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Mark J. Green

Mark J. Green
1st New York City Public Advocate
In office
January 1, 1994 – December 31, 2001
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Betsy Gotbaum
Personal details
Born (1945-03-15) March 15, 1945
Brooklyn, New York
Political party Democratic Party
Spouse(s) Deni Frand 1977-
Relations Stephen L. Green
Children Jenya and Jonah
Alma mater Cornell University
Harvard Law School
Religion Jewish

Mark J. Green (born March 15, 1945) is an author, former public official, public interest lawyer and a Democratic politician who lives in New York City. He worked with Ralph Nader from 1970 to 1980, eventually as director of Public Citizen's Congress Watch, and is the former president of Air America Radio (2007–2009).

He has written, co-written or edited 22 books, including two bestsellers, Who Runs Congress? (1972) (co-written with James Fallows) and The Book On Bush (2004) (co-written with Eric Alterman). He has also collaborated on several books with consumer advocate Ralph Nader (The Closed Enterprise System, 1972; Monopoly Makers, 1974, Verdicts on Lawyers, 1975, Taming the Giant Corporation, 1976, The Big Business Reader, 1980). 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.[1] He was a Visiting Scholar at NYU College and Law School from 2002-2006 and writes regularly about public affairs for the "Huffington Post."

He is the host of the nationally syndicated radio show, Both Sides Now, which is aired on 60 stations and recorded at WOR710 AM in New York City. The weekly program rotates such regular panelists as Arianna Huffington, Ron Reagan, Eliot Spitzer, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Alter as well as Mary Matalin, Erick Erickson, David Frum, Torie Clarke.

Green was New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner from 1990 to 1993 and was twice elected New York City Public Advocate, in 1993 and 1997. He also won Democratic primaries for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, and Mayor of New York City and in each case lost in the general election. Additionally, he has lost campaigns to be the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate, the Democratic Nominee for New York Attorney General, and the Democratic Nominee for New York Public Advocate eight years after finishing off two terms in that position.


  • Early life and education 1
  • Personal life 2
  • Political career 3
    • 1960s-1970s 3.1
    • 1980s 3.2
    • 1990s 3.3
    • 2001 race for Mayor 3.4
    • 2006 race for state Attorney General 3.5
    • 2009 race for Public Advocate 3.6
    • State and city campaign tickets 3.7
  • Television and radio 4
  • Selected publications 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life and education

Green was born to a Jewish family[2][3][4] in Brooklyn, New York. Green lived in Bensonhurst until he was three and then moved to Long Island, first to Elmont, New York and later Great Neck, New York. Both his parents were Republicans; his father, a lawyer and residential apartment landlord and his mother, a public-school teacher.[5] He graduated from Great Neck South High School in Great Neck, New York in 1963.[6] He graduated from Cornell University in 1967 and from Harvard Law School in 1970, where he was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.[7] He has one brother, realtor Stephen L. Green,[5] founder of SLGreen Realty Corp.

Personal life

Green has been married twice. His first marriage to Lynn Heineman - whom he married while in law school - ended after eighteen months.[4] In 1977, Green married Deni Frand,[8] who later became the director of the New York City office of the liberal interest group People for the American Way,[9] as well as a senior associate at the Aol-Time Warner Foundation and the Citi Foundation. They have two children, Jonah Green and Jenya Green O'Conner.[4][9]

Political career


Mark Green at a Ralph Nader speech in New York City

In 1967, he interned for Jacob Javits[4] and while in law school in the early 1970s, Green was a "Nader's Raider" at Ralph Nader's Public Citizen[4] where he worked on a lawsuit against the administration of Richard Nixon after the firing of Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox. After law school, he returned to Washington D.C. and ran the Congress Watch division of the consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen from 1977 to 1980.[4]


In 1980, he returned to New York City and won the Democratic primary election to represent the East Side of Manhattan in the House of Representatives; he lost the race to Republican incumbent, Bill Green (not related).[4] In 1981, Mark Green founded the New Democracy Project, with songwriter Harry Chapin, 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,[4] who ran second in the primaries.

In 1986, Green won the Democratic nomination for the Senate against special interests" buying votes.[11]


In 1990, he was appointed the Consumer Affairs Commissioner of New York City by Mayor 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. He also led an effort against tobacco advertising aimed at children, enacting a law banning cigarette vending machines and released a series of exposés and legal actions against tobacco advertising targeted at children—concluding that R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company was engaged in "commercial child abuse"—which culminated in a 1997 Federal Trade Commission decision that ended the Joe Camel ads.

As Public Advocate, Green first proposed the 311 complaint help line that Mayor Bloomberg later implemented. He wrote laws that matched small donations w/ multiple city funds, created the Voter Commission, upheld the legality of the Independent Budget Office, barred stores from charging women more than men for the same services, and that prohibited companies from firing female employees merely because they were victims of domestic violence. He started the City's first web site, NYC.Gov that he later gave to City Hall where it is still the main portal for City government.

One of his most high-profile accomplishments was a lawsuit to obtain information about racial profiling in Rudy Giuliani's police force. As Green told the Gotham Gazette, "We sued Mayor Giuliani because he was in deep denial about racial profiling. [After winning the case, we] released an investigation showing a pattern of unpunished misconduct ... [and] the rate that police with substantiated complaints are punished went from 25 percent to 75 percent." Green was one of the first public officials to draw attention to racial profiling by the NYPD, which, until 2001, made him an enemy of Mayor Giuliani and 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 personal 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.[12] In 2004, Green was co-chair of the New York presidential campaign of Senator John Kerry.

2001 race for Mayor

Green ran for Mayor of New York City and won the Democratic nomination in 2001 but lost to Michael Bloomberg 50% - 48% in the closest NYC mayoral election in a century. Green had narrowly defeated Fernando Ferrer in the primary, surviving a negative contest that divided the party. The two other candidates were Council Speaker Peter Vallone and City Comptroller Alan Hevesi.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks occurred on the morning of the Democratic primary and contributed to Green's loss. Also, Bloomberg spent an unprecedented $74 million in his campaign, especially on TV ads and direct mail. Rudy Giuliani, who suddenly had an extremely high popularity publicly endorsed Bloomberg.[13]

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."[14] Chris Smith in New York Magazine wrote in 2011, "Many old-school Democrats believe that Bloomberg's 2001 victory over Mark Green was a terrorist-provoked, money-soaked aberration."[15]

Green was criticized by the Ferrer campaign for the actions of supporters in the run-off that were construed as racist, involving literature with New York Post caricatures of Ferrer and Al Sharpton distributed in white enclaves of Brooklyn and Staten Island. Green stated that he had nothing to do with the dissemination of the literature. An investigation by the district attorney of Kings County, New York (Brooklyn) Charles J. Hynes 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."[16] Nevertheless, the incident kept Ferrer from endorsing the Democratic nominee and is thought to have diminished minority turnout in the general election which helped the Republican candidate win in an overwhelmingly Democratic city.

Green wrote an article about the campaign a decade later in the 9/11 anniversary issue of New York Magazine.[1] in which he reported that Bloomberg told him in 2002 that "I wouldn't have won" without Ferrer's late campaign opposition to Green.

2006 race for state Attorney General

Green ran in the Democratic primary for New York Times, and 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.[17] 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."

Cuomo beat the Republican candidate, former Westchester County 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.[18] His Director of Policy was Benjamin Kallos, with whom he worked on "100 Ideas for a Better City".[19][20][21] As one of the top two finishers in the Democratic primary, Green qualified for the September 29 runoff, but lost to City Councilmember Bill de Blasio who went on to win the mayoralty in 2013.

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 on William F. Buckley's Firing Line, Inside City Hall on NY1, and Hardball with Chris Matthews on MSNBC.

On 6 March 2007 Green's brother, New York real estate magnate Stephen L. Green, purchased majority shares in Air America Radio. Stephen served as chairman, and Mark as president.[22] Stephen sold Air America Radio in 2009 to Charles Kireker.

Green was co-host, with Arianna Huffington, of the syndicated talk show 7 Days in America, which aired on the network. from 2007-2009.[23] He is the host of Both Sides Now w/ Huffington & Matalin nationally syndicated on 110 stations and recorded at WOR710 AM in New York City.

Selected publications

  • Who Runs Congress? (co-authored with Michael Waldman) (1972)
  • There he goes again : Ronald Reagan's reign of error (co-authored with Gail MacColl, with Robert Nelson & Christopher Power) (ISBN 0-3947-2171-3) (1983)
  • 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)
  • The Book on Bush: How George W. Bush (Mis)leads America (co-authored with Eric Alterman) (ISBN 0-670-03273-5) (2004)


  1. ^ Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President:
  2. ^ The Huffinton Post: "The Right-Wing Smears OWS With Anti-Semitism" by Mark Green October 25, 2011
  3. ^ a b New York Times: "For Giuliani and Green, It Might as Well Be 1997" By ALISON MITCHELL June 11, 1994
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k New York Magazine: "Green Machine" by Howard Kurtz January 28, 1991
  5. ^ a b New York Times: "Different Lives, Different Politics, But Greens Unite in Mayor's Race" By ERIC LIPTON August 13, 2001
  6. ^ "Great Neck Alumni", Great Neck school district website
  7. ^ The Huffington Post: Mark Green retrieved June 24, 2012
  8. ^ New York Post: "WIVES FEAR GRACIE SPOUSE TRAP – THEY SAY MRS. MAYOR NEEDS ZONE OF PRIVACY" By Maggie Haberman July 23, 2001
  9. ^ a b New York Times: "Jenya Green, David O’Connor" May 4, 2008
  10. ^ Topics; Investments Returned; UnPAC, May 1, 1986, The New York Times, Editorial Desk
  11. ^ a b Edward Tivnan, The Lobby; Jewish Political Power and American Foreign Policy, 1987, p.193. ISBN 0-671-50153-4
  12. ^ Ramirez, Anthony (September 1, 2000). "Metro Briefing".  
  13. ^ Nagourney, Adam. "Bloomberg Puts Eggs In a Basket: Giuliani's", The New York Times, October 28, 2001. Accessed December 31, 2007. "Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's decision to endorse Michael R. Bloomberg at City Hall yesterday provides Mr. Bloomberg with perhaps his greatest hope for victory as he moves into the final days of what his supporters describe as a troubled campaign."
  14. ^ "New York's difficult year".  
  15. ^ Smith, Chris (Nov 7, 2011). "Who Will Win the 2013 Mayoral Election?". New York Magazine. Retrieved Aug 13, 2013. 
  16. ^ Katz, Nancie L., "Green Cleared In Campaign Flap", New York Daily News, July 22, 2006. Retrieved 2011-06-28.
  17. ^ "Clinton, Spitzer, Spencer, Cuomo Advance In Primaries", NY1. Accessed December 31, 2007.
  18. ^ "Mark Green Announces Candidacy For Public Advocate", NY1. Accessed February 10, 2009.
  19. ^ Rivoli, Dan (April 16, 2009). "Kallos Joins Green Campaign". Our Town East Side: Upper East Side News & Community. 
  20. ^ Phillips, Anna (November 2, 2009). "Would a UFT endorsement for Thompson make a difference?". Gotham Schools. Retrieved October 5, 2013. 
  21. ^ Paybarah, Azi (June 15, 2009). "Another Transparency Web Site". The New York Observer. Retrieved October 6, 2013. 
  22. ^ via Associated Press. "Green brothers close deal to buy liberal talk radio network Air America", San Diego Union-Tribune, March 6, 2007. Accessed December 31, 2007.
  23. ^ official website7 Days in America,

External links

  • Mark J. Green's response to the 2006 Attorney General screening questionnaire from the 504 Democratic Club of New York City
Party political offices
Preceded by
Elizabeth Holtzman
Democratic Nominee for U.S. Senate (class 3) from New York
Succeeded by
Robert Abrams
Preceded by
Ruth Messinger
Democratic Nominee for Mayor of New York
Succeeded by
Fernando Ferrer
Political offices
Preceded by
Newly Created Position
New York City Public Advocate
Succeeded by
Betsy Gotbaum
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