Opinion Pieces, Editorial Address California Stem Cell Institute
Three opinion pieces and one editorial recently addressed the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Summaries appear below.
- Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times: CIRM "has behaved not like the state agency it is, but with the arrogance of a private corporation that happens to be playing with the taxpayers' cash," Hiltzik writes in his "Golden State" column in the Los Angeles Times. The institute "has largely refused to cooperate with" Sen. Deborah Ortiz (D-Sacramento) to address some concerns about CIRM operations and has hired "an outside lobbyist to battle the Legislature," Hiltzik writes. "Most troubling is the agency's overwrought reaction" to two lawsuits alleging that CIRM is unconstitutional, Hiltzik writes, adding that "their concerns ... are shared by many supporters of stem cell research" (Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 5/16).
- Phil Angelides, San Francisco Chronicle: State Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) "has said that the legal claims raised by stem cell research opponents have no legal merit and appear designed only to delay the flow of funding to scientists searching out new treatments to improve the lives of the suffering," Angelides (D), state treasurer and chair of CIRM's finance committee, writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. Angelides writes that the finance committee "authorized my office to explore options for interim financing that could allow stem cell research to move ahead as expeditiously as possible." Angelides adds that his office "is committed to carrying out the people's will ... and achieving the best interest rates for California taxpayers in an open and transparent transaction" (Angelides, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/15).
- Jesse Reynolds, San Francisco Chronicle: Independent Citizens' Oversight Committee Chair Robert Klein's proposal to raise $100 million in loans to fund CIRM "is appropriate in the private venture-capital model, but is no way to lead a public agency," Reynolds, program director for the Oakland-based Center for Genetics and Society, writes in a Chronicle opinion piece. Reynolds adds, "Too many likely 'philanthropic sources' would have an interest in where the grants go and could expect favors in return for a risky loan." Angelides' plan -- "an interim loan of $200 million ... from 'bond anticipatory notes'" -- could "remove the potential for conflict inherent in Klein's plan," Reynolds writes, adding that "neither the taxpayers nor the potential of stem cell research can afford a series of 'stem cell scandal' headlines" (Reynolds, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/15).
The lawsuit filed by the taxpayers group People's Advocate against CIRM is "misguided," a Contra Costa Times editorial states. According to the editorial, Proposition 71 created Article 35 in the state constitution, which "should trump" the state constitution's Article 16, which bans appropriations to programs not managed by the state. The editorial concludes, "It would be tragic if California lost such a golden opportunity because of a myopic lawsuit" (Contra Costa Times, 5/15).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.