Corporate Charter-Voucher Charlatans Ben Austin, Bill Grundfest, and Marco Petruzzi

Bill Grundfest is a far-right reactionary who despises public education and organized labor. The well heeled Bel Air resident has been on a rhetorical rampage as of late, attacking random social justice activists and public education advocates like those at the South Bronx School blog.

Here’s a post discussing a possible debate with Grundfest Next South Bronx School Internet Radio Cast. Perusing Grundfest’s twitter posts at @BillGrundfest should help acclimate one to his brand of vicious public school loathing and union hating. Let’s hope he does appear on the radio show, since his fact free diatribes only serve to demonstrate how the “ed-reform” crowd places ideology before evidence.

I’ve had run-ins with this reactionary Bill (aka Billy) Grundfest character in the past. When I broke the story about Green Dot and Ben Austin’s racist organizing tactics on the West Side of Los Angeles, Grundfest came after me like a rabid dog. He is very close friends with Green Dot Public SchoolsMarco Petruzzi and LAPU/PR’s Ben Austin. The fact that they live in Bel Air, the Venice Canals, and Franklin Canyon/Beverly Hills respectively illustrates the class character of attacks from these very wealthy corporate charter-voucher spokesmen.

Grundfest occasional tries to deny his ties to his corporate handlers, but the following makes such denials impossible:

Birth of Parents Union — how fitting, as it’s content is much like D. W. Griffith’s Birth of a Nation aka The Clansman.

http://www.greendot.org/news/article/birth_parents_union

I have hard copies of the above story in case Green Dot Public Schools quickly moves to destroy the evidence.

Grundfest first attacked me when I published my acclaimed “Code Words and Green Dot’s Pandering to Westside Racism”

http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/10/code-words-euphemisms-and-green-dots-pandering-to-westside-racism/

Here are the comments he posted:

New comment on your post #11224 “Code Words and Green Dot’s Pandering to Westside Racism”
Author : bill (IP: 98.154.247.253 , cpe-98-154-247-253.socal.res.rr.com)
E-mail : bgrundfest@aol.com
URL    :
Whois  : http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl?queryinput=98.154.247.253
Comment:
As Ben Franklin once said, “you sir are a compleat (sic) pinhead.” Sure, play the race card, because the FACTS you dont care for. I am sooooo deeply offended by you calling parents like me racists, so here it is, and get out your microscope so you can find the ‘RACIST” stuff in between the lines.
1. Tenure has to die. Is that racist? No reform will ever occur without Duffy and the unions declaring peace on our kids instead of the WAR they declared - and which they wage by STEALING our kids futures so that they can keep their uSELESS jobs.
2. FIRE all central administrators. They are worth than useless, they are a cancer on the system. Wanna DOUBLE the amount of money spent in the classroom? Watch (please show me where this is racist you mamzer): Only 60o% of lausd money goes into classrooms. In a cHARTER SCHOOL 95% of the money goes into the clasroom. PLUS charters get about 20% LESS than a regular lausd school gets. And the ONLY schools where the kids are doing better than their identical peers are charters. Then SELL the admin building downtown and fire the admins. BOOM - do the math (if you can, did I mention the word pinhead mamzer yet?) - boom DOUBLE the money, without raising taxes. 9OOPS SORRRRRYYYYYY, I know how much you love taxes)
3. COMPETITION. Can you name me ONE system of anything that has ever improved without competition? Go ahead, name just ONE! Evolution itself is competition. Sports. Education itself (rememebr all those grade-y things?)
4. The system you are defending is not only a FAILURE, but is proven so over 30 years — by whose standards? the state of California which has an adorable little thing called PI5 - which means the school is a satet declared FAILURE.
5. YOU want to know who is keeping black, hispanic and other minority kids from an education? YOU ARE YOU PUTZ! Green Dot is doing work that embarasses the teachers who refuse to reform, ie almost all of them.
So it turns out that YOU ARE THE RACIST? Whatsamata, ya can’t stand the idea that minority kids might do better if schools had competition and parents had choice instead of this BROKEN ASS MONOPOLY?
Ok, 6: For you to use the word “competition” as if ann coulter invented it and then SMEAR people like those you’ve named is mishugah, and  SHAME, and I think a tortious act, you putz. Only people as STUPID as you would get fooled by that - it’s not even slight of hand…
in sum,
Can you imagine the rich westside parents saying “I would NEVER send my child to that school with all those overeducated mexicans and black kids” - no they’d be fighting to get in!
We want schools that work. People like you DON’T. NO,NONO, YOU DON’T. You want our kids to rot so that Duffy can get even fatter (see, ya brought me down to your level).
Bill Grundfest
Horrified, Angry, Offended LAUSD (if thats what ya call it) parent

Rather than directly address the writer of the author of the incoherent screed, I wrote the editor of Dissident Voice.

Dear Sunil K. Sharma:

In December a person posted a comment under my article, which I may or may not have approved. The tone of the comment was abusive in general, but I didn’t think much of it until a Hebrew speaking friend explained to me what some of the words meant.

In particular, Mr. Bill  Grundfest calls me a “mamzer,” which my friend told me means “a child of incest.” While I am obviously offended, I also think that such language is inappropriate to have under my article, and on your well respected site.

I’ve tried to figure out how to delete the comment, but it might be something only you or one of the site administrators can do. Would it be possible to delete the comment by bill on December 10th, 2009 at 9:04pm? It’s currently the last comment listed under my essay.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2009/10/code-words-euphemisms-and-green-dots-pandering-to-westside-racism/#comment-61967

Thank you in advance, and thank you for maintaining a site for progressive writers.

Robert D. Skeels
rdsathene@sbcglobal.net

Sunil responded right away, and removed Grundfest’s disgusting nonsense.

Dear Robert,

Thank you very much for bringing the comment to my attention. I’m very sorry a comment like that showed up under your article. None of the editors at DV would’ve approved of it. The comment probably got posted automatically because the guy who wrote it may have had other comments posted in the past, and after some point our blog system automatically started posting them as he wrote them rather than send them to a queue for editor approval. Unfortunately, it happens a lot, and we often rely on readers to bring abusive and unacceptable comments to our attention.  

Your contributions to DV are very much appreciated, and we hope to be able to feature more of your work in the future.

All the Best,

— Sunil

Grundfest wasn’t satisfied with just posting his right-wing reactionary comments on DV though, he decided to send me a personal missive:

Subject: [Bulk] Your racist blog
From:   bgrundfest@aol.com
Date: December 11, 2009 03:51:08 PST
To:   undisclosed-recipients:;

If public education is the great civil rights issue of this century (it is) then it is YOU who are the racist. (when your socialist marxist alice in wonderland head stops spinning, read on)
 
bill said on December 10th, 2009 at 9:04pm #
As Ben Franklin once said, “you sir are a compleat (sic) pinhead.” Sure, play the race card, because the FACTS you dont care for. I am sooooo deeply offended by you calling parents like me racists, so here it is, and get out your microscope so you can find the ‘RACIST” stuff in between the lines.
1. Tenure has to die. Is that racist? No reform will ever occur without Duffy and the unions declaring peace on our kids instead of the WAR they declared – and which they wage by STEALING our kids futures so that they can keep their uSELESS jobs.
2. FIRE all central administrators. They are worse than useless, they are a cancer on the system. Wanna DOUBLE the amount of money spent in the classroom? Watch (please show me where this is racist you SOB): Only 60% of lausd money goes into classrooms. In a cHARTER SCHOOL 95% of the money goes into the clasroom. PLUS charters get about 20% LESS per student than a regular lausd school gets. And the ONLY schools where the kids are doing better than their identical peers are charters. Then SELL the admin building downtown and fire the admins. BOOM – do the math (if you can, did I mention the word pinhead mamzer yet?) – boom DOUBLE the money, without raising taxes. (OOPS SORRRRRYYYYYY, I know how much you marxists love taxes)
3. COMPETITION. Can you name me ONE system of anything that has ever improved without competition? Go ahead, name just ONE! Evolution itself is competition. Sports. Education itself (rememebr all those grade-y things?) The opposite would be socialism or communism, which I’m not against if it works — hey how DID that whole thing work out for those in the Great Workers Paradise, you historically illiterate SOB? Oh right, it DIED… tsktsk
4. The system you are defending is not only a FAILURE, but is proven so over 30 years — by whose standards? the state of California which has an adorable little thing called PI5 – which means the school is a sate declared FAILURE.
5. YOU want to know who is keeping black, hispanic and other minority kids from an education? YOU ARE YOU PUTZ! Green Dot is doing work that embarasses the teachers who refuse to reform, ie almost all of them.
So it turns out that YOU ARE THE RACIST. Whatsamata, ya can’t stand the idea that minority kids might do better if schools had competition and parents had choice instead of this BROKEN ASS MONOPOLY? I think your Marxism is a cover for your secret racism, because its you and your points of view that will keep the underclass a permanent underclass. 
Ok, 6: For you to use the word “competition” as if ann coulter invented it and then SMEAR people like those you’ve named is mishugah, and SHAME, and I think a tortious act, you putz. Only people as STUPID as you would get fooled by that – it’s not even slight of hand…it’s just intelectual bankruptcy - and forgive me, I just have to say it: YOU PUTZ. Sorry. 
in sum,
Can you imagine rich ambitious westside parents saying “I would NEVER send my child to that school with all those overeducated mexicans and black kids” – no they’d be fighting to get in!
We PARENTS — want schools that work. People like you DON’T. NO,NO, NO, YOU DON’T. STOP IT, YOU TRULY DEEPLY WANT TO SEE THESE CHILDREN FAIL SO YOU CAN KEEP WRITING YOUR BULLSHIT. You want our kids to rot so that Duffy and the unions can get fatter (THE WORKERS! UNITING — this is why parents Union began - and I was the guy who began it… because we need an actual union, one that can deliver votes, and threaten to strike - that would be cooooool - the workers/teachers show up, and their raw material, students, don’t - until they remove tenure and start true reform. STUDENTS OF THE LAUSD UNITE!!!
Bill Grundfest
Horrified, Angry, Offended LAUSD (if thats what ya call it) Parent
Planet Earth (not whatever fairytaleland your from)

Just a quick note on his intellectually stilted question number three. Here’s a few things that developed outside a system of competition: Unix-like operating systems (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, NetBSD, etc.), most open source software, the protocols that define the internet, most great literature (this doesn’t seem to include sitcoms of course), most great works of art, most music, the list goes on ad infinitum. Because Grundfest’s only motives in life are profit and self, he must be projecting that on to the rest of us. He’d be a psychology major’s thesis project for sure.

I ignored his email as well, especially given that not one of his fantasy statistics it contained were worth addressing. Grundfest clearly has no knowledge in this topic, and sounds like one of the detached from reality Randites that post on Reason Magazine message boards. His arguments are so bigoted and incoherent, he could pass for David Horowitz or a teabagger.

Now, I’ve been known to do a little name calling as well in my day. However, I’ve always maintained this simple rule: never say anything you wouldn’t say to someone’s face. Grundfest calling me a child of incest crosses the line, and in my neighborhood there would be consequences for talking like that. Sounds like Grundfest has become accustomed to talking tough even though he isn’t — he must feel so safe in his gated Bel Air community that he speaks with reckless abandon. Let him try talking like that in 90026! Flores-Aguilar, Krinsky, Wallace, Austin, and Grundfest are good paper tigers when they write or are preaching to the privatization choir, but corner them and they are the biggest cowards of all. They don’t deal in facts, they hide behind ridiculous rhetoric, and they’re all on the charter-voucher industry’s take. I’ve often considered visiting one of Grundfest’s classes just to watch him wet himself when he realizes who I am. While I’m middle-aged now, I’m ex-military, athletic, and still present an imposing figure.

After writing another exposé piece on corporate shill Ben Austin, I forwarded a copy to Grundfest with the phrase “You’re next.” That solicited this response from the unhinged wingnut.

From:   bgrundfest@aol.com
Subject: [Bulk] “I’m Next”
Date: February 17, 2010 14:41:29 PST
To:   rds@rdsathene.org

Dear Bob,
 
1. You’ve used email to deliver a threat (“you’re next”). This is an intentional infliction of emotional harm. This may be a civil as well as a criminal violation.
 
2. You may just have taken a non-public person - me - and villified him PUBLICLY - in a way that may constitute libel.
 
I respectfully suggest you post a blog saying you have zero basis in fact for libeling me as publicly implying/stating outright that I am a racist and a reactionary tool. It may (or may not) cool what is right now my ardor to litigate aggressively. Do you need that kind of headache? Write it, post it, and delete my name from your vocabulary.

Your friend,
 
Bill Grundfest 
www.workshopforwriters.com 
Bel Air, CA 90077

He must have thought this would frighten me with his attempts at legalese. My response:

Subject: Re: “I’m Next”
From:   rdsathene@sbcglobal.net
Date: February 17, 2010 15:35:35 PST
To:   bgrundfest@aol.com

On Feb 17, 2010, at 14:41, Bill Grundfest wrote:
Dear Bob,
 
1. You’ve used email to deliver a threat (“you’re next”). This is an intentional infliction of emotional harm. This may be a civil as well as a criminal violation.
 
2. You may just have taken a non-public person - me - and villified him PUBLICLY - in a way that may constitute libel.
 
I respectfully suggest you post a blog saying you have zero basis in fact for libeling me as publicly implying/stating outright that I am a racist and a reactionary tool. It may (or may not) cool what is right now my ardor to litigate aggressively. Do you need that kind of headache? Write it, post it, and delete my name from your vocabulary.

Your friend,
 
Bill Grundfest 
www.workshopforwriters.com 
Bel Air, CA 90077

I’m sorry, perhaps you don’t recall calling me a person born of incest (mamzer) in a public forum — “Dissident Voice?” Maybe too, you don’t remember sending me a hostile email to ensure I was aware of your public attacks on me? By the way, love the 600% statistic in your first piece. Did you write a bizarre and insulting stream of consciousness in response to the “Jewish Journal” article which basically says the exact thing about what’s going on at Emerson as my article did too?

http://www.jewishjournal.com/cover_story/article/healing_the_world_one_school_at_a_time_20091125/

I’ve included both examples of your “exemplary prose” below.
(I removed these since they appear above in this story)

Seemingly always needing the last word, Grundfest sent the following:

First a comment on a solidaridad piece 14 of 15 Green Dot schools are “failing,” by Parent Revolution’s definition

http://rdsathene.blogspot.com/2010/01/14-of-15-green-dot-schools-are-failing.html

Bill Grundfest said…
You win, you’re right - LAUSD is doing GREAT! Anybody whos calims otherwise is a blank-ist. No reason to change. Nope. None at all. Now go get somebody to read this to all the seniors who can’t read.
14:20 

I think Grundfest might mean Blanquist where he writes “blank-ist,” but who can fathom the minds of people who collect Ayn Rand action figures. Grundfest’s “prose” is what you get when you believe John Galt and Howard Rourke are historical figures and you think Milton Friedman books on tape constitute a proper education.

Then his ‘parting’ email.

Subject: [Bulk] You Win
From:   bgrundfest@aol.com
Date: February 17, 2010 17:50:45 PST
To:   rds@rdsathene.org

Bob, 
 
1. You win - you’re right. There is nothing wrong with LAUSD… Nothing to worry about except getting more money into the system. That’ll fix everything… just ask the kids in D,C, where they spend 14K per pupil and the kids can’t read…
 
2. you have a blog - you have actively inserted yourself into the public arena… I have not… responding via a post does not make me a public persona any more than a letter to the editor would make me one…  respectfully the best course for you remains to delete my name from your public vocabulary (what you say about me in private is up to you, and I say you go fella!)… and I promise to not read anything else you ever write

3. anything you want to say about me in a private email, as blistering as you like, go ahead! but when I don’t know you from Adam and you send an email consisting solely of “You’re next”, it was meant as a threat, and was taken as such… so as long as we keep this on the level of High School debate team name calling, and in private, it’s all good - but threats cross a legal line which I have to take seriously, and guard assiduously… so pls be advised of this…  
 
Bill Grundfest 
www.workshopforwriters.com 
Bel Air, CA 90077

Notice that this guy who publicly claims he started Green Dot Public Schools‘ Los Angeles Parents Union’s (AKA LAPU — now Parent Revolution), writes as much on Green Dot’s corporate site, is also a well known script writer, and shamelessly advertises his workshops all over the internet is claiming he hasn’t inserted himself in the public arena.

Since I’m much more interested in exposing the malfeasance of corporate big fish and charter crooks like Geoffrey Canada, Marco Petruzzi, Antony Ressler, Mike Piscal, and others in the lucrative charter-voucher school sector, responding to insignificant players like Grundfest was a seeming waste of time.

However, now that reactionary right-wing extremist Grundfest is trying to reassert himself in this arena, I will give no quarter. Look for future articles on this vile self appointed public education enemy Grundfest in the near future.