Will Stephon Clark’s death pick up where Joseph Mann’s left off?

BY ALICE A. HUFFMAN

Special to The Sacramento Bee

April 05, 2018 02:00 PM

Updated April 05, 2018 02:00 PM

“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”— Fannie Lou Hamer

Some might misinterpret Fannie Lou Hamer’s words as the expression of a tired warrior, resigned to an ignoble and inglorious fate. I would challenge us all to read them as a clarion call to establish an absolute point of demarcation.

Today, black Sacramentans face the challenge of being viewed by law enforcement as “armed and dangerous” each time they engage and interact with one of us. Sacramento is better than that. Enough is enough.

In July 2016, Sacramento police received a 911 call about the erratic behavior of Joseph Mann, a homeless and mentally ill neighbor of ours. They could have used non-lethal force to detain him for questioning. Instead, within seconds of arriving on the scene, officers tried to run him over with their cruiser, then fired 14 rounds into him.

Upon Mann’s death, several Sacramento community leaders and organizations, including the NAACP, worked closely with our city’s political leadership to alter policing practices and procedures. New policies were born, including some to open more dashcam and bodycam footage to public viewing. Sacramento police officers were required to take additional training in non-lethal force and de-escalating interactions. Sacramento hired a well-respected African-American native son to lead its police department.

The NAACP has embraced these strategies across the state and nation, but the senseless killings keep happening. These soft reforms are not breaking through the “blue code” that puts police officers’ protections under the “Peace Officers Bill of Rights” above the lives of innocent African-Americans.

Unfortunately, with the recent death of Stephon Clark at the hands of Sacramento police officers, we know our work to improve how law enforcement interacts with our community is incomplete.

The most fundamental civil right is the right to remain among the living. California citizens should demand a thorough investigation into the events leading up to the death of this young man, unarmed in his grandmother’s backyard.

If the officers who took Clark’s life are found to have acted inappropriately under the circumstances, they should be terminated from employment and criminally prosecuted. Every life matters. Perhaps this is the tipping point.

The mayor, city councilmembers, the attorney general, and the chief of police are all suffering along with Sacramento residents. Like Fannie Lou Hamer, whose campaign for equality was denied, the State Conference, as in the past, held hearings and worked with state elected officials to change necessary state laws.

Clark’s death showed that to be to no avail. We have asked for a review of police policies and practices that appear to give them more rights than citizens of our communities. Meanwhile, let us be more concerned about the African-American mothers, African-American wives, Latino mothers and Latino wives, who have to deal with their families being destroyed by police misconduct.

We want all Californians to support the new landmark policy proposed by Assemblymembers Shirley Weber and Kevin McCarty on the use of deadly force by police officers, because, truly, enough is enough.

ALICE A. HUFFMAN IS PRESIDENT OF THE CALIFORNIA-HAWAII STATE CONFERENCE OF THE NAACP. REACH HER AT ALICEHUFFMAN@SBCGLOBAL.NET.


I'm just sayin,...

From Villaraigosa for California Governor Campaign:

***PRESS RELEASE***

Former Assemblywoman and LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina Asks:

“If Gavin won’t show up for our community when he is looking for votes, will he care about our community when he is Governor?

Los Angeles - Former Assemblywoman and LA County Supervisor, Gloria Molina made the following statement regarding Gavin Newsom's refusal to participate in the Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce debate.

Said Supervisor Gloria Molina:

“Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met more than 20 times in debates and forums - if the Democratic candidates for president were willing to show respect to the voters by debating, why won’t Gavin Newsom debate?

“If Gavin won’t show up for our community when he is looking for votes, will he care about our community when he is Governor?

“Debates are also a sign of respect to communities who want to hear from the candidates. Antonio Villaraigosa has appeared at forums and meetings with a broad spectrum of groups in many parts of the state.

“The fact that Gavin Newsom is refusing to show up at debates hosted by two Latino organizations this month speaks volumes about his view of our community.”

###

FULL DISCLOSURE, I AM 100% SUPPORTING MAYOR ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA'S CANDIDACY FOR GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA!!!!

Justice for Stephon Clark must start with righting injustice in Sacramento

BY THE SACRAMENTO BEE EDITORIAL BOARD

MARCH 31, 2018 06:00 AM

UPDATED MARCH 31, 2018 08:51 AM

Now that Stephon Clark’s family has laid him to rest, many will want a return to normalcy in Sacramento. It’s time to move on with our lives, they’ll say, and put this dark chapter behind us. That would be an injustice, and a civic mistake.

The questionable shooting of Clark in his grandparents’ backyard two weeks ago has prompted, not just outrage at law enforcement, but also an important discussion about race, poverty and inequity – and the policy choices that have left them to fester in neighborhoods like Meadowview, where many residents believe “disadvantage” has become an excuse for overly aggressive policing.

The City Council opened the floodgates when it held a forum last week to try to rebuild trust between police and the public. Hundreds of people showed up, most of them angry and from poor black neighborhoods.

They had a long list of grievances. They complained about the escalating price of housing, stagnant wages and the lack of decent jobs. Others griped about the paucity of investment in their neighborhoods – the failing schools, the underfunded community centers – while downtown and midtown enjoy spruced-up parks, new grocery stores, hospitals and health clinics, and trendy restaurants and bars.

The disparity is an insult, they said, when majority-black neighborhoods struggle with crime and child deaths.

“This city is killing us,” Malaki Seku-Amen, founder of the California Urban Partnership, shouted at the council. Echoed Tanya Faison of Black Lives Matter Sacramento: “It feels like genocide.”

Their cries are not unheard. City Councilman Jay Schenirer, whose district includes rapidly gentrifying Oak Park, shared the frustration in an email to his constituents on Thursday, while also admitting, “I do not have the answers.”

“I hear your demands for equitable treatment, processes, resources, and access for all Sacramentans. How do we bring equitable investments and adequate resources to our struggling neighborhoods? How we make sure any investments made in these communities directly benefit those for whom they are intended?”

It has been a quandary as Sacramento has rebounded unevenly from the Great Recession. Former Mayor Kevin Johnson’s push to make Sacramento a “world-class city,” brought jobs and development, but its visible benefits were mostly downtown. Under his direction, the city sunk $255 million in subsidies into the sparkling Golden 1 Center to keep the Kings from leaving town, and Steinberg has, understandably, maintained that investment.

There are plans to spend another $90 million to expand the Sacramento Convention Center, $83 million to renovate Community Center Theater and another $30 million to open the Powerhouse Science Center. Taxpayers also invested $48 million into the downtown railyard, laying the foundation for a possible Major League Soccer stadium.

These amenities are sure to be boon for Sacramento’s future, but in the category of no good deed going unpunished, they also have made the city more attractive to affluent Bay Area residents, who are moving here in droves and driving up the cost of housing. So is it any wonder residents of Meadowview, Del Paso Heights, Oak Park, North Highlands, Arden Arcade, Fruitridge and Valley Hi feel left behind?

The city’s operating budget also is a bastion of inequity. When voters approved Measure U in 2012 – a half cent sales tax hike to restore budget cuts forced by the recession – the vast majority of the money went to the police and fire departments. In the current budget, more than $35 million is going to police and fire, and only about $2.6 million to community centers, neighborhood services and programs for teens.

During his first year as mayor, Steinberg’s highest-profile initiatives focused on reducing homelessness, a long-neglected problem to which Steinberg could bring expertise, but again, an effort that primarily addressed the needs of residents and businesses downtown and in midtown. More recently, he has been out front on protecting immigrants from the Trump administration.

You can hardly blame him; both are urgent and expensive public policy challenges. But he must now also confront Sacramento’s yawning economic divide. On Tuesday, he told residents who came to the public forum that “you will be heard, and we will be listening.”

But he and the City Council must do more than listen. They need to come up with a smart plan, and make sure there’s enough staff and money to execute it. The business community must step up, too.

A good template could be what the Sacramento Kings are doing with the newly formed Build. Black. Coalition. Together, they plan to create an education fund for Clark’s two boys and, on Friday, they co-sponsored a youth forum in south Sacramento. It’s the first of what will be a a multi-year effort “to support the education of young people” and provide “work force preparation and economic development.”

Also, in some fortunate timing, the city has already started putting together an economic development strategy dubbed Project Prosper that it promises will boost all neighborhoods, especially those with the highest unemployment and poverty rates. To succeed, it must focus on the priorities identified by the community, including the Build. Black. Coalition.

The grief will not end anytime soon for Stephon Clark’s family and friends. The protests will continue, especially given a private autopsy that showed last week that he was shot six times in the back. But this is an opportunity for Sacramento to dig deeper as the investigations into the shooting unfold.


Remarks of Professor Mark T. Harris, J.D. before the Legislative Black Caucus

STATE CAPITOL, ROOM 4202
28 FEBRUARY 2018

According to Scottish author and philosopher Thomas Carlyle, economics is the “dismal” science. This is so because of a reference first made that humanity was trapped in a world where population growth would always strain natural resources and bring widespread misery. Stated differently, economics at its very essence, explores the science of scarcity, not enough nutritious food, or clean water, or breathable air. With regard to African-Americans who make up a scant 6.5% of California’s almost 40 million person population, scarcity relative to our economic impact, is a vast understatement.

A few statistics to ponder relative to African-Americans:

WEALTH ACCUMULATION
According to Forbes Magazine, white families on average, accumulate more wealth over their lives
than African- American families which widens the wealth gap as they age. According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, in 2013, the median white household had $13 in net wealth for every $1 in net wealth of the median black household. Also, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report. “With regard to the resources families available to them for financial emergencies, the typical white household has slightly more than one month’s worth of income in liquid savings, compared with just five days for the typical African-American household.”

MULTI-GENERATIONAL POVERTY
The same Federal Reserve report said that whites are five times more likely to receive large gifts
and inheritances from their families than blacks are and the amounts tend to be much larger for
whites. “That is African- Americans are start at financial at ground zero from generation to
generation.

MEDIAN INCOME
According to the Los Angeles Times, despite the President touting Black employment progress,
African-Americans are the ONLY demographic group in the country earning less today than in the
year 2000. The median income for an African-American household was was $41,363 in 2000. In 2016, it had dropped to $39,490, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Among African-American wage earners, the hourly pay gap has widened to the worst in 40 years.

Whites earned an average of $25.22 an hour vs. $18.49 for blacks, the EPI says. Declining
unionization, the failure to raise the minimum wage and lax enforcement of anti-discrimination laws have contributed to the growing black-white wage gap, according to the EPI.

HOME OWNERSHIP
With regard to home ownership, after fair housing legislation was passed in 1968 during the Civil
Rights era, the black home ownership rate increased for 30 years and reached nearly 50 percent in 2004. However, all those gains have been erased during the last 12 years. The home ownership rate for black households ended 2016 at 41.7 percent, near a 50-year low, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Black home ownership hasn’t been this low since the time when housing discrimination was legal. The typical white household aged 47 to 64 has housing wealth of $67,000; the typical African-American household in this age group has zero home equity, according to the December 2016 report, “Social Security and the Racial Gap in Retirement Wealth,” from the National Academy of Social Insurance. With no equity in our homes, African-Americans cannot even use our real estate as collateral for business loans or even bail.

EMPLOYMENT
African-American unemployment stands at roughly 7.7% as of January of 2018. This after dipping as
low as 6.8% during December of 2017, which was the lowest unemployment rate for African-Americans since records were first being kept starting in January of 1972. Just over 51% of African-Americans are employed wage earners; approximately 8% are unemployed; and over 41% are NOT IN THE LABOR FORCE AT ALL and do not even show up in “unemployment” statistics!

BUSINESS OWNERSHIP
Since the 2008 recession, lending to African-American businesses has fallen by 75 percent. Although small businesses employ 70 percent of all workers, only six percent of African-American workers are hired by black-owned businesses. Nationally, of the close to 3 million black owned businesses, only 100,000 have employees. The vast majority are populated with “consultants” or those whom serve as “independent contractors,” without basic benefits such as healthcare or retirement. Black-owned businesses fly on tight operational runways. Fewer than 3% of small business owners make
more than $100,000 annually and fewer than 1/2 of 1% ever reach $1 million dollars in total
revenue.

RETIREMENT PLANNING
The average white family has more than $130,000 in liquid retirement savings (cash in accounts
such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and IRAs) vs. $19,000 for the average African American. According to Prudential Wealth Management, only one in 10 African Americans work with a financial professional compared with one in four white Americans. Financial illiteracy is more profound in our community because “many African-Americans have had no history of someone who was an elder who possessed a high financial I.Q. or someone who gave them some level of financial education in their household.” Furthermore, African-Americans have expressed high anxiety when attempting to receive financial advice on wealth building and management from non-minority owned professionals. According to the Federal Reserve, the average balance of African Americans in 401(k)s is only $23,000. Social Security and the Racial Gap in Retirement Wealth found the average balance for African Americans in IRAs was $10,300, vs. $105,600 for white Americans. Couple those numbers with the fact that the average monthly Social Security retirement payment is only $1,200! 

CAPITAL MARKETS INVESTMENTS
With regard to stocks, bonds and other capital market investments, most analysts say that African-
Americans often shy away from investing in the stock market. Whatever discretionary income we
have, we tend not to invest in high yielding equities. The Dow Jones Industrial Average of blue chip
stocks is still near its ALL TIME high! The African-American community has largely missed out
on this increase in stock values. We must be IN to WIN, relative to capital market investment gains.

“African Americans are risk-averse,” says Deborah Owens, a former Fidelity Investments vice
president who calls herself America’s Wealth Coach. “So, one of the major reasons they have less in retirement savings is they are ultra-conservative, particularly African-Americans who work in the
public sector and nonprofit organizations.” Owens says black investors typically focus on guaranteed (e.g., annuities) or fixed income investments that are low-risk or virtually no-risk. As a result, their retirement funds aren’t compounding at a high rate of return. African-Americans must embrace the principle of reasonable investment risk. Our community is as capable as any in determining whether “the juice is worth the squeeze” relative to a risk/reward calculation.


5 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER:
(1). INCREASE ACCESS TO CAPITAL FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN OWNED BUSINESSES.

(2). RENEW EFFORTS IN CALIFORNIA DEMANDING THE RESURRECTION OF RACE BASED
“AFFIRMATIVE ACTION” IN EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND PUBLIC CONTRACTING.

(3). INCREASE FINANCIAL LITERACY PARTICULARLY FOR YOUNG AFRICAN-AMERICANS.

(4). ADVOCATE FOR RENTAL HOUSING COST STABILIZATION (e.g., “RENT CONTROL) TO
GIVE AFRICAN-AMERICANS MORE POTENTIAL CAPITAL WITH WHICH TO PURCHASE A HOME. ALSO, SUPPORT DOWN-PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS LIKE THE OLD “NEHEMIAH HOUSING” MODEL THAT STARTED RIGHT HERE IN SACRAMENTO BEFORE IT
EXPLODED ON THE NATIONAL SCENE. and finally,

(5). BLACK OWNED BUSINESSES SHOULD HIRE MORE OF OUR OWN! BE UNAPOLOGETICALLY BLACK IN HIRING!

Thank-you very much for allowing me to address you this afternoon and offer my brief observations and suggestions.


Mark T. Harris appointed to the California Fair Employment and Housing Council

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Governor's Press Office
Friday, March 17, 2017
(916) 445-4571
Governor Brown Announces Appointments

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced the following appointment:

Mark T. Harris, 59, of Sacramento, has been appointed to the California Fair Employment and Housing Council. Harris has been a visiting professor and continuing lecturer at the University of California, Merced School of Management and Business Economics since 2008. He was a visiting professor at the Shanghai Normal University, Tianhua College School of Education from 2011 to 2014 and an adjunct professor at the University of the Pacific Benerd School of Education from 2009 to 2014 and at the University of Southern California School of Policy, Planning and Development from 2000 to 2008. Harris served as undersecretary at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2001 and as deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Department of Commerce from 1990 to 1992. He was a member of the Sacramento County Planning Commission from 1988 to 1994 and chief deputy at the Alameda County Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office from 1985 to 1988. Harris earned a Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. This position requires Senate confirmation and the compensation is $100 per diem. Harris is a Democrat.

"I am humbled to serve Governor Brown and the people of the great State of California in this new and important role."---Attorney Mark T. Harris