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Mark J. Green (b. March 15, 1945) is a public interest author and lawyer and a Democratic politician who lives in New York Citymarker. He is currently the president of Air America Radio.

He was New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner from 1990 to 1993 and was twice elected New York City Public Advocate, in 1994 and 1997. He also won Democratic primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and Mayor of New York City, but in each case lost in the general election.

He has written, co-written or edited 22 books, including two bestsellers, Who Runs Congress? (1972) (co-written with Michael Waldman) and The Book On Bush (2004) (co-written with Eric Alterman). He has collaborated on published works several times with consumer advocate Ralph Nader. His most recent book is Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President, co-edited by Green and Michele Jolin, a transition policy book for President Obama, co-produced by the New Democracy Project and the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Early life

Green was born in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker. He graduated from Great Neck South High Schoolmarker in Great Neck, New Yorkmarker in 1963. He graduated from Cornell Universitymarker in 1967 and from Harvard Law Schoolmarker in 1970, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

In 1977, Green married Deni Frand, a former director of the New York City office of liberal interest group, People for the American Way. They have two children, Jenya and Jonah. Green's brother is real estate developer Stephen L. Green.

Political career

the 1970s, Green was a "Nader's Raider" at Ralph Nader's Public Citizen. There he worked on a lawsuit against the administration of Richard M. Nixon, and later ran Congress Watch (1977-1980).

Green first ran for public office in 1980. He won a Democratic primary election to represent the East Side of Manhattan in the House of Representatives, then lost to Republican incumbent, Bill Green (not a relative).

In 1981, Mark Green founded the New Democracy Project, a public policy institute in New York City; he ran it for 10 years. During the 1984 presidential election, he served as chief speechwriter for Democratic candidate Senator Gary Hart, who ran second in the primary.

In 1986 Green won the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate against multimillionaire John Dyson, even though outspent 10-1. Dyson remained on the ballot as the candidate of the Liberal Party. Green lost the general election to Republican incumbent Alfonse D'Amato.

From 1990 to 1993, Green was Consumer Affairs Commissioner of New York City. He was elected the first New York City Public Advocate in 1993, and re-elected in 1997. In that office, Green led investigations of HMOs, hospitals, and nursing homes which led to fines by the New York State Attorney General. A 1994 investigation on the Bell Regulations ("Libby Zion Law") -- limiting resident working hours and requiring physician supervision—and follow-up study prompted the New York State Department of Health to crack down on violating hospitals and also launched a series of exposés and legal action against tobacco advertising to children that culminated in the Federal Trade Commission forcing the end of Joe Camel ads.

One of Green's most high-profile accomplishments as Public Advocate was a lawsuit against the unpunished racial profiling in Rudy Giuliani's police force. As Green told the Gotham Gazette, "I sued Mayor Giuliani because he was in deep denial about racial profiling and police misconduct that went unpunished. I won my lawsuit, I released an investigation showing a pattern of unpunished misconduct ... [and] the rate that police with substantiated complaints are punished went from 25 percent, up to 75 percent." Green was one of the first politicians to draw attention to this problem, and for this and other accomplishments in this area he was, until 2001, one of the most popular white politicians among New York City African Americans.

Green ran for the U.S. Senate again in 1998, when D'Amato was seeking a fourth term. Green finished third in the Democratic primary behind the winner, Congressman Charles Schumer, and 1984 Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.

Despite Green's ties to Nader, he did not support Nader's presidential campaigns. In the 2000 campaign he praised Nader's work as a consumer advocate but he endorsed Democratic nominee Al Gore. In 2004, Green was co-chair of the New York wing of Senator John Kerry's failed presidential campaign.

2001 race for Mayor

Green ran for Mayor of New York as the Democratic candidate in 2001, but lost to Michael Bloomberg 49% - 47% in one of the closest elections in New York City's history. Green narrowly defeated Fernando Ferrer in the primary, surviving a negative contest that divided the party.

Green was roundly criticized for the actions of supporters that were construed as racist, involving literature with New York Post caricatures of Ferrer and Al Sharpton distributed in white enclaves of Brooklynmarker and Staten Islandmarker. Green stated that he had nothing to do with the dissemination of the literature. An investigation by the Brooklyn District Attorney came to the conclusion that "Mark Green had no knowledge of these events, and that when he learned of them, he repeatedly denounced the distribution of this literature and sought to find out who had engaged in it."[57975] Nevertheless, the incident is thought to have diminished minority turnout in the general election and helped the Republican candidate win in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred on the morning of the Democratic primary and also contributed to Green's loss. Bloomberg spent $74 million on TV ads and direct mail. Rudy Giuliani, who suddenly had an extremely high popularity publicly endorsed Bloomberg.

Additionally, Green made a controversial decision during the primary to support Giuliani's unprecedented attempt to extend his own mayoral term, in the name of the emergency of 9/11. Ferrer opposed Giuliani's ultimately unsuccessful attempt at term self-extension, and was able to accuse Green of being rolled over by Giuliani.

The Economist wrote, "The billionaire businessman [Bloomberg] is usually seen as one of the post-September 11th winners (if such a word can be so used): he would probably have lost the mayoralty to Mark Green, a leftish Democrat, had the terrorist strike not happened. Yet it is also worth noting that his election probably spared New York city a turbulent period of score-settling over Rudy Giuliani's legacy."

2006 race for state Attorney General

Green ran in the Democratic primary for New York State Attorney General in 2006. He faced former HUDmarker Secretary Andrew Cuomo, former White House Staff Secretary Sean Patrick Maloney, and former lieutenant governor candidate Charles King in the primary. Other candidates who initially ran but dropped out before the primary include former U.S. Attorney Denise O'Donnell and Assemblyman Richard Brodsky. Green did not receive the required 25% at the state Democratic convention to earn a spot on the primary ballot and therefore had to circulate nominating petitions statewide to be on the September ballot. He was required to submit at least 15,000 valid signatures; on July 13, he submitted more than 40,000 signatures. He held several endorsements of note, including former NYC Mayor David Dinkins, Brooklynmarker Borough President Marty Markowitz, the Sierra Club, the National Organization for Women (NOW), the New York Times, and most recently the New York Daily News.

On September 12, 2006, Green lost to Andrew Cuomo in his bid to secure the Democratic nomination to succeed then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. On the evening the results came in, he vowed to reporters that "I won't be running for office again. But I'll continue to advocate, write and teach."[57976]

Cuomo beat the Republican candidate, former Westchester Countymarker District Attorney Jeanine Pirro.

2009 race for Public Advocate

On February 10, 2009, Green announced that he would again run for the office of Public Advocate. As one of the top two finishers in the Democratic primary, he qualified for the September 29 runoff, but lost to City Councilmember Bill de Blasio.

State and city campaign tickets

Mark J. Green has appeared on these slates:

Television and radio

He was a regular guest on Crossfire on CNN, and also appeared on William F. Buckley's Firing Line, Inside City Hall on NY1, and on PBS.

On 6 March 2007 Green and his brother, New York real estate magnate Stephen L. Green, purchased majority shares in Air America Radio. Stephen serves as chairman, and Mark serves as president.

Green is co-host, with Arianna Huffington, of the syndicated talk show 7 Days in America, which airs on the network.

Selected publications

  • The Book on Bush: How George W. Bush (Mis)leads America (co-authored with Eric Alterman) (ISBN 0-670-03273-5) (2004)
  • Who Runs Congress? (co-authored with Michael Waldman) (1972)
  • The Consumer Bible (co-authored with Nancy Youman) (1995)
  • Selling Out: How Big Corporate Money Buys Elections, Rams through Legislation, and Betrays Our Democracy (ISBN 0-06-052392-1) (2002)


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