Q&A: Mark Green

Why did the New York Times call your mortgage loan program that resulted in hundreds of foreclosures in Brooklyn and Harlem a “fiasco�? Why did the anti- tobacco group call his $4.2 million subsidy of smoke shops in Indian reservations “mind-boggling�?

The Black Star News recently interviewed Democratic candidate Mark Green who is running for the State Attorney General’s office being vacated by Eliot Spitzer who is running for Governor.

BSN: Why Do you believe you’re trailing Andrew Cuomo?
Mark Green: He starts out with a bigger last name then I do, but I believe I have such a better record of performance in two Attorney General like offices that I will end up ahead when voters actually compare our records and decide.

BSN: Do you have time to bridge gap and surpass Cuomo?
Mark Green: Yes. Ask me that on midnight of September 12. I was once far behind in a Statewide Primary that I won in 1986 because my record clinched it for me in the final days. He was up 15 points ahead against Carl McCall with a month to go and then ended up dropping out of the Primary when Democrats compared their records. These next three weeks is when the public starts paying attention to the free and paid news media discussing who the candidates are.

BSN: Why do you believe you are you the best candidate in the field? What do you bring to the table that the other candidates don’t?
Mark Green: Of the four candidates seeking the office, I am the only one who has ever run a law enforcement agency. Because I succeeded in two Attorney General like offices over 12 years and for eight million City residents—suing corrupt businesses and taking on tobacco and special interests I have by far the best record to do it for 19 million state residents. If you add up my successful legal actions against mob caterers, tobacco companies, racially-profiling police, secretive hospitals, against Drycleaners poisoning residential buildings, it adds up to the following conclusion: Because I have done the work I am ready for the job.

BSN: Why didn’t Congressman Rangel endorse you?
Mark Green: Ask him. Andrew should be proud of that political endorsement as I am proud of the endorsement by David Dinkins of me based on my three years as his Consumer Affairs Commissioner saving the public their health and their money. This week, it’s also fair to ask whey he did not win the endorsement of the Sierra Club which says I have the best environmental record.

BSN: Which prominent African Americans have endorsed your campaign?
Mark Green: David Dinkins and Calvin Butts…

BSN: Cuomo seems to suggest that you are an “attack� candidate.
Mark Green: That’s a gimmick for him to avoid answering substantive criticism. Since he is running on his record at HUD [the Department of Housing and Urban Development] and has refused the final six debates, I of course will and should bring the debate to him by asking the following simple questions: Why did the New York Times call your mortgage loan program that resulted in hundreds of foreclosures in Brooklyn and Harlem a “fiasco�? Why did the anti- tobacco group call his $4.2 million subsidy of smoke shops in Indian reservations “mind-boggling�?  Why did Eliot Spitzer himself have to sue your agency  HUD because it failed to keep pesticides from housing as a 1996 law required?

Was the New York Times and the anti-tobacco group and Eliot Spitzer engaged in “negative attacksâ€? when they criticized you previously? The issue is not “positiveâ€? or “negativeâ€? the issue is on our records. We should run on our records. He is ducking debates—which hurts democracy far more than my questions do.

BSN: There were accusations that in the last mayoral elections your campaign was linked to sending out racially inflammatory fliers –do you think that has hurt you among Black voters?
Mark Green: Because the campaign Board and then the Brooklyn District Attorney said I was blameless and because Freddie Ferrer himself in the Fall of ’05 said nobody could blame me for something that I didn’t know about and denounced, anybody who raises that now is being racially divisive and divergent. The support I get  from David Dinkins and Calvin Butts and the overwhelming support from African Americans—I will carry the African American vote in New York City by a large margin because people will judge me by what I do and not by what I didn’t do.

BSN: If you win the Primaries would you want Cuomo’s endorsement and support?
Mark Green: Every candidate running will support whoever wins the Primary.

BSN: Tell us about the Mark Green New Yorkers don’t know but should know?
Mark Green: What I learned from 9/11 is that family first. There is nothing I like better than having dinner with my wife and two kids and then to catch a ballgame. I love the street campaigning but don’t like it when surrogates slander me instead of opponents engaging in debates. And I love tennis and biographies. [The most recent one Green finished is a Biography of George Washington. The candidate has also recently authored a book—“Losing Our Democracy.�]

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