Jack Harrison, longtime labor activist, defense attorney and drug rehab counselor, died Nov. 16 of gastrointestinal stromal cancer. Jack served for the last five years on the Rent Stabilization Board and was the 2006 Peace and Freedom Party candidate for California attorney general. Anyone who attended Rent Board hearings will remember him well—a rangy, stereotypically irascible Irishman, he always let you know when you were dancing around an issue, that life was far too short for bullshitting.
He practiced working-people law: social security, worker’s compensation, and criminal defense. He also handled cranes and blast furnaces for U.S. Steel, organized restaurant and hotel workers, and counseled drug users through rehab and in how to negotiate a legal system designed to make their lives about as difficult as possible. Jack’s clients were generally a hard lot, which was just what he was looking for; the innocent and the well off couldn’t take full advantage of his vast store of skills and weren’t all that interesting, either.
Jack is survived by his many friends who loved him deeply, including everyone he worked so hard to help. Those interested in taking part in plans for a memorial can contact his wife Norma at 527-9584.