Klein Receives Fourth Nomination To Chair Stem Cell Research Panel
Treasurer Phil Angelides (D) on Tuesday nominated Proposition 71 campaign Chair Robert Klein to chair the Independent Citizen Oversight Committee, a 29-member panel created by Proposition 71 to oversee administration of the stem cell research funds, making it "nearly certain" that Klein will secure the position, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Somers, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/15).
Angelides on Tuesday also nominated Joan Samuelson, president and founder of the Parkinson's Action Network, as vice chair. Samuelson was already appointed to the committee by Controller Steve Westly (D), and if she is selected as vice chair, Westly would have 30 days to fill her position (Hall, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15).
Proposition 71, a measure approved on the Nov. 2 statewide ballot, calls for California to issue bonds to raise an average of $295 million annually over a decade to promote stem cell research and provide funds for a new stem cell research center, as well as grants and loans for lab projects. State analysts say the measure will cost a total of $6 billion, including interest.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (D) and Westly on Monday nominated Klein, a Portola Valley real estate developer who chaired the campaign for Proposition 71, to chair the oversight committee.
Schwarzenegger and Westly on Monday also nominated Edward Penhoet, president of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and a founder of biotechnology firms Chiron and Renovis, as vice chair. Bustamante nominated Frank Staggers, a Castro Valley urologist and former president of the California Medical Association and the National Medical Association, as vice chair.
Angelides was the only official to miss Monday's deadline for nominating the chair and vice chair. The other 27 members of the oversight committee will select the chair and vice chair from the nominated candidates at their first meeting Friday in San Francisco. Both leaders will serve six-year terms. The positions pay $100 per meeting and do not require Senate confirmation (California Healthline, 12/14).
Samuelson said, "It will be wonderful to have an opportunity to describe my vision for what we need to accomplish and how we should go about it" (Mecoy, Sacramento Bee, 12/15).
Jeff Sheehy, a member of the oversight committee, said he is "disappointed" that the committee will not have multiple nominees from which to select, but he is "not unhappy that [Klein] will be the chair." He added that Klein "has shown enormous leadership and has a compelling vision for the institute" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15)
Joe Panetta, president of Biocom, said, "I think there should be another name discussed" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/15).
Angelides on Tuesday also appointed to the committee:
- David Baltimore, president of the California Institute of Technology;
- Michael Friedman, an oncologist and former acting commissioner of FDA;
- Michael Goldberg, a member of the Board of Directors of Genomic Health;
- Francisco Prieto, president of the Sacramento-Sierra chapter of the American Diabetes Association; and
- Janet Wright, a cardiologist and advocate for patients with heart disease (Los Angeles Times, 12/15).
Klein is the "person to watch in American medical science today," and the majority of U.S. residents "disagree" with those who "fear the slippery slope" of stem cell research leading to human cloning, New York Times columnist William Safire writes in an opinion piece.
Safire adds that he "hope[s] President Bush opens his mind to the medical scientists' patient-oriented, pro-living position" because if he does not, the United States will "devolve on today's federalist trial, going state-by-state, local-option, privately supported competition to determine guidelines for ethical stem cell research."
Safire concludes that there is "some urgency for those needing medical breakthroughs in a few years," so "it would be good for the president and Congress to get out in front of California's stem cell gold rush" (Safire, New York Times, 12/15).
KQED's "Forum" on Wednesday will include a discussion of the implementation of Proposition 71. Guests on the program will include: Robert Birgeneau, chancellor of University of California-Berkeley and member of ICOC; Marcy Darnovsky, associate executive director of the Center for Genetics and Society; Ted Love, president, CEO and director of the biopharmaceutical company Novelus and member of the committee; David Magnus, co-director of the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics, associate professor of pediatrics, medicine and philosophy at Stanford University, and co-chair of the Stanford Health Center's Ethics Committee; Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento); and Keith Yamamoto, executive vice dean of the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine and professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology, biochemistry and biophysics (Michels, "Forum," KQED, 12/15). The complete segment will be available online in RealPlayer after the broadcast.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.