Criticism of Proposition 71 Oversight Committee Examined
The New York Times on Tuesday examined the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee created by Proposition 71 and some "difficult issues emerging" for ICOC following its meeting Jan. 6.
Some people have voiced concern about potential conflicts of interest among ICOC board members that "arose because of the appointment to the board of members representing California universities and research institutes that stand to be awarded much of the research money," the Times reports. In addition, some board members represent biotechnology companies.
Some advocates also have questioned whether the meetings comply with state rules governing public access. The method California employs to receive financial reimbursement for discoveries is "another potentially contentious issue," the Times reports (Pollack, New York Times, 1/11).
The Sacramento Bee on Sunday published an interview with Claire Pomeroy, a board member and physician who heads the University of California-Davis School of Medicine and health system. In the interview, Pomeroy discussed issues including the grant application process under Proposition 71 and measuring whether Proposition 71 is successful (Lau, Sacramento Bee, 1/9).
Summaries of recent editorials and opinion pieces addressing Proposition 71 appear below.
- Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times: ICOC "has seemed indifferent to any hint of legislative oversight and initially cavalier about the need for complete openness at its board meetings," Parsons -- a columnist for the Times -- writes in an opinion piece (Parsons, Los Angeles Times, 1/9).
Sacramento Bee: ICOC does not "win any prizes for how it conducted its first two meetings," a Bee editorial states, adding that "a blanket closure" of committee and working group meetings "is unacceptable" (Sacramento Bee, 1/9).
San Francisco Chronicle: "[D]espite what may be the best of intentions," ICOC Chair Robert Klein "should draw a sharp line between the activities of his organization and that of the ICOC," a Chronicle editorial states, concluding that ICOC should "move quickly to appoint its own staff," a move "that will help alleviate some of the confusion about who is in charge and how -- and where -- decisions are being made" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/5).
San Jose Mercury News: Although Proposition 71 requires ICOC members to reveal any conflicts of interest, members of working groups are not held to the same standard, a Mercury News editorial states, adding that such "conflicts could erode public confidence in the process." The editorial concludes that the committee must "stop a potentially contagious disease -- secrecy -- from doing further damage" (San Jose Mercury News, 1/11).
KPCC's "Air Talk" on Monday included a discussion of the committee's meeting last week. The segment includes comments with Susan Bryant, dean of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of California-Irvine and a member of the committee; Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware; and Joan Samuelson, founder and president of the Parkinson's Action Network and a member of the committee (Mantle, "Air Talk," KPCC, 1/10). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.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.