Cities Use Free Office Space To Compete for Headquarters of Stem Cell Institute
Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn (D) this week announced he has arranged free downtown office space as part of the city's bid to win the headquarters of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, the stem cell research organization created by Proposition 71, the Los Angeles Times reports. State voters approved Proposition 71 in November 2004 (Los Angeles Times, 2/15).
Meanwhile, San Francisco "can't seem to get a competitive bid together" for the CIRM headquarters in part because of difficulties reaching an agreement to provide 15,000 square feet of office space at no cost to CIRM for 10 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Complications have arisen in negotiations to provide the office space between San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) and at least two prospective donors, but Newsom has arranged a meeting Thursday to discuss a possible deal to provide office space for CIRM rent-free.
Newsom said, "If we can achieve the space needs, I can't imagine anyone will be able to out-compete San Francisco" (Matier/Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/16).
USA Today on Wednesday examined how advances in the biotechnology industry and embryonic stem cell research specifically are prompting some state politicians to deal with "an issue rare in job development: moral values." According to USA Today, opponents of federally funded embryonic stem cell research are "injecting moral values into what would otherwise be a business debate," and "more fights pitting jobs against values are expected to spread."
In November 2004 election exit polls, voters seemed to be "more focused on abortion and other moral values," according to USA Today. Yet, the economy and job creation also ranked high among voters' concerns, illustrating the "jobs-vs.-values dilemma" among conservative states and liberal states. States that favor embryonic stem cell research initiatives tend to be liberal states with a strong biotech industry presence, such as California and Massachusetts, while more conservative states, such a Missouri and Georgia, are "moving more cautiously," according to USA Today.
The issue could "help define ambitious politicians" who risk alienating voters by supporting embryonic stem cell research and risk losing biotech jobs and investors by opposing it, according to USA Today. Legislators in Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington and Texas "are scrambling to protect fledgling biotechs" as California and countries with less-restrictive policies for government research enact stem cell research initiatives.
According to the Biotechnology Industry Organization, legislators in more than "a dozen other cash-strapped states" are expected to introduce bills in favor of stem cell research this year, USA Today reports. However, Republican governors such as Florida Gov. Jeb Bush "fac[e] a dicey choice between biotech ... and loyalty to President Bush" who opposes embryonic stem cell research, USA Today reports.
David Schultz, professor of management at Hamline University, said, "Will it be the blue states that have the biotech and the red states that don't? That could set up a situation where the [more liberal] states are poised for future economic growth ... leaving the [conservative] areas behind" (Hopkins, USA Today, 2/16).
USA Today on Wednesday also examined CIRM's start-up efforts, including its search for a permanent headquarters and plans to begin awarding grants by May (Weise, USA Today, 2/16).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.