The degree to which the Los Angeles Times forwards the reactionary agenda of school privatization is astonishing. While one expect nothing less from them ideologically, could their reporters at least pretend they have a modicum of intellectual curiosity, or even a grain journalistic integrity? A reporter painting Ben Austin as concerned volunteer and his well financed astroturf groups as a grassroots parents movement is irresponsible. A reporter not mentioning that Green Dot stands to gain financially from all this is downright criminal. Shame on you.
Here is the quick note I emailed to Mr. Lopez this morning.
Ben Austin still works for Green Dot, albeit for its astroturf group you mentioned -- Parent Revolution (née LAPU). Could your piece be any more sycophantic?
Here's an article looking at the real Ben Austin: "Ben Austin: The Six Figure Salary Man" 
Did you really quote this man talking about "power structure?" The same Ben Austin who works for Rocky Delgadillo, clears a quarter million, and lives in Beverly Hills? The same Ben Austin who in addition to the hostile takeover attempts at the schools you mention in your piece is trying to take over Emerson Middle School which boasts higher APIs than 36% of Green Dot's schools?  The same Ben Austin who can get away with calling our hard working UTLA teachers pedophiles?  In your newspaper no less?
I'm sorry Mr. Lopez, but your obsequious and servile column lauding Ben Austin and his cash flush CMO seems a little too much. I know with all the facts surfacing about the Secretary of Education and his methodologies utterly failing in the Chicago School System is causing some concern amongst the self styled education reform crowd (read privatizers). But Green Dot has their own PR department, they really don't need your help. Maybe the rumors of the LA Times writers having moved to 350 South Figueroa Street [are true].
Sincerely, but with much concern
Robert D. Skeels
 Could parents' screams jolt L.A. Unified into action? http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-lopez22-2009jul22,0,5663596.column
 In my haste to email Mr. Lopez, I made some grammatical errors. Given the chance I would reword the one sentence to read: "I know all the facts surfacing about the Secretary of Education and his methodologies utterly failing in the Chicago School System are causing some concern amongst the self styled education reform crowd (read privatizers)." The other mistake was forgetting to end the last sentence, a bracketed correction appears above.