the election officials. IVI-IPO favors merit selection of judges with retention of sub circuits in Cook County.

IVI-IPO supports District of Columbia statehood.

Consumer Affairs, Transportation, Utilities

IVI-IPO favors pro-consumer legislation including unit pricing, open dating and product labeling to disclose pesticide and genetic modification or engineering; the creation of a State Consumer Advocate; and regulation of insurance rates. IVI-IPO favors federal and stale caps on interest rates and banning Pay Day loans. IVI-IPO favors increased funding for mass transit, including the RTA and AMTRAK, public ownership and operation, and development of high-speed rail. IVI-IPO favors stronger regulation of utilities, and lifeline, lower rates for low-usage residential consumers.