Mark Pollock (b.1951) attended Taylor Allderdice High School before graduating from Washington & Jefferson University and the University of Pittsburgh Law School. He clerked for Allegheny Court of Common Pleas Judge Paul R. Zavarella and later became a partner in the law firm of Fingeret, Pollock, Cohen and Zavarella. In the early 1980s, Pollock was active in the United Jewish Federation’s Young Business and Professional Division and represented the Division on a trip to the former U.S.S.R. to meet with “refusenik” Jews. Pollock also sat on the board of the Jewish Chronicle for many years.
In November 1985, Pollock was elected to the Pittsburgh City Council, where he served until 1990. His term coincided with that of then-Councilwoman Sophie Masloff, who became mayor in 1988 after the death of Mayor Richard Caliguiri. Among the various high-profile issues Pollock tackled during his single term in office were ordinances prohibiting cigarette smoking in public places, establishing a historic preservation program and combating graffiti. The hallmark of his political career was a proposed “gay rights” ordinance, which would have prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. After much public debate, the bill died in a tie vote. (The city passed a similar ordinance long after Pollock had left office.) In January 1989, Pollock decided not to run for re-election, saying, in his announcement, “The system is not pure. One shouldn’t expect it to be, one can’t make it such. One must function in it as it is and try to accomplish as much good as possible. If the compromising is too difficult or too painful or can’t be done, one must examine the appropriateness of his or her position. I have learned that my idealism and rigid ethics do not work in a ‘go along, get along’ political system.”