ASST CITY ATTORNEY
Rumor has it Mr. Austin makes at least that much moonlighting as the Executive of Green Dot/Parent Revolution (née LAPU). I say rumor, since like any private corporation, Green Dot doesn't have to make such information available to the public, although ultimately, we taxpayers are the source of much of Green Dot's income. Mr. Austin is a skilled lawyer and rhetorician. A very articulate man with the ability to pose as a populist, so it's understandable why he was Green Dot's choice to run their astroturf efforts.
Just one of Ben Austin's jobs pay roughly 2.5 times the median UTLA teacher salary. Another way to view this is that we could pay five teachers the average pay scale for the price of one corporate charter astroturf executive. Listening to Howard Blume or Steve Barr discuss UTLA salaries, you'd think they were the highest paid people in the city, but on average, they make about a fifth of what Mr. Austin makes. Not that he isn't worth every penny, witness LAUSD Board Vice President Flores Aguilar introducing her Orwellian-named Public School Choice: A New Way at LAUSD resolution at the behest of Green Dot. These folks have serious juice, and Steve Barr is a rock star of sorts with right of center Democrats like Arne Duncan.
For a man given to railing against things for "grownups" , those are some very grownup salaries Ben Austin makes. In 2008 right wing libertarian Ron Kaye claimed Mr. Austin's very special arrangement was approved by the City Ethics Commission . It can't hurt for parents and community members to request the details of the arrangement, and if such arrangements cover his current increased involvement with Green Dot.
Why does it matter that Ben Austin clears at least a quarter million dollars a year and lives in an exclusive gated community in Beverly Hills? Frankly, because it clearly demonstrates his class interests are completely different than those he purportedly espouses. In other words, when he gets up in front of the school board and talks about "our schools," and "our kids, our communities, and our collective futures"  he's using a very rhetorical our. That's because he knows nothing about our communities, schools, or children. Steve Barr, Marco Petruzzi, and Ben Austin don't live in working class neighborhoods, have working class jobs, or working class concerns. Nor do any of them possess degrees in education. What they do have is a very lucrative CMO with sycophantic press and close allies in the Democratic Party's DLC and DFER, all of whom seem bent on increasing their already substantial wealth. So much for "putting kids first!"
 Ron Kaye "The high cost of keeping the public ignorant"
 As for the title of this post--yes, the allusion to the 1970's series is intentional.