I'm just sayin,...


By: mark t. harris, esq.

April 4, 2018

From Villaraigosa for California Governor Campaign:

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.”




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:

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.”

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

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.

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.

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!

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

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! 

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.






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

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



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – January 27, 2017

Contact: Kelly Fong Rivas at (916) 917-8039 or KFRivas@CityofSacramento.org 

Sacramento Mayor Steinberg Releases Statement on Sacramento District Attorney’s Findings in Joseph Mann Case

Sacramento, California -  Today Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg issued the following statement in response Sacramento District Attorney’s Office review of the Joseph Mann Officer Involved Shooting:

“I have enormous respect for the men and women of the Sacramento Police Department. But what unfolded with Joseph Mann is extremely tragic, unacceptable, and we are reminded of that again today with the District Attorney’s decision. 

As Mayor, I am committed to ensuring we leave no stone unturned as we look back on what happened. It is why I will be laser focused on the results of the ongoing internal investigation. If the internal investigation concludes officers were following policy, then it is past time for us to change those policies. There must be accountability.

What else can we do to take responsibility – to show a demonstrable difference – to reconcile outdated policies and practices with where the true heart and culture of our police department and City stands with our community?

This is one of my top priorities and why City Council voted unanimously to pay for 40 hours of comprehensive crisis intervention training for our entire police department during our third meeting.

It is our responsibility and moral imperative to have the best trained, equipped and supported community police to protect all of our citizens and community at large. We should accept nothing less and I will work to ensure we are a city that supports the men and women in uniform so they can support all of us.”


Response to the City's October 10, 2016 Correspondence re LEAD's 12-Point Call to Action

Civil Rights Attorney Mark T. Harris Sues Sofitel Hotel In Redwood City On Behalf Of 127 NAACP Members Who Became Violently Ill At The 2014 State Convention Banquet

“As a result of the negligent preparation of the “banquet” meal consumed by many NAACP conference participants and luminaries such as former Oakland mayor Elihu M. Harris and California state Controller Betty Yee, many were stricken so ill that they nearly passed out in the lobby of the Sofitel Hotel wracked by violent vomiting and diarrhea.  Many had to be transported by ambulance to various nearby hospitals including one victim who was five years old at the time " Attorney Mark T. Harris

“There was neither humanity nor human decency on the part of Sofitel management. . . not a compassionate word was uttered to the food poisoning victims nor a blanket or glass of water offered.” Stated, Alice Huffman, President of California-Hawaii Conference of the NAACP.

11 AM TUESDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2016 PRESS CONFERENCE announcing the filing of civil suit against Sofitel by theLaw Offices of Mark T. Harrisin conjunction with the California-Hawaii Conference of the NAACP. 

WHO:   Alice Huffman, President of California-Hawaii Conference of the NAACP, Attorney Mark T. Harris and numerous victims

WHEN:   11:00 AM, Tuesday October 25, 2016

WHERE: Law Offices of John Burris-7677 Oak Port Street Suite 1120, Oakland, California, 94621

Oakland, CA—Attorney Mark T. Harris will hold a press conference announcing the filing a lawsuit against Sofitel Corporation on behalf of 127 NAACP members including the statewide president Alice Huffman. The suit alleges that they suffered food poisoning from the norovirus after eating salmon served by the hotel at the NAACP’s gala dinner on October 25, 2014.

In a stomach-churning scene, over 50 of 300 well dressed people who attended the gala NAACP banquet were violently struck by the norovirus and in a scene out of a horror movie began throwing up all over the hotel lobby after dining on salmon and salad.  Among in attendance that evening was former mayor of San Francisco Willie Brown who did not eat and former mayor of Oakland Elihu Harris who was transported by ambulance to the hospital for treatment along with 11 other guests who succumbed to the mystery malady including children, among them a 5-year-old girl.

Attorney Mark T. Harris stated that “the San Mateo Health Department issued a report that would appear to fix fault on Sofitel noting that the water temperature at the time of the outbreak of norovirus was below that required to kill the virus on the hand son food service employees.”    Harris also noted that those that did not eat the salmon were not affected. 

Alice Huffman, who observed many of people writhing in pain in the hotel lobby was particularly disturbed that “Sofitel employees and managers were dismissive and inattentive” toward the sick, all African Americans. She said, “there was neither humanity nor human decency on the part of Sofitel management. Not a compassionate word was uttered to the food poisoning victims nor a blanket or glass of water offered.”

The lawsuit also alleges that an infected person handling food can spread the norovirus among other ways.  The suit also alleges that there have been other outbreaks of the Norovirus before this event.

Alice Huffman and NAACP members will be present at the press conference along with other member victims.


For more information contact: 

Ms. Estefani Avila via email: estefani@lawofficesofmarktharris.com


October 11, 2016

The city's response to our August 16, 2016 list of “demands” can be summed up in one word: "unresponsive."

It is insulting that it took the city so long to provide this "response" to demands we placed before them over the summer (two months to be exact).  It is shameful that only eight pages of a twenty-five page response is devoted to even an impotent attempt at providing a direct response to our directives while a full seventeen pages is spent with city promotional materials touting the "Officer Next Door" program and the "Breakdown of SPD Academy Training Hours." This attempt to be "responsive" while providing nothing more than warmed over city propaganda, is tantamount to the mixed metaphor of the fox not only "guarding" the chicken coop but is now attempting to pull the wool over the sheep's eyes.  

Just a couple of “lowlights” from the city’s response:

According to the city’s response, “of 654 Sacramento police officers (in the entire department) only 91 currently reside within the city limits. Hard to have “community policing” when only 7% of the police even reside within the city!

According to the city’s response, with regard to training and retraining of police officers regarding the “use-of-force, community engagement, and cultural understanding,” the city responded in textbook form referring us to its traditional academy based training in these areas.  Clearly, this traditional approach is not preventing the escalation of police excessive force towards our community.  Further, the city’s answer fails to list a policy encouraging direct police involvement in community engagement as a criterion for promotion within the department.

Additionally, the city lists all the community organizations it interacts with in a perfunctory manner without describing in-detail the steps the departments taking to have meaningful interaction with those communities most effected by inappropriate police excessive force.

Worst of all, the city completely failed to respond to L.E.A.D.’s query regarding a policy “not to kill any unarmed person.” I can only surmise the city was so pleased with citing its good deeds, relative to police training, that a response to this question just slipped their mind.

With regard to demographic data pertaining to “traffic stops,” which would enable transparency on the issue of who is most likely to be stopped by police for relatively minor occurrences, the city pointed out the last such “study” occurred during 2008 and suggested that its “Office of Public Safety Accountability” is the answer on a case-by-case, one at a time basis. This is not a strategy, it is an approach based on individuals blindly reporting into a vacuum that has not been empowered by data more current than that from almost a decade ago.

Finally, in response to our call for an independent, autonomous and fully resource empowered police accountability function, the city once again went to its go-to community flak catcher in this area in the person of “Francine,” our city’s “office of Public Safety Accountability” person.  The reason I mention this person by name is because the entire “office” is comprised of just her! She is not provided with any data gathering personnel nor technology; has no independent investigative staff and is wholly viewed as inadequate to perform such a critical function in the eyes of the community we represent.

Our community will not tolerate this insult at the hands of the city and its cavalier "business as usual" response to our demands.  L.E.A.D. will respond to the city’s inadequate response during the special council meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 13, 2016 in City Hall.

In the immortal words of "Lift Every Voice and Sing, "Let us march on til victory is won.”


Mark T. Harris, Esq.

Let's Bet On Best

Publisher Mr. Larry Lee
Sacramento Observer
Sacramento, CA

RE: Let’s Bet On Best

Dear Editors:

As I take on the task of evaluating the past and predicting the future direction of our fair city, I am struck by the profound prophecy of the words of the late Dr. Martin Luther, King, Jr.

In 1963, Dr. King authored “Why We Can’t Wait “ which was a road map for peaceful protest in the face of violence at the hands of primarily, but not exclusively, southern white extremists against African-Americans.

Coincidentally, Why We Can’t Wait sprung from Dr. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” which he literally penned during his brief time of incarceration in Birmingham, Alabama.
Today, like then we, find African-Americans under siege at the hands off authority, but today that authority is “integrated” and in some cases led by African-Americans. As a community we should remain vigilant in demanding our fair treatment and to “speak truth to power.” Merely putting a Black face on intolerance, degradation and even death at the hands of authority figures in our city decision-making apparatus should not be tolerated by those of us whom hold Sacramento dear.

Soon Sacramento will experience a new civic leader in our mayor, a new administrative leader in our city manager and a new law enforcement leader in our police chief. Before we rush to judgment supporting the proposition that the new city manager and police chief be Black, I suggest we focus our efforts on demanding that city leaders pursue the best qualified person, irrespective of ethnicity. We have seen what “betting on Black” has gotten us in Dallas, and Charlotte and Chicago among other places. For Sacramento, rather than simply choosing new civic leaders who are Black, let’s bet on “Best.”

Mark T. Harris
Attorney at Law

Families of Joseph Mann, Dazion Flenaugh speak out on officer involved shootings in Sacramento, Community Organizations demand change now

Today in Sacramento - The families of Joseph Mann and Dazion Flenaugh are speaking out in the aftermath of Sac Bee releasing a graphic video of Sacramento PD shooting Joseph Mann. Community organizations will also respond to the footage and will speak to the greater need for change in policing in Sacramento, including giving the existing policing commission oversight and investigative powers.  Community leaders are calling for a change in policing in Sacramneto and for community members to channel the anger and frustration towards that change.  Speakers include: a representative from the Mann family, a representative from the Flenaugh Family; John Burris, civil rights attorney and legal representative for the Mann family; Mark T. Harris, Esq. and Richard Owen, co-chairs of Law Enforcement Accountability Directive (L.E.A.D.); Tanya Faison, founder of Black Lives Matter Sacramento; Pastor Kenneth Providence, Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT) leader, and more.

When: 9am Wednesday, September 21

Where: Intersection of Del Paso Blvd and Arden

Who: Families of Joseph Mann, Dazion Flenaugh, Attorney John Burris, L.E.A.D., Black Lives Matter Sacramento, Sacramento ACT

Attorney Harris speaks to city council members in matters of the Joseph Mann shooting. 


Mr. Vice-Mayor; Mr. Mayor-Elect; Members of the Sacramento City Council; Ladies and Gentlemen:

I stand before you as a reminder that ALL Black Lives Matter (Equally)… those Blacks who may be "suited and booted" as well as those Blacks with their hair in braids or their clothing in tatters. We who are before you this evening, call upon you to join with us in ACTION as opposed to expanding further avenues of mere rhetoric or ever increasing violence!

Tonight, we are not standing before you to beg for what our forefathers and foremothers have BOUGHT through centuries of their blood; sweat and tears. Simply said, we stand before you DEMANDING the “equal protection of the laws” guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America!

It is in the collective interests of all who call our beloved city “home” to take seriously the rising voices calling for change. Our beloved Sacramento is Black as well as Blue,…it is white as well as it is Brown,…it is gay and straight,…Asian and Native American ,…it is able bodied and disabled and it is increasingly making itself vulnerable to the unthinkable violence that has befallen the residents of Ferguson, Missouri or Staten Island New York or Minneapolis, Minnesota or Baton Rouge, Louisiana or right here in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood on Monday of this past week.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the City Council, BLACK LIVES MATTER…EQUALLY!!!!!!!

Matthew 7:12 New Living Translation

“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and (by) the prophets.”

This passage now commonly referred to as the "Golden Rule" forms the core of our community's expectations of how we SHOULD be treated by local law enforcement. We stand before you DEMANDING to be awarded the same level of respect and fair treatment that each, and every, person who resides in or visits Sacramento, should expect to be afforded....

MY name is Mark T. Harris and I am “unapologetically Black” which does not make me "anti-" anything or anyone else.

I am...

An Attorney licensed to practice by the State Bar of California;

A professor at the University of California at Merced in Management and Business Economics;

A former member of the City of Berkeley Police Review Commission and the City of Oakland’s Citizen's Police Review Board;

The co-host of “Family Matters Forum” heard locally every Wednesday from 1 pm until 3 pm on radio station 97.5 KDEE fm;

A PARENT of two baseball cap, flip-flop; saggy cargo short wearin; ear splitting hip-hop listenin; law school trained African-American males.

In short, when I am not in my professional uniform I am “INCOG-NEGRO" potentially only one encounter away from a life-altering experience with law enforcement.

Pastor Ross, and the iconic Marion Woods will speak next and provide you with their thoughts on improving the relationship between Sacramento’s Black community and our city’s law enforcement officials..

I, PERSONALLY, AND INDIVIDUALLY, offer an additional 2 items to those expressed by Mr. Owens for your consideration.

FIRST, Police accountability MUST BE INDEPENDENT of city administration and potential manipulation. The City of Sacramento already has it’s own accountability official in the person of its City Attorney. The PEOPLE need their truly INDEPENDENT POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICIAL who should not be a former law enforcement official, nor beholding to the City Manager. At minimum, such a change in current policy would increase the "credibility" relative to the role and function of that position as the pathway for truly "objective oversight."

SECOND, I seek your official support for state legislation authorizing the suspension of police officer salaries during any period of investigation for misconduct. Upon the potential clearing of charges, the accused officer would receive full compensation for the period he, or she, was under investigation. If the accused officer is found guilty of committing police misconduct, the officer's salary would be lost and the officer should face immediate termination. PERIOD. A “ZERO TOLERANCE" for inappropriate police behavior leveled at the public.

Thank-you for allowing me to address you this evening.

When: 6pm Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Where: Sacramento City Council 

Who: Families of Joseph Mann, City Council